What is it with Harley Davidsons ?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by GRAHAM SG1, Oct 26, 2011.



    May 3, 2010
    This is not meant to start an argument, I just want your interesting views on the subject :D

    I have been a biker since 1978, the only Harley I have owned was a 250 two stroke so that does not really count as a Harley .
    I have had many MIJ and British bikes so no experience of the aforementioned, my current beast is a Triumph Street Triple .
    My view of Harleys is of an old fashioned bike that does not go fast, handle well or brake effectively, especially in comparison with MIJ/European bikes, a bike that requires a lot of maintenance, is heavy and expensive in terms of what you actually get .
    I know that there are countless Harleys around the world so there must be something unique about them, they certainly sound good, looks are subjective, am I right in saying they have `character`and that owners feel a sense of something special when riding them ?

    So, what turns you on with Harley Davidsons ?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    IMO it's mostly tradition and culture, having pretty much nothing to do with performance or value.
  3. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Inactive

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    For the hardcore, I believe it's the feeling of nationalisim of owning American, and raging against their Japanese counterparts. A subculture if you will. There are certainly merits to them, but for me, I would still buy Japanese, which simply cannot be beaten for quality and reliability.

    I have talked to many Harley owners when I was an active biker, and many of them said that they wish they had gone Japanese instead, after various types of repairs were needed.

    Still, they hold a close core, perhaps they are viewed as a high end or special bike like owning a BMW or the like.
  4. redcloud


    Oct 6, 2011
    Well, I have had several Yamahas, a couple of Hondas, and several HDs. Presently, I have 2 bikes, a HD CVO Road Glide Ultra and a Triumph Rocket III Roadster. There is no doubt that the Triumph is a better bike re: handling and power ( 146 horsepower and 163 torque); man it's a "hoot" to ride. Yet, it is also nice to go down the road cruising on the HD, unmistakably a pleasure.
  5. Infrasonik B.

    Infrasonik B. Inactive

    Aug 4, 2010
    Ottawa, On
    Marketing is a powerful thing.

    Notice how 99.9% of Harley Riders own their bike's worth in stupid merch.

    It's all about the image.

    That being said, they aren't horrible bikes and are perfect (minus the god awful price they ask for the things) for what most Harley riders use them for - the odd ride here and there.

    Obviously not every Harley Rider is like this and I've had many friends put tons of mileage on theirs and only own a t-shirt or two... but we're talking about a small minority here.
  6. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    you mean the one's without any mufflers? :bag:

    and what's up with all that loudass engine reving at every stop light??? are ear-plugs considered an accessory?!!

  7. jordy_on_bass


    Jul 6, 2010

    Have you ridden a fully-fledged Harley before??

    Growing up, my father was a motorcycle mechanic and rented out motorcycles for a living. In his spare time, he used to love buying written off/run down Harleys and fixing them up to the point where they are virtually a brand new bike again. Having watched him re-build probably 50 Harley's, I have grown fond of the bike. You are right when you say the bikes have character - each one is different in it's own little way.

    As far as the ride goes it isn't a bike you would ride on a daily basis, it's handling isn't exactly world class. The thing I love about Harley's - and especially with an older Springer Softail my father owned - is that it feels like you are sitting in a lounge chair. Just recently, my father and I went for a big ride. I was on a Heritage Softail and he was riding a Fatboy, we did a 9 hour, 400 mile ride around some of Australia's gorgeous coastline roads, riding along cliff edges looking out over the Pacific Ocean most of the time. Absolutely gorgeous ride and one I won't forget, I felt like I was in some prison get away movie, except cops didn't chase us that day.

    I think the problem with Harley's is the reputation the bike get's because of the rider. I understand how loud and annoying Harley's can be, especially in residential areas. So I try my best to keep it at idle and just roll along in neighbourhoods, not to mention leaving and returning home at decent hours of the day.

    I think you need to own a true Harley to understand what the love of the bike is. I think it is one of those manhood things, kind of the same reason why some blokes buy really nice, pricey cars that aren't especially fast - they just look sexy.
  8. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    They're something Doctors and Lawyers pull out on the weekends to feel badass on their trips to Dunkin Donuts.

    Well, the super spendy new ones anyway.

    And DITTO on the walking billboard merch-equins.

    edit: I take no exception to Harleys, I quite like them, rode my share, Dad has a real nice Dyna Super Glide. What i take exception to are those who let them totally define them to the point where they become opinionated jackholes not open to the possibility of any other like-minded bike out there being worthy of consideration. That posturing bores me to tears.
  9. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    Boomer scooters.

    I loved my Suzuki GSXR750 when I still rode. I rode my buddies BMW gs1500 and fell in love. It's sadly out of my budget range these days but it was a superior ride.

    That being said if I buy another motorcycle it will only be a Indian bagger. I've always wanted one and yeah, it's the image and tradition of it.
  10. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    They massage your junk quiet well. Harley is the vibrator for men.
  11. john grey

    john grey

    Apr 19, 2011
    Oracle, Arizona
    My first was a 800 Sportster with a kickstart (yes, that one). I liked it because I DID put an enormous amount of work into that %&!^@. I had Nortons, a beautiful BSA track bike & a Bonniville (Triumph) but that Sporty was my first intro to a HD. You have to really enjoy working on bikes to have fun with it because if you didn't stay with it, it was almost as unreliable as the famous Amiyl carb Brit bikes. but when tuned right it was fun. Sportys had tires that were under sized but were great when you used your head to set them up well (got wider better tires & wheels).

    My first 1200 was an old cop bike that came from Chile (belt-drive) and after I pulled all the crap off of it, it road well. HD's are for people who like to turn a wrench. Modern HD's are a modern bike. Not a big deal. but if you have fun fixing motors then the whole world of poor or fine machining, issues w/ design, & having fun alone on the highways of "Resume-Speed Idaho" is a grand thing.
    It's like anything mechanical with a history; you are either into it or not.

    I have had my share of having Misty & Jenifer make a left turn in front of me at the very last second, or Johnny drunkenly changes lanes - so a long time back I stopped riding in town but it gets in your blood (as your blood gets on the pavement). I doubt I'd buy any more however, as they were really just toys. If you attempt to ride safely, you eventually realize that you can be as safe as any human can be and get smeared due to someone else. I do know that eventually if one rides in certain areas, you are gambling. I've seen it too many times to count.
  12. GRAHAM SG1


    May 3, 2010
    As I stated, no I havent, I read the motorcyclists thread on here and there is a lot of Harley owners so I was interested :)
    I dont see it being a patriotic thing as a whole because there are 1000s of Harley owners around the world, I do understand the fact that Harleys are very much a hands on nuts and bolts bike made from metal and not plastic like their rivals, image must play a big part, can you imagine Peter Fonda riding a Honda Blackbird in Easy Rider :D
    I think I can also see that Harley riders are not bothered with outright performance and handling, its about `the ride`rather than who gets there first !
    Do I sound like a potential Harley owner, not at the moment as I love my Triumph :D
  13. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Doesn't go fast?
    You really don't know anything about Harleys.
    My Full dressed Roadglide makes 168 HP & 189 lbs tq.
    My Pro street FXDSI makes 185 HP & 160 lbs tq.
    124ci fuel injected, Olins fork with Brembo radial brakes.


    Harleys have come a long way sense the 70's & 80's. They are every bit as reliable as anything else being made, better then some.
    I have been riding and repairing them for over 45 years.
  14. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    It's hard not to make a parallel with Fender. There are better products but a Harley is the idea of what a bike should be.
    I guess I shouldn't see any irony in this quote?
  15. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    And NO other motor vehicle EVER need maintenance or repair? They don't get in accidents?

    I specialize in performance & customizing.
  16. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    My 2002 Road King has 70K miles on it. Runs better than the day I bought it and has never needed repair, just routine maintenance. It's carried me from one end of the country to the other and back in complete comfort, without so much as a hiccup. Looks good, runs good, stops good, and is an American classic. What's not to like? During the same period I owned a Triumph Sprint ST, a Triumph Speed Triple, and a Honda Goldwing. They're all history now, but the Harley remains.

    Harley owners have a saying ... "if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand".
  17. +1
    Some dude in my neighborhood has a Harley that's so f'ing loud it sets off another neighbor's car alarm every time he takes off on it. As if the bike isn't annoying enough. If you want to damage your own hearing, be my guest, but don't irritate everyone within a 1/2 mile radius just so you can pretend to be badass.
  18. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay

    If you have to ask, you wouldnt understand.

    Attached Files:

  19. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    The noise is a defense mechanism. It's actually a good way to keep from being merged on top of ( well, it HELPS.. but dumb people still drive our roads... ) I've no problem with loud motorcycles. Not to be a big downer but my brother was killed by a motorist who "didn't see him". If the noise helps save a life. It's all good in my book.
  20. GRAHAM SG1


    May 3, 2010
    That is such a stupid comment, as if you are superior, everybody has the right to expand their knowledge and learn from others :rollno:
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