Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brand loyalty

Motorcycle.com just published a pre-release of a Consumer Reports Survey (link) that found that BMW and Harley-Davidson owners were much more likely to experience major problems with their bikes than owners of Japanese motorcycles, yet most BMW and H-D owners would buy that brand again.
“The survey, which will appear on the April 2013 issue of Consumer Reports, says one in three BMW owners reported experiencing a major problem with their bikes in the last four years. Harley-Davidson owners were slightly better, with one in four reporting serious issues. By contrast, only one in 10 Yamaha owners reported serious issues with Honda and Kawasaki owners having similar numbers.
And yet despite the issues, BMW and Harley-Davidson owners are more likely to buy their motorcycles again, if given the chance to do it over. According to the report, 75% of Harley-Davidson owners say they would definitely buy still (sic) their motorcycles if given the chance to make the decision again. BMW owners were nearly as loyal with 74% saying they would repeat their purchases, all things considered.
Honda owners were not far behind, with 72% saying they would make the same decision. Yamaha and Kawasaki owners were less emphatic. Despite reporting better reliability, only 63% of Yamaha owners would buy their motorcycles again. Only 60% of Kawasaki owners would make the same choice.
The article goes on to say that “reliability is only one of the factors that goes into deciding on a motorcycle purchase”. That’s true, but I think they are missing the key point and that is that the Japanese motorcycles are, for all intents and purposes, interchangeable. And I say that as a prior owner of numerous Japanese motorcycles over the years. Sure there are model differences between and among manufacturers from year to year but whether I owned a Honda or a Kawasaki or a Yamaha was of no importance to me. I had a Kawasaki 900 Z1, a Honda CB550, a Yamaha 350LC among others, each bought because that particular model appealed to me at that particular time for one reason or another. So if I had a brand loyalty at all (and I’m not sure I did) it was to Japanese, or metric, bikes and not to a specific marque. And if only “60% of Kawasaki owners would make the same choice” the other 40% would, I’d suggest, be looking at another metric bike and not a BMW, Harley-Davidson, or Moto-Guzzi.
So I would suggest that a better comparison would be between Harley-Davidson, BMW, Japanese motorcycles collectively, possibly British motorcycles (basically Triumph now with a few Nortons thrown in) and maybe Italian (Ducati, Moto-Guzzi). I think those are the major ‘brands’ from a loyalty perspective.
Thoughts?

Monday, March 25, 2013

What a difference a year makes.

Those of you who live in milder climates may be wondering why we in the still-frozen northern part of this continent are moaning about the seemingly endless winter this year. Here’s why.
Last spring, March 18 to be exact, I got out on my first ride of the year (link) down a somewhat muddy but mostly snow-free California Road.
This year, a week later in March, the missus and I got on the 4X4 and took a quick comparison ride to see how the road was faring and whether the beaver dams were still intact. (They were, but that’s likely only because the spring thaw hasn’t started here yet.)

As you can see there are patches of road showing through but there’s still a lot of the white stuff on the ground and so we wait, and complain, and wait some more, and complain some more.
So please bear with us; there’s a legitimate reason we’re miserable.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

So long…. Sniff….

Well the ‘82 FT500 is gone.

It just wasn’t being ridden and was taking up space in the garage making me feel guilty for not riding her. It was time to find a new home for the little Honda.

DSCN0704

Her new owner is into vintage motorcycles and plans to use her as a commuter bike – a role for which she’s perfectly suited. Hopefully we’ll meet on the road again some day.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I blame Bob

A few months ago in response to my post about camera mounts Bob Skoot offered this comment:
BobSkoot
The video was pretty cool so I spoke to a friend who’s an electronics geek about the feasibility of doing something similar.
Well the first thing that happened was that he got all excited and immediately started talking crazy talk about things I knew nothing about - servos, rheostats, stepper motors, microprocessors, etc. - developing, at least to my mind, the Taj Mahal of remote control GoPro apps. But the more he talked and the more questions I asked the more it all made sense to me. Soon we had a concept and a development approach that seemed pretty simple and straightforward.
He then offered to build one for me but by then had done such a good job of convincing me it was really quite easy that I decided to have a go myself. And so now I’m neck deep in Arduino development environments, bread boards, cheap Chinese electronic components, and a new hobby (long-suffering spousal unit rolls eyes at this point).

As they say, at least it keeps me out of the poolroom.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Myrtle Beach – The Land of NO!

We just got back from a 2-week visit to Myrtle Beach, an attempt to escape the snow and cold for a bit and tune up the golf game in anticipation of courses opening here in the next 3 or 4 weeks.
As we often do when travelling we walked a lot, both for exercise as well as to become familiar with the area in which we are staying. And this trip was no exception. Of course when walking you get a much better sense of a community, and my impression of this particular community is that the powers that be would rather just everyone stayed home and not mess up their orderly, dull little lives.
In all my travels to major cities in the US and internationally I have never seen so many signs telling me what I can’t do as we did in Myrtle Beach. This is but a small sample.
 MB 2013-03-03 09.53.53MB 2013-03-03 09.58.54MB no MCMB 2013-03-03 10.06.58MB 2013-03-03 10.07.23MB 2013-03-03 10.07.38MB 2013-03-03 10.10.25MB 2013-03-05 08.53.46
This is one of my favourites. After taking 5 minutes to read all the activities that are verboten, the bottom line says, “Enjoy your stay”. Really?
MB 2013-03-03 10.07.16
And this one is pretty good too. I assume it’s okay to walk there on Mon, Tue, Wed, or Fri, just not Thur.

But then what else would you expect from a State that considers elevators an amusement ride?
MB 2013-03-09 08.38.24
But worst of all, amongst all the other no’s was this one: NO HEAT!
SC20130304-102642
The temperatures for the 2 weeks we were there ran anywhere from 10 to 15 degrees F below normal for this time of year. Expecting mid- to high-60’s we left our gloves, parkas and toques at home, a big mistake as we froze most days as temperatures struggled to get out of the 40’s and northern winds whistled down from the Arctic to make even sunny days uncomfortably cool. The shorts and tee shirts never even got unpacked and a quick trip to the outlet mall was needed to buy some sweatshirts and warmer clothing.  However we did get some good golf in and played some great courses, but next year we may be heading further south for our winter break.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Only the Italians…

They say that no one can get the most out of a piece of high-tech machinery like an Italian, and here are a few examples to prove it.

Marco Biaggi:
Marco Biaggi

Valentino Rossi:
Valentino Rossi

Andrea Dovizioso:
Andrea Dovizioso

And, of course, Francesco Schettino.
Francesco Schettino