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 Sturgis 2015

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Chris Olson
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PostSubject: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:43 am

The rally was a very busy place this year.  Never heard the official totals but it was the biggest rally ever seen.  And I'm pretty sure, hands-down the largest gathering of motorcycles in one place ever seen on earth.

Before we left there was a thread asking about Sturgis, or who had been there, etc..  This is a video of a sampling of the scenery and attractions in the Black Hills, and rolling into Sturgis on the Ultra.  This is just a small part of what you see when you attend the rally.  And we didn't spend much time in the wild part of town.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  So maybe a video is worth a thousand pictures.

(note: video not available in some countries due to the selections of background music for the video)

https://youtu.be/Meufd2o0Swk
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Chris Olson
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PostSubject: Re: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:12 am

It is also with some sadness to announce that we have decided to sell our Silver Wings. When we bought the Ultra it was with the idea that we wanted to ride a Harley to the 75th anniversary of the Black Hills Classic. However, we fell totally in love with the big Harley over the last 20,000 miles we put on it.

Just about all of our two-up touring miles over the years have been on Honda Goldwings - we owned every model Honda ever built. None of them match the Ultra as a two-up long distance touring machine. It is THE most refined touring motorcycle we have ever ridden. We took a 13 year hiatus from two-up touring and went with individual bikes, mainly because we became increasingly unhappy with the shortcomings of the Goldwing as a touring platform. The Harley has convinced us to go back to two-up touring, which we enjoy immensely. So the Silver Wings will, unfortunately, be going down the road to their next owners. I actually sold mine while we were gone to Sturgis - sold on consignment at the Honda dealer. My wife no longer is interested in hers because she's having way too much fun riding pillion on the Ultra.
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dspevack
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PostSubject: Re: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:23 am

For anyone interested in seeing what Sturgis is like.
This page also has embedded a drone's eye video of Sturgis.
http://lanesplitter.jalopnik.com/sturgis-bike-rally-from-above-drones-eye-view-of-the-m-1722891700
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Chris Olson
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PostSubject: Re: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:45 pm

The town of Sturgis itself is the hub. But there's also "mini-rallies" in the surrounding area. We got video of rolling into Black Hills Harley-Davidson in Rapid City, which we didn't include in the above video. Black Hills Harley expanded their showroom to about double its previous size. They put up a tent in the parking lot along with about 130 other vendors, move their entire motorcycle inventory (we're talking over 600 bikes) to the tent and use the showroom just for sales of Motorclothes, parts and accessories. They sold most of their ~600 motorcycle inventory during the rally.

We were also at Indian Motorcycle Sturgis and not near as much interest and activity there as what Polaris Industries would like to see, I'm sure. It would appear that Indian has sort of priced themselves out of the market with their bikes costing a few thousand more than a comparable Harley. People look at the Indians and then go to Black Hills Harley and buy their bike there. The base Electra Glide is cheaper than a Honda Goldwing, and even a CVO Ultra Limited is in the $34,000 range. At over $28 Grand for a base Roadmaster with two-tone paint, and it does not match the Harley in fit and finish and attention to detail, they just don't sell. And people are leery of them because Indian has changed hands too many times, and already gone thru too many different designs to be considered a reliable brand (yet). Harley's strong point is that when they introduce a design, like the Evo engine, and now the Twin Cam - it is supported for 20+ years, and then they sell the tooling to the aftermarket like S&S for support clear back to the 40's. So you see just about as many 30-40 year old Harleys in Sturgis as you do new ones. That fact has put Harley-Davidson as the #1 manufacturer of 600+cc motorcycles on earth for the last 25 years running, and it is very difficult for other manufacturers, even Honda, to match that reputation with their customers. When somebody spends $25 Grand+ on a motorcycle, with Harley they have the peace of mind knowing that 20 years later they can walk into a Harley dealership and still get anything for that bike that they need for it.

Victory motorcycles are pretty much a non-player in the market. They never even managed to put a dent in Harley's sales numbers that amounts to anything more than a rounding error on Harley's balance sheets. I predict that Polaris will eventually drop the Victory line because they don't sell.

If nothing else, going to the Sturgis rally makes one realize just how big of a driving force in the motorcycle industry Harley-Davidson is. They outsell all other brands combined by a huge margin, and they did it by never leaving their customers stranded with an obsolete model.

We took a new Indian Roadmaster on a test ride during the rally and we were not impressed with it.
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Cosmic_Jumper
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PostSubject: Re: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:35 pm

Chris, I am sorry to hear that you are selling off your Silverwings and will be leaving us. You've always brought a fresh perspective and interesting commentary to our forum. You'll be missed. Best wishes,

Tim
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JeffR
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PostSubject: Re: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:00 pm

Chris,

I'm also sorry to hear you and your wife have decided to sell your SWings but I fully understand. I went to the CTX700 1 1/2 years ago after 7 years on the SWing. Best of luck to you and your wife and please feel free to visit.
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http://www.silverwing600.com
Chris Olson
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PostSubject: Re: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:53 pm

Thanks Tim and Jeff,

Oh, I'll read the forum and check in for sure.  Good group here.

Things change and my wife didn't really get vocal about wanting to go back to two-up until we got the Harley.  She gets the most enjoyment out of riding pillion, taking pictures, movies, or just sitting back and watching the scenery.  And I can understand that.  It's how we spent the vast majority of our miles over the years.

Plus there's an advantage in fuel economy with two-up touring.  With either our ST1100's or the Silver Wings we're in the 20-25 mpg range, combined.  The Harley gets 45 mpg in the type of touring in the Black Hills, 35-40 mpg in mountain riding, and 50 mpg running long stretches of open road.  And for a touring bike the tire life is much better on the Harley.  We got 17,000 miles on our front tire and 10,500 on the first rear.

The Silver Wing is an excellent solo touring bike and it is with some regret that we decided to sell them.  But we're moving on to something that better fits our touring riding style.  The first time we ever test rode a Harley Ultra was several years back when the rear end went out of our GL1500 on 16 south of Rapid City.  We rented one from Black Hills Harley for the rally that year while our GL1500 was being fixed at Rice Honda in Rapid City.  We sort of fell in love in the big 'Glide then, and pretty wanted one ever since.  The problem then was the price - Harley dealers had waiting lists and were selling them for $2,500 over suggested retail.  We couldn't afford one and they wouldn't take our Goldwing in trade.  So the fact that we could get a "good deal" on a GL1800 trade put us on one of those.  The frame broke on it two months after we bought it and Honda refused to cover the broken frame (until two years later when they recalled them).  So we managed to work out a deal to trade that on the pair of ST1100's, which served us well for 12 years and 160,000 miles.  The Silver Wings came at a time when we had worn out touring bikes with a serious main bearing knock in mine when started cold, the SW's were cheap, we could afford to pay cash for them, and they turned out to be a very capable touring machine.  I can't really say much bad about the Silver Wing.

We're still scooter riders anyway.  We got a pair of Chinese-made Roketa Bali 150's and we use those for all our general running around, wife riding to work, etc..

It is with a bit of sadness to realize that when my wife sells her Silver Wing, it will be the first time in 36 years that we do not have a Honda in the stable.
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"Hi Yo"
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PostSubject: Re: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:10 pm

Chris Olson wrote:


It is with a bit of sadness to realize that when my wife sells her Silver Wing, it will be the first time in 36 years that we do not have a Honda in the stable.



The Hondas will always have a place in your memories and hearts and that is what counts.


I too wish to thank both of you for all that you have given to this forum. cheers
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Chris Olson
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PostSubject: Re: Sturgis 2015   Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:44 pm

Hi Yo wrote:
The Hondas will always have a place in your memories and hearts and that is what counts.

You bet. Lots of miles, memories and photos from those Goldwings. What is sort of disappointing is that Honda went the wrong way with the Goldwing. They got bigger, heavier and poorer gas mileage with each successive model.

Getting on the Harley is like a breath of fresh air. Compared to the Goldwing, it is no lighter, but the weight is lower so it handles much better. Its ergonomics and comfort is much better because of the narrow engine profile, and it doesn't feel like you're straddling a 55 gallon drum, boxed in with no room to move. It gets way better gas mileage. It is way easier to service. And it is smoother with none of the buzzy high-frequency vibration that the Goldwing fours and sixes have always had at certain engine rpm's. The only the Goldwing has more of is power. But you don't need it because the Harley has torque.

The Harley has more low-frequency vibration at around 1,500 rpm cruising at 25 mph in town in 4th gear. But it's not intrusive. With the Big Twin ticking over at 2,200 rpm at 60 mph you have to look down at it to see if it's moving on its rubber mounts at all because you can't tell if it's running or not. And you pull out to pass a car, roll on the throttle and it's right there with 100+ lbs of torque right now - no shifting down and 2,500 rpm you're passing 75 mph heading for 85 mph at an alarming rate. It puts the fun back in two-up touring where the Goldwing is just plain boring, and feels like it riding it because you have no connection with the machine under you.

Honda understands how to build a big motorcycle, dress it in plastic and make it go like a bat out of hell. But that does not make a luxury tourer.

So Honda lost their spot in our garage because they lost track of the big picture and focused too much on specifications. Honda's offerings in the US are pretty dismal with the Goldwing selling less than 1,000 units per year in the North American market, the ST platform basically dead, a bunch of different Harley-styled cruisers using their flat six and v-twin engines with bolt-on cooling fins, a weirdly-styled "bat bike", and some super sports that nobody can afford insurance for anymore. They are trying to get the karma back with the CTX line, and they're on the right track with that one. But after closing the Marysville motorcycle plant in 2010 due to the recession and Harley-Davidson outselling them about 6:1 in the North American market, it looks like Honda is focusing more on India and China these days instead of the US anymore.
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