The Future of Motorcycling

Shifting Gears with Buzz Kanter

SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter

SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

Over the years, the designers and managers in
Harley’s PDC have had thick skin

What does the future look like for motorcycling? The decision makers and corporate strategists at Harley-Davidson and Indian want—make that need—to know. I can only assume that both companies’ counterparts at Honda, KTM, and Triumph do too. Frankly, I also think about it a lot.

The future of motorcycling is being challenged on many fronts: riders aging out of the sport, millennials shunning vehicle ownership, increasing government regulation, more complex technology leading to increased costs, and distracted drivers on the road.

I suspect the most significant concern is where are the new riders coming from? If every year more riders drop out of the sport than join it, what’s the future of motorcycling? If you have comments or suggestions on this please feel free to share them with me at [email protected]

Okay, so what about Harley’s and Indian’s efforts to keep the sport fresh and alive? Starting in Milwaukee, over the years the designers and managers in Harley’s PDC have had thick skin. “Those motors are so ugly, they aren’t real Harleys.” “Not a Harley, looks much too Japanese. If I wanted a Honda, I’d buy one.” “Harley really screwed up their frame designs with this one.” Sound familiar? Well, in spite of all the keyboard commandos on the Internet slamming the impressive new generation of Softails—not to mention the end of the Dynas—these responses from the Harley faithful are from decades ago.

The first quote, from the 1980s, was from a Shovelhead owner about the “ugly,” radical new Evo when Harley first introduced it in 1984. The second quote was a few years later about the new rubber-mounted FXR, which was shunned by The MoCo faithful as looking too Japanese (whatever that meant). These now-cherished FXRD and FXRT motorcycles sat unsold on dealer showrooms for years. And the last quote referred to the new DynaGlide chassis when it replaced the FXR decades ago. Nothing new here. Get the idea?

As for Polaris/Indian, we can point accusing fingers for pulling the plug on Victory, or we can check out its exciting new Indian products, like the terrific Scout Bobber or the expanding line of high-end touring bikes (including our long-term Roadmaster Classic project bike). Now that Harley has shown its vision and plans for the future, don’t you wonder what Indian has in the works?

Love A Great Deal?
Act NOW To Help Us Help You! The holiday season is just down the road. As we enter our 29th year of publication (I’ve been here since 1991), we want to offer you something special. Our team came up with a great way to stretch your dollars while sharing everything you read in American Iron Magazine and our all-tech and DIY American Iron Garage.

As the newsstand distribution continues to contract, we look for smarter ways to get our magazines in your hands. The best we have come up with is by subscription, which is cheaper for you and for us (no wasted copies to print and distribute). You pay $ 6.99 per copy in the stores (13 issues a year for $ 90.87) or you can subscribe for only $ 24.97 (cheaper than 4 issues in the store!).

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Do you enjoy wrenching on your own bike? Can’t get enough DIY and tech for your Harley or Indian? Check out our all-tech and home build AI Garage. Buy (or renew) a one-year subscription for $ 19.97 and give a new gift subscription to a friend free! Yes, free! These offers are for US delivery only and expire December 31, 2017. Call today at 877/693-3572.

If you like what we are doing here at the growing American Iron family, we’d appreciate it if you would encourage your friends to support the sport and help us grow the magazine, too. Thank you. Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

Buzz

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Craig Ballantyne

I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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