Home Motorcycle brand Why every brand of motorcycle doesn’t need to be revived

Why every brand of motorcycle doesn’t need to be revived


The allure of the bicycles of yesteryear is almost overwhelming. Bikers, I think, are romantic by nature anyway, so the mystique of big names like Norton, Vincent or Matchless is only reinforced by the decades between them and us. We love a good sad story, but the only thing better than a tragic story of disappearance is that of the ultimate resurrection and triumph (forgive the choice of the word). Reviving an old brand of motorcycles has never been so popular, but in an already fractured and confused motorcycle market, it is a perilous endeavor. While some relaunched brands are enjoying a brilliant new life, others are wavering in search of their brains.

The same has been happening in the automotive space for quite some time, of course, sometimes successfully (the Mini Cooper), sometimes not (the Thunderbird), sometimes just inexplicably (the Dodge Dart). Think about all the relaunched muscle car models, most of which are pretty cool and popular. It’s the era of reboot.

Triumph, of course, is the great success story of the motorcycle revival. After being placed in receivership 30 years ago, they are today a major global player in the full range. Indian is back and better than ever under the leadership of Polaris. Meanwhile, others seem to continue to struggle. Here are some common sense thoughts on what separates these groups.

Indian FTR1200

The brand must still have change. Do you remember Excelsior? Horex? Crocker? No? Even if you’ve heard of them, they probably don’t resonate with most people personally. Penton is probably more valuable as a pure brand than these names. If part of what you trade on is the emotional connection to the brand, it should always be heartwarming.

Bikes must be competitive. The market for motorcycles over $ 30,000 is extremely small, and setting up modern machines at a negotiable price requires serious engineering and manufacturing power. It was a challenge for the new Vincent, the new Norton and for the pre-Polaris Indians, and it will be a challenge for anyone just starting out.

Norton Atlas 650 Nomad
Norton Atlas 650 Ranger

The pilot’s experience is essential. Triumph has mainly rebuilt its brand around the Speed ​​Triple, a hot, forward-looking motorcycle that has taken the nude sector forward, not just around the new Bonneville. No matter how much a name may be revered or what mentions of dead celebrities you have, it will only bring the customer to the store; the ride will make the sale.

Give something unique. The quality and variety of bikes available today are unprecedented, and the market is tight, so the consumer is in the driver’s seat. We need more than just a performance roadster or a clone cruiser to be excited enough to step away from the many great options already available.

Husqvarna launches 701 Vitpilen and Svartpilen street bikes

“The glory days, well, they’ll pass you by. Bruce Springsteen knew that nostalgia is a trap. The wine of yesterday is the rotgut liqueur of today. “Boring Stories from the Glory Days”. Our love for the history and heritage of motorcycling must be more than just nostalgia, because those days are also glory days. I would love to see all of these brand revivals succeed, but they can’t do it on legacy alone. They need to expand the market with innovative, reasonably priced bikes that are fun to ride.

Now if I can just find some investors to help me buy DKW…


Carter A. Edman teaches Motorcycles and American Culture at Case Western Reserve University and has taught a variety of creative culture courses. He rides a modified 2008 Triumph Bonneville and restores a 1970 BSA. As the founder of Moto Sapiens, he explores the ever-changing motorcycle culture that is shameless, unpredictable and at times bizarre.

Follow Carter on Twitter: @Moto_Sapiens

This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated.


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