Honda, Weight Watchers, GWRRA Unite to Save Gold Wing 1800
April 1, 2003
PHOENIX, AZ -- The Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) announced today a novel new program to assist the American Honda Motor Company to rescue the lagging sales of its newest Gold Wing GL1800 model.
GWRRA officials said that American Honda Motor Company, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA), and Weight Watchers, International would be working together to benefit all parties.
In recent months Honda has received reports from its dealer network that the Gold Wing GL1800, which became the replacement for the Gold Wing GL1500 beginning in 2001, has begun to suffer structural breakdown at several critical areas of the frame. Cracks have developed near the swingarm and numerous riders have complained that handling, gas mileage, and excessive tire wear have made the riding experience intolerable.
Many Wingers have even begun selling their bikes and shifting their allegiance to Harley-Davidson and BMW, thus losing sales for Honda.
It seems that in their fervor to produce a lighter version of the Wing and give it better, lower center of gravity handling, Honda failed to take one important ergonomic factor into account.
Wilson Heysnip, VP of Engineering for Honda, stated that the Maximum Weight Capacity (MWC) of 408 pounds was being exceeded by 78 percent of its riders. The average weight of the average two-up couple, the usual riding configuration, is now 220 pounds for the rider and 170 pounds for the pillion making a total of 390 pounds. This, coupled with the propensity of the average Winger to carry excess luggage, coolers, and affix numerous pieces of chrome, have all contributed to a dangerous overloading situation.
Since American Honda is unable to spend the millions of dollars to correct these design faults until the 2006 model year when the special ultra-moledium frames will be standard, it had to come up with an interim solution to stem the losses in its customer base.
A recent survey done at the Honda Hoot confirmed that most Wingers love riding their 1800s but seem reluctant to shed the extra pounds necessary to keep their bikes from breaking down. The same survey uncovered the fact that most Wingers have a sweet tooth of unusual proportions. A similar survey done at Americade 2002 found the same results and concluded that the most successful business at the Americade Rally has become Wagar's Ice Cream Shop.
One prominent Winger, Luke Watson, took it upon himself to contact Weight Watchers in search of a solution for his own weight.
That got Watson thinking about a way to allow other 1800 riders to continue enjoying their favorite pastime. Watson reasoned that if some sort of alliance could be forged between Gold Wing riders and Weight Watchers that could reduce the average two-up load to less than the Maximum Weight Capacity, then Honda would be able to continue on with their program without additional costs to consumers. At the same time, Gold Wing riders would be able to lose some unneeded weight and Weight Watchers would get more customers.
Here's the plan that was developed:
First, GWRRA has authorized the use of their membership card to be used to get a free registration at Weight Watchers (WW). Additionally, WW will offer Gold Wingers half off on weekly membership meetings where members weigh-in and receive motivation from WW staff. Weight Watchers expects each Winger to lose about four pounds the first week and an average of one pound a week thereafter. They expect the average Winger's weight to drop to well under the maximum recommended by Honda so the 1800 frames will no longer be stressed. In turn, WW gains extra revenue from the Wingers it would normally not get. Furthermore, Wingers have promised WW to provide free motorcycle rides to WW meetings for non-motorcycle WW members. It turns out that WW has continuing problems with its members who can not regularly attend meetings for lack of transportation. The Wingers will provide this transportation free of charge.
To assist in this effort, Honda Hoot will be offering free diet cokes anywhere on the premises when you show your GWRRA card. Not to be outdone, Wagar's Ice Cream at Americade will offer free low-cal sundaes to GWRRA members.
Also, GWRRA has told all Gold Wing Chapters that henceforth all ice cream runs and dinner runs are no longer allowed. The old adage that it's impossible for a Gold Wing rider to pass an ice cream store without stopping is now a thing of the past.
The world will become a little smaller as the Gold Wingers trim down, the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 better handles its load, and the Weight Watchers get more customers plus free motorcycle rides for some of their members. The GWRRA will lose a little revenue from the use of its member cards for discounts but they expect to recoup much of that by its members participating in more safety and CPR programs with all the time they will be saving by not attending club ice cream runs and dinner runs.
Of course this is not a true story. It is appropriate to the day since it's released on April 1st.
I pick on the Wingers with great respect. After all, I'm one of them. I ride a Gold Wing as does my wife and we are both GWRRA members belonging to NJ Chapter F, affectionately known as "F-Troop." Gold Wingers are a special group of riders enjoying the Gold Wing experience including the bike and all the fellowship and community service that go with it. So what if we like to go on an occasional ice cream run.
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