Where Have All The Sidecars Gone

March 21, 2016

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Where Have All The Sidecars Gone

There is a Presidential campaign going on and the result of that, in about ten months, will be an inaugural parade in Washington. The parade is always led by local motorcycle police.

D.C. cops ride Harleys. Police in this country have been riding Harleys since 1908. The D.C. cops have been riding Harleys since 1917. The capitol has about 75 motorcycle cops and 40 of them are assigned to the Presidential Motor Unit. The Pridential Unit has been around since 1921.

The motorcycle cops in the Capitol, as opposed to most other northern cities, ride year round. Sometimes it snows and sleets in D.C. So, every year around Columbus Day the local motorcycle cops bolt sidecars onto their bikes for stability and leave them on until spring. Pittsburgh police, who have been riding Harleys since 1909, also ride year round and bolt on sidecars in the winter.

Since 1933, the inaugural parade every four years in January has been led  by police motorcycles with sidecars. And therein lies a brief tale about the changing, American motorcycle industry.

Void Warranty

Harley-Davidson hasn’t made sidecars for five years. It is worse than that. Peter Hermann of The Washington Post reports that District police do have spare sidecars but they are incompatible with newer Harleys.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier told the Post “the problem now is finding enough older-model motorcycles with hardware to accommodate the sidecars.” Lanier said, “the most significant issue is that the automatic braking systems on the new motorcycles is not compatible with the brakes on the sidecars.”

“We’re going to make what we have work as long as we possibly can,” she said.

There are about 20 United States Park Police in Washington who ride Harleys in the winter and they face the same dilemma as the District cops. They ride in the inaugural parade too, and since they couldn’t get sidecars from Harley that force bought six, custom made sidecars from a small Seattle company called Liberty Motors.

The Post reports, “Liberty has designed a bracket that can fit its sidecars onto the newer Harleys,” and Harley has assured the Park Police “that if this is done correctly, the alteration would not void the Harley warranty.”

Until less than three months ago, the only sidecar motorcycles for sale in the United States were either Urals ( which started as a Soviet knock off of BMWs) and the current nostalgia incarnation of Royal Enfields.

Then around Christmas, Victory Motorcycles, a company that is headquartered in Medina, Minnesota and makes its bikes in Spirit Lake, Iowa, announced it was going to manufacture a police sidecar motorcycle.

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55 Responses to “Where Have All The Sidecars Gone”

  1. The Kraut Says:

    My current ride is a ’07 Ural GearUp 2WD…got it new. Driving a sidehack rig is an eyeopener and it is different from riding a bike, but still its a lotta fun and beats a trike or those spyder/slingsnot doomaflatchies. Carbs and a kicker were big selling points for me when I got the rig.

    I sold my last Shovel in ’92 back in CA before I got xfered back to Great Lakes…big mistake, shoulda let the USN ship it back but with things as they were…

    My 1st bike was a leftover ’77 FXE I bought in July of ’78…had it 6 months before a fucking low life thief got it. Next was a ’77 XLH…rode that fucker the next 7 years and kept it running no matter what, a real learning experience.

    Sold the Sporty and scored another ’77, this one was an FX kick only bike…rode it a month before the left flywheel output shaft spun in the crank center. Rebuilt it and kept riding ’til I sold it.

    I’ll have another Shovel or an early Evo once I can lay up enough coin.

    The Vics and Indians are cool but I’ll go with an old HD. One thing I like on my current ride is how much it resembles a WW2 German bike…one of my brothers here calls it “The Nazi-Bike”

    Respects to those who warrant respect

    The Kraut

  2. Nuke n' Pave Dave Says:

    To me, a motorcycle is supposed to be a piece of mechanical sculpture. It should fill your eyes with those carefully fitted bits of metal that make for a statement of mechanical excellence, well, at least in the beholder’s eyes. My Pan fits that bill just fine for me. Granted, it’s got a nose cone bottom end on it these days and a few other changes that just seem to fit me (like the four plugs it uses for fire) and these little things are what make it into my personal bit of art. The new bikes just don’t display that presence of craftsmanship that I’ve always sought. I suppose that means this old fossil is no longer a viable target of their marketing campaigns. Now there is certainly some comfort in that!

  3. puterindabastketchief Says:

    Sieg:

    My Shovel is the only bike I ever sold that I truly miss. Good memories. I just never could afford to keep more than one. Gave her up and bought a used evo bagger that was a real solid motorsickle but didn’t have the Shovel’s soul. None of ’em have had since, either.

    Raising a cold one to you and your Brothers.

    Respect.

  4. Sieg Says:

    puterindabasket, doesn’t sound like you need much educating! Mine is a ’70 cone-motor, NOT titled or badged as AMF. Reference guy at the factory looked at my serial number, told me it was built early in the year, after AMY bought the company, but before they took over the factory floor. Supposedly, there were about 400 bikes made after mine that didn’t have AMF on the title or badging. Big deal.

    Matchbooks for points…yeah, I can see it. We always used the pull-tabs from Old Dog cans, but then they quit making them, so I got all high-tech. I still have a master-link and a piece of .018 shim on the key-ring for my sled.

    Yeah, I imagine the new bikes can go faster, fly higher, leap tall canyons, all that shit. Thing is, pretty much all of my Brothers are dead, so I really don’t give a fuck. I cruise at 80 tops on the highway, go ahead n pass me, don’t pull wheelies at lights, but will split a mean lane. I ride with my kids now n then, otherwise I go solo. Except for the Brothers I see out the corner of my eye some nights, just for a second.

    Respect.

    Sieg

  5. Jim666 Says:

    @ Sieg exactly I also agree on the new HD`s not even looking close to what Im used to seeing in the Knucks, Pans, shovels, and even sportys. lol whole different game nowadays.
    I do like the Vic.s and would buy one if I could afford it, But havnt seen one in my range yet, as far as looks go they all HD included look like a version of the touring rice nowadays.

    .02

  6. stroker Says:

    I have ridden Harleys since the 60’s. I’m in my early 70’s. I’ve got a Harley tattoo. I’ve owned shovels, evos, and twin cams. I still own a 65 pan. I’ve ridden north to Alaska, south to Mexico, east to New England, and most of the states in between. I’ve ridden in Hawaii (rental).
    I like Harleys.
    Then I rode a Victory.
    Checked out all I could find about them. They seem to be quite long lived. At this point in my life, like others on this page, I don’t wanna wrench on the side of the road no mo’.
    I wanna ride!
    This year, I bought one (used…only 5k on the clock)
    My 2014 Victory Cross-Country looks kinda like a Harley, and sounds kinda like a Harley…..but it ain’t a Harley. It’s got the factory stage 1 kit, and it’s faster than most any street Harley. It out handles my Road Glide, and most other Harley models (yeah, I know, there’s some hot dog reading this that’ll wanna race……I said MOST!).
    It’s smooth, got more saddle bag room, and gets 45 mpg. My Glide, with a 96 S&S motor was fast, but got me 33mpg! I like the extra miles.
    Victorys are being accepted in the club ranks. I’m not alone riding one. Sonny’s got one, and many more in the HA do too.
    They’re a good bike.
    I’ll keep my pan for short nostalgic hops, but for my yearly long-distance forays, I’m gonna enjoy this new ride.

    Just sayin’

  7. deuce Says:

    I’m on my fifth HD, too. My newest bike is a decoppified 2008 FLHP. It was a cheap way of owning a bagger. My other model is a 1992 FX. I still have it. The 08 is a 103 inch TC, and it is a pig. It has fuel injection controlled by the EMC, it runs lean to comply with emission standards, and it runs hot as hell. I would need to invest in a better exhaust, breather, cam and a fuel remap to loosen it up. I ain’t gonna spend the $. It waddles down the road ok. I would love one of them new Indians, but I’m just poor scooter trash. Fuck HD. You shouldn’t have to spend an extra 2 grand on their shit just to get it running right. When I ‘m too feeble to tide 2 wheels, I’m gonna look around for a used Ural. Kind of my style, anyway.

  8. LOSBRIGHT Says:

    HD keeps the “old timers” by sheer brand loyalty and nostalgia/heritage..not because of anything they do personally. This is also the reason they should make the sidecars for the paraders..for heritage/nostalgia’s sake. It is not profitable, but how much of a hit could they really take making 100 sidecars or a few brackets to make ’em work on newer bikes? We all know it’s tax money paying for it so the state/city will write whatever check HD tells them to write.
    They are not going to get rich selling sidecars to the government, but they could at least do it to keep their bikes visible in those arenas and make the younger generation think there is something “magical” about riding a Harley.

  9. Phuquehed Says:

    I can work on my ’09 just fine. Not once have I had to work on it on the side of the road – and I too have a fork bag full of tools for just-in-case (and of course to help others I see and stop to ask if they need any help on the side of the road, and that includes rice riders and even those lame Vics and half-million dollar Indians).

    I’ve had to work on the bike, sure, who *hasn’t* that actually puts miles on it? If anyone says they haven’t in 80,000 miles they’re a fucking liar.

    Me, I went without for 6 years to be able to own my bike (it literally took out 1/3 of my disability check then rent, etc), but compared to anything else, I knew I could work on it (whether it’s EFI or not, though I admit I was nervous about things EFI but so far nothing to do with the EFI stuff has gone wrong on the bike) and nothing would be a new surprise as I figured would happen with such a ‘new’ bike as the Victory’s.

    Still trying to save up a little here and there to get an evo-year bike to have as backup for when I eventually have to take the motor apart in my current bike to rebuild from it simply being worn out. It’s not as easy as when you already have the something you want and are paying for it monthly, heh.

    Me, I’ll stick with the Harley’s…with the actual number of them out there compared to the few ‘problems’ I read or hear about, it’s still a good bike to have IMHO.

    The Vic’s are nothing but but-ugly and damn near as expensive, and the Indians are nothing but ungodly expensive and I’d bet my right cod twice as expensive and hard to work on as any Harley.

  10. puterindabastketchief Says:

    Sieg:

    Thanks for the education. Much appreciated.

    The bottom end was one of the only things I DIDN’T have to touch on my AMF Shovel. Learned a lot busting knuckles on that bike when I was in my early 20s. Used to set the points with a matchbook cover.

    Now I’m closer to 60 than 30 and everything I THINK I know about motorcycles started with having that FLH in hundreds of pieces in the basement. I don’t have (or pack) a laptop with me so I was generally clueless when the 09 and 11 kept going into “limp mode” (never has there been a more fitting term.)

    When the 11 cracked a piston and started puking quarts of oil out of the air cleaner? Now that was a little easier to diagnose.

    I wish nothing but the best for the folks who (actually) work for the mofoco and the service guys at the local dealer have been stand-up mother fuckers throughout all the warranty work. I feel badly for them that they have to try and stand behind what, in my most recent experience, is a sub-standard machine.

    I find certain aspects of the Vics homely too. I have never been a fan of Ness-Mess styling. And I agree with the previous post about that abortion that is the slingshot. Jesus. But, living on my bike, and getting a bit longer in the tooth, I’d rather ride than wrench and I’ll sacrifice style for some substance (performance.) YMMV

    That’s all probably worth .01

  11. Sieg Says:

    puterindabasket, once upon a time, a crank runout of .01, or +/- .005, probably wasn’t that far off. You go back to the days of Pans and Knuckles, you’re talking snap-gauging on the machine-lines, not air-gauging. Why blueprinting was such a hot thing back in the day, get rid of all those pesky tolerances! A lot of the old-school wrenches I knew/know wouldn’t crack a Shovel case, said the tolerances were too tight. I’ve done it, but only reluctantly. The new ones? I got no clue…they don’t even look like Harleys to me. Not tryina down anyone, just the way things look to me.

    Far as cost, Jim is pretty much in the same boat as everyone I know. No way in hell could I afford a new bike. I see Shovels in the 3k-6k range all day long that are nice as hell, and starting to see late-models in the same range. I do believe if you really wanted to, and worked at it, you could put together a legit, running, decent-looking sled for 2K.

    .02

  12. Duck Says:

    Mom worked for one of HD’s subcontractors for about a decade and the job had a lot of perks- like working with a lot of dealers, and even got me snuck in to one of those big corporate conventions in Milwaukee. Can’t say it wasn’t fun, but it was also enlightening. More folks in the ranks know a change needs to be made than most would expect, but the kings and queens of the company just don’t care. Personally, I still see them as an Icon and I’d rather see them make a 180 than crumble, because I dont’ want to see any historical American company fall. Whether or not they will remains to be seen, but I’m not optimistic. Plus, the way they reacted to the VLAD thing still fucking grates on me and I can’t let it go. All that influence and you leave your people hanging? Get the fuck outta here.

    And then there’s my Victory. It’s no secret I’m a big fan of them. I just don’t have the cash to keep a big twin alive, and if I did, why would I? Seems pointless to drop a small fortune and then drop another to get what I need from it. Thought about an old evo bike (might still build one as a 2nd bike), but the deal was good and the Vic’s left me with no regrets. The looks take getting used to, some of the small stuff seems kinda cheap, and people constantly ask me if it’s a honda- But it’s never had a problem I didn’t cause myself with all my hot rod tinkering- and no serious ones at that. I figure if it treats me well, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, And keeps Americans working, I can get over the quirks. Also, if they keep going the way they’re going they might motivate HD into some changes and that’s ok too.

  13. Jim666 Says:

    They are all over fuckin priced at least for working men.
    I’ve never owned a new bike except a dirt bike i got for xmas when i was 6 yrs old.
    when I turned 17 i got a used 1958 900 iron head bullet proof, since i’ve only owned HD and only used. now looking at another used HD, still over 10 yrs old.
    never could and probably never will be able to afford a brand new bike .

  14. Coolaid Says:

    The other day I got 2 emails… One from Harley, the other from victory…

    The Harley one was pumping up their new line of clothes…

    The victory one was about the infinitives on their new motorcycles..

    Pretty much sums up each companies goals.

  15. Mac Says:

    I read a couple replies on here which seemed to imply that Victory (Polaris) isn’t an American company.

    Polaris is 100% American, NOT Canadian. Headquartered in Minnesota, and Victorys and Indians are manufactured in Spirit Lake, IA. There are many who say that they have a significantly higher American content than Harleys, but I don’t have any hard data on that.

  16. Stlrzfan Says:

    Rebel,

    My point is the amount of bashing HD receives anytime you post something that refers to ANY brand of motorcycle is ludicrous (thank you Mr. Tyson). I don’t care what you ride. I just can’t fathom someone posting that Harley’s are overpriced when the POLARIS Indian cost’s *soooo* much!
    When someone talks of “investing” in a motorcycle I flashback to the 1990’s when one had to order their new Harley and wait a year to receive it. It paints a picture in my mind of the pristine, lonely, never ridden garage queen. Bought only as a hedge against inflation ( I assume. I’ve never had that kind of money). I guess I should have stuck with ” who the fuck does that ? “. I mean, there’s got to be a better way to grow ones money. A vehicle, to me, seems a terrible way to invest ones money. Unless you are talking Barrett-Jackson.

    HOWEVER, I still think you got Polaris shills commenting here. And I cannot bring myself to ever own a vehicle that has the slingshot in its lineage.

  17. Bone Head Says:

    Kurt Barlow Says:
    March 22, 2016 at 6:53 am
    When I saw the rule that says Member must ride an american made motorcycle I thought why is everyone on Harleys?

    Just so you know, there’s more to a patch than what you ride. Owning a Harley and riding it usually meant a basket case. Build it, fuck something up, fix it and repeat. The old farts I rode with didn’t consider a bike theirs until they’d been into it. They taught, I learned. Not just seeing the top of your piston, but judging if it and all beneath was right. It’s become more than just wrenches and bolts to me. It is the reason I keep on.

    From 16 years old to 67…I’m still riding with old farts. Who’d have thought?

    And now Kurt, go yank your oil and filter of what ever (if) you ride; time your education got started.

    Respects…

  18. Tommy Says:

    If Victory could get their looks department together their bike just might be a better package but until then they are just harley’s ugly little brother…..

  19. Rebel Says:

    Dear Stlrzfan,

    I own a Harley. I think it is my fifth Harley. I have always owned Harleys. I owned an AMF bike. Piece of shit. I don’t like the motor company. And some people I know, whose names you might know, ride Victorys.

    I’m not sure I follow you when you say the days of investing in a motorcycle are “long gone.”

    Rebel

  20. ghost Says:

    I always wanted to get a nice Harley with a sidecar on it. Then hire a little midget to ride around with me packing a mac 10. Or better yet mount a 240 gulf to it then hire the midget to be my shooter. Fuck the get back whip. I got a midget with a mac 10, sittin in the sidecar, shoootin assholes, and lovin life. Wouldn’t that be grand?

  21. Stlrzfan Says:

    I forgot to add… that fucking Slingshot is a sick joke.

  22. Stlrzfan Says:

    Wow! I have a sneaking suspicion that this site is either being sponsored by Polaris or the have shills in the comments.

    Who the fuck “invests” in a motorcycle? Those days are long gone! Having again attended the recent gathering in Daytona the incredible number of Harley Davidson’s – just in the parking area of the speedway-just doesn’t jibe with the hate I see on this website. The number of female riders on Harley’s continues to increase, the VAST number of people on streetglides, and my own eyeballs tell me something is amiss here. I went to the Polaris display. Saw the indians and victory’s. Not really impressed. Almost as if they are trying too hard. Just me I guess. I know what I like and I like my TC96 2011 Fatbob.

    I wonder if Polaris sold a comparable number of bikes what problems we would be hearing. Sure HD corporate sucks, but they still build a helluva bike.

  23. ak rack Says:

    During one of my rideabouts last summer, I was on the Oregon/Idaho border and met a couple from Montana (ranchers on holiday) that were on a 955 Triumph Tiger with an aftermarket sidecar. The linkage had cylinders (pretty sure they were electric with hydraulic damping) that would let them “fly” the car by flipping a switch. Looked like fun to me and they were sure having a blast. I think that with installation it cost about as much as the bike I was on is worth (’12 FXDC/20K) — so I don’t think there’s one in my future barring a winning lottery ticket.

    Nice thing about the Urals is that the sidecar wheel is driven — I’ve been told by owners I’ve run into that works really well off road.

  24. puterindabastketchief Says:

    Sieg:

    I’m certainly no machinist, but I can tell you HD’s current crankshaft runout tolerances aren’t in microns, or nearly as exacting as the thousandths they used to be.

    Plenty of tales out there of cranks coming out of the factory with .01 or more of runout.

    Respects to you.

  25. puterindabastketchief Says:

    I guess losing a bottom end at 37K on a two-year-old bike soured me on HD. This coming after taking it in the shorts on the previous LEMON, which I traded in because I refused to sell it to anyone, let alone someone who I ever had to look in the eye again. Just unlucky, I suppose.

  26. Matt Says:

    It’s too bad the Vrod is so ugly looking. It would cost thousands for my roadglide to match horsepower numbers with one of those. Fuel injection and liquid cooling have been around for awhile now. I think my next bike needs those more than an infotainment system.

  27. Uesque Says:

    Pittsburgh Police switched from sidecars to Voyager trike kits for the winter a few years back. In fact, Voyager still brags about it on their web site. But the cops hated them and switched back to the sidecars so they had room to carry all of their foul weather gear.

    I’ve toyed with getting one for the FXR so I can take my dog for rides and also for the winter when the roads are bad.

  28. Sieg Says:

    Ya know, one of my old Bros was looking to get off his 68 Shovel with factory hack…may still have it. IT was a parade bike, all the goodies, and it has, if I recall, less than 50K ORIGINAL on it. Boy has had it since the mid-seventies, got it from his neighbor, who bought it new. It was used as a pace-bike at Santa Fe Speedway, for youse locals.

    Anyhow. HD. Wouldn’t have a new one. Part of it, alright, a BIG part of it is the money. I’ve never made payments on anything but a house in my life, and I ain’t about to start now. The prices are fucking ridiculous, and to my ancient, rheumy eye, they all look like fucking jap bikes in disguise.

    Most of ya know, I still got my 70 FLH, it still runs pretty fair, and I can’t say as to how I’ve had to do all this maintenance shit people are complaining about. Let’s se, I had the motor done by Lakeshore back in like 1980, when they were still doing the factory racers, balanced, blueprinted, Sifton solids, mild cam, ported, relieved, flowed, bored to just under 80 inches…and that’s still what it is.

    Stretched a valve once, blew a head gasket about 15 years ago, and really, other than that, oil, tune-ups, and the odd neck/wheel bearing.

    It does have serious mileage on it. When I was a tad younger, I rode year round, and as we used to say, we’d “run to Minnesota for a pizza”, and often did. I mean I float rode the piss out of it. We’d ride out to Ohio, pop the bags off, and do hill-climbs and mud-pit races, obstacle courses, all kindsa cray shit. Field games, we called em.

    I always carry tools, but rarely have had to use them on my bike on the road. I get the sense that a lot of younger riders, if they have to adjust a chain-well, I guess you don’t do that anymore, or gap a plug, shit, you don’t do THAT anymore either, right? What I’m getting is the idea that if you gotta touch that sucker except to polish it more, then it’s felt to be “unreliable”, or “poorly-made”.

    Now, my kids got newer bikes, #1 has got a fairly radically altered, what, 98, maybe? Rides that fucker like he stole it the night before, and all over the country. When his Patch goes, he’s there. #3 has got a bagger, maybe an 07? Big inches, 110 or some such, runs like a raped ape. #1 does ALL of his work, every bit of it, and #3 does probably 85% of his. Neither of them seems to think it’s more maintenance or lesser quality control.

    Last but probably least. I’ve worked in the machine-trades for 50 years. Yup. 50 motherfucking years of lathes, mills, grinders, welders, yadda yadda yadda. When I started out, if you were holding a few thousandths of an inch, that was a tight tolerance. When I pretty much retired, few years ago, the stuff I was making and selling was tolerance in the MICRON range. Look that shit up.

    You don’t NEED nothing that’s tolerance in microns on a motorsickle. IT all sounds good, but it don’t mean shit going down the road-except maybe that you ain’t gon be able to fix it if it breaks down.

    FTF/FTP
    TOSIAR

  29. puterindabastketchief Says:

    Over 20 years on Harleys. My Shovel was a mechanical nightmare, but pure class and soul. Moved to an evo bagger and then an ’01 TC Road Glide, which in 80K miles only had a stator take a shit (I did replace the garbage cam tensioners with S&S gear drives.)

    Now I’ve had an 09 and 11 Road Glide and both have been every bit the nightmare AMF was. Too many issues to list. Got no use for a company who builds bigger and bigger motors on absolute dogshit bottom end, is aware of the issue but does nothing. Compensators, trannys, electrical issues, etc. And what’s their answer when fourth quarter sales drop? Invest $10 million into marketing. Fuck them.

    I live on my bike and I’m shadetree wrench at best. If I can swing it, I’ll be on a Vic very soon. Have a Brother who has owned a few with no issues. Put a couple grand into his ’15 Vic and is pulling 114 HP and 112 FPT. Try doing that with a Harley motor. My only pause is I love a fixed fairing but can’t see riding that spaceship Vision.

    Oh, and I ain’t bitter at all. Right. FTF

  30. Meh Says:

    Harley doesn’t need to build sidehack because they are a waste. It’s a microscopic market ever since automobiles became affordable. Hacks are fun but they aren’t very good vehicles. Those wanting them should do their own wrenching and give zero fucks about the factory warranty. Parades are cute but those users don’t do much volume. Why should HD cater to an unprofitable segment? Victory probably won’t sell very many after the novelty wears off. Their Boomer core market will be dead soon.

    The Victory drivetrains are tough and proven. Their transmissions could use some refinement and it would be nice if they had a model that handled but their market doesn’t care about handling. I’d like to see a lean Indian big twin “Chout” but won’t hold my breath.

  31. So cal Says:

    Just my opinion but I have a harley and have test rode a victory the victory is a nice bike.it least it’s made here and Canada.there is alot of harley parts made in China or India it’s sad to see that Harleys quality is taking a shit.if I’m wrong please correct me.

  32. Magoo Says:

    There was nothing about Harleys that really called to me. Sure, they could be built into nice choppers but nothing on the showroom floor spoke to my soul. But.. being the age I am.. I thought, “How many more bikes am I going to own? I need to own a Harley at least once.”

    About 2 and a half years ago, I bought my first Harley. My ’13 Wide Glide looked like a good foundation for what I wanted to ride. Of course, I’ve gone through new air, new exhaust, new cams.. and the list goes on and on. I’ve put 45k on that bike. Not the most miles ever.. but respectible. I love my DWG and don’t see myself ever getting rid of it. When she falls over and dies, I’ll throw another engine in and do it again. But I wouldn’t buy another new Harley because I still don’t see anything on the floor that moves me. It seems that Harley’s big changes in each new model every year seems to often be new paint colors. Even the differences between the actual models are sometimes so minimal that it’s a challenge to guess one model from the next. While the engines have changed over the years, the basics haven’t changed much in 80 years. (Personally, I think sportbikes are the natural advancment of the motorcycle, if you talk in strict terms of development of the machine)

    And, like many, I’m disappointed in the fact that HD, with all it’s racing history… and the money that I paid for it.. could’ve easily sold me a better bike. More performance, more reliability and more comfort.

    I’ve never heard anything bad about Victorys. Every one I know who’s been on one, loved it. Pretty much the same with Indians, which sound amazing with their really low notes. They just don’t make me happy when I look at them… you know.. personally. Your mileage may vary.

    Will I buy more bikes? Absolutely. When the Harleys are paid off, I’m thinking hard about the Kawasaki H2. There’s an old Knuck I’d really like to add to the stable. (Man, I’d love to get back to an engine without a shit ton of electronics controlling it.. and a kicker.) And I’ve wanted a ’75 CB750 for many, many years. And there are a handful of bikes I’d like to actually build. Will I ever buy another new Harley? I can’t see the scenario where that’s gonna happen.

    I love my Harley but the MoCo is dead to me. They can sell their t-shirts, truck stickers and garbage wagons. I really don’t care if it’s made next door or around the world. If you’re not trying to make a superior product, I don’t care.

  33. Kurt Barlow Says:

    When I saw the rule that says Member must ride an american made motorcycle I thought why is everyone on Harleys?

  34. Dino Says:

    It seems like the decline of Harley parallels the insurgency of “aspirational” MCs and weekend warriors. The “powers-that-be” at Harley are corporate sell-outs that now cater to the people their traditional base customers laugh at.
    These days, when I see a Harley t-shirt or window decal I have to wonder if the person has ever been on a motorcycle.
    I have ridden a Vulcan for many years with no complaints, other than Harley riders breaking my balls.

  35. get a clue Says:

    The victory motorcycles are better in every measurable way than the current HD’s. That is a testable, verifiable fact.

    The only advantage HD has is the name.

    period.

    But there are things you cannot measure, like nostalgia and looks

    i ride a 2006 FLHTCI right now, but i will never buy another HD.

    Any bikes i buy from now on will be a Victory or an Indian

  36. Brad H Says:

    I have an ’02 FLTRI that I’ve put 110,000 miles on, rebuilt the top end, transmission, swing arm, three clutches, worn out two seats and a front end. God only knows how many tires and oil changes we’ve been through. Even stripped it down and had it painted. Also, replaced the factory ECM with Thundermax system that actually works like they’re supposed to. Safe to say I kinda like this one.

    I’m not sure I’d buy a newer HD. ’03 and newer changed. More electronics, baubles and BS. Bad lower ends (in spite of what the motor company claims). And unless you buy a 110 inches, my 95 cube will keep up with most of ’em, until y’all hit overdrive. Couple that with the pride of doing most of the work, well, you get the idea.

    There is one bike I’m interested in. Ducati has just released its first cruiser type bike, Diavel. It looks a bit weird, not like anything I’ve owned in the past. However, the 1198 cc engine makes 162 hp @ 9200 rpm, or so they claim. The 110 inch HD struggles to make 90 @ 6000. Im sure the duck is more techie than I could work on, but ya know, after many years of twistin wrenches on my own shit, wouldn’t it be nice to just jump on something and blast?

    As far as side cars go, I’ve ridden a couple (yes, even a Ural) and think I’d rather have a side car than a tricycle. They’re kind of a gas, as long as you like a change up from your normal two wheeler. Not sure duck makes one.

    May the gods smile on you and yours.

    FTF
    FTuo

  37. Viking Trotter Says:

    In Sweden and Norway. Their motocops in the winter (which is nearly all year in some areas) use mini-outboard skiis and studded tires. Been doing it that way since the 20s.

  38. Mike Says:

    I’ve never owned a Harley and probably never will. Got my first bike, a little Honda, in 1965. By the mid 70s I as out of the Army and into bigger road bikes as well as motocross racing. Several of my friends had Harleys and it was beyond a joke what they went through to keep those bikes running. Since I’d gotten fairly good at keeping my race bikes running, I ended up turning wrenches on some V Twins. The quality control is what stood out to me. There didn’t appear to be any.

    I’m sure they are better now but back when I was deloping life long preferences, Harley really dropped the ball. I wound up sticking to Japanese bikes until I picked up a used BMW R1200GS. Fast, handles like a dream, and designed to run just about forever with fairly minor maintenance.

  39. BMW Says:

    The corporate shills at the moco have been making the same sort of mistakes that their predecessors made to bankrupt the company in the first place. They have replaced the full time staff with rent-a-bodies from the local Skid row. They have outsourced the electronics to China, the metal casting to India, but moco seems to think the average biker doesn’t read a paper or watch the news. Underestimating the customer is one short road to repeat bankruptcy. I bought a 2012, but I will never buy a new Harley again –and I will buy more bikes. The moco is mostly a distributor of expensive, foreign-made T-shirts.
    SAVE THE AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY –BUY AN INDIAN!
    BMW

  40. JMacK Says:

    Any big corporation these days is only profit driven. Quality, integrity and common sense are things of the past. I have a Victory and I love it. Won’t be selling it. I will buy another HD one day but I know when push comes to shove which bike I will rely on in a pinch. As a mechanic, there are pros and cons to every machine on the road (including imports). For the dollar, the Victory has the best power, the best ride, and just as many dealers where I live as HD has. Although the HD dealer is way more involved in the biker community. There are typical shows and tattoo contests which are well attended. But also ladies garage nights and “image” nights for newcomers.

    Its all fucked up really. Just wanna ride.

    Respects
    JMacK

  41. Bone Head Says:

    Potmetal Says:
    March 21, 2016 at 3:36 pm
    “MoCo seems to be dead set on being #1 in the race to Davy Jones locker.”

    Sadly I have to agree. From corporate on down they’ve lost touch with the soul of their machines. I mean in no way to insult or belittle the guys on the shop floor; they are probably smarter than those above them. More loyal too. An old article somewhere told of an employee who had the serial number of every Harley he’d own tattooed on his arm.

    I wish them luck with the t-shirt and cupholder sales; maybe the MoCo will survive until real motorcycle people can take over again.

    Respects…

  42. Jim666 Says:

    Got a brother w/ a vic. sweet ride and all around great scooter. rode it once,better low and top end than HD.

  43. gooch Says:

    An Arizona Highway Patrol officer stops a Harley for traveling faster than the posted speed limit, so he asks the biker his name.
    ‘Fred,’ he replies.
    ‘Fred what?’ the officer asks.
    ‘Just Fred,’ the man responds.
    The officer is in a good mood, thinks he might just give the biker a break, and write him out a warning instead of a ticket. The officer then presses him for the last name.
    The man tells him that he used to have a last name but lost it.
    The officer thinks that he has a nut case on his hands but plays along with it. ‘Tell me, Fred, how did you lose your last name?’
    The biker replies, “It’s a long story, so stay with me.’ I was born Fred Johnson. I studied hard and got good grades. When I got older, I realized that I wanted to be a doctor. I went through college, medical school, internship, residency, and finally got my degree, so I was Fred Johnson, MD.
    “After a while I got bored being a doctor, so I decided to go back to school. Dentistry was my dream! Got all the way through School, got my degree, so then I was Fred Johnson, MD, DDS. Got bored doing dentistry, so I started fooling around with my assistant and she gave me VD, so now I was Fred Johnson, MD, DDS, with VD. “Okay, okay” the officer says, “I understand how you got the titles but how did you lose your last name?” “Well, the ADA found out about the VD, so they took away my DDS. Then I was Fred Johnson, MD, with VD. Then the AMA found out about the ADA taking away my DDS because of the VD, so they took away my MD leaving me as Fred Johnson with VD.
    “Okay, okay” exclaims the officer, “you lost the MD and the DDS but how did you lose the Johnson?” Then the VD took away my Johnson, so now I am Just Fred.”

    Rebel On!

  44. Fr. Abraham Says:

    As much as I love to buy American, I just can’t see buying a new Harley. It is, perhaps, one of the worst investments a person can make. It takes a ridiculous amount of money to make it go fast, they’re constantly recalling random shit because the quality control is non-existent, and they’re already overpriced right out of the gate. $16k for a new Dyna? For half the cost, I can buy a used Harley and replace everything on it with aftermarket shit that’s faster and more reliable.

  45. Potmetal Says:

    MoCo seems to be dead set on being #1 in the race to Davy Jones locker. I love my twin cam and can’t imagine climbing on anything else. That being said, know a guy with a new Vic. She’s fast and has nice curves. Not enough to move me off my girl, but enough to make think about wearing her ass out.

  46. stroker Says:

    Don’t knock a Victory till you’ve ridden one.

  47. JR Says:

    Glad to see Victory stepping up. Harley seems to make more and more dumb mistakes. Always worried too much over the all mighty dollar.

  48. Ziocles Says:

    Good. I don’t like cops or Victories, they can have each other.

  49. popeye Says:

    I’m not compatible with the new harleys either.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Just saw this on another website. Seems had no longer makes sidecars and Victory has stepped up. Where Have All The Sidecars Gone | The Aging Rebel 2012 XCT, Touring cams, PCV, timing wheel, Air cleaner, 1/4 turn Throttle, gutted pipes, […]

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