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ZAMM Fanatic
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2,730 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
How does everyone feel about bringing an END to the dealership model of auto/bike sales and warranty service.

Get this: Several states have passed laws PREVENTING Tesla from selling cars direct to consumers.

My experience with motorcycle STEALERSHIPS has been one of:

1) They no longer stock any parts
2) They fail to make repairs correctly much of the time, INCLUDING failure to road test / confirm their repairs
3) They expect huge markups on bikes when the sales force can't tell you a single thing ABOUT the bike, haven't even read the sales literature.

Personally, I'm done. I buy gently used bikes off Craigslist, I buy parts from BikeBandit, and I find independent, INTELLIGENT guys who repair bikes to HELP me.

So what is a possible new model of sales/warranty service. Ideas, PLEASE!

Buy all bikes over the Internet, and it get delivered by truck, and a factory tech comes out to set it up? (You open the crate yourself you void the warranty)

Various INDEPENDENT MC repair shops / people get CERTIFIED to perform warranty repairs, and can submit warranty claims via the Innertubes?

Really. As piss poor a job as Fun Center in Durango, Ride Now in Peoria, and other shops I've dealt with do, I want to see them bankrupt, doors closed.

Last week i wasted 30 minutes at RideNow (Warren as my witness, he was there) just trying to purchase a genuine Honda oil filter, plugs, and GET the oil & gap information) before giving up and walking out...

As consumers, how do we lead Honda, HD, Kawasaki, BMW, Yamaha, Suzuki into the future...
 

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Aging & Worn
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4,516 Posts
Time for someone with some start-up Capitol, to open a shop for repairs where they actually DO "road tests" of their work, and charge reasonable and fair prices; and keep their mark ups on new and used bike Sales within reasonable limits.

Would be helpful if they also hired a couple really diversified (bike Models/brands savy) and regularly "Schooled" Mechanics, who aren't in the "hack" category.

Any takers?????

-Soupy
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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763 Posts
As long as most people need someone to tell them what they should buy, and how to repair them, dealerships will always exist. I've had both very good, and very bad experiences with different places. I reward the good ones with all my business. And avoid the bad ones like the plague. The few dealerships I deal with now (both car and motorcycle) we know each other by name, and the names of our children, dogs, etc. I'll spend a few dollars more for a can of chain lube at my favorite dealer over ordering it online just to stop and say hi and talk motorcycles. :)

Edit, If you've considered the dealerships you've dealt with as enemies instead of allies, you've been dealing with the wrong places. If you shop price, most times you get what you pay for.;)
 

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Unfortunately, there is not a lot to be done about it.
Point in Case !
Those Prats that bought the LAVERDA label......?
Some of us really thought they were going to revive the marque !...
Then , they proceeded to flood the market with cheap & crappy four wheelers, that broke in no time, and buyers had no recourse, because the company was set up, to rip off as many people as possible, in the shortest possible time, then just faded away.
Its OK saying Caveat Emptor, but today, between crappy workshops, and internet scams, its easy to get burned.
You would expect, once someone takes on a renowned marque, there would be some sort of product guarantee!
Unfortunately that is not always the case !
 

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There is something to be said for having a representative of a manufacturer in the area you live in to see face to face to explain and vent frustration about a problem. Some take care of those problems quickly and professionally, others you might as well talk to the wall holding up the building. That is the freedom of choice we have, if the dealership for a particular manufacturer isn't good hopefully you have another choice and dealer #1 will go out of business. I will buy some things online but there will always be some things only a full service dealership will be able to do unless you can afford to buy all the equipment and do all the specialized repairs yourself.
 

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There are a few good places out there. Sadly MC dealerships in general are drifting away from the former family owned business and leaping into the bean counter corporate mentality. It would suck to have draconian laws phase out those good places that are still hanging on.

Ride Now in Peoria,
Ride Now should be avoided anyways. I've never read a positive experience with that outfit, be it under their new guise or their original Arizona Motorsports Group surname. When it comes to greed and corruption, those clowns wrote the book (or at least updated the original book).
 

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Driftless Rider
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1,485 Posts
Just like everything else, there are good and bad.

I spent the last 2 days driving around to dealers looking at bikes that I had seen online.
2 that I stopped at had knowledgeable and helpful salespeople. I arrived at one only a few minutes before they were set to close. The guy had no problem staying late while I looked at a Tiger800 and Super Tenere. Even offered to stay even longer if I wanted to take either for a ride; even after I said that I was just looking and not planning on buying on the spot.

The other dealership had a bunch of employees standing around doing nothing while a showroom full of customers milled around and tried to track down someone to answer questions. I had called earlier this week and talked to a salesman about test riding a bike, the bike wasn't prepped at all and when I mentioned that I had forgotten my helmet (totally my fault) he didn't offer a loaner even though he knew I live 3 hours away.

Frequent the good ones, and don't shop at the poor dealers. Economics will thin the herd.
 

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Eating GSXRs, Sh***ing CBRs
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1,895 Posts
I'm pretty lucky. There are 2 locally owned, motorcycle shops within 4 miles of my house (one of them is only 1.5 miles away). They are both staffed by extremely knowledgeable people and their rates are pretty reasonable. My more frequented of the 2 keeps tons of new and used parts and gear in stock and if they don't it will be there the next day.

There is a 3rd shop that is an actual Kawasaki, Triumph and Harley Davidson dealership about 10 miles away. Their prices are higher but they are still very friendly and knowledgeable. Even though I've never bought anything other than chain lube and a helmet, they still greet me by name and know of both my bikes.
 

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Frequent the good ones, and don't shop at the poor dealers. Economics will thin the herd.
That's the theory. The reality is the crooks at Ride Now/AZ Motorsports Group continue to expand and move to larger buildings on a regular basis. The sad fact is much like the casino business, you really can make a killing by screwing everyone at least once.
 

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MODERATOR
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7,459 Posts
I have owned just about every main-stream make of bike there is and one brand and their dealership stands high above the rest and that is Harley Davidson, with their vast numbers of dealers all over the United States.

If you are touring and trying to meet a schedule, just tell the service dept so and they will drop everything to get you on the road ASAP. This is proven.

The bike itself is actually very easy to work on when needed as simple tools, even roadside ,normally takes care of most anything. With hydraulic lifters, fuel injection and solid state ECU controlled ignition, the Sporster and big twin bikes are very reliable and very easy to work on, because normal maintenance is a snap. Cylinder heads and Cylinders/ pistons are easily removed and replaced if needed. I have never been to HD dealership that didn't have what I needed. I haven't had a new HD since 2010.

I have yet to go into a Non-HD motorcycle parts dept and not be told: "We don't stock it but we can get it."

As far as "sales associates' standing around or seeming not to be interested or even unknowledgeable, it is par for the course in retail sales----but, you would be surprised how many walk in 'customers' more time than not, when asked if they had questions or needed help, reply; "No I'm just looking."

If you have ridden for many, many years, frequent forums where like minded people 'hang out,' and discuss every aspect of any new motorcycle, how can we not have more knowledge than a 'pimple faced' high school or college mush head, working part time? www.motorcycledaily.com alone will educate you about new bikes and their technology before the product even hits the showroom.

Sam:coffeescreen:
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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763 Posts
a 'pimple faced' high school or college mush head, working part time?

Sam:coffeescreen:
LOL, I ment to mention this the last few times you used that phrase. While my son was going to college in Colorado, he worked part time at an HD dealer on the sales floor. He could live for almost two weeks on the commission he made from selling just one used HD motorcycle. He was one of their best and favorite salespeople and the customers all loved him. Everyone there was sad when he graduated and moved back home. He has his own insurance office now with several employees, but at the end of a week, he says he still doesn't bring home what he was making working at that dealership.:biggrin:
 

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really good dealerships are the exception.

too bad - but it's true.
I had a great dealer for my Yamaha that I could trust in LA ... but the other dealers were unscrupulous and forced them out of business. I can't fully trust the work done by the remaining dealer ... they over-charge for parts, and their advice on service isn't always reliable.

yeah - it's NOT good out there.

dT
 

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Premium Member
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7,608 Posts
Dealers

I worked at a Kawasaki shop. They had a few used car salesmen who did not know anything about bikes.
I walked out the door after a few months.
I worked at a good shop that had Honda, Triumph, Vespa, BMW Moto Guzzi. Good job. The owners son was a drunk. I will not work with anyone that drinks during working hours. I walked.
I worked at a Honda and Can Am shop that had boats and snowmobiles. Good job, was there six years. The owner hired a friend, Fairly Fast Farley, did not know squat. Was 1979. They were aiming the wrong direction with the economy about to tank. I walked. Got a job at another boat place. Was there until 1986. We survived the down turn. The previous place with FFF went down in flames with way to many used bikes in inventory.
Obviously there are good and there are dip sticks.
Frank at the local Honda shop is good. Sarah the parts girl at the Yamaha shop is good. The after market shop in Victoria is good. The Suzuki shop in Bellingham is good.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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ZAMM Fanatic
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2,730 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Much like the casino business, you really can make a killing by screwing everyone at least once.
I concur. The example I've seen of that involves pizza.

There are an almost INFINITE # of dinky pizza places near popular beaches in San Diego They use ultra-cheap ingredients and sell lousy pizza to tourists who will NEVER be back.

In contrast, the Gyro place in Mission Beach sells the finest gyro around, provided you don't mind people speaking Greek, kids running loose, women wearing Islamic headgear, etc.
 

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ZAMM Fanatic
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Discussion Starter #16
www.motorcycledaily.com alone will educate you about new bikes and .. technology ...
I dunno about Motorcycle Daily. A front page article praising the BattlAx?

Any riders here, ANYONE willing to heap praise on the BattlAx?

Like MOST industry magazines/websites today they're filled with faux praise written and paid for by the sponsors. In this case, Bridgestone.
 

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Well, I had to go to the sight to even see what Battlax was???

Tars and Earl (OKIE SPEAK) for tires and oil, is a subject where very few people agree and the threads go on Forever, something like to Darkside or not?

CTX, please excuse my "Pimple faced" and college "Mush head" example at humor:biggrin: I seem to remember that I WAS ONE myself a thousand years or so ago.

Sam:coffeescreen:
 

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Over my many years as a motorcyclist, I have found a few superior dealerships I have stuck with loyally. There have been a few terrible ones I patronized only once or twice. In the middle are many that have done the job merely adequately. But even the latter I am thankful for, because I often need motorcycle parts and services, and they supply them.

All in all, they're not much different than other businesses I use for work and home.

Regarding specific gripes: Motorcycle dealers (car dealers too) cannot stock more than a small percentage of the parts that might be needed for the bikes they have sold. Hundreds of models over the years, thousands of parts per bike--you do the math. Where does a small business owner store that kind of inventory? How does he keep track of quantities, locations, and costs? How does he finance it? The dealers I have patronized in recent years can get just about any part for a motorcycle still supported by the factory in a few days. Computerized ordering, modern inventory control, and the excellent delivery service now available minimze delay and keep prices down. If every dealer kept a $1,000,000 parts inventory in a 50,000 square-foot warehouse, turning over maybe $1000 a day, prices would be staggering.

Manufacturers sell motorcycles by having showrooms filled with shiny new bikes. Customer walks in the front door, goes "Holy s***!" and rides out on a new motorcycle. It's not like buying a new laptop from Amazon. It doesn't happen without an income stream to pay for the real estate, inventory, furnishings, gas, water, electricity, insurance, salaries, FICA, taxes, etc., etc., etc. It may be possible to sell Teslas to trend-sucking yuppoid scum over the internet, but the motorcycle business (as well as the vast majority of the car business) doesn't work that way.

What works for me is to find a dealership that is at least satisfactory and give them all my business. They get to know me, and I get to know them. Pretty soon, loyalty develops in both directions.
 

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You cannot do it all online..

Try as I might,sometimes it takes the knowledge of a good counter man.
If you are in Southwest Ohio,Steve is the guy in HondapowersportsofTroy Ohio. he will put you on Honda parts or take the time to research aftermarket.

I once saw him help out a customer with a bad dealer experience involving a helmet. The helmet was bought at another store who had no desire to help the guy out with customer service. Steve went to bat for him and got action for the guy without making a penny.

I have no opinion at all about the rest of their operation,but without a retail store, Steve would not be there.

Also,it is not always the choice of the store owners to remain mom and pop operations. The company guys can tell them to build big new showrooms or get out of business....
 

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Driftless Rider
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We must be lucky here. We have 3 dealerships.

One is Kawi, Suzi, Victory, EBR
And another is Yamaha, Honda, Can-Am.
Years ago there was a Honda dealerships that had pretty poor service, but they were bought out by the Yamaha dealer.
Both the above dealerships have knowledgeable sales and service guys/gals that have worked there for years. And both have good reputations among riders, so much so that they pull a lot of business from other regional shops.

The HD dealership may be the exception. From what I here from my Hog riding friends, they aren't exactly thrilled with the service department. Several have said thing like, "they love you until you sign the papers." Most of these guys will ride 50 extra miles to deal with another dealer that has a golden reputation for taking care of people.
 
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