Knock off the Harley-Bashing, folks. I've got news for you: THEY RIDE TOO! It's true that SOME of them are about what other people choose to ride, but so are some of the people that ride EVERY OTHER kind of bike. You know it's true. do we really need to divide us (bikers) into "Us" and "Them"? Aren't we all bikers, Riders, Motorcyclists, whatever your preferred terminology? Do you really want to stoop to that level? If some Harley riders are jerks about it, so what? If you stoop to their level, you're just admitting that you are no better than that low-life who won't wave back. 'Nuff said.
Now, on to the actual subject:
The sad truth is that EVERYTHING is market driven in a free enterprise, unless the government steps in. Which is what has happened. Harley Davidson keeps selling their product because their product is still selling. It has NOTHING to do with whether or not water cooling is better, and EVERYTHING to do with what their customers want. If their customers want a loping, syncopated idle, they leave in the single-pin crank. If their customers want a VERY beautiful machine, but don't care all that much about weight and handling, guess what? They get it. Now, on to the exception: Ever increasing smog laws make it harder and harder to make a decent engine with air-cooling... And the customers lose what they want. Is this a bad thing? No. People have had a good time complaining about every single technological innovation that has ever applied to any sort of motorsport, but they've been wrong. Fuel injection didn't kill muscle cars, it revived them. Electronic ignition? When was the last time you complained because you didn't have to change the points?
How 'bout this: We used to think it was GOOD when a car went 100,000 miles without a rebuild. Now we EXPECT it. My dad has 80,000 miles on his Concours, and it still runs strong. I put 600 miles a WEEK on my CBR 1000F, commuting to work... I couldn't have done that 20 years ago. So... Leave them alone. They'll change when they need to, and not a moment before. Wave. Have fun on your bike, whatever you ride. I may not choose the same bike (and I know lots of you wouldn't choose MY bike), but as long as YOU'RE happy with your bike, I'm happy with your bike.
Keep the shiny side up,