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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading all the posts here about the Indian release and all the angst among the Victory faithful and it made me think, what are some of the things that make Harley such a dominate force.
We all know that Harley didn't invent the 'Biker' lifestyle but they seem to be the only ones who have been able to mainstream it. To that end I'll share a story that I don't think is all that unique.
My in-laws have taken to the motorcycle lifestyle as they have become empty nesters. Their first big bike was a GL1500 GW which they used to tour the US about 15 years ago. As part of that they joined the fairly active GW owners group and realized early on that they craved the social aspect of riding almost as much as they did the ride itself. About 10 years ago, after moving to FL and retiring they sold the Wing and bought a Road King. They immediately joined HOG and noticed something they weren't expecting, their 'friends' in the GW group shunned them. After the initial rejection they soon replaced those 'friends' with new friends through HOG. Although they have waned a bit in their participation in HOG they did replace the RK with an Ultra in '06 and ride about 10K miles per year.
When I bought the XC in late '09 my father-in-law took it for a ride and was blown away, he loved it. When i asked him why he wouldn't sell his '06, which had started to leave him stranded a couple times and was nearing the end of it's extended warranty his comment was revealing. He said, 'While he would love to own and ride the Victory they valued their 'friends' in the local HOG group more'.
While I find this profoundly sad it's also profoundly telling. Comments on their reasons for owning and riding aside it points out to me that Polaris needs to focus on the social aspects in addition to creating great bikes. At some point they need to create, build and support either Indian Owners Groups or Polaris Owners Groups for the motorcycle business. I see no value including the off road or sled buyers, they aren't typically compatible with the market segment they are going after. I also think it might be hard to create a group that includes both Victory and Indian together. You only need to see how Buell owners were treated within HOG to see how that doesn't work.
Of course none of this happens without them reaching critical mass in ownership but they could jump start this by requiring each Indian dealer to sponsor and promote a local IOG chapter, enroll every new owner and give them membership for 1 or 2 years and begin the process of owner bonding that will be critical to their future.
These are just my thoughts, let us know what you think.
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
<span style='font-family: 'Calibri','sans-serif'; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language: EN-CA; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;' lang='EN-CA'>Harley dealers are deeply involved in rider events and meets . Which pays dividends in
that it places riders in their shops typically in association with the start of
these events buying product. A few Victory dealers do a fair job at this and &ldquo;get
It&rdquo; most sadly do not. Too often they are a multiband or sled dealer and do not
have the staff, interest or time to become involved. Most avoid this forum and
others like the plague while many HD shops create forums for their customer
base. I think that as with HD a commitment to the customer care after sale must
begin with corporate and an expectation on their part that a dealer will commit
the extra effort into after sale customer interaction. This would also take a large financial commitment from Polaris to support the dealer network in these efforts. It's not always about better product. A customer feel good culture pays big dividends.
</span>
Short story: I ride into a Harley shop in Nebraska on my Indian no less. Looking for a bezel to shade the speedo. Clerk unpackaged
a couple and comes outside to make sure which will fit. Many Vic shops would be pay me first then I will order the part and tell you
for the next 6 weeks that it is on backorder.
<span style='font-family: 'Calibri','sans-serif'; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language: EN-CA; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;' lang='EN-CA'>
</span>
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
While I see your point, I'm not sure that would be the right move for Polaris. Why copy HD? HOG came about after HD was already big. It's their thing and we all know how the HD faithful swear by their stuff no matter what. I think Vic owners have been creating their own groups and social circles all on their own. Lets continue to do that. To me, that's what makes a rider community strong. Actually wanting to gather together instead of being pushed into it simply by ownership. From what I've seen the biggest difference between Vic owners and HD owners, is that more Vic owners are actually RIDERS. Not people who just want to belong to a social clic. I know there are many hardcore HD owners, as well as GWers, Beemer owners and everything else. But this has been my observation after becoming involved in the Vic circles. I think the best thing Polaris can do is just to continue to improve on building outstanding motorcycles. Improve customer service and showrooms and the rest will take care of itself. At the Vic owners ride at Sturgis last week, there were over 400 bikes. That was no where close to the number of Vic's actually at Sturgis. So I think we are already on the right track to the social aspect of it. Just my .02
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In my opinion HOG is hogwash. You have to join the corporate HOG ($35) before you can join your local chapter ($20), so it is all about the money. The HOG magazine is full if cookie-cutter articles about proud H-D owners that are all written the same, and basically the names are changed (i.e. plug-and-play) every month. Very boring organization. I found a great group of riding friends on Meetup.com and we have more fun, go more places, and see more things than any HOG group I've seen in my area. I thought part of the appeal of Vicotry motorcycles is that the bike is bought to be ridden, and you are not buying into a culture, so why does it seem that everyone wants Vicotry to copy everything that H-D does?
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
16969 said:
so why does it seem that everyone wants Vicotry to copy everything that H-D does?

Because Polaris set the tone for comparison to HD starting with the Cross bikes and continuing with Indian. Not saying they are copying but doing it one better. So why not also attempt to do the after sale customer service and culture one better. Just Sayin
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
2610 said:
When i asked him why he wouldn't sell his '06, which had started to leave him stranded a couple times and was nearing the end of it's extended warranty his comment was revealing. He said, 'While he would love to own and ride the Victory they valued their 'friends' in the local HOG group more'.
This is exactly why I hope Victory doesn't do stuff like HOG. I don't want Victory owners buying their bike just to keep friends. I want them buying the bike because they think it's the best ride for them.

As for your original question I think Polaris is doing what they need to do. Buying & reviving Indian was brilliant. I think in the long run it will make Victory and Indian both stronger because the bikes appeal to different demographics.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Some of my friends have changed MC brands,,, One went from Honda to HD, another Yami to HD. Me? Honda to Yami and back to Honda. We're still friends.
If your friends don't accept your ride, or material ownership is a requirement for 'membership', eh, you need better friends!

What does Polaris need to do? Quit worrying/fixating on HD and <em>build world class bikes</em>. The rest comes afterwards.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You need to check out the artcle that someone posted the other day about Indian Dealership requirements. That is exactly what Indian is going to require of thier dealers. I think Polaris knew this would be years in the making and would not happen 'overnight'. Especially since most Victory dealers are really Polaris dealers that also sell Victory for the most part. I bet my local dealer sells a dozen sleds a month and may only sell a couple Vics. Kind of makes sence where they would put thier effort. When you go into a new Indian dealer I think you will be amazed. Gregory polaris In Sherwood, AR has done an awesomejob on thier new showroom.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·


Say hello to the Intruders. This group started waaaay back when Montgomery Powersports was primarily a Suzuki dealership. The membership numbers are dwindling as you can tell, but the dealership (owner) was active in keeping this group going through the years. It would be nice to have a VIC group like this at the dealership. Only time will tell. There's only one guy I know who bought a VIC in this group. (Hard Ball) No way you'd get the rest of them off their Intruders.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
2610 said:
I've been reading all the posts here about the Indian release and all the angst among the Victory faithful and it made me think, what are some of the things that make Harley such a dominate force.
We all know that Harley didn't invent the 'Biker' lifestyle but they seem to be the only ones who have been able to mainstream it. To that end I'll share a story that I don't think is all that unique.
My in-laws have taken to the motorcycle lifestyle as they have become empty nesters. Their first big bike was a GL1500 GW which they used to tour the US about 15 years ago. As part of that they joined the fairly active GW owners group and realized early on that they craved the social aspect of riding almost as much as they did the ride itself. About 10 years ago, after moving to FL and retiring they sold the Wing and bought a Road King. They immediately joined HOG and noticed something they weren't expecting, their 'friends' in the GW group shunned them. After the initial rejection they soon replaced those 'friends' with new friends through HOG. Although they have waned a bit in their participation in HOG they did replace the RK with an Ultra in '06 and ride about 10K miles per year.
When I bought the XC in late '09 my father-in-law took it for a ride and was blown away, he loved it. When i asked him why he wouldn't sell his '06, which had started to leave him stranded a couple times and was nearing the end of it's extended warranty his comment was revealing. He said, 'While he would love to own and ride the Victory they valued their 'friends' in the local HOG group more'.
While I find this profoundly sad it's also profoundly telling. Comments on their reasons for owning and riding aside it points out to me that Polaris needs to focus on the social aspects in addition to creating great bikes. At some point they need to create, build and support either Indian Owners Groups or Polaris Owners Groups for the motorcycle business. I see no value including the off road or sled buyers, they aren't typically compatible with the market segment they are going after. I also think it might be hard to create a group that includes both Victory and Indian together. You only need to see how Buell owners were treated within HOG to see how that doesn't work.
Of course none of this happens without them reaching critical mass in ownership but they could jump start this by requiring each Indian dealer to sponsor and promote a local IOG chapter, enroll every new owner and give them membership for 1 or 2 years and begin the process of owner bonding that will be critical to their future.
These are just my thoughts, let us know what you think.

You make some excellent points. In a time where personal face to face communication is down and electronic/social media dominate this often fills the void for those looking for personal interaction with like minded folks as well as acceptance and inclusion. To many this is as important as the ride itself. Just another way to look at it I guess.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
2610 said:
I also think it might be hard to create a group that includes both Victory and Indian together. You only need to see how Buell owners were treated within HOG to see how that doesn't work.
First off, great post Mark. To say that motorcycles sales can be compared to other disposable income purchases is off track as there has never been a purchase that can be controlled as much by the social aspect (and peer pressure) as a M/C purchase. Unless you are completely anti-social and only have a bike because you can't afford a car, then chances are you bought the bike you did because of some type of emotional reasoning (the design, your friends that have one, the power, the looks of the bike, the riding clubs.......they all could be important).
As for the part or your text I quoted above, I actually think Indian and Victory can get along just fine....no different than Vision and XCT riders giving each other crap....all in good fun.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
1522 said:
As for the part or your text I quoted above, I actually think Indian and Victory can get along just fine....no different than Vision and XCT riders giving each other crap....all in good fun.

Depends on the group and how deeply the participants get into the culture. Me with a Kings Mountain Indian, Spider with a Polaris
Indian and OT with his Victory Kingpindian (ghetto Indian) all get along . Sort of, anyway


Personally I am predominantly a lone rider so have no vested interest in the HD, Victory or other brand culture.
Cultures are cheaper on gas but can be a much rougher ride than any motorcycle.LOL
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
16969 said:
In my opinion HOG is hogwash. You have to join the corporate HOG ($35) before you can join your local chapter ($20), so it is all about the money.
What would be the difference in having to join the VMC ($15 THEN $8?) in order for me to join my local VMC chapter and paying another $20.00 or having to join the NRA to be in my local gun club?
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
1317 said:
Depends on the group and how deeply the participants get into the culture. Me with a Kings Mountain Indian, Spider with a Polaris
Indian and OT with his Victory Kingpindian (ghetto Indian) all get along . Sort of, anyway


Personally I am predominantly a lone rider so have no vested interest in the HD, Victory or other brand culture.
Cultures are cheaper on gas but can be a much rougher ride than any motorcycle.LOL
I like what you are saying here Bobby but I will most likely refer to my Indian as a ' Spirit Lake ' Indian, the Indian forums have already labeled these just like the ' Kings Mountian ' Indian.
As far as the ' Ghetto ' Kingpindian, if Onethumb has anything to do with it his group will probably over shadow you and me.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
1522 said:
As for the part or your text I quoted above, I actually think Indian and Victory can get along just fine....no different than Vision and XCT riders giving each other crap....all in good fun.
Hmmm... I remember not long ago Vision riders were getting flamed by Victory riders much like the Harley and V-Rod... So I wonder if the two could coexist? Also, if it wasnt for the spats between the Vision riders and the Victory riders the VOG may not exist :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
845 said:
Hmmm... I remember not long ago Vision riders were getting flamed by Victory riders much like the Harley and V-Rod... So I wonder if the two could coexist? Also, if it wasnt for the spats between the Vision riders and the Victory riders the VOG may not exist :)
Hell, to make a club you need members....and something to talk about. What the hell are Indian owners gonna talk about?
Rider 1 'Hey, nice red Chief.'
Rider 2 'Thanks, I really like your nice red Chief as well.'
Rider 3 'Hey, watcha guys talkin' about?'
Rider 1 'our Red Indians....and how cool they are.....BTW, nice Blue Indian. What are you, some kind of rebel? Go away or we'll TP your bike!'
Rider 3 'Damn red-Indian-Chief-owners!....They think they are so superior! I'm gonna go start my own club!'
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
....and this is how I see OT fitting in with the Indian crowd on his 'ghetto Indian'
<div id='irc_mimg'><a id='irc_mil' style='border: 0px none;' href='http://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&docid=HsR5a-qADaKBjM&tbnid=pF2lThj-bxt39M:&ved=0CAUQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tumblr.com%2Ftagged%2Fmere-cat&ei=sswLUp3yG4W4iwKO4IG4AQ&bvm=bv.50723672,d.aWc&psig=AFQjCNHKUA_gVArTv6_E53LqDiazQ8zvlQ&ust=1376591375523066' data-ved='0CAUQjRw'>
</a></div>
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
1522 said:
Hell, to make a club you need members....and something to talk about. What the hell are Indian owners gonna talk about?
Rider 1 'Hey, nice red Chief.'
Rider 2 'Thanks, I really like your nice red Chief as well.'
Rider 3 'Hey, watcha guys talkin' about?'
Rider 1 'our Red Indians....and how cool they are.....BTW, nice Blue Indian. What are you, some kind of rebel? Go away or we'll TP your bike!'
Rider 3 'Damn red-Indian-Chief-owners! They think they are so superior.' 'I'm gonna go start my own club!'
Gives new meaning to 'I bought my harley to be an individual just like everyone else' :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
1317 said:
Because Polaris set the tone for comparison to HD starting with the Cross bikes and continuing with Indian. Not saying they are copying but doing it one better. So why not also attempt to do the after sale customer service and culture one better.  Just Sayin 
?????? 'Polaris set the tone for comparison to HD starting with the Cross bikes and continuing with Indian.'.....HUH?
Polaris set out to offer the alternative to HD...riders,not 'Life Style' wanna bees.That, along with maintanance issues, is the biggest reason I never considered HD, I don't own a chain drive wallet or a pirate doo rag, or a 'show us your tits' tee shirt. And, those HOG events rarely , if ever, actually include a ride to anywhere other than the dealer parking lot for hotdogs. No thanks.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
845 said:
Hmmm... I remember not long ago Vision riders were getting flamed by Victory riders much like the Harley and V-Rod... So I wonder if the two could coexist? Also, if it wasnt for the spats between the Vision riders and the Victory riders the VOG may not exist :)
The Vision isn't a Victory?
All this time I just assumed the Vision rider was riding a Victory.
 
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