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-   -   Time for HD to copy Japan! (http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=44237)

bigdogbark 26th December 2006 00:18

Time for HD to copy Japan!
 
I believe the engineers at HD need to take a trip/ride on some Honda's, Kaws, and Yamaha's. They will find many ideas that are better then HD offer. I like water-cool engines, low maintenance rides, better suspension and so on.

I am not saying that HD should copy Japan but to learn from them and improve on it. Just looking at them you will see that they looked at HD and improved on it. Where they came up short is keeping models in production.

Good luck to HD but really is the 95 incher an improvement or just an EPA band-aid?

As a side note I was a holder of HD stock but I am seriously considering shorting it due to some of your marketing ideas. Go talk to builders, Honda, Yamaha and others.

XL O.C.D. 26th December 2006 00:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigdogbark
I believe the engineers at HD need to take a trip/ride on some Honda's, Kaws, and Yamaha's. They will find many ideas that are better then HD offer. I like water-cool engines, low maintenance rides, better suspension and so on.

I am not saying that HD should copy Japan but to learn from them and improve on it. Just looking at them you will see that they looked at HD and improved on it. Where they came up short is keeping models in production.

Good luck to HD but really is the 95 incher an improvement or just an EPA bandaid?

I'm no HD engineer, but I've ridden on Kawi's, etc... No thanks, HD's got it right. Water cooled engines - no thanks. I don't care about the 95 incher. My 1200 keeps me plenty happy. :tour

bigdogbark 26th December 2006 00:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by XL O.C.D.
I'm no HD engineer, but I've ridden on Kawi's, etc... No thanks, HD's got it right. Water cooled engines - no thanks. I don't care about the 95 incher. My 1200 keeps me plenty happy. :tour

Not all of Japan's ideas are good but look at the Goldwing and then the Ultra. But here in the US it is also an EPA issue. My old 74 Yamaha SX 650 had more guts and power then the newer Sporsters. The Sportsters are good rides but HD needs more then one model to carry on. This is a general issue for HD not a single issue with the Sportster.

82ndJumper 26th December 2006 00:33

The day Harley makes a bike like the Japs then I will never own that type of Harley. If you want a Jap bike then get one. If not leave what we have and what we like alone.

sycle1 26th December 2006 00:33

I agee with ya XL O.C.D.
I have riden Japanese bikes alot since the 1970's and apart from being fast and reliable they use cheap metals and cast alloys, they rust really fast, they are too light they get thrown around and blown off the road on windy days, they are uncomfortable to ride, they are imposible to work on with normal sized hands, they sound like a reved up sewing machines and their resale is crap, apart from that they are great I guess.

bigdogbark 26th December 2006 00:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by sycle1
I agee with ya XL O.C.D.
I have riden Japanese bikes alot since the 1970's and apart from being fast and reliable they use cheap metals and cast alloys.......

That is my point, to take the best ideas and improve on them. As you said the are fast and reliable. Let us get that into the HD mindset.

YO MUDA 26th December 2006 00:46

No thanks. Ive owned jap bikes, and nuthin compairs to a good ole Sportster.

biknut 26th December 2006 00:57

Harley already copied the Jap's in the 80s when they bought Japanese robot machine tools.

What you're really talking about is design. Harley already has a modern water cooled engine in the VRod. Guess what, It's not selling that well compared to the old designs.

Harley doesn't copy the Jap's for good reason, the bikes they make now already out sell them. Maybe you're not aware of what sales have been like for the last 15 to 20 years? Each year has record sales world wide.

CBAS5 26th December 2006 01:10

Quote:

I like water-cool engines, low maintenance rides, better suspension and so on.
To clear up some things.

Harley's are a dream to work on and maintenance free while the japanese bikes are nightmares. They already own that sections.

Better suspension. They use showa, which is owned by Honda. They use Japanese suspensions already. It's just that showa tends to be crap.

iBloke 26th December 2006 01:25

Quote:

Originally Posted by CBAS5
Better suspension. They use showa, which is owned by Honda. They use Japanese suspensions already. It's just that showa tends to be crap.

If there was just one major improvement HD should make it would be to the woeful standard suspension they use.

I don't care where or by who its made, it needs to be brought up to at least acceptable standards.

Out of all the bikes I've owned over my life by far the worst suspension has been fitted to HD's.
In my opinion it is so bad it is really only useful for holding the frame up while the bike sits in the dealerships showroom.

So as far as the title of this thread is concerned, its "Time for HD to copy Japan" and get with the suspension program!

bigdogbark 26th December 2006 01:31

Ok, I will try to make my point just one more time.

Not everything Japan or HD does is better. Both come up with great ideas. If they are executed with poor quality control or with cheap material, or with inadequate maintenance procedure then the improvement can be cancelled out and also negative.

Case in point... I have notice that when Japan went to shaft drives most motorcycles were still chain driven. HD went to belt drive and if you look around you will see that Japan and also BMW now have more belt drives.

You don't want to jump on an idea until you know you have it right. The Sportster suspension in my opinion sucks but all HD had to work with was with the offering from Japan. Humm...this might be a case of teaming up with progressive but in the end it does come down to greed of the MOC.

The V-Rod is a good engine and again in my opinion it is in the wrong motorcycle. That engine should be in a cruiser. Still it is a high maintenance engine and that problem needs to be looked into.

I can not see what is wrong with incorporating improvements into the HD line-up. The key is improvements.

CBAS5 26th December 2006 01:32

Quote:

Out of all the bikes I've owned over my life by far the worst suspension has been fitted to HD's.
In my opinion it is so bad it is really only useful for holding the frame up while the bike sits in the dealerships showroom.
I really do think showa is to blame at least partially. The worst suspension I have is not my sportster's, but my Honda civics. I think that Honda suspension has really degraded over the years. I wouldn't be surprised if the suspension is from showa as they are closely tied with it.

4banger 26th December 2006 01:36

I'd like a Harley big really big thumper. The other guys all make some real nice smaller ones. The Buell Blast is very slow and heavy. How about a huge single that had torque, big torque, and wasn't to heavy. I've had alot of big singles, and they are fun. Seems like H.D. could if they wanted but I guess no one would buy one except me. Just dreaming.

CBAS5 26th December 2006 01:43

Quote:

I can not see what is wrong with incorporating improvements into the HD line-up. The key is improvements.
Improvements? Nothing is wrong with improvments. I think my problem is with the word "copy". I bought harley because they don't really copy anything. That's not to say they innovate anything revolutionary, but when they decide to make a high-performance cruiser like a v-rod they don't copy either. The japanese companies tend to copy Harley and without any shame.

I would like improvements. I would welcome a better suspension and brakes. Hell, I would even like more performance stock. However, I would never want Harley to copy anything. I did my research and in the end my money voted for Harley. Improvements yes. Copy no.

xllent01 26th December 2006 01:44

H-D has a nostoligic history that can't be replaced, and the Japs have what? they've been
trying to copy for over 30 yrs with little success.

This sounds more like a bitch fest than anything else.

iBloke 26th December 2006 01:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigdogbark
..The Sportster suspension in my opinion sucks but all HD had to work with was with the offering from Japan..

The suspension fitted to the S model Sporties was pretty good.

I don't know for sure who it was manafactured by but I assume it was Showa. (correct me if I'm wrong)

It was a big improvement over the regular crap.

oldsporty1 26th December 2006 02:48

just my 2 cents but, Harleys are Harleys there is just something about them that causes you to put up with some little things but you would'nt trade them for any other bike. also if their so bad why are there so many still on the road? how many 10 or 20 year old Hondas do you see on the road?

jwb47 26th December 2006 03:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigdogbark
Ok, I will try to make my point just one more time.

Not everything Japan or HD does is better. Both come up with great ideas. If they are executed with poor quality control or with cheap material, or with inadequate maintenance procedure then the improvement can be cancelled out and also negative.

Case in point... I have notice that when Japan went to shaft drives most motorcycles were still chain driven. HD went to belt drive and if you look around you will see that Japan and also BMW now have more belt drives.

You don't want to jump on an idea until you know you have it right. The Sportster suspension in my opinion sucks but all HD had to work with was with the offering from Japan. Humm...this might be a case of teaming up with progressive but in the end it does come down to greed of the MOC.

The V-Rod is a good engine and again in my opinion it is in the wrong motorcycle. That engine should be in a cruiser. Still it is a high maintenance engine and that problem needs to be looked into.

I can not see what is wrong with incorporating improvements into the HD line-up. The key is improvements.

your losing points not making them. one more question where do you hide your crack pipe.

milmat1 26th December 2006 03:16

JAP BIKES ARE BORING !!!!

Thats the Bottom line Dudes !!!:smoke

crospo 26th December 2006 05:53

LEGENDS ARE MEASURED IN YEARS NOT SECONDS!Who wants all that plastic crap?

sprtrjl 26th December 2006 06:01

I think the Jap bikes have been trying to catch up with HD for decades. Don't try to change Harley into some cheap, plastic scooter! If you want a Jap bike just go buy one. Stop trying to ruin a great American Icon!

pquirk 26th December 2006 15:10

Again and again we have to visit this tired issue? JFC, if you don't like Harleys then don't buy one. Obviously there are plenty of people who disagree with you and I don't think the MoCo will losse much sleep over you selling their stock. :)

JohnnyMossville 26th December 2006 15:20

I'd say Harley has to look back to 1957,
 
look at the sportster and where it stood in the hierarchy of bad-ass machines, against it's peers, not it's technology, (read ON TOP) and use that as the basis for how they do the next sportster, the technology should follow from that, not from what the japanese or anyone else is doing.

It was lighter, faster, meaner, leaner, cooler than anything out there. that's where I'd start, not with the big four in japan, but ofcourse they have some good ideas too, it's just we can do it with a harley attitude. It is the original Sport(ster) after-all.

chaz 26th December 2006 16:48

I started ridding on Italian 30 years ago, then went Jap mainly Honda through the CX500, great despatch bike crap to work on, CBR1000 Hurricane 180rocket ship, 1st gen CBR900 Fireblade plus more in between, left Jap when I realised that I was loosing so much in depreciation and that I had to get the wife to change the spark plugs . Turned again to Italian 851 Ducati, wrists and backache all the time. left for a year then went for my sporty, still got it, still got a clean licence, still get respect. Now we have 2 in the garage. One day I might get a new one but I doubt it. wont have the charm of old America or its British Ally.
Having restored many bikes in 30 years all I will say is look at these classics and then at Japs and work out how many will still be about in 30 years!!
Ive still got a 1000 V Twin Honda, fast enough for me officer but look at the history, cam chains!!, look at the chrome badly pitted rust, look at the plastic expense thats why its got a black fairing sprayed over one half red the other yellow!!

I might be new here but as they say ' if it aint broke dont fix it' If I want a Harley Im not buying a Jap copy!! nuff said

rottenralph 26th December 2006 17:08

Harley has tried that. It is called a vrod. like alle things Harlet is designed for a niche maeket.

Snuffy 26th December 2006 18:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by pquirk
Again and again we have to visit this tired issue? JFC, if you don't like Harleys then don't buy one. Obviously there are plenty of people who disagree with you and I don't think the MoCo will losse much sleep over you selling their stock. :)


Got to agree with you on this Pquirk:clap but like said above lets not forget our Brit brothers lot of old trumpets and beezers still on the road, leaking oil, tightening bolts but still leaving their distintive sound as they are running down the road:banana

Old_Goat57 26th December 2006 19:01

When I started riding in my teens, I had a Suzuki 500cc 2-Stroke street bike, some of my friends rode Kaw 900's, Honda CB750s or Triumphs or Nortons, and about half rode Harleys, Old Panhead and Knucklehead choppers and a few Sportsters. My bike was fast in a race, but when a group of us rode together anywhere I was in the back. The pecking order was clear to all of us - Harleys and British bikes in front, Jap bikes next, and the 2-strokes (smokers) in the back.

That's just how things were, and it's interesting to see NOW that the passage of time has changed very little - people aspire to ride the bikes that hold a place of respect and honor. People are proud to tell stories that they ride the same brand of bikes their fathers and grandfathers rode.

thatbikerguy 26th December 2006 19:04

Water cooled engines - no thanks.

pquirk 26th December 2006 19:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by thatbikerguy
Water cooled engines - no thanks.

My Sporty and my '71 Beetle agree :) .

Y2K 26th December 2006 20:05

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigdogbark
Not all of Japan's ideas are good but look at the Goldwing and then the Ultra. But here in the US it is also an EPA issue. My old 74 Yamaha SX 650 had more guts and power then the newer Sporsters. The Sportsters are good rides but HD needs more then one model to carry on. This is a general issue for HD not a single issue with the Sportster.

Pffft! I had one of thoses XS650s and have had both new and old Sportys,there's no comparo the Sporty wins hands down,even the old iron.;)
As for the GW vrs EG well they are different animals,I prefer the EG for a long list of reasons I won't even bother to go into here.
Harley has stuck to the old traditional 45deg aircooled,pushrod,single crankpin motor because that's what makes it a Harley and that's what Harley lovers want.
If you want a Jap bike buy one,the V-Rod is high tech enough and I'd agree it needs a different platform but it will never sooth the soul of a traditional Harley lover and that's why it doesn't sell well.
By the way the new motor is 96" not 95'' and by all accounts a great engine.

Y2K 26th December 2006 20:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by Old_Goat57
People are proud to tell stories that they ride the same brand of bikes their fathers and grandfathers rode.

Good point,My father and grandfather did indeed both ride Harleys.
Dad started riding in the 1920's on a J model if that says anything ;)

Gone 26th December 2006 20:32

these clowns will never get it.

CBAS5 26th December 2006 20:57

Quote:

Harley has tried that. It is called a vrod. like alle things Harlet is designed for a niche maeket.
IMO the V-rod isn't a copy. It's a performance cruiser and there are other performance cruisers, but Harley added it's own spin to it instead of copying like so many Japanese companies do. The V-Rod styling is unique with Harley's great fit and finish still there. The engine configuration is unique as well. They could have used an inline four or V4 like others, but they didn't. They used a V-Twin. I don't remember of another manufacturer at the time using a V-twin in a performance cruiser. There are sure a lot of them springing up after the V-Rod though.

You would never mistake it for a yamaha or a suzuki. When you get on the bike you still know it's a Harley.

Parkster 26th December 2006 21:04

All good points folks, some very passionate views and some strong opinions.

First off, the Japs have copied and improved on every bike or car they have made since the end of WWII, that is why the British motorcycle industry died and the British car industry followed suit 40 years later. I'm not even going to begin to look at the electronics undustry here ........ because I am sure you are all very familiure with it.

The British motorcycle industry went down the drain because the Japs took the basic design and improved on it by making it less maintenance and less likely to leak oil all over the garage floor and streets ahead in performance at a time when the British manufacturers were in denial about what the majority of the bike buying public wanted. All of this and cheaper along with larger numbers.

The exact same happened to the British car industry, except this time the Japs tried to help us and we used that great industry killer "The Unions" to chase them off until we had so many strikes and lost production that the Europeans bought and sold us for £1. Again we were in denial that the car buying public wanted better interiors, suspension, fuel economy etc etc. At a cheaper price.

Now dont get me wrong, I'm not anti union, I'm anti commie union though, and thats what happened in the UK, power to the people was taken far too far.

As for Harley, I think they are retaining their heritage and standing their ground with the Japs and in some cases the Europeans. Yes the suspension and brakes need to come in to the 21st century ...... if there is more power then it is obvious that the handling and braking need to improve, but to be blinkered regarding what the majority want is dangerous in any business and I sometimes think that its only due to the pride and loyalty of not only the American public but the large numbers of enthusiast in Europe that Harley will not suffer the same fate as the UK industries did.

However:

Cheaper production, cheaper parts, vast factories filled 24/7 with robots as well as people, all end up with a cheaper price at the end of the day, and although we all want to deny it, we live in a very disposable society these days and the Japs are leading the way. Ask yourself where your next aftermarket part was manufactured when you get that urge to spend half of the cost of the American made part, then look at your scoot and count up how much of it is still American made.

For every hard-core enthusiast out there, there is 10 more who want something similar for less money, and that is who the Japs are aiming at.

Watch this space folks ............ I can see a bumpy ride ahead........:frownthre

ocndaf 26th December 2006 21:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by Parkster
For every hard-core enthusiast out there, there is 10 more who want something similar for less money, and that is who the Japs are aiming at.

I agree with your point, but the 10 in their head are riding a Harley thats why they bought a copy in the first place and the first chance they get they will move onto a Harley. I'm not talking about the people riding Wings they are not riding a Harley copy. If you think back the Japs started off copying the Goldwing but there wasn't enough of the base of riders that aspired to ride a Wing so they all moved from the 4 and 6 cyclinders to big twins and copied Harleys. Harley is the goal for these riders so it would seem that copying the clone would be a bad idea. And as for the rest of the world, more people ride a honda 50, live in a mud brick house, and eat stir fry and rice. But for me I will stick to eating steak, living in a plush home, and riding my Harley.

Y2K 26th December 2006 22:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Parkster

For every hard-core enthusiast out there, there is 10 more who want something similar for less money, and that is who the Japs are aiming at.

Watch this space folks ............ I can see a bumpy ride ahead........:frownthre

Maybe ,maybe not but the Japs aren't that cheap today by comparison.
It's the Koreans and Chinese that are about to flood the market with cheap bikes and they will likely put a hurt on the japs like the japs did everyone else years ago.;)

rharrison356 26th December 2006 22:37

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigdogbark
Not all of Japan's ideas are good but look at the Goldwing and then the Ultra. But here in the US it is also an EPA issue. My old 74 Yamaha SX 650 had more guts and power then the newer Sporsters. The Sportsters are good rides but HD needs more then one model to carry on.

Harley has plenty of rides...883 Sportys to Ultra Classics and customs. If you went to a HD dealer over Christmas and saw the crowds buying, you would realize that Harley is where they want to be. The V-Rod was that extra model that has not lived up to the hype. Bottom line if that Harley stock will go up and down. Although I like the XR, I really doubt if it will sell well. Plus, the MoCo has Buell. My 2 cents.

theoldog 26th December 2006 22:38

I think if you like the jap bike ideas, and still want a Harley, go for the V-Rod.

XL O.C.D. 26th December 2006 22:40

'Lotta truth to that. I recently rented a Night Rod for a few days... it really reminded me of the Kawi's and Honda's I've rode.

011200custom 3rd January 2007 06:24

Personally, I think you could put any Jap manufactures emblems on a V-Rod and 95% of people wouldn't know the difference. I'm not saying it's a bad bike, it's just not a traditional Harley we are use to. I do feel it is the future of Harley. I look for the EPA to kill off the air cooled V- twin. That will be a sad day.


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