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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 11 Feb 2015
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Harley tour business

Hi, a question a bit off-topic. I am considering getting a Harley to take paying passengers on tours in the area I live (Norway). Duration from about 1 hour to 6 hours. Welcome and seek advice as to which is the best bike for this purpose, and why.
FYI I am about 5ft 9 inches and about 175 pounds.
Also welcome suggestions as to how to make extra income from the passengers. Have thought of selling t-shirts and film from a camera mounted helmet so they can record their ride.

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Old 11 Feb 2015
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It's got to be an Electraglide with a full tourpack for that job, it's visually impressive to the customer and provides armchair luxury for the passenger.
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Old 12 Feb 2015
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Thanks for the reply and your thoughts.
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Old 12 Feb 2015
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a bit of a daft question, as I know nothing about the regulations in Norway, but before you consider such a venture, have you checked for licencing and insurance options?


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Old 13 Feb 2015
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There are bike taxis in London where you ride pillion and it's (hopefully) quicker through congested streets than a normal taxi. So it can be done - in the UK at least, although I have no idea how much the various permits, insurances, licences etc cost. It could be that what's affordable for a fleet of bikes doesn't make sense for one.

Who do you see as your likely clients - tourists presumably? I don't know what part of Norway you're based in but it sounds like it'll be a seasonal business - presumably four or five months through the summer. Is there a reasonable flow of tourists where you live? Do they all arrive at once - cruise ships for example or are they holiday packages, independent travellers, students or people just passing through on their way north?

Something like cruise ships could supply a stream of adventurous pensioners happy to explore the area from the back of a Harley for a few hours but you'd need to market yourself through them and have clients booked as soon as the ship arrived. How many could you deal with during the time the ships are in port? Would that pay for everything you'd need to buy - bike, clothing, documents, marketing, website, your time, profit margin etc. If it isn't cruise ships who would be your clients?

Been there and done that (in the Alps) for a few years. Good fun but hard work.
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Old 16 Feb 2015
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A friend of mine runs a similar business here in Jersey UK see Limo Bikes Jersey

There is little doubt that the 'See the sights on an iconic H-D Ultraglide' sells the tour experience and enables him to charge a premium fee. But in return he has to invest in the bike, keep it spotless and clean, spend cash on quality helmets and protective clothing for the passengers (and change it all every couple of years), and also have a good quality intercom so he can talk to the passengers.

He also pairs up with another riders to offer couples tours together.

Local knowledge is key - your potential customers are paying for a premium experience and it's you, as both the rider and tour guide, who must deliver. For example, do you know a great local spot for good, traditional Norwegian food that is off the tourist trail so you can offer a unique experience that the mass market cheap bus tours won't.

As far as 'add on' sales goes - most people will pay a bit extra for a unique souvenir. Depending on where you are, something like a 'I rode Trollstigen on a H-D' certificate, personalised and handed over at the end of the ride (perhaps you could add a bit to the cost of the ride and throw this in for free) or take a selfie of you, the customer and the bike at local tourist hot spot and get it printed on a mug/mousemat/t-shirt to send on to the customer after the event.

Best of luck !
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Old 18 Feb 2015
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Hi guys, thanks for the advice and input.
I have looked at the insurance, licence issues, etc and am comfortable with them. Business is seasonal and I live in an area where about 70 cruise ships come during the period Apr-Oct (total tourism numbers over 800,000 per year, in a municipality with a population under 8,000). I have looked at additional sell-ons (but hadn't thought of the certificate - great idea!) and can arrange bookings and sales through the local tourism office.
I note your points re need for high standard bike and equipment. One sell-on which I thought of was a camera mounted helmet so the passenger can film their ride - at a cost of course! I live near a major tourist attraction which is a great ride up (about 15 minutes), so ideal for that type of thing. Also the other obvious are t-shirts.
There are however a couple of issues which may make this a better mid-term business pathway. Am sitting down with the local tourism office and business development centre to get some more advice.
Again, many thanks for taking the time to reply.

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Old 18 Feb 2015
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Be very wary of any wording or images you use on your advertising or merchandise. Harley-Davidson are very protective of their copyrights and have a habbit of sueing small traders they deem to have over-stepped the mark.
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Old 9 Mar 2015
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Thanks for the heads-up Tourider.
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