Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brand loyalty

I have often been asked the question "am I brand loyal"?  In other words would I ride a different make of bike or am I loyal only to Triumph.  I ended up having a very interesting conversation with a friend today about this very issue.

First and four most, I don't care what bike you ride, if you are on two wheels, weather it be a scooter, Harley, Honda, Royal Enfield.....I don't care.  The fact that you are on two wheels makes you part of the "Brotherhood...or Sisterhood" as the case may be.  We have something in common, something that is very hard for the non biker to understand.

There is one main reason that I like Triumph.

The Engine.   I fell in love with the triple engine.  The first time I heard it it rocked  my boat.    It continues to rock my boat.  That growl that only a triple makes is very very addictive.  There is simply no other bike maker out there that has capitalized on this.  Although I hear rumours that MV, or could be Aprilla are doing something similar.  In the mean time triumph has cornered the market on this particular issue.  Who ever at Triumph came up with the idea is a genius.

Character,  I have always like the Triumphs because they have character.  Although this reason is not exclusive to Triumph.  There are many bikes out there that I would also consider to have character.  They just don't have three cylinder in them!

I think now a days it is pretty hard to buy a bad bike.  Most producers of bikes offer high quality and performance that not many riders will ever take to there real limit.  But what I will say is that I think Triumph are thinking out side of the square far more than any of the other major bike manufactures.  The release of the Tiger cub, just reinforces this view.  The Rocket 2.3 litre triple, the 675 Daytona, the Street triple, Speed triple, and my favourite, which no other manufacturer has come close to being able to reproduce....the very simple and very cool Bonneville.   These are all fantastic bikes which appeal to a wide market.

On the other hand...........( and please I am not insulting Suzuki owners)  Suzuki has hardly come out with a new or exciting bike for some time.  Yes there has been regular and consistent upgrades on their class leader the GSXR1000, but what else?   This only appeals to a small minority.    The very successful Boulevard series are excellent bikes, but also they have been around for a while.  I read recently that Suzuki's sales in the UK have dropped 50% in the last three years,   Some of this is attributed to the recession but the writer was at pains to point out that they are simply not meeting the market.

 A classic example is the Adventure market.  This is one of the fastest growing markets in biking, normally dominated by BMW ( Thanks to Charlie and Ewen), yet now Triumph have a bike to compete, KTM are in there but where is Suzuki?  Honda has the Trans Alp, but again it is an old bike that has not seen any real innovations fro some time.

Now I am not turning this into a "Bash Suzuki" blog, I think personally most of the Japanese manufactures are missing the boat to some degree.  Where as BMW, Triumph, KTM and Ducati are all coming out with new and exciting models to meet todays markets and  the needs of todays riders.

Am I brand loyal........well I suppose I am..........but that can change!


  1. I'm not trying to throw Harley Davidson's under the bus, but they are along the same vein as Suzuki in the respect that they really aren't keeping up with the market changes. They were garnering that in the Buell series...but we all know where that has gone.

    Don't fail to point out that Kawasaki has come out with the Versys. That is a strange looking beast that grows on me slowly and I would probably have bought one of those if my heels could have reached the ground. I do hear they are fairly large in the European commuting community since they are high and narrow for lane splitting.

    That said, the Triumph 800 XC that SonjaM posted up has been drooling...

    Good discussion!

  2. It seems to me that owning or riding a bike is a purely personal choice and those that generally ride bikes love the bike they're riding.

    I do not have the knowledge and expertise as you do on the diferent bikes and in some ways I like it that way :) because at the best of times I find it bloody hard to choose what shirt Im wearing to work let alone what bike I will ride, so all power to riders I say - choose the bike that you love.

  3. Hi Nick , fair comment. This blog is an observation on my behalf. I am interested to hear what other people think. Thnaks for your comments.

  4. Hi Lori, I am just putting it "out there", mainly to see what other people think. But I whole heartadly agree with your comment.

  5. Some well-made comments and interesting points from everyone Roger. I was never anti any particular brand but did have a preference for Hondas for many years as I thought they were innovative and had a great build quality.

    However, IMHO, they have lost the innovative spark. Their VFR 1200 is a truly awful bike. I would have stuck with the brand if it had genuinely been a logical successor to my much-loved Blackbird. The Triumph Sprint GT is much closer to what I'd have hoped for as a next generation Blackbird.

  6. Yes Geoff, Honda dropped the ball on the VFR, considering how strong the VFR Brand is, it is disappointing. Still....ya got love that triple!

  7. I have no allegiance to any make either but I agree with you, Triumph has something special in the triple sound and now they have the 800 and 800XC :-) and they are jumping into the adventure market because up until recently in the USA only BMW had decent machines, then KTM and Ducati jumped in and now also the Yamaha Tenere (my future bike, already put a deposit) :-)
    Even Kawasaki with the Versys did something different and it looks like a nice bike. I also agree with Beemergirl, the Versys is tall :-0
    Honda might come out with the CrossTourer.
    Suzuki and Harley are not doing much :-(

  8. Roger does an ode to Triumph. I like it. I never had one but wanted one all my life. Give me the Bonnie, the Thrux or the Scrambler, and the new 800 Tiger on top. I wait, and get me some of that Striple, too. A Beemer is for the mind but a Triumph is for the soul. One day I'll get mine...

  9. I have to agree on the comments around the VFR1200 - it's a real disappointment as it does not seem to fill any niche.

    I was a Suzuki man until I bought my Connie - they were always cheap & reliable (which was important to me back then). Unfortunately they do not make anything close to the Connie.

    I have ridden one Triumph Triple and while it was nice, I was not overly impressed with the engine (no offense - the ST model has always appealed to me in terms of looks and function) - to me it was just a little too smooth and did not feel like it had the torque I was used to on big fours. I would however love a Rocket III for a hooligan bike...

    The Japs may need a wake-up in the design department but at least you do know you are buying reliability...

    PS: currently looking at Suzuki's again...

    PPS: the new Kwaka W800 looks like it's out-bonnying the bonnie...

  10. I can't believe you guys beat up poooooor oooold Suzuki like that...I have a V-Strom, and yes it's homely, yes it's old school, and yes the Strom is basically unchanged in 9 years.... Just like Raftnn said, but I guess that's why I like it because it fits me. However, the Trumpet 800 has me thinking, and drooling... :) That is one sweet machine!

  11. Hi Ken, I hope you dont take offense that was not my intention, just stating an obsevation!! Happy riding!

  12. yes Adrew it is different stroks for different folks. I have never ridden "A CONNIE" but would be very keen. They seem to do everthing well and i know a few owners who just love em!

  13. Ken, I have always liked Suzuki and was all ready to buy a V-Strom to convert into an adventure bike like so many do but then Yamaha announced the Tenere, I already put a deposit :-) I'm not a bimmer guy, too expensive and never been a fan of boxer engines. If only Suzuki had an adventure bike....

  14. No offense taken at all! I would love to have one of each kind...mmmmmmm :) I also think it would be a very dreary world if everyone rode the same machine! What would we have to covet?

    I like the Tenere also, if had the coins ready I would have a hard decision (I like the C14 too, and the fjr and ...etc well you see what I mean)

    I would guess nearly all of us suffer from the same poly-motorcycle-amory! :)

  15. Motorcycles scare the bejeebers out of me. However, I am forever loyal to Jif peanut butter. Now, if I could be assured a certain brand of bike would stick to my ass as well as Jif sticks to the roof of my mouth, well...nah, I'd still be scared.

  16. Thank you "mr Smith", Peanut butter is indeed a favourite of mine, although I have never used it to stick my butt on the bike!lol