I wanted to have a little rant about the state of the motorcycle industry. Many of you may have noticed the steady decline in the independant motorcycle dealers over the last 10 years. The big boom in the trade in the 1990’s was great in some ways but disasterous in others. Many of the worlds top manufacturers saw the success of the small franchises as an oportunity to screw them over. First they started making the dealers jump through all sorts of corporate hoops such as matching carpets and furniture which in itself is not sop bad but then the dealers were pushed into becoming single franchise so you couldnt go to one shop to back to back a Fireblade against an R1. Multi franchise dealers are still around but its mostly the very large companies who do it. One of my favourite ever dealers was Frontiers in Wimbledon. What a great place. It sold Ducati’s, Suzuki’s and Yamaha’s as well as the occasional Bimota and even a few scooters here and there. It was not a big shop but it was a great place to go on a Saturday to drool over the latest bikes and chat to other bikers in a small friendly dealer. The difference was that it was very casual and relaxing unlike the uptight and corporate car dealers we have now. I dont know about you but when i go to one of these cold quiet modern bike dealers i just dont get a good vibe, almost like i am not really wanted. Being hounded by highly trained sales people whos sole goal is to shake me down for as much money as they can get from me. For me the death of the small bike shops is a tragedy that needs to be fixed. I want the big 4 in particular to wise up and give us back the bike trade we knew and loved before its too late.