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First off, congrats to HD. I agree that they are a money machine, and that's what companies are in existance to do, make money. The definetly do "translate the passion into profit".



Techological advancement? Maybe for them, but not for motorcycling. As soon as their engineering skills catch up to their marketing skills, I'll consider one, if I don't have to wear the costume.
 

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HD might be the company of the year, because undoubtedly they are an awesome money making machine, but they certaintly are not the MOTORCYCLE company of any year. They're bikes sell on image and image alone. Image is an important aspect of motorcycling, but they are severly lacking in all other departments as a MOTORCYCLE company. ie. technology, engineering, innovation, reliability, pricing, racing, competitive products. Now I will accept the flaming of all HD fans who are probably just drooling to take a bite out of this one, but can anyone argue that HD is better or even on-par with the Honda's, Aprilia's, and Suzuki's or this world? HD is the American equivalent of Triumph, should of went out of business (and stayed out of business) a long time ago.
 

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see,the great thing about freedom is you can ride any bike you want.cant you just take the article in context?they are talking about american business and although im a kawasaki guy i admire the motor company for finding a niche and remaining true to it
 

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Having been involved in the engineering of H-D, I can say that although they may be "lacking" in certain areas, other areas are their specialties. If what you are looking for is a top notch fit & finish bike, H-D is where to get it. I'm not talking about reliability, I'm talking about look. H-D's are like jewelry, and although it's not appreciated, the paint, chrome, and overall finish of a Harley is better than any other bike in the world, and if that's what you're concerned about (and there's plenty of people who are) then Harley-Davidson is the best motorcycle company in the world.



Personally, I'm about going fast, but I've come to appreciate the attention to detail that Harley puts into it's bikes, and it is that attention to detail that has made it so successful.



Do I think Harley's are the best motorcycles in the world? No, my chips are on Ducati, but I fully understand those who believe that Harley's, more than anything else, speak to the spirit and of motorcycling.
 

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Having been involved in the engineering of H-D, I can say that although they may be "lacking" in certain areas, other areas are their specialties. If what you are looking for is a top notch fit & finish bike, H-D is where to get it. I'm not talking about reliability, I'm talking about look. H-D's are like jewelry, and although it's not appreciated, the paint, chrome, and overall finish of a Harley is better than any other bike in the world, and if that's what you're concerned about (and there's plenty of people who are) then Harley-Davidson is the best motorcycle company in the world.



Personally, I'm about going fast, but I've come to appreciate the attention to detail that Harley puts into its bikes, and it is that attention to detail that has made it so successful.



Do I think Harley's are the best motorcycles in the world? No, my chips are on Ducati, but I fully understand those who believe that Harley's, more than anything else, speak to the spirit and of motorcycling.
 

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Having been involved in the engineering of H-D, I can say that although they may be "lacking" in certain areas, other areas are their specialties. If what you are looking for is a top notch fit & finish bike, H-D is where to get it. I'm not talking about reliability, I'm talking about look. H-D's are like jewelry, and although it's not appreciated, the paint, chrome, and overall finish of a Harley is better than any other bike in the world, and if that's what you're concerned about (and there's plenty of people who are) then Harley-Davidson is the best motorcycle company in the world.



Personally, I'm about going fast, but I've come to appreciate the attention to detail that Harley puts into its bikes, and it is that attention to detail that has made it so successful.



Do I think Harley's are the best motorcycles in the world? No, my chips are on Ducati, but I fully understand those who believe that Harley's, more than anything else, speak to the spirit and ideals of motorcycling.
 

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With the new EVO, Harley is finally looking forward. Up till now, they've been all about looking back and keeping the tradition. It will be interesting if they can do both. If the Evo sales are strong, we will probably see more modern Harleys.
 

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You gotta get a grip. You don't understand the whole thing about bikes period, is having fun. You can ride the latest sportbike and get shot down tomorrow by the next one. You can ride the latest Japanese cruiser and dazzle people with the latest tech. But have ya realized the people out there on the Harley's are just havin fun pretenders or not. That's what ridden is all about. Not technology, or cruiser, sportbike, or whatever. if your havin fun it's worth the whole thing. If your lookin for the something you don't have from the latest cycle mag review that makes you more better than the next guy on any bike, think about it. And just have fun fer Crissakes. EVERYBODY, ITS ALL ABOUT FUN.
 

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Not that bad

I've been riding for 30 years and owned every Japanese brand and a BMW. I never considered Harley because of their bad reputation for reliability, poor performance, old technology, high price, ect... BUT, last month I rented a Softail Deuce for a day..... and it was fun! I've had bikes that are faster, and handle better, but for 95% of the riding I've ever done, a Harley would do fine. One thing Harleys are NOT, is a disposable bike. Riding Japanese bikes all those years was fun, except at trade-in / selling time! I'm looking hard at the FXDX these days.
 

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Re: Not that bad

Ahhhhh... another Harley convert. Thanks, MrDeadeye. Many of the Japanese riders would not admit this even if they did like the test ride and most of this argument, which can be a valid point but disguised by technological comparisons, is price. However, most riders, when jumping on a Harley, get that undeniable grin that this is 1) cool 2) neat 3) wow 4) fill in the blank. There are level headed Japanese riders, though.

Now, you make a valid point about trade-in, which the other motorcycle company purists will refute by saying it has nothing to do with motorcycling, but, unless you are Forbes, money has everything to do with everything, or (I suspect) we would all drive Mercedes and live in mansions. However, it is nice not to lose $$. This is an HD benefit.

I own / have owned Japanese brands (like to try a BMW ;-) ), and they are great bikes in their own rights. However, my experience has been that, unless you buy their biggest bikes, the frames are flimsy at high speeds. I haven't done extensive research, however, HD bikes are heavy along their entire line and hold a line better for my body frame. This is one of the reasons I like HD; they're solid. It appears motorcycling does come down to taste after all.

Good luck with your HD search. If you find the right dealer and are in it for the experience, it can be fun. Also, you meet the nicest people on a Harley.....
 

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Yes they are a money making machine and they do it through preying on the weakness of it's loyal following. They do it by utilizing hot key items, showing Vietnam Vets, the American Flag, and things that make you want to prove your patriotism. Very ingeneous on their Advertising and I commend them for it. On the flip side they show record profits because they over price their product and the sheep don't complain. I'm sure all motorcycle companies do this. All you have to do is look at any bike and ask yourself............"where is there 10 to 22 thousand dollars worth of goods". It ain't there. Put 5 Harleys along side a 100 thou house and you get my drift. I'm a rider who is tired of being gouged.
 

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Harley math

Now, I'm not bagging on you for liking riding a Harley--if you like a bike, ride it. That's what it's all about, right?

BUT...

First, Japanese bikes are NOT simply disposable. Why does everyone say this? A well-maintained Honda lasts at least as long as a well-maintained Harley. Maybe some people choose to trade up because they like a new model or want to "keep up with the Jones's," but it's NOT because Japanese bikes up and die after five years.

Second, the "resale value" math that HD owners often cite is flawed. I've posted this a ton of times, but I'll do it again. Compare a $20,000 out-the-door HD and an $8000 Japanese bike (600cc supersport; ZRX; Concours; Shadow 1100). Rider A spends $20,000 on the HD; Rider B buys a Japanese bike and puts the remaining $12,000 in the bank (earning a VERY conservative 4% APR--but hey, the economy's down).

Ten years later, they both sell. Rider A gets $20,000 for his used HD. Rider B only gets $2500 for his bike, but his $12,000 in the bank has turned into $17,763. They're equally as good off economically.

Now, if you bump that 4% APR up to 8% APR (say, the economy is up and some of the money goes into the stock market), then after 10 years the $12,000 in the bank would be $25,907, and Rider B would be significantly better off economically than Rider A.

If you love your Harley, ride it every day. That's the best reason to have a motorcycle--because YOU enjoy being on it. But ride it because you love riding it, not because of flawed economic arguments or some myth of Japanese unreliability.
 

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There's no question that Harley-Davidson Inc is a very successful company right now. I just wish they'd put some of those profits into properly counter-balancing the Sportster. The Sporty _could_ really tempt me if it weren't for details like that.



But if they decide not to, that's cool too--I'll just do the sensible capitalist thing and buy a different motorcycle from a different manufacturer that suits my wants better. But sitting around bashing HD all day for low-tech designs is SILLY--Kalashnikov and Ural make low-tech motorcycles too, and I don't see MO users perpetually flaming them.
 

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Re: Harley math

>>some myth of Japanese unreliability.

I never said Japanese bikes were unreliable. They are hyper-reliable. I live in Japan and my wife is Japanese, the last thing I'll do is bash Japanese technology.
When I implied that Japanese bikes are disposable, I meant that because their value falls so far and so fast that many of them end up on the junk heap after 10 years because it cost more to keep them going than the bike is worth. There are exceptions of course. There are some Japanese classic bikes that break the mold (ELR, Z-1, V-Max). But what about the Vision 550, V45 Magna, LTD, GPz, and other 1980s Japanese bikes.... how many of them are still on the road?
How many 80s Harleys are still on the road? Probably just about all of them that haven't been totally FUBARed in a wreck.
 

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Re: Harley math

That's fair--though nowadays I seem to see more twin-cams than EVOs, and very few pre-EVO harleys on the road (though I do see some well-maintained examples at rallies and such). It may be a location-specific thing though, as I live in a college town where 1986 Shadow 500s outnumber 1980 HDs, and new SV650s far outnumber new TwinCams.

My only point is that you can even _throw away_ an $8000 after 10 years and still come out ahead (economically) of where you'd be with an expensive-but-valueholding bike (ie BMW or HD).
 
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