The Myrtle Beach Spring Rally has come and gone but there is still next year to join the fun. Have you been thinking about learning to ride? Research has found men who ride motorcycles are perceived as powerful, masculine and adventurous, while female riders feel happier, sexier and more confident. Yet, many people who have dreamt of hopping on a bike haven’t taken the next step to make that dream a reality.
Harley-Davidson, a major sponsor of many rallys and fundraisers, is available to help viewers check off this bucket list wish by sharing tips to getting on a bike and getting out on the open road as warm riding days are just around the corner. To help enthusiasts prepare, Harley-Davidson hosted a local demo event at Myrtle Beach Bike Week from May 13 – May 21 so riders can throw a leg over the 2016 lineup – including the latest touring technology innovations.
So for those who are future riders and want to know how to get started, we spoke with Alan Fankhauser, Project Manager – Events, Harley Owners Group for some tips on beginning your Harley-Davidson experience.
GSH: “Alan, who comes to the rallys?
AF: “Harley-Davidson motorcycle rallys are generally very positive and most bikers are different than the old connotation of what you thought of 30-40 years ago. Our best selling bikes are $40,000 and up and but we also sell those that are $9,000.”
GSH: “What do people need to do to as they gear-up for the first time to get out on the open road?”
AF: ” For the first time rider on a trip, we have had the most success with Jumpstart. It is a machine that allows us to put a bike on the machine and put away the fear that the biker will fall. It also allows us to use instructors who will walk you through cycle shifting gears using the throttle without breaking. We have converted a lot of people who were passengers and did not think they would be a rider. It gives them the freedom to think they can do this.”
GSH: “How can people learn to ride?”
AF: “They are encouraged to take a three to five day training course. Current and former military as well as first responders can take the course for free. A typical class is Thursday and Friday night three for hours and all day Saturday and Sunday and then on Monday night they take a test. Most states require motorcycle endorsement and need to show rider amendment or msm to show they have taken a course to get it on their drivers license. There are different rules from state to state. The Dealers offer incentives if taking training with them. Jumpstar helps plant the seed after a five minute ride. Some people who may not fall into above classes can also get a gift card to take course for free. The Motor Company’s goal is to try to grow pool of riders and teach safety.
AF: “We have a dozen or so random trailers that are used for demo or display events. We go to big events that are organized at the dealership and beyond those at the dealership and offer demo rides. The Corporate initiative is to grow the pool of riders with promotions.”
GSH: “What are some of the latest motorcycle innovations to hit the street?”
AF: ” We introduced several new cruiser styles over last six months for both entry level and larger powerful motors. Cruisers are meant more for day trips or cruising around on a shorter trip. Big bikes (Touring) are meant for long trips. Cruisers have no wind sheet nor front faring (front fiberglass piece for radio and speedometer).
AF: “Harley-Davidson produces more than 30 different models of bikes and have a real strong (market share) on various types of cycles. We are the longest continuously running company and been around for 113 years. What else is new in 2014 is that we did a major upgrade of touring cycles and added a lot of features including on board navigation, better air movement, more powerful engines and we cleaned up the saddle bag and made it sleeker and state of the art. All helped us strengthen the brand and connection to customers.”
So, are YOU ready to ride?