Our friend Curtis over at Indian Rider Radio had some strong (and honestly shared by us here at The V-Twin Blog) honest words for Indian Motorcycle Company regarding the 2022 model year release. I wanted to take the opportunity to publish Curtis’ letter.
We would love to hear your thoughts on Indian Motorcycles 2022 model release so please make sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section.
Dear Indian Motorcycle,
In 2013, I was thrilled to find out you’d be returning. I was afraid you might be some strange, modern incarnation of the iconic, historic, groundbreaking brand. I thought you might use the name and perhaps, even the essence of America’s first motorcycle, but that you’d fall short of making something truly amazing.
I was wrong.
You built a beautiful modern motorcycle. It possessed all the characteristics we riders had hoped for. It looked like an Indian, it rode like nothing else before it and as you were so quick to point out back then, we finally had a choice in American V-Twin motorcycles.
So, I purchased. I was hooked.
You called me one of your Heritage customers. We’re the older, more experienced, and more affluent riders you see on the streets. I’ve been on all kinds of bikes since I was just a kid. Now, more than 50 years later, I’d found the bikes I knew I’d always own. I was part of the “tribe” and I was a proud owner.
You seemed glad to have me. You built other bikes I liked and created clothing and accessories that I quickly snapped up, at your inflated retail price, mind you. I was quickly becoming a core customer and for a time, we had a good thing going.
Then, just as I was considering adding yet another Indian Motorcycle to the fleet, you left me. Oh, not all once. You took your time. You didn’t say much but the handwriting was on the wall. Our love affair was coming to an end, and it wasn’t me who was leaving.
You’d decided I was too old and that I couldn’t provide for you forever. You may be right. I’m a little older, more discerning, more affluent and more experienced than the average rider. It was part of the reason we hit it off so well. I knew your history, loved your story, and had had enough of the other American V-Twin. I actually knew that what you were offering was in fact better than what had been available.
Like all love affairs, when you found out I was “easy”, you lost interest in me. Your shareholders and upper-level management were tired of me. You were now doing what so many do – you were letting me go for a younger, sexier companion. I was no longer the right age, ethnicity or gender. There was a new and exciting customer out there. This young, vibrant rider is the one you were really after. He and she are the ones you can sell lots of bikes to over the years if you can hook them now, while they’re young. They’ll be lifetime and long-term buyers you can count on. Perfect.
You eagerly left me for them but like the boss who’s banging the secretary, you might find out it wasn’t your best move. Maybe you just didn’t think it through or maybe you just never really cared about me at all. Truth is, I would have been loyal to a fault had you let me.. I know you really aren’t all that interested in me anymore because the things that matter to me as a rider and an owner, just don’t carry the same weight with you. You jump when a twenty-something wants a USB port, but blatantly ignore me when I want a valanced fender. Hmmm…
What you may not have considered is that when I bought my Roadmaster in 2019, I had no reason to think that by 2022 the styling cues and features that appealed to me and that drew me in, would be gone. So, now, rather than trade my bike in as I’d hoped to do, you forced me to keep it longer. You lost a sale and have almost no way to get me back.
Don’t forget that I’m the customer who buys accessories, apparel, services, and extended warranties. I’m not raising kids and being young. I have the time and the money to be an active and engaged customer, frequenting my dealership and the rides and rallies you and my dealer, often host.
I joined your groups, touted your product, and wore your logos. I choose you over the others. I gave you my money, my passion, and my promise that I’d be faithful. I take the daily ribbing from riders about being on a Polaris, or worse – the barbs about the Indian Motorcycle just being a rebadged Victory. I stick up for you all the time. You, seemingly, had no intention of ever doing the same for me.
I understand. You’ll maybe sell me two or three new bikes in the next twenty or so years I have on this planet. That number may jump to 6 or 7 or more bikes purchased if I were, say twenty-five. I’m the easy mark. That twenty something is a tougher nut to crack but when you do? Well, let’s just say that on paper, that younger, sexier buyer looks amazing. Me? I apparently just look old. Keep in mind that when I come in to buy, I won’t be the one walking away from the deal because we can’t get my payment to the unrealistically low amount my budget allows. I’m the customer who would have had my money ready and I’d have bought it all – warranty, clothing, accessories, extras – without barely batting an eye. Again, I must be too easy.
Like a love-struck kid, I’ll stay faithful for now. I know you don’t love me anymore but I’m far too infatuated to back up that easily. I’ll hang around awhile to see if you come back to me at all, but I’m not holding my breath. Your departure so early into our relationship tells me you had plans to leave me a long time ago.
I should add that just because Polaris wrote a big check to secure the name and branding for Indian Motorcycle doesn’t mean you have the right to re-create the brand in your image. The respect for what the brand means to riders and enthusiasts is vital. Its history is equally or more important frankly, that its future. You have said that in the past. You are making a public declaration now that you have decided otherwise.
I gave you too much credit. I was convinced you’d cater to me while still working on developing your long-term core customer. I thought I mattered to you. I don’t and that’s ok, but now that you have told me that what I like and what I’d surely buy again isn’t what you’re going to offer, what do I do?
You don’t have that answer. Probably because you’re too busy peaking down the blouse of this new customer you can’t live without. I hope they treat you as well as I would have. And, while you’re spending millions to keep this fickle new customer on board, I would have cost you hundreds and all you would have had to do was pretend that I mattered.
Give it some thought. I know I might just be lashing out but, it wasn’t me who decided I wasn’t good enough for you anymore, it was you. While you chase the young, I’m going to hold on to my money that would have been yours and see if someone else wants it more than you do.