Since I first started riding, I always dreamed about owning a Harley. I bought Jap bikes that looked as close to a Harley cruiser as I could, took shit from Harley riders who knew I was a wanna-be but couldn’t afford one, to eventually shelling out the money to buy one. I’ve owned a few, put a lot of miles on them and basked in the history and glory of having an 850 pound American motorcycle underneath me. I was proud. Hell, I still own a Harley.
I always try to sum up what I like about something, and as far as Harley is concerned, I love the history. I loved that the gas Tank hadn’t changed since 1936. I loved that the bat-wing faring and saddle bag looks had been around since the 60s. At first glance, the bike I owned looked almost exactly like the bike my father, grandfather, and great grandfather would have owned. Honda’s and Kawasaki always seemed to have their finger in the wind, and constantly changed the look of their bikes. Not Harley. It seemed like an anchor of style in the rapidly changing motorcycle world. I loved the sense of tradition and style
They made small changes at first, that I liked: The ABS brakes — I guess thats cool, if you don’t know how to fucking use your front brake. Ok, I could get that one. Redesigning the frame: good call. Anyone who’s experienced bagger wobble at high speeds knows….
Then some douche bag in a board room started fucking with the look, and the other douche bags all voted that they agreed.
- A 6 gallon gas tank: more distance, yet you ruined the look of a bike that had beautiful lines (and history) to it.
- Cut the fender on the baggers, getting rid of that classic, traditional look that has been around for so many years.
- Rounded out the saddle bags. They look terrible now.
- Put a wind vent on the bat wing, to cut down buffering. Heh, buffeting. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you’re concerned with buffeting, then don’t ride a motorcycle. Fuck, its WHY you ride a motorcycle.
- I’m wondering when they’ll put reverse and air conditioning on them.
Lets face it, Harley doesn’t make the best bike out there. You’re buying history and tradition. If I wanted a more comfortable, efficient, fast and long-lasting bike I’d buy anything but a Harley. I buy them for style, and the fact that they’re made in America.
I picked up a cycle world this weekend at the airport. Harley went and made a new engine, and its fucking liquid cooled.
This may seem super picky and old fashioned of me, but the things I’ve loved about Harley don’t seem to be the things the MOCO loves anymore. They just made Harley and the Davidsons, which I guess is supposed to make me appreciate their tradition, but it didn’t work, at least for me. Plus, Harley and the Davidson’s was basically a bit full of shit. That’s not exactly how it happened…
They’re looking at a different demographic now. Harley put their finger to the wind.
On the contrast, I love how Indian has made a bigger engine, better bike and doing as much as they can to go back to their history, while Harley is looking to depart from it. Plus, its a better AMERICAN bike. I’m pretty much sold.
The fact that I can’t buy a dealer t-shirt that’s made in china for less than $40-60 bucks, or get a valve stem fixed on a tire than that I removed for less than $120 from Harley says a thing. I’m not their demographic. The MOCO has become bloated and out of touch, at least with me. They’re losing market share, and they don’t know what the fuck to do about it.
You can argue that it’s not the same history or blood lines as the original Indian, but I can argue that Harley was owned for 12 years by a company who’s focus was making tennis and bowling balls.
I think I’ll try Indian for a while.
Whew! I said it.
But then again, I’m an opinionated dick 🙂