Posts Tagged ‘UK’

hd-ride-on_aotwWhat confidence can give, lack of confidence can just as suddenly take away when it comes to financial conditions.

And that couldn’t be more true for Harley-Davidson’s international sales.  The international sales for the motor company primarily come from Europe, but its contribution to the total sales has been consistently declining.  Europe accounted for about 15% of unit sales last quarter, and the macro-economic conditions are so weak in Europe that there is very little Harley-Davidson can do to boost sales.

As a result, the “red phone” rang in the marketing department and Harley-Davidson worked with an advertising agency, Big Communications in London, to whip up a call-to-arms and encourage bikers to RIDE ON through the economic storm. Unless you lived under the proverbial rock, you may recall that back in 2008 at the height of the deep recession in the U.S., Harley-Davidson rolled out the “We don’t do fear”… “Screw it, let’s ride” campaign.

airplane-HD-AdThere was a time not so long ago in the U.S. that most economic indicators showed it was being hollowed out and the only economic activity that remained was food, power and undertakers.  The press wrote daily about how an economic doomsday was coming.  Those with expertise in economics told us that, without a doubt, the world is heading for financial Armageddon, or an economic ice age.  Basically the world’s gone to pot… and they weren’t talking about Washington state!

It now appears that the road ahead for motorcycle riders on the European continent (with apologies to science fiction writers everywhere) have just passed the “point of no return.”  Metaphorically, they don’t have enough fuel to return to the point of origin, and they just discovered they don’t have enough fuel to reach a planned destination.  The economy and society could very well end up in ashes.

In plain English and in the Harley-Davidson parlance of our time: You’re screwed so, why not whistle while you RIDE ON through the storm and enjoy the view until the fuel runs out!

Yawn…  Harley-Davidson has inspired so much more in interesting ads like the empty road version above.  It’s not clear to me why the marketing group thinks they need to go back to an old call-to-arms ad style like “Ride On.”

Photo courtesy of Big Communications and H-D.

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Mac Motorcycle 

Mac Motorcycle

Choosing a name, either for a product or a whole company, is not an easy task.  Every serious prospect is typically registered to one company or another — often car manufacturers — and although many are not in actual use, the right to that name, and all the possible variations or abbreviation of it, are most often blocked. And as with styling, names follow fashion, and manufacturers are always anxious to show they are more up-to-date than their rivals.

It’s with this backdrop I want to bring your attention to Mac Motorcycles.  Whoa, two of my passions…both in the same company name! Obviously it captured my attention.  Not only that, but as a teenager I was captivated with drawing hot rods and motorcycles.  I drew lots of them, but frankly they were crap so when I see terrific illustrations I feel the need to stop and look! 

Ellis Pitt, is the founder and he teamed up with Mark Wells & Ian Wride of Xenophya Design when working and riding the Nottinghamshire roadworks of the M-1 (UK).  They employed some experienced and passionate designers and engineers and worked towards the goal of becoming a provider of a simple to maintain motorcycle with chopper/bobber roots. There would be nothing beyond the bare bone requirements and it would have lines of a rigid frame, yet disguise a full suspension.  It would use the Harley-Davidson/Buell ‘Blast’ motor to exploit its shape and lightweight chassis.  The bottom line was the goal to bring flat-track manners to the spirit of motorcycling.

Being powered by the Buell single cylinder, air-cooled, 2-valve, push rod, 492cc, 5-speed engine means the ‘Mac’ bikes have very light rolling-chassis.   The stock motors produce 34 HP at 6500 RPM, but a bolt-on big-bore kit (515 cc), Andrews Cams, a Mikuni HSR 42 carb’, Screamin’ Eagle ignition and a Supertrapp exhaust help it to produce around 50 HP at 7200 RPM. Plenty of “scoot” and remember that a Blast motor running an NRHS 515 kit set a record at Bonneville in the 650 class.

The sketch is eye candy, but the finished product looks sweeter.

Photo courtesy of Mac Motorcycles.

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bridgestoneIt’s an interesting idea!  A social networking type site from tire specialist Bridgestone.  The company launched the UK-based Biker’s Club with the claim being a new worldwide meeting place for bikers and enthusiasts who will get the unique benefit of advice from some of the top experts in their field.  This is exactly what motorcycle enthusiasts are looking for forever.  ACCESS!  Why doesn’t Harley do something like this?

The club will have a panel of both journalists and professionals who will be providing regular blogs and insight into the best new bikes, products and sharing of their own riding stories.   If the site is not a marketing strategy in “sales pitch” disguise and truly provides news worthy motorcycle information then I’m on board.

The free to join and use club provides members a monthly newsletter with up-to-date news and information about people, races and offers along with product updates and advice from Bridgestone.  They plan to also provide members with special offers and money-can’t-buy opportunities.  It’s not clear if this exclusive is to UK members only or also offered to U.S. based members too.

As experts in the field, Bridgestone is well placed to organize a ‘virtual meeting’ place for biker enthusiasts and engage with motorcycle fans.  If you want to sign up for the Biker’s Club you can do so HERE.

Photo courtesy of Bridgestone.

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