The cost of living is driving more riders to smaller motorcycles and scooters, says Hartford Australia who is importing small-capacity Taiwanese machines.
Ballina-based importer Joe Fisher says scooters and learner bikes have “gone crazy” despite a slow market.
“I come from a time when the industry was formed on XL250s and Belstaff jackets,” he says.
“We see a healthy return to this time where the cost of living is pushing more and more people to find cheaper alternatives to get to work.
“We think the LAMS (learner-approved motorcycle scheme) market is the growth area for the immediate future of the industry.
“I regularly travel between Brisbane and Sydney and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many get-to-work bikes in every town I pass through.
“It is indeed encouraging to be involved in our efforts to expand this market.”
So Joe is importing the Classic 250 ($4799 +ORC), and the 125cc Sienna (#3399) and 300cc Vita ($6199) scooters. The Sienna comes with a one-year warranty and the others with a 24-month warranty.
They will be followed by liquid-cooled 450cc adventure and naked bikes later this year.
The sole Aussie distributor is working on setting up a network of non-franchised dealers “willing to give us a god shot”.
He hopes to start with dealers on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane.
Joes has been involved in the industry since 1975.
“I think I’ve pretty well seen the good the bad and the ugly of the industry over that time,” he says.
“To keep the motorcycle companies off our case for as long as possible, we have formed a company (Aussie Motorcycle Imports Pty Ltd) as the importer and distributor of this new brand of Hartford under my personal name.”
Hartford tech specs
- Engine: 124cc (Sienna); 276cc. Vita; (223cc) (Classic)
- Power: 5.8kW @ 7000rpm; 12.5kW @ 6500rpm; 13.0kW @ 9000rpm
- Length: 1980mm; 2105mm; 2000mm
- Width: 700mm; 770mm; 800mm
- Height; 1140mm; 1280mm; 1070mm
- Wheelbase: 1400mm; 1565mm; 1340mm
- Wet weight: 117kg; 162kg; 132kg
- Max speed: 95km/h; 113km/h; 111km/h
- Brakes: CBS, disc front/rear; ABS, disc front/rear; ABS, disc front/rear
- Transmission: Automatic CVT; Automatic CVT; 5 speed manual
- Tyres: 110/70 x 12; 130/60 x 13; front 350 x 18, rear 400 x 18
- Economy: 2.4L/100km; 2.8L/100km; 2.5L/100km
- Tank: 6 litres; 12 litres;12 litres