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Posts Tagged ‘Trikes’

H-D Brake Light Switch

Harley-Davidson issues a recall notice, NHTSA Campaign ID Number 11V506000NHTSA, earlier in the week.  The component in question is the brake light switch.

According to the recall report excessive heat from the exhaust may cause the switch to not activate the brake lamp or activate the brake lamp when no brake is applied and/or cause a brake fluid leak at the brake light switch.  H-D is recalling certain model year 2009 – 2012 Touring, CVO Touring and Trike motorcycles manufactured from June 6, 2008 – September 16, 2011.
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The list of affected models is significant and the potential number of units is over 250,000.  H-D will notify owners and dealers will install a rear brake light switch kit free of charge.  The recall is expected begin on or about October 31, 2011.  Owners may contact H-D at (414)343-4056 or go to NHTSA for more information.
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Photo courtesy of H-D.
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In the early 70’s a laborer on a construction site could afford a house, a new pickup, used motorcycle and his wife could stay home with the kids if she so desired.  Now a laborer lives in an apartment with a bunch of other laborers and they don’t have a chance.  The truth is the dollar isn’t worth much anymore.  You want to know what is?

Time.

Previous generations winded down as they reached their 50s, but this generation has really embraced the “live life now to the fullest” attitude to and beyond that mark. Seriously, age is one of those things that has become a sore point for many. It is like we need cerebral botox to prove we are young enough to be involved in motorcycles or the digital world. Generalizations can cause some serious alienation.   For example, in the movie Gran Torino, there is a powerful scene where Clint Eastwood’s character, Walt, receives a telephone “for old people” from his son and daughter-in-law with giant buttons and numbers on it. He angrily kicks them out of the house. The generation that sang along to Zeppelin’s “D’yer Mak’er” and popularized innovations like the personal computer are becoming senior citizens — but they don’t want to be called “old.”

I’m just back from Laughlin, NV and the “River Run” and couldn’t believe the number of ‘trikes’ buzzing around the event.  They weren’t being driving by 30-somethings!

You are likely thinking, hold on there, Mac… boomers are not going to do well with your association with the elderly. 50? Really? C’mon kids, 50 is the new 40 is the new 30 is the new 20… hell 10 is the new fetus for goodness sake.

It turns out that organizations ranging from retailers to motorcycle manufactures to consumer electronics makers going into those motorcycles are being forced to rethink how they market and make products for older people. As Harley-Davidson looks to the future, they must start to realize that things are going to be different and they need to pay attention and listen.  Speaking of paying attention, where was H-D this year at Laughlin?  Polaris and Yamaha were there in a big way with lots of demo rides and chatting up the attendees about what they liked or didn’t.

H-D hasn’t ask for my advice, but here are some takeaways for them to consider:

  1. A growing number of older adults are taking advantage of social media now. Don’t ignore or alienate them.
  2. As our society and the web mature, H-D needs to make sure they are building it to empower everyone, not just the young and overtly tech-savvy.
  3. As H-D rolls out new technologies and web services they will need to be intuitive and easy to use but not insulting to the older generation.
  4. Accessibility has to be built into the planning processes for new projects from the beginning, including consideration of design, text size and physical usability.
  5. Once new products and/or services are ready for public consumption, education is key to make sure older adults don’t fall behind and become a victim of some “creative divide.”

I’m curious if H-D has nothing but young creative’s trying to relate to older adults in a stereotypical way—do they think the older demographic will remain brand loyal no matter what they design?  Unlikely, especially if another company fulfills or empowers older adults that they can better relate too.  How dedicated is H-D to immerse the designers in all sorts of research to studying the habits and needs of the Baby Boomer generation?  With numerous condescending reports of motorcycle ageism (some of which I’ve written!) and H-D’s desire to focus on the youth demographic, won’t they need to redefine what it means to “get old” and own a H-D?  How does the Harley-Davidson and H.O.G. world change when seniors get engaged with design?

Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone who has made it through the first week of Econ 101 knows that the scarcity of a commodity drives its value. To this end, if H-D doesn’t put money into listening they can’t learn and they have to keep learning from customers… even if it doesn’t deliver on retention and acquisition.

Photo courtesy of internet.

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Delonte West

Delonte West

Do 3-wheeled motorcycle (“Trike”) owners carry more weapons than the 2-wheeled brethren?

Although there is no scientific research or poll which confirms the “packing” attributes of each vehicle type, the recent arrest of NBA player Delonte West is an indicator that we might want to give the 3-wheeled riders a bit little more distance in the future!

Turns out that Mr. West, a D.C. native-turned NBA player for the Cav’s was riding his Can Am Spyder and was pulled over in Prince Georges County, MD at 10pm for — now get this — cutting off a law enforcement canine unit.  After being pulled over for “making an unsafe lane change” he was arrested for weapons possession.  What was most impressive was the assortment and number of weapons he was carrying on the trike — THREE!  One for each wheel.  A Beretta 9mm in his waistband, a Ruger .357 magnum strapped to his leg and a shotgun in a guitar case slung over his back.  Police charged West with two criminal counts of carrying a handgun for the Ruger and the Beretta, and issued him a traffic citation for driving “in excess of reasonable and prudent speed.”

CanAm Spyder -- Shotgun "optional"

CanAm Spyder -- Shotgun "optional"

Either he’s been watching too much “Arnold” (Terminator) or Son’s of Anarchy on FX.  Or maybe its time to put down the PS3 controller and give Grand Theft Auto a rest because this is retarded behavior.

My parents always taught me to follow the rules.  Don’t run with scissors.  Don’t litter. Don’t talk with your mouth full.  Don’t swim right after eating.  And don’t stick a loaded weapon down your pants (at least with the safety off — right Plaxico!).  Clearly I was brainwashed.  We have been fed this crap all our lives, that role models are the “gangsters” or rouge professional athletes.  The rich and famous are the ones addicted to the drugs.  Jail should be full of famous people, but they are so abnormal, and so admired, that we let them go on reduced charges.

Tomorrow, instead of going to Walmart to get a life, I’m going to steal some gasoline from the neighbors and go on a motorcycle road trip.  I’ll wear a samurai sword, get a DUI, smack a girl half my size, jump up on the brew pub stage and give Beyonce a video shout-out.  I’ll be abnormal tomorrow… just like Delonte… I want to get noticed for impersonating an athlete.

Photo courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images.

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HD Servi-Car

HD Servi-Car

Harley-Davidson built a Servi-Car (a three-wheeled utility motorcycle) from 1932 to 1973.  Then for the 2009 model year Harley introduced the new Tri-Glide Classic

Customers who are turned off by the thought of sliding atop a motorcycle have more options these days, but few options exist for small displacement (below 400cc) trikes.  

I’m speculating here, but Harley may be looking to change this and bring a more diverse selection to new riders entering the sport.  According to the Wired Magazine Blog, Harley is planning to introduce a “leaning trike” at the Intermot Motorcycle show in Cologne, Germany next month.  They surfed across information and images from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and posted the information which shows a trike with 2-wheels upfront and pivoting on an independent suspension to provide motorcycle-like “leaning” capability.

One could argue this is similar to the Can-am Spyder Roadster designed by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) and that Harley is playing copy-cat in its effort to create a new category of on-road vehicles.  Who knows.

If indeed small displacement then clearly it’s all about sales of Harley products.  Scooter sales have skyrocketed in the first half of 2008.  Up 66% as compared to a year ago and at the same time overall motorcycle sales have only achieved a meager 0.5% increase.  Meanwhile Harley sales have decreased 8.7% so for them to go looking at other alternatives would seem prudent for the stockholders.

However, the last time I was on a trike I was 5 years old.  I had a neighbor buddy that stated the only reason to ride something with three wheels was that I was too scared to ride something with two…I reacted and went to two.

Clearly I’m not a motoring writer and just not connecting with these.  Is it closer to a car than a motorbike?  Do you steer it like a snowmobile and forget that the brake is on your foot rather than the handlebars?  Do you clamp your thighs to it like it’s a Quad in the sand dunes or did I lose you all with that semi-bikespeak and should be using horse riding metaphors?

Two-wheels up front or two in back, a trike is a trike and they have an image problem as a toy.  Even the fact that you don’t have to have a motorcycle license doesn’t make sense to me.  And if you are a biker who has reach that “certain age” and starting to think it would be nice to…these will look just as silly being trailered as the motorcycle’s do today.

Images courtesy of Wired and U.S. Patent Office.

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Lehman TrikeWe’re all familiar with trikes. Most are a solid rear axle with two rear wheels bolted to an  Electra Glide, right? (Photo courtesy Lehman Trike web site)

Last year Harley Davidson signed a deal with Lehman Trikes USA of Spearfish, SD to design and build Harley based trikes for its riders.

Part of this move is the demographics of Harley riders who are getting older and HD is looking to expand its fan base so, it’s looking to fill the three-wheel niche.  And speaking of niche, the Canadian company BRP is showing off the Can-Am Spyder (MSRP: $14,999).  It sits about 45″ tall, and promises sports-car handling and has it pair of wheels in the front rather than the rear.  It looks like a personal watercraft or snowmobile on wheels.  BRP is a privately held spin off of aerospace company Bombardier which happens to be one of the largest makers of watercrafts and snowmobiles so, the comparisons are natural.
 
Can-Am SpyderIn front, the double A-arm suspension offers 5.7″ of travel to the pair of 14-inch wheels. An anti-roll bar limits the amount of lean on corners. The rear end uses a mono-shock on a conventional swingarm, with an aluminum 15 x 7-inch wheel on an automotive-type 225/50 rear tire. (Spyder Can-Am photo by Jim Smithson, Bombardier)

The marketing spin is… the Spyder is the “perfect balance between performance and peace of mind” or so says Marc Lacroix, Product Mgr.

Further complicating the trike issue is that in three states (CA, Del, SC) you don’t need an motorcycle endorsement to drive one!  There are only 11 states who have resale rights to the Spyder.  Nothing in the Northwest so, you’ll need to head to CA. to put down some money for your spring ’08 anticipated delivery date.  If the wait is too long then Piaggio (MP3) makes a similar (MSRP: $6999) dual-front wheel scooter

So is this just another step in the evolution of Harley Davidson into a motorized “wheelchair” company as they follow the “blue hairs” to the grave?  Is it something to take your poodle for a ride or a legitimate use to target the safety-conscious and support the disabled?

You choose…

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