Dave Zien the former Wisconsin politician and loco long rider who once put 31,000 miles on his motorcycle in 31 days is feuding with Harley-Davidson.
Since the photo above was taken Zien has grown a John Brown beard. He has not yet raided the federal armory at Harpers Ferry to arm the slaves but that might come next. Zien’s other hobby, besides riding insanely long distances is to engage in interesting public arguments with people and corporations who annoy him.
Zien is currently arguing with Harley-Davidson about his clutch.
After recovering from a near fatal motorcycle accident in Florida that cost him his lower left leg in March 2011, Zien started riding trikes. His current, 2014 Harley tricycle has about 15,000 miles on it and Zien thinks it is still under warranty. But when the clutch went out in Dallas two months ago Zien says he was told that the seven flags he flies on the back of his Harley voided his warranty. “They tell me ‘because you fly flags, you’re blocked. You’re black ball listed. You could never get any warranty work – which is unlimited mileage for seven years because you’ve been flying flags,’” Zien told Milwaukee television station WITI.
The idea is that the flags cause drag that stresses the engine and transmission. Harley also denied the warranty claim because “the mounts that hold the flags aren’t Harley-Davidson products.”
“For heaven sakes! They were put on by a Harley-Davidson dealer and technicians” Zien argued. “So that null and voids that argument.”
Last week Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted Harley spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim as saying “The issue isn’t that the flags are heavy, but they provide terrific drag on the engine and the transmission, especially when the bike is at highway speeds.” About the flag mounts Blankenheim told Barrett, “When you alter a motorcycle with non-compliant products, that does impact your ability to make a warranty claim.”
“We recognize that it’s a very cool thing to (mount flags) on your bike, and we want our customers to be able to personalize their bikes in that way,” Blankenheim continued. “We also understand, especially with Memorial Day coming, there are lots of riders who want to show not only their pride in America but other things as well. We have products designed specifically for that, and they won’t negatively impact the motorcycle. But because of what’s been done to (this) motorcycle, and how it impacts the motorcycle’s performance, we just didn’t cover the warranty claim.”
Harley knows Zien. In April 2009, Zien rode an FXRT with 1,017,000 miles on it to Harley headquarters in Milwaukee. The motor company declared it to be the only known Harley with more than a million miles on it and gave him a new FLHXR in return for the old bike, which Harley then donated it to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Sturgis. At the time, friends of Zien were offended that Harley hadn’t put Zien’s old bike in the new Harley Museum.
Zien has said that he began riding motorcycles in 1962 when he was 12-years-old and has logged more than two million miles in the saddle since then.
In June 2011, Zien was accused of assault after he ran his wheelchair over the toes of members of a group of liberal activists called Solidarity Sing Along.