JeremySumpter’s 5 Motorcycle Predictions For 2014

chppredictionsxlLast year, telling you my motorcycle predictions for 2013, I wrote “Here’s the thing about predictions: they are always fun to make and to read and no one ever remembers a year later what they were…” But having being right on most of them, I am not afraid that you read them again by jumping HERE. So, what are the ones I am making for 2014? Only 5, and they are all good news for the motorcycle industry. Agreeing or disagreeing with them? Want to state yours? Do it in comments with your rationales.

chppredictionsxs1- Indian Motorcycle To Become A Formidable Competitor To Harley-Davidson

All executives in charge of the revival of the Indian Motorcycle brand through the launch of new models will tell you that Harley-Davidson is a formidable competitor. About the new Indian, for now, Harley-Davidson executives will tell you … absolutely nothing! (but they will give you a thumb up if they see you ride an Indian, either pre-1953 or new Chief model.) Competing with Harley-Davidson doesn’t mean that Indian Motorcycle will use Harley as the paradigm for its strategy and products. Harley-Davidson is now in a situation of dichotomy, having to deal with 2 very distinct markets : trying to acquire as customer the new bad-ass rebel youngster who usually doesn’t want to look like and ride the motorcycle of his parents, while at the same time trying to retain the mellowed aging biker. On both markets, Harley makes “old looking” bikes: for the youngsters, naked ones (for ex. The new Street to be launched in the spring and the Sportster); for the baby boomers, filled with comfort, safety, modern technology features (Rushmore project models), with more “convenience” added each year by Harley as its core customer gets older. Harley must pursue two distinct marketing strategies, one of retention of current customers, one of acquisition of brand new ones.

At the opposite, Indian Motorcycle with its new first 3 Chief models, is in full acquisition mode of new bikers of all ages. Only one strategy for all: making modern bikes with iconic historic lines and strong performance DNA. Those who know Indian’s past will appreciate. Others will discover… An approach quite different from the 2 distinct ones that Harley is now obliged to pursue simultaneously. With its products strategy, Indian respects its past, extends and modernizes its identity, creates its own brand personality and differentiates itself from Harley. The right way for Indian to truly justify and reinforce its claim of being ANOTHER AMERICAN CHOICE proposed to the American motorcycle rider from here and abroad. A strategy that I expect Indian to continue with the launch of its 2015 models, making the brand a potentially formidable competitor of Harley-Davidson. For a particular breed of bikers there is nothing like a Harley. For another one, nothing like the Indian cachet. With the right 2015 products sold at the right price (above Harley performance for less money), a great dealer network and an astute communication of outsider, I remain convinced that it’s very plausible for Indian to take in about 3 years around 10% of Harley’s heavy cruisers market share. The next new Indian models to be launched being less predictable than those unveiled by Harley – mostly a variation of existing models – I predict that the “surprise” new Indian models and the quarterly evolution of Indian’s sales versus Harley-Davidson’s ones could be the 2 biggest stories of the year 2014.

chppredictionsxs2- The Official Year Harley-Davidson Begins Its Greatest Mutation Ever.

We all know that Harley-Davidson has a demographic problem, with a premium-priced product and an aging population to sell to. New registrations and younger consumers have not yet picked up the slack, or not just enough yet in the USA and Europe to ensure success for the next decade. During the last 20 years, Harley-Davidson focused its marketing on the retention of its core aging white male customers. With all its touring models, the Milwaukee company is already filling their need for the “open road”. With each model year, Harley will continue to add a little more “baby boomer” convenience to its tourers. But there is only so much you can do to convince people to ride when they aren’t able to throw a leg above their motorcycle. Harley’s retention marketing strategy is close to reaching its limit. Welcome to Harley’s new approach: an acquisition marketing strategy in the USA and abroad to attract young people with a potential of 40 years of riding. For this purpose, in early spring, Harley-Davidson is launching its “Street” line (500 & 750 cc) produced in Kansas for the North American market and in India for the local market and exportation to other Asian countries and some european countries. “These are bikes that are designed for the new urban generation,” Harley President and CEO Keith Wandell said during their introduction. “They’re agile and nimble. … They fill a need that we have had for some time…”

No doubt that these new lower-priced, lower cc bikes could extend the brand outside of what’s typically been the brand core riders. The Street line features engines that are fuel injected and liquid cooled, with prominent front radiators and shrouds. Will they attract new riders or become a whispered footnote like the small-displacement Aermacchi Harleys from the near-death experience that was the AMF era in the 1970’s? Personally, I bet on success, and for sure, expect Harley to start a type of marketing and communication strategy to which you have never been exposed to before coming from Milwaukee.  Harley must appeal to the city youngsters when until now it was associated with “freedom of the open road.” Harley talking to those negotiating city gridlocks while still talking to grey beards mapping their last cross country trips. In 2014, Harley-Davidson is officially going to operate its greatest mutation ever with a double language that will be interesting to observe and analyze. Harley’s brand new communication style may become a much bigger media story than its “old/rejuvenated with technology” 2015 models.

chppredictionsxs3- Custom Motorcycle Shops Getting More Specialized..

The custom market will be a reflection of the overall motorcycle market being pulled by 2 extremes: the bespoke city ride versus the customized tourer motorcycle. Established and new shops will become more specialized, attracting either youngsters or baby boomers. Custom lovers used to choose a great “generalist” builder able and willing to custom build any type of motorcycle. Progressively, clients will look for good custom shops whose owners are from the same generation, sharing the same values and life attitude, riding the same type of motorcycle. Youngsters working with youngsters, baby boomers with baby boomers. A “proximity” between clients and builders resulting in the resurgence of local shop clubs with their own motorcycling activities after hours and during weekends. It’s no accident that “Born Free” the best new bike show/happening/gathering was created by custom bike shop owners, not by show promoters or magazines. New custom part vendors will follow the same trend, most often specializing in either type of motorcycle parts.

chppredictionsxs4- Custom Motorcycles. An Abundance of custom Street Harleys, More Cafe Racers, New Naked Baggers, The First Fully Customized Indian Chiefs.

Because of an affordable price point and bare bone configuration, the new Harley Street is going to become a favorite machine for self-expression and customization. Positioned as an “urban bike to handle city grids”, expect youngsters to get wild and extremely creative in personalizing their Street. They will want “to show the street what they are made of…” and create their own one-off custom parts. Like with fashion, many new parts born in the street will inspire many after-market vendors to launch their own line of Street custom parts. Because the Street is a completely new platform, the first from Harley in 13 years, there is opportunity for many young builders to join veterans in the custom parts business. A large number of these custom Streets will appear on the road and in bike shows towards end of the year. Cafe Racers will continue to satisfy the need of speed with a rockabilly attitude of young and of less young riders. Because they can be created from cheap and widely available power plants of very diverse origins, Uk, Japan, Italy, German, etc, they should continue to be popular as much with pro than with backyard builders. The best things carried to excess are always wrong. Same with customization. Builders are close to realizing that the road to excess they have followed with some Bagger custom components is close to an end. As always (last time it happened was with “ultra excessive” choppers), I expect a new opposite Bagger trend to emerge with lighter, more nimble, streamlined, naked machines, but still able to withstand the demands of long-haul touring. And of course, the first fully customized 2014 Indian Chiefs built by pro-builders will probably appear around Daytona Bike Week or just after and will become the inspiration of many new Indian owners and provide a very interesting back for Indian Motorcycle design team.

chppredictionsxs5- The e-Motorcycle Will Eventually Get Your Respect And Some Of Your Interest.

I am pretty sure none of you have electric motorcycle dreams. Rather nightmares. For the majority of American motorcycle riders it’s not the future, yet. Electric motorcycle manufacturers seem to come and go. No big sale numbers can be expected before 10 to 15+ years. But we begin to see a couple of manufacturers getting decent sales, enough to survive if their ventures are heavily backed up by venture capitalists in complement of existing government subsidies. Electric motorcycles are still in average 3 times more expensive than combustion engine bikes for the same performance, but for a much lower circa-mile range, usually around 100 miles. But like for the 70 inch display televisions, prices will fast come down sharply and very fast. Aesthetics have also largely improved. I bet that in 2014 a couple of e-bikes I will publish will get your positive attention and critics, both for their physical appeal and performance. Not to the point that you will rush to order one. But in 2014, it would be fun to see a few electric bad-asses in Daytona and Sturgis. And I predict it will happen. Not enough yet to capture the American freedom image most of you are after…until Harley-Davidson and others like Polaris manufacture their own cost-effective commuting and evasion e-models. I don’t know when, but it will happen. And of course, they think/work on them…

I would love to hear your thoughts on my predictions and read yours. Have a great 2014.

61 Responses to “JeremySumpter’s 5 Motorcycle Predictions For 2014”

  1. 1 Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Great insights as always. Look forward to 2014. Happy New Year Cyril.

  2. 2 Bruce Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Agreeing with all what Cyril wrote.

  3. 3 Shifter Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:15 am

    How come Cyril is the only one in the industry able to write predictions that I predict will be correct again in 2014. Bright.

  4. 4 Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Point 5 – watch out for Harley Davidson announcing an all Electric Bike for 2014 🙂

  5. 5 Fritz Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Good call. Can’t disagree with the general line of thought.

    Indian better come out with more than over stuffed chesterfields with beaucoup horsepower if they want to seriously challenge H-D. Sort of like; “Scout”, “Chout” or “Four” come to mind……

    H-D did some major smart stuff coming out with the Street line. That is exactly what Gen X and Y want and hopefully can afford.

    And God bless the hog shops and their intrepid entrepreneurs! It takes a lot of balls to go free enterprise in this day and big government age.

  6. 6 Josh Parker Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Ian. Harley and Polaris e-bikes will come, but not before a few years. Cyril, sharing your predictions.

  7. 7 Sharkey Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Excellent insight…coming from someone who is immersed in the industry, my money is on these predictions. “The New Indian” has a major uphill climb to attain anything like the current HD dealer network, however…that may be one of their biggest challenges to growth. They still lack depth in their product line, especially with the new Street models coming from HD and there’s a big difference between a good business opportunity and the near fanaticism enjoyed by HD…

  8. 8 Brett Sherman Dec 30th, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Good analysis. Cyril, you have a great understanding of where our industry is going.

  9. 9 P. Danburry Dec 30th, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I have asked a few times some friends of the industry, builders & vendors, what they think will be their future, the next trends, etc. None was able to say anything! It’s always “I don;t know.”At least, Cyril has clear ideas.

  10. 10 Dec 30th, 2013 at 10:03 am

    2014 .. The Year Indian finally gets its old momentum back ….. going to get REAL interesting with the ’15s come out … the ’14s have awakened the public

    ( I say momentum …… it’s never really left , and has been putting out some modern, quality serious iron since ’09)

    Let the war resume 🙂

  11. 11 Donnie Dec 30th, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Agree with you Cyril. But the big question mark is the 2015 Indian models. If they are great, I also expect Indian to steal many sales from Harley. But if not? Well, I hope for a new Scout. I am pretty sure HD is a little bit nervous.

  12. 12 Dec 30th, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Thanks Cyril and Happy New Year to you.
    I think you are right on. Indian does have a larger presence than one would think, in the form of Victory.
    I would not be surprized to see them shairing floor space.
    Maybe this will be the year of the Raven and I will take some orders.

  13. 13 Dec 30th, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I think that these predictions are pretty much spot on, except for the the indian statement. I was really kind of bummed that they didnt do more with the bike launch. It was an impressive first try, but i feel that they fell short on a few levels. With that being said, they are for the most part an american company and they are in a pretty select group of American motorycle manufacturers and competition is good.

    I think item numbers 3 and 4 are the most exciting. The more specialized shops are the better. Focus leads to a better product. Specialized shops make better bikes

    E bikes are very interesting. Hopefully several manufactures will have bikes available by the time the world comes out with an infrastructure to handle the logistics of traveling on or in battery powered vehicles

  14. 14 Ron Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Indian did a fantastic job with their rollout. Could they have used another year of R&D and Marketing? Yes, what company couldn’t use that time, but time is money. That is why they made only 2 different bikes and 3 colors. They marketed to the largest segment of heavy cruisers first.

    They will produce smaller less expensive bikes, just give them time. If Indian led off with a 500/700cc bike they would have been a joke to the Industry.

    Dealer network? Better to have a few SOLID dealers than underfunded dealerships that close their doors in a year!! That is what could/would sink ANY company.

    Harley has been marketing to the younger crowd for many years now. Sporty’s in the different styles have sold very well. My dealer said there many months that they sell 2 to 1 Sporty’s. over Big bikes. These bikes are used differently so you don’t see them out on the highways as much.

    Facts seem to be that more people would buy HD’s if they were less expensive, so why not build a smaller more affordable bike? It is basic business. If you were a 16+ year old kid with $5-7K you would probably be perceived to be “cooler” if you rode a new HD vs Honda cruiser of smaller size.

  15. 15 Rodent Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:25 am

    When I first started with motorcycles, both riding and selling them motorcycles were fun, rebellious, and a way to impress and get girls. Today they are only 1 out of 3, fun. The computer has replaced motorcycles as the way to meet people. Thanks to Mark Zukenberg. Any schmuck can and does ride today making motorcycles mainstream not rebellious. That’s good for business. For a aging population motorcycles bring back youth and fun.
    Like the Ford Chevy war the Indian Harley war can only benefit the consumer which is a good thing for the betterment of the breed.
    As a follower of the motorcycle auction market I noticed that absolute showroom unrestored stock is the most desireable and brings the mst money. That said a bike in the above condition will bring a higher trade in or cash price when it’s time to turn it loose. That will hurt the bike customizer.
    I may be wrong or I may be right, time will tell.

  16. 16 Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I would like to hear where you feel we fell short Matt. In either the product or presentation.

    As far as any insight for 2014, you won’t get that out of me yet (I need to pay for my house still, so I kinda need the gig), but yes, we have some cool stuff planned for 2014. At least cool in our eyes – I’ll see what Matt has to say a year from now!

    Cyril, thank you for your support this past year and in the year to come. For business, personal and family reasons I’m really looking forward to next year. It’s been great to see the Indian brand take off, for Victory to maintain a position as a strong challenger to heritage type motorcycles and continue to draw new customers, and indeed for our friends from Milwaukee to introduce and re-invigorate their base as well as introduce products for new riders and emerging markets.

    For those who think that we all are trying to get a piece of the industry pie, I will challenge you – lets just make the pie bigger. More riders, better everything. Do your part to bring new riders in, and pull back some of those return riders who got bored, scared or otherwise lost interest.

    All the best to you riders out there for 2014 and beyond.

    Robert Pandya
    External Relations Manager
    Indian Motorcycle

  17. 17 Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Hey Rodent – I thought Al Gore invented the internet…

  18. 18 Boris Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Once again, Cyril demonstrates that he’s the sharpest motorcycle industry analyst out there. I think his predictions hit the mark.

    It will be very interesting to see what Indian brings out for 2015. It’s clear they won’t be sitting on their hands.

  19. 19 Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Regarding the point you’ve made on more naked Baggers Cyril, I’d say you are spot on based on the favorable comments I received with my Pro-Tour ‘S’ conversion while in Sturgis this year. Happy New Year to you and all of your readership!

  20. 20 Joe Pardon Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Robert Pandya. Can’t wait to see what is in Indian’s saddlebags for 2014/15. Everybody expecting a Scout! Well, I will have to continue to check on Cyril’s website for the breaking news.

  21. 21 Ronnie Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Doug, the best naked bagger was done more than 15 years ago. It’s called “Miami Nice”… by JeremySumpter. Check it out on his website. By the way, Cyril is the only one able to talk intelligently (with an accent) about the custom industry.

  22. 22 Dean Sherman Dec 30th, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I give Cyril a 5 out of 5.

  23. 23 Rodent Dec 30th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Robert Pandya,
    You are so right, Al Gore invented the Internet but Mark Zukenberg invented Facebook!

  24. 24 Dec 30th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I want to see the Harley/Indian war heat up on the racetrack. The Munro tribute bike is a great teaser. How about something to race against the Destroyer? I guess we will have to wait for additional Indian models to see if it moves to flat track. Can you imagine a Street-Warrior flat track series? The possibilities are exciting, it is a good time to be a motorcycle enthusiast.

  25. 25 Dec 30th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Ronnie, No question about the quality of Cyril’s work – Miami Nice is/was a beautiful creation. To quote Cyril’s post here “I expect a new opposite Bagger trend to emerge with lighter, more nimble, streamlined, naked machines, but still able to withstand the demands of long-haul touring” I’d bet even Cyril would admit that Miami Nice wouldn’t exactly meet that criteria whereas the Pro-Tour ‘S’ hits the mark in all categories, and does so being licensed, titled and insured as a Genuine H-D – serviceable at any H-D dealership.

  26. 26 Dec 30th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Doug. Miami Nice is a 1977 Harley Shovelhead, so titled as a Harley-Davidson. Happy new year to you.

  27. 27 Johnny Gypo Dec 30th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Reading your site is the cyber highlight of my day, Cyril. Super predictions. Thanks for your insight and vigilance. Happy New Year!

  28. 28 Tom Ryan Dec 30th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Robert Pandya,

    Didn’t Al Gore come up with this internet idea while he was getting a rub down at a massage parlour? It’s amazing what a little rubbing on the head will do for you. SHAZAM!!!!!!

    Robert, by the way, since Harley is coming out with the 550/750 cc water cooled models for the younger crowd, why doesn’t Indian offer light weight 750cc to 1000cc Scout Bobber bikes for this same crowd and beyond? This new Scout Bobber may also have optional factory items like gas tanks, wheel sizes, exhausts and quite possibly newly designed girder/springer and telescopic fork styles to choose from.

    Just a thought!

  29. 29 Dec 30th, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Spot On, Cyril !!!
    1 thru 4 are so clear, it’s like looking thur a looking glass
    No doubt !!!!
    Number 5, Uhmmm, will have to wait & see on that one

  30. 30 SIGFREED Dec 30th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    The prediction made for interesting reading and I am sure with CH’s thorough exposure to the market/industry, the smart money would rather be on him being correct, than otherwise.

    Predictions being what they are, it does not mean that what is happening is sensible, even smart for that matter. As such, in my humble opinion, what Harley and Polaris is doing at the moment is downright daft.

    Polaris is following, to the letter, the same business model with the Indian as it did with the Victory – viz a “new” V-Twin engine and a chassis/body-work that is little more than ‘nitpicking’ Harley’s perceived shortcomings. A wise man once said – “doing the same thing and expecting different results = insanity”.

    The reason Harley execs are giving the “thumbs-up” to Indian riders is because that is exactly the kind of “opposition” Harley needs. GO FIGURE…

    In short: Harley’s real opposition is not from within the USA.

    On that point: while Harley is moving away from being Harley, everyone else is moving TOWARDS being Harley. Eg – take the 2014 Honda Goldwing; it is more Harley-looking than many Harleys. Triumph’s Thunderbird is just a Harley with a parallel twin engine. Heck even Ducati’s “cruiser” is draped in “chrome” ala Harley style.

    I do not begin to agree that Harley, as it stands, is serving an “aging” segment that will die when the said group is relegated to Zimmer Frames. We seem to forget that today’s 60 is 20 years ago’s 40. It is reasonable predict (hint, hint) that today’s 50 year-old (whatever the marketing buzzword is for the group) will be able to ride until they are 80, or even 90.., are they going to ride a 500cc ‘rice-burner’, no way whatever Hosay’s Chinese cousin is called…

    This debate is several dozen beers deep – but very briefly, Harley is missing the point – by a country mile, eg,


    The Rocker was a failure because it is/was butt ugly. The Sportster 48 is a good-looking piece (on a stock standard core) and it is out-selling the Rocker by far. The Breakout is what the Rocker should have been from the onset – I bet it has already sold more than the entire Rocker stint. Aesthetics it the trump-card in this industry – start off by making better looking STOCK bikes Harley..!


    Bike’s for “kid’s” and the 3rd World is as daft as making tan beds for the Middle-East. In this segment everything is throw-away and a ‘major expenditure’ item is no more than $1000. The less said about the Tiny Glide the better.

    Why did Harley abandon the V-Rod? It is Harley’s bona fide bike of the future. It is the machine for the “next” generation. Eg,

    Complex dot com lists the 50 best Harleys ever made – the no 1 spot = the 2006 CVO VRSCE2 V-Rod. As far as I am concerned (for what it is worth), the ’06 VRSCE2 was HD’s crowning moment, they have been going downhill ever since.

    The V-Rod augmented the “Marcus Waltz dragster” craze in Europe and has subsequently evolved into an almost separate style/type of motorcycle.

    Harley should have done 4 things to the V-Rod – instead of popping “Molly’ while fixated with their X-Box’s – ie:

    a. A minimum, light-weight, rigid chassis – eg cast aluminium with the engine a stressed member. Kick the paradigm of a frame – it is history. Eg look at the latest Ducati Monster, Diavel (and such) – the “fame” can fit in a shopping bag; it is just small extensions hanging from the engine.

    b. Increase engine performance – significantly. Eg (again) Ducati continues to deliver new models that are both lighter and more powerful than before – almost every year. Much like HD, Ducati is a lower volume, niche market product. Make engines with better combustion (eg continue to partner with Porsche – eg direct injection etc) and with lighter engine components (internal and external). ETC…

    c. Lower the seat height (ie the “drop-seat” layout) and “tilt/lift” the riding position to one that is slightly less ‘dragster’ and a bit more cruiser – even if the gas tank has to move ‘back’ to a more conventional position. The Euro cruiser have a more ‘sit inside’ position that the standard V-Rod and despite the ‘dragster’ tag and –stance, it can be ridden over (far) greater distances in comfort, than the std V-Rod that is a bit of a back-breaker.

    d. Make the thing better looking (as noted above).

    Finally – Harley Davidson is a ‘macho’ brand – period. With the utmost respect to all other segments, that is simply what it is; it is what has given HD more than a 100 years, UNINTERRUPTED – do not fix what ain’t broken..!

    HINT – you do not get unisex shaving products – GET IT..??

  31. 31 Dec 30th, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    A naked bagger? .. z

  32. 32 John Nagel Dec 30th, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Zipper, what you don’t understand? Yes, a bagger for the long haul, but streamlined, without the non-necessary gizmos. Great market analysis, Cyril.

  33. 33 Dec 30th, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Can’t disagree with any of it, even the e-bikes. Like e-cars, they’ll become more interesting as they become more usable. DC motors have incredible torque and solid-state controls allow more tweaking than a rally gypsy with a boatload of needles & jets. I see a great future for e-sportbikes as the kids won’t have any mindset problems building ’em up, just like the “tuner cars” many old farts made fun of.

  34. 34 A Little Birdy Dec 31st, 2013 at 3:35 am

    Robert Pandya,

    When you told Andy Carter from Pangea “That’s not the market we’re interested in,”

    That’s a starting point.

    You have NO presence in Springfield.

    Indians are stylized performance not style that can perform.

    You can do better. But Matt is right

  35. 35 bikerfred Dec 31st, 2013 at 7:55 am

    no mention of two factors that put new riders on the road: finance the monthly payment! warranty. these two factors also make trade-ins attract new & old customers and pull buyers of parts and service into the store,not to mention clothing and bling.HAPPY NEW YEAR.

  36. 36 Halan Dec 31st, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Cyril, You are the best in the business at spreading the word, NOT Gossip! All said, is well said.
    Thank you for all of your insite. Right on!

  37. 37 Dec 31st, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Cyril ROCKS, no doubt the most informative motorcycle blog on the planet!
    We are glad we advertise with it.

    Happy New Year, Cyril

  38. 38 Jawz Dec 31st, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I’m impressed as always with Cyril’s writings but I’m really impressed to see one of the heavy weights to comment on this thread. Actually it’s refreshing.

  39. 39 2Dealerz Dec 31st, 2013 at 9:52 am

    If you are in the industry, Cyril just hinted the ways to do good business in 2014. The man is bright and we all knew this.

  40. 40 Dec 31st, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Hello all, happy to be part of the discussion on things I CAN discuss!

    Bird, we have been doing some work with the Springfield museum, but you are right if you are referring to some desire to return manufacturing to Springfield, that is not going to happen any time soon if ever. We are VERY proud to have both the Victory and Indian motorcycle lines (two separate lines under one roof) on Spirit Lake Iowa with engines built in Osceola Wisconsin (again two lines under one roof).

    The reality of modern logistics, manufacture, production costs and what consumers expect to pay for a quality vehicle give us a fantastic home base in the American Mid-West. Facilities in Wyoming MN and Spirit Lake are expanding with loads of new equipment. We are investing in our future.

    As far as the bikes not performing, you have not been reading the magazine tests I suspect. Independent customers are very happy with the performance of the bikes as well. Not to mention the dealers. Please tell me where you test rode a 2014 Indian Chief to gain that impression – and if you feel the Chief is not for you that’s fine – but please go buy something else and support the industry (Making the pie bigger).

    We know we are not building bikes for everyone – nobody does. And that would be dull and pointless anyway.

    Sigfreed – that was a long read before my second cup of joe, but – you are arguing against yourself. HD is a fantastic brand led by some very talented people throughout the management tiers – I applaud them for experimenting with models that attempt to evolve the brand – and their success is important to all who work in this industry. Asking for change and then stating to not mess with what works is a rabbit hole.

    Tom Ryan – please remember that we have to certify critical parts made for the bikes. Exhausts are among the most expensive to do so, fuel tanks and other critical emissions components are right up there. If we developed a bike with easily swappable parts – each style would requires the same development certification and testing – raising the cost of the motorcycle considerably, or making the accessory so expensive that nobody would buy it. We are in the production motorcycle business – there are already several aftermarket brands developing and selling bits for the new Indian Motorcycles.

    A year ago we had only shared the sound of the engine with you all – we promised we would do it right and buy most regards have had a very successful roll-out. That is not going to our heads, there is plenty more to do, and believe me there are many people working on many projects now.

    If you doubt it – and have not test ridden a bike, you are speaking from a fragile pedestal. If you rode and don’t care for it, that’s cool. At least you made the effort. Just keep riding and help bring new riders in.

    Thanks all for engaging in discussions – all the best to you and a Happy New Year!

    Now – for that second cuppa –

    Robert Pandya
    External Relations Manager
    Indian Motorcycle

  41. 41 Drake Dec 31st, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Well written (Huze & Pandya)

  42. 42 Cris Sommer Simmons Dec 31st, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I agree with Cyril… Robert, I love that you read these posts and reply to them. That says a lot for me, and I ride a Harley.
    Happy New Year to all of you… no matter what you ride, be safe out there!

  43. 43 Dec 31st, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    In Pandya’s defense, it must be pointed out that in their heyday, Indian had other plants besides the main one in Springfield.

  44. 44 Dec 31st, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Cris – Thanks for the compliment – I enjoyed meeting you guys at Sturgis – have fun with Jamie and let me know when you are ready to try a new Indian – I have one on the Islands now.

    Happy New Year!

    Robert Pandya

  45. 45 Dec 31st, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I agree with all 5 and am looking forward to the changes in the way the buyers expect,as well as the money they can save…….

  46. 46 morpion Dec 31st, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    robert pandya,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,could you tell me what percentage of the indian is u,s,made,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  47. 47 Jan 1st, 2014 at 12:58 pm


    No I cannot. It’s not something I know – nor is it something that we would release. We do not release suppliers either for competitive reasons. There are very few major OEM’s who would release that information – there is obvious stuff (components with suppliers stamping or logos) but everything on our motorcycles is proprietary.

    I would invite you to come visit the Spirit Lake plant some time – we do host tours and events that will let you walk the line.

    Robert Pandya
    External Relations Manager
    Indian Motorcycle

  48. 48 Pat Simmons Jan 1st, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Nice having our own Nostradamus of the motorcycle. Things never end up exactly the way they might have been expected, but if anybody can see which way the wind’s blowing, it’s Cyril. This is a lot of information to absorb, so I’m gonna go back and read all this again. Pretty interesting comments also from all you other guys and gals out there. This is gonna be a great year for motorcycles, and I for one am really excited by the possibilities! Really cool to have an executive like Robert Pandya talking directly to us on this forum. Thanks for caring! Happy New Year everybody!

  49. 49 Jan 2nd, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks for showing me how good my Baritone Ukulele can sound atop the Hotel Alex Johnson Pat!

    Happy new year to you all,


  50. 50 JackS Jan 2nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Robert Pandya, I really like seeing your comments and look forward to seeing what Indian has in store for 2014. Regarding your comment on growing the size of the market share pie instead of relying primarily on taking market share from HD, I wouldn’t really think that you honestly believe that. Indian’s largest market share growth in the next five years will primarily be at the expense of Harley. Success will hing on expansion of a solid dealer network. Your rate of market share growth will be substantially hindered until customers in larger markets (Population>1M) don’t have to travel 200+ miles to the nearest dealer to buy a bike and get warranty service.

    Cyril, I think you are on the money. Regarding your expectation of a “new opposite bagger trend to emerge with lighter, more nimble, streamlined, naked machines”, that can “withstand the demands of long-haul touring” — as a customer, I know I’ve been wanting more of less. HD tried with The Road King Custom and then hit a home run with the Street Glide. I bet I’m not the only interstate rider who believes the current bagger customization direction has reached its zenith of impracticality and needs a new direction.

  51. 51 Knucklehead Jan 2nd, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Your funny. Those young’uns will age to by just what or close to us old folks ride just as I have. My mind was the same as theirs in 1965 when I bought my first bike. And as I aged so did my desires. The old guy’s thought us weird. Well here I am near 50 yrs later and I’ve rode and changed rides as did the old men of the past. Yeap you need new stuff but the original never dies. Hell that’s why everyone copies those that have conquered. Be it V Star, Victory or any other manufacture. In the 70’s the nay sayers bad mouthed Harley saying to get with the time and copy Honda’s 4 and 6 cylinder crap. Harley will do just fine. Are the others a treat? Just a little bit. Go to Nigeria and ask a street person if they know what a Harley Davidson is or go to any part of the world and ask that. Odds are they know. Just like Coca Cola. You ain’t never going to beat them down and neither will Harley be beaten down. The others I hope do well. But………….. history is what it is.

  52. 52 Shifter Jan 2nd, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Knucklehead. Can you at least use a spell checker?

  53. 53 KneesIntheBreeze Jan 2nd, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Great insight and predictions from Cyril, as usual.
    I do have a thought about the Indian/Harley market share. Harley is obviously looking to market to a younger crowd to help sustain, and grow, their product. I have to wonder what Indian will be doing to address the same issue. It seems that Indian would run into the same problem – new user/growth.
    While I find the new Indian models appealing, I can’t see the younger crowd showing much interest. I’ve said it before, I really hope we see a Scout model with that 111″ Thunderstroke in it. Make several variations at different/cheaper cost points and let’s see what happens.
    2014 looks like it’s going to be a very interesting year for the American cruiser market!

  54. 54 BobS Jan 2nd, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    If anyone wants to go to Nigeria to ask the men and women on the street there if they’ve ever heard of Harley-Davidson or Cocoa-Cola…more power to ’em. I’ll be too busy riding and don’t really care if Nigerians recognize an American corporate logo anyway. I can’t ride that, but I can ride the most powerful, best handling, most comfortable bikes in the class I prefer…

  55. 55 Jan 3rd, 2014 at 4:18 am

    Can anyone work out what Knucklehead actually means? I get the “vibe” but not by what he writes.

  56. 56 Rod Jan 3rd, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I rode an Indian Chief at Bikes Blues and BBQ last year. I was impressed. Same or more power than a CVO 110. Better brakes by a long shot. great ride, and what I could tell of the handling they are equal or better.

    Competition improves the breed. Bring it on Indian, Both will get a LOT better.


  57. 57 Rod Jan 3rd, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Indian should look at how Harley does their demo rides. Very efficient. Also with Harley you can sign up for a 4 hour unguided demo ride, gas included, no charge. They are first come first served, and maybe this year I will score one. That sort of thing on an Indian would certainly result in some conquest sales.

  58. 58 BobS Jan 3rd, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Terence, I speak crappy grammar and run on sentence so I think I can translate. What he’s saying is it doesn’t matter what people think they like and want. Sooner or later everyone will reach a point in their life that they will have an epiphany and realize that what EVERYONE really wants is a Harley-Davidson, even the Nigerians. Those that like other things are just fools who haven’t grown up yet.

  59. 59 Jan 3rd, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Certainly Indian Motorcycle plans to compete against heritage products, with Milwaukee being the clear leader in that class now. We will pull current owners over. Others may come from other brands, or hopefully return back after getting bored with the offerings or priced out of the market. But My challenge was for all of us to work to increase the overall pie and reduce the barriers to entry.

    The easier we make it for people to see how a motorcycle fits into their lives the better it is for all of us. Rider education, training and acceptance of each other choices is what will grow the industry. Basically it’s all cool, and negative comments only serve to hurt the greater good. Respect wins.

    As someone wiser that I stated once, if you don’t like it, just change the channel.

    I’m signing off for my first weekend home in nearly months. Y’all take care –

    Robert Pandya
    External Relations Manager
    Indian Motorcycle

  60. 60 Jan 3rd, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I’ve been telling everyone who listens to our show electric bikes will be the wave of the not so distant future. We’ve had both Zero and Brammo top brass on the show.

    I am very excited about Indian and what they’ve been doing. Robert has made the show many times and will again in 2014. Polaris as a whole is doing a lot of things right and I’m glad to own stock in it.

    H-D’s move to smaller displacement bikes will bode very well for them as it will be their entrance point into a younger demo and the foreign market. They are designed for those who can’t afford a $20,000 new bike but want to buy into the H-D brand.

    Yes agree with custom shops specializing – I have been in a few shops of well know builders and they are not sitting still but looking at additional value (exclusive products) they can bring to their clients and the greater world of cyclists.

    Thanks for adding the spell checker Cyril!

  61. 61 Knucklehead Jan 7th, 2014 at 8:45 am

    What Knucklehead is saying is most all are on this sight because we grew up with a love for bikes. Mostly Harleys and choppers. Mostly I write for all the naysayers of Harley Davidson. They are #1 and will remain so. Like Coca Cola will remain #1. Is the Victory a good bike? I hear all good news about it. And I’m sure the Indian will be also. But to bad mouth Harley? They have in the past and as now have changed for the times. Late at times but they do it. Again it was Harley Davidson that inspired us. Now as for spell check son….bite me.

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