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When I was an MSF Instructor in the 1990's in Milwaukee, there were waiting lists for most models of Harley Davidson's at local dealers, and pricing was significantly above MSRP. I had students that were already talking about which HD they planned to buy and at that point many had never even sat on, let alone ridden a motorcycle. As a long time fan of Japanese motorcycles, many of the students viewed me with genuine confusion. They saw me as an experienced rider that would prepare them for two wheeled riding, and yet I didn't share the worship of HD as most of them did. Of course Milwaukee is a special place for HD, but this Harley idolatry seemed to be nationwide in those days.

Now we have Indian, and other companies making cruisers that are, in my opinion every bit as good or better functionally than HD, and obviously the days of waiting lists and ridiculous marked upped pricing has long passed, but based on what I see on the road, HD is still an overwhelming choice for American riders. I just wonder why. I suspect that for many, the image of HD has kept them from even considering any other brand. Maybe its the social aspect of joining group rides sponsored by HD dealers and other organizations. But on one Facebook page that I participate in, for riders of a particular state, a daily list of problems is voiced, with solutions sought, whereas the number of times someone poses a problem with a Japanese bike, even when quite old, is minimal in comparison. But each to their own. Just interesting in my view.
 

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I can't say I've never felt any attraction towards the HD brand, but for a long time I just considered it another bike. The majority of the time I rode a Honda or a Kawasaki. It was when I got older that I started considering, and eventually buying, a HD. So far I haven't even bought a HD T-shirt. I have jokingly been told I need to go buy a new attitude. :)
 

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I just was talking about this in the other thread about the dealerships scam. So I won't go into it all again because I'm going to look like I'm looking for opportunities to bash Harley. Honestly I like Sportsters a LOT and would like to own one and always have. But there is definitely weird stuff with some Harley riders and some dealerhips. I'm sure not all, but the weirdness is prevalent around here. And I never liked it.

I'm from the Milwaukee area. I'm looking forward to see if Royal Enfield takes a solid hold on our community now that their official US headquarters is in Milwaukee. They have a lot of minds to change but I think in general Harley riders are an aging crowd and are losing the younger people.
 

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I have read about Harley dealerships that were less than friendly towards anyone that didn't ride their brand, and there are (were?) youtube videos of people saying why they would never buy another Harley. So late last year, or earlier this year, when I started considering a Harley I looked up the local dealership on the net.

Being so close to the Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally, there were comments from people all over and the great majority of the comments about the local Harley dealership were very favorable. So when I went to the dealership, I did feel a bit better knowing they had treated other people well even after the sale.

I bought my Yamaha from them a few years ago, but I bought my Harley from someone else, the price was better. :)
 

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When I was an MSF Instructor in the 1990's in Milwaukee, there were waiting lists for most models of Harley Davidson's at local dealers, and pricing was significantly above MSRP. I had students that were already talking about which HD they planned to buy and at that point many had never even sat on, let alone ridden a motorcycle. As a long time fan of Japanese motorcycles, many of the students viewed me with genuine confusion...
I can recall when there was a $500-$1500 premium along with a waiting list to by a Miata and I suspect almost all trendy, fashionable merchandize have had somewhat similar situations -- early 1980s; 944 Porsche as well… so the fact that it happened to HD doesn’t say a whole lot in the long run – nor I’d guess does its absence… But I don’t think it is a factor now – but the economy is just getting stable enough, long enough where folks are looking for places for their disposable income. That doesn’t exactly answer your question – I’d say that fanatical, rabid crazed HD buyer is for the moment, generally a thing of the past.

Can’t say I’ve been terribly fanatical about any one brand and a lot of fanaticism is probably just perception – the minute someone gets all parochial on me about their scoot, I usually go on to a different group – unless they happened to be a longer distance rider, and then I listen to see what I can learn. I had a Nomad and a HD (Evo) Ultra as well as a smaller Honda at the same time – guess which one always started and never leaked oil… Harley was generally the most reliable for me, then – but that had little to do with the market, and I suspect the fanatical buyers doesn’t read the same tea-leaves I do…

From my observation, I don’t think Harley has the rabid following it has 10-15 years ago during the heyday of the yuppies, and their instinct for conspicuous consumption – but that applies to lots of merchandize/entertainments. The reputation/legitimacy/honesty of dealerships is a non-factor for me… seldom used one regardless of what I’m riding… I’d guess that since the 1980s I have been in fewer than ten…
 

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I remember back in the...well, a long time ago...when I was a kid...large adult men trying to kick start Harleys until they had to sit down, catch their breath and think of some new cuss words to throw at it.

Seem to remember someone being jammed into the handle bars when the kick, kicked back.

Those were the days...oh, and my first bike was a Suzuki with a kick that started it in 1 or 2 tries.

~~~~~~~

Any local Harley bike gathering:

90% of the guys over 45 with plenty looking 60+...but that just be the years in the sun.

rough....looking women...1 gal for every 20 guys...1 hot gal for every 50 guys.

It's an old white guys club and the world is running out of old white guys.
 

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I always wanted a Harley so when I could finally get one I was very disappointed. I then knew why those that road them were always working on them.
But I was dumb and tried a second Harley thinking it was just rare problem I had with the first. Disappointed again. Different problem but I got the feeling
Harleys are meant to look at not ride. They do make a beautiful bike and as long as you just ride from bar to bar they are great. Just don't plan on putting
15,000+ miles a year on them. They just won't cut the mustard. Hondas go forever without problems as do several others. But Honda, BMW and Suzuki
I've put at least 15K miles a year on and not had reason to sell because of problems. Just can't say that about Harley. Even though I did put 66K on 1 and
25K on another. But both I was glad to be rid of. Will I buy another? Oh it's possible simply because they are one of the rare trike manufactures. I really
won't like doing it but by that time I won't be trying to put true road miles on one either. I did get a Indian and I tell all my riding buds it's the best
Harley I ever had. I'm the black sheep now so they make fun of me and I make fun of them when their bike is back in the shop.
 

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I've owned four Harleys. Two I still have. A '66 FLH, and a '77 Sportster. HOWEVER, my Suzy gs1000 is my daily rider. Of the two Harleys, I prefer the Sportster mainly because it's light, nimble, and doesn't give me any problems. The '66? Well, I will admit there is a little bit of tinkering that has to be done to keep it running.

Personally, I think most of the problems stem from newer riders that will buy into the hype of Harley Davidson, and then ride them like they are Jap bikes. That's simply not going to work.
 

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I always wanted a Harley so when I could finally get one I was very disappointed. I then knew why those that road them were always working on them.
But I was dumb and tried a second Harley thinking it was just rare problem I had with the first. Disappointed again. Different problem but I got the feeling
Harleys are meant to look at not ride. They do make a beautiful bike and as long as you just ride from bar to bar they are great. Just don't plan on putting
15,000+ miles a year on them. They just won't cut the mustard. Hondas go forever without problems as do several others. But Honda, BMW and Suzuki
I've put at least 15K miles a year on and not had reason to sell because of problems. Just can't say that about Harley. Even though I did put 66K on 1 and
25K on another. But both I was glad to be rid of. Will I buy another? Oh it's possible simply because they are one of the rare trike manufactures. I really
won't like doing it but by that time I won't be trying to put true road miles on one either. I did get a Indian and I tell all my riding buds it's the best
Harley I ever had. I'm the black sheep now so they make fun of me and I make fun of them when their bike is back in the shop.
This is what I'm worried about. I really don't care about "soul" or "character" in a machine. Reliability & function are much more important to me. However, I'm looking into buying a new Low Rider not because it's an HD but because the other bike makers aren't making what I want. If Honda or the other Japanese companies currently made something comparable to the Low Rider, I'd buy it for sure.

So I'll have to settle for a Harley :D
 

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I have never ridden a Harley.



Last week while in Sturgis I test rode an Indian.



If an Indian is similar to a Harley I don't see the attraction. I was not impressed.
They're not at all like a Harley. I've test ridden the Indians a few times, different models and I like the HD's much better

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I have never ridden a Harley.

Last week while in Sturgis I test rode an Indian.

If an Indian is similar to a Harley I don't see the attraction. I was not impressed.
A Scout has Harley looks, but runs like a Japanese sport bike.

7000rpm on a Harley and you have engine springs and bolts splattered all over the road.
7000rpm on the Scout at you're generating max torque on the rear wheel.
 

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A Scout has Harley looks, but runs like a Japanese sport bike.



7000rpm on a Harley and you have engine springs and bolts splattered all over the road.

7000rpm on the Scout at you're generating max torque on the rear wheel.
I road a Scout at the Laughing River Run. I hated it, and it doesn't run anything like a Japanese bike.

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I road a Scout at the Laughing River Run. I hated it, and it doesn't run anything like a Japanese bike.

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It's a mix of the two; very sharp line between love it, hate it, kinda bike.

By looks, I see a low RPM, 1950's tractor type, torque'y Harley knockoff.

Riding it and I experience a Harley with a Japanese sportbike engine. I thought it was ok, but hated the hard pull on the clutch handle...which I hear, but haven't seen, they've fixed in newer models.
 

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It's a mix of the two; very sharp line between love it, hate it, kinda bike.



By looks, I see a low RPM, 1950's tractor type, torque'y Harley knockoff.



Riding it and I experience a Harley with a Japanese sportbike engine. I thought it was ok, but hated the hard pull on the clutch handle...which I hear, but haven't seen, they've fixed in newer models.
I didn't like the seating position, the handling, nor the engine. I would I really like for either Harley or Indian to essentially build a Triumph Bonneville T120. I don't like the sportsters. They're too cramped, too small, and just so sluggish. Harley had the bike I want ( as a 2nd bike) it was the Dyna, but they killed that line.

A couple years ago I rode the new Harley Softail line, the engine was amazing, I really, really like that motor. But I rode the Lowrider and the economics were just horrible. Overall, I like the Harley Touring lineup a lot. The ergonomics are good, and overall the bikes are very comfortable. I really don't like the ergonomics on any of the Indians., I may just be too short. The reach to the bars, the foot controls, they're just too stretched out for me.

I rode my 2009 Harley Ultra Classic for 90,000 mi, and it was a good bike. I liked it a lot. But I was ready for a change and Harley really just didn't have anything new enough for me. I now ride a BMW k 1600 GTL and that's an amazing motorcycle. I think I'm going to stick with that for a while. We'll see if anything new and amazing comes out over the next few years.

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I suspect that the most respected (as v. worshiped) bike is the Gold Wing… They’ve never done anything for me, but I have never even sat on one, so have zero knowledge about a highly respected bike. Harley on the otherhand, I have a 110K+ miles – 90K+/- on the last one… was it flawless – nope, but it was very trustworthy… didn’t get it because I wanted to be part of the Harley crowd, just needed a companion for my Nomad because I was riding 30-35K a year then and burning through bikes… Not sure how I feel about the twinkie-Harleys, but the later Evos were mechanically dang good – basically the power of the Shovelheads, but with modern metallurgy and machining – ran all day every day, hot, cold, scorching, freezing…

I used to tell folks on the Vulcan forum when they’d complain about their 45-deg V-Twin to compare it to a lawn-tractor, not a Ferrari – no one wanted to hear that, but since I was riding both Kawasaki and Harley at the time, I figured I could say it… I get a little annoyed when folks complain about this bike or that’s ergonomics – the ergoes are a guesstimate by the manufacturer, nothing more – if there is one thing a rider can change it is hand/feet/butt positioning/space on a bike… not everything is bolt on, but that is one of the simplest things to manipulate on a bike… The Nomad was so-so, changed the foot-placement had Rocky Meyer build a saddle – near perfect… Harley was not very good – seat was terrible (it was the standard one…), windshield didn’t suit me. Change the feet, tweaked the bars, flatter-wider shield and had Rocky build another saddle…
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My new-to-me C10 Connie, doesn’t fit all that well – dropping the pegs, lowering the windshield so I can lean into the breeze a bit better (take pressure of geriatric wrists and get that plexi out of my face) and plan to try a 2nd-hand Corbin that I am getting for a good price – if that doesn’t work, off to Rocky again… so far so good on the mechanicals – although the engine is clearly a relative of the Nomad – sounds like a box of rocks down there, but it seems happy enough… Why did I get the C10 -- went riding about 280 miles last Monday as part of our mating dance, and still had almost 2 gallons of gas left in her -- I hate stopping, so far so good...

Harley or otherwise, a bike is a bike; what you get off the showroom floor is often just raw materials – part of riding is getting it to fit ones size, silhouette and riding modus…
 

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Bah. Old stereotypes and outdated information. Most manufacturing is pretty good these days, Harley included. Almost anything made in the US, Japan, or Europe is going to be a near magical marvel of technology and reliability compared to anything from the 90's or before.
You forgot one exception to that magical marvel of technology. Modern Enfields! :)
 
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