A pretty decent video about how Harley-Davidson killed itself

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vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
EVERYONE is a great vehicle operator and a great motorcycle rider.

Don't believe it?

Just ask em!

That's why almost 40,000 people a year DIE in vehicle and motorcycle accidents on our highways in the good ole USA each and every year.
 

MTVR

Well-known member
EVERYONE is a great vehicle operator and a great motorcycle rider.

Don't believe it?

Just ask em!

That's why almost 40,000 people a year DIE in vehicle and motorcycle accidents on our highways in the good ole USA each and every year.
Yup...
 

MTVR

Well-known member
I don't know who complained that they personally had been slighted, or thought that this thread was about brand preference, but to clarify, I have NO brand preference- I wish that Harley-Davidson were not failing. I wish that the best motorcycles were built here in the U.S., and I am concerned about all the Americans that could end up unemployed.

I used to test ride the air-cooled Buells every year at Laguna Seca, and I really, really tried to like them. There was a lot of stuff that I was willing to get past- the whole thing shaking like a paint-shaker at idle, the quirky handling, ergonomics, and brakes, even the lack of power that put a 1,203cc Buell V-twin on par with a 645cc Suzuki V-twin in terms of performance. But the transmission felt agricultural, the stupid zero-lash rubber-band final drive made clutchless upshifts almost impossible, the fan for the rear cylinder head roasted my inner thigh at stops, and the damned things overheated in traffic to the point that you couldn't even get them rolling on level ground without the spark knock sounding like it was going to break a piston.

Years later, I nearly bought an XR1200X, just on principle. It cost thousands more than the Suzuki SV650, made about the same power, weighed over 100 pounds more, had a flexible mild steel chassis, a rubber-mounted swingarm that had the rider guessing in every corner, a rubber-mounted engine that didn't necessarily move with the rest of the motorcycle in transitions, and had geometry that most charitably could be described as being somewhat "repairable". But then I started looking into the total cost of turning one into a real motorcycle. A $1,200 pair of 2" longer Ohlins shocks to prop the rear end up to reduce steering rake/trail and raise the engine enough that it didn't drag on the ground in every corner. Solid rear engine mount/swingarm bushing, to keep the swingarm and engine from flopping around. A $900 pair of billet aluminum reverse-shift Sato rearsets, so that I wouldn't be dragging the pegs in every corner or running over my left toes every time I tried to upshift while banked to the left. A $2,000 17" carbon-fiber BST front wheel, so that I could fit decent tires to it. A $300 lithium battery and a complete $2,500 Termignoni racing exhaust system (with something called "mufflers" made out of carbon-fiber) to try to shed a little weight...by the time I was done adding it up, I could have afforded a new Ducati Superbike, and it still would have struggled to keep up with an SV650...
 
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Mike W.

Well-known member
EVERYONE is a great vehicle operator and a great motorcycle rider.

Don't believe it?

Just ask em!

That's why almost 40,000 people a year DIE in vehicle and motorcycle accidents on our highways in the good ole USA each and every year.
We have more cars on the road today but the rate of death's continues to drop. It's not better drivers is more airbags and safer cars. Since my daily driver is a Freightliner and I drive one of the deadliest stretches of road I will post some thoughts.

First I will qualify my driving skills. I have had a class A license since 1982. I stopped driving commercial in 1984 but kept my license current I used it to haul our horse trailer. I began driving moving heavy equipment and hauling logs. After selling my business in 2000 I drove hit and miss until 2012 then bored started driving again. I have not had a moving violation in over 40 years and have over 3 million miles of road time. Have been in all 48 continuous states and Canada and Mexico.

Problem isn't drivers have gotten worse it's cars have been enhanced with both more powerful motors and safety features making idiots believe they are invincible..Then add the wonders of modern communication and access to mind altering substances and bam.

And to this wonderful thread I happen to own 3 Harleys, one being a legendary XR 750 that I have had the privilege of riding at both Ascot and the San Jose mile..I even met Kenny Roberts for any old-timers who might remember..I also own a couple of Honda's, a Kawasaki, a Bultaco and Triumph and Norton to keep our Brit friends in the loop..

Let the snobbery begin..LOL..Joking Fellas
 

MTVR

Well-known member
...I happen to own...a legendary XR 750 that I have had the privilege of riding at both Ascot and the San Jose mile..I even met Kenny Roberts for any old-timers who might remember..I also own a couple of Honda's, a Kawasaki, a Bultaco and Triumph and Norton to keep our Brit friends in the loop..

Let the snobbery begin..LOL..Joking Fellas
Wow, very cool.

Is your XR-750 a framer?

Is your Bultaco an Astro?

We watched Norton race when we visited the Isle Of Man for the TT- wow, that thing was loud...
 
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Mike W.

Well-known member
I don't know who complained that they personally had been slighted, or thought that this thread was about brand preference, but to clarify, I have NO brand preference- I wish that Harley-Davidson were not failing. I wish that the best motorcycles were built here in the U.S., and I am concerned about all the Americans that could end up unemployed.

I used to test ride the air-cooled Buells every year at Laguna Seca, and I really, really tried to like them. There was a lot of stuff that I was willing to get past- the whole thing shaking like a paint-shaker at idle, the quirky handling, ergonomics, and brakes, even the lack of power that put a 1,203cc Buell V-twin on par with a 645cc Suzuki V-twin in terms of performance. But the transmission felt agricultural, the stupid zero-lash rubber-band final drive made clutchless upshifts almost impossible, the fan for the rear cylinder head roasted my inner thigh at stops, and the damned things overheated in traffic to the point that you couldn't evem get them rolling on level ground without the spark knock sounding like it was going to break a piston.

Years later, I nearly bought an XR1200X, just on principle. It cost thousands more than the Suzuki SV650, made about the same power, weighed over 100 pounds more, had a flexible mild steel chassis, a rubber-mounted swingarm that had the rider guessing in every corner, a rubber-mounted engine that didn't necessarily move with the rest of the motorcycle in transitions, and had geometry that most charitably could be described as being somewhat "repairable". But then I started looking into the total cost of turning one into a real motorcycle. A $1,200 pair of 2" longer Ohlins shocks to prop up the rear end a few inches to reduce steering rake/trail and raise the engine enough that it didn't drag on the ground in every corner. Solid rear engine mount/swingarm bushing, to keep the swingarm and engine from flopping around. A $900 pair of billet aluminum reverse-shift Sato rearsets, so that I wouldn't be dragging the pegs in every corner or running over my left toes every time I tried to upshift while banked to the left. A 17" front wheel, so that I could fit decent tires to it. A lithium battery and a complete $2,500 Termignoni racing exhaust system (with something called "mufflers" made out of carbon-fiber) to try to shed a little weight...by the time I was done adding it up, I could have afforded a new Ducati Superbike, and it still would have struggled to keep up with an SV650...
Harley started outsourcing to China in the 90's heavily by the early 2000's all the gears was poorly made and over priced. Then the push to bring in the younger generation went full-blown and they completely missed attracting the younger generation and alienated the long term rider.

Then Victory gained ground and it's a better machine. Indian is a better machine in the same price range and built in America. To the hardcore Harley rider that was important..Harley began losing ground.

I don't see Harley being either able to save itself or having any insight into why they have declined so rapidly. Side bar I bought a brand new 2014 Screaming Eagle Street Glide..6 miles from the dealership the motor locked up.. Plugged oil line..I cancelled the contract when they told me it would take 6 to 8 weeks to get a new motor..Last Harley I will buy..
 

MTVR

Well-known member
Side bar I bought a brand new 2014 Screaming Eagle Street Glide..6 miles from the dealership the motor locked up.. Plugged oil line..I cancelled the contract when they told me it would take 6 to 8 weeks to get a new motor..Last Harley I will buy..
Yup.

Shortly after Harley-Davidson released the Dreamin' Beagle Flatulator race bike, with it's open exhaust, drag slick, wheelie bar, rigid suspension, lockup clutch, and air-shifter, I encountered one at the drag strip running on expensive race gas. My wife and I rode our nearly stock Sport-Touring Suzuki GSX1300R two-up out to the drag strip. After she hopped off, I staged without so much as a burnout, and then put that Harley-Davidson right back on the trailer that it had arrived on. He went through the lights at his top speed of about 130 mph or so, after I went past him at about 145 mph part way through 4th gear. Then my wife hopped back on, and we rode back home, sipping 87-octane regular unleaded at the rate of about 45 mpg...
 
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MTVR

Well-known member
Indian is a better machine in the same price range and built in America.
I had such high hopes for the FTR 1200. I wanted to buy one. The images we were all shown prior to production looked great...and then the designers apparently developed a major peyote abuse problem prior to finalizing the production version.

What the Hell were they thinking? It looks like a Buell rear-ended a Honda Shadow at a stop light. Why do we get only 123 (claimed) horsepower out of an engine of more than 1200cc? You can get just about that much power from numerous motorcycles under 600cc. And what's with the staggered wheel sizes- either put 17s on it so that we can use decent tires, or put 19s on it to be more "street-tracker-ey".

If I was in the market for a big-bore V-twin Sport-Standard motorcycle, I would be MUCH more likely to go for il mostro 1200, or the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. We rented il mostro (a bright-red Ohlins-suspended "S" model) when we were on the Isle Of Man for the TT. In retrospect, the Triumph Daytona 675R would have been a more appropriate choice for our laps of the course at triple-digit speeds, but il mostro was a perfectly adequate tool for everything else...
 
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CampStewart

Observer
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.

You should make this your sig line so it will show up whenever you post.
 

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MTVR

Well-known member
People are free to spend their money on whatever they want. The problem is, that fewer and fewer people are choosing to spend it on Harley-Davidsons. That was covered in post #1...
 

MTVR

Well-known member
All these comments about Harley owners can be said about Honda, Kawasaki, triumph etc. I’ve noticed folks around here just like crapping on the make.
No.

There is no culture of morbidly obese geriatric male Honda owners choosing to express their unique individuality by dressing up just like every other lemming, in Honda-branded doo-rags, Honda-branded sunglasses, Honda-branded black pleather vests, Honda-branded wife-beaters, Honda-branded fingerless black pleather wrist-length gloves, Honda-branded fringed black pleather ass-less chaps, Honda-branded skinny jeans, Honda-branded high-heeled boots, Honda-branded socks, and Honda-branded mongs.

Nor is there a culture of Kawasaki owners that modify the ergonomics of their motorcycles to replicate the ergonomics of a gynaecologist's exam table (thus reducing their control over the motorcycle as much as possible), and remove the mufflers for "safety reasons" (but refuse to wear proper safety gear, learn how to ride, or even sober up before getting on it).

And finally, there is no culture of Triumph owners attaching as many Taiwanese-made chrome-plated plastic skulls to their motorcycle as possible, to try to look as scary as a tax attorney can look...
 
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