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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the production of the last Shadow 1100 now done, and word on some other threads about the "motorcycle boom" being over, it got me thinking about where the industry goes from here. Imagine you're in the board room of H-D, or Honda, or Yahama or any of the other manufacturers. Look down the road five to ten years.

Some possible questions:

A) What will be the emerging "hot" style of bike over that period? Why? How would you recommend a manufacturer capitalize on that market?
B) What segment of market is going to diminish most?
C) Where can big cruisers go? Just bigger? Or is there something else that can be done to preserve that market?
D) Is there an upper limit on sport bike performance? Will the limiting factor be technology or human ability?
E) Is there a unmet niche that can be exploited?
F) Which manufacturer will prove to be the most innovative? Which the least? Why?
G) What government regulation will affect us the most? Safety? Emissions? Liability? Other?

The CEO wants a wide-open discussion and debate. It's your turn to speak. What do you say?
 

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I see bikes like the Shadow getting more "Customized" imagine V-twin Runes.

Big fat tires on the rear will be standard.

Engines will grow. 2000cc then 2500cc then 3250cc then 4500cc

Real choppers will go back to basics. You'll see a lot of 500cc bikes that look like 1920 Indian scouts.

Harley's will be the same ol same ol except for wired experimental things like a V-Twin crotch rocket and the like that will flop.

Race bikes will go faster but street bikes will get away from total fairing and you will see more naked bikes.
 

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AmishWarlord said:
I see bikes like the Shadow getting more "Customized" imagine V-twin Runes.

Big fat tires on the rear will be standard.

Engines will grow. 2000cc then 2500cc then 3250cc then 4500cc

Real choppers will go back to basics. You'll see a lot of 500cc bikes that look like 1920 Indian scouts.

Harley's will be the same ol same ol except for wired experimental things like a V-Twin crotch rocket and the like that will flop.

Race bikes will go faster but street bikes will get away from total fairing and you will see more naked bikes.

see, i am thinking 5 years down the road, the opposite. I believe more will be done with automatic transmissions to make it easier for other riders who otherwise wouldn't ride.

I believe the engine size will go lower, less of the 1600 to 2000 cc big boys, more midrange bikes with all the plastic creature comfort fairing stuff.

I think it will be all about comfort,clean lines, and ease of riding with low emissions and hgh mileage

The custom stuff will be left to the do it your-selfers, less factory custom.
 

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Well, this boom was all the babyboomers that were around in the 60's and 70's when motorcycling was cool and everyone was doing it, so I think they'd want to target the young crowd and get motorcycling to be cool again.

My experience as a 21 year old male with a cruiser is that everyone assumes I have a crotch rocket and every guy that tells me he wants to buy a motorcycle too wants to get a crotch rocket. I go to Michigan State, which is a pretty big school, and I know one guy with a Harley and I've seen an Aero around a couple of times, other than that everyone has a rocket.

The companies are either going to shift towards that market, or they'll hope that something will swing our fancies back towards cruisers and choppers (Wild Hogs and Ghost Rider, anyone?).

I also think that to broaden the general appeal of motorcycles that they will go towards a smaller engine. A lot of people are just plain scared of the big bikes, and a Rebel is a bit less daunting than a VTX1800R. Does anyone think that's what happened with the 1100? People that wanted a big bike wanted a HUGE bike, and a lot of people were either scared of the big bike or (more likely) just content with the 750.
 

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sdbrit68 said:
see, i am thinking 5 years down the road, the opposite. I believe more will be done with automatic transmissions to make it easier for other riders who otherwise wouldn't ride.

I believe the engine size will go lower, less of the 1600 to 2000 cc big boys, more midrange bikes with all the plastic creature comfort fairing stuff.

I think it will be all about comfort,clean lines, and ease of riding with low emissions and hgh mileage

The custom stuff will be left to the do it your-selfers, less factory custom.
Couldn't agree more. I also think the Asian / European companies may do something to make scooters more attractive to American riders. I'd bet my left &^% that the world will end before any one at Harley tries to mention the word scooter......although if they set their minds to it they'd probably make the coolest scooters out there....
 

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If I was sitting in Harley's board room the first thing I would do is start putting liquid cooled cruisers on the market. :)

Chris
 

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Christopher said:
If I was sitting in Harley's board room the first thing I would do is start putting liquid cooled cruisers on the market. :)

Chris
HEAR HEAR! Get that v-rod engine into more Models. Buell should adopt that puppy post haste!!


I see customs being very, very restricted. The more the EPA, pollution laws and sound laws are tightened up, the more I see the "custom" market turning into just more "approved" bolt-on stuff and true customs (based on new models) being limited to flashy paint and hokey wheels and chrome bits. Think OCC with stock engines and exhaust.

Street bikes will continue to be the fastest quick-attack 600-1000cc red-light runners in history, with technology being forced more to the forefront. The CBR600RR has electronic steering dampers, the Gixxers are getting traction control. Someone's going to come up with a super lightweight ABS or partial ABS system, and someone's going to bring it all together in a maxi-street fighter, probably Suzuki on their midweight, 750 Gixxer (which, by all accounts is *the* street/sport hybrid to own!).

Cruisers will become more... something... I dunno. Bikes like the Victory Vision will become more common place, and truly stripped down cruisers still holding on as an American staple more or less forever.

Tour bikes will become more and more sophisticated, with GPS, ABS, Traction Control, air-bladder seats and all the stuff people laugh at about the new Goldwing becoming standardized.

Small bikes will continue to hold a line of modern, lightweight, easy-to-ride machines that will continue to be "starter" bikes.

Maxi scooters will flourish in niches and as short-term machines.
 

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-Maxi scooters (500-1000cc) will take off, along with automatic transmissions in many bikes. We've already seen shaft drives replace chains in many smaller cruisers, so I think the automatic transmission may be inevitable (or at least a 'clutchless' shifting system). There's a huge market out there for newer and older riders, as well as commuters.

-You'll see more large sport-tourers on the market on the high-end of the price range, and the re-emergence of smaller cruisers and 'do it all' dual-sport bikes on the low end.

-The Chinese and Koreans are going to emerge big-time - starting on the low end of the price/performance scale. Rock bottom prices will hopefully allow younger riders to afford bikes. Sure, these bikes will suck for a while in terms of reliability, but within 10-15 years they'll be giving Honda and others a real run-for-their-money. This is going to re-define the industry. In the end, it may be a good thing for consumers.

-As all of the newbies start riding, insurance rates will skyrocket. Maybe HD should get into the insurance business....

Cheers, D-Mac
 

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One of the possible, or more probable future outcomes for motorcycles in the U.S., may follow the what the rest of the world has done or at least in Europe & Asia. As our population increases....remember when it was 150 million not too long ago....and refined gasoline becomes intolerably high priced, I believe there will be an explosion of smaller cc bikes on to the market. In fact it's prolly already in its infancy now. Just think about all the scooters that are on the road now as compared to just a few years ago. So that's my prediction. :D
 

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The news last night mentioned 4.00/gal gas. If the trend continues:

You will still see the high end big cc cruisers, just not as many.

Touring and sport touring will have a little and a big, EX a ST 1300 and a ST 1800 like the Shadow series had the 750 class and the 1100 class except there will be a bigger difference.

Less bling out of the factory on 1000 and down bikes. More nakeds and BASIC cruisers, to get more to the commuter/putting around market

A lot more 800 and under bikes of all breeds because of the balanced fuel econ. and power in that range.

Harley will continue to make the one bike with different clothes like they have for years.

Scooters will become more common for commuters. Although you can get as much MPG out of a Rebel so the impact will still be lower.

I dont think auto transmissions will do that much in motorcycles. Ridley has been around for a while and they serve a niche market. Most people who want to ride are going to know how to shift. UNLESS it is in a scooter.

Shaft drives, EPA regs, more noise regs, more MPG
 

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With the cruiser fad fading, and the customised custom fad in it's 3rd or 4th year, I'm wondering if the next direction would be 'retro'

Can you imagine a current technology engine, frame, suspension that appeared like it was an antique?

Personally, I love the look of the 1930's era bikes.... Just can't afford one!! :)!
 

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A) What will be the emerging "hot" style of bike over that period? Why? How would you recommend a manufacturer capitalize on that market?
I honestly don't see much changing over the next five to ten years as far as style is concerned. If we look strictly at the cruiser market, the last 20 years have showed little change in American styling and some change in Japanese styling. Both sides have moved more towards the middle and I expect to see that trend continue. Really the only things that have changed is production processes and materials over the last two decades. Carbon Fiber might be introduced, but honestly I don't believe it to be cost effecient. Motorcycles right now are fuel effecient, can be built quickly, and are selling.

B) What segment of market is going to diminish most?
This is hard to predict. From beginner bikes to big bikes, they are all necessary and will sell. I think as manufacturers look towards more horsepower they will see that smaller engines will produce the balance between cost and power. Big bikes will continue, but the fat tire, huge engine bike fad will fade....and then it will return. These type fads come and go like the tides.


C) Where can big cruisers go? Just bigger? Or is there something else that can be done to preserve that market?
Big cruisers will have to stay around the size motors they have now for reasons of space and cost. manufacturers will have to dream up new ways to get horsepower out of them to make them 'new' to the buyer. But if things stay the way they are now I don't see this market diminishing. Maybe we will see a hybrid bike come on the market. Imagine the tourque of an electric motor taking you off the line.


D) Is there an upper limit on sport bike performance? Will the limiting factor be technology or human ability?
Of course there is a limit, but we will obviously reach the limits of human potential before we reach the mechanical ones. Honestly, I think we are nearly there. Only the insane push their sport bikes to the limits on the street. And they usually get the Darwin award for their efforts. I see sport bikes looking towards electric power...these guys never ride farther than 10 miles anyways. :lol:



E) Is there a unmet niche that can be exploited?
Electric bikes...it needs to be exploited. I'm actually working on a lithium powered version as we speak. I can't tell you where I'm hiding everything...its a secret.


F) Which manufacturer will prove to be the most innovative? Which the least? Why?
As the old get older Harley will HAVE to be more innovative in production, design and marketing. I think we will see the Harley motorcycle company introduce a new Harley to the market, but they will continue with the tried and true bikes that have always sold.



G) What government regulation will affect us the most? Safety? Emissions? Liability? Other?
As we continue to see our government trade our freedoms for safety, I see this becoming a major factor in the future. Maybe not so much in Ten years, but in the next 50, the people making policy decisions will have grown up with Big Brother and will not understand freedom to begin with...but that is another rant.

As long as bikes are getting better gas mileage than cars then I don't see much changing in the way of emissions for these vehicles. If our goverment was smart, they would introduce tax breaks for riding a motorcycle. Yes, health care might be an issue with alll the riders on the road, but we have lots of Doctors and not alot of oil. Besides, if we get more bikes on the road...maybe cagers will be on the lookout more.

If, I were the CEO I would lobby to get incentives passed for motorcycle riders that actually commute on bikes. Not sure how you would regulate this, but getting incentives causes people to buy more bikes causing us to make more money. I would also look at a marketing strategy to make work environments more biker friendly. This could include everything from parking, to having organized corporation rallies.

Just my thoughts.

--BB
 

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The untapped niche is what they are looking too. The scooters are just the starting point...and yes, the auto tranny WILL be a big hit (women buyers and newbies). Smaller cc'd vehicles as well, mostly due to costs of fuel.

But I think vehicles like the Spyder, Stallion (3-wheelers with Rotax power or Ford power) IS the vehicle type that will become dominate in the coming years. Power, handling, economy and safety. That's not to say the 2-wheelers are just gonna go away. But they may change more in the engine area (differing types) than anything. Examples: diesel power, battery and fuel cell. All are currently being used but have some drawbacks...but the drawbacks may be overcome with the continuing search for adaptabilitiy and versatility and the public's want for new toys.

Just my thoughts,

Bullzeyet
 

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The EPA and fuel costs will play a part in what changes we will see.
I read an article on the Bergman scooter. 400cc and has a top end of 100mph.
I think we will see less customs (bar bikes) and more commuter scooters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
COBRARI said:
The EPA and fuel costs will play a part in what changes we will see.
I read an article on the Bergman scooter. 400cc and has a top end of 100mph.
I think we will see less customs (bar bikes) and more commuter scooters.
I'm kind of with you on this. I think the major influencing factors will be:

o The cost of energy
o The increasing scrutiny government on emissions, noise and safety
o (wildcard) Liability

My Wing gets around 38mpg. I foresee the day in the not too distant future when CAFE rules for motorcycles are introduced. Numbers in the 75mpg to 100+ mpg may be mandated. Smaller engines, possibly hybrids, and electronic controls to maximize fuel economy. They'll need to sell a lot of 125mpg scooters to make up for the occasional 38mpg big displacement cruiser or tourer.

The Supreme Court just ruled that the EPA has the authority to regulate so-called "greenhouse gases". Expect tighter and tighter standards.

The wildcard -- if indeed more people start riding motorcycles because fuel prices get to high, the trial lawyers are going to look for a juicy class action to latch onto. I have no idea how this will play out, but I think bullzeyet is onto something with the 3-wheelers.

An electric scooter makes perfect sense for around town commuting. Look for a movement to either allow those scooters into designated bicycle lanes, or the creation of "scooter only" lanes.
 

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C) Where can big cruisers go? Just bigger? Or is there something else that can be done to preserve that market?
I think that, with few exceptions, big inch cruisers will remain around the 1800-2000cc range. It will be a matter of fine tuning at that level.

The reason for a plateau at this size range is that, beyond this size the tradeoffs to comfort and handling become too great. An extreme example of this concept can be summed up in two words: 'Boss Hoss'. A more sane example can be found in the Triumph Rocket III. The 2300cc mill is unquestionably powerful, with a brutal amount of torque, yet the RIII is almost universally panned by the MC press for poor handling characteristics.

Yamaha (Star) distributed a nicely bound book to all of it's Stratoliner and Roadliner owners detailing the development of the new bike. In it they describe the initial engine development, dubbed the 'Mammoth Project'. They designed and built a 2300cc engine, which was eventually scrapped. Here's a quote from the book (At One), describing the reason.
Although the monster engine had ample performance potential, and some interesting technologies, it also required a monster chassis, along with an unpleasantly large air cleaner, fuel tank, and exhaust system. All of which compromised the balance of comfort, maneuverability, handling, and character that the team was seeking.
Regards. -Jay
 

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TucsonDon said:
With the production of the last Shadow 1100 now done, and word on some other threads about the "motorcycle boom" being over, it got me thinking about where the industry goes from here. Imagine you're in the board room of H-D, or Honda, or Yahama or any of the other manufacturers. Look down the road five to ten years.

Some possible questions:

A) What will be the emerging "hot" style of bike over that period? Why? How would you recommend a manufacturer capitalize on that market?
B) What segment of market is going to diminish most?
C) Where can big cruisers go? Just bigger? Or is there something else that can be done to preserve that market?
D) Is there an upper limit on sport bike performance? Will the limiting factor be technology or human ability?
E) Is there a unmet niche that can be exploited?
F) Which manufacturer will prove to be the most innovative? Which the least? Why?
G) What government regulation will affect us the most? Safety? Emissions? Liability? Other?

The CEO wants a wide-open discussion and debate. It's your turn to speak. What do you say?
A: Naked bikes & Sport Tourers
B: High Dollar (non-chopper) cruisers.
C: Big cruisers will sit on current technology and simply change styling. I think that 2,000 is about the practical end point in the displacement wars.
D: Human ability is already the limmiting factor for these bikes. 90% of people riding a sportbike over 900cc don't have the ability to get the most out of them already.
E.Something in the family vein. I don't know what it is, but the minivan of bikes could be huge if designed & marketed right.
F. Probably Kawasaki will be the most inovative. IMHO, Honda tends to take a good idea and make it availible to the masses. Yami tends to take a good idea and make it faster and higher performing. Suzuki tends to take a good idea and make it sexier. Kawasaki seems to be the first to the market with "inovative" concepts in my opine. Harley has a good thing going and I would not expect to see them be terribly inovative in the near future (other than the v-rod).
G: I really can't address this one without going on a rant that would probably get the thread locked down for being way too political. :roll:
 

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As gas goes past $3 and possible even above $4 (like the rest of the world) I think you will see more commuters in the city on electric scooters or hybrid gas/electric scooters. You will always have the commuter who has to get on the interestates and still do 70mph so I envision more sport tourers with the smallest engine that can comfortably cruise at 70mph all day and still get good mileage.
I think any cruiser that gets under 40mpg is destined for the museum. It will be like driving the 69 sedan deville or olds 98. You will see a few around on bike nights and riding in parades.
HD is in financial trouble again and can't continue to build bikes the way they do now. Labor costs are eating them up and because of the price of the bikes they are selling them with the equivalent of sub-prime home loans. They have thousands of owners in default on those loans right now (can anyone say reposession) they have painted them selves into a corner by doing their own financing. They are going to have to move manufacturing overseas to compete or go broke. If they do that, they will loose alot of the brand loyalty they have now. Big Problem.
Anyway, watch out for Korea and China they will be major players in the next 10 years.
 

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i can't see the future, but i tell you what I'd like to see - The Super Magna! Really, I'm not a V-Twin fan - meaning I didn't get my bike because it sounds like a Harley. I like the looks. If Honda could take the Spirit 1100 frame/styling and mix and merge it with the Super Magna style(perhaps a 1200cc 4 cyl - so it has the guts to haul me and and passenger with ease for touring) that would be one sweet bike. The 4-4 tail pipes would be awesome! Side covers covering the engine would add sleak lines.
 
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