View Full Version : Stereotyping the Rider Isnít Going to Get the Job Done

Gas Man
02-11-2011, 09:21 PM
From an article for J&P Cycles (http://www.motorcyclepartsandaccessoriesblog.com/stereotyping-the-rider-isnt-going-to-get-the-job-done/2011/01/26?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=February%20%2711%20Biker%20Buzz%20%281 %29&utm_term=stereotyping_article)


They say you canít judge a book by its cover, and by the same token, you certainly canít judge a biker by his ride. And since our primary goal here at J&P Cycles is to help ALL our customers, that ability to define what people want and need is a real challenge. It requires a unique skill set.

Fortunately, weíre staffed with experts in everything motorcycle and, considering the mix of customers that rely on us for service and advice, we do a damned good job. And part of the reason for that is we try to avoid stereotyping our customers based on the bikes they ride ó not an easy task in this industry. There are tons of labels out there, and if we revert to putting our customers into specific sterotypes, we do a disservice to those customers and our brand.

That being said, I have to admit that on occasion I have been guilty of labeling someone by the bike they ride. This is silly, of course, because I certainly donít think I fit in any particular mold, so why should you? But the question remains: Why do these thoughts persist?

Many of the stereotypes you hear in the motorcycle community are based upon absolutely nothing, but they still exist. For instance: Iíve heard it said that Harley-Davidson customers are far more mechanically inclined than metric customers, and metric customers donít work on their own bikes. Iíve heard people say Harley customers donít own other brands, while metric customers do. Iíve heard all sport bike riders are young and reckless. And Goldwing customers are old and slow. Street bike guys donít like dirt bikes, and dirt bike guys donít ride on the street. What about snowmobiles and ATVs? Anyone have one of those?

There are so many stereotypes out there, and to list them all would just be a waste of time. As I said earlier, I donít fit the mold at all. Iím a dirt bike guy, but I also ride on the street. I have a sport bike, and Iím old in comparison to most. I can be reckless at times, but usually Iím not. I like Goldwings and Harleys, and if I had a ton of cash, Iíd own both.

Thereís a real simple way to dispel a stereotype, and thatís by adding some knowledge. Understanding the thought process of another human being isnít a walk in the park, but gaining some insight into what they ride can determine why they ride, and what they need. Here at J&P, we know our customers cover the spectrum. Some of our customers have been riding one brand for 50 years or more, while others have just started riding. Some ride two different bikes, while others ride all kinds of machines. Some people only do one style of riding while others are more adventurous and try out different styles.

So instead of going to some magazine resource or some self-proclaimed expert, we thought it would make sense to ask you ó our customers ó one simple question to set the record straight and help us better understand their needs. And that question is this: Whatís in your garage?

Certainly it's an advert but it makes you think.

What's in your garage?

Do you fit the stereotype?

I know I own all HDs, I fit some of the stereo types but destroy many others.

Mad Dog
02-11-2011, 09:31 PM
HD all the way and bad to the bone. I have a great selection of knives and guns and only handle them when drinking.
I ride my woman hard and put her away wet. And when I get the urge I ride her friends too!
I demand respect and give none!!!
I AM DUDLEY.........

02-14-2011, 02:38 PM
Settle down there Dudley..

02-14-2011, 04:37 PM
My Impala is there for when my AE86 is too ragged, my Harley is there for when my GSXR is too violent.

02-14-2011, 05:11 PM
How does knowing what one has in their garage help dispell a stereotype unless you know that person? Asking one question "What's in your garage?" doesn't do any good. They'd have to ask a bunch of questions to get a handle on stereotypical riders.

It's a thinly veiled attempt to update their demographic database, and not a good one at that.

And no, it doesn't make me think. No introspection here. It really shouldn't make anyone think unless they give a shit what everyone else thinks. Who cares?

02-14-2011, 05:23 PM
How does knowing what one has in their garage help dispell a stereotype unless you know that person?

Because the stereotype is that most riders only own one kind of motorcycle, so if someone has more than one kind of motorcycle then that stereotype does not apply to them.

02-14-2011, 06:02 PM
That's not a stereotype, except in that J&P made it up for the purposes of their articlce. Of all the things you could stereotype in biking, that's not even on the list.

02-14-2011, 06:15 PM
I think I see what you're saying. It's a fairly roundabout way of saying, "We signed contracts with some new manufacturers."

02-14-2011, 06:21 PM
Gman, are trying to start some shit?:D

Gas Man
02-14-2011, 10:32 PM
No I 'm not. I think these guys are some cabin fevered cranky bastards.

02-15-2011, 08:30 AM
Not cranky, just hate J&P. Like to find fault with them.... :D

02-15-2011, 09:34 AM
I have been addicted to bikes since the early 60's, but I don't consider myself a biker. In my opinion, a biker takes his dedication towards a particular brand a lot farther than I ever have, with the exception of a little tatoo I acquired during my Harley days. I have made many friends over the years, many of whom are absolute hard core bikers (1%ers), lotsa racers from my youth (AMA Types), and many people who just love to ride. I know people who love mopeds, scooters,or anything with two wheels. If a person wishes to ride a bike, I think its great no matter their preference.

The choices people make with their bike is, to me, not near as important as the choices they make with their riding style. Splitting lanes at 80mph or riding a crotch rocket with swimsuits both seem a little extreme, but we see it all the time. It is not illegal to be stupid, but it is illegal to be careless.

Of all the things I have seen or experienced in my time, what bothers me the most is how casual some people treat bikes. I have been an MSF instructor since the mid 70's, and have seen many people take the course (on small bikes), pass the course, and immediately run out and buy a new Harley. While we can encourage a person to gain experience with a smaller, lighter bike, more often than not we are ignored. Their buddy has a Harley, so they have to have one also. I am not against owning a Harley, they are great bikes and I've owned a few. I probably would have one now if it was in the budget, but retirement income isn't near enough for that. But, someone with 2 miles of experience on a 200# bike should gain some experience before setting out on a 700# bike.

So, in my opinion, the two stereotypes that need any help are these: Inexperience and peer pressure.

Ok, I'll climb off the soapbox.....

02-15-2011, 12:47 PM
I don't have much to say that hasn't been said, but I did want to chime in and say thanks for being a MSF instructor. It's a great course.

Gas Man
02-15-2011, 01:20 PM
Not cranky, just hate J&P. Like to find fault with them.... :D
I know... but it was a good start of a thread with the article.