Thursday, March 21, 2013

Motorcycle Culture, revisited

Earlier this week I shared some of the misinformation I had received by employees of a local Harley dealer.  Of course the next day I get something new to add to it!

I like to ride motorcycles hard, not just tool about.  Harleys aren't known for their handling, and one of the reasons is the shocks.  They tend to go for glitter, not substance, when it comes to suspension components.  This held true for my bike, as it was equipped with rear shocks with brilliant chrome covers, but the shocks themselves were pretty low tech and rudimentary.  I decided to pull them off the moment I got home and replace them with some better shocks.  They are a half inch taller and have a progressive spring rate, so it will make both small and big bumps more comfortable and help keep the bike tracking through turns.  It helped that they were available in black as well, as I'm not really into flash.

Since I had almost new shocks, and they were an "upgrade" in Harley terms, I knew I could turn them over fast, so I put an add on Craigs List.  The guy who bought them wanted to put them on an older Dyna Superglide, and I checked and they were the right fitment.  I mean, shocks are shocks.  There are only 3 things that matter, length, mounting points and spring strength.  (well, more than that, but that's the basics)  Since Harley uses very similar shocks on Dynas, Sportsters and Vrods, it left a pretty wide customer base.

In fact, most Dynas from 1991 to 2013 take exactly the same shocks.  There are a few special models that don't, but 9 out of 10 use the exact type of shock I was selling.  So, the bloke that bought mine was told this, and then called the dealer to have them installed.  The first dealer told him they wouldn't fit.  So did the second dealer.  And the third.  So we both went into the first dealer to ask why.  Incidentally, this is the dealer I'd been working with for the last couple weeks.  He was told "No, those won't fit, the frames are different.", then we inquired with that employee what shocks would fit.  He pulls out the book and says "These shocks will fit your bike, they cost $300.".  So I asked what other bikes those shocks would fit and his book said everything from 1991 to 2013.

No shit.

Of course, he still maintained my shocks wouldn't fit this guys older bike.  Even though his parts book showed that any of the shocks that fit my bike would also fit the older Dyna.  The man was unable to perform basic reasoning.  I ventured to the man's nearby home and we showed right then the shocks would fit his bike.  he was very appreciative because my shocks cost him a fifth of what the dealership wanted for them.  I was happy to help out, it saved me from having to relist the item and sell it again.

Today many businesses wail they are losing their customer base to internet stores.  This is why!  If you don't offer any advantages and products cost more, why would I purchase there?  I should pay more for bad advice, when the part I need needs to be ordered anyway?  It's reasons like this that educated consumers increasingly are turning online to buy parts.  The price is better, it get's delivered to their home rather than having to go to a local store twice, and they don't get lied to by the online retailers.

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