They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, and by the same token, you certainly can’t 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, we’re 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 — 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 don’t 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: I’ve heard it said that Harley-Davidson customers are far more mechanically inclined than metric customers, and metric customers don’t work on their own bikes. I’ve heard people say Harley customers don’t own other brands, while metric customers do. I’ve heard all sport bike riders are young and reckless. And Goldwing customers are old and slow. Street bike guys don’t like dirt bikes, and dirt bike guys don’t 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 don’t fit the mold at all. I’m a dirt bike guy, but I also ride on the street. I have a sport bike, and I’m old in comparison to most. I can be reckless at times, but usually I’m not. I like Goldwings and Harleys, and if I had a ton of cash, I’d own both.
There’s a real simple way to dispel a stereotype, and that’s by adding some knowledge. Understanding the thought process of another human being isn’t 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 — our customers — one simple question to set the record straight and help us better understand their needs. And that question is this: What’s in your garage?