Style Trends: Expensive, Dangerous Toys

Way back in September 2005 I made some predictions about the 2007 motorcycle models. Well, the announcements for the ’07 model year came out last month and I forgot to blog about it.

My usual favorite, Honda, does nothing I care for. Plenty of updates and improvements for their class-leading race-replica sportbike, the ever-faster, ever-lighter CBR600 RR, and little or nothing for the cruisers, the cool scooters (Ruckus series), and the naked bikes (The 599 ‘Hornet’ and 919). Triumph, the other manufacturer I follow, has stuck with small improvements to its existing bikes too.

(You’ll note that while I love the Honda and Triumph brands, I ride a Suzuki. That’s because Suzuki makes a great bike at a great price. I don’t much like the direction that they’ve taken with the SV650 styling since ’02, but that’s neither here nor there: the SV series is still the best value on the market.)

Anyway, I’d hoped that Honda would come out with some screamingly cool stuff this year, and I was totally wrong about that. I was correct about the increasing sales for dual-sports and bumpy road bikes following in the wake of the Scrambler, though. Mostly it came in the form of bikes released later on into the 2006 model year: the BMW HP2, the Buell Ulysses, and I’ve heard Ducati’s coming up with a more-rugged Multistrada, too, but I can’t seem to find it right now. All of that, plus the usual stuff from KTM and the semi-street-legal Motocross bikes from all the Japanese manufacturers, seem to be popping up here and there, although nothing comes close to the popularity of the race replica sportbikes and Harley-imitators.

I’ve learned two things from these predictions. First, my tastes do not predict the markets. Second, because I am willing to admit failure, I can never be a technology analyst.