To all that are concerned,
The following is my own opinion which is worth what you're paying for it...
I have the opportunity to speak to many different people in this business. From the beginning rider, to the VIP's in Motorcycle Sales at each of the manufacturers. One thing seems very very clear to me, this industry is in a world of hurt right now. The problem being faced by this industry is not just contained to one front, but i can tell you there is a significant area that needs to be improved, WE NEED TO SELL MORE MOTORCYCLES.
On one level I enjoy less crowded tracks and I certainly enjoy fewer people in the desert and up in the woods however, I know this is the canary in the mine. If there are fewer people just riding then there are fewer people riding, period. Fewer people buying used bikes, fewer people buying aftermarket items, fewer people buying gear, fewer people buying new bikes, fewer people racing and fewer people buying magazines... this all translates into less money for the industry and ultimately its collapse into little more than a fond memory. It's rough out there and getting rougher. One issue to address is the wholesale move to four strokes. While not without merit, it was and has been fueled by an aggressive campaign to promote four stroke dominance. Unfortunately, I believe it has come at a huge cost. Now after all that was said and done to build up four strokes, the message has shifted to how expensive they are! The message being received loud and clear by the general public is 4 strokes are: $1000 to $2000 more to buy off the showroom floor, 5 times more expensive to do a top end, That it is way to risky to buy a used 4 stroke bike, and this is just the short list! The other reasons just go on and on... The clear "perception" now is that four strokes are expensive time bombs that will leave you with the equivalent of a financial nuclear meltdown. It doesn't matter at all that if this is an exaggeration. People perceive it to be true and perception is reality. No one person or group is at fault but the first step to fixing a problem is admitting we have one. It is time to do something and those with the bully pulpits need to speak up and speak up now. We, the collective industry, need to do something before they market implodes.
WE NEED TWO STROKES.
Why? Simply put two strokes are the gateway drug to a larger addiction. Get them in and get them hooked on riding and use the two strokes to do it.
The advantages seem clear. They can be made cheaper because the existing designs from KTM, Yamaha, AND the no longer imported offerings from Suzuki, Kawasaki and Honda are excellent bikes. They don't need to be redesigned, just updated. The bikes are cheaper to maintain and they are just simpler for your average joe. They also are less expensive for Professional race teams to field for the year and they are an excellent choice to compete against the other 250's and from what i understand AMA Pro Racing agrees... NO ONE, least of all me, wants to see 450F evolution stop or sales shifted away from them. That is not what this is about. Its about getting people in and keeping people in this sport. The 250 two stroke is a wonderful and flexible machine. They can be made to be just as fun and easy to ride as a 250F via tuning and/or with a big bore kit (via say a factory parts catalog 285+ cylinder option...) they can be made to be just as fast and fun as a 450F. Face the facts! Most people who ride bikes don't even come close to using the bikes full potential. It isn't the bike holding them back, it is their skill level. They bought four strokes based on the perception that they HAVE TO HAVE THEM TO BE COMPETITIVE. That just simply isn't true. The real reason is they want to be "cool" and for the last 8 years "cool" has meant riding a four stroke. Now however the current global economic conditions have pushed us past the tipping point. People are thinking rationally about an irrational purchase because the perception of cost is so high. Motorcycles sales are down not because people don't want them, Motorcycle sales are down because they think it is too expensive. When the buyer walks into a showroom and is looking at an $8000 purchase they are turning around and walking back out the door. A two stoke could lower that entry hurdle by $2000 dollars and that, in my humble opinion, my friends should be enough to tip the balance back in our favor. The rest of the market will rise as people personalize their bikes, ride their bikes, race their bikes and then read about their bikes and the people who ride them... in other words lets get back to the good old days so we have a future.
I'd like to know what you think. You can reach me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading,
Steve Achey- WORCS Racing