Is Harley Still Toast

July 5, 2016

All Posts, News

Is Harley Still Toast

Harley-Davidson stock rose and fall on both sides of the long holiday weekend on rumors that the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer might be bought out by a investment firm named KKR and Company.

The investment firm is also known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. KKR earns about nine billion dollars a year on revenues of about $55 billion. The value of shares of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company increased 20 percent Friday to about $54 per share on rumors that KKR would buy the company for $65 per share. So far this week, the value of the stock has dropped 12 percent.

There were rumors that KKR wanted to buy Harley in March 2010. Neither Harley nor KKR would comment on the rumors last Friday.

Fatten The Tails

Overall, the value of the motor company’s stock has dropped about 30 percent since January 2015 and financiers seem to think Harley is ripe for a takeover because the stock may be undervalued. Harley stock traded for about $70 per share in 2014.

Harley’s ridiculous “Fatten the Tails” marketing plan seems to have failed. The title refers to a statistical abstraction called a “Bell Curve.” What the plan means is that Harley wants to continue to sell motorcycles to its core customers (who tend to be middleaged, working class men) and increase sales to international and “outreach” customers. The international customers are in places like India and China. Harley describes outreach customers are “young adults,” “women,” “Hispanics,” and “African-Americans.”

In an attempt to attract new customers to replace its aging ones, Harley has released two, new, smaller, cheaper motorcycles with engine displacements of  500cc and 750cc. The smaller bikes are aimed at members of the so-called millennial generation who continue to associate Harleys with Baby Boomers. Harley’s international marketing as also been frustrated by a strengthening dollar which makes the already expensive bikes even more expensive overseas. The same strengthening dollar makes Japanese motorcycles less expensive in the United States.


In the last year Harley has either laid off or announced plans to layoff 420 workers.

Four factors make Harley attractive to KKR. Harley’s core customers continue to buy motorcycles. The company is not yet as indebted as it could be. A new, private owner could sell off the company’s credit subsidiary, Harley-Davidson Financial Services to raise cash that would pay for the development of new products like Harley’s hypothetical “Live Wire,” an electric motorcycle and a new marketing plan. And finally Harley-Davidson remains the best known motorcycle brand in the known universe.


48 Responses to “Is Harley Still Toast”

  1. Ziocles Says:

    They need to come up with something better than the STREET 500/750 for “millennials”

    I’m a “Millennial” and I ride a FXD. Most guys I know want Dyna’s not Sportsters or Streets. The only folks I know personally that bought sportsters only did so because they couldn’t afford a different bike…

    They don’t need to make tiny bikes for chicks they need to find a way to offer a cheaper dyna

  2. popeye Says:

    Harley still makes motorcycles? Still ride my shovel and havent found anything I’d trade it for.

  3. Jackie Treehorn Says:

    Saw this coming several years ago. T-shirt sales could only keep the MoCo afloat for so long. Those who want to play SOA realize it ain’t all that. So now Harley’s strategy is market to the Hadjis and Chinks.

    Harley is done in the USA.

  4. rookery Says:

    Like Harleys, have a couple, but will be quite happy to see the company and the truly horrible corporate shits that run it sink and burn. Dealers over here face having their franchise pulled if they discount spares to independent repair shops.

  5. johnnie hammastix Says:

    HD needs to bring back the fxr

  6. Bone Head Says:


    DISCLAIMER UP FRONT! I’m 67 and fel fucking old, so take my remarks for what they’re worth.

    1. Electric motorcycles. Really? It’s so obviously stupid I’ll drop it at that.

    2. Water cooled engines. If I wanted a Suzuki water buffalo, I’d own one.

    3. 700 cc motorcyles. For women and small people. Watercooled to boot. Someone correct me if I’m being stupid here, but every watercoled bike I ever sat on (I know) is top heavy and hard to pick up. Tell me again how they’re for “women”. Most chicks I know prefer Dynas over even Sportsters. Lower center of gravity!

    4. The “Flea Market” approach to selling trademarked “genuine” (but made in China) crap.

    I could go on, but these young snot nosed kids know it all. Want to boost Harley? Build a pan and shovel again!

    Now I’m going to go calm down…

  7. xplor Says:

    AMF stuck a fork in it but couldn’t kill it. I don’t think Harley Davidson can die

  8. Chopper Says:

    Through my 50 year old eyes, I don’t see the excitement of young men toward Harley Davidson Motorcycles, custom bikes, etc. in my neck of the woods of the US. When I see a V-twin on the road, usually it’s men in their mid 40’s on up as the average. Yeah there are quite a few sport bikes on the road but the lifestyle of riding most of us enjoy is slowly passing away as we’re dying off… Even if the pricing was to drop considerably, I doubt the interest in sales will boom. I wish I had the answers….

  9. Gandalf Says:

    I wonder what would Happen if Harley built a bad ass Sport bike? Real Fast.

  10. IronRider Says:

    Here is the way I look at it. Most of the folks that I know that ride a Harley have either kept and maintained there bike, or switched up to a newer bike for cruising on long trips with.

    The biggest thing that keep some folks who dont trade up and that have older bikes is they simply wont because they dont think the newer bikes are worth the money, and because of the fact that some models are made overseas and there seem to be a large portion of the parts being made their as well.

    One of the biggest complaints I have heard is that some of the newer parts are made overseas are just borderline garbage in that the materials used are not that great which tends to lead to less of a lifespan.

    Not to mention that these cheap part are being made overseas but yet HD still charges an arm and a leg for them. Some of the folks believe that HD is cutting corners on quality of their product and the brand at the expense of reliability and the customers loyalty.

    There seems to be a sense among some owners that HD has lost it’s way and has alienated their loyal customers and sacrificed reliability and quality to improve their profit margin at any expense. The same complaints could be said about the bikes themselves, people dont mind playing for quality or a HD motorcycle, but the reliability after buying a new bike seems to be long gone.

    Their are guys that have had their bikes in the shop more times for warranty issues with really not a lot of mileage or use due to component failure and that seemed to be a repetitive theme. I am not even going to bring up the ” Made in the U.S.A ” debate that has been raging on about HD claims that all bikes are made in the U.S.A.

    HD used to be all about making sure that your HD was top notch and you the customer was happy and the company was taking care of their customers needs before and after the sale, but it would seem that seems to be less and less nowadays as some folks voice their displeasure at the attitude and culture at HD seems to be changed towards their customers, the service they receive before and during warranty and even after in some cases.

    Dont get me wrong, I see very good HD dealers and their staff go out of their way to help people and I have seen some not very good dealers. It would seem their has been a culture shift at HD and going down the line to the dealers and their people, and that isn’t good for HD or the brand.

    Honestly I do hope that KKR or anyone else doesn’t get HD, because they will cut every damn corner they can to squeeze every dollar out they can before they try to do things even cheaper than thing’s at HD are done now.

  11. Wino Enzed Says:

    I went into a Harley Dealer the other day to see if there was something that would cause my alcohol ravaged heart to beat a little faster.
    Nope ! just shiny floors and polished smiles. Or was that the other way around ?
    I still yearn for oil stained floors and Tee Shirts that stated ” This is Harley Country, on a clear night you can smell the rice burning”
    Still got that one :-).
    Remember when we kept the AMF ravaged Shovels next to our hearts and tool boxes.(beds) We that remained loyal to the company no matter how many warranty claims that we had turned down .
    Im still loyal cause Bike folk like to be loyal. That is one of the things that make our Alcohol ( Yup Ive bin Drinkun ) and drug addled minds function.
    Don’t mess with mine ,cause we still believe in the greater good, unlike the rest of the sober, selfish, diet infested paranoid valium swallowing ,gluten free Arse wipes………………..

  12. Primary Says:

    So nobody is willing to admit that a better made victory is what is killing this company. I think everyone shouldn’t own a harley. I’ll take quality over a name any day. So many people are in denial and I know why, if you bought a better made bike you would have all these t shirts and not know what to do with them. Never understood bandwagons as opposed to common sense.

  13. 99%Biker Says:

    I have no idea if I’m a millennial or not at age 40 but after riding dirt bikes as a kid and buying an 06 1200 sportster 6 years ago and upgrading to an 06 electa glide 3 years ago I say that I wouldn’t buy anything else. Love both the bikes wish the electa had the power my sporty did but I’m there for the cruise not the speed! Will not buy anything but a Harley!

  14. Bubblehead Says:

    There are no easy answers for Harley. It’s really a generational thing and millennials are different. Here in Detroit the car companies are dealing with the fact that the younger set just aren’t as interested in cars as my generation was. (I’m 60) Hell, GM has even invested in a ride-sharing company. These kids are up to their eyeballs in school loans without good job prospects. Who the hell can afford a “want” such as a motorcycle when it’s damn hard to take care of “needs”? I work in the motor sports industry and the market is soft up and down the line. What Harley has to figure out is how to size themselves appropriately for the existing market and continue to develop future models. No going back to the glory years until the economy gets better for the average Joe. And THAT, my friends, is the real crux of the problem!

  15. James Crawford Says:

    Speaking as someone who has considerable experience with leveraged arbitrage of prospective buy outs, I would not panic. KKR has a reputation for reviving mismanaged companies rather than parting them out. Selling off the HD credit subsidiary would be a great first step to get management to focus on their core business of building motorcycles.

    Harley is struggling with market demographics that suck. The current generation of young men have spent the last eight years of their lives living in the basement of their parents homes, sitting on the couch in their underwear playing video games or blogging because President Obama has FUBARed the economy. Some of these guys are even wearing jammies with feet and drinking hot chocolate while they talk about healthcare. Until the economy improves, these millenials can’t afford much more than a Vespa scooter. Perhaps a new President might inspire them to grow up, grow a brain and may be grow a pair of testicles. Trump selecting Governor Palin as his VP might inspire the growth of testicles.

  16. puterindabasketchief Says:

    Harley is also struggling because for nearly the last decade they’ve produced grenades on wheels.

  17. TX_Biker Says:

    Gandalf, Harley did build a bad ass sport bike called Buell that company crashed and burned…..

  18. TX_Biker Says:

    James, i don’t think Palin will help Trump. Someone like Ret. General James “maddog” Mattis would be a better choice…..

  19. Sieg Says:

    Fuck em.

    Another old guy here, 62. Still ride my Shovel, and will till i die.

    When the bowling ball company bought out BD back in 70, it was billed as the end. Well, didn’t work out that way.

    If the company would skip all the fancy rub-bait and go bacm to building 2 or 3 tyles of sickles, work on getting the price down to where a guy could afford one again, they’d prosper. I believe young guys today want them as badly as we did when we weee young, but it’s a different world…very few are doing the whole one piece at a time at the swap meet gig anymore.

    FTF / FTP

  20. shootemall Says:

    KKR will ruin HD. I worked for a company that was bought out by them and it was not good to say the least. Watch the documentry called “Barbarians At The Gate” It is about their take over of Nabisco, I believe. Harley needs help, and it will not come through KKR. They are only looking at a profit. Not a small one, a HUGE one. And if it is through quality cuts, so be it.

  21. Wino Enzed Says:

    The Vindian Bikes are lower quality. their finishing ie paint, fasteneners, cables and chrome is of a lower quality. That makes Vindian cheaper and they have a newer Engine. The Twinky motor has been around longer than any other HD, except unless you count the servi car flattie.
    They are reliable but do not put out enough grunt.
    Ever notice as we get old and Fat our MotorCycles have too.
    “Evolution” the engine that saved the company was smaller and lighter with less ponies but by god make em breath and they could fly. Still got one I bought new in 94. She aint going no where.
    Indian disapeared for 50 years.Our legends and stories are based around Harleys, crash em , burn em , ride em and blow em up. We all have our stories

  22. Grimey Says:

    Eh, this too shall pass. I don’t any clever advertising approach is going to get a casual buyer to lay down 15 to 20 grand on a bike. This trendy crap will fade. I just hope whomever is in charge at the time will be willing to just give the old schoolers what we want.

  23. Smitty1961 Says:

    I have to agree with the poster that mentioned the competition from Victory cycles. Add the other Polaris bike (Indian) and you have some serious real American made bikes you can choose from. I have an ’08 FLHT that I ride as my main transport, but when that got hit by a truck and was in the shop for too long I bought a Victory. It sounds too much like a sewing machine but I haven’t had any trouble out of it at all and recommend it to friends looking at bikes. All Victory needs are more after market parts suppliers so we can personalize them better. My 2 cents.

  24. oldskewl Says:

    Harley needs to get off their ass and build a bike with some balls. A 95 FXR is going for serious cash because there worth it. Get away from these pussy millennial bikes and make something for guys that want to ride hard not be fashionable.

  25. stroker Says:

    Am 72 years old (howthefuckdidthathappen??!!)

    Been riding Harleys since the sixties.

    My last Harley was a 98 Road Glide, that I stuffed an S&S motor into.
    It was a good bike. Faster than most, and the S&S motor was still trouble free at 20k miles, when I traded it in.
    Why? Because the rest of the bike had over 200k on it, and shit was beginning to break. Time for another.

    I traded mine in, whilst still running good, on a 2014 Victory Cross Country. 8 guys in my club have ’em now. I’ve seen plenty of ’em in the top dog clubs as well. Hell, Sonny’s got one (or did, maybe he’s on an Indian now. Seems lots of R&W like them).

    Victory’s 106 engine is going 150 to 200k on oil changes.
    It looks sorta like a Harley, and sounds sorta like A Harley, and nobody I’ve seen is bad-mouthing them.
    They handle better than my Glide. They’re (for the most part) faster then (most) Harleys. The saddlebags hold half again what Harley’s do.
    They get 45+ mpg.
    And………….they’re Made in the USA.

    So, for this old fart, I want a bike that won’t let me down, and I don’t hafta work on (unless I want to) any more. Just returned from a 14 day, 3500 mile trip through 8 western states. No problems of any kind.

    Also, I still own my 65 Pan. Now I can wrench on it if I feel the urge,
    and I have no plans to get rid of it.

    I think for Harley to stay in long-term business, they’re gonna have to come up with a similar trouble free powertrain.

    Hope they do.

  26. Base Says:

    Never have purchased a new HD, own a 74 (Bowling Ball)Shovel that I bought from a mom & pop shop while in the Military. Have tore it down and rebuilt it a couple different configurations, right now putting it in an old HD Hard tail frame just for shits & giggle.Most certain my back will & ass will thank me later. And it never really has been a leakier, being a proponent of Loctite nothing has ever fallen off.

    Ok there was that one time that drunk chick fell off, but shit happens

    Been on open bikes all my life and never thought that would change, but!

    Picked up a wrecked 04 E-Glide at low price in 09-ish after getting it back together it has been a good running bike. Previous owner installed a little hotter cam. Had mis-hap in 2013 that kept ridding short for most of that year & 2014. But since healing, ride it daily since then. Almost time to replace cam chain tension-er, most likely will go with gear drive but will ride it until it almost fails first.Did kick around adding a 103 or 110 kit, depends if the money is right. And will admit the faring has come in handy as has the saddle bags.

    @(Presumptuous) Primary,

    I like the Victories, have ridden a couple different models and like the Cross Country’s. Straight out of the box they have more HP, handle pretty good and Victories Motor Technology is superior. Considering HD’s motor has roughly 200 gaskets. Victories roughly 6 to 8. Victories have more oil capacity and they do run cooler.Checked that against mine with a thermostat gun after about 100 miles in 90′ heat, roughly 35′ cooler. Neither bike has oil cooler. A bonus out here in the bad lands & 100 degree heat. Also Saddle bags are larger.

    Have also kicked around selling the 04 and pick up a newer 2013>2015 Vic, have to really put the #’s to it and make a decision sooner than later. Makes no sense to upgrade a bike before moving it out for another.

    Should I purchases a Vic, never have bought HD clothing or gear with logo’s if I do decide to make that move, so no worry of making a wardrobe change. Well do have an HD Coffee mug a buddy picked up for me on one of his road trips. But doubt it will have any effect what so ever.

    Band wagon just crash?

    Me, could care less what anyone rides or wears. It is all personal choice and doesn’t effect me in any way. The character of a person matters to me, because that could have effects & or repercussion on not only them, but me if they happen to be with or around me. Normally send people of low morals character running because I have always had a low tolerance for Bull shit. Such a s a person bad mouthing others for the type of brand they prefer or the clothes they wear.

    Live & let live is a more peaceful and a lot less hassle .
    Eye on your 6 folks


  27. Meh Says:

    Everybody on this board including me is ancient so what we’d buy will only matter for a few years until we switch to mobility scooters.

    FXR? Nope. People buy Harleys for the image which is why the Ugly Glide sat on showroom floors while Softails flew out the door. (I should have bought the FXRT next to my FXR, but it’s even uglier and let’s not sugar coat
    that.) FXRs are a cult bike but that cult is mostly because people look for something different. An FXR ain’t a sport bike, it’s just a much less shitty cruiser. If it were still in production it wouldn’t be a special snowflake and would be just another Dyna.

    Harley are incompetent to do sport bikes and can never compete with Japan in a meaningful way. Harley has always been a REBUILDABLE motorcycle but was never a particularly high QUALITY motorcycle. America has a saturated sport bike market anyway.

    Polaris should refine their line and encourage the aftermarket, because the aftermarket is the main reason to buy a Harley, not the Harley itself. If all we had were stock parts most reasons to own an HD evaporate.
    Polaris choppers would happen if they worked with Thunderheart on a standalone ignition and Paughco or Kraftech on frames.

    Polaris should look at what John Bloor did with Triumph. Harley management are incapable of understanding that, but America doesn’t need Harley. We have the aftermarket and air cooled v-twins aren’t going to see any dramatic improvements.

    AMF saved Harley from the incompetent owners, then sold it to the same management who tanked it in the first place. It’s made plenty of money so why not sell it again now the clue-averse management are making no headway? KKR should buy it. A new owner could clean house and make things interesting.

  28. James Crawford Says:

    Re Texas Biker

    Respects for you and your opinion, but I disagree.

    Trump will be running against Hillary Clinton. To win, Trump will need to have someone on his team who can bitch slap her into the stoneage without fear of being a mysogynist. It is obvious to everyone that Hillary Clinton is a really macho, bull dyke who has a Kickstarter on her vibrator (it’s a 4 stroke, V twin, 1600 cc ). Unfortunately; given the politically correct social climate, no man can get away with pointing this out so a woman will be needed. Joni Earnst is another plausible running mate. However; Palin is the one who Kickstarted Trump’s primary campaign by endorsing him early.

  29. Coates Says:

    Nobody is going to agree with me, I suspect, but the Japanese bikes are doing better than Hd for good reason. Both Yamaha and Honda have put out machines in the last decade that have all the style of a classic American cruiser (the touring bikes are still ugly as hell) with much lower price tags and all the reliability you could hope for… And as has been pointed out above, millennial don’t have the cash or the credit for twenty thousand dollar bikes. It’s not that younger people don’t want to ride. If anything, the millennial generation are probably the best informed consumers in history, and they tend to take their dollar where it will get them a better return.
    I ride a bolt, myself, and honestly I wouldn’t trade it for anything Harley has on the market, even if I could afford it. I’ve met too many Harley guys who spend more time fixing their brand new machines than riding them…and while I can’t comment on HD’s customer service, I can say that Yamaha has bent over backwards to make sure I’m happy with my machine since the day I bought it.

  30. ipsick Says:

    I see more and more 20 somethings riding around here on Iron 883’s and Roadsters and the like. They are even setting them up club style and tear assing around town. I see them all over at the beach, on the freeways and in the hills. Looks like someone is drinking the Koolaid.

  31. tiopirata Says:

    I’ve been a 1%er for just over 40 years and own a Harley, among other bikes. I have never developed any brand loyalty, feeling as I do that the MoCo exploits us somewhat. To me their best product is the V Rod line but I am a pragmatist, not a traditionalist. My favorite bike nowadays, Triumph Rocket.
    I stand by for howls of incredulity…..

  32. fallendesperado Says:

    I’ve owned Harleys forever but the Polaris Indian is looking like my next bike.

  33. puterindabasketchief Says:

    After 23 years riding nothing but Harley, I bought a Victory Magnum exactly two months ago today. 6k miles later and my only complaint is I miss the fixed fairing on my Road Glides. Better brakes, better suspension, more comfortable, more storage, and with some minor upgrades it dynoed at 110HP/111TQ. More “American Made” too.

    My last two HDs had more problems than I care to list. And their CEO’s response to poor Q4 sales? Invest $75 million more in ADVERTISING. That’s when I checked out.

    Harley hasn’t earned all the brand loyalty it’s shown. Still love the bikes, hate the fucking company, their arrogance, and their inability to put out a quality, reliable machine. They make too much money licensing t-shirts and toilet-paper to worry about those who buy a motorcycle with the intent to actually RIDE it. After having myriad issues on his 09, one of my brothers was told by the GM of a big local HD dealership that “Harley doesn’t make a bike for guys like you”–meaning people who put on a lot of miles, spending more time putting than polishing.

    Am I glad I made the switch? Ask me in another 50k miles or so. Time will tell.

    Will I ever go back? I can’t see how without a major overhaul of how they do business. HD has major problems. But, judging by the issues they continue to ignore, I’m not sure the MOCO (Money Over Customer Opinions) knows what those problems are. YMMV.

  34. The Kraut Says:

    Bonehead and Sieg pretty much summed it up as I would.

    Have had 2 Shovels and a Sporty and my current garage queen…a 2007 Ural, great bike but parts availability truly leaves much to be desired…6 fucking weeks waiting for 2 new exhaust valves.

    Bought an ’84 Softail last weekend…nice bike, rides tight and honest.

    …and it has a kicker (like God intended) and a carb and nice loud pipes…(they remind me of Boston Jimmys hardtail Pan back in CA ’round ’84-87 in Torrance -Lomita area)

    @Tiopirata…respects on your choice. The Rocket is well named…Trumps are still bikes with Heart. Victorys and Indians ride well too.

    Respects to those who warrant respect

    The Kraut

  35. SomeGuy Says:

    Gotta add my name to the list of “traded in my HD for a Victory” stories. The Cross Country was faster/cheaper/better than anything I could get at the local Harley dealer for the same money.

    I always buy American, but now I have choices when I do so, and frankly the HD people acted like they took my business for granted. They also don’t seem geared to customers who ride their bikes daily as their main transportation. Simple warranty issue took forever to fix. How the hell am I supposed to get to work while my bike is in the back room of the dealer for weeks at a time?

    Harley Davidson has gotten some loyalty out of me, they’ve made me a loyal Victory customer.

  36. BMW Says:

    I bought my first Harley, a ’51 EL, when I was 16 or so. I bought parts from the same dealer that my grandfather did–they charged a lot even then to perform any work on the bikes. I have owned just about every fifties panhead model over the years. My last Harley is a ’12 Street Glide, with a few modifications, of course. Now that my warranty has run out, I may change to a really wide front end, or add a supercharger for fun, but I will never buy another Harley. If I buy another bike, it will be an Indian or a Victory. In a two year period, I bought eighteen different Harley accessories, mostly electrical and electronics, and never found ONE “made in America” item except for a led kit. One item was made in Germany, everything else came from communist China. I did not abandon Harley — Harley abandoned me, and all the other Americans. Today, Harley is not even a good t-shirt store. Yes, I could buy expensive jackets and helmets,shot glasses and beer mugs at Harley.
    .but I refuse to spend money on a brand that has become an Anti-American institution, buying components everywhere BUT the USA, laying off the workers on the assembly line and replacing them with day laborers.

    We all know that the buyout crew basically took ideas that AMF and former owners didn’t like — chopper and bobber designs, custom bagger stuff and appropriated that intellectual property without paying for it, using our designs — down to the clothes we wear — for their personal enrichment. Under common law, that might be considered “unjust enrichment” and subject to restitution. But American corporations are basically an organized system of unjust enrichment — based on seizing the intellectual property of working Americans — as anyone who ever worked in the auto industry would know…

    The last gang of buyout “experts” recognized a chance to appropriate ideas and style from bikers, and managed to monetize biker culture. They took from their customers, instead of providing innovative products FOR their customers, and they now want to cash out as millionaires. Basically, they exploited and sold their customers, didn’t they? Secretly contracting out sub-assemblies to communist China is selling out America.

    I’m only bitter about the fact that the company SELLS America by secretly profiting from Un-American activities.


  37. Duck Says:

    Being too old to be a millenial and too young to be “core buyer” kind of sucks. I work 6 days a week to afford both a roof and my Vic, and I really WANT Harley to be less “downward spiral” and more “lets-get-it-together”. Sadly, I’m not sure that’s a thing I’ll see in my lifetime. As to my Victory, I’ll concede a point to Wino Enzed- Yeah, the fit and finish is nowhere near HD’s, especially on earlier bikes like mine (05). I’ll freely admit I can’t stand looking at my jap-style switchgear and so-so paintwork(fixed now, actually) but where it really counts, it’s there- The engines run cooler and longer and the chassis is mindblowing whether rolling straight for hours on end or 30 minutes of constant left/right/left. Way I figured it, I was in for at least 9k on a Dyna and even more for a V-rod, OR I drop 5k on a low miles Vic and learn a few new skills like paint/polish/fab/powder to take care of the cosmetic crap I didn’t care for without dropping too much coin. So far so good there (except that fucking switchgear lol), and the company has treated me pretty damned well when I’ve dealt with them. What really kills me is that a company as massive and longstanding as HD can’t see the value in a business model like that.

  38. Tooj Says:

    The fellows who said “Fuck AMF” had it right and still do. That’s when HD died. Do what you gotta do.

  39. shop owner Says:

    I’m an independent mc shop owner we service all brands mostly harley I will say in my experience that harley builds the best and most reliable motorcycle out there .most harley owners beat the crap outta there bikes and defer maintenance as long as possible every harley owner knows there are bikes with better brakes suspension etc. The v rod seems to be pretty Bullitt proof only had a leaky countershaft seal nothing else we see probably 90 100 bikes a month just rebuilt my service managers night train 100k miles looks and rides like new he had never had it apart other then to add a bigger cam I have owned many Harleys and have ridden pretty much everything out there I would say the harley is still the best choice.make a statement buy american and quityerbitchin

  40. Boozer Says:

    I currently own 3 bikes. A Suzuki dirt bike, a 2003 V-Rod, and a 2010 Victory Cross Roads. I’ll tell you what, the v-rod is a fantastic bike. I used to get a huge amount of shit from Harley guys and a huge amount of love from everyone else when I bought that bike. Flat out stares from people on the sidewalk. I can also hit 60 mph in 1st gear in under 4 secs. I went 0-50-0 in less than 1 city block. Overheat? nope. It’s gone through 2 different rebuilds thanks to a asshole drunk driver that totaled it and almost totaled me. The first time I built it, it looked a lot like a fat boy with big skirted fenders. With this latest build, I cut the rear end off and its now a bobber.

    Now, the Victory is also a great bike. I’ve had it from Florida to California without a single problem. 40,000 miles and never been in the shop, ever. It handles great for a 800 lb bike. I was in the mountains near Prescott Arizona and could flick the bike back and forth from scraping the exhaust on one side to scraping the other side as fast as I could go. I was a bit worried that Polaris would abandon Victory to focus solely on Indian but they havent done that at all. The worst thing about Victory is the dealers. Some are really good, some more are ok, but most are downright shit. The other thing is the aftermarket but that is slowly getting better. There are some good aftermarket Victory companies out there and two of them I have dealt with are Lloyds Motorworkz, and Conquest Customs. But I would absolutely buy another Victory.

  41. Ap Says:

    Maybe make a bike that the average working man can afford again,and make it to where he isn’t going to need to spend more money making it rideable, and business will pick back up. I’ll stick to my 01. Untill then.

  42. Krobar Says:

    What Harley should do is stop pricing their bikes for upper middle class weekend riders. Price those bikes for the rest of us people. Before anyone says…but but the story said this.. I got my information from HOG magazine.

  43. Sieg Says:

    Ya know, it’s true that the MoFoMoCo prices it’s shit way out of reach for most working-class youngsters. (anyone under 50!)

    That said, they always have.

    If I think back to 1970, when my sled was born, if remembry serves me, a top of the line ElectraGlide went for $2500-$3000, depending on where you were. Now, at the time, if you were making $3.50 an hour, you could live okay, and if you made $5.00 an hour, you could support a family. Given that, the $2500 was pretty fkn steep.

    By the time I got my ‘Glide in 1977, it cost me $2000, and that was with every available option…bags, windshield, windshield bag, and luggage rack. Course, it only had 3000 miles or so on it, so it was on the high side. You could buy a decent Stupid Glide for around $1200 then.

    Thing is, most guys didn’t buy new bikes. WE haunted swap meets, cop auctions, all that kinda stuff. Guy would buy a motor, or a set of cases, and go from there.

    And you know what? You can still do that, you want to ride bad enough.

    Three of my boys got bit by the motorsickle bug, and they all have hogs that they got through wheeling and dealing. One started out trading some car parts for a piece of shit jap bike, got it running, traded it for a better one….now he’s got a 113 ci Road King, some damn thing-I confess I don’t know one new HD from another-all look the same to me. Another one started with a Sporty he got for $1500, and he rides a custom Evo, built it himself, totally screams.

    Point is, if you’re really a rider, quit whining and build a damn bike. That way you’ll be riding, and you won’t have to whine later about how mean the stealership was to you when you took it in for service…cause you won’t!


  44. Sandmann Says:


    You made some really good points there. I bought my Dyna 3rd hand and will pay her off for a couple of years. But I did not want to ride a Harley as a middle-aged man who is desperately seeking the thrill of a wasted youth but while I am still young (at least sort of) and able to put some serious miles on it.

    I totally get the satisfaction you get our of building your own sled from scratch, but unfortunately I neither have the skills (which could be acquired, gotta hand you that) nor the time (which is a more serious matter given I am interested in a lot of things) to do that.

    Guess I’m more into riding than into spending hours at the workshop. Plus, for the better or worse, us “younger” riders don’t need to know as much as you oldschool guys anymore when it comes to fixing our bikes.

    But I really do appreciate true craftmanship.

    Ride safe – and respect to the deserving.

  45. Sieg Says:

    Junge, ist nicht wie viel kennst Du, aber wie viel willst Du.

    When I got my first bike, a 47 Knuckle, it was in peach baskets. I couldn’t have begun to put it together by myself, let alone chop it. I had some good Brothers who walked me through it, step by step, but I gotta admit, I fetched more beer and rolled more joints than I did swing wrenches. That was when I was 18.

    Got my current sled when I was 22. I had very little mechanical knowledge, I mean, I could tune-up a car or bike, that kind of thing, but that was about it.

    What to do?

    Same thing you do now. Buy a manual and start doing it yourself. It is often frustrating, sometimes expensive-no, you DON’T set solids the same way you set hydraulics!-but in the end, you will learn, and you will be thankful for that when you are in Lower Colonia at midnight and smoke something.

    Never had a teacher or class, had a few Bros who would say “do this” or “do that”, but outside of a major rebuild done on my motor by the shop that was building HD’s race bikes-balanced, blueprinted, ported and relieved, solids, cammed, all kindsa good stuff beyond my skill and equipment level-no one has ever touched my bike but me. No one. It will be forty years I’ve been on the Bitch next spring, and except for that motor work, I can’t blame one fucking thing on anyone but myself.

    That’s what you can do with a manual and some determination…or pigheaded stubbornness, as my Pops always said.



  46. Paladin Says:

    @ Sieg,


    And as always, long may you ride.


  47. Hans Says:

    Harley-Davidson to pay $12 million fine over motorcycle emissions

    By David Shepardson | WASHINGTON

    Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N) agreed to pay a $12 million civil fine and stop selling illegal after-market devices that cause its motorcycles to emit too much pollution, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

    The settlement resolves government allegations that Harley sold roughly 340,000 “super tuners” enabling motorcycles since 2008 to pollute the air at levels greater than what the Milwaukee-based company certified to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Harley did not admit liability, and said in a statement it disagrees with the government’s position arguing that the devices were designed and sold to be used in “competition only.”

    The company said the settlement represents “a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition.”

    According to the government, the sale of such “defeat devices” violates the federal Clean Air Act. Harley was also accused of selling more than 12,600 motorcycles that were not covered by an EPA certification governing clean air compliance.

    The settlement calls for Harley to stop selling the super tuners by Aug. 23, and buy back and destroy all such tuners in stock at its dealerships. EPA said the modified settings increase power and performance, but also increase the motorcycles’ emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

    Harley will also spend $3 million on an unrelated project to reduce air pollution, the Justice Department said.

    “Given Harley-Davidson’s prominence in the industry, this is a very significant step toward our goal of stopping the sale of illegal after-market defeat devices that cause harmful pollution on our roads and in our communities,” John Cruden, head of the Justice Department’s environmental and natural resources division, said in a statement.

    The announcement comes amid greater scrutiny on emissions and “defeat devices” by U.S. regulators after Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) admitted to using illegal software to evade U.S. emissions standards in nearly 600,000 U.S. vehicles.

    “This settlement immediately stops the sale of illegal after-market defeat devices used on public roads that threaten the air we breathe,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

    Harley must obtain a certification from the California Air Resources Board for any tuners it sells in the United States in the future. For any super tuners that Harley-Davidson sells outside the United States in the future, it must label them as not for use in the United States.
    Also In Business News

    In a separate statement, the company said it has sold the product for more then 20 years under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts and said it believed it was legal to use in race conditions in the United States.

    In late morning trading, Harley shares were down 90 cents at $53.58, or 1.7 percent. They had earlier fallen as much as 8 percent after news of the allegations had surfaced in a U.S. lawsuit filed in Washington, but before the settlement was announced.

    EPA said it discovered the violations through a routine inspection and information Harley-Davidson submitted. EPA has been investigating after-market part emission issues for more than five years.

    In 2012, Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T) paid an $885,000 fine to EPA for selling 25,458 all-terrain vehicles and off-road motorcycles because they were built to allow for the installation of an after-market part to increase horsepower and emissions.


  1. State of HD Corp - Victory Forums - Victory Motorcycle Forum - July 7, 2016

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