Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Central Colorado
As for the V-Rod, those paying $27K at the intro were not wise. Those paying $16K now for V-Rods love their bikes. I go to H-D forums and they are smitten. You might not be, but they are, and that's all that really counts. The $16k price is not that much different from a loaded $13k VTX1800. If you were in the executive suite in Milwaukee, your decisions wouldn't be much different if charged with building shareholder value (and you would be).
As for the positioning of the V-Rod, around 15,000 V-Rods were sold in the U.S. in '03. This is more than all BMWs combined, all Triumphs, Ducatis and Aprilias combined. Just one model. H-D struck a chord with this bike, and importantly, many of the buyers are new to the fold. New $$$ for Milwaukee versus trading $$$ with riders already loyal to the make. The V-Rod is the #1 selling Harley overseas and has opened the brand to many in other countries. Smart and strategic move, Milwaukee.
As for the Revolution engine, you're one of the few disliking it I've come across. I'm noting posts all the time from people wishing the engine would be in a different chassis. This engine, and who cares if it came from the VR platform, is outstanding with all kinds of potential built-in. If Harley is smart enough to put it in a street bike, good for them.
As for cruising, you miss what Harley recognizes. Cruising riders are content with keeping it below 100mph. They desire a deep and tourquey engine delivering great style, reliability, and an inimitable exhaust note. As for reliability, if you think the TC88 engine is unreliable you need to update your database. Harley recognizes the vast majority of riders are interested in cruising. The market dwarfs that for sportbikes, and it is growing, while the sportbike market is flat or is declining in many countries (esp Europe). Harley is pursuing a great strategy, delivering a great product (air-cooled and now water-cooled) in the biggest subcategory (cruising) and fastest growing (cruising). They have the needs and interests of this market nailed unlike any other manufacturer.
Name recognition all they have now? That is laughable. Maybe you don't read many cruiser reviews. From Motorcycle Consumer News on the Deuce:
Unlike Harleys of the past, these Softails go, turn and stop well -- not just "for Harleys," but just plain well.
At a time when Japanese sportbikes are upping the performance ante beyond our wildest dreams, it's a shame that its cruisers have been dumbed down almost beyond recognition. And it's nice to see a bike like the Deuce. It offers all the styling and resale value Milwaukee is famous for while putting its Japanese competition to shame in an arena they otherwise dominate.
So pick up the ball Japan. If you thought that cruiser riders only cared about looks, Harley-Davidson is a step ahead of you... again."
Me? I like all things two-wheeled... the BMW for dual-sporting, the Honda and Ducati for the nearby canyons, and the H-D for cruising. All are blissful. Sometimes I defend sportbikes to close-minded H-D riders. Sometimes I do the same at sportbike forums, who can't understand why anyone would not look like, think like, and ride like they. Zzzzzz. What a boring world that world be. Actually, the close-minded riders from both sides have more in common with each other than they think.