Selling the Dream of Motorcycles - Manufacturers That Do It Right
Motorcycles are not just a practical form of transportation, they can of course also offer a lifestyle choice. Since the early days of motorcycles, two-wheeled machines have been sold with a dream. They’re edgy, dangerous, sexy and somewhat of a counter-culture choice, but most commonly it's the enticement of freedom that takes centre stage.
Some brands have become masters at selling motorcycle lifestyle dreams that are often entwined with their history. Others are new to the scene and will be offering bright new things to an eager and hungry audience.
Mutt Motorcycles are one such brand that straddles these two approaches. Starting out as custom bike builders, Mutt realised that there was an increasing market for the retro custom scene, but not with the kind of money required for big-budget builds. Accessibility was key, and so they set out to bring their new wave custom ethos to more accessible smaller capacity motorcycles.
They now offer a range of very practical, easy to maintain bikes that are suitable for new riders, but still retain that custom look and feel. Apparel plays an important role as well as inclusion. Buy a Mutt and you are straight away part of their custom bike family at a fraction of the price of a one-off bespoke build.
Royal Enfield has taken a similar route, although they have a long and strong history behind them going all the way back to 1901. The current Royal Enfield business is under Indian ownership where their practical and reliable motorcycles are the backbone of domestic travel.
With such a rich history Royal Enfield have also expertly ridden the wave of retro biking interest, offering affordable, reliable yet still gorgeous classic looking bikes. Apparel and image is also a big part of their offering, but it's not just the retro fans that are catered for. The Himalayan motorcycle shook up the adventure market too with its rugged, go-anywhere nature and very affordable price tag.
It is Triumph that really grabbed the retro bike market by the horns. Again another brand with a rich history to tap into particularly with their iconic Bonneville model. As a large volume manufacturer Triumph can offer a wide range of motorcycle styles, but with nine bikes in their Modern Classics range, this is where they excel.
Triumphs have always been cool, and arguably the coolest Triumph rider of all time is Steve McQueen. He raced them in the ’60s and obviously the Great Escape movie fence jump scene has become iconic (even though it was Bud Ekins who actually made the jump). Owners looking to emulate the ‘King of Cool’ have plenty of bikes to choose from as well as a huge collection of clothing and accessories. Arguably Triumph itself has become the ‘Kings of Retro’.
Ducati also has a rich history to tap into, but theirs is more race track orientated. The Italian marque is synonymous with style, luxury and class. Ducatis have always looked, sounded and performed exquisitely, and the brand has a huge and faithful family of followers. When you buy a Ducati, you buy into their motorcycle lifestyle. You’re not just a Ducati owner, you are a ‘Ducatista’ part of the family, included and surrounded by like-minded individuals. A group of people who appreciate the advanced engineering, high performance and sheer sexiness of Ducati Motorcycles. This love for all things Ducati is no more in evidence than during the ‘World Ducati Week’ where thousands of Ducatista descend on the Misano Race circuit for three days of worship.
But having a back story isn't the only tool for selling the motorcycle dream. New entrant to the motorcycle market Stark Future is tackling the new breed of electric-powered motorcycles head-on, with its Varg model. The Varg is an uncompromising motocross bike, which aims to challenge the perception of what electric bikes can do. Stark aim to provide a bike that will outperform traditional combustion-engined machines, be easier to ride and take much less ongoing maintenance. The new 6kWh battery that powers the Varg weighs less than 32kg and offers a range that will allow it to complete a full high intensity ‘MXGP’ class race on a single charge. That's around the same range as an existing 450cc competition bike. It can recharge in 1 to 2 hours, but more importantly, for a lot of riders, it will do it almost silently.
But wait, there's another take on this idea. Super 73 are a brand that is using the motorcycle dream to sell bicycles, albeit electric bicycles. E-Bikes have become massively popular in the last few years and the market is booming. The Southern California based company are in their words “Fusing motorcycle heritage and youth culture” with their range of funky battery-powered machines. At first glance, you’d be forgiven if you thought you were looking at a motorcycle, but with pedals, and a chain-driven electrically assisted rear wheel, Super 73 offer a fully street legal bike that does not require a licence or registration. It’s a fun way to get around, but more importantly, it might just provide a gateway for younger people to get into motorcycles and become future buyers, which is an exciting prospect for us at RideTo.