Via A&R, it seems that Ducati has been listening to prospective owners about what they’d like to see in the new Diavel. As a result, Ducati has moved towards the Dark Custom movement with a new model of the Diavel called the Carbon Black.
Instead of bright paint and chrome, Ducati has gone to matte colors and black anodized metal. Additionally, they’ve dropped the white color from the line-up completely, in favor of this new black model.
JD Power released their Competitive Information Study on motorcycles today. Among the highlights is this:
The population of motorcycle buyers is aging, with the average rider age increasing from 40 to 49 years since 2001—an indication that many owners may soon exit the market. Additionally, the percentage of first-time buyers has declined for a second consecutive year, making it more critical now than ever for manufacturers to focus on attracting new customers.
So, motorcyclists are getting older every year, and new entrants to the sport are down for the last two years. These are bad trends for the industry as a whole, of course.
The key for manufacturers and dealers is to deliver on the best customer service practices they can. For the manufacturers, this means a laser-like focus on build quality, and delivering a solidly reliable product. For the dealers, pro-active communication with customers, and quality service are key. Missing out on any one of these seems to have a sharply negative effect on customer satisfaction, and on the chances of return business. Manufacturers and their dealers really do have to work hand in hand–now more than ever–to ensure a seamless and satisfying customer experience.
Those that don’t may find that surviving the current economic doldrums increasingly difficult.
The full JD Power press release is below the fold.
Every day, I get to take a nice little commute that’s 1/3 city streets, 1/3 interstate, and 1/3 windy country roads. Here’s a little of the windy country roads bit. I took this with my Kodak Playsport HD camera. I’m not happy with this video as there was traffic, so it’s short, and it was taken from my handlebar RAM mount. I now have my frame slider camera mount back on, but today’s commute was full of traffic, so was slow and uninteresting. I expect I’ll have better video soon.
On Saturday, when I took the FJR in for my 32k-mile service,I saw that the Michelin Pilot Road 2 tires on the bike, which were at 8700 miles, were down to the wear bars. So it was time for a change. Sadly, North County House of Motorcycles had sold the last pair of PR2s earlier in the morning.
Well, I certainly wasn’t interested in going back to the Bridgestone BT-021s. They make the handling of the FJR heavy and unresponsive. But, they did have the new Pirelli Angel ST tire–and at the same price as the Bridgestones. So I decided to take a chance on the Pirellis.
Unlike the BT-021s and the PR2s, the Pirelli Angels are not a multiple-compound tire. Instead, Pirelli uses a single high-silica compound, and depends on both their unique method of wrapping the steel, and the tire profile to provide a wider contact patch when the tire is leaned, in order to provide the greater traction.
Apparently, Pirelli tested the tire life by running them through some sort of insane endurance test:
On March 15th 2009, 15 Journalists and 12 Pirelli Testers set 7 FIM World Duration Records at Nardò Technical Center in Southern Italy. On just one set of Angel ST tyres they covered a distance of 5,135 km at an average speed of 214 km/h in a tough 24H non stop trial which proved the consistency and the performance of the new ANGEL ST.
OK. That sounded…fine. But how would they perform on my bike, compared to the PR2s, which I really liked?
As it turns out, pretty well so far, after about 100 miles.
The handling of the FJR is as good or better with the Angels as with the PR2s. Grip seems pretty solid, even on the new tread, and with wet morning roads. Of course, only 100 miles into the tires, I haven’t been able to stretch the capability of the tires in the twisties, so the jury is still out, to large extent. But so far, I’ve found them equal or superior to the Pilot road 2s.
I’ll keep updating on the performance as they get broken in.