Harley Davidson sales slump

Harley (and BMW) skews older and is particularly vulnerable.  The reluctance of millennials to get into motorcycling I'd say is driven by current economics and will reverse once they can find a decent paying job and actually have some spare cash.

So technically, I'm a millenial (cue applause and AA-like welcome). Although I did read an article a few weeks ago which had another name for people born in the quite small range from '79 to '81 (I'm from '81).

I agree with Eric, Harley and BMW both target people in a higher age category (to put it somewhat politically correct), athough both also try to address a younger audience as of late. If BMW would produce a more bikes with the look and feel of the S1000R(R) models, but with smaller displacement engines, I think it would appeal more. Personally I don't think the F800 twins really appeal to 'younger' people. And yes, I know I'm somewhat projecting my own opinion here, but I'm a millenial right? ;-)

On the other hand, HD is also targeting a younger audience with bikes like the latest Street Rod, but in my opinion kind of missing the point by removing some of the HD characteristics from the bike. I found the review Fortnine did quite spot on:

So in short, no, I don't think HD is right saying millenials are less interested in motorcycles. Then again, this would be quite an easy thing to investigate in solid numbers. Also, I can't speak for the American market, but as far as I know the number of riders here in the Netherlands are still increasing. And not a lot of Harleys are sold here anyway.


That video is hilarious. The FROZEN tattoo made me chuckle.

1 hour ago, WarpedRotor said:

That video is hilarious. The FROZEN tattoo made me chuckle.

I find Ryans reviews (either motorcycle or gear reviews) pretty good with portion humour. You should check out his review of the Versys X 300 if you have the time.

Spare cash is key to the US motorcycle industry as well as a well stocked and financially supported dealer. Recall the mom&pop single brand dealerships? Now, dealers have to be a multibrand to survive. But, that's not all either. How do you feel about the cash register ambush you receive at your local dealer? That is, you walk up to the counter and tell the parts person you want/need this and that for your high-zoot scoot. Then, cha-ching they tell you how much that want/need will cost you. Ambush! I hate it! So, surviving multi-brand dealers are going to have to go online with OEM parts and open pricing. Bike Bandit, Cheap Cycle Parts, Ron Ayers. They get it.

More to the Harley Davidson point. Do you folks recall the 50% tariff applied to all imported motorcycles over 750cc? Well, that $3,000 street bike quickly became $4,500. This was to help divert sales to the Harleys. But, you know what happened, right? Buyers still didn't want the Harley. We paid the new prices. Oh, and 750cc bikes became 700cc to slip under the tariff--very similar performance. Some bikes over 750cc were built in the US where possible. That tariff tapered off to an end after four years of implementation as planned. So, when I hear H-D reporting a sales slump...

Really though, I've read/heard about the slump of new motorcycle sales, but I'm not sure it is measurable at all dealerships. There is always a nearby dealer willing to sell a particular model for a bit less to move it. One only has to consider their own new bike purchase to validate that comment.

It would seem to me that recent times have been good for new/used bike sales.

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