Cuisinart coffeemakers are the only brand I will ever buy. Over the years, they have proven to be durable, easy to use and stylish. Their track record alone is enough for me to not even consider a competitor’s product. They are neither the least nor the most expensive coffee maker, but their price point compared to their performance equates to the best value for my economy. Additionally, when I consider purchasing any other kitchen appliance, Cuisinart is automatically on the list of candidates and starts with an advantage. Even so, I look at the performance, price and style of their competitors and make a value judgment.
Contrarily, a friend of mine buys only Mr. Coffee brand brew machines, but for entirely different reasons. All his life his parents, family members and friends bought that brand, so when he looks at the machine’s logo, it connects him to those people in a nostalgic sense.
Those of you who are still reading are asking out loud, “What’s this got to do with motorcycles?” Ah, good question. I wanted to introduce the discussion of brand loyalty in a neutral context. We all know that motorcycles are, or can be, an emotional topic. Kitchen appliances are not. In the interest of full disclosure, my current steed, a 2001 Triumph Trophy 900 (known to regular readers as Mr. T) was an emotional purchase. The chief alternative at the time was a BMW RS, but I chose Mr. T for the very simple reason that I’d never owned a Triumph before. All my life, the really cool guys in Hollywood rode Triumphs and I always liked them because of that emotional response – to be cool. As it happens, my emotional buying decision was fortuitous, as Mr T now has 94,000 miles and runs like a Swiss watch. My next sport tourer will almost definitely be a Triumph based on this experience, but I will consider the competitors’ wares, if only to silence my riding buddies’ snide remarks.
However, I’m also serious about acquiring a dual sport motorcycle. Something lightweight and simple, preferably air cooled and no bigger than a 650 single. Triumph’s smallest bike is their Tiger 800cc triple, so what do I do? Go with the larger, more expensive, complex bike than I really want, or do I stick to my priorities and let the facts do the talking? For me, it’s the latter. I’ll stick to the performance characteristics I want and let the facts “mostly” determine which brand ends up in my garage. Who knows, during this process, Harley-Davidson may come out with an air-cooled, single cylinder dual sport machine that performs well and is in my price range. If so, I’ll be proud to have that Milwaukee-built beast in my garage and will use it to the utmost.
When you decide what category of bike you want (cruiser, super sport, tourer, sport tourer, motard, standard, dirt, adventure, dual sport), what drives your buying decision? And if you already have a bike but are considering a new one, has your current brand earned your repeat business? Will you evaluate the competitors in that market segment and buy the one that makes the most sense to you in a performance/cost value decision? Or will you buy based on emotion and nostalgia? Honestly, either path can be the right one, so long as you’re brutally honest with yourself about it. Just because you decided on the bike that is best for you, it doesn’t mean it is the best performing bike or even the best value in the given category. Conversely, don’t base your buying decision exclusively on a specification sheet. Evaluate the bikes in your chosen category, determine the bikes that deliver the best bang for the buck and then, from that pool, choose the one that you most look forward to seeing every time you walk out into the garage.
Just remember, every production motorcycle out there was built by a company with the intent to generate a profit. Every single one. I’m a capitalist at heart, so I’m all for it, but I assert that it is foolish to become so enamored with a particular brand as to tattoo their corporate logo on your body. In spite of everything I said in the first paragraph, you’ll never see Cuisinart inked on my bicep.
Until next time, stay tuned and upright,