Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Dex asks: I think Harley is dying because Harley riders are dying. Whenever I see a Hog, I see gray hair. I realize this is anecdotal, but I suspect it’s an accurate representation of the state of things. I still see non-AARPers on sport bikes, but even these riders seem to be on the far side of 30.
My reply: I know you’re right about Harley because I have seen the stats. The demographic stats. The average Harley rider is a middle-aged guy. But the reason the average Harley rider is a middle-aged guy is on account of the fact that – for the most part – only middle-aged guys can afford a Harley. HD screwed itself by focusing on high-end bikes that almost by definition only older, affluent guys can buy. This is ok while there is an ample supply of older guys who wanted a Harley when they were younger guys. But today’s younger guys have no emotional connection to Harley – because they are unaffordable – and so don’t care about Harleys.
Thus, when the current crop of graybeards dies off or gets too gray to ride, Harley will find itself without buyers. Which is why Harley jumped on the electric bike bandwagon. HD thinks these bikes will appeal to the youth – but the same problem remains. These bikes are also too got-damned expensive, especially for the youth.
The same problem is burgeoning with other bikes, too. They’re not as expensive as HD bikes, but they are much more expensive than they used to be, chiefly because of all the electronic gadgets being grafted onto them. A liter-class sport bike’s MSRP is now about the same as the price of an economy car. And most youths can’t afford the bike and the car – but most need the car.
Which means forget about the bike.
The whole thing is predicted on an unsustainable model of debt/credit that is going to crash as inevitably as an overloaded airplane with empty gas tanks that’s too far from the runway.
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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