Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Is the cruiser on its way out?

There is an article by Fred Rau in the April 2007 edition of Motorcycle Consumer News that points out some interestiing stats regarding cruiser sales. While they still make up the bulk of US motorcycle sales, Fred points out that they are in the midst of a 4-year state of decline as a bike category. All this at a time when motorcycling is experiencing a 26-year high in popularity. Hat tip to Richard at Two-Wheeled Texans for the following synopsis of Fred's data:
• Total cruiser sales have flattened and, for some manufacturers, have already declined

• The industry reports that the value of Harleys has recently and suddenly dropped by nearly 15 percent across the board, which is the biggest downturn in the value of a used Harley in over 20 years

• BMW has abandoned its cruiser line due to poor sales

• Two smaller cruiser manufacturerss have gone belly up (Excelsior-Henderson & Indian)

• Victory's latest motorcycle is not another cruiser -- it's a touring bike

• Manufacturers have stepped up sale prices and rebates, and some are offering discounts of up to $5000 per bike on cruisers

• Yamaha is heavily discounting the Roadliner and Stratoliner models that were so hot just two years ago

• The Harley V-Rod has completely tanked, going from up to $3000 over MSRP a couple of years ago, to having hefty rebates and discounts today

• Honda has dropped the Valkyrie, and sales of the once-mighty VTX are steadily declining

• Motorcycle rentals of cruisers (which is the best indicator of future sales) have declined steadily for four years. But rental of touring bikes, in particular the Gold Wing, is rising sharply.

Seems that cruiser popularity is fading fast. I wonder what the true impetus of the market change has been.


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