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Uk Motorcycle Industry On The Way To Implosion


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The woeful sales of practical two wheeled transport in the UK compared with the rest of Europe, and I include Northern Europe where weather factors do not support the weather argument proposed in another post, are undoubtedly due to an entrenched prejudice against machines that possess less than 80-100 bhp. Have a look at the sales figures for the Honda SH300 in the rest of Europe where it achieves tens of thousands in quite a few countries, as opposed to barely a couple of hundred here.

VP

Sorry, but you are wrong about the weather factor. It's not the quality of our weather compared to Northern Europe but our attitude to the weather that is the problem. Despite living in a cooler wetter country we generally don't handle bad weather well. As a result most bikers are 'fair weather' riders, myself included. That leads to different motives and needs when buying a bike. I ride a 1959 Matchless 650 and I can do that happily because I don't ride it much. I have no need for a 'practical' bike. The classic bike scene is big here and very few of us have 50bhp on tap let alone 100.

The SH300 would sell here if there was a market for it.

It, and the other bikes of that ilk are readily available to those that wish to own one. It's just that not many do. It is not the prejudice of established bikers that holds down sales. It is the general prejudice of most ordinary folk against two wheel transport that is responsible.

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Please don't laugh but... a year or so ago we had a Piaggio Ape (?) 3 wheel pickup type thing doing the rounds and collecting rubbish from our village.

Quiet, unassuming little vehicle with a robust looking cab....though that it might prove to be a 'safer' conveyance to a scooter for our youngster....'phoned around and Googled for an insurance quote but was unable to find anyone that even listed the vehicle.

WHY NOT?

It still looks like a practical little set of wheels to me.

Someone mentioned the VeloSolex earlier in this thread, what a clever bit of kit, like a robust bicycle with an engine and friction drive over the front wheel...perfectly practical transportation that would no doubt fall foul of rules and regulations here.

AGAIN...WHY?

The point that I am trying to make is that there are many interesting alternatives to the underpowered and overpriced scooters which youngsters here are restricted and consequently aspire to, but our bureaucracy is designed to rule them out.

I would love a velosolex! Its crazy that oaps with no licence can tear up & down pavements on mobility scooters but we cant have velosolexs.

If you pimped the mobility scooter & teenagers started riding around on them in gangs they would be banned.

Top gear should do a race around central london - car vs bike vs mobility scooter!

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I would love a velosolex! Its crazy that oaps with no licence can tear up & down pavements on mobility scooters but we cant have velosolexs.

If you pimped the mobility scooter & teenagers started riding around on them in gangs they would be banned.

Top gear should do a race around central london - car vs bike vs mobility scooter!

That is what really concerns me...why the hell can't we have VeloSolex machines?? :(

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There is probably a huge glut of many things purchased during the boom years on credit not just flats & houses - Motor cycles, cars, electrical goods. All the repossed houses will be preceeded by asset sales or baliff actions. The housing crash will lead to a surge in supply of everyting second hand combined with a decline in sales because of lack of cash & credit.

Houses aren't the only things that have shot up in price. I have been pretty much priced out of the market as far as the more interesting classic bikes go.

My mates who have 'collections' of bikes won't agree with me but I am hoping for a crash in old bike prices so that I can consider buying another. Prices seem to be holding up for now but I know that when I needed cash one of the bikes went on eBay.

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About 100mpg for the 90cc version if I remember correctly. How the hell do I remember that? It was decades ago.

It was 3 decades ago in my case (C70). I think it cost me £120 secondhand in 1978 which was nearly 3 weeks wages, cost around £30 p.a. to insure even as an 18 year old, and got about 90mpg even with me thrashing it with the girlfriend on the pillion. :rolleyes:

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Motorbikes are toys now, not transport. I've had them for years, and still have one!

When I was a yoof, we bought them to get to work, because none of us could afford to run a car!

Now I think they are bought, in addition to a car, as weekend toy! That's certainly true of mine! Guilty as charged!

Same reason why anyone would buy a "completely nobby!" flashy sports car, but cheaper and much faster!

They are basically discretionary purchases, when you feel "rich" enough, you can buy one!

I'm not surprised that motorcycle shops are having a hard time at the moment!

I'll be looking for another good used model soon!

I think there will be plenty enough!

Assuming I have a job, of course!

Your right! But the whole independant motor trade is the same as to who will survive & who won't. Any shop with a good MOT & reputable repair trade will still have an OK MOT & repair trade. Flashy dealerships with no second hand & overpriced servicing/repairs are f*ucked!

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That is what really concerns me...why the hell can't we have VeloSolex machines?? :(

I picked up one of those dutch "sparta" things a few years back, ordered it over there and picked it up at eurostar waterloo. For my mum, I have to make clear.

It's a hefty pushbike with a 30cc 2 stroke on the back wheel, essentially.

Used to ride it around in the country quite happily, completely illegally.

The engines really quiet, you don't go any faster than a fit guy on a good bike (20mph ish if you're pedalling as well), and nobody paid much notice at all.

Sold it to the guy at the local garage, who builds frightening custom bikes and trikes as a hobby.

His wife rides it around, still completely unregistered and unregulated.

one of these

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My mate had one in the mid 70's. You can have one but only as a moped. You can't ride one around as if it's a bicycle at the age of 14 like they do in France.

I used to own a velosolex. I used to wear my brothers hat and jacket in the hope that nobody would recognise me on it. Even by the standards of 35 years ago it was utterly inadaquate to be a safe road vehicle. good enough to play with in a field or as my younger brother did to destroy your parents garden with but a joke machine compared to the Honda step thru. Its time was probably the 1950s and thats where it should have stayed.

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Because Honda choose not to sell them here.

Not because of some Euro regulation <_< . If that was the case these guys would not be able to sell them.

Monkey Bikes and Cubs

Can't believe that Honda would choose not to sell anything as useful as the cub anywhere that it would prove of interest...it has to be an emissions, regulation or insurance barrier.

Many thanks for the link, I will give MonkeyBike UK a call tomorrow and see what they say about availability of and insurance for a Honda New Cub 14.

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That is what really concerns me...why the hell can't we have VeloSolex machines?? :(

I've owned one. They are charming curio's, rather than really viable transport. OK for a mile or two round town, but that's about it.

I can't see young UK riders greeting one with anything but ridicule, although over the Channel kids use them all over the place. Maybe they don't have all the nonsense about 'cool' over there.

PS Anyone remember the folding Commando 'monkey bikes' parachute-dropped at Arnhem with Allied troops? There used to be one or two about. Who manufactured them?

Edited by juvenal
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I used to own a velosolex. I used to wear my brothers hat and jacket in the hope that nobody would recognise me on it. Even by the standards of 35 years ago it was utterly inadaquate to be a safe road vehicle. good enough to play with in a field or as my younger brother did to destroy your parents garden with but a joke machine compared to the Honda step thru. Its time was probably the 1950s and thats where it should have stayed.

Of course it was inadequate as a safe road vehicle...it was never intended to compete with a proper motorcycle..point is that it was a cheap, hugely economical, easily repairable and practical multi-purpose conveyance...sort of a 2 wheeled Citroen 2CV (witness the standard seat springs!)

Think of like this...you don't possess a car but do have a bicycle.

However, riding the five miles to work and back every day on the bicycle is kinda hard work, creaking old chain, cotter pins loose etc...then along comes the smiling, happy go lucky VeloSolex salesman (complete with moustache)

He takes your old pushbike in PX against a shiny new black VeloSolex...49cc of silent, easy to start yet spirited power, all there, complete with fuel reservoir, just in front of the handlebars.

It has pedals, rides pretty much like a heavy old bicycle, but pull on the cord, drop the motor into contact with the front wheel and...wow...you are off like rocket...but the steering gets a bit heavy and brakes become pretty well useless.

It is effortless tho' and well worth the tiny Hire Purchase agreement, it will of course be transporting you and your family for at least two generations.

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Your right! But the whole independant motor trade is the same as to who will survive & who won't. Any shop with a good MOT & reputable repair trade will still have an OK MOT & repair trade. Flashy dealerships with no second hand & overpriced servicing/repairs are f*ucked!

no even the repair types are getting knobbled , in that people can and do do their own repairs , motorbike repairs are relatively simple bar internal engine work , and if the engine goes people just drop a 2nd hand engine in instead..

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Can't believe that Honda would choose not to sell anything as useful as the cub anywhere that it would prove of interest...it has to be an emissions, regulation or insurance barrier.

they sell the honda innova 125 here which is basically a modernised C90 with a four speed gearbox and a disc front brake. the suspension is probably better as well, although i've never

ridden a C90. the innova is known as the wave in most other markets and they make 'em

all over the world. i'm sure mine was made in thailand.

they also make 'em in china now - honda have a tie up with wuyang. they are being sold by people like david silver spares + i'm willing to bet that they will be as reliable and well made as the honda.

the chinese are going to get there eventually. i read somewhere that they have about 12% of the UK motorbike market (obviously the small stuff)

i own an innova and it does about 100mpg. tiny little fuel tank though of less than a gallon! the seat is rock hard as well.

there are some reviews on http://www.innova125.com

they are probably a better bet than a C50/C70/C90 as they are a bit quicker. the problem with very small bikes is that they aren't quick enough to get out of the way sometimes!

there is also the suzuki address 125 sold over here which looks exactly the same.

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they sell the honda innova 125 here which is basically a modernised C90 with a four speed gearbox and a disc front brake. the suspension is probably better as well, although i've never

ridden a C90. the innova is known as the wave in most other markets and they make 'em

all over the world. i'm sure mine was made in thailand.

bah Honda have made some terrible biz decisions recently wonder if they like Sony have become evil..

Ie:

They put a cam chain back on the VFR800 , cam gears rule!. They stuck VTEC on the VFR800, they put linked brakes on the VFR800! , all this on a flagship bike!.

The CBR600F was discontinued it was an excellent bike, infavour of the CBR600RR which is terrible for day to day use since its too revvy, has poor mid range and has terrible build quality , it uses plastic screws to hold the fairing together to save 50 grammes of weight!.

They stopped making good bikes , like Africa Twins and replaced them with poor ones like the Varadero and transalp...

Post 2002 , Hondas are designed to be disposible , they are almost impossible to take apart and fix yourself, they use bolts made out of cheese which break so you can't split engine , and a courier mate tells me they are completely uneconomical to fix bar oil changes as they need so many specialist tools, to take apart my CBR (1999) I need 4 specialist tools which I can make myself, a CBR600RR needs about 30.

They then stuck ABS on all its CBRs,

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bah Honda have made some terrible biz decisions

They then stuck ABS on all its CBRs,

oh i agree completely - mind you didn't they make a loss on each VFR750 they made after the debacle of the VF750? dunno about the VFR800.

they also lumber bikes with VTEC - utterly pointless IMHO.

i run a early 1990's grey import CB400 Super Four - the build quality is excellent.

i'm already looking at picking up a mid to late '90 CBR600 - i have a feeling this winter and next might be just the time... :unsure:

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bikers are a bunch of resource wasters. riding around aimlessly, burning precious fuels in the blink of an eye that took millions of years to form - then stopping for a burger and standing around looking like a right t*t in their stupid gear and going home to scrape dead flies off. confirmation that the human race is packed to the rafters with thickos.

They we have the millions of car owners who waste 10x the resources driving their cars.

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Oh dear. You seem to be representing exactly why many car drivers loathe and detest bikers. You make sweeping assumptions about "classifying" me having never met me and never seen me on a bike. This is precisely the kind of tribalism that has, almost exclusive to the UK, brought about the very conditions why bikers and the bike industry is ever more marginalised here. Your position is by default defensive. Because I have the honesty to say that, although I am a biker, I recognise that some, not all, of my biking colleagues are bloody irresponsible, you now make knee jerk judgements. It would be better if you took on board the enormous prejudice against bikers and bikes and worked out why it exists. Most bikers are car drivers too, but some of them appear to change personalities with the "us" and "them" bigotry that dominates both enthusiasts. I concede that, equally, some car drivers are a menace too.

You also misunderstand my points because you are so busy over-reacting to them that you are making assumptions which simply do not exist. I stand by my original point which was to explain why bike sales here are plummeting. It is partly because the biking lobby, while having every right to stand up for what is a very desirable, pleasurable and potentially economical form of transport, is stubbornly ignoring two things: 1) Bike marketing in the UK is dominated by very powerful machines which are not always practical and clearly put pressure on particularly younger riders to buy machines beyond their abilities. 2) Not recognising the small but significant section of bikers who get everyone else's backs up is exactly playing into the hands of those police chiefs and average punters who want as a matter of ambition all bikes to be banned from the roads.

And your reaction to this is the not very intelligent observation that therefore "I am a boring old fart". I'm happy to take this on board if only you were prepared to recognise that there really IS a problem about prejudice against the bike industry, and also recognise that such prejudice is not completely blind.

Now see if you can make a case, which I would respect if you could avoid descending into "shut the F**ck up" desperation. Thank you.

VP

Look, I buy and ride motorcycles because I want to. Thats the whole point of the individuality and freedom of motorcycling. I could not give **** about what car drivers think about bikers, they are street furniture to be avoided. Nothing against them, just not relevant.

People like you are classified as BOF's because they want to stick their nose in where its not wanted. You can ride whatever bike you want, I rode scooters for many years and like all bikes, I love them for what they are. I'm thinking of buying MP3 because its the closest thing to a car in practical and safety term. My current bike is Triumph 675, which to you something terrible because its fast or whatever. But its as practical as any other bike, I carry luggage, passengers and do all my shopping on it. Same as a scooter. I originally kept my scooter after buying a sports bike but found it un-necessary (and I've nver passed my car test).

Personally and I include a lot of other bikers, I'm simply not interested in you arguments, the state of the biking 'industry' or the public's attitude towards it. I think its about as much interest and relevance as getting 70mph car speed limiters and banning any sort of sports cars, it infringes so much on personal freedom that it will never happen.

You are fretting over nothing, quite frankly.

Edited by Peter Hun
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Look, I buy and ride motorcycles because I want to. Thats the whole point of the individuality and freedom of motorcycling. I could not give **** about what car drivers think about bikers, they are street furniture to be avoided. Nothing against them, just not relevant.

People like you are classified as BOF's because they want to stick their nose in where its not wanted. You can ride whatever bike you want, I rode scooters for many years and like all bikes, I love them for what they are. I'm thinking of buying MP3 because its the closest thing to a car in practical and safety term. My current bike is Triumph 675, which to you something terrible because its fast or whatever. But its as practical as any other bike, I carry luggage, passengers and do all my shopping on it. Same as a scooter. I originally kept my scooter after buying a sports bike but found it un-necessary (and I've nver passed my car test).

Personally and I include a lot of other bikers, I'm simply not interested in you arguments, the state of the biking 'industry' or the public's attitude towards it. I think its about as much interest and relevance as getting 70mph car speed limiters and banning any sort of sports cars, it infringes so much on personal freedom that it will never happen.

You are fretting over nothing, quite frankly.

Well thanks for avoiding personal insults this time...progress! Look, you keep misunderstanding my original post. I realise there are plenty of alternatives if you want to buy any kind of bike or scooter. My point is that the MARKETING of bikes in the UK is heavily weighted towards powerful and ever more gas guzzling machines and there is an inbuilt prejudice in most of the biking press against machines which are just as well made and just as pleasurable to ride, but because they don't happen to have 120 bhp they are often sidelined. That is certainly reflected by the sales figures which, unlike the rest of Europe, show a huge bias away from lower powered machines. I concede that car magazines are similar and they assume that drivers are only interested in fantasy cars they will never be able to afford. I believe that is a myopic and shallow attitude.

And no I don't think the Triumph 675 is terrible and I wish you would stop putting words into my mouth. Moreover, ANY post or new thread on this or any other forum could be interpreted as "sticking your nose in where its not wanted". If you don't agree with me and you are not "interested in my arguments" then don't take part in the discussion. I never said powerful bikes are per se a bad thing and I never said you could not buy and ride whatever you want.

Will you please stop ascribing things to me that I never said. Thanks.

VP

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they also make 'em in china now - honda have a tie up with wuyang. they are being sold by people like david silver spares + i'm willing to bet that they will be as reliable and well made as the honda.

Yeah, a wuyang 125 step thru is the best bet. If you lose your job you can easily afford to run one. They sell for 1,000 quid, much cheaper than the Innova and Suzuki wosname. I wouldn't try any other make of Chinese scoot though.

I remember using a C50 to get to work (9 miles) on in the early eighties. I literally only used the loose change in my pocket or coins from my pay packet to buy petrol! I think the tank held 0.66 of a gallon.

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