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Buell Shutting Down?



jonrya91
12-05-2009, 03:30 AM
I heard at work yesterday that harley davidson is shutting down their buell brand. I guess they will be making a sportster (xr1200) to replace buell.

Has anyone heard about this?

inot
12-05-2009, 05:08 AM
I heard at work yesterday that harley davidson is shutting down their buell brand. I guess they will be making a sportster (xr1200) to replace buell.

Has anyone heard about this?

I remember hearing something on the radio recently about Buell closing. Here is the video announcement on Youtube: YouTube - Message from Erik Buell (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5i7JDNACtI)

torqueman
12-05-2009, 10:17 AM
Yes I have heard of xr1200 but have not seen one yet. I can say at the Vegas bike show no one had much nice to say about it. HD customers do not like plastic on a motorcycle. Also HD customers in general are not going to buy sport bikes. It was part of the reason Buell did not sell because they were shown in HD showrooms that could not attract the target audience. Even the VRod which is probably the best motorcycle HD has produced was left waiting on the showroom floors. Part was price but I believe it was mostly due to it's unharley like styling. Also for some reason many HD riders not like liquid cooled motors.

I saw the Buell announcement the day it came out. I thought Eric was going to cry. How sad that the only American manufactured sport bike is going away.

Rant mode on/
What p1$$3$ me off is that HD did not offer to sell Buell . I would bet lunch that some EU motorcycle company would have loved to have that line in the US. I'm sure in the mind of HD executives that was better to close than having Eric as competition. That is a dumb way to think in my opinion because people who buy HD are not the same people who buy Buell. Heck the Ulysses was an adventure touring model that competed directly with BMW. How many companies would have like to have that as an offering? Erik Buell made a darn good and inventive motorcycle and will be missed. Let's hope Erik lands on his feet and is able to open a new company not under the repressive thumb of the motor company.

arandall
12-05-2009, 12:10 PM
Torqueman:
I agree with you 100%.
I have never been big on Harleys, although I do admit they look good in a very American way (not a bad thing), and sound neat. However - I'd love to own a V-Rod. I saw a comparison between a V-Rod and a big new 1300cc Triumph, and the V-Rod had it all over the Triumph, even though the Triumph had way more power. - Kind of a role reversal, and a bit of a bitter pill for a Triumph guy.
I guess it just goes to show - each to his own.
It is a real shame if Buell does disappear. Let's hope he can rise up out of the ashes.

Cheers,
Art R.

jonrya91
12-05-2009, 06:37 PM
Yes I have heard of xr1200 but have not seen one yet. I can say at the Vegas bike show no one had much nice to say about it. HD customers do not like plastic on a motorcycle. Also HD customers in general are not going to buy sport bikes. It was part of the reason Buell did not sell because they were shown in HD showrooms that could not attract the target audience. Even the VRod which is probably the best motorcycle HD has produced was left waiting on the showroom floors. Part was price but I believe it was mostly due to it's unharley like styling. Also for some reason many HD riders not like liquid cooled motors.

I saw the Buell announcement the day it came out. I thought Eric was going to cry. How sad that the only American manufactured sport bike is going away.

Rant mode on/
What p1$$3$ me off is that HD did not offer to sell Buell . I would bet lunch that some EU motorcycle company would have loved to have that line in the US. I'm sure in the mind of HD executives that was better to close than having Eric as competition. That is a dumb way to think in my opinion because people who buy HD are not the same people who buy Buell. Heck the Ulysses was an adventure touring model that competed directly with BMW. How many companies would have like to have that as an offering? Erik Buell made a darn good and inventive motorcycle and will be missed. Let's hope Erik lands on his feet and is able to open a new company not under the repressive thumb of the motor company.

I have not seen the XR1200 either. I must say that i like the style (i'm not a big buell fan to begin with) much better than the traditional HD. It is a shame to see another American company bite the dust.

I think that this is certainly something that most US companies will face. How can you compete with foreign labor rates? I myself ride a Yamaha sport bike, and could not financially justify a buell; let alone a v-rod. It's tough to buy american when you have a bike (or welder lol) that costs five times less and will perform just as well if not better than the high cost item.

It is tough to pay for a name!!!!!

torqueman
12-06-2009, 01:22 PM
I have not seen the XR1200 either. I must say that i like the style (i'm not a big buell fan to begin with) much better than the traditional HD. It is a shame to see another American company bite the dust.

I think that this is certainly something that most US companies will face. How can you compete with foreign labor rates? I myself ride a Yamaha sport bike, and could not financially justify a buell; let alone a v-rod. It's tough to buy american when you have a bike (or welder lol) that costs five times less and will perform just as well if not better than the high cost item.

It is tough to pay for a name!!!!!

What I like is the more upright seating on the XR. For me the one downside of the VRod was that feet forward position put you more on your tail bone. Ok for short rides but for all day touring it is not my cup of tea.

I wish we knew the difference that labor rates actually make in end cost to produce. The Goldwing has been produced in Marysvill Ohio for years. Now they are moving production back to Japan. Yet the price is not going to be reduced any. In the US auto industry labor is about 10% the cost of the automobile. It does not seem like the big deal we are always hearing it is. On a 20k car that is $2000. It seems like shipping would eat that savings up. I suppose it is true that at that when you are talking billions of dollars in sales saving 8 or 10 percent is a significant dollar amount. My guess is the cars and motorcycles sell for what they can get and very little based on actual production cost.

In Harleys defense their quality is much improved. Their bikes are pretty reliable if you don't add hot rod parts to the motors. The problem is people can't leave them alone trying to get a few more horsepower out of them. Most HD models are cruisers made for cruising. If folks want the big HP they need to be looking at the VRod or one of the EU or Japanese models.

jonrya91
12-06-2009, 07:48 PM
What I like is the more upright seating on the XR. For me the one downside of the VRod was that feet forward position put you more on your tail bone. Ok for short rides but for all day touring it is not my cup of tea.

I wish we knew the difference that labor rates actually make in end cost to produce. The Goldwing has been produced in Marysvill Ohio for years. Now they are moving production back to Japan. Yet the price is not going to be reduced any. In the US auto industry labor is about 10% the cost of the automobile. It does not seem like the big deal we are always hearing it is. On a 20k car that is $2000. It seems like shipping would eat that savings up. I suppose it is true that at that when you are talking billions of dollars in sales saving 8 or 10 percent is a significant dollar amount. My guess is the cars and motorcycles sell for what they can get and very little based on actual production cost.

In Harleys defense their quality is much improved. Their bikes are pretty reliable if you don't add hot rod parts to the motors. The problem is people can't leave them alone trying to get a few more horsepower out of them. Most HD models are cruisers made for cruising. If folks want the big HP they need to be looking at the VRod or one of the EU or Japanese models.

Good point.

I'm a washed up motocross racer. For me, a bike with the footpegs somewhat behind me felt more like home. This pretty much took every cruiser out of the picture. Of course riding a sport bike for more than an hour is no fun.

Since the american auto industry has gone downhill, i have been hearing about labor rates of the big three. Not sure if these numbers are true, but they seem to be roughly 30% higher than japanese made vehicles (honda, toyota, etc..) IF that is the case, how would we ever compete again? Some people blame this on the auto union, but it is just a snowball that has been rolling downhill since the 80's.

I think the XR is a cool looking bike and i hope to see a few out next summer.

torqueman
12-07-2009, 06:31 PM
Motocross can be hard on the old body. Not too many guys doing it competitively much past early 20s. I like having my feet right under me or a little back. I can't take that extreme position of some of the sport bikes. However I find them a blast to ride for an hour or so. It would be nice to have enough money to have a track bike.

From what I have seen with benefits US company autoworkers make $25 per hour more than their US Toyota counter parts. Still that is a small part of the overall cost of the automobile. But CEO pay is very different. Toyota's top executive, Hiroshi Okuda, earned $903,000 in 2006 while GM CEO Rick Wagoner earned $9.3 million, and Alan Mulally from Ford, got $27.8 million. I just don't buy the argument I hear all the time that they have to pay that much to attract good people. It seems to me just the opposite is true. Wagoner drove GM right into the ground while Okuda ran his company in a sustainable way.

I don't know how that all fits with HD but since they are publicly traded my guess is they operate on the same "make a profit this quarter and long term sustainability be damned" pholisphy most publicly traded corporations have.

Gadget
12-07-2009, 06:42 PM
Excellent point TM. Corporate greed is becoming the downfall of America.

jonrya91
12-08-2009, 03:18 AM
Motocross can be hard on the old body. Not too many guys doing it competitively much past early 20s. I like having my feet right under me or a little back. I can't take that extreme position of some of the sport bikes. However I find them a blast to ride for an hour or so. It would be nice to have enough money to have a track bike.

From what I have seen with benefits US company autoworkers make $25 per hour more than their US Toyota counter parts. Still that is a small part of the overall cost of the automobile. But CEO pay is very different. Toyota's top executive, Hiroshi Okuda, earned $903,000 in 2006 while GM CEO Rick Wagoner earned $9.3 million, and Alan Mulally from Ford, got $27.8 million. I just don't buy the argument I hear all the time that they have to pay that much to attract good people. It seems to me just the opposite is true. Wagoner drove GM right into the ground while Okuda ran his company in a sustainable way.

I don't know how that all fits with HD but since they are publicly traded my guess is they operate on the same "make a profit this quarter and long term sustainability be damned" pholisphy most publicly traded corporations have.

All very good points.

I also believe that, at toyota, CEO pay is based on a percentage of worker pay. If you want more money, you have to pay your workers more.

torqueman
12-08-2009, 07:12 PM
All very good points.

I also believe that, at toyota, CEO pay is based on a percentage of worker pay. If you want more money, you have to pay your workers more.

Gee I wish they did that here. I could always use a big raise. :lol:

Well back to topic. I do wish Eric the very best and hope that he, or another entrepreneur, opens an American sport bike company. When NASCAR took over AMA road racing I was hoping they would promote it better than AMA did and put motorcycle road racing back in the lime light. My hope was the popularity of racing would springboard the start up of some American companies. So far I don't see NASCAR promoting motorcycle racing any more than AMA did. :sad: It is too bad because I have seen some great knee dragging side by side racing here in the US. I think if people would watch a race or two they would get hooked.

matteh99
12-09-2009, 11:39 AM
Erik Buell is starting new racing company.

It doesn't mean much to consumers but hopefully the idea of an American sport bike doesn't die.

YouTube - Erik Buell Racing Company (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3nC6Ax6ucM&feature=player_embedded)

Erik Buell starting new racing company (http://www.motorcycle.com/news/erik-buell-starting-new-racing-company-88975.html)

KHK
12-09-2009, 01:57 PM
Good for Eric!! Big companys like HD will do fullish things. A company I used to work for killed a product line because it only had a $4,000,000 yearly PROFIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BearNPum
12-09-2009, 02:27 PM
Excellent point TM. Corporate greed is becoming the downfall of America.

Yep, I am living it now. A once great company taken over by MBA's. I don't really get the end-game for these jokers - they have to live in America too! It is truly amazing how it is legal to strip-mine Americans for Wall Street gain, then we have to prop up all the jokers when it turns out they really didn't earn their astronomical pay.

Anyway, too bad about Buell.

torqueman
12-09-2009, 05:20 PM
Very cool that Buell racing will continue under a new name. It sounds like his company will be supporting the privateer racer. One of my favorite things about AMA is that privateers can compete. Really you need a factory ride to win but often a privateer will come in the top 10 and occasionally the top 5. You sure can't do that in NASCAR.

I'm guessing since they don't have a production bike they will not be able to race Buell's in the sport bike class. Unless there is something I am missing I thought the bikes had to be based on a limited number of specific production models. I think they can still run superbike. However how do you justify racing something on Sunday the fans can't buy on Monday? Let's face it racing is paid for by sales.