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Poor dealership experience to blame for motorcycle sales loss

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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Shoppers Cite Dealer-Related Issues among the Top Reasons for Rejecting Motorcycle Brands

A majority of new-motorcycle buyers reject a motorcycle brand because of dealer-related issues, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Motorcycle Escaped Shopper Study.

The inaugural study, which analyzes the reasons shoppers consider a particular motorcycle brand but ultimately purchase a different brand, finds that 51 percent of new-motorcycle shoppers cite dealer-related issues as a reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand. One of the primary dealer-related issues for rejecting a brand is the inability to test ride a bike, which was mentioned by one-fourth of shoppers as a reason for rejection, while 7 percent of shoppers indicate that the inability to test ride was the most influential reason for not purchasing a particular motorcycle brand. In addition, 18 percent of shoppers rejected a motorcycle because it was not available at the dealership, while the perception of being able to receive better service at another dealership is mentioned by 15 percent of shoppers as a reason for rejection.
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JD Power study shows bikers love their motorcycles more than ever

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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Customer Satisfaction with the Motorcycle Ownership Experience Reaches Record-High Levels

Despite Higher Owner-Reported Motorcycle Prices, Satisfaction with Perceived Value Increases in 2008

Overall satisfaction with the motorcycle ownership experience has increased for a sixth consecutive year to a record-high level, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Motorcycle Competitive Information Study.

Now in its 11th year, the study measures owner satisfaction with new motorcycles by examining five major components of the overall ownership experience: product; quality; cost of ownership; sales; and service.

Overall motorcycle ownership satisfaction averages 814 (based on a 1,000-point scale) in 2008, up 5 points from 2007. While all five components driving satisfaction improve in 2008, the most notable increases occur in the areas of cost of ownership and product quality.
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Most bikers don’t understand differences in motorcycle insurance coverages

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For many motorcycle owners, riding is more than just a recreational activity, it's a lifestyle. Riding represents freedom, friends and fun. It's what fuels daydreams and fills weekends.

With so much fun to be had, it's probably not surprising that riders like you aren't spending your time poring over your insurance policy to understand coverage nuances. That's why the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, the largest motorcycle insurer in the country, recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 motorcycle owners and found that many don't understand important information about their policies. Not knowing — and making the wrong choices — can cost you thousands if you have a claim.

The survey focused on two key facets of a motorcycle insurance policy: physical damage coverages and loss settlement types. Here's what bikers said and what you need to know.

Physical Damage Coverages
If you're like most bikers, you'd probably say that next to riding, customizing your motorcycle to fit your personality and riding style is the best part of having a bike. That's why it's so surprising that more than half (56 percent) of all the bikers surveyed don't know how much protection for their bike's custom parts and accessories comes with their physical damage coverage. Of the 44 percent surveyed with more than $3,000 worth of custom parts and accessories on their motorcycles, the majority of them (51 percent) didn't purchase additional coverage.

The physical damage portion of your motorcycle policy generally includes comprehensive and collision and custom parts and accessories coverages. Comprehensive generally covers weather-related damage (hail, etc.) as well as theft claims while collision generally covers crashes your bike has with objects other than animals. Most motorcycle policies with comprehensive and collision include some custom parts and accessories coverage free with the option to purchase more. Comprehensive, collision and custom parts and accessories are optional coverages and are subject to a deductible amount — that's the amount you select when you buy the policy and the amount you'll be required to pay first before the insurance company pays on either coverage. Common deductible amounts are $250 and $500.

"Most insurance policies that have physical damage coverage provide some custom parts coverage, but it could be as little as $500," said Rick Stern, motorcycle product manager, Progressive. "Others provide as much as $5,000 worth of coverage at no extra charge — but you have to know what comes standard with your policy. And, if it's not enough to protect the value of your bike's custom parts and accessories, most insurance companies will sell you additional coverage. For example, we sell coverage for up to $30,000 worth of additional custom parts and accessories."

Loss Settlement Types
If you own a custom or classic bike, pay attention. More than 45 percent of motorcyclists surveyed don't know which loss settlement type — Actual Cash Value, Agreed Value or Stated Amount — their policy provides. And, 68 percent of those confuse the benefits of Agreed Value and Stated Amount settlement types; that is, they mistakenly believe that Stated Amount guarantees a pre-selected total loss settlement amount in writing in the event a bike is declared unrepairable (what the industry calls a total loss) or is stolen and not recovered.

These misconceptions could seem innocent enough, but they could cost you thousands.

Insurance companies generally do not offer all three loss settlement types — instead, the loss settlement type you have available to you is based on the type of motorcycle you own.

If you own a mass-produced motorcycle that has a resale value generated by a third party like the N.A.D.A. appraisal guides or Kelley Blue Book, you will generally be offered an Actual Cash Value (ACV) settlement option. This means that, in the event of a total loss or if your bike is stolen and not recovered, you will generally be paid the ACV, less your deductible amount.

If you own a custom or classic motorcycle with certain characteristics, you might find that some companies won't insure your bike. However, many insurers that specialize in motorcycles will insure these types of bikes and will generally offer you one of two loss settlement types — Agreed Value or Stated Amount. Criteria for these settlement types vary by insurance company, and no insurance company offers both types. For example, Progressive offers motorcycle owners a policy with Agreed Value if they have bikes that are 25 years and older or custom bikes that don't have resale values in an N.A.D.A. guide or Kelley Blue Book. Many other insurers only offer Stated Amount for bikes with similar characteristics. Here's what you need to know:

Stated Amount is the amount selected by the bike owner at the time the policy is purchased and is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay in the event of a claim. If the bike is totaled or is stolen and not recovered, the insurance company will generally pay the Stated Amount or the ACV as determined by sources like N.A.D.A. or Kelley Blue Book, whichever is less. And, a deductible applies to the settlement amount.

Agreed Value represents the value of the bike as agreed upon by you and the insurance company when the policy is written. This amount doesn't change over time unless both parties agree to the change. If the bike is totaled or stolen and not recovered, you will generally receive the agreed upon amount. No deductible amount applies to an Agreed Value settlement.

Today, owners of bikes produced by more than 500 custom motorcycle manufacturers might qualify for a policy with an Agreed Value or a Stated Amount loss settlement; this number has grown quickly over the past few years as the popularity of custom bikes has grown. Some of the more well-known bikes that qualify for Agreed Value policies at Progressive are made by Big Bear Choppers, Bourget's Bike Works and Orange County Choppers.

"If bike owners mistakenly believe that the settlement types provide the same protection, they'll probably base their purchase decision on price like I would," said Stern. "For instance, a policy with Stated Amount is generally less expensive than one with Agreed Value, but there are very significant coverage differences. That's why it's so important that bikers understand these differences and choose their policy and provider accordingly."

The Bottom Line
"Know what's on your bike — and on your policy. And, know what's offered by the company you're dealing with. If the company doesn't offer the loss settlement type you need, check around with other companies," said Stern. "An investment of your time can go far in protecting your investment in your bike."


About Progressive
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, now celebrating its 70th year in business, is the country's third largest auto insurance group and largest seller of motorcycle and personal watercraft policies based on premiums written, and is a market leader in commercial auto insurance.

Riders who switch motorcycles are more likely to crash

March 13, 2009 by Newswire  
Filed under General, Motorcycle, News, Triumph, Victory, Women

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Whoever coined the phrase, "it's just like riding a bike," probably never switched motorcycles. That's because even experienced riders can be pretty wobbly when they hop on an unfamiliar bike, according to data from the country's largest motorcycle insurer, Progressive.

The study of almost 2 million motorcycle policies over a five-year period finds that riders who switch bikes are nearly 70 percent more likely to crash than riders who keep the same bike.

"Most people already know that riding can be especially dangerous for new bikers," said Rick Stern, a Progressive motorcycle product manager who is also a rider. "But our data shows that the less familiar you are with your bike, the more likely you are to be involved in a collision, regardless of your experience."

The study also found cruiser riders who switch to sport bikes are three-and-a-half times more likely to crash. That's more than double the risk they'd have than if they just switched to another cruiser.

Sport bikers, on the other hand, can reduce their risk by more than a third just by switching to a cruiser.

"We want experienced riders to know their risks so they can take extra precautions when they replace their bikes," said Stern. "It's a good idea for riders to take their new bike out for a couple of shake down cruises in a parking lot before hitting the open road."

Even people who have been riding for years can benefit from practicing the basics on their new bike, Stern said, including low-speed riding, turning, shifting and swerving, and higher-speed panic stopping.

After all, if the goal is to keep the dirty side down and the shiny side up, there's no substitute for experience — and not just experience on the road, but also on the bike.

About Progressive
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, is the country's third largest auto insurance group and largest seller of motorcycle and personal watercraft policies based on premiums written, and is a market leader in commercial auto insurance.

Study: Bikers would give up wives/girlfriends before their motorcycles

Virtually all hardcore riders answered they would give up their spouse or significant other before their motorcycle, according to the recent results of a consumer study commissioned by Allstate Insurance Company. Also, riders across all classifications were twice as likely to give up their television sets before their motorcycles - a testament to the passion many Americans feel for their bikes and riding.

These and other insights were revealed in an online survey of 500 male bikers nationwide, weighted to represent the total population and commissioned by the Northbrook, Illinois-based insurer earlier this year. Allstate developed the study to stay current about changing demographics and interests of those who ride motorcycles.

"Similar to car enthusiasts, millions of Americans invest significant time, energy and money to celebrate their love of motorcycles," said Jeff Deigl, assistant vice president, specialty product lines for Allstate. "It's important to constantly update our understanding of who's out there riding and what's important to them. After all, we don't just protect the bike - we protect the rider, as well."

Who I am and What I Ride 
Participants had the opportunity to identify their "biker classification" as a Sports Bike Enthusiast, Stressed Out Executive, Hardcore Biker or Weekend Warrior - which led the field with a 31 percent response rate. The majority of the participants who could not identify their classification labeled themselves as Baby Boomer Riders.

Among the riders surveyed, Harley Davidson drew the highest number of clicks when participants named which makes of motorcycles fill their garages. Thirty-five percent of participants own at least one Harley and spend an average of $20,600 for the bike. An additional $2,250, on average, is spent for accessories. Honda emerged as the runner-up with 30 percent of participants owning at least one.

How Much I Ride and Why
Allstate's study found that seven in 10 bikers ride at least once a week, including almost 45 percent of the participants who ride several times a week.

So, bikers are loyal to their passion, but why?

Provided a long list of reasons to ride, bikers rallied around the idea of "riding is more fun" as their most common answer with 78 percent agreeing. "The feeling of freedom", "the way it makes them feel" and "to relieve stress" also produced high results - all reaching more than 300 clicks.

In a nod to rising gas prices, 63 percent of respondents named "the fuel economy" as a top reason why they ride.

Where to Find Me 
Motorcycles allow their owners to socialize in a number of different outlets. Bikers unite at rallies and local clubs, philanthropic rides and around the water cooler with one commonality - their love of riding.

More than half of participants attend rallies, including one of the most well-known rallies - the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which topped the attendance list, and the Daytona Beach, Fla. rallies (Bike Week and Biketoberfest).

One in five bikers belongs to a riding club, which predominantly consists of Hardcore Bikers. Even more riders participate in charity rides, including a "Ride for Life" event - typically to support a cure for a disease or other common cause. Two-thirds of bikers ride to work, taking advantage of the parking incentive motorcycles present.

Not only can you find bikers atop their ride, half of the surveyed participants - most of whom are Hardcore Bikers - ride with their spouse or significant other.

Ultimate Road Songs 
As motorcycles continue to have an established presence in American culture with more than 6 million registered bikes, one thing is clear - bikers continue to live with the attitude they were "Born to Be Wild," the most popular song among survey participants. Below is a top five countdown, beginning with the most popular, of cruising music, selected by surveyed respondents.

  1. "Born to be Wild," Steppenwolf
  2. "Radar Love," Golden Earring
  3. "Take it Easy," the Eagles
  4. "Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen
  5. "Freebird," Lynyrd Skynyrd

Something for a Rainy Day 
To satisfy a biker's daily fix - whatever their classification may be - for anything and everything motorcycles, Allstate designed, a site that features specific elements, including:

  • "Plan a Ride," which uses the most up-to-date satellite imaging and mapping software from Google. This feature allows riders to create their own routes, chose from a list of scenic rides or check out what fellow riders have posted as their favorites.
  • "Build a Bike," a 12-step process that allows enthusiasts to pick from various parts, accessories and paint colors to create their own bike.
  • "Calendar," featuring upcoming national and local events.
  • "Garage TV," a tool that incorporates professional mechanics giving tutorials on many different safety concerns for motorcycles.
  • "Get a Quote" and "Find an Agent" features, which enable site visitors to enter information online for a quote or locate a nearby Allstate agent.
  • "Motorcycle Coverage," which provides the ability to research various coverage options and features.
  • "Safety Tips," which provides checklists and safety reminders.


About Allstate 
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer.
About the Study 
Method: Descriptive Attitude and Usage survey conducted online Sample: The survey was deployed to MarketTools ZoomPanel and targeted motorcycle owners N=500 males who personally own a motorcycle Screening Qualifications:

  • Own a motorcycle
  • Age 18 or older
  • Household income of $50,000 or more.
  • Security and past participation

Triumph lets Thunderbird motorcycle fly early

February 27, 2009 by Newswire  
Filed under Motorcycle, Triumph

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Triumph has great news for motorcyclists. The new Thunderbird is scheduled to arrive in North America late June, nearly two months ahead of schedule, and Triumph North America is now processing deposits for the first wave of Thunderbirds that will hit the shores.

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