Harley To Be Saved

August 21, 2017

All Posts, News

Harley To Be Saved

Harley-Davidson has unveiled its new advertising campaign. The giant brains who are now running the venerable American motorcycle company have concluded that the reason why the company’s sales keep falling and its stock is trading at a 52-week low has nothing to do with its product or its competition.

All along, it has been the advertising copywriters’ fault. But now that’s been fixed.

Harley’s new advertising campaign is, “All For Freedom. Freedom For All.” Wow! Dazzled yet?


“Since 1903, Harley-Davidson has built motorcycles for one reason: to fulfill dreams of personal freedom,” the genuine Harley-Davidson press release enthusiastically exclaims. “The Motor Company’s new brand platform – All for Freedom, Freedom for All – celebrates Harley-Davidson’s enduring legacy and the pursuit of freedom that unites all. With a focus on the universal pursuit of independence, authenticity and the feeling of the open road, the new work is an open invitation to riders and non-riders across the globe to embrace their individuality.”

“Universal” means no fat, white guys.

“The new platform comes to life via 30- and 90-second videos containing user generated and filmed content,” the genuine Harley newspeak continues. “In the creative, Harley-Davidson shares moments captured on the open road by riders past and present from all walks of life.”

But wait! There’s more!

“‘All For Freedom. Freedom For All is part of our 10-year global strategy to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders,’ said Sean Cummings, Harley-Davidson senior vice president of global demand.”

Right. Global demand. That’s what it said.

Ready Yet

“As the leader in our industry, we are on a mission to grow the sport of motorcycling globally. To reach that ambitious goal, we need to increase our brand’s relevance and inspire new riders to experience the same freedom that all H-D riders feel in the saddle. This new work does that by celebrating the passion, freedom and emotional pull of the open road.”

“Ready to experience the freedom that comes from riding a Harley-Davidson? Harley-Davidson will help get you out and build your skills on two wheels in just a few days. The Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course gives you all you need to get your license and be ready to ride in just a few classes.”

“Offered at select H-D dealers, the New Rider Course provides you with expert guidance from Harley-Davidson certified coaches. In the classroom, you’ll get to know the motorcycle you’ll be riding and learn the basics of rider safety skills. On the practice range, you’ll build skills and confidence, learning everything from braking, turning and skilled maneuvers. Best of all, you will be connected to a growing community of new riders.”

Wow! Who could resist going right out and spending $35,000 for a 900 pound motorcycle with an EPA app[roved, 126 cubic inch, 47 horsepower engine? And, then taking a three day course on how to ride it?

The press release doesn’t say whether the biker course comes with a free tattoo.



38 Responses to “Harley To Be Saved”

  1. Over40VictimOfFate Says:

    These new prices are just crazy, esp when you consider what one is (not) getting for their money and considering wages have not really kept up with inflation since 1980. I guess the price of used Harleys just went up … or maybe not? Maybe these new well-heeled riders just won’t buy a used bike. Fucking SOA teevee show! Fuck teevee, I won’t watch it anymore. Won’t even have it in my house.) In any case, I bought my latest ride about 3 years ago, an 03 Anniversary WG with no shit 700 original miles on it off a nuerosurgeon who was “thinning the herd” of the 12 Harleys in his garage. No sh*t, the guy was an actual brain surgeon. I paid him 6 grand, he paid 28k in 03 for it after having upgrades like mikunis, hotter cams, halogen fog lights, tons of good chrome, and other goodies. Yeah, it’s a TC88, but at least it’s a carb and I’ll sell it for what I gave once I ride the new off of it and throw on a new set of dunlops. I don’t wear no patches (no disrespect to those who choose that road) I’ve been riding since I got my first pull-start minibike at 6 years old, I work on my own bike,…… and boat motor, and lawn-mower, and pretty much everything else I own. It’s how I was raised. I’ll buy my next bike of of one of these HOG mopes or some young airman or squid transferring out …. that is if I don’t build it myself from scratch with aftermarket frame, motor, and parts ….. which is something I’m seriously thinking harder & harder about lately.

  2. Docb Says:

    @ Sled Tramp
    Good to see you again. Thing about building it yourself was if something broke on a trip you knew what to fix. It was REALLY YOUR BIKE.

    This new freedom is also going to cost you more this year if you buy anything from the motor company. New Street Glide Special went up just over $2000 MSRP. Most other touring bikes are up about the same. Hard to swallow that freedom ad campaign with a $2000 chaser.


  3. Mark Says:

    “Universal” means no fat, white guys.
    Just my latest go around. I didn’t know that Harley must have changed their batteries because they are not what they used to be a few short years ago. When it rains, it pours with me so within 2 months I needed 3 batteries. One was for my 96 inch hardtail that has a carb on it. Sometimes this beast desn’t fire off on the first time, surprise. But the Harley battery only had enough guts to crank it once. I took it back and now the Harley dealers have a battery tester that charges up the battery to a full charge and then it does a load test. A full charge for each load test. No second chances on a nonstart the first time around. So the POS battery was handed back to me, with a statement that Harley will not cover the battery and the dealer isn’t going to stand behind the POS battery too. The whole Harley thing seems to be, the very worst of corporate America that lacks the customer’s best interest and Harley Inc and dealers by far and large, see the customers as nothing more that people to cheat money out of. We are not seen as, people that bust our asses for the money we put into our bikes and likely have families to take care of in addition. Meaning, we don’t get our money from stockholers and scaming people, we work for the bucks that we have. I’m sure if anyone from Harley is reading what I’m writing and posting up, will disagree because they live in denial to the real motorcycle world that their customers live in. E.G., Hey Harley, you have a soft tail with a 240 on the back. Do you people really think/believe that tire can handle the twisties safely? Not at a fun speed it can’t and anyone what would buy such a bike is buying for looks, period. Do they ever have a suprise in store for them if they really want to ride it.

  4. Nuke n' Pave Dave Says:

    It’s a shame that the old dealers like George Roeder have passed on. I was camped at his shop one morning with plates from five states away and a flat rear. He gave me a 99% C-grade death grip and a rack to put it on with. Gratis! Don’t find that any more…

  5. Gottabejustright Says:

    Oh yeah, and anytime I see an ad that looks like a Barney video or a Hillary Rally, my bullshit antenna goes up. I can just see the jack offs at corporate sitting at the table making sure every minority block is checked. Before ya know it they will have Pat from SNL pulling up to three bathrooms on a Sportster (Male, Female and Transgender) ….you choose! “Freedom” That’s who Harley is!

    Hope not

  6. Gottabejustright Says:

    Great comments, seems we are all disenchanted by the new corporate HD. I got bit by the bug when my brother bought a 78 shovel in the early 80’s. The smell of weed, cool mountain air and a new paint job every spring brings back some good memories.

    I bought my first one from a dealer in the 90’s who did care about his customers-small shop he started likely in debt. By the third one, he had built an empire. He smiled and said, let me get Rick, he can help ya. Now they are doing all they can to revive the mystique.

    Build a bike, care and get competitive on the pricing and maybe it works….keep up the Starbucks snobbery and it dies.

  7. Bradley Ward Says:

    I am not commenting on the ad campaign. Haven’t watched it, don’t care to.

    But I will comment on the rider safety course. My local H-D dealership offered this course for $300 (discounted to $99 for veterans, which is what caught my attention). Best of all they supplied the bike and in OK the course satisfies the requirement for a motorcycle endorsement, which solved a specific problem I had…not having a bike to train on.

    It was a very good course, on a H-D Street 500 (not some little 125cc moped). I didn’t end up buying a Harley in the end (wanted to…just cost too much) but I did buy a good used V-Star 1100.

    It was a good course worth the money.

  8. Sandmann Says:

    I shouldn’t have read the comments before I watched the clip.

    Kinda makes this entire thing look… cynical.

    Respect to the deserving,

  9. Dasein Says:

    Did HD ever care about “bikers”? HD started selling bikes way back when, and along came the “bikers”, who so loved the HD Motorcycle that the Bikers’ love of freedom became one with their love of those bikes, and over a few decades, the general public’s perception of bikers, and HD became nearly synonymous, and HD then had a genuine and universally recognized Brand, of Freedom, and maybe more like a “rough and dangerous” freedom, which they can now market to wealthy non-bikers, who think owning a new HD will turn them into bikers, and give them that rough and dangerous life they are starving for. This is pretty sweet for HD, a big step up the economic sales ladder, with a fawning clientele that knows nothing but what they wanna be. And, these new customers are not only used to spending big bucks, they more or less see that as validation of value. There are cars now that sell for millions, so don’t be too surprised someday when some famous nobody plunks down $200,000 or more for some “freedom” status, just before one of their Instagram competitors does the same. This is the direction HD is going, and they no longer need the bikers that gave them their brand, they don’t have time to fix old bikes, and they know very well there’s no longer any point in making a bike someone can work on. There’s a lot less testosterone in this new crowd, but a lot more money. It remains to be seen if HD can survive this turn. Also, I can’t help thinking there’s gotta be some marketing mileage to make from some sort of a deal between that “Jump start Experience” and the iomc, like maybe a free patch kit, to go with a bike they never have to take out of the garage. There could be whole brand new chapters, that just get together and “ride” in the safety of their clubhouse. The typical iomc prospects may not quite fit HD’s new economic target demographic, but their gullibility makes up for that.

  10. Aries Says:

    I couldn’t stand to watch it all. Pretty girls and diversity. Go Harley Go.

  11. Southsyde Says:

    It’s all about the retail price. Harley has forgotten the little guys. We’re not all doctors, lawyers or in the top 10 percent. Lots of us are on the lower end of the pay scale and we do love the machine but have a hard time buying a new one without breaking the bank so to speak. 18,000 to 35,000 is way out of line for a new bike hell that’s what you pay for a car or truck now days in some cases a small house. Materials and cost are way less for motorcycles. Charging car & truck prices is not the way to boost sales neither is making smaller models with a little cheaper prices. none of that is going to work. There are plenty of used bikes on the market with low miles so I’m good but if Harley wants me or someone like to spend my hard earned money on one of their new bikes they had better do something about the prices. I’m a buyer & rider of nothing but Harley’s since 1979. Harley shouldn’t forget about the riders that got them through the rough times.

  12. Shane Says:

    It’s a goddamn motorcycle.

    Part of the reason sales keep falling is they charge car prices for a fuckin bike. Hell, online I can find something I want for a fraction of the price that someone’s selling off for one reason or another. Fuck being in debt to a bank for years just for that. As long as I can pay some cash and get a title in hand right then and there I’m not touching a brand new Harley.

    Then again those prices will never come down as long as some white collar dude with more cash than brains is willing to pay it.

  13. L-Frame S&W Says:

    MTPockets, I agree on the Buell front (I have one still), and the Revolution engine was an Eric Buell project for the next gen Buell. The problem was, Hardley Ableson wanted to get double duty out of the motor, so they kept on fucking with it until it was too big, heavy, and under powered for the Buell line, and he threw up his hands in disgust, and told HD he didn’t want the motor anymore, so they had to do something with it.

  14. sled tramp Says:

    1974…..My uh….”Mentors” back in Oakland walk in with a rigid frame and a few milk cartons,a bag of green stuff,toss the manual on the floor.”Here’s the Bible,call if you need to”.A famous friend draws out a 7 wire diagram on the kitchen table.
    Different times…..

  15. Dutchboy Says:

    Yep, you got a five year old fuel injected choked to death Hardly a Davidson worth maybe a quarter of what you paid for it.

  16. Gottabejustright Says:

    “Freedom”…….after 60 $438 payments. There are enough low mileage home equity bikes out there to last the next 30 years. I see ads all the time, “this 2012 street glide is a real head turner. I kept it in my humidor room and showed it to my friends when they came over. All stock except the apes, pipes and cup holder, 700 original miles, no lowballers, I know what I got”

  17. Dutchboy Says:

    How many remember the Easyrider Stores? Biker destinations and yuppie magnets for sure. HD should have learned…

  18. Filburt Says:

    Phufk’m and feed’m fisheads.

  19. MtPockets Says:

    To my way of thinking, Harley has fucked up on a lot of fronts.
    When they discontinued the Buell line, they lost a way to connect with the younger generation. Most kids couldn’t care less about an outdated and anemic Softail or Wide Glide. They want something that hauls ass and handles well.
    I never understood why Harley put the Revolution engine in something as butt ugly as the Vrod. I bet if they had put that engine into a decent crotch rocket chassis, they could have gotten the next generation to buy them.
    Even just keeping the Buell line going would’ve helped on that front.
    They also fucked up with us older guys years ago when they started selling their bikes at way above MSRP. Many of us bought old bikes out of necessity because we couldn’t or wouldn’t pay what they wanted for a ‘new’ bike that, for all practical purposes, was just a regurgitated version of our old bikes.
    Then there’s the attitude of many Harley shops. If you pull up on a Shovel, they follow you around watching like you’re gonna steal shit.
    Fuck all that!
    Finally, I truly believe that their biggest fuck up was to go from their dealers being in a run down pole shed to some big fancy concrete “destination” store. Their arrogance told them that we would pay extra for the experience, but like someone else already pointed out- the yuppies attention span isn’t that long and the rest of us will go somewhere else before buying their overpriced made in China crap.

  20. Dutchboy Says:

    I’ve come to the point that the next guy claiming to be a “biker” I’ll ask to see his tool roll. Not his brand new bike, tee shirts, official licenced leather or even his tats (hell, most 14 year old girls have tats any more). Nope, show me your tools. If they are worn but we’ll cared for, if your idea of a manicure is scraping the grease from under your nails with a screwdriver, then yeah, you might be a biker. With my luck some transgender studies major will think I like him and try to show me his “tools”.

  21. Phuquehed Says:

    The biggest things I see how H-D is fucking up is, that they purposely design the bikes so less and less people can work on them themselves with any amount of ease of knowledge of what they’re doing.

    For example, these M8 motors. I happened to see one a week or two ago and looked hard at it and realized what an immense pain in the ass it would be for the average Joe to do a ‘simple’ spark plug change on the on on the top of the heads! It’d be a nightmare just to change that spark plug! Why the fuck would anyone design something like that if someone lording it over them *TOLD* them to make it so?

    It pisses me off that H_D has not once fought the EPA. When Victory came out, there was a couple niggers pulled into a convenience store gas station I was stopped at to drink something cold. The dumbshits came in balapping the fucking PoS’s and they were so damned loud I wondered why it was okay for Victory to have free exhaust but H-D was so restricted it had to sound like a fucking Honda.

    Parts are getting to be problematic with my ’98 evo, hell they’re getting problematic with a friends 2007 dyna! This is all by design, just like it was with the cars and trucks and when that ass sucker Obama tried to get people to turn in every ‘old’ V8 motor they could find for a few bucks…so that there were less and less of what people like us could work on and more and more of the shit we can’t.

    Fuck ’em all I say. They don’t deserve any respect from me and since they’re kowtowing to the government I’ll tell ’em to suck the governments diseased dick and tell the government to eat dog shit.


  22. hoosiertoo Says:

    @Iron Rider Good luck finding techs. It’s a problem everywhere. I run a truck shop and we have a helluva time finding decent techs. It’s not all grunt work anymore. We spend $6-800 just to get a tech up to speed on applicable engine systems, and those guys are rare.
    Auto shops are in the same boat away from the large cities. Even then, shops raid each other for top techs and have to fight the fleet shops too.
    It sucks.
    There isn’t a parts dept in the country that’s anywhere close to what they were 20 years ago, at least that I know of.
    Harley’s problems are industry problems on the service and parts side. I’m getting old enough I won’t have to worry about it much longer.
    Their crap motorcycles, on the other hand, are on Harley. I don’t know what the solution is. I just keep fixing and riding my old bike and hope it outlasts me.

  23. Shovelhead Says:

    I hear ya. Every fucking time some asshole at work buys their first new Harley and about 2 dozen HD t-shirts. All of a sudden we’re friends….at least they think we should be. And I’m with you, there’s absolutely nothing interesting to talk about when it comes to New Harleys. I start to zone out, like when my wife talks to me! Old bikes? I could shoot the shit all day long.

    One guy at work just bought a new HD and last week started telling me about all the Biker bars he’s already been too. Like that’s what you’re supposed to do. He thinks he’s a Biker now just because he bought a HD.

    Everyone I knew as young Bikers years ago, picked up whatever ride they could afford. No one bought a brand spanking new Harley. These new riders today start out buying new….and it’s their first bike!

    Harley company should’ve known when marketing to Yuppies in the 90’s that yuppies are just in it for the short term fun because every other yuppie is doing it. Nothing with Yuppies are ever long term, except for greed. So obviously marketing to that class of people wasn’t going to last.
    The real ride a lifetime.

    respect to 1%ers

  24. xplor Says:

    Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
    And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free K.K.

  25. TX_Biker Says:

    I’ve noticed that the dealers have a lot of turnover. Seems they can’t keep a mechanic on board, especially now that most shops pay only commission to the wrenches. That being said I am glad I came up in a time when we worked on our own bikes and i don’t own one of those newfangled fuel injected overpriced bikes. If i was feeling particularly cruel I would bring my bike in and ask them to adjust my S&S carb. Then sit back and watch their heads explode….

  26. Jack Stinnett Says:

    Another U.S. company failure caused by unions. RINO Ryan has the a solution buckwheat care for all!

  27. Rook Says:

    ” to experience the same freedom that all H-D riders feel in the saddle. This new work does that by celebrating the passion, freedom and emotional”,,,,,,,,,,,, feeling,of,having,an,empty.wallet

  28. Centurion Says:

    well, maybe…just maybe…if a STOCK Road Glide wasn’t 24K….it would sell just a little faster. And the 39K CVO….perhaps….34K….just a thought. Make it a little more affordable…real bikes…not SKIRTSTERS

  29. andy uk Says:

    the most iconic motorcycle is losing sales and its all due to advertising…..so that’s it………very sad.

  30. Trebor Says:

    Theres a large Marge at work who happens to ride the same type Harley as I do.Now Im in a serious motorcycle club and usually ride to work with my patch on.Boss doesnt have a problem with it.Shes got it in her head that we are somehow connected and wants to sit and talk Harley.I ignore her cuz there are few things i find more boring than sitting around Talking about basically stock bikes.She even suggested i am somehow threatened by the fact she rides.I laughed at her and explained it means absolutely nothing to me she has a Harley Anybody with a good credit rating can get a Harley.Just as easy as buying a prius.Geez what a clown.

  31. El Chuntaro Says:

    I can just see all the new A4FF4A tattoos at Cooks Corner now.

  32. Uncle Ace Says:

    Will they throw in the official harley distressed jean vest “colors” with that course?

  33. Hangaround Says:


  34. Iron Rider Says:

    Ugh. Maybe HD ought to put more effort into figuring out why there new rides spend more time on a lift than they do on pavement?

    Neighbor bought a new ride last year and that think has had more go wrong with it then one can imagine, electrical glitches, throttle problems, brake issues etc..Dude is past being frustrated not to mention that HD has one tech fixing bikes and that poor bastard is swamped, then there is the “well we cant get that part to fix your ride for three weeks” He was like WTF and that’s just a joke.

    HD dealers (not all but some) have lost their way, getting parts is a PITA because they dont have nothing 8 times out of 10, they have to order in thing that the dealer should be stocking for the rides they sell. Cant get that filter, no worries, we have some t-shirts and coffee mugs you can buy while you wait a week for that filter to come in.

    Not to mention the fact that I see more clothing and nick knacks on the sales showroom floor then I do rides, WTF is with that. Not to mention there are dealer who’s tech wont even go near a bike that is older because they have no clue how to fix them.

    HD biggest problem is that they have let quality slip on their bikes and those Chinese parts are just garbage, now it seems more the effort on HD behalf is lets slam em out as quick as we can and get people signed up for those loans thru HD Finance.

    HD dealers are the front line for HD, but there are some dealers that just dont give a rats ass after the sale about making sure the ride you bought can stay on the pavement parts department has no real stock because they have switched to the we’ll order it instead of carrying it and save money on our operational costs with less inventory on hand.

    Then there is the people they hire to sell the rides who have no clue about them and can barely answer any questions about them unless that question pertains to small, medium or large.

    There are some HD dealers though that are good and those are the ones that have been around a long time and have kept their people who have been with them a long time around because they know their shit. Parts can still be a pain in the ass to find because you have to wait for every fricken thing to come in.

    If HD really wants to survive stop using shitty Chinese parts, up the R&D on your engines and stop slamming them into production and then out to the dealers. Next get on some of your HD dealers asses to clean up their act and get knowledgeable people who know motorcycles working there and for godsakes carry some parts ( shouldn’t have to wait 3 weeks for a frickin oil filter) and get that tech who is working on bikes some help, you cant have 1 tech doing PDI and fixing rides and a service bay that is slapped full of rides waiting to be fixed and then a pile outside because the poor bastard is slammed.

    HD needs to find their way again, it seems now they are more worried about selling t-shirts, coffee mugs or key chains than there bikes, but that’s what happens when you put quanity before quality. HD needs to remember what got them such a loyal following and that was a quality built bike that can actually be rode and not on a lift all the time backed by dealer support with the parts and people to fix them that KNOWS what they are doing and no one should ever hear a dealer say “so what do you want me to do about it”

    HD has been down the wrong path for a long while, they need to get back on the right path from HD HQ on down to the dealers.

  35. One Eye Says:

    Ah, better living through denial. Who knew?

  36. Paladin Says:

    The only thing more embarrassing than Harley Davidson’s video is the fact that their 126 cubic inch engine puts out about the same amount of horsepower as my lawn mower. If anything is to save Harley Davidson, it will be the stone cold fact that no one ever went broke over estimating the stupidity of the American public.

    Instead of “All for Freedom. Freedom for All”, Harley Davidson’s new advertising slogan should really be: You Can Get Better Quality, But You Can’t Pay More.


  37. Popeye Says:

    I’m sold. Where do I sign?

  38. Nuke n' Pave Dave Says:

    Gloryosky, they’re saved! Boy howdy, am I sure glad I don’t have to to go rub elbows with the new improved generation of (ahem!) riders to get parts for the old flattie.

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