Why Motorcycle Manufacturers Missed Out On MPG Mania
At a time when gasoline prices have hit stratospheric heights which would have been considered post-Apocalyptic even just a couple of years ago, and people throughout the world were desperately seeking ways to cut down their fuel bills which in some cases equal $1,000 or more of the monthly household budget, you would think that motorcycle manufacturers would be laughing all the way to the bank, right? After all, there is nothing like a motorcycle to provide superlative fuel mileage and overall operating economy. This should be a time when the motorcycle companies should be experiencing a historic boom to exceed that of the mid Seventies, right... right? Huh? What happened?
Yamaha Motor Company, the world's second-biggest motorcycle manufacturer, just announced that they are cutting motorcycle production by twenty percent as the demand for their products slump. Share prices for the other motorcycle manufacturers such as Suzuki also slumped, as they reported drastic falls in profits and their stock value. The collapse is not only limited to the Japanese manufacturers as even the previously invulnerable Harley Davidson reported a 23 percent fall in their profits due to very weak sales, over 16% off from last year.
It boggles the imagination to consider that at a time when GM and Chrysler are effectively killing their leasing departments due to the fact that they are receiving back SUVs and pickup trucks at the ends of leases that are barely worth half of their official residual value, that motorcycle manufacturers would be hurting! After all, shouldn't $4 a U.S. gallon gasoline be a godsend to motorcycle manufacturers as motorists shed their gasguzzling blingmobiles and adopt the pleasures and economies of two wheel transport? I currently have in my tank $6.13 a U.S. gallon gasoline... but that's because I'm in Canada where we have one third of the entire world's petroleum reserves and we paradoxically pay the highest prices in the hemisphere. But that's a whole 'nother story...
The spike of petroleum to the $140s a barrel seems to have caught everyone with their pants down, from the White House, to the trucking industry, to the airlines, to the big automotive manufacturers, and very surprisingly, to the motorcycle manufacturers. At a time when motorcycling could have benefited from its greatest boost since Peter Fonda, the gasoline price crisis didn't meet the motorcycle manufacturers with dealerships teeming with economical, high MPG, practical and attractive motorcycles. No, no... The dealerships are stuffed to the rafters with huge gonzocycles with engine displacements significantly larger than some four door sedans, with pricetags that seem to start at $15,000 and go up and up and up until they cost as much as a foreclosure home in Ohio. And even if you can afford these massive chrome chariots you'll go broke at the gas pump, as some prime examples of motorcycling profligacy can barely get 35 mpg as shown in this Hall Of Shame:
- Ducati Superbike 1098
- Harley - Davidson Screamin' Eagles
- Kawasaki ZX - 14
- Triumph Tiger 1050
That means that these trusty two wheeled rides are getting about the same mileage out of a gallon of gas as a Mercedes Benz E320!
If the motorcycle manufacturers awoke from their stupor to quickly market a range of sub 500cc motorcycles that were comfortable, stylish, well priced and aimed at the intelligent consumer, they would be profiting mightily from the recession. As it is, they are stuck in the wretched excess of the last century, and completely out of touch with what motorcyclists and indeed most motorists, want and need. They're starving in a delicatessen.
Check out Hal's latest Hubs:
Also don't miss Hal's many other Motorcycling Hubs!
- An $85,000 Diesel Cruiser. But It Gets Great MPG!
- Could MPG Alone Get You On A 250 Cruiser?
- Nothing Exceeds Like Excess: Boss Hoss
- Same Bike, Different Name: Suzi Boulevard Vs. Kawi Vulcan
- The Biggest & Meanest: 2007 Kawasaki 2000 Vulcan
- The Wacky World Of Mini-Choppers
- Which Cruiser Engine Layout: A V-Twin Or Straight 3?
- 2007 Factory Choppers Buyer's Guide
- 2009 Yamaha V-Max VMX17: The wrong bike at the wrong time
- All the Fuel-Saving Devices that do nothing but rip you off
- American Vs. Metric Cruisers
- CanAm Spyder: 3-Wheel Cruiser Or Roadgoing Snowmobile?
- Finally! 2009 Official EPA Harley & Yamaha MPG Figures
- Hal's Master Motorcycle & Scooter MPG Reference Hub
- Harley Davidson's Outrageous Pricing Ripoffs
- Honda Fury vs. Yamaha Raider: Perfection Meets Grotesquerie
- How You Can Ride Captain America's Panhead
- Hypermile your motorcycle up to 179 MPG: No snake oil, no scams!
- Is it time to retire superbikes?
- Motorcycle Ergonomics: Getting That Kink Out
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: BMW
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Ducati
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Harley-Davidson Big Twins
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Harley-Davidson Sportsters & Below 1201 cc
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Honda Boxers & Sixes
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Honda Off Road
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Honda Street Singles
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Honda Transverse Fours
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Honda V-Fours & CBRs
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Honda V-Twins
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Honda Vertical Twins
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Kawasaki Ninjas
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Kawasaki Singles
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Kawasaki Vertical Twins, Fours & Sixes
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Kawasaki Vulcans
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Suzuki Singles & Vertical Twins
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Suzuki Sports & Fours
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Suzuki V-Twins
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Triumph
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Yamaha Sports & Fours
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Yamaha V-Twins
- Motorcycle MPG Guide: Yamaha Vertical Singles, Twins & Triples
- Motorcycle nostalgia items I would gladly pay $$$ for!
- MPG Guide: The Fuel Economy Of 700 Top Selling Motorcycles
- MPG Guide: The Fuel Economy Of 250 Top Selling Scooters
- Pugang 125: The motorcycle built by starving slave laborers
- Revolutionary Harley Trike Has 2 Front Wheels That Lean
- Riding Your Bike For Maximum MPG
- R.I.P. XLH: How Could Harley Kill Off The Traditional Sportster?
- Sportster Iron 883: The Bike That Won't Save Harley
- Styling: Why Harleys Look Right & BMW Sedans Look Wrong
- Suzuki 350 runs on water. Pigs fly. Film at 11.
- Suzuki-ENV Hydrogen Fuel Cell Motorcycle?
- Suzuki's 2008 1300 And 1800 Deformed Emetogenic Mutants
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Sportsbikes
- The 25 Wackiest Motorcycles Of All Time
- The Current State Of Solar Powered Motorcycles
- The new 123 MPG Champ: Yamaha Zuma!
- There's no zen in the art of motorcycle maintenance
- Top 10 Japanese Street-Legal Bikes Of All Time
- Top 10 Ugliest Motorcycles Of All Time
- Top 10 Tips For New Motorcycle Riders
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Bizarrobikes
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Current Cruisers
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Golden Age Bikes
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Hypermotards
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Naked Bikes
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Older Cruisers
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Supermotards
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Tourers
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Vintage Bikes
- Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles In History - The Ultimate List!
- Top 50 Best MPG Motorcycles
- Tri Glide Trike Leads Harley Davidson's 2009 Lineup
- Why Motorcycle Manufacturers Missed Out On MPG Mania
- Why the VMX17, Hayabusa And Similar Bikes Should Be Off The Streets