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View Poll Results: Would you buy a new bike direct from the manufacturer?
Yes 23 67.65%
No 11 32.35%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 08-22-2013, 09:18 PM
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Fred1956 Fred1956 is offline
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Default Manufacturer direct

I have been watching different items go to direct distribution in this industry, EVS, Fastway, Smart Carb, Asterisk, etc. Basically I used to buy these products and others from my distributors and now I have to set up as a dealer directly with the manufacturer. It got me to wondering if the motorcycle manufacturers would ever go to this type (or some variation of it) of system at some time. I can see advantages for the manufacturers- possibly better margins at lower retail as the dealer profit is out of the mix, bikes are getting very high on the showroom, plus I've heard dealers talk of double digit numbers of some brands '13 models still on the floor and it's time to order '14s. I bought my used '10 GG sight unseen from a guy in CA & had it shipped but I'm probably not the norm. KTM, GG, Sherco & Husabeg?? all have demo fleets so it seems possible that you could get a chance to 'throw a leg over' a new bike at some point & try it out on the trail instead of just sitting on one in the showroom. Maybe if you bought a new bike and 'referred a friend' you could get 'manufacturers bucks' towards parts or even your next new bike??.Dish Network will give you $50 to refer some one that enrolls. I'm an independent repair/accessory shop so it wouldn't bother my business but if I was a dealer what would it do to me? Would it be- Easier because I don't have that floor plan to sweat out & the possibility of leftover units? or Harder because brand loyalty wouldn't steer customers back in to me for parts etc? It seems as though more and more people are online buying (even GG owners are shopping with Mikel) so could it extend to the whole unit instead of just parts and accessories?

So here is my question- Would you buy a new bike if you couldn't haul it home with you? Simple answer is yes or no but I'd love to hear thoughts on the whole thing


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  #2  
Old 08-22-2013, 10:05 PM
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when it comes to buying "anything" motorized...I'm all about being able to touch it, inspect it...whatever. What if my potential new bike had some sort deal breaking..."whatever"? I wouldn't buy a truck or car based on read reviews or commercials, so neither would I purchase a new bike in that manner.
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2013, 10:23 PM
ScottyR ScottyR is offline
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I wouldn't think twice about buying a 2 stroke dirt bike online or across the country. I have done it several times. With the internet you can have parts in 2-3 days from anywhere in the world.

I might be a bit hesitant to buy a fuel injected 4 stroke without any service support though.

I think that the days of buying "online" direct from a OEM/distributor and having dedicated service centres are coming sooner than we think. Prices of bikes are getting so high and the margins are so slim already. The return on investment is so small the manufacturers may have no choice but to lower their prices and cut the middle man out of the equation altogether in order to keep people riding.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:17 AM
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A lot of where you stand on this issue may depend on where you sit

If bikes are a commodity (think YZ250s or CRF450s) then maybe it doesn't matter if you buy it at Walmart or a dealer, because in some sense the larger dealers are just like a big-box store.

If instead bikes are an emotional entity (as may be stated as the case for GasGas and TM and Beta) then perhaps a more intimate dealership experience is necessary. The problem is that the volume of Spanish and Italian bikes sold in a year doesn't support a vast dealer network, and you're left taking a chance on having a bike shipped or driving a long distance to pick it up.

If you decide you'll accept a bike shipped, it can just as easily come from a distributor or manufacturer or a dealer, but then who takes care of the customer from that point forward?

Looking at the automotive business as a larger scale but somewhat analogous example, it can be seen that manufacturers need to limit their supply and customer base in order to effectively run their businesses. Ford may sell a couple million cars a year, but they only have a couple thousand customers - the dealers. They only have to deal with that fraction of entities when it comes to deliveries, payments, warranty transactions, etc. and that makes the business manageable.

Some of the acceptance of the "ship it in" model may have to do with a rider's ability to handle what whatever little mechanical gremlins pop up, or their availability to spend time sorting out issues. I've bought bikes from all over the country sight-unseen because I was willing to invest the time to make them right if they arrived flawed.

All of that having been said, in a lot of ways many of my good customers have followed the "direct" model in that they bought their bikes elsewhere and so I have to differentiate my business in other ways instead of expecting return business simply because they bought a bike here.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:27 AM
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I have never bought a dirt bike from a dealer......in fact the only brand new bike I've ever owned was the one I received for Christmas, back in 1974, Kaw KD80.
Bought my GasGas from a forum member in 2000, via email and telephone.

I don't feel the needed get all touchy freely with a bike on the show room floor.....if you know what you want.....you'll buy it.....IMHO.
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2013, 02:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
I don't feel the needed get all touchy freely with a bike on the show room floor.....if you know what you want.....you'll buy it.....IMHO.
But how do you know what you want ...? Who's word do you trust?
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  #7  
Old 08-23-2013, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
But how do you know what you want ...? Who's word do you trust?
That's where the demo rides come in, or the 'manufacturer bucks' we've all tried our riding buddies' bike or 'swapped for a loop', I give test rides on my Gasser for nothing now, if I could get $100-$200 if a guy bought a new unit that would be a bonus for me. In Rick's case where the smaller mfgs haven't met CA's requirements to have a dealer network he can still choose one of the smaller brands and get parts and info support as good or better than the 'box store' models. That would make it harder for him to get a test ride though if there aren't bikes in his area

Good thoughts Steve, with me being an independent repair shop the direct method may open up some avenues for me that aren't there now. i.e. Scotty mentioned his hesitation about buying a fuel injected 4 stroke, if a manufacturer made that training available to repair shops then I might have a new opportunity to offer service to customers. In most cases the shop with the best customer service gets the bulk of the business.

The direct model may work in the off road market as most of us are willing to 'do the work' but the street market will IMO always have to have a dealer network. Many of those riders are not of that mind set.
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2013, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
But how do you know what you want ...? Who's word do you trust?
Steve,
Didn't you sell a Beta to Glenn and this past weekend to a guy from east TN who traded in a GG to you? It seems that most of your customers are not local to you? Do you ship them or do they drive to your place?
Clay
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2013, 11:22 AM
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twowheels twowheels is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay View Post
Steve,
Didn't you sell a Beta to Glenn and this past weekend to a guy from east TN who traded in a GG to you? It seems that most of your customers are not local to you? Do you ship them or do they drive to your place?
Clay
A bit of both in those cases - I drove and met Glenn partway and delivered the '14 Beta at the shop, but I have also crated and shipped.
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afterhourscycle.com
Michigan's Beta and TM Race Headquarters

Last edited by twowheels; 08-23-2013 at 11:56 AM. Reason: clarification
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  #10  
Old 08-23-2013, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
But how do you know what you want ...? Who's word do you trust?
The choices are pretty easy for me:

1. By Jap and convert to offroad?

2. Buy Euro, Husky, KTM, GG, Beta, TM, Sherco?

3. 2 stroke or 4 stroke? Easy for me, 2 stroke!

Bikes of today are SO good off the floor that I think it would be easy to make a choice without having a shop support in the same town / city.

The interweb provides instant information at your finger tips for you to read and also watch video's which we did not have back in the day. With so many forums on the interweb for each brand I think a person can make a sound choice on what he or she looking for. It is pretty easy to discount the "noob" remarks about a brand based upon research.

The interweb allows us to have a shop, parts counter person and MFR support almost 24/7/365.
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