The buying experience

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  • The buying experience

    With another post mentioning Clinton Cycles recently closing its doors, reality really hit me yesterday after I visited an Indian dealer in Rogers, AR. First, let me tell you about the Indian buying experience. We rode up on our Goldwing, with our bright yellow Olympia jackets on, not exactly the image of an Indian or Harley rider. We were greeted within seconds of entering the front door. The showroom was immaculate and I have to admit, the machines look like a work of art. The new Roadmaster is beautiful. The salesmen all looked and presented themselves very professionally and the one who visited with us really knew his stuff. An area of the showroom was dedicated to very cool Indian logo riding gear, gloves, shirts, caps, etc. They have some very cool stuff. I can see where the 'experience' alone would make someone want an Indian.

    As for the Indian motorcycle itself, the quality of fit and finish is light years ahead of my Goldwing. You could see yourself in the paint. The heavy chrome hand controls just look like they were well engineered and all of the switches were high quality. It really irritates me that all of these 1940-style motorcycles already have Bluetooth and other electronics that Goldwing riders can only dream of. The Indian dealer also sells Victory so we had a chance to look at some of their models too. Very impressive build quality.

    I started to think about how the Indian experience compares to buying a Goldwing, or any Honda motorcycle. Honda sells motorcycles like they sell lawnmowers. In fact, some dealers sell both out of the same store. Most dealers cram as many bikes as possible into their showrooms so there is barely room to walk around and actually see them. I was at my dealer the other day and they had 9 Goldwings on the showroom floor lined up right next to each other. My Honda dealer looks more like a warehouse than a showroom.

    I know that Honda sells 10 to 1 over any other manufacturer. But not in the $25,000+ and up space. We were at the Indian dealer for only 30 minutes and I saw two customers come in and ride off on their new Indians. I would be willing to bet that within 3 years, Indian will be outselling the Goldwing. There is a ton of profit in a $25,000 motorcycle, I am guessing more than on a $25,000 car. There must be since some dealers discount them $3,500 to sell them.

    We have the most reliable motorcycle in the world and unquestionably the best engine. Honda just needs to pay more attention to the details. There is so much buzzing in our intercom that we HAVE to have Mic-Mutes just to keep from going insane when we ride. The suspension is simply inadequate. We pulled out of a gas station two days ago and there was a hump in the concrete and the bike bottomed out and actually smacked the bottom of the engine on the concrete! Thank God I had on my bellypan! It was not that big of a bump, the suspension should have been able to handle it. The GPS system has fewer features and one you can buy over the counter for $100. The maps are too hard to update and the inability to interact with the GPS while riding is stupid. Honda does not have any problem allowing me to take my eyes off the road to fiddle with the 900 radio buttons on the lower left side of the fairing, but I cannot do anything with my GPS. I think Honda has milked enough out of this 13 year old design. It is time for some upgrades.

    P.S. I expect at least one angry response
    Last edited by Cruiseman; 10-26-2014, 06:45 AM.
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  • #2
    You described the Lubbock dealer very well. They also offer Can-Am Spyders and Indian and Victory motorcycles, all jammed in a small showroom with various used motorcycles including a line of used Hardley Ablesons, Honda lawnmowers and generators, four wheel utilities, Skidoos, and boats. There is not a Goldwing in the store. I think they also hold a Kawasaki and Suzuki franchise but have no inventory.

    Honda excels at engineering not marketing which I think most here would agree has produced the best touring motorcycle ever built. Unfortunately it's clear that Honda has shifted their focus in recent years to developing new lines of smaller displacement motorcycles intended to recruit younger generations into motorcycle riding rather than spend development money on their aging generation of touring customers like us.

    As each new model year is revealed with the same old Goldwing with non-matching saddlebags and fog lamps I wonder if Honda will offer a replacement Goldwing before I'm shopping for a wheelchair rather than a new touring machine.

    Leaders at Honda are not stupid people. They can see and interpret the US economy and the direction our nation is going as well as anyone. They know that the average standard of living and disposable income of Americans has shrunk and is continuing to shrink each year. They can predict our future also. Goldwings are primarily an American product. Honda may have decided to continue offering the same old Goldwing as long as a few will buy it and eventually drop that segment.

    I've reconciled myself to continuing to enjoy my Goldwing as long as I can hold it up. I have no doubt it's capable of continuing to provide outstanding reliability and service for at least another 100,000 miles. That's where Honda excels.
    Harvey Barlow
    Crosby County, TX
    2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
    2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


    • harvey
      harvey commented
      Editing a comment
      HBarlow, As one Harvey to another, I have to say you described the Honda dealer in Lubbock exactly as I remember from 2003. He did not have the CaAms then but the place was small and crowded. The wife and I were in Russelville, AK last spring and stopped at Honda of Russellville just so she could see what a large dealership looks like.

    • HBarlow
      HBarlow commented
      Editing a comment
      Fellow Harvey,

      I know what you mean about what a large (and attractive) Honda dealership looks like.

      After offering the Lubbock dealer the opportunity to sell me one I bought my Goldwing over the phone from the dealer in Shawnee, OK. It was a big beautiful building, tastefully decorated, with only a few Honda motorcycles professionally displayed. Shawnee Powersports was a class act. I assume they still are but I haven't been back since the day I bought my wing.

  • #3
    I agree.Also, Honda does not control it's dealers they way other lines do. Good and bad I guess, but lets face it, there are some REALLY crappy Honda dealers around. I have seen a lot of complaints about this and when folks call MH to complain, they are told that it is up to the individual dealers to decide. I ride an 06 and I really like it. It is my 5th wing. I do not plan on another, but you never know I guess. The stumble problem, recent brake fiasco, and ridiculous prices for the same old thing are gonna be hard to overcome for me. I don't like the fact that I cannot get ABS, which is standard on most other big rides, without shucking out thousands for stuff I don't really want or need. The wing itself has drawbacks, but so do the others, I'm sure. I think the wing has come so far with its suspension problems, that they can't be fixed without adding even more $$$ to an already over priced ride.

    Our local dealer here used to be great. They were always friendly, supported the local GWRRA chapter, had rides and events now and then, and it was always a good spot to stop and browse, bs with the crew, meet other riders, and buy a trinket or two. They had an excellent mechanical/service shop. Then they turned it over to the young son. Within a short time, the mechanics had quit, sales folks walked, and the word was out. A 60 year old rider being greeted with "waddya want today dood?" is not going to go over well. Biz thru the floor and they sold out.

    Roll in the new crew. Never knew anything about the bikes they sold, and I over heard the sales guy (only one now) tell folks downright lies about stuff. The guy behind the counter was the same old "dood" type, except this guy looked like a fishing tackle ad. The barbie doll girlie, while pleasing to look at, always acted ****ed when you disturbed her texting. They never could seem to get a part order together, even when you gave them the number. Finally....death. The building is now a furniture store. The other dealers we had in the area have gone under too, because of bad reps. So now, we have to go a ways out of town to get service and sales, and that place is none too popular either. Honda has overpriced bikes, overpriced parts, overpriced farkles, and some parts are getting hard to get.

    I think if they changed the wing some, and started working on some good solid dealerships, they might reverse the trend. And for gods sake, offer some decent clothes and maybe a tee shirt or two. On the "other" forum, one guy pulls sales numbers out of his you know where to try and prove that the wing is still a hot seller. I dont believe a bit of it because I hardly ever see a wing any more. Remember when you could by a wing, se...top of the line, that came with a CB, air adjustable shocks front and rear, great paint job and schemes, good fit and finish, and know it was pretty much bullet proof? The good ol' days when I had hair and the dollar was worth a lot more.........

    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


    • #4
      I agree with everything that has been said regarding Honda dealers and its marketing. However, premium brands also have their challenges. Not to again get on the soapbox (well I guess I am doing so) but I have had plenty of crappy service experience from several of the BMW motorcycle dealers here in Ohio. Their showrooms might be nice, but that impression ends in the service bay. At least with Honda there are a lot more dealers and independents from which to choose.

      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


      • #5
        I will say that you folks really hit the nail on the head with your descriptions of the current mess that Honda provides for their buying customers. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the individual dealerships, as we all know we have seen good dealers, and we have seen very bad dealers. I have no problem riding past the bad dealers, just so that I can be treated better, listened to, and shown respect at the good dealers. While I bought my latest bike from a dealer 125 miles away, and probably 5 dealers between my house and where I bought....I wish I had bought this same bike from my good dealer that is actually closer. Went to the one I did buy from, because they were advertising a 2012 ST1300 ABS at a very discounted price, and that is what I was wanting to buy. Test rode it....reminded me of "why" I previously chose to get off the ST bikes, and the owner of the dealership asked me if I would test ride one of these new F6Bs for them, as no one had riden one yet, or bought one yet, and they were sitting on 6 of them. I test rode it....reminded me of "why" I love the GL1800 platform bikes, and they made me an offer to buy price that I could not refuse.

        Since then, I have not been back to that dealer, because they are simply a fast-food warehouse pushing bikes out the door, with no connection to the riding world other than selling bikes. That is where it ends with them. In hindsight, I would have been willing to pay more money, to buy the bike from my good dealer in my area....not because they are closer, but because the good dealer in my area understands their customers, the owners get involved, and they know that this is a continuing business...not just the sale of the bike.

        I do believe that Honda will be around, and selling Wings for as long as "we" are all here. Too big a company, and too good a product to fail flatout. I agree that changes need to be made, but that is where "we" have to make the changes ourselves, make our own version of improvements, to dial the bike into what we want it to be.

        I think the biggest failure that I have seen the Wing go through, is what Stickyfingers already stated.....you cannot get an ABS Goldwing without first getting your license as a pimp daddy, and being forced to add things that you really don't want, or need, i.e., the heated seat, and the lousy GPS from Honda. I loved my '03 Wing and my '04 Wing, because you could buy either a standard Wing, or an ABS Wing, and from there you could build it up to where you wanted it to be. Honda really ****ed me off when they made that change in the '06 models, and ABS was a luxury item that was further up the food chain.

        I think the key to all this is...go out of your way to find a good dealer....give that good dealer all your business...and be content with what Honda can offer...in combination to what you can do to the bike yourself.

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        • #6
          MMR and Stickyfingers are right about the ABS fiasco. In the context of this post, Honda is disrespecting it's customer, in fact holding them hostage and demanding a ransom in the form of buying unwanted items to get what many (myself included) believe to be a necessary safety item (ABS). I don't have any idea why MH (mother Honda) thinks it good business practice to treat customers this way. Its truly sad to see such a great motorcycle platform languish in a manufacturers indifference.

          My oldest son and I decided to stop at the Vegas Indian dealer one day just to take a look at the bikes. Great showroom and the service was absolutely top shelf. They practically dragged us through the place including the service bays. They were jjustifiably very proud of their operation. I clearly told them we weren't buying but they wanted us to take a couple bikes out for a ride. We didn't have time that day, they said come back tomorrow and take a Vintage and Chieftain for the day. We did, and had a great time. They really treated us well, didn't pressure us in the least to buy.

          That was a dealership experience we should be able to get from Honda. If so, I expect MH would increase sales significantly. After all, the product is great, but service is lacking. Someone alluded to a shinking motorcycle market within the U.S. A shrinking market makes each customer more valuable and they should be treated that way.

          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


          • #7
            Originally posted by Cruiseman View Post
            With another post mentioning Clinton Cycles recently closing its doors, reality really hit me yesterday after I visited an Indian dealer in Rogers, AR. First, let me tell you about the Indian buying experience. We rode up on our Goldwing, with our bright yellow Olympia jackets on, not exactly the image of an Indian or Harley rider. We were greeted within seconds of entering the front door. The showroom was immaculate and I have to admit, the machines look like a work of art. The new Roadmaster is beautiful. The salesmen all looked and presented themselves very professionally and the one who visited with us really knew his stuff. An area of the showroom was dedicated to very cool Indian logo riding gear, gloves, shirts, caps, etc. They have some very cool stuff. I can see where the 'experience' alone would make someone want an Indian.

            As for the Indian motorcycle itself, the quality of fit and finish is light years ahead of my Goldwing. You could see yourself in the paint. The heavy chrome hand controls just look like they were well engineered and all of the switches were high quality. It really irritates me that all of these 1940-style motorcycles already have Bluetooth and other electronics that Goldwing riders can only dream of. The Indian dealer also sells Victory so we had a chance to look at some of their models too. Very impressive build quality.

            I started to think about how the Indian experience compares to buying a Goldwing, or any Honda motorcycle. Honda sells motorcycles like they sell lawnmowers. In fact, some dealers sell both out of the same store. Most dealers cram as many bikes as possible into their showrooms so there is barely room to walk around and actually see them. I was at my dealer the other day and they had 9 Goldwings on the showroom floor lined up right next to each other. My Honda dealer looks more like a warehouse than a showroom.

            I know that Honda sells 10 to 1 over any other manufacturer. But not in the $25,000+ and up space. We were at the Indian dealer for only 30 minutes and I saw two customers come in and ride off on their new Indians. I would be willing to bet that within 3 years, Indian will be outselling the Goldwing. There is a ton of profit in a $25,000 motorcycle, I am guessing more than on a $25,000 car. There must be since some dealers discount them $3,500 to sell them.

            We have the most reliable motorcycle in the world and unquestionably the best engine. Honda just needs to pay more attention to the details. There is so much buzzing in our intercom that we HAVE to have Mic-Mutes just to keep from going insane when we ride. The suspension is simply inadequate. We pulled out of a gas station two days ago and there was a hump in the concrete and the bike bottomed out and actually smacked the bottom of the engine on the concrete! Thank God I had on my bellypan! It was not that big of a bump, the suspension should have been able to handle it. The GPS system has fewer features and one you can buy over the counter for $100. The maps are too hard to update and the inability to interact with the GPS while riding is stupid. Honda does not have any problem allowing me to take my eyes off the road to fiddle with the 900 radio buttons on the lower left side of the fairing, but I cannot do anything with my GPS. I think Honda has milked enough out of this 13 year old design. It is time for some upgrades.

            P.S. I expect at least one angry response
            So if you were in the market to buy a bike would you consider the Roadmaster?

            Jeff
            '08 Level 3 Wing Pearl White
            Progressive front springs
            All Balls with Traxxion triple tree
            '12 rear shock with Progressive spring
            F 4 windshield
            Wingsoft seat

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            • #8
              I had a chance to test ride The Roadmaster and the Chieftain this summer and while both were well made and good looking I was happy to get back on my F6B. Much smoother and more power. Thats my opinion.
              2013 Black F6B

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              • #9
                I've been disgusted with the misrepresentations when Imbought my 'Wing and the parts departments at two different dealers-'these guys belong in Ladies' lingerie- 20 minutes to get snd oil filter and oil filter wrench for my first oil change- sheesh! And that's only one story. Go tp ky Harley dealer for my old Sportster and get the stuff I need- no mistakes, no hassles, paid and gone in 60 seconds with a smile. The Homda dealerscould learn from that!

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                • #10
                  The F6B was my first purchase of a Honda motorcycle. Negotiated with two "local" Honda dealers and I was underwhelmed. Stupid, irritating stuff like them asking you to sign the "new bike" checkout form where you acknowledge the bike has a full tank of gas...when it's really only a half tank full...tires 50% underinflated at delivery..and an hour argument about whether the service manual they were selling me was the correct one for my bike. It wasn't. Had to instruct them about the financing that was being offered...and the incentives.
                  It was a surprisingly terrible experience.

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                  • #11
                    Bought my 07 Wing new from D's Honda in Alpena, MI and it was a smooth delivery with no problems. A deer impacted me on the right rear a few months later and di a lot of plastic damage. D's Honda did a great job repairing my Wing and it was indeed as good as new. I had it back in less than 10 days. They are an hour North of me so don't see them often , but I would buy from them again.
                    Recently moved to TN my native state, Feels good to be back home.

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                    • Rick S
                      Rick S commented
                      Editing a comment
                      That should be the norm!

                  • #12
                    The purchase experience I had when I bought my wings was great at Altus Motorsports was great. No hassle. I let them sell my old bike and no problem with that. Service has been good. My antenna broke coming back from West Virginia and they had a new one in a couple of days. I guess we will see how good they are as the rear end is now leaking from the seam on the case. I think someone here had the same issue and it was not much of a big fix. Not enough sealant on the seam when assembled i think.

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                    • #13
                      I have seen the Indian at some bike shows and love them i have been avoiding my indian dealer on purpose so i don't trade my wing in. The Indians are so much superior in the electronics paint chrome plus a 5 year out the door warranty. Trying to talk my better half into a second bike but she loves the wing.
                      2010 Pearl Yellow L3, Double Darksider #856, Ultimate Midrider Seat w Yellow inlays, F4+4 Tinted, Live To Ride, Love my Wing

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                      • #14
                        Every time I go into the local Honda dealer
                        I feel like I interrupted a circle jerk

                        I just go on line to order anything

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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Yellowbird View Post
                          I have seen the Indian at some bike shows and love them i have been avoiding my indian dealer on purpose so i don't trade my wing in. The Indians are so much superior in the electronics paint chrome plus a 5 year out the door warranty. Trying to talk my better half into a second bike but she loves the wing.
                          I don't worry about trading in my wing, but I do worry about coming home with another bike that I really don't need or have room for.

                          As far as Hondas dealers go, there are good and there are bad. The thing that really gets me its that there is so much variation from one dealer to then next. I just don't understand how Honda can have so little control over what their dealers do.

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                          • #16
                            Originally posted by jmohme View Post

                            I don't worry about trading in my wing, but I do worry about coming home with another bike that I really don't need or have room for.

                            As far as Hondas dealers go, there are good and there are bad. The thing that really gets me its that there is so much variation from one dealer to then next. I just don't understand how Honda can have so little control over what their dealers do.
                            This has been my take on the matter as well. I have never gone to any Harley dealer and not had excellent CS and employees who knew a thing or two. I have been to a few Honda dealers and for the most part I leave very disappointed. I do not understand why Honda does not kick up the service and intelligence level so they can at least compare with Harley, Indian and some others. Honda execs need to get their act together and stop being the dummies in the motorcycle world.
                            Dave - Arizona - 2012/GL1800

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                            • #17
                              How many were Goldwings??

                              Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                              • #18
                                Originally posted by mhgoldwing
                                I read a lot about what was better about the Indian motorcycle and how most everything is wrong with the Gold Wing. What I didn't read was where you test drove it, listened to its intercom at highway speed, rode two-up and overloaded the way most Wing drivers operate, and yet came to the conclusion that Honda got it all wrong. I read the other day where in a five day span in India Honda sold 165,000 bikes! No, that is not a misprint. Suzuki sold a few less. How many Gold Wings do they sell in a year. Finally, if all these other brands and their dealers are doing everything right, then why are you still on a Gold Wing. Trash and go ride whatever is better.
                                I came from over 36 years of various Harleys and I still have a Road King. I like the Goldwing for many reasons including the reasons you mention. I am not trashing the bike but discussing the dealers that Honda has out in the market place being inept compared to some of the other manufacturers. And Honda may have sold 165,000 bikes in India but I guarantee they are little scooters and small bikes and probably not many Goldwings. Imagine if Honda could put some good paint on a bike and improve some of the crappy electronics that everyone complains about and have some knowledgeable dealers to go to how many bike sales they may increase, and I couldn't care less about India.
                                Dave - Arizona - 2012/GL1800

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                                • #19
                                  Originally posted by mhgoldwing
                                  I read a lot about what was better about the Indian motorcycle and how most everything is wrong with the Gold Wing. What I didn't read was where you test drove it, listened to its intercom at highway speed, rode two-up and overloaded the way most Wing drivers operate, and yet came to the conclusion that Honda got it all wrong. I read the other day where in a five day span in India Honda sold 165,000 bikes! No, that is not a misprint. Suzuki sold a few less. How many Gold Wings do they sell in a year. Finally, if all these other brands and their dealers are doing everything right, then why are you still on a Gold Wing. Trash and go ride whatever is better.
                                  I think you are making my point. Honda is excellent at selling small 125cc bikes in 3rd world countries. They are not so great at selling luxury touring bikes in the US. Think about it this way, how many Lexus LS 460s would Toyota sell if they sold them through Toyota dealerships? Very few. The Goldwing/F6B/Valkyrie should be a "premium" brand and only certain Honda dealers should be licensed to sell them, and only if they have a special showroom just for the Goldwing "brand". But, it is going to take more than that, they have to have a bike that can compete in today's marketplace. The current Goldwing appeals to the 65+ crowd, not the 45-55 crowd who are coming off of sport bikes with traction control, electronic ride control, et al. The typical Goldwing owner does not even know how to spell Bluetooth, yet even the new Harleys, Indians and BMWs all have it.

                                  While we were riding through Arkansas this past weekend we saw countless Harleys and even a lot of BMWs. We saw a handful of Goldwings, maybe 6 total. Why?
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                                  • #20
                                    Cruiseman, when we went to the Blue Ridge and Colorado earlier this year I saw very few wings and saw a bunch of Harley's. I was really surprised at the lack of wings on the road. Where I live there are about 10 wings that I see regularly. I see a bunch more Harley's running around and I am talking just dressers and not including the softails and dyna chassis bikes.

                                    Not to sound elitist but honda should treat the wings like was previously suggested-in dealerships that are able to and are willing to support the bikes like a 25000 bike should be.

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