At a time when many manufacturers are releasing their new 2019 models and looking to bolster their market share…you only have to look at some of the prices of the mid to high range bikes and have to wonder where the youthful riders will be able to find the funds to purchase such riding beasts.
Of course there are many smaller engined entry level bikes as well as the second hand market too which will fill the gap, but just as manufacturers such as Harley Davidson are looking to the future to engage with younger riders and for them to become the next generation of loyal brand customers, one has to ask are the manufacturers playing the wrong hand in the game of biker poker?
Harley Davidson, which is under considerable financial pressure at the moment with their stock falling and poor quarterly results, coupled with a diminishing domestic and foreign market and recent recalls which will likely cost millions…are still pushing the high priced cruiser which has suited the older rider with deeper pockets and loose wallets. But the younger riders are still left behind in the race to attain one of their signature rides.
So instead on praying on when tomorrow never comes, many younger riders are now looking to other brands to fulfil their riding wishes. Triumph and the Japanese brands are growing in popularity as fashions change amongst the youthful wannabes. Harley have hit back with the Street Motorcycle range, but is it nearly enough to capture the imagination of a youth more student of Fortnite on Playstation than V Twins on the open roads?
This is possibly doing the next generation a disservice but it is hardly surprising that they are turning away from a brand that does not seem to know its potential customer’s preferences. Just like a father who fails to communicate with his child and cannot fathom the divergence between them.
All of the motorcycle manufacturers have big decisions to make in the coming years, not only in terms of model designs, propulsion preferences and unit costs and retail pricing, but also to be able to tap into that unknown ether surrounding the teenage mind.
Only a fool stand still counting his gold! A wise man will never rest and will look to which path he must take next in order to continue to grow with changing seasons. The objective is not merely to survive…the goal is to thrive. Unless these manufacturers…especially those mostly associated with older riders and lifestyle brands start to create a lifestyle brand for the youth, then they are likely to left sat alone on top of their pot of dwindling gold.
There is only one sure way to address this problem, this conundrum…and that is to act and think like the next generation would. Within the motorcycle powerhouses, there needs to be a quantum shift in thinking and personnel too. The guidance from the old heads with the youthful drive who are engaged and connected with their peers. The designs need to change, the engines need to get smaller and the prices need to come down but mostly the motorcycles need to appeal to riders who were never educated in the ‘old ways’. These new riders have their own ideas, own motorcycle desires and designs…and the manufacturers will need to make this their priority understanding if they are to move forward.