Reinventing the wheel or the discovery of hot water

The rules of convivence imposed by governments to fight the pandemic COVID make a large part of the population discovering the limit of self-gratification and the joy of communal life. By looking at the news and at the clips paid to keep all of us at home, the example of service, sharing and charity are on the rise: from the underpaid heroes cleaning our street, our hospitals and our hospices to the heroes paid to take care of our health and our security, it is a great return to the good neighbour, the one we should love as ourselves.

One would say that “independence, power, mastery of both self and domain, and being a little bit of bad-ass” are values long gone and proven futile, at least for the majority of good citizens. How can we be master of both self and domain when a small creature such a virus can place a total stop to planet human activities and to so many lives?

We kept this press release, presented by the Motorcycle Industry Council Leadership ( COLUMBUS, Ohio, USA ) on September 30, 2019 (just 16 months ago) as a good example of banal thinking or waste of research money and time. Now it is as well a testimony of the distance between the motorcycle world and the real one.

By announcing the great find that “ Personal sovereignty is the essential key to understanding how to powerfully connect with potential riders” the researchers perpetuate an old cliché of macho biker that disappeared a long time ago. The four steps to facilitate the journey of new bikers toward their potential machine (Inspire, Explore, Engage and Integrate) can be easily applied to selling washing machine, miracle creams, language courses and trekking in Nepal. Yes, these researchers reinvented the two-wheels or they announced the discovery of hot water.

How do we know that Personal sovereignty, a culture code comprised of independence, power, mastery of both self and domain, and being at least a little bit bad-ass about it is superficial, passé, banal and misleading?  Just look at the market in USA and in Europe and “everyone agrees that the pie is shrinking and nobody can agree on how to bake a new one” . A popular MC blog used these words to introduce the 2020 BMW F900 R and F 900 RX; a German attempt to take share by lowering prices in a market that only had signs of decline even before the start of the pandemic.

thinkingomm.com people have been biking for many years and millions of collective kilometres and we believe that high price is one of the key reason for young people to stay away from sport bikes combined with the proliferation of unwanted technology and gizmos, mixed with the perpetuation, by several producers, of a wrong image of macho biker.

Here a summary of the discoveries from an “exhaustive research into the key drivers that underlie the motorcycle industry”, research that, like the spacecraft Enterprise  “had to dig deeper and go further than anyone had previously gone into the real issues that motivate people to ride”.

“Industry-Wide Initiative to Get More Riders, Riding More. The Motorcycle Industry Council presented the strategic framework for the long-term, industry-wide effort designed to boost ridership, get more riders, riding more, last week at the opening session for AIMExpo presented by Nationwide.

We conducted exhaustive research into the key drivers that underlie our industry,” … “We knew we had to dig deeper and go further than anyone had previously gone into the real issues that motivate people to ride and even more important, what keeps them from riding.

After months of intense, collaborative work with a consulting firm, it was clear that “potential consumers not only exist, they might actually be out there waiting for us to find them”  Information gathered in focus groups, lab experiences, and other research “allowed us to discern our most critical understanding,” … “the distillation of the culture code of motorcycling in America, which can be summed up in two words: personal sovereignty.”

The culture code is “comprised of independence, power, mastery of both self and domain, and being at least a little bit bad-ass about it,” …  “Personal sovereignty is the essential key to understanding how to powerfully connect with potential riders. It is how most Americans subconsciously relate to motorcycles.”…“We need more riders, riding more,” … “Potential riders are on a journey, and it’s our job ¬¬to provide a roadmap and help them along the way to make sure they reach the destination. Four key steps were identified on the journey to becoming a rider: Inspire – Get more people to take notice of motorcycling. Explore – Help more people learn about motorcycling in a way that aligns with their lifestyle and personal interests. Engage – Knock down barriers and welcome new folks. Integrate – Make motorcycling accessible, affordable, and enriching

3 thoughts on “Reinventing the wheel or the discovery of hot water”
  1. This pandemic is making us review every value and assumption. It will surely effect motorcycling. “Travelling freely with friends but with a safe distance” property may sound attractive for example. Simply add camping gear as hotels are closed and you could not afford them any how…

    1. Is there also not a element of – “if you have to ask the question , you will not understand the answer !”
      Right now India , China and similar large / young populations are getting 1 product.
      The old [dying ?] markets are getting another product.
      Sometimes there is no option of the product you get. Sometimes [old market] the wallet is raided by the sales clerk because of Bling Envy and lack of will power on buyers part.
      But where you have the options , what do you buy ? My 2017 GS Rallye has a headlight bulb , non electronic shocks and no other Modes etc. Extra parts fitted from usual suppliers to what I want. But BMW hates this option as I have delayed the process and eaten their profit pie. But I had the choice. Be strong and take it.
      You cash forms the markets at the point of sale.
      How well is the Yamaha 700 TT selling compared to the GS , Africa Twin and KTM ? In theory the bike want by this part of the market

  2. Mr. Subjective sent me a comment with the request of publish it in integral form:

    Asking All the Right Dumb Questions
    “Personal sovereignty is the essential key to understanding how to powerfully connect with potential riders. It is how most Americans subconsciously relate to motorcycles.” – conclusion of The Motorcycle Industry Council’s 2019 presentation of a strategic framework for their long-term, industry-wide effort designed to boost ridership.
    It is also complete baloney. Or feels like it.
    In American English slang, the word ‘baloney’, in this usage = BS = bullshit. In other words, the idea it expresses is completely false and I do not accept it.
    Selling motorcycling by telling potential riders how free and independent riding will make them feel is wrong. Telling them how they “will meet the nicest people (on a Honda or just riding whatever)” is right. The Motorcycle Industry Council has everything exactly backwards. They are off by 180º.

    Their explanation is not how (or why) I “subconsciously relate to motorcycles.” and thus I project it isn’t how a lot of other riders do, either. It is so simplistic it has to be wrong on that basis alone. It furthers all of the old myths about our deeper relationship with riding. Myths which center around tired cultural constructs and stuffy worn-out academic theories.

    This false (and dumb) idea is the result of normal regular happy riding fans being surveyed about why they like riding, and how they typically respond to the stupid questions put in front of them by well-dressed MBA’s working for hired-gun marketing consultancies.

    Ask a stupid question and you’ll get a stupid answer every time.

    This, as “…the essential key to understanding” motorcycles and motorcycling is just simply wrong.
    – Mr. Subjective, 5-2020

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