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Power Cruisers: Will They Cause The Death of Traditional Cruisers?

Okay, so we have all these new “cruisers” with sportbike suspension, wheels and brakes. They also have big horsepower and relatively stiff chassis. Among others, we have the Honda VTX1800, the Yamaha Road Star Warrior, the Kawasaki Mean Streak, and, most recently, the introduction of the Harley-Davidson V-ROD&#153.

Will these new “power cruisers” draw so many customers away from the “traditional cruisers”, that we will see a significant sales slump? After a solid ten years or so of developing numerous traditional cruiser models, including several displacement categories and price points, we now have a new category of cruiser that will clearly draw the cruiser enthusiasts looking for performance away from traditional models.

I am sure Harley-Davidson thought long and hard about whether the V-ROD™, and the family of performance cruisers it will spawn within the company, would damage sales of its bread-and-butter traditional models. Harley had the additional issue of whether the development of a liquid-cooled machine would alienate its traditional buyers.

What I am trying to say is this. With so many manufacturers having so much invested in their traditional cruiser product lines, including many expensively developed, high-dollar, big-bore models that will compete directly with the new power cruisers, has the industry “shot itself in the foot”? Perhaps, the real question is whether the manufacturers should have figured out much earlier that cruiser buyers want performance, too. Instead, we have big bore, 50 horsepower models sitting on the sales floor next to the high performance power cruisers expecting to draw nearly the same price. Send us your thoughts with an e-mail.