Problem is I don't feel like looking back.
I am looking forward. Forward to the future of me on the Burgie. Forward to where the girlfriend feels confident enough to climb onto the back, wrap her arms about me and whisper into my ear..."Lets go."
I am looking forward to longer trips, out to the shore to get some shots of the ocean and sunsets. Out to the other coast of Florida where a old friend of mine will be moving. Perhaps even an overnight ride up to Charleston, SC where I have several old friends I've not seen in years.
Partially because of the costs involved. Gas is continuing to raise, and although it has seemed to stabilized for now...it will go up again. I know enough about economics to know that the job market is not going to bounce back anytime soon, we are looking at high unemployment and other issues for at least the next 10 years.
This is going to force people to look for alternative methods of transportation. We are seeing it already as scooter sales were up 50% in the first quarter of 2011. Although I think most people didn't think it through and only bought scooters based on fuel economy and did not consider things like speed, safety and the distance they needed to travel back and forth to work (which are all reasons I upgraded from 125cc to 400cc).
Scooter sales dropped a bit as the year went on but even in the 3rd quarter of last year they were overall positive.
Motorcycle sales however dropped. Perhaps due to the fact that Americans don't like standard shifts, I drive a standard shift normally in my car...and found switching to the motorcycle to be a bit confusing. Also limiting I think was the power involved. When I started looking about the smallest engine I found was 650cc. While I was okay with that, I wondered why a lot of cycles were in the higher cc range. I know that speed brings stability, but did we need 1200cc to do that?
So the marketer and researcher in me looks for answers, solutions...and wonders what does the future hold.
- Increased gas prices are a given.
- Increased urbanization.
- People living with their parents longer, or if they do move it...it will be close to work (see two). Money will be tight due to a lack of work.
- Increased use of public and alternative transportation.
I have to be honest, I want this bike.
Automatics may make a dent in the marketplace if American cycle culture is willing to accept some harsh reality. Smaller engines, better suspensions, more storage is the wave of the future. The so called Maxi-scooters are leading the way.
Ridley had a nice run for several years but may have entered the market to early, they have stopped production and it will be interesting to see if they reenter the market in the near future.
Honda has a few things up it's sleeve and introduced a automatic transmission in 2009, however the bike was priced at 15K and in a down economy did not sell well. Even the mighty Harley Davidson has toyed with the idea in the past. I see this idea being explored more in the future.
For now though we will put these idea's aside, and explore them more in part 2 of this series. Hopefully in a few days.