Riding with your smart phone


At the Long Beach Motorcycle Show this year, at least three manufacturers mentioned their new phone apps, which join motorcycles and smart phones. Kawasaki’s Rideology app allows riders to use their smart phones to view vehicle information, to map where they have ridden, to log vehicle measurements such as throttle, brake, acceleration and lean angle, and to make adjustments to the motorcycle’s ride mode and suspension settings. Ducati and Triumph have launched similar systems, and others are doing the same.

No, these phone apps do not work with every model—yet—but see where this is headed? Ten years ago the iPhone was brand new, but today nearly everyone uses a smart phone every day. You may have heard that a much, much faster cell phone communications technology is right around the corner? “5G” promises download speeds 1,000 times faster than your current phone.

Now consider the phone app “baby steps” that manufacturers like Kawasaki, Ducati and Triumph are taking today. How will 5G and other new digital technology be harnessed by motorcycle manufacturers in the years to come? While we don’t know that answer, we can be sure that more change is on the way, and brands and dealerships will be the key to helping customers embrace that change.

Fran O’Hagan is president & CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC, a Monterey, Calif., company that works with motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers to maximize performance of dealer networks. One of Pied Piper’s most popular services for the powersports industry is Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) sales mystery shopping to help turn more motorcycle shoppers into motorcycle buyers.

Contact: fohagan@piedpipermc.com

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