Brand Loyalty - I Just Don't Get It - It's Nonsensical to Me

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1/9/2020 4:01 PM

I posted this thread buried in another link and it got some interesting responses. My post is genuine. I'm not trolling. I'm curious hoping some of the more serious forum members will chime in to offer an explanation of the brand loyalty concept.

I find it very amusing to see the passion and vitriol people have towards an assortment of mechanical mechanisms based upon their color of the plastic to which the mechanical mechanisms are attached. I've never understood the brand loyalty mentality.

I don't give a damn what color the bike is I'm looking to buy. I'm buying the best bike to suit my needs regardless of color. The people manufacturing and selling these mechanical mechanisms are looking to take as much of my money as possible in selling me one. Therefore, I'm going to buy from the manufacturer selling the better product, for my usage. Believe it or not, at 59 years of age and riding for 49 of them I can guarantee my needs are much different than the needs of guys utilizing these machines to make a living.

What's even funnier is the people with a hard on for a certain color even thought they never owned the color they hate. I don't get it. How can you dislike "a machine" that you have no personal experience. Nonsensical.

Hell, I don't even give a damn if the color I choose to buy wins SX or MX races or championship(s) as it has nothing to do with me. The bike these guys are winning on are nothing like the bike I'm riding as a professional practice rider. I won't even get into the difference of the human at the controls of these colored machines as they relate to me. I don't think I'm even of the same species....

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1/9/2020 4:06 PM

I am not brand loyal, but I do have a preference (Honda)- I’ve had a Yamaha since 2016. My next bike will likely be a KTM..

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1/9/2020 4:09 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 5:01 PM

The massive collective that have purchased Harley's might disagree, they are "buying into the club" haha

I agree with your post, I am in a similar station in life for age, experience, and perspective about motorcycles. The best motorcycle is the next motorcycle, I want to try them all and I could care less what color the bodywork is. I just like what I like. It's one of those deals where once you ride it and it feels right, for whatever reason, that's the best one

Pro racers are loyal for other reasons, and at the same time I can't blame them at all for pimping their brand, or become connected to a brand. That's the image they are selling, by being slow and old we have the option to ride whatever is best for us at the moment

My $.02

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1/9/2020 4:14 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 4:15 PM

I grew up racing Hondas as a kid in the 80s and early 90s, and was hugely brand-loyal back then. Wanted to see Honda win all the championships (which they did a lot of), and was a fan of any pro rider on one. But I was a kid.

I came back to racing a couple of years ago and rode YZs because they were still making 2 strokes and I thought I wouldn't like owning a four stroke. Back when I was a kid there wasn't even a blue brand.

Fast forward to a year ago and I bought my first 450, a new Kawi. My first green bike and I love it. And my next bike, who knows what it'll be. Probably another Kawi, or a Yamaha 450 if they can slim it down more.

I can see folks rooting for the brand they ride (we are a very tribal species), but I really don't get sh*tting on other brands. Kinda weird.

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1/9/2020 4:31 PM

For me it had to do with the riders. As a kid I didn't like Hannah much (I like him now), but I liked Howerton and Barnett, so I liked Suzuki. I thought the Suzuki guys were more humble, and I didn't like the shit-talking type. Yam always had brash riders like Hannah and Bradshaw.
Honda had the super-cool guys like RJ, Bailey and O Show. Kaw had Ward, who in the 80s was really dry and boring on the mic.
People are brand loyal for all kinds of reasons- it's probably part of what makes it fun.

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1/9/2020 4:35 PM

I'd love to help you out, but I don't get it either. Some guys just need to have rigid rules to follow, I guess. I read a post here recently where a guy said his dad taught him colors by pointing at certain bikes, and he said that's why manufacturers must maintain their proper brand color, as if somehow his father pointing at the sky and saying "blue," pointing at the grass and saying "green," pointing at dirt and saying "brown," and pointing at the sunset and saying "orange," wouldn't work. Not to whine, but consider how confusing all this color-based loyalty can make someone my age: I remember when Hondas were silver and green, Yamahas were grey and red, KTMs were green and white, Maicos came in yellow OR orange, and Husqvarnas came in yellow, red, maroon, green, orange, and blue! Oh, the horror. My poor dad's only hope would've been that I was born colorblind.

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1/9/2020 4:51 PM

You nailed it when you said "nonsensical." We humans sometimes reject logic in order to cling to preconceived notions.

I found that certain brands tend to operate in a certain way, too. For instance, Yamahas tend to be more of a straight-line bike than Hondas. Not always, but they are pretty stable. I like the way they handle, so that's what I go for. Plus, most of my gear looks good on a blue bike, so I stick with what I know. Brand loyalty by default.

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Braaapin' aint easy.

1/9/2020 4:52 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/10/2020 3:08 PM

I am loyal to a dealership more than a brand. Some bikes are better quality and I have owned everything except for a Husky. Yamaha and Honda are the best quality but the best overall motocross bike I ever owned was a 1982 Suzuki RM250z and what it lacked in quality it more than made up in performance,the 2013 KTM450 was the worst just because of the suspension. Everyone will have a different opinion but this is what I have come up with after owning more than 50 new motocross bikes since 1976 and having both a 125 and 250 for a lot of those years. 1 KTM 3 RMs 3 KXs and the rest were all CRs and the most were YZs both yellow and Blue.

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Ed Johnson

1/9/2020 5:04 PM


Henry Ford didn't get it either. Couldn't understand why anyone would want anything but a car painted black.
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1/9/2020 5:06 PM

Sense of identity and tribalism. People invent stories to satisfy their ego and to be on a "team". It's not just dirt bikes.

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1/9/2020 5:21 PM

Here is my story, when I was younger I had no real brand loyalty. Late 1996, I was in the process of selling my 95 CR 250, to buy a 1997 CR250. The dealer who sold my 95 had just become a KTM dealer, he offered me a 1997 KTM 360 SX, at a good price.
I had never even thought of owning a KTM or anything bigger than a 250, thought about it, Shayne King had just won the world championship on one.
Went ahead and bought it, 24 years later I’m still racing a KTM.



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@TONY351KTM

1/9/2020 5:22 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 5:27 PM

I'm diehard Team Green. I hate all other brands, especially Yamaha. If you're interested in the long story....read on.

I started riding at age 4, had a Suzuki JR50. I think by age 6 my dad moved me up to a Kawasaki KX60. The color meant nothing but if I remember correctly I think Kawi was the only brand that offered a 60 bike back in 1994 when I was 6. By age 8 or 9 my dad moved me up to a Kawasaki KX80. Again...color meant nothing. It was a used bike we found in the newspaper, went to check it out and drove home with it.

By 10 I was starting to take riding/racing serious. I can't explain it but I just started getting really fast and moving up from novice to intermediate. My dad started taking me to the track 2 times then 3 times a week, racing 1-2 times a month at least. It seemed like all the other kids were riding Yamaha YZ80's and they were fast. My bike clearly was under-powered so in 1998 my dad bought me a brand new Kawasaki KX80. This bike finally put me on an even playing field with all those YZ's.

Why did we stick with Kawasaki instead of getting one of those fast YZ's??? Because around that time I became a HUGE fan of team Kawi/Pro Circuit/Splitfire. They rode Kawi's like me, their main competition was also Yamaha (YZ125's - I think it was Yamaha of Troy back then) and I LOVED the way those bikes looked. The graphics were so cool with the big spark plug on the air shroud. My dad actually bought me the 1998 Splitfire graphics for my bike which made me feel like I was a member of their team. I was fighting the YZ80's while my heros battled the YZ125's.

Now in 1999 - I was at an arenacross race and was maybe 1 of 3 guys riding a Kawi vs everyone else on YZ's with a few RM's and CR's sprinkled in. I swept the 85 7-11 class and also the Supermini class on a stock KX80 with PC pipe & muffler. After the race, a representative from Pro Circuit actually came over to our pit and I'm paraphrasing here but he basically said "I love those graphics, you really took it to those blue bikes. How would you like to be on the team?" They offered me a team support sponsorship and within a month my bike was tricked out with full motor and suspension work along with the new team graphics for that year. I was on cloud 9.

Real long story kinda short - we became very serious with racing and our commitment. I bumped up to expert/supermini, we had plans in place for the Vegas Mini-nats & Lorettas. In 2000 I got the all new KX85 (2001 model). Before I touched it, Pro Circuit did full motor/suspension work and all the other cool hop-ups. This bike was insanely fast, easy to ride, it was a dream bike. Right before the Mini-nats in Vegas, I had a freak accident during a race that left me paralyzed waist-down.

So ever since then I've remained a diehard team green member. Add to the fact Mitch Payton is also a paraplegic, it's just always felt like home to me. This will sound insane but if someone came up to me and said I could walk/ride again but it could only be on a Yamaha, I'd probably say "F*** You".

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MCM2 name - RXR_ProKawi24
PS4 Gamertag "Rocko24" - Add me for MES2 (soon to be MES3)

1/9/2020 6:04 PM

ProKawi24, excellent response. Great but sad story specific to your injury.

In my mind your response is a very rational explanation for your "green connection". There were performance considerations and specific acts by "green" sponsors that would have me being a "green" guy same as you. It's completely logical. If you weren't a green guy I be curious why not.

Your post doesn't really address the behavior I'm curious about. For example, I don't think you're going to write, or contribute to a post about your dislike of a different brand without you personally experiencing an unpleasant event that forms the basis for your dislike.

My lack of understanding is in relation to an individual disliking something even though he's never had any personal experience with that "thing". It's comical when someone trashes Wile E Coyote's Acme brand active suspension when they've never even seen one let alone ride or own a bike equipped with Wile's stuff.

Throughout life we've all experienced/observed this phenomena. It's guess it's the old Chevy versus Ford bias. I often joke it must be genetic... A poster above explained the tribal tendency of humans. I think this is a valid consideration that bears merit. I don't have that tribal mentality specific to brand loyalty but i do about many other things in life so I can appreciate the concept.

Interesting comments!

P.S. I think it's a bit amusing somebody would give my initial post a thumbs down. Got to love Vitards!

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1/9/2020 6:14 PM

Brad460 wrote:

I am not brand loyal, but I do have a preference (Honda)- I’ve had a Yamaha since 2016. My next bike will likely be a KTM..

Brad, I'm exactly the same as you with my current preference being a Austrian bike. "I" like the engineering and component quality offered on the current generations of Austrian bikes. I switched to orange from red in 2010 for a variety of reasons. I still own an 08 CRF450 as I like the bike but have had five KTM 450's since switching. When I'm ready for my next bike it will not automatically be orange. It will be what is currently available that checks the most boxes on my list.

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1/9/2020 6:22 PM

ProKawi24 in rereading your post I'm a curious about a comment I should have picked up on. You posted:

"I'm diehard Team Green. I hate all other brands, especially Yamaha".

I can appreciate your preference/loyalty to green for the many reason you elaborated and I can see you having a bit of a negative taste in your mouth for those damn YZ's. However, what is the basis for your hatred to all other brands as it doesn't seem like they've ever done anything "bad" to you?

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1/9/2020 6:24 PM

I am a creature of habit. Go with what you know, I suppose. Probably the same reason I never got with 4 strokes.

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1/9/2020 6:31 PM

I really cant understand people shitting on other brands either. I think all brands have a certain "cool" aspect to them, and the brand that I ended up with (KTM) was just because they are the closest dealer to me and treat me like family. I have a disgust for a Husky dealer and would NEVER purchase a bike from him, but that would not deter me from riding a white stallion either. To me, I can only dislike a dealer, not a brand of bike.

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1/9/2020 6:37 PM

I wish we had 5 or six more major brands to choose from or claim loyalty. I wish I had a 250 t and f from all available brands!!

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1/9/2020 6:46 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 6:47 PM

Riding one brand you accumulate a lot of usable spare parts. Sensical

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1/9/2020 7:30 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 7:31 PM

I just dont get the Flavor of The Month crowd. “Whats winning the shootout? What is bike of the year???” And they buy whatever MXA tells them to. Or Keefer. I think brand loyalty is actually really a cool thing

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1/9/2020 8:11 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 8:12 PM

I actually like them all ( even ones I’ve never owned) except Yamaha. I had an 05 YZ250, and tried to like it. I loved the engine, but I had terrible lap times because in every corner, I had to stop, get off, pick up the back of the bike and point it in the direction I wanted to go ( even standing behind it to eye it up like shooting pool) and then get back on and ride to the next corner.

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1/9/2020 8:41 PM

My decision to buy a bike weighs heavily on the shootout. I would buy another Honda but not with dual exhaust because I think it's stupid. If Yamaha would bring the weight down on KTM level I would jump right on that

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1/9/2020 8:47 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 8:53 PM

motoarmageddon wrote:

I just dont get the Flavor of The Month crowd. “Whats winning the shootout? What is bike of the year???” And they buy whatever ...more

Because you can see that some years of bikes are better than others. Is an 2018 Crf250 better than a 2017 cr250? no 2018 was a terrible year for the crf250. 2008 crf 450 was a great year for honda


look at James stewart on the difference between that 09 yz and 10 yz 450. 2010 yz 450 sucked
2009 yz 450 was a great bike

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1/9/2020 8:57 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 8:59 PM

I'll be perfectly honest....I have a 250sx and a 150sx


I wish they were Suzuki's.
I've owned everything, I feel most "at-home" on the last Gen RMs.

*including 4strokes...I've had two crfs and spent nearly 6 years on the 06-09 yz450f

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Violence You Can Believe In

1/9/2020 9:03 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/9/2020 9:05 PM

Here's why I like Yamaha and have a beef with Suzuki:

I grew up riding all Hondas, from xr50 to cr125 I was on Honda's all the way through. I have no problem with them to this day, but unless they decide to bring the CR line back I don't see myself going to the dealer to grab one.

When I got my first 250 it was a RM250, absolutely loved the bike and still have it. I grew up watching Travis and Ricky absolutely blow minds on that bike and it was the greatest thing ever for me to finally have the same. That was all fine and dandy until I had to do some serious motor work. The suzuki faithful will never mention it, but you're going to absolutely pay out the ass for any OEM suzuki part, it's just insane. Ya sure, the bike might be cheap to start with, but god forbid you ever need to swap a crank, you better have deep pockets. For a kid in high school, that freaking bike basically bankrupt me and I decided then and there I'm never buying another one. Also see KTM for outlandish parts pricing.

As I got more into hillclimbing, I needed a 450 for be able to race the pro extended classes. My dad ended up picking up a leftover 2011 YZ450 and promptly realized it was way too much bike for him, so it essentially became mine. What I learned quickly was that yamaha didn't screw around when it came to build quality, and I didn't realize how cheap the fasteners were on my old RM until I started to work on the YZ. I also realized that I could ride the bike with a stock motor, and because of the low end hit and overall power, I could race hillclimbs on a stock motor and at least have a fighting chance. I don't have the money to do a bunch of motor work and I definitely can't spend 8K building a fire breathing 450 race motor with full custom cams and exhaust, so stock yamahas are the best bang for the buck in my eyes. I'm now on a 2018 and finished the points in the top 10 even after missing the final round in a national series, on a stock motor. The dyno doesn't tell the whole story, go ride a stock ktm and a stock yamaha and you'll see what I mean, similar peak power but very different approaches to getting there. I'd probably like the KTM more for track and trail riding, but the yamaha is hard to beat for hillclimb.

My play bike that I ride damn near every weekend in a YZ250 with almost 250 hours on the clock. I'm still on stock chassis bearings, stock bore, and even stock clutch. There's a few areas on the bike that are showing it's age, and some downright idiotic design elements that should have been corrected 10 years ago (looking at you open front wheel bearings and atrocious stem seal design), but the fact of the matter is I've raced everything from hard enduros to supercross futures on this bike and it's taken it all in stride. I don't see any other bike on the showroom floor that will fit those needs, so for now Yamaha has me pretty well kept.

Edit: I should also mention that having bikes that share common parts is a HUGE benefit. Saves a lot of time and money, as well as save you in a pinch.

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1/9/2020 9:04 PM

Gworm wrote:

I actually like them all ( even ones I’ve never owned) except Yamaha. I had an 05 YZ250, and tried to like it. I loved the ...more

I don't care who ya' are, that's some funny shit right there. ROTFLMAO.

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1/9/2020 10:37 PM

I always got shit for this when l was young. All my buddies were hardcore brand loyal but l just wanted the best bike l could get.

I've owned at least two of all the OG four and would totally own a KTM or Husky.

I never buy the same brand of gear twice either.

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1/9/2020 10:42 PM

Back in the day living in a medium sized town it wasn't so much brand loyalty as it was dealer loyalty, where I grew up you only rode Yamahas or Hondas if you were serious because if you rode Kawasaki or Suzuki then you could miss two weekends of riding every time you needed a part.

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1/9/2020 10:58 PM

" Color " has never had anything to do with the bikes I chose to ride. Every brand " feels " different. There were years where I thought Kawi ( for a lot of years ) always felt best for me. It was Suzuki before that , but Honda after all the Kawi years. I went through every brand until I ditched my Kawi 450 , for an older RM 250........it was a steel frame feeling for me. Then , made the switch to the new Husky's , and love it. Color......had absolutely nothing to do with it.

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And there goes Jeffro. One of God's own prototypes. A super high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

Pimpin' Ho's , Rollin' fatty's......drinkin' beers , beers , beers!! ~ Ja

1/9/2020 11:21 PM

Go with what you know is helpful in addressing both maintenance needs and set up for your new ride. Each brand has it's own personality, appeal and challenge. If you have a good dealer and the brand fits, it can be a big stretch to jump shops.

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