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Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

34218 Views 146 Replies 69 Participants Last post by  Dangerousdave_2
Good. I never understood why they were in it to begin with. They weren't competitive, and their own customers didn't care one whit about racing.

It would be nice to think that without this extra burden, they'd drop prices to what is reasonable for the technology they sell. But that's wishful thinking, unfortunately.
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It's about time harley pulled out. The machine was not competitive, but continued to race. To me, this is not what racing is about (which is why i hate nascar). Hopefully they don't have the rescources becuase they are starting from scratch for a GP team. I think harley should continue roadracing, but realize that they have next to no current products on the street that will directly benefit in terms of image. Maybe a GP bike under the Buell moniker?
"The VR 1000 Superbike racing program helped Harley-Davidson develop and refine technologies such as liquid-cooling and electronic fuel injection."

What, like those things are so hard to figure out? It's an embarassment that HD only started using them on street bikes in the late 1990's and early 2000's, even with the "help" of their racing program.
Even though I'm a long-time HD rider, I'm glad they're throwing in the towel. It's been hard to sit in the bleachers at Daytona every March and watch them get their butts kicked year after year

Now I can go back to routing for Ducati, and maybe even Aprillia. (No cheers for the ricer crowd.)
I doubt this is a permanent withdrawl from road racing. For the time being, it does seem like a good idea, though. We can speculate all we want, but I'd bet there may be plans to re-enter Superbike racing in the future. Who knows about the details, though. There's no reason why they can't be competetive with a well funded, well orgainized, well engineered racing program. I'm not particularly an HD fan, but greater competition improves racing and technology, which is definitely a good thing. So, let's hope they do come back eventually.
With all the rule changes for the 2002 season you might be rooting for the loosers again. Give up on the twin thing and go for the real deal...four in a row makes them go! Have you ridden a gsxr 1000 lately? Just ribin ya, Im just a inline four fan whos been on the short end of the stick for way too long. Redemption is in the wind.
the ricer crowd at least we aren't getting are butts kicked all over the track. If they didn't have idiots running that company they could have done better harley has and always will make junk if they built a plane would you fly on it remember you can't pull over at 30,000 feet and fix it. They should have taken some of that money that they rape off the suckers that buy that junk and make a better bike. Or here is an idea start selling a sportbike at a reasonable price and use the profits for racing development. We all know they make a ton of money of of tee shirt sales considering they are all made for pennies on the dollar buy 8 year olds in thailand sweat shops. Makes me proud to call them an american made bike.
Harley Davidson raced in AMA I thought those were like pace bikes that came out on the track to slow the field down after a crash isn't that why there orange. At least Picotte can get out of that deal and get back on a real bike
Huh? What race are you watching? Every WSB race I see there is almost always lapped traffic in 5-6 laps.

I'd like to see those bikes try to do 500 miles.
What would you consider a reasonable price for the technology they produce? Remember Harley has come a long way in the last few years. They now use fuel injection, counterbalancers, they have the new v-rod..liquid cooled & 115 hp..more than any of the japanese cruisers puts out & it does it with less cc's. The new firebolt..remember at it's core it is a harley, probably the best handling bike ever mass produced. Fuel injected, gas in the frame, oil in the swing arm, front perimiter brake & under $10,000. Hell most of the japanese sportbikes are priced right around $10,000. And since we are on the subject of price, have you priced any of the so-called harley wannabe jap cruisers? Most are $12,000 or more...Road star, Royal Star, VTX, Warrior, all are up there in price & don't exactly have all the latest & greatest innovations on them.

The damn Goldwing costs just as much as the most expensive Harley, everyone likes to bash Harleys prices but in retrospect they have actually remained pretty stable for a number of years now while the competition has had their prices skyrocket.

As far as the racing aspect goes, I am glad to see them get out. I would much rather have the reigns to a future racing project handed to Buell. If & when that happens I am sure it will be a viable competitor.
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Actually Harley has probably sold more fuel injected bikes than any of the large Japanese manufacturers. Fuel injection has been available on Harley touring models since '95 -- well before it appeared on the Gold Wing. The injection introduced last year on softtails and adapted to the touring bikes this year is probably one of the most advanced injection systems out there. Having owned two injected Harleys with no problems, I can attest that it works. Harley doesn't build sport bikes. The bikes they build make a lot of people happy, however.

The racing has been a failure. This does not mean that Harley is technologically inept. It means that they have tried to develop advanced solutions to make a design based on their heritage continue to work. Ducati does the same thing with Desmo heads -- most agree that desmodronic valvetrains are not the most efficient solution any more.

When Harley had the V-4 water cooled engine in the early '80s, the decision was made that they could be far more successful building their traditional product. This has seemed to work well for them. Take a look at the recent article in Cycleworld (August I think) on the difficutly of developing an effective air-cooled large displacement twin. Those that claim that this is only a marketing gimmick -- all I can say is that without marketing you don't get sales. Harley has marketed an image. They build a product that makes a lot of people happy. They have a plan for the future. Thank God they realized it's not in AMA superbike.
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It's pretty sick when a hundred year old company with insanely large amounts of money can't even build a competitive Superbike. Hell, those hillbillys probably think push-rods are cutting edge technology. I think they should probably stick to t-shirts and "Biker Barbie"..........Don't you know, lawyers and poser ******** with leather vests don't give a poop about racing. Or motorcycles for that matter!!!!!
A rather selective retirement..

So HD MoCo will depart road racing... but not the dirt oval or the quarter-mile strip. This merits reflection... the road race competition had continuously raised the performance bar (somewhat predictably) to the point of redundancy, and alas, the fate of the VR1000 was sealed. It would be reincarnated in a modestly de-tuned street version (V-rod) which will hopefully recoup the past road race investment over the next few years of aggressive retail marketing and "lifestyle" hyperbole... and that just might work. They may indeed make up every dollar spent on the road racing program through retail sales of the "new" street bike. Remember, it's the dollars that are of supreme importance to the Board and the stockholders.

Now let us consider the dirt oval and the drag strip... The rules of the games change to some degree each year; and the current competitors have invested considerable time and resources in maximizing the performance of sanctioned/approved designs. HD has not done poorly on these tracks - but it has been most often the privateer teams who have pushed the envelope and the presumed design limitations of the air/oil cooled V-twin. And beware complacency, for there are other manufacturers' machines prowling about these arenas - taking no prisoners nor offering excuses. The drag strip does not coddle whiners... if it breaks - too bad. It either wins or it doesn't. Second place on Sunday doesn't sell on Monday.

Perhaps HD has some new engineering which may debut in these forms of competition... that would indeed be interesting. I only hope not to be bored... So, let the games begin!
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Dude, get your head out of Harley's ass. Unless you can see into the future, you have no idea how the new Buell will handle. I have'nt heard of ANYONE testing it yet. Oh, and did you forget that every Buell built after 1995 had to be recalled for very serious problems. You must have selective memory! Do you really think that new Buell will be able compete with an R1 or a GSXR1000 which both cost around 10 grand? Hey man, stick to your paste on tattoos & leather chaps and leave the racing to people who "want" and "love" to win!!!!!!!!!
Why not Honda? They run a V-Twin. Is it 4 bangers you don't like or Japaneese bikes in general?
Yeah, how the hell do you know how the new Buell handles? Got any concrete comparisons to anything else? Got the inside scoop or something? I'm still very skeptical about using the swing arm as an oil reservoir. Anyways, Buell may eventually become HD's racing arm, but they've probably got a long way to go.
Sorry. Honda Goldwings had fuel injection in limited production on certain models in the '80s, but decided it didn't give the same performance as carburation.
Actually yes I do have inside info on how the new Buell handles. I live right in the east troy area..where the bikes are built & I personally know several present & ex-racers who have already ridden the bike. They have all said the same thing " handles better than any bike they have ever raced". I am sorry if you have the incapacity to understand the basic physics behind motorcycle design pertaining to handling. Keep it short & low COG. Eliminate unsprung weight & bikes will handle fantastic. Perhaps you should get your head out of the Japs ass & give this new bike a fighting chance before you dismiss it with out ever swinging a leg over one.
Oh yea, by the way on your average roadcourse with people of the same talent level an X1 Buell will hang right with & pass the almighty R1. Now I am not talking about a track like Daytona, I am saying short road course venues, the handling & torque of the Buell offsets the hp it gives up to the larger bikes. But then you would of course know this if you had ever actually set a tire on a track.
Let's think about pricing rationally. If it only costs $5600 to build a Sportster 883 (and sell it at profit), do they really expect me to believe that it costs $16,000 to build a Fatboy?

By the way, your average Japanese cruisers (Shadow 1100's and such) are pretty much all under $10,000, and though they aren't bleeding-edge technology, they're well ahead of Evo and Twin Cam Harleys (liquid cooling, 3 or 4 valves per cylinder, etc). Yet they cost 1/2 or 2/3 as much. And remember that HD only needs the tooling to build a few engines (twin cam, sportster 883, big-bore it to get a sportster 1200, new V-ROD) whereas the Japanese manufacturers have dozens of different engines. All rational thinking says that Harleys should cost as little or less than Japanese cruisers, but they cost far more. Welcome to the world of $6000 tank badges.

Of course a Goldwing costs as much as a Fatboy or an Electraglide. It's an aluminum-framed, technology-intensive design that usually also comes with a freakin' sound system and all sorts of other goodies. And it makes something like 100hp, 100 ft-lbs stock. What does the Fatboy have to justify ITS price?

Incidentally, I don't object to Buell pricing, as it's more reasonable than HD and you get a lot more technology and work for the price.
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