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Discussion Starter #1


This is always a funny conversation considering that motorcycling is inherently a lifestyle decision, however I find things getting curious when a lifestlyle is used to sell a lifestyle activity.

Bear with me because I know that doesn't exactly sound sane or valid. A perfect example is cafe culture. Granted there are plenty of old rockers still out there, but I'm talking about the anorak who parks outside your office with a new old helmet, fishbowl shield and trompe l'oeil rattle can paint. So hip it hurts. Or how the accountant down the block dons his skull cap and grim reaper leathers just like the TV showed him bikers were supposed to do.

A lifestyle on top of a lifestyle, the niches niche if you will. There was a chicken in every pot and now there's a bike for every expression. But rather than me blather on about them, shall we look at a couple?

Ducati Scrambler



Ducati is trying to sell the scrambler with surf shack california sex appeal, if it works half as well as the power ranger dream they already sell to current Ducatisti they should be fine.

Triumph Bonneville/Thruxton



I cut the Bonnie a little more slack than the Thruxton. The Bonnie is simple the old British standard, the starting point for coutless old rockers over the years. The Thruxton however, well shall we call it the diddling dilettante special? I mean its one thing to cafe a bike, its another thing to buy one pre baked from the manufacturer.

Harley Street 500/750



Trying to capitalise on the tattoo, bobber, urban scene, trying to diversify away from the old bandanna man suburban grandpas I suppose. The Street is actually a cool bike as it represents a leap forward in Harley Davidson engineering so I give it a bit more slack.

Royal Enfield



Does much need to be said, Enfield has kept the Bullet in production for so long its simply become relevant again without the need for mechanical updates. What's the worth of a mass produced "custom"?

So whats my problem you ask? Well nothing I suppose, its great that tons of new riders are being attracted, young and old I might add, however there is one fundamental problem. They're not being sold "motorcycling" they're being sold the sparkly helmets, aged leather jackets, chrome, thunder grumble and an abstract simulation of freedom. These lifestyle motorcyclists, live the life except for the you know motorcycling part.

I'll leave you with one final anecdote, there is a beautifully cafe'd CB750 that parks outside my office daily, one day as I was arriving he was as well (wearing a scarf, yet his pants and sleeves were rolled up with no sign of gloves) so I struck up a conversation with him. I asked him about the bike, did he do his own work, where does he ride, you know the normal stuff. You know what he said? Ok he doesn't do his own work, I won't disown someone for that, not everyone has the capability or space or tools to work, but what irked me is that he's got a beautiful bike for the twisty bits (updated sportbike front end, ohlins rear shocks, modern rubber and ergos to suit) and the bike never leaves the city limits. Its a commuter, a show piece, I suppose that's why he wears an open face, so they know its him on there.

Why can't we just ride motorcycles?
 

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I think that motorcycles can be seen as an accessory more than just a motorcycle. It makes you look cool along with your clothes and bag and shoe etc... I think a lot of younger riders are probably making more of their decision based on considerations like this.
 

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So whats my problem you ask? Well nothing I suppose, its great that tons of new riders are being attracted, young and old I might add, however there is one fundamental problem. They're not being sold "motorcycling" they're being sold the sparkly helmets, aged leather jackets, chrome, thunder grumble and an abstract simulation of freedom. These lifestyle motorcyclists, live the life except for the you know motorcycling part.
On the plus side.....it leaves us plenty of low-mileage second-hand bikes to pick up when they get bored of their latest fad!! :p;)

I know what you mean though - I've seen in many a HD dealership 10-year old bikes that have barely 2000 miles on the clock. Why do people buy them and then do nothing with them?! I actually feel sorry for the bikes - they're made to be ridden! Crazy......my 2012 Dyna had its 5000 mile service in April - it's just had its 10000 last week! :)

I do find Ducati's advertising for the Scrambler most peculiar though - have you even taken a look at the website....I can't make head-nor-tale of it?!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
On the plus side.....it leaves us plenty of low-mileage second-hand bikes to pick up when they get bored of their latest fad!! :p;)

I know what you mean though - I've seen in many a HD dealership 10-year old bikes that have barely 2000 miles on the clock. Why do people buy them and then do nothing with them?! I actually feel sorry for the bikes - they're made to be ridden! Crazy......my 2012 Dyna had its 5000 mile service in April - it's just had its 10000 last week! :)

I do find Ducati's advertising for the Scrambler most peculiar though - have you even taken a look at the website....I can't make head-nor-tale of it?!
Aye! They want your money Ben, but they don't want YOU ;) Pardon the reach but I'm going to assume you don't fit into the mid 20's, 6th year of college, spring break MTV type now do you? ;)

For a site selling motorcycles, its surprisingly devoid of... motorcycles... Novel?
 

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Aye! They want your money Ben, but they don't want YOU ;) Pardon the reach but I'm going to assume you don't fit into the mid 20's, 6th year of college, spring break MTV type now do you? ;)

For a site selling motorcycles, its surprisingly devoid of... motorcycles... Novel?
No....mid-30s me (still kinda young for a Hog-rider though - they're usually ridden by older guys in the UK - although not so much on the continent I see).

I guess, like you've said previously, they're trying to draw a younger crowd, attract "new blood" - I don't know.....are the sorts of kids that spend all their time on 'Tumblr' (whatever that is!) also going to be the same ones that are looking to buy an 800cc Italian motorbike, I don't know.....? I shouldn't stereotype I guess.....just because we don't 'get it', we might see 100s of young guys and gals cruising the streets in a years' time on Ducati Scramblers, and all because of test weird website! Would be nice.......kinda doubt it though.......;)
 

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No....mid-30s me (still kinda young for a Hog-rider though - they're usually ridden by older guys in the UK - although not so much on the continent I see).

I guess, like you've said previously, they're trying to draw a younger crowd, attract "new blood" - I don't know.....are the sorts of kids that spend all their time on 'Tumblr' (whatever that is!) also going to be the same ones that are looking to buy an 800cc Italian motorbike, I don't know.....? I shouldn't stereotype I guess.....just because we don't 'get it', we might see 100s of young guys and gals cruising the streets in a years' time on Ducati Scramblers, and all because of test weird website! Would be nice.......kinda doubt it though.......;)
Not sure how they're going to do it but they seem quite confident that they can make it happen
 

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I think that i fall into the group that would be attracted to lifestyle bikes. I want a good quality bike that is fun to ride, but i also want it to look cool and compliment my personal style. If I'm gonna ride it around everywhere, I better look good doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
But the question is, are you attracted to motorcycling or the look of motorcycling. I don't care if you want to ride and then adapt to your own personal style, we all do that. The complaint here is that new riders are not being attracted by actually riding motorcycles, the virtues of freedom and the exhilaration of straddling a steel steed that brings you in touch with death in ways most people never will.

No none of that is integral, what matters is how vintage the leather looks. ABSURD!
 

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I personally think its both, and the ones who stick with bikes develop a love of motorcycling. I know at 21 when I started riding bikes it was really only about looking good, now at 44 I have a whole different attitude to them. The last ride out I was on I was one of the youngest ones there, so if a younger hipster crowd starts getting interested in bikes I think overall its a good thing.
 

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I personally think its both, and the ones who stick with bikes develop a love of motorcycling. I know at 21 when I started riding bikes it was really only about looking good, now at 44 I have a whole different attitude to them. The last ride out I was on I was one of the youngest ones there, so if a younger hipster crowd starts getting interested in bikes I think overall its a good thing.
HMM, fair points. I'm torn, its an interesting debate, I just don't like the idea of motorcycling being used as an accessory like an iPhone or any old handbag, but then again, they are essentially accessories... gahh...
 

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On the plus side.....it leaves us plenty of low-mileage second-hand bikes to pick up when they get bored of their latest fad!! :p;)
Agreed - this is the best thing about people buying bikes without any real intention of riding. It amazes me how many bikes I see on craigslist that average 100-200 miles a year! My good buddy bought his 848 new 2 years ago, and he has 26,000 miles on it!!!! He also has a Tacoma that he literally only drives if it's snowing. I have only ridding my 796 about 5 times and put 1,200 miles on it in those few rides. To each his own I suppose!
 
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