A pretty decent video about how Harley-Davidson killed itself

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Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
You wouldn't know it by observing a huge dealership by me. They have DMV training,new bikes coming out of there constantly and charitable events.
 

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MTVR

Well-known member
You wouldn't know it by observing a huge dealership by me. They have DMV training,new bikes coming out of there constantly and charitable events.
Those things are not measures of performance- numbers are.

Let me put it to you this way- Harley Davidson has been building and selling their vehicles as fast as they can, since 1903. They recently reached 5 million units, for all models combined. Since 1958, after giving Harley-Davidson a 55 year head-start, just ONE model of Honda (the Super Cub) has sold well over 100 million units.
 

MTVR

Well-known member
It's a miracle that Harley-Davidson has survived as long as it has- they've been saved THREE times by the U.S. Government- by being given cash-bloated contracts by the U.S. Government during WWI and WWII, and then in 1983 by the U.S. Government placing a crushing 45% tariff on any imported motorcycles over 750cc, intended to eliminate any competition in the marketplace.

Harley-Davidson COULD have used those bailouts to start building real motorcycles, but they just got fat and lazy instead. For example, the current Harley-Davidson police motorcycles have a lower top speed than the electronically-restricted top speed of the Toyota Prius.
 

MTVR

Well-known member
Perhaps if they stopped selling yesterdays motorcycles at tomorrows prices they would be more successful.
The problem is that Harley-Davidson is not a motorcycle company- they're a marketing company. And their customers are not motorcycle riders- they're simply posers.

So there is this cringeworthy codependent relationship, where Harley-Davidson panders to the Walter-Mitty delusions of an aging group of suburban dentists, to include selling them Village People dress-up costumes...
 
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AbleGuy

Too Much Fun Club, founder
The problem is that Harley-Davidson is not a motorcycle company- they're a marketing company. And their customers are not motorcycle riders- they're simply posers.

So there is this cringeworthy codependent relationship, where Harley-Davidson panders to the Walter-Mitty delusions of an aging group of suburban dentists, to include selling them Village People dress-up costumes...
An emergency room surgeon good friend of mine has often referred to that demographic as “folks who ride donorcycles.”

He’s been known to say that we should be thankful of them for being a steady source of organ donations (since most of them biff it due to head injuries, leaving intact the good parts for others in need).
 

MTVR

Well-known member
An emergency room surgeon good friend of mine has often referred to that demographic as folks riding “donorcycles.”
I don't want to get too far off subject, but...

To preface my comments, I must explain my background. I have been successful in multiple motorsports disciplines, as both a driver/rider, and as a builder, crew chief, and so on. Part of my background is as an expert-licensed motorcycle road racer, motorcycle road racing instructor, and motorcycle road racing official. I have been paid at the rate of $1,000 an hour, as a rider and model for a major motorcycle manufacturer's advertising campaign. I also am a retired police officer fully trained and with significant experience in investigating motor vehicle collisions (to include motorcycle crashes), and with advanced DUI training and TONS of experience in DUI cases (often involving Harley-Davidsons). And finally, I have also been ASE certified in multiple disciplines of vehicle repair, and have been scored easily in the top 1% in the nation within the profession. So I think I'm up to speed on this stuff.

I am very careful in my application of the word "rider". The word "rider" implies that a person actually knows how to ride, and in my experience (as cited above), I have NEVER met a Harley-Davidson operator on the road, that actually knows how to ride. And unfortunately, when you tell someone on a Harley that they don't know how to ride, they act like you told them that they had a small wiener, which I personally don't understand, because I don't know how to golf, and if someone told me that I don't know how to golf, I would agree with them, instead of getting all butt-hurt.

Riding a vehicle with two inline wheels (like a motorcycle) is very counter-intuitive. Almost everything works the exact opposite way that a lay person would assume that it does. For example, most lay people assume that you push the handlebars left to turn left, and most lay people assume that the rear brake has some material role in braking. So the chances of just "figuring it out" apart from competent professional rider training, is just about zero. Competent professional rider training has never been more accessible than it is today, but you'll probably never see a Harley-Davidson at a track day, because that would involve them admitting that they had something to learn about riding, which to them, would be like admitting that they had a small wiener.

The typical process of a Harley-Davidson operator ending up on public roads, is that they started out on a bicycle as a small child. Small children are incapable of understanding things like counter-steering and gyroscopic precession, so they generally learn how to steer through trial and error. They fall down. They fall down again. Eventually, they SUBCONSCIOUSLY learn how to keep it upright. But they have no idea how they're doing it, or the principles involved. Forty years later, they are fat, balding, and impotent. They are greeted by the "Chrome Consultant" at their local Harley-Davidson boutique, and assume that since they sort-of learned how to subconsciously keep a bicycle upright, that they are ready for a 900-pound whoopie-cushion. Again, just like when they were a small child, they learned through trial and error, how to manage the clutch well enough to get it rolling in first gear without stalling the engine...and then they just stop learning. What they assume is an advancing skill set, is simply them becoming more and more comfortable over time, with not knowing how to ride.

Unfortunately, many of them learn in the last instant of their life, that they didn't actually know how to ride at all, so they aren't around to admit it.

And the remainder of them are simply alive because no one has killed them yet- they literally don't have enough skill to have any role in their own survival. Periodically you will encounter one that the laws of statistical probability have not caught up to yet, often with some claim that they've been "riding" for "50 years", when in reality they haven't been riding at all.
 
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Wrathchild

Active member
All these comments about Harley owners can be said about Honda, Kawasaki, triumph etc. I’m pretty sure poorly trained riders of all makes become red skidmarks at an equal rate. I’ve noticed folks around here just like crapping on the make. Just like I’m sure my GMC isn’t “overland” enough to other folks. Ford vs dodge. Blue pill vs red pill. Who cares.
 

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MTVR

Well-known member
If you need any evidence that typical Harley-Davidson owners are not real motorcyclists, ask the most rabid frothing Harley lemming you know, to try to name the most successful racing motorcycle of all time.

They probably will not know.

Give them some hints- tell them that it weighs less than 300 pounds, has a wheelbase of around 57", and is powered by an 8,000-rpm engine that puts out around 100 horsepower from less tham 750cc. They still won't have a clue.

This is particulay ironic, because the most successful racing motorcycle of all time, is the Harley-Davidson XR-750.
 
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