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We are not who we think we are

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by ibast, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. "Growing up" in the road-bike community in Australia you would not be mistaken in believing we were a nation of medium-large capacity sports and sports touring riders.

    Well it seems it is an illusion. From some ytd figure floating around the interweb at the moment, as a nation we buy:

    a) Trail bikes
    b) sub 250cc bikes
    c) Cruisers.

    If you were going to build a bike in Aus it would be a 250cc single and you would build three different models.
  2. You might be tempted to believe that based on what you read on the interweb... but that would eliminate the non-literate, and what they ride :bolt:

    But yeah, there has always been a majority of trail riders. I'm a little surprised that cruisers have had a resurgence but they too were traditionally more popular.

    Looking for a state by state breakdown.
  3. Not just the interweb. Two-wheels, AMCN, Streetbike, Bike, Rapide, Australian Road Rider, Cycle, REVs, etc, all are/were the premier motorcycle magazines.

    I suppose there always have been trail bike and cruiser mags, but they always seem like a sub-set. Guess it's large capacity road bikes that are the sub-set
  4. Lots of cruisers out there riding. Especially last weekend in double demerits. Hardly any sportsbikes. Maybe I am seeing them now I have one.
  5. It's true, and it's been this way for decades. The #1 bike is the postie, because the post office buys thousands of them. Then you have the dirt bikes that never get registered, because they're cheaper than horses. Then you have cruisers, because everyone wants to feel the freedom, whether they know what that is or not. Next, you have the cheap transport / commuter group. Scooters are part of it. Only then do you get into the recreational motorcycle group that buys bigger bikes because nothing else in the world is quite as much fun. We are the sub-set.
  6. True for the trail bikes - but take the postie bikes from the sub-250 class and it might be interesting to see what the figures are.
  7. by sub-250 I meant 250s. Taking the posties away makes little difference. Top 10 road bikes:

    Honda CBR250R
    Honda CT110X
    Kawasaki Ninja 250R
    Honda CB125E
    Yamaha XVS650
    Honda CBR1000RR
    Piaggio FLY150
    Harley-Davidson FLSTF
    Harley-Davidson FXDF
    MCI Riviera 50

    If you look at overall sales the only thing above 250 is the wr450f

    The blackbird seams to have faired better than I would have thought. Did they have a sale in the first quarter of this year?
  8. I suspect that part of the magazine bias is driven by what the journos want to ride and another element is what will deliver the most spending power per eyeball to the advertisers. If an importer offered you the choice of road test hacks between, eg, a CB125E and a CBR1000RRRRRR, which would you choose? If you were an advertiser (of anything), would you want to target readers with a CB125 budget or a Fireblade budget?
  9. The thing that surprises me about bike sales in Australia is, given the general condition of our roads, that 'all road' tourers (think BMW GS, Tiger 1050/800 type bikes) aren't more popular than they are.
  10. ...I think a motorcycle model ownership demographic would be a better measure of "who we are" than the new sales figures. Unrestricted riders don't change their bikes every year... yet each new newb needs a new bike and so LAM's sales will prevail.

    Dirt is a special case - we have an almost unique market where there's as many dirt bikes sold annually as road bikes and most dirt bikes are in the lower capacities.
  11. Whereas, when I was in the UK a couple of years ago, in spite of it being quite difficult to find significant quantities of legally rideable unsealed road over there, every second bike on the road seemed to be an RGS, complete with rider in Ewan and Charley approved BMW riding suit.

    Then again, if I still lived in the UK, I daresay I'd want a bike that allowed me to kid myself I could ride a very long way away from home indeed too :D.
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  12. Of course it must be remembered that all these 'groups' are a relatively new thing. There was a time that motorcycles were just motorcycles and scooters were scooters (not motorcycles).

    Road or competition was the first real split, then (if memory serves) 'cruisers'. The idea of 'sports' bikes is relatively new.

    At the end of the day who really give a toss. The important thing is whether the number of bikes on the road is up or down.
  13. At one time, cruisers were called "factory customs" and tended to be UJMs with a bit of fiddling with fork lengths and wheel sizes. As a result, a Z1000LTD (or whatever) would do pretty much the same things that its UJM parent Z1000 would do, just uglier :D. The first factory customs that I can remember arrived in the very late 70s if you discount horrible efforts like the Fantic chopper or the Norton Hi Rider :sick:. Cruisers with gutless cruiser specific engines and dodgy cruiser specific chassis came a bit later. Yamaha were early into the act with their XV750 c1980 (but which was quite conservative really if you removed the tank and seat) but it didn't really spread until about 1985 when the first Suzuki Intruder turned up (though it wasn't imported into the UK for another year or two).

    Sports bikes as we know them came into existence c1982 with the monoshock Kwak GPzs. Prior to that they were even closer to the basic UJM than the factory customs. A Suzuki GS1000S is not significantly different mechanically from a GS1000. A monoshock GPz is, however, a notably different beast from its plain Z/KZ parent. Then, of course, the watercooled revolution hit a few years later, representing the last really big leap in motorcycle development. Given that it was about a quarter century or more ago now we must be due another :D.

    So I'd put the big fragmentation of biking down as a fuzzy line centred on ~1980-81 or a little later. Not that biking was one big happy family before then. Riders had differences, it's just the bikes didn't (so much).
    • Like Like x 1

  14. Ughhh, 80s customs..shudder, stepped seats, over zealous apehangers, square rear lights, ugh, just leave it standard.
  15. The king and queen seat is cool again.
  16. Given the obesity epidemic we're supposed to be having, King and Kong seats may be more appropriate :D.
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  17. Not for lack of Bimota, Tony Foale or Erik Buell trying.

    Edit: Forgot BMW's telelever.
  18. Fair comment, although I'd counter by pointing out that even BMW don't have enough faith in the telelever to have gone with it on their more recent bikes with the K1200 across the frame models having what I believe is basically a Hossack front end. Personally I love the telelever to bits but when the Rs reach the end of their particular road, it doesn't look like it'll continue.

    I'm thinking along more general lines. In 1938 Triumph introduced the first volume production parallel twin and suddenly (well, with a major war intervening) everyone was building parallel twins. When tele forks and swingarm rear suspension turned up, again they became universal over a very short period. Then we had a bit of a break until the I4 turned up everywhere like a rash. Again, I'm talking volumer production bikes, not Italian racing exotica. Then monoshock suspension and watercooling within a couple of years of each other, going from nowhere to everywhere almost instantly. I'm not sure about perimeter frames 'cos they've not become as universal as other design features.

    In all, motorcycle design seems to have progressed in a series of sudden quantum leaps and we just haven't had any recently. Current bikes are recognisable developments of late 1980s machinery.

    I guess the move to stuff like EFI and ABS might point the way. I suspect that the next big leap will have more to do with electronics than mechanical changes. Or maybe power sources, now that elctric drive and battery technologies are getting within hailing distance of practicality.

    I guess there's also the possibility that we've now come so far that a really big leap will leave bikes unrecognisable as bikes or, at least, ceasing to appeal to their traditional market. Motorcyclists are actually pretty conservative, whatever we may like to pretend, as Bimota, Tony and Erik have discovered. Mind you, Erik was a victim more of company politics in difficult times than of any inherent flaw in his ideas.
  19. Blackbird is the CBR 1100XX Not the CBR 1000 RR. Hahahahahaha I think we are # 24 of all time,
  20. Thanks Pat, good post.

    The revolutions that have taken off were the ones that worked. For a hundred years, we've watched the racers at the Isle of Mann and bought what won, because if it wins there, you know it's going to be a fine road bike. Lots of people have tried lots of newfangled things over the years. Sometimes they can be made to work as well as what we have. Usually not. But every now and then something comes along that's clearly better. Like tele-forks, and swing-arms.

    About the only exception, is forced induction. If there is a max capacity rule then a blower or a turbo can more than double the power output, but it is more expensive, more complicated, and less user friendly than simply building a bigger engine. There've been turbo bikes on the market, but they didn't sell real well.

    I don't know what the next revolution is going to be. I fear it will be an electronic nanny that won't let you be naughty, and tells tales on you if you try. I'd like to think that rubbish will crop up in cars long before bikes, but I can see the angle that 'these maniacs need to be protected from themselves'. We are a natural target.

    Traction control - I'm not sure I'd call that a revolution. ABS, same thing. As the technology to do it properly and cheaply has matured, these things are being included. Both have their uses, and when done properly, I'm a big fan. Not so keen on either when it's done poorly and you can't switch it off.

    Radial sports tyres derived directly from racing tyres - that was a revolution! The step up from OEM bridgestones on most jap bikes in the 70s & 80s to what we ride today - mind boggling! You cannot imagine how terrible those tyres were.