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  #16  
Old 9 Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
The 20:1 aftermarket to OEM ratio is pretty scary
.

It is scary ... but I guess its the logistics of manufacturing wholesale and of retail distribution chains.

For example, my understanding is BMW pay at factory level, something like 27 EUR for a standard non ESA R1200GS rear shock from suppliers ... but it retails for 900 EUR at a BMW dealer.

I have heard BMW got the airshocks for the X-Challenges almost for free (I have even heard 'for free') because Continental made too many of them for the HP2 Enduro and just wanted to get rid of them since they didnt work that well and seemed to have no future ... yet they retail for something like 1200 EUR.

I am guessing BMW pay no more than 300-400 EUR to Loncin for an 650cc engine ... yet they are 7000 from a dealer if you want a replacement.

If you are a manufacturer, stuff costs next to nothing (by our retail standards) from suppliers. It costs so little at factory level to have good forks or a shock in the bike, but so much at the consumer end, especially if it is aftermarket. To have a good seat or good rims on the bike from the factory ... again a tiny increase, for us, it is hundreds.

The problem is us ... the buyers. We arent discerning enough to drive the manufacturers to include quality bits. The return on investment for manufacturers is to put 5 more hp on the bike ... cause people will pay thousands of pounds for 5 or 10 more horses or a flash new look. But in general, customers dont care enough about the quality or durability of components to make manufacturers use them.

The HP2 enduro is a prime example. When it came out it was about 5k more than the standard GS. Where does the 5k go? The bike had crap forks and a crap rear airshock ... but was sold as a HP (high performance) bike. When it came out the stock GS had 100 hp, the HP2 had 105. Basically the buyers were prepared to pay 5k for 5 extra hp. They sure as hell werent paying it for the suspension! Obviously the bike was a fair bit lighter with that suspension, and it had bigger wheels, but the wheels werent any better, just bigger. i.e. they wouldnt have cost BMW any more money.

So every year, the manufacturers respond to customers demands, and build bikes with slightly more power than the previous model. There is simply no driver to put better suspension on an adventure bike. And there is no driver in adventure bikes to make them lighter. Because the ones that sell the most, are the heaviest models. So that gives you an idea where adventure bikes are going from a manufacturers perspective ... more powerful, bigger and heavier. Cause that pays the bills. Thats why its more important for KTM to develop a 1200 Adventure model than to develop a 690 Adventure model. Its a pity, but thats the reality. And its a reality that we, the consumers, have created. I dont think we can blame the manufactures for this one.

I think the last bike that someone made that you could jump on in the showroom, ride it away from the dealer and head off round the world, was the 640 Adventure. And the sad reality is that it just didnt sell.
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Last edited by colebatch; 9 Aug 2011 at 14:23.
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  #17  
Old 9 Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
I think the last bike that someone made that you could jump on in the showroom, ride it away from the dealer and head off round the world, was the 640 Adventure. And the sad reality is that it just didnt sell.
So why didn't it sell enough ? Small market ? We are all tight ? Wasn't advertised enough ? Too lean on the profit margins ?
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  #18  
Old 9 Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by gixxer.rob View Post
So why didn't it sell enough ? Small market ? We are all tight ? Wasn't advertised enough ? Too lean on the profit margins ?
combination of buyers too tight and market too small I imagine.

A lot of people complain about the cost of adventurising a bike ... but for a reality check, have a look at what it costs a 4WD average prep for a drive to Capetown or Mongolia or Magadan ... £50k is a typical 4WD prep budget ... even for someone who starts off with a cheap old landrover.

Yet bikers wont spent 5k to prep a bike. Only a few spend 2k, and everyone else wants something to go round the world on that costs 2-3k all up. Is that realistic?

On one hand, yes you can buy and prep a bike to go round the world on 2k worth of bike, on the other hand, to spend 4-5k adventurising a bike is hardly excessive either. Thats a key point. Bikes are so cheap to prepare anyway, that even doing it really well is still a bargain.

We complain that so many of the adventure bikes being built now are the 'starbucks' adventure bikes. But who is to blame for that? Thats the only section of the adventure market prepared to spend any money.

Even the guys who are prepared to spend 15k to buy an "adventure bike" find it hard to comprehend someone who buys a bike for 3k and spends 4k it making a very purpose focussed adventure bike.

On another forum, a year or two back, we were talking about a potential KTM 690 Adventure that everyone claims to want. I mentioned bearing in mind the cost of changes that would need to be made to the 690 Enduro to make it work, and the base cost of the 690 Enduro, the 690 Adventure would have to come in at around GBP 9000. Would people be prepared to spend that on a well sorted single cylinder adventure bike? Suddenly everyone baulked.

There is a mentality that if the bike is light and single cylinder it cant possibly be worth as much as a heavier bike. Even if it is better for the job! So the reality is, if KTM made a 690 Adventure and put it on the market for 9k, 95% of potential customers would change their mind in the showroom, spend a grand more and get the 990 Adventure. Again its back to buyers associating "value" with "size" and "horsepower".
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Last edited by colebatch; 9 Aug 2011 at 14:17.
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  #19  
Old 9 Aug 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
.

The problem is us ... the buyers. We arent discerning enough to drive the manufacturers to include quality bits. The return on investment for manufacturers is to put 5 more hp on the bike ... cause people will pay thousands of pounds for 5 or 10 more horses or a flash new look. But in general, customers dont care enough about the quality or durability of components to make manufacturers use them.

And its a reality that we, the consumers, have created. I dont think we can blame the manufactures for this one.
I agree, but conversely, at the Enduro and Motocross end of the market the buyers are always looking for better equipment and, it seems, not too bothered about the cost. KTM have in the past fitted better equipment (White Power and Brembo competition stuff) to their adventure bikes but even they are supplying cheap replicas now and getting away with it.

Profit margins on the Starbucks tourers must be enormous
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  #20  
Old 9 Aug 2011
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Here’s a thread with a similar title started back in 2003 and nibbled at once or twice over the years until 2009: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ding-bike-5122

It’s interesting to see how opinions on “perfect bikes” are both varied, but positively differing during the growth of the “adventure bike” market niche in the past 5 or 10 years.

I believe the perfect bike is the one that actually fulfils your needs, whatever they are. The important thing is that you actually have an adventure. For some it’s solo light weight off road, for others it’s 2 up on-road with the kitchen sink. It’s what you can afford and that actually floats your boat. This week even the Starbucks tourers can have an “adventure” negotiating the mean streets to their local skinny latte serving establishment in the war zones that are England’s burnt out city centres!

I’m glad that late 1980s and 1990s, particularly Japanese, bikes are so well built. That way I can afford to spend a couple of £grand a piece (or less) and have my solo lightweight minimal luggage offroad adventures (Suzuki DRZ400: actually it’s a 2005 bike!), as well as 2 up or solo pavement/gravel touring adventures with lots of luggage (Honda A/T and T/A), where all 3 bikes combined cost about a third of the price of one new fat blinged up 1200gsa/ktm990/xtz1200.

The points made above about buying costs of certain inadequate “accessories” in comparison to their retail price are IMHO quite shocking. Then again the Starbucks crowd are happy and BMW/KTM shareholders are happy, so why not. Each to their own.


An aside: What mustn’t be forgotten also is the cost of a CdP. A 2 year old (new price £15k) bike will require a mortgage (at least for me) to afford a CdP. A CdP for an older bike will be a lot less.

Cheers
Chris
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  #21  
Old 9 Aug 2011
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Who's to Blame ? Not sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Bikes are so cheap to prepare anyway, that even doing it really well is still a bargain. We complain that so many of the adventure bikes being built now are the 'starbucks' adventure bikes. But who is to blame for that? Thats the only section of the adventure market prepared to spend any money.
The thing is that we all approach "bikes" from different viewpoints. Bike travel is supposed to be a cheaper form of transport, there are many countries around the world that show that. But quite realistically the cheaper the bike the less profit from sale. so you have to sell more, lots more or you sell a good number of the flavour of the month(s). It has already been said that when manufacturers put higher spec parts on the bike the price jumps massively. This would be to make up that profit margin, I would say. The people who can afford this jump in price and don't know if it is actually worth it in terms of return will always spend more that is not restricted to bikes. Have a look at the 4WD market, we have almost fully road based pretend 4WDs all over the place.

I think the reason we get what we do is because thats what the masses (in bike terms) are willing to pay for because they (the masses) don't know any better. Is a 15k heavy BMW worth it, I don't think so, will a 2-6k special do the same job, I think so. Will I look cooler on one rather than the other, more like an adventurer or like some famous person ? Do people buy it because they see others riding it, yes. Do manufactures take advantage of this, yes.

Do the manufactures have a responsibility to make a bike that is fit for purpose in a market that is a minority within a minority ?
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  #22  
Old 9 Aug 2011
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No........ simple.


They serve the market, and the market suggests that most people don't do what the flyer shows what the scope of the design suggests in the first place. So if they can sell it without putting as much effort and testing into it. Put tried and tested simple parts on it and still have the 'adventure' brochure to cover all aspects of the larger bike market, wouldn't you?

As for the initial debate. I think you can split the group of people who mod the crap out of their bikes in 2 distinct groups. The catalogue bolt on people, and the swap parts for improvement people. Most probably start in the first and a percentage of that end in the second ending up with heaps of TT or similar crap worth nothing because it doesn't take much for it to fall apart.

Don't really understand the mentality on this site either often. A lot of threads start with how can I prepare for off road by first comers. Then often end up learning on a road orientated bike riding on the road (often because there isn't much off road around), than ask about gear and end up with heaps of recommendation for Altberg boots and often end up posting threads about the horrors of certain road conditions. Controversial views??? Just stirring...... or am I?

Cost is relative. Some spend heaps on smoking, drinking, gambling, collecting, or on art. In the end it's a hobby. What's wrong with spending money on a hobby? A trip doesn't have to be cheap, nor does it have to be expensive. But in reality, if you have patience and keep saving a percentage from your pay package you can make it whatever you want. If you don't have patience, just go cheap.
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  #23  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
... I have always enjoyed modifying bikes to make them 'fit for purpose'. We are generally much more demanding these days in terms of suspension, brakes, protection etc. so I can understand that the fit for purpose bar has been raised but my view is still that just because it's in the catalogue it doesn't make it essential.
Well, ...is it fit "for purpose" or, ...fit "for YOUR purpose"? I had a real eye opening experience reading Edde Mendes ride report around the world on a Plain Jane K75...

...so, the definition of "fit for purpose", in my book, is a very individual thing. No right, no wrong
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  #24  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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No........ simple. They serve the market, and the market suggests that most people don't do what the flyer shows what the scope of the design suggests in the first place. So if they can sell it without putting as much effort and testing into it. Put tried and tested simple parts on it and still have the 'adventure' brochure to cover all aspects of the larger bike market, wouldn't you?

As for the initial debate. I think you can split the group of people who mod the crap out of their bikes in 2 distinct groups. The catalogue bolt on people, and the swap parts for improvement people. Most probably start in the first and a percentage of that end in the second ending up with heaps of TT or similar crap worth nothing because it doesn't take much for it to fall apart.
I agree, I think what we get is a direct representation of what the majority want and buy. Which leaves the rest to modify to their needs.

I like your division of the "Mod" person types. I would fall into the latter due to the bike not having something I wanted like luggage racks, big enough screen, 12v socket, engine protection, oil temp gauge...hang on most of these bolt on am I in the first category ?
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  #25  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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I agree that what makes a bike fit for purpose is very subjective but the basic idea of an adventure bike or overland travel bike was established years ago and models such as the BMW R100GS and Africa Twin pretty much hit the nail on the head. Sadly, in my opinion, these have evolved into what I now refer to as the Starbucks tourers whilst the manufacturers have been developing smaller capacity engines which are much more suited to long distance travel (BMW XC and KTM 690 for example) as well as being a good basis for a relatively lightweight off road capable machine. Whilst they've made a reasonable attempt at a trail/enduro bike using these engines they've not come up with a Tenere equivalent. Is this because the market is too small - I don't think so as -with the Starbucks model a lot of purchasers are buying into a style or image with no real intention of using the bike for an overalnd trip. This has a downside in that the manufacturer will fit cheap parts to keep the retail price down but at least we might have something that would form a good starting point for a travel bike without having to invest 25% of the cost of the bike just to increase it's fuel capacity.

I think the real reason that we're not seeing these bikes is, as has been said in the car industry for decades - small car (bike), small profit.
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  #26  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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I think the real reason that we're not seeing these bikes is, as has been said in the car industry for decades - small car (bike), small profit.
It's a real shame. I know the percentage of bike riders here in Aus would have to increase by a very large amount before you could even look at local businesses specialising in such an area to fill the gap. Then again there is a massive amount of bikes and a huge (comparably speaking) customer base in Europe and we are still not seeing the "baseline bike" change enough.
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  #27  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
...... basic idea of an adventure bike or overland travel bike was established years ago and models such as the BMW R100GS and Africa Twin pretty much hit the nail on the head. Sadly, in my opinion, these have evolved into what I now refer to as the Starbucks tourers ........
I think the real reason that we're not seeing these bikes is, as has been said in the car industry for decades - small car (bike), small profit.
I'm sort of approaching this from the other end. I don't need a KTM that'll do Dakar stages at 60 mph after a ride from the UK, I need a bike that'll live all year in the UK, pootle across France and make it over a couple of days worth of trails a little faster than I can walk it. The R80GS as basically a road bike with a big tank and better wheels is IMHO the right approach. Where it went wrong is when damn fool journalists said an 80 mph wasn't quick enough and we got the 2 tonne R1100GS. The latest 800cc Starbucks tourers I actually have some hope for. I might trash the OE shocks, I wouldn't run to replace them (I buy loads of Bonneville silencers on e-bay to replace ones I bash on the lanes, plenty of fools out there selling so they can turn petrol into noise faster).

The industry (I was trucks not cars) has problems. It's run by old men who still read paper, they don't know this site exists and so long as Truck and Bus/MCN accepts whatever bribes they offer they are happy. They give away the vehicle and make money on parts, service and finance. It is better if you guys throw away your silencers and shocks and buy aftermarket, the brands are all interlinked so the cash spreads out. Crap like slotted, wavy, lumpy, made of cheese brake discs, made fashionable by their racers are better still. The slots wear the pads and there is a growing proportion of riders who will do to the dealer to get this stuff sorted. It's better still if the bike needs an Ashtray warning light reset every pad change.

Making a fuel tank bigger won't happen while the paper is still out there, MCN quote weight not range.

Andy
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  #28  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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[QUOTE=Threewheelbonnie;345313]I buy loads of Bonneville silencers on e-bay to replace ones I bash on the lanes, plenty of fools out there selling so they can turn petrol into noise faster

How come they're the fools when you're the one that has to keep buying replacements?
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  #29  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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[QUOTE=Starbeck;345343]
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I buy loads of Bonneville silencers on e-bay to replace ones I bash on the lanes, plenty of fools out there selling so they can turn petrol into noise faster

How come they're the fools when you're the one that has to keep buying replacements?
I ride on mud and gravel tracks maybe six times a year when I get lost on some unclassified road. I could spend fifteen hundred quid and buy something too tall for carrying a pillion and too slow for the motorway that would get in the way everytime I wanted the outfit out of the garage and would annoy me by needing MOT's and insurance.

Instead, these really nice chaps buy Bonnevilles for their trips to wherever it is they go on a Sunday to drink coffee, decide they don't sound like they might possibly have done during the Napoleonic wars and go spend another grand on aftermarket silencers. Every three years or so I buy the standard silencers off them for thirty quid a pair (Loads is maybe the wrong word, I've bought three pairs now). The last pair came from a guy who'd had Goldstar silencers specially adapted for the price of a rideable XT600 (they were "chromed" by a five year old with kitchen foil and the "special" adapters are sold at QuickFit) and in the 1800 miles/2 years he'd had them had averaged 29 mpg (I get 55 plus). Still, he liked the noise so everyone is happy, I'm just glad I didn't live next door!

Andy
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  #30  
Old 11 Aug 2011
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Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
I'm sort of approaching this from the other end. I don't need a KTM that'll do Dakar stages at 60 mph after a ride from the UK, I need a bike that'll live all year in the UK, pootle across France and make it over a couple of days worth of trails a little faster than I can walk it. The R80GS as basically a road bike with a big tank and better wheels is IMHO the right approach. Where it went wrong is when damn fool journalists said an 80 mph wasn't quick enough and we got the 2 tonne R1100GS. The latest 800cc Starbucks tourers I actually have some hope for. I might trash the OE shocks, I wouldn't run to replace them (I buy loads of Bonneville silencers on e-bay to replace ones I bash on the lanes, plenty of fools out there selling so they can turn petrol into noise faster).

The industry (I was trucks not cars) has problems. It's run by old men who still read paper, they don't know this site exists and so long as Truck and Bus/MCN accepts whatever bribes they offer they are happy. They give away the vehicle and make money on parts, service and finance. It is better if you guys throw away your silencers and shocks and buy aftermarket, the brands are all interlinked so the cash spreads out. Crap like slotted, wavy, lumpy, made of cheese brake discs, made fashionable by their racers are better still. The slots wear the pads and there is a growing proportion of riders who will do to the dealer to get this stuff sorted. It's better still if the bike needs an Ashtray warning light reset every pad change.

Making a fuel tank bigger won't happen while the paper is still out there, MCN quote weight not range.

Andy
What we need is not always what we want. I think for the vast majority of motorcycle purchasers what they need and want is what the manufacturer specifies (taking Colebatch's point that we, collectively, are not discerning enough). I agree that everyone has their own ideas about what makes the ideal travel bike but there are certain basic parameters that are common to almost all lost distance multi-purpose bikes (I hate the term 'dual-sport'). My grievance is that there is no 'budget' or lightweight choice, the Tenere being the only vaguely suitable starting point. The F800GS and Tiger 800XC both have some potential but miss the mark in several areas especially as most serious users are looking for better off road performance and robustness these days. The X Challenge and 690 are both only available as trail bikes and Mega Trailies are so blinged out it makes them pretty much useless for anything other than road touring as well as being v. costly.

I shouldn't really moan about the cost of the bike and preparation as if you want to do a RTW it's going to cost a lot of money and the bike cost is probably only a small percentage of the overall cost. However, I still believe that there is a big market a 650cc rallye style machine without too much bling, top end suspension, wheels and brakes, good fuel capacity and well thought out luggage options - possibly a 690 engine, suspension and brakes, Excel wheels, conventional frame, subframe and fuel tank location, rallye type fairing with sensible but not OTT lighting and instrumentation and a seat for sitting on. This can't be too hard, doesn't need to cost vastly more than the 690 Enduro (which I know is not cheap) and would sell like hot cakes. And still plenty of scope for the aftermarket to sell all the poser bits and pieces.

Collusion between manufactures and aftermarket suppliers, especially those that are also OEM suppliers is a real problem. White Power supply rubbish forks and rear suspension for the factory and a range of better quality options as aftermarket parts. It's just a complete rip off getting the user to pay twice for the same parts
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