Harley and Me

I tried to look at some Harley Davidson Motorcycles last Saturday with Caryn and Evil Jim.  We went to a normal bike shop first, Honda’s, Zukes, Yamas, Kawis…. The stuff I normally like.  And of course I found… oh… about a dozen bikes I could have ridden home.
And then we went to the Harley shop.

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Outside the shop was some used bikes lined up.  One in particular looked most appealing to me.  I liked it’s look because it had a nice fat front tire that matched the look of the bike, but it was more of a Sportster 1200.  This meant it was automatically about 2000 dollars over priced.  But I was digging it.
And then the salesman was so kind as to fire it up for me.  Thankfully this killed my interest in any Harley about instantly.  It was shaking like someone was tazering an over caffeinated Michael J Fox.  I expected to see stuff to start flying off the thing.  Also, it was just loud as fu**.  Coming from a lifetime of firing guns of varying calibers with varying levels of earpro – I can tell you.  It was loud as fu**.  Painfully so.  And not loud as in Voice of Almighty deep rumble loud.  I’m talking more M-60E fired in an indoor range and you didn’t get your earpro on before the jackhole pulled the trigger.  Trust me – it’s that loud.
I stood there looking at this thing violently shaking as it was abusing what is left of my hearing… The sales guy was smiling like he was proud of this.   I don’t understand this.  To me, this thing is missing some parts or something is seriously wrong in that engine… and for the love of all that is holy, put a Muffler on that thing.
We went inside to look around.  I like the looks of the Iron 883, and in most bikes, an 883 is a good sized bike.  I love the Mid Sized bikes.  Between 750 and 1000, that’s my sweet spot.  But nooo… not in a Harley.  In the Leather Chaps world of HD, the 883 is a “Girls Bike”.  Or worse yet, it’s considered a “Starter Bike”.  Really?
Let’s see… consider the flag ship bike in the shop was a speed boat green sparkly festival of bling for over 30,000 Dollars US.  You have got to be kidding me.  What with the HD Shield in the tires, and half the dealership being SWAG… I just can’t take Harley as a serious motorcycle brand.   It’s too ridiculous.   It’s too BRAND and not enough BIKE.   It’s not about Riding, it’s about being in a Cult.
Harley is the Scientology of Motorcycles.

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You made one good bike, Harley.  ONE.  And you cancelled it.  What the hell is wrong with you people?  You are so over stuffed with your own Egos and calling yourselves Bikers and talk about living the Bike Life – but I never – NEVER see you freaking posers out riding in bad weather.   I never see you guys actually doing any hard core riding.   I see your shit in TRAILERS and in Garages.    You got a Harley – Feh – You have a Garage Queen.   So unless you are riding 8 thousand miles a year or more – You can just STFU about your Harley.

Never Go Full Harley.

27 thoughts on “Harley and Me”

  1. Yeah, without the balance shafts that Yamaha etc put on a V-Twin engine they will shake your fillings loose. Exhaust noise is user selectable, and used Harleys mostly have had their mufflers removed or gutted so there simply isn’t any muffling at all.
    Did you see any of the new Harley “starter” bikes, the 500 and 750 that are supposed to go for $7500 instead of &20K??

  2. Know what you mean. I have bros and friends that when I mentioned saving to buy my dream bike, a Triumph Storm, you would have thought I had just gutshot the nutty bastards. I know chicks dig the vibration, but I told them I am not a chick. I want a motorcycle, not an overpriced, underperforming vibrator.

  3. Didn’t someone once say Harley’s were greatest contrivances ever to convert gasoline into noise without the side-effect of horsepower ?

  4. I know what you mean. When you buy a Hardly Ableson, you buy into a club that requires you to dress up like a scumbag and act like you’re tough. No thanks.
    I’ll take an old Suzi GSX 1000 and ride in peace.
    Spring is in the air, so many of the HD enthusiasts are driving up and down the street-full throttle until they reach the speed limit, then off the throttle until they slow down enough to do it again. Repeat as necessary, making as much noise as possible, at all hours of the night.

    1. The bike does not force you to anything, just like a café bike does not force you to tint your hair, wear flip flops for footwear and ride wheelies in traffic much like a gun does not force you to kill anyone. Owners of modified or for that matter stock rice rockets do the same full throttle blasts up and down the street at all hours of the day and night. As do people with hot rodded cars and trucks. It’s the person not the vehicle. yes HD’s do attract the element that want to be the bad boy from CEO’s to jail birds they all want to look cool AND bad. In the same manner that sport bikes and hot rods attract a certain element.

  5. While I’m at it, I may as well mention the seeming lack of an idle circuit in the fuel system of the HD, as evidenced by the fact that so many of the people riding them have to open the throttle at stop lights to keep it running. That’s the reason, right?

    1. The older carbureted bikes had to be run rich to compensate for high speed leaning out. New bikes are fuel injected. Older or any model with a carburetor does have a tendency to foul the plugs with too much idling. A blip of the throttle burns off the excess gas. Most of the throttling at stop lights is to listen to their overly loud non performing aftermarket drag pipes. And Kehein, S&S and Mikuni carbs have idle circuits.

      1. If I was to get any HD, it would have to have a new fuel injected engine that does away with these issues.

    1. I dunno about the Ogre, but I had a chance to ride one for a while about a decade ago, and I found it to be a pretty well-balanced option. Might not have been the absolute best at anything, but most of those that are best at one thing, absolutely suck at other things. Something that’s first in one category and tenth in another isn’t really all that appealing (unless you do nothing but one thing with your bike, like a dedicated drag racer, or somesuch). Something that’s a solid second or third in /every/ category is far more useful for those of us who actually /ride/ bikes, rather than just brag about what’s sitting in the garage.

      If I’d been in the market for a new bike at the time, that’s almost certainly what I would have gotten.

    2. The Triumph Tiger 800 XC – That bike causes so much Bike Lust in me that I do not like thinking about them. Much like YoSafBridge. Hurts my heart.

  6. I get the sense that your job is either treating you really well or you are on one mother of a window shopping binge lately.

    Itchy trigger finger? I get that way with knives, guns and kit. New cars / bikes is not the appeal to me right now… thankfully.

  7. Yeah without a balancer the v twins do shake. and the excessive noise is the result of an after market exhaust. Old timers and newbies say loud pipes save lives. No, defensive riding saves lives. Most loud pipes do not even improve performance. New bikes as with new cars have to meet federal noise limits. And thank the general public for the bling/trailering/wanna be’s . After the near collapse of HD they had to cater to the masses to survive after horrid AMC years. I am in general agreement with you on the dealerships though. I quit using them years ago. I have nearly 100 thousand on my 95 and have loved every minute of it. I was getting over 10 grand a year until management forced me to start driving a company car. Having ridden Triumphs, Hondas, Yamahas and Harley’s I have stuck with HD. Always happy? No. Always satisfied? Yes. Proud to ride a Harley? Yes. I ride it, I wrench it, I love it. And if you like an 883 or 1200 Sportster, ride it. They handle great if you remember they are called SPORTSTERS and not TOUR bikes. Quick(for a naturally aspirated outside pushrod v twin) and nimble they are a blast in traffic or twisty roads. Ditch the factory tires and install some Avon Venom X tires and it’s a whole new bike. And there is a MONSTROUS after market for performance, looks, comfort any thing you can think of bike wise is available for a Harley, From 1901 to 2014 parts are available

  8. Last Saturday went to do honor to 15 deceased unclaimed veterans at Tahoma National Cemetery before internment with about 400 other bikers. Warrior Brotherhood, Combat Vets Assoc., 60 or so Bandito’s and my own PGR (Patriot Guard Riders). Did this on an 1100cc Honda Shadow and nobody cared…bike tipped and pulling it back upright tore my right bicep. Still a good day in spite of the SE Asia Style downpour!! Never understood the HD attraction they seem stuck in past and bad design concepts, as their average buyer now seems to be about 50 wonder how long they will last as is…

  9. My 2006 Electraglide I bought used for a good price has been stripped down of any unnecessary chrome and extra weight still has its factory exhaust. With the gear drive cams and performance upgrades it is not overly loud and I manage to get between 12-14k miles a year in a crappy Ohio climate. You may like the new 750, from what I heard the engine is similar to the V-Rod and will be pretty powerful for a 750 and actually much faster than the 883. We don’t all dress like pirates.

  10. My first bike was a bmw 1150 RT. Awesome bike when it was not in the shop.
    Highly over rated. I now ride a triumph tiger 800 with abs. More than 10 k cheaper. A lot more. If it’s your price range,
    Definitely worth a look. Loving mine

  11. I’m the guy from WTA that had his GSXR stolen last November. I never posted up much more about it, but after the zuki got taken, I waited until December 28th, and took my Harley I’d had for 6.5 years or so and traded it in on a 2014 Kawasaki ZX10r…….I’m loving it! Great bike. I’ll ride just about anything. I need a Honda next, that way I’ll have owned all the major brands around here, Honda, Harley, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha.

    Then….I start on the Euro bikes. MV Agusta, Aprilia, Ducati, BMW, so on and so forth.

  12. The Harley shop here in beautiful St. Augustine, got bought out by the big dealer up and down the road (I-95) they are now a downtown fashion shop.
    Geoff
    Who remembers when Eddie Bauer was an outfitter!

  13. The first question is not the brand, really, it is what you want the bike to do. Most brands tip one way or the other, some do many things well- very seldom you will find a first class dirt bike maker with a cruiser line , or a cruiser maker with a good sportbike, etc.

    IMO, for a good, all around street bike, at minimum cost, are the last generation of big inline Japanese fours, like the Suzuki 1250 bandit, the Kawasaki ZRX1200, and similar- they can be found used in nice shape for 3-4k, will run forever, get 45 mpg, do 11 sec 1/4mi., and flat stomp most cruisers. Torque around 80ft lbs and power in the 110 hp range- they excel at nothing, but will do reasonably well at anything. if they were a gun they would be a Remington 870.

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