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Did Honda miss the boat with the Rune?

6890 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  patentcad
First of all, don't misinterpret the topic as an anti-Rune statement. It's not: I think the Rune is a beautiful motorcycle and by far the most daring move by a motorcycle manufacturer that I can remember. I ride a 2004 ST1300 ABS but LOVE the Rune and I might buy one if I were in the market for a pricey cruiser.

This is what I perceive as the problem for Honda: dealers here are all sitting with Runes in stock. One dealer was actually advertising them for $5000 off on the back of the local Motorcycle Trader magazine. They don't seem to be selling the way Honda probably hoped the would. My theory: most buyers of expensive cruisers want a custom bike. The Rune is in essence already pretty radically custom - it has a very distinctive look that isn't going to change a whole lot with accessories. For that reason I'd be surprised if this bike succeeds in the sales dept. for Honda. That would be a terrible shame because Honda would lose millions - and be very hesitant to make such a bold move again.

I'm sure Rune owners are in love with the bike - what's not to love after all? But can the Rune succeed at a price that is approaching the custom chopper market? I'd love to hear feedback from Rune owners on this topic - particularly if you disagree and why.

Despite all this if you own a Rune and are happy join the happy Honda owner's club - I am LOVING my ST1300 after the first 900 miles. I couldn't be happier with a product purchase than I am with my new bike.
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My thoughts

First of all, nicely put for a non-Rune owner! Very non-offensive!

Runer owners probably love the bike. Dude, that's a huge understatement! I've owned 20 something bikes and it tops the list, and no it isn't the most I've ever paid for a bike. The feel of this bike going down a nice road is nothing short of spiritual. The front end is the smoothest i've ever felt, unreal! Not to mention the roll-on torque in 4th and 5th gears. And of course the attention of the females is nice side benefit.
The Rune sales numbers are a two sided issue for me. If they don't sell well, then I'll end up with a rare unique bike in my garage. The downer will be parts availability. If they do sell well then the parts will be more available and the bike won't be so rare. Do I care about future value?
Not at all! I never buy a machine with the intention of reselling for profit or return. I buy them to ride or drive.
Hi there. I agree many people want a true custom for that kind of money, but not me. The rune is basically a non-custom custom, or a mass-produced custom, which is an oxymoron. I prefer to buy the engineering behind a Rune, rather than the exclusivity of a more unique custom where function follows form.
The main reason I'll buy a Rune is because I can't stand feet-forward
cruisers and V-twin engines, and the Rune is the ONLY one with a standard riding position and a FI F-6 engine. It also adds the reliability and uniqueness of the wing powerplant and drivetrain, which is a huge plus.
On the other hand, I had terrible luck with my first generation wing ('01), and would like to buy a trouble-free '05 Rune. If they're not available, I'll be happy to buy a heavily discounted '04 model, since problems on that bike are not serious; a win-win scenario for me. I'm also hoping for a standard tach in '05 (a bar-graph one integrated into the current speedo display wouldn't be hard to do), if they ever materialize. The only way Honda could continue to sell the Rune (IMHO) would be at a substantially lower price, which could include an even cheaper 'base' model with less chrome. That would be a disgrace, but it'll be interesting to see if the desire to make money on the Rune trumps plain common sense.

I also have been a Honda guy for a long time, but I found the sport-tourer I was looking for in the BMW this time. I also found the Hayabusa ('00) superior to the XX, but other than those 2, all my other bikes (7) have been Hondas.

I've only used my K for 200 miles this year, and don't anticipate having time to ride this summer, so I'm not eager to have a new Rune collecting dust in my garage (it'll be a 2nd bike). We should know about future Runes in a few months.

Hey, was the heat problem resolved on your ST1300, or were you also given 'knee pads' to deal with the issue? That's why I didn't consider it, plus it was too much like the GL1800 I was trading in. Just curious. Take care.
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Custom Chopper Boredom

The problem with custom choppers is that they all look the SAME! And there are so many of them! And, they need support trailers to follow them on road trips.

The Rune looks the same, but, the bond between owners goes beyond that fact. How many Harley Road Kings are there on this planet? How many Runes?

As soon as I get another $20k to rub together, I will buy mysel an "auxiliary" Rune.

In my opinion, Honda has recovered its investment in the Rune by the advertising that its production was a success. How many units that "sell" is irrelevant, because the population was intended to be limited-run anyway. KenC (6,500 miles on Rune)
I thought that would get a rise out of you guys : ). I hope this turns out to be a positive thing for Honda, really. Again, I love the bike.

ST1300 heat issue: WHAT heat issue? I've been riding this bike in all kinds of weather - even 88º heat - and the worst thing I've experienced is a little warm air around my knees - nothing that I'd ever consider an 'issue'. Maybe it's worse on some ST's than mine or maybe some people are bothered by this stuff more than me. In my experience the airflow takes the warm air away from my legs without any problem. You really only notice it idling at traffic lights - and then barely.

As for the Rune topic- I'm just curious how this plays out for Honda. I wouldn't be concerned as an individual buyer - I'd just enjoy the bike. By the way does the Rune come with a 3 year or 1 year warranty?
It's just the prcing and perception or pricing that is hurting the Rune. People don't expect to spend $25,000 on a cruiser from Honda.

Sure, the GoldWing was always expensive, but you got a lot of function for your money.

The Rune competes with $35,000+ custom bikes. When you see a Rune up close and appreciate the level of detail and thoughfulness that went into the design and the execution, you realize that this bike is a BARGAIN at it's list price. EVERY part on the exterior of the Rune is custom and unique to the Rune. (Well, maybe not those turn signal mounts in the front...)

VW is having a similar problem with their new Phaeton luxury car. It's an absolutely fantastic automobile that rivals the best from anyone else. It costs between $65,00 and $95,000 depending on engine and options. That's not what people are used to spending on a VW. And again, in comparison with it's competition it's a relative bargain.

I think that we Rune owners know that we have a special bike and I would guess that EVERY owner feels that they paid a fair price for what they got. At least I do.

There's not a lot of "cachet" to owning a Honda motorcycle. People who buy Honda's in the cruising world are usually seen as "not able to afford a Harley".
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First of all, Mother Honda won't lose a dime. If anyone loses any money it will be the dealers and I assure you that even at $5000.00 off they are not losing money. Secondly, the Rune is supposed to be a one time, small build and I am sure that is what it was. Thirdly, It takes a bunch of guys, like the ones on this board, that love bikes and have the balls and the means to grab at such a far out remarkable machine. And lastly, they will all sell and the only losers, that I can predict, are the ones that wanted to but hesitated. I hope this helps you see the real picture. It is good to see folks other than Rune owners on the board. Thanks for you input.
VW blew it with the Phaeton by not setting up a seperate brand and line of dealers to sell it. They thought quality was enough to sell a $70K+ car- WRONG. It takes BRANDING first and foremost. You would think the friggin geniuses at VW would have known this - I sure do and all I have is a year of economics in undergrad school and eight years in the retail car business. The Phaeton is by all accounts a fantastic car - and an utter failure for VW. That WILL cost the company several BILLION Euros. Dumb.\

It's good to hear that the Rune was intended as a limited production run. And I agree- it DOES compete with much more expensive custom machines. It really is an incredible motorcycle. Congrats and good luck to all you Rune owners. I hope to see you out there on the road soon (southeastern NY).
i think when September rolls around...and folks find out no more Runes are being built (ie...NO 2005 model)...i think then the dealers will finally be able to sell those Runes they have sitting on the showroom people lap up the last of them.

Those few of you waiting to see what will happen....when September new model announcement is made...and there is no new Rune....YOU best get down to your local dealer and grab up that left over Rune fairly quickly. Cause when they're gone...they're gone :!:

i got my two already :twisted:

You heard it hear first :p
I was unaware of the limited nature of the Rune production. In that case it's hard to fathom a dealer 'giving' away a Rune for $5000 under list price - why not wait out the market? It's not THAT expensive to keep a $20K motorcycle around - not like holding onto the $60K+ cars the dealerships I worked at used to pay interest on.

I'm envious of you Rune owners. My ST1300 is wonderful to ride, but I could just sit and STARE at a Rune for weeks. I can't imagine what a blast it must be to ride that monster. If it's like other large Hondas it probably handles like a much smaller motorcycle and rides like a dream.

When you see a hypnotized middle aged man drooling on your bike when you come out of the store you parked your Rune in front of, that would be ME. Feel free to smack me upside the head to snap me out of my head - and yell at me to wipe up the mess : ). Harely Davidson? Please. They WISH they had the balls to produce a bike this dramatic and beautiful. What blows my mind is the V-Rod - the one Harley that I love the design of - all the Hog heads HATE. There's no accounting for taste. None.

You can say THIS for Harley - a column in a motorcycle magazine hit it on the head this month perfectly. Harley's incredible success is a business school case study in brilliant BRANDING and marketing. It doesn't have that much to do with Harley's great motorcycles. They have created and sold the Harley image/brand - perhaps better than anybody has created and sold an image in the history of American business. Harley's ARE better than they were twenty years ago - but it's the branding stupid. Now if Honda or Suzuki could take a page from the HD book on this - and this particular column makes a strong case for Honda buying the Indian name at a fire sale price - THEN they might get a piece of that Harley money 'magic'.

Keep the rubber side down boys. And if I'm in your way just beep - I'll move over so I can get a better look : ). I'm hoping to sneak up to Americade (sans motorcycle unfortunately) for a day. Maybe I'll see some of you up there.
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Pics of my ST1300: ... rt_order=0

I added the top mount center trunk (matching Honda version) complete with the spoiler, brakelight and pillion armrests. Had to order it from David Silver Spares in England. I ordered the stuff on Tuesday (this week)- it came in yesterday (Thursday, yes two days from England to NY) and me and Goldwing Bob (my neighbor and riding pal) installed it last night. Looks grand - I'll post photos when I get a chance. The best part - it snaps on and off the bike just like the side hard bags.

Nobody told me how friggin ADDICTING this motorcycle stuff would be. Well, I should know - 75,000 miles on a racing bicycle (road racing and riding) over ten years before a back injury forced me off should have been my first clue. I really can't get enough of it. Nearly 900 miles in the first five weeks - and I would have ridden twice as much if I wasn't so concerned about leaving my wife at home alone. She'll be coming out with me soon enough - I told her I wanted at least 2000-3000 miles under my belt - and then we're going to take a private two hour lesson in two up riding from the same guy who taught my Basic Rider MSF course (former motorcycle cop). Then we'll hit the parking lots to practice. And then IF I'm comfortable with it we'll hit the road. The roads up here are fairly quiet - we're sort of in the country anyway.

There was a lot of debate about whether the ST1300 was too big a bike - with 2/3 of the experienced motorcyclists saying yes, get what you're going to ride and 1/3 saying no, it's too big. I'm at 900 miles without incident - and feeling safe and in control on the bike. It's getting easier all the time - all that bicycling experience plays right into the motorcyling - cornering and low speed handling are remarkably similar between an 18 pound racing bicycle and my 700lb Honda. I suppose a two wheeled vehicle has certain properties that don't change. Of course there are major differences - but so far so good. I say a prayer each time I start up the bike.

One thing I'm certain of: had I taken up motorcycles at age 20 or 30 I'm not sure I would have survived the experience. I'm 46- and while getting older can suck you DO have an awareness of your own mortality - or at least you SHOULD have it by that age. I take it a little slower than I would have 10 or 20 years ago - and I also have a lot of years of driving and bicycling on the roads in the cerebral databank to draw upon - which doesn't hurt even though motorcycling is different than driving or cycling.
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Nike bike. I always liked the ST1300. That probably would have been a better bike for me than my previous bike, an '03 GoldWing.
Difference is, you can actually ride a rune and you can ride it a long way.
The custom choppers are nice to look at and hard to ride. As far as attention goes, my Rune got more attention than any other bike, including the much more expensive customs, at a charity rally this weekend. The Rune is a custom, it just comes from a factory instead of a garage, and it will outlast, outride ANY custom chopper out there. It is the best of both worlds, unique look with Honda dependability. I've had the entire gamut of bikes and can pretty much afford to buy any bike I desire, but I chose the Rune and could not be happier. I have ridden most of my miles with a passenger on back, and it still rides wonderfully. those "custom choppers" lose their novelty pretty quick and not many have alot of miles on them, our Runes can cross this country with no effort and no mechanical worries, can the choppers say that? Yes it is a bit pricie, but if you read the posts on this site you will notice that everyone praises their Rune and only a very few say anything about price. It is what it is, if you want a mid-teen cruiser, buy a Yamaha or a Harley. If you want an incredible 2-wheeled machine that gets the attention with its looks and backs it up with its performance, then get a Rune...the only true way to describe the performance/experience of this bike is to ride one, then you will know what we all already know.

If you want to fit in with the masses, buy a Road King, if you want to be envied by the masses, get a Rune....preferably a Black one since all tests have proven that they are the fastest!
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Black Rune velocity

I agree. My Black Rune is faster than the "colored" Runes. Yesterday's trip from to Charleston, to Columbia (eat a 1lb burger at Fuddruckers), then on to Aiken, turn around, and go home: 350 miles in 4 hours, including burger stop.... guys -- do the math. The Rune is FAST and the SC State Bears must like me whizzin by!
Rune Mystery

The Rune for me is a bike that gets looks and is fun to ride. Every time I get on it I think that I just might do an 8k mile coast to coast trip, but unfortunately it isn't set up for long trips, so I'll stick with my VTX 1800 Retro.

Anyway, the Rune is a wonderful ride. I just went to the Golden State (that's California) VRCC Yosemite ride. There were two Rune's both Black Cherry. Mine is customized and the other is stock, except for a WindVest. There were about 150 Val k's at this ride. Every time I pulled up to the meeting place or we stopped on one of the rides the Rune got all of the attention. Let me tell you there were some really nice Valk's at this event, but the Rune drew a crowd.

I'm not sure what makes a custom bike custom anymore, it used to be that it was a one off built by someone in a small garage somewhere. After watching the shows about Jessie James and the Tutles they all use the same frames, engines, transmissions. They do fabricate bars, fenders, foot pegs and exhaust, which I might add are not engineered, but designed for looks over performance.

The Rune is manufactured by a company that has a global support system, will be around in fifty years for spare parts, and produces a product with outstanding quality. You can't say that about the one off custom shops.

As far as price goes, a HD Road King sell for more then the Rune, a tricked out Duce sells for $32k. Almost any HD can be ordered for a higher price then the Rune. Indian, before they died a second time, started their bikes at $27k. These are production motorcycles too. HD will be here for the long run, I'm not sure about the others.

When it comes to riding, it doesn't matter what you ride as long as your ride. Riding is the feeling you have when you are on the bike, be it an old 250cc Suszuki, 2 liter Vulcan, or the Rune. Its a freedom I have not gotten from anything else I've ever done, including SCUBA diving.
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Yep, the more I think about it the more I think you Rune guys are going to do just fine on resale value if you ever decide to part with the bike - and I think it will be an excellent investment as a new (while they last) or used cruiser. I'm sorely tempted - but don't really want to push my luck as a newer rider with such a large cruiser. Maybe in a few years. Besides I have a car to buy in the fall (Acura TL I think) - and that's the next money I'll fork over to Honda.

Man, I'm already getting filleted on some of these Forums for buying an ST 1300 as my first motorcycle - if they found out I bought a Rune they'd come to my house with pitchforks and torches : ). Ain't gonna happen. But the ST WAS the right choice for me regardless of what some people may think - and my neighbor and riding pal Goldwing Bob will back me up on that 100%. We're going out tonight for a quick 50 miler and then in the early AM for a longer (100+ miles) jaunt. One thing I've noticed - motorcyclists don't have opinions, they have OPINIONS - but then you'd expect bikers to be a colorful bunch - and they surely are.
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