Our client was an American Fortune 500 motorcycle manufacturing company.
Despite being such an iconic brand, he number of people < 30 year olds who own motorcycles is declining and this company was becoming increasingly reliant on old customers as the number of years left for the older generation to buy another bike is running out. With that in mind, our objective was to explore a set of hypotheses and uncover any other unmet needs for millennials.
UX research lead
User research recruiter
Process and approach
Our client had ideas but didn’t do any prior research so we went broad with qualitative research. I recruited a pool of participants with a tight budget.
Our primary questions aimed to elicit stories that revealed:
- how they would describe their life as a rider, what it means to them, what’s important to them, and why they ride.
- the underlying causes to their pain point, unmet needs, and potential future use of products.
These are selected themes—that worth looking into for monetization—amongst all the participants regardless of age, riding style, where they live, brand and make motorcycle they own, or if they buy a motorcycle new or used.
Safety is a no brainer and very important to motorcycle riders an they have different methods of protecting themselves.
"I’m thinking in my head had no idea is this helmet is safer than the $100 less helmet. I’m not going to risk it. I had no idea so I essentially picked the best one I could find. If this helmet is going to even remotely going to save my life, I’m willing to pay a price to do it."
Motorcycle rides are dictated by many variables.
"I took the river road to Sacramento. It’s a beautiful road. I love that ride. It’s along the river, two lanes, and not a lot of people on it. It’s a really relaxing. My perfect ride would be 1-2 hours. I like to do a poker run. You’ll meet at one place, get a card, go to another stop and get another card, and try to get a full house."
A participant shows us pictures from his trips that were destination based.
Riders who are a part of an organized group feel less of a need to find new routes to ride and the ones who are not search for resources. Riders who are newer to the area or plan longer trips are more likely to search for rides.
"We hadn’t been in California for that long [at that time]. We were sitting around Saturday morning. I asked my wife where she wants to go and she said she didn’t know. A song came on on the radio and it was about Bodega Bay and she’s like, ‘Let’s go to Bodega Bay.’ We want to go the most interesting way and didn’t want to take the highway so we pulled out a map. I looked for the squiggles."
There isn’t a friendly and flexible enough ride planning or navigation tool for motorcycles.
Example of routes from Google Maps (left) and Rever (right).
"If Google can get the motorcycle time, it would be great."
"If I made it on Rever, I’ll tell them and if they want to download it, they can because you can share it on the app. I don’t use Rever that much because I don’t love it. The usability is not great on the bike. It’s really hard to follow the pin and you need to keep your eyes on the road."
Craigslist is the most common buy/sell platform for the used bike market and although there could be improvements that could be made, it’s generally working for them.
What’s great for the people who use it is:
- it's free
- has the most inventory
- they know everyone uses it
- it's familiar
What’s not great is:
- the search is sucks (but it’s better than looking through forums) and it is only local
- posts get pushed down quickly
- buyers have to be ready to act quickly
- sellers get an overwhelming number of responses
Shared pain points for all levels of riders are dealing with flakey people or scams.
“What has happened was this guy probably crashed this bike and is passing it off as nearly new. What I wish I could’ve done is basically left a review for this guy and say that this [bike] is BS. There are a lot of people, like my friends [who are looking for their first bike and hasn’t ridden any other bike], would say this bike is great and it’s only $1,800. I show up and it’s absolutely a disaster."
As a new rider, most people lean on their personal network—friends and family—for advice and guidance, especially for their first bike and routes that match their skill level.
"I was lucky because I was able to ask my Dad and his friends who also ride. I know I want a sports bike. They would tell me, ‘Well for a beginning you don’t want higher than 1200cc, etc.’...They would tell me this stuff and I can narrow it down. If I didn’t have that a resource, I wouldn’t know what I’m looking for."
For some participants who are less technical, buying bike parts can be frustrating because it is hard to figure out what components or connector pieces work with their bike and if it voids their warranty.
Participant screen captures as a way to bookmark parts and accessories he finds online.
"A lot of motorcycle parts are shit. You can't tell what components you’re working with. If it’s even going to fit on my bike and it’s not specific parts as to what you need to make it work. Often times there's a connector piece, which is this third thing, and often times you don’t know you need it until you get the accessory. Let's say you want to buy a rack or luggage. Often times you'll need a connector piece for your bike. It's not till you receive the item that you know you need to get an additional piece."
How much impact does each category of pain point have if it is addressed? What skill level riders are affected if it is addressed?
This project is still in progress.