"Yea, what's up?" I leaned back in my chair and rubbed my eyes as the game....er, the problem, I was working on my work computer had somehow determined it was going to be unsolvable.
"How difficult is it to get a motorcycle license?"
I get these questions from time to time. I also get questions about how fast my bike can go "I've had it to 90 MPH but I don't feel safe at that speed." I tell them (which is more of a comment on my ability as a rider than the bike). Questions like "Is that highway legal?", "What's your fuel economy?", "How much to fill up the tank?" In general I don't mind answering them. After all most people are curious, but its a rare few that actually continue to look into things.
Later that same day, I saw him checking out bikes on various websites. He wanted a used sport bike, but wasn't happy with the horsepower on a lot of them. "Really, I don't need to go 120 mph" he said.
|Special thanks to Genevieve Schmitt.|
However, unlike Detroit in the 1970's the motorcycle industry is actually paying attention to a changing world, thus the number of "Maxi-scooters" that are coming out in the next few years. If you think about it it makes perfect sense. A lot of the riders that purchased smaller scooters (the dreaded 50cc) are realizing that they are under powered. For many that means selling off the scoot, but for a few that means an upgrade. In a way it's nice to see companies like Yamaha, Aprilia, BMW and others create something that has the best of both worlds. A scooter traditionally has the under seat storage, a pass through frame, smaller wheels and a front facing fairing with floorboards. In other words the iconic Vespa. The automatic transmission has also traditionally been linked with scooters.
The "Maxi-scooter" has blurred the lines. You have a smaller engine (with ranges from 250cc to 800cc) but with enough power to drive safely on any road and in nearly any condition., lighter weight - the ave maxi scoot weighs about 300 pounds (136 Kilo), the ave motorcycle 500 pounds (227 Kilos). The maxi scooter provides more storage, good fuel economy, automatic transmissions, the larger tires of a maxi-scooter provide more stability, etc. When I went looking for a bike what sold me on the Suzuki Burgman was a simple sentence in a review. Even though I can't remember the phrase word for word one of the things the reviewer said was "This will replace your car." I believe that the maxi-scooters will continue to grow in popularity as people realize their needs will be met with these small to mid-range motorcycles. And lets be honest, the trend over the last few years has been to bigger and bigger power-plants. There are simply no bikes that a beginning rider can buy that are in a reasonable cc range.
At the end of the day though, what really matters in perception. Will the general American public accept the new style of motorcycle? Will dealerships make an effort to sell a "scooter" or continue to push a more traditional motorcycle? Will companies like Kymco become major players in a tough field because of their success with smaller scooters?
As someone interested in marketing it's going to be interesting to see how things go in the next few years, but I wouldn't be surprised with the "maxi-scooter" market takes off in the next few years. I expect they will be marketed to the new riders too.