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Harley Davidson hype?
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Harley Davidson hype? - May 6, 2013, 03:15 PM

I'm trying to be objective about this, so here's my question:

Is the HD brand really just recycling 1940's tech? Or is it just HD haters spreading propaganda? I can't imagine such a well known brand not taking any leaps into modern improvements to their product at all.

Then there is the stigma of HDs not being very reliable (see first question). the Domestic vs. Japanese reliability debate.
Is there 100% truth to that? 80%? 50%? 20%?

I wanted to get a general idea of what the 2 wheeled community thought about it...

Is it just blind devotion to the designer HD label? Or can the present day consumer trust HD just as much [of not more] than the modern japanese market of cruiser mototrcycles?



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May 6, 2013, 03:21 PM

In my unprofessional opinion Harley tech is traditional with some advancements like fuel injection. Reliability has gotten a lot better.
I think the whole Harley bad ass mentality is pushing a lot of buyers to Victory or metric bikes. Or maybe it's the cost.
I really like the Custom Harley baggers.

Go Kawasaki!
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May 6, 2013, 03:30 PM

They have some new stuff but you're mostly paying for the HD name. I think they got some help with the V-rod engine from Porsche. I know it's definitely metric because I have valve shims from that motor in my KTM.

That said, most of what they make is outdated by any technological or performance standard. Part of that is lack of innovation and part of that is compromises made for style.
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May 6, 2013, 03:34 PM

My buddy has a 2010 Fatboy and the steering wobbles around 40mph and the bike pulls slightly to the right. He paid over 24k for it all the accessories and what not. He took the bike to Harley and they just about replaced everything on the front end but the problem still exists. There are rumors that there were a batch of bad frames made in 2010, but Harley has not owned up to it.

He's been stuck on the road twice so far, but for something stupid like a battery cable coming loose.

All I can say is that if I am going to pay that much for a bike, the bolts, connectors, etc.. should not look like they came from Home Depot.
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May 6, 2013, 03:35 PM

As Ducati owner I do get a lot of questions about reliability so it's interesting to see how long the past can haunt even the most modern, cutting edge, and more reliable models. I'm also interested in hearing more about this Harley hype thread just for the sake of curiosity.
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May 6, 2013, 03:43 PM

Harley's seem to look good from a distance but sit on them and fiddle with the bike and they feel kinda cheap.


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May 6, 2013, 03:46 PM

So my sister use to sell Harleys, pops has one, Ive wrenched on more than a few. In the past decade or so Harley has quietly started to update their bikes. Their heart and soul customers prefer tradition, but as they have become more affluent they have required better tech and reliability. (See V-rod and its porsche based engine) HD reminds me of small block chevys, easy to work on. Overall they are far less reliable than the big 4. HD is one of the most notable and loyal brands out there. Any large displacement two valve air cooled motor is going to be more prone to stress based breakdowns. But by the nature of their market and the riding styles of their customers Id compared to the abuse that many sportbikes see (and the average RPM they hang at) the failure rate is not representative of the quality. A friend who races boats once told me that the average boat spents 90% of its life at full throttle, where as a car spends less than 10% I think it may be a similar, (albeit less drastic percent) for cruisers vs sportbikes.


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May 6, 2013, 03:47 PM

thanks for everyone's continual input... it's good to hear about everything. Yes, it's no secret, I'm looking at a cruiser. I wouldn't say I'm retired from sportbikes, just wanna try something different, and I can only research and do my homework so much without asking real people about their impressions on these different bikes

It all helps alot!



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May 6, 2013, 03:51 PM

If I was trying to get something comfortable, I'd be looking hard at that new Honda F6B or a nice BMW.
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May 6, 2013, 03:52 PM

I like some of harley's lineup.

That said, I think there are better values available in every segment.

I'd really like an Ultra classic with all the trimmings. At that price though, I'd probably rather go with a victory, or even a goldwing.

Parts are expensive. Everything from filters to chrome bits. Harley charges more.

The oil filter on my 1125R was the same as the one from the rotax motors in the can ams, and in the RSV1000R.

Buy it from aprilia or can am? Half the cost of the same part from Harley.


Which model interests you, specifically?


-Fitz

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May 6, 2013, 03:54 PM

Honestly there is something to HDs, Ive been promised my dads 93 Hugger (last year of the chain drives) when he feels he is done riding, its like riding a metal couch, but I still smile every time I throw a leg over it.


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May 6, 2013, 03:58 PM

I'm kicking around the idea of buying an older sportster as a project bike. I'm sure it will be a piece of shit and probably break down on me, but I'm ok with that.
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May 6, 2013, 04:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
Parts are expensive. Everything from filters to chrome bits. Harley charges more.
The buell turn signals were dirt cheap though. That has to count for something.
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May 6, 2013, 04:06 PM

Along the lines of your question, I remembered this thread from last year:

http://www.dcsportbikes.net/forum/f1...pensive-73951/


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May 6, 2013, 04:38 PM

Much better reliability since fuel injection.
They're detuned when new to pass EPA, and it takes a little money and tweaking to make them run well.
There's plenty of hype with HD's, but there's an entire culture built around them.
If you tell people that you ride a cruiser, they'll never ask you "[do] you have a Kawasaki?" also "Do you ride a KTM?" said no stripper ever.
The more bling on the bike, the more time it spends in the garage.
Not the fastest bike, not the best handling bike, a bit too pricey, and nothing else like it.
HD people will by anything with an HD badge on it. I mean anything.
HD will put their badge on anything.
You will see more craziness at a Harley rally than at a Honda Hoot - unless you show up to a Harley Rally on a Honda Dream - then you might be the guest of honor.
Some HD's might possibly have a soul, you'll know 'em when you see them.

Most HD loyalist are resistant to technological advancements such as water cooling or the wizardry found on metric bikes.

..and if you're shopping for a Harley by comparing specs to metric bikes - you're doing it wrong. All that really matters is how it feels when you're riding it.

BTW, I don't own a Harley-badged anything. Truth.
(Yet.)


--------------

This has been another fine contribution from Captain Craptastic.

2014 Harley Street Glide
'08 Brass Balls Bobber
'04 KTM 625 SMC
'78 Honda CB750K (soon to be mated to sidecar)
'07 SSR 125
'99 BMW K1200RS (SOLD)
'95 Honda Z50R (donated to a buddy)
'89 CR500R (SOLD)
'83 Honda CB1100F (SOLD)
'82 Honda CB750F (SOLD)

Last edited by Corbett; May 6, 2013 at 05:01 PM..
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