Cruiser magazine article

Molinoman

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I just picked up the December 2007 issue of Cruiser magazine and read the article on the "new and improved" R3 Touring edition.
I was flabbergasted at the assumptions that were addressed in this article. My comments are as follows in bold.

I knew "we" were in trouble with the following statement (about the current versions of the Rocket): "Well, it's done OK for Triumph in the States, but wasn't, to be frank, quite the right mix to really hit a home run."
First up was the headlights "...the twin headlights on the original Rocket are very European (my take on it is no, they give it a distinctly Triumph look or are they now ashamed of this...are single headlights going to be the norm on all US Triumph bikes because the twin set up is very European????), and the traditional (my emphasis in underline) cruiser rider wants a big, chrome headlight."...REALLY???

Next on the "hit list" is the instruments in the fuel tank..."because that's where the majority of cruiser riders want to find them." REALLY???

The comment on the wind screen I'll leave alone as it may be a "suitable" improvement then again maybe not, but is is supposedly easily detachable.

"You'll notice there is now one exhaust pipe per side; a lot of riders didn't like the asymetric two pipes on one side, one on the other layout of the original. We learnt that it's the little things that really matter sometimes." REALLY??? (Flip, sorry about the punctuation and spelling...but it's right out of the magazine)

"The Rocket III's very difficult to place in a niche, which we have to acknowledge is part of its appeal to many people. But at this high-end of the market, we're asking riders to make a stretch from an air-cooled V-twin to a liquid-cooled inline triple." (Now it comes out...Triumph is attempting to target Harley riders and all along I thought is was trying to target guys who want a "BIG" bike...small Harley engines need not apply).

But wait there is more...
"We want to make the bike have that Triumph difference, yet not feel too different." ...again REALLY???

"The main thing we focused on was comfort, and we've done a lot of work on tuning the suspension and getting the seat construction just right." Note to Triumph, you are not going to win that one...it is what "after market" seats are for, a good number of us do not fit the 160 to 180 lb. ideal the seats are "usually" designed for. Any "touring" Gold Wing rider (and probably Harley as well) will tell you that this is one area, for long distance riding, that gets a lot of attention in one way or another.

They have changed the rear tire to a 180/70 series to enable large sized hard bags (the Gold Wing is a 180/60 series tire) I hope there are more choices than the Gold Wing gets (Metzler, Dunlop, Avon and Bridgestone) and the mileage on that rear tire is not going to be very good as the Gold Wing rear tire gets about the same mileage as the current Rocket version...again not very good (3,000 to 10,000 miles depending on "riding style").

Other improvements (???):
Fuel capacity is at 5.9 gallons ...less than current capacity (and tank is more narrow). Seat height is at 29 inches with the wheelbase gaining a .5 inch at 67.2 inches. Dry weight has increased because of the "beefed" up frame, bags and screen. The front tire is now a 16 inch size with a 150/80 front wheel for low-speed ease and composure. Also: " The rider also gets a heel to toe shifter"...but the current Classic and Classic "Tourer" models had them already.

Other highlights:
"Brand-new handlebars wear brand-new chunky switchgear and clutch lever, the rider and passenger get completely new (and much larger) floorboards.

"The instruments feature two odometers, fuel gauge, range to empty and clock, plus you can scroll between functions using a button on the switchgear. The indicators are auto-canceling with a time delay."

Now for the good and bad news (not necessarily in that order): The 2294 cc (140 c.i.) engine is unchanged, as is the gearbox and its ratios. Power is 106.3 (not a misprint) hp with a peak torque of 154.4 delivered at 2000 rpm.

For better or worse other comments are as follows:
"Gone is that wheelbarrow-filled-with-cement steering feel of the old bike and absent is the need to really dominate the beast to get it going where you want it."

"The giant powerhouse of an engine remains an impressive, if unattractive piece of work."

"I think Triumph has rightly left the heart and soul of the Rocket alone (with a 106 hp @ 5400 rpm?...my observation)."

And last but not least is the closing comment:
"As we finish up with some static beauty shots well away from prying eyes, I stand back and take a good, hard look at Triumph's new baby. The overall lines are very familiar, and the bike's individual features echo strongly a style of machine that's long defined the American two-wheeled heartbeat (read...like a Harley). Well, fair enough. However you dress that three-chlinder engine up, it's no Harley (talk of a back handed compliment?). But it is something else; it has a discernible character and soul quite its own (mighty white of you to give it that....) And to my mind, in a sea of bland clones, that's no bad thing. At least now the Rocket III Touring looks like it belongs (underline my emphasis).

Hope my commentary wasn't too rough, but to me they are trying to improve "downwards" in most cases to make it more comparable to that...other motorcycle whose headquarters is located in Milwaukee.

Triumph...what have you done?

Dennis
 
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dougl

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I for one don't take any offense about what they said about my standard Rocket, especially the stuff about handling. It fits my tastes - that's all that matters.

However, I'm glad they really liked the Tourer. From the pictures, I think it looks super. There really may be a possibility that Triumph may get the new U.S. Road King market. I can't imagine why anyone would buy an HD RK when they could get a Triumph RK with a Rocket engine.
 

vonbonds

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I would have stopped reading that foolish article had it not been for the bold print. Nice work!

I agree completely. Without your write up in bold I wouldn't have read past the second or third paragraph.

Lets face it, some people just don't get the Rocket. I barely ride mine anymore because of my new job but when I do I know exactly what the bike is about....FUN!
 

Sidecar Flip

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Dennis:

It's obvious to me that the Cruiser (Bruiser) rag's editorial department lacks a spell checker program and their grammatical prose is somewhere between Akron and Youngstown, Ohio. I hope that the rag was a complimentary issue not a bought issue. Paying for other's ignorance is inexcusable.

I was in the shop yesterday, I'm installing new lighting and I was listening to Rick Edleman on the radio. I enjoy Rick and his never ending commentary concerning the financial health of the world in general and he was discussing Microsoft and Apple and their double digit worth increases this past year. Along the way he discussed HD stock and made an interesting observation, one that I would tend to agree with. Rick stated that HD's stock has remained unchanged and is actually regressing simply because the baby boomer generation, the same generation that increased H|D's worth and viability has outgrown the need to go out and buy an 'American Icon'. The BB generation is outgrown that need and is becoming more attuned to investments rather than material wants and needs.

Rick is usually pretty close in his observations. Having said that, is it really a good move for Triumph to try to position themselves squarely in the cruiser (read HD) bike market when in reality, H|D is actually regressing?
 

Molinoman

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not the whole article

Thanks guys for your comments on my comments. I would like to make it perfectly clear, the items I commented on are not the whole article, I just picked out the finer points for some nitpicking.

The pictures were pretty nice and it was good to have access to the original ones in the article...and yes, Flip, I did buy the magazine, but I thought it was worth it to be able to read the actual thought process behind the article...not sure how much of a motorcycle rider the author of the article was.

I am glad I appear not to be alone in noting that this author does not seem to have a clue as to why we bought the Rocket in the first place.
Dennis
 

RatBoy

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Molino,
I applaud your commentary, it made me realize that I'm not the only one that feels that way.

There really may be a possibility that Triumph may get the new U.S. Road King market. I can't imagine why anyone would buy an HD RK when they could get a Triumph RK with a Rocket engine.

Dougl... IMHO, people that buy Harleys buy them (1) to fit in with the herd, or (2) because it's a Harley regardless, or (3) because there are a million after-market parts for them.

Most of the Harley riders that I'm friends with flat out refuse to get on my bike. A few will ride it but then I get the "it don't sound like a Harley" or "it's nice bike, but it ain't a Harley" excuses. Every once in a blue moon, I get the "I only buy American" reason and I'll except that one except neither Indians nor Victory sells very well. So it's not a "buy American thing", it's a "Buy American thing as long as its a Harley".

Most people don't buy Harleys because of their performance because most Harleys are pigs...pardon the pun. Most people don't buy them because they're moderately priced pigs.

Again, IMHO, people buys Harleys because Harley-Davidson knows how to market it's product. They market to the hordes of people that prefer style over substance and they can sell a lot of bikes that way.

Triumph will never have that large of following because they don't market to the masses. Triumph, outside of the sport bike market, will never be anything more than a niche provider in the cruiser or the touring markets.

Look at the other "foreign Harley Clones" like Honda VTX or the Yamahaha Roadstar... they still aren't scratching the surface in the cruiser market. Even Honda and Yamaha are courting the aftermarket to develop new parts for the bikes.

I can't tell you how many times people have come up to me and ask me what I riding. No one has even heard of it. There's Honda and Yamaha commericals on the tv all of the time. I've never seen a Triumph commerical. I always see Harley commericals.

Marketing... it's all about marketing..
 

dougl

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OK, you're probably right. I've been a Triumph fan (and owner) since 1970. However, I think harleys are great looking bikes and I also think the Triumph Tourer is a great looking bike with the Triumph pedigree and Rocket performance. If I had $20K lying around, I'd buy one.
 

TonyMac

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Dennis:

It's obvious to me that the Cruiser (Bruiser) rag's editorial department lacks a spell checker program and their grammatical prose is somewhere between Akron and Youngstown, Ohio. I hope that the rag was a complimentary issue not a bought issue. Paying for other's ignorance is inexcusable.

I was in the shop yesterday, I'm installing new lighting and I was listening to Rick Edleman on the radio. I enjoy Rick and his never ending commentary concerning the financial health of the world in general and he was discussing Microsoft and Apple and their double digit worth increases this past year. Along the way he discussed HD stock and made an interesting observation, one that I would tend to agree with. Rick stated that HD's stock has remained unchanged and is actually regressing simply because the baby boomer generation, the same generation that increased H|D's worth and viability has outgrown the need to go out and buy an 'American Icon'. The BB generation is outgrown that need and is becoming more attuned to investments rather than material wants and needs.

Rick is usually pretty close in his observations. Having said that, is it really a good move for Triumph to try to position themselves squarely in the cruiser (read HD) bike market when in reality, H|D is actually regressing?

I like the sounds of this Rick Edleman guy

I am of the opinion that Harley Davidson sales have reached a plateau and they are now in, for them, uncharted territories and If they don’t come up with a solution quickly they will go into a even steeper decline or perhaps even be bought out by Honda. I bet there’s a lot of HD executives anxiously watching if the new Street Bob, Rocker and Nightster will help pull them out of the doldrums.

For years they kept supply slightly less than demand to maintain resale prices whilst maintaining steady growth. All was going swimmingly until a couple of years ago when to maintain that growth they had to resort to approving loans to buyers with less than perfect credit histories who would have previously been rejected. Those buyers didn’t have poor credit histories for nothing and soon lots of bikes were being returned because payments weren’t being made. It got so bad, and the numbers involved so substantial that it is effecting the resale values of HD’s and thus the selling price of new motorcycles. HD dealers are now having to deal rather than make take it or leave it offers. Until recently selling HD’s at less than MSRP was unheard of.

Interesting days ahead for the HD folks

Check out the decline in their stock the past 12 months:-

HD stock price 2007

http://www.advfn.com/quote_Harley-Davidson_NYSE_HOG.html



 

Sidecar Flip

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Tony:

When you get back stateside, Rick is on WJR. It's a syndicated program so it might be available in other markets too. Amy and I will probably do the Howell thing. I'll call you on that.

I've said time and again that the American motorcycle market is like a fickle woman. Excited by new to but bored at the same time with the attention span of a 5 year old. That's why I don't understand Triumph's foray into the HD clone market. If what Rick says is true and he's usually right on the money plus the declining share value of HD's common stock, then the once fertile ground of the HD inspired bike isn't producing a bountiful havvest and one more player only serves to further dillute the already dwindling potential customer base. Remember too that there are a number of other manufacturers in the same arena with established marques, better dealer network and lower prices. You can buy a cookie cutter Japanese cruiser with some serious displacement that's the mirror image of the HD for literally a fraction of what the icon sells for and they don't break either.

I just can't comprehend Bloor's strategy with the new HD clone. Way too many clones out there already.
 
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