Harley Is Doomed

Thu, Jan 28, 2010

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Harley Is Doomed

Harley-Davidson Incorporated, the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer is doomed.

The confidant pitchmen now running the company into the ground understand that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong but they have absolutely no idea what the real disaster might be. Not even Willie G. Davidson, who has often been lionized as the savior of the company, knows. So the company is doomed.

Harley-Davidson is a deaf and blind man in a minefield. And, if you are a sentimentalist, if you are one of those people who got Harley-Davidson tattooed on your arm way back in the long ago, now you get to watch. Just watch. You can also jump up and down and scream, “Oh no, Harley! Don’t do that! No! No!” But it does not matter what you scream. Harley cannot hear you anymore.

Latest Bad News

Last week Harley announced that it lost $218.7 million between Labor Day and New Year’s Eve. Last year, when the economic meltdown had everybody in a panic, Harley made $77.8 million during the same three months. Sales were 40 percent lower this autumn than last year. Retail sales of “authentic Harley-Davidson” overpriced stuff fell 28 percent in the United States and 10 percent overseas. Twenty-eight Harley dealers closed in 2009. The company expects 15 more dealers to close in the next three months. Earlier this year the company dropped its Buell sport bike line and announced it was laying off half the workers at its York, Pennsylvania plant.

But the problems are really much worse than that because selling you a motorcycle and plastic bags full of “authentic Harley-Davidson” overpriced stuff is only half of the company’s business. The other half of the business is called Harley-Davidson Financial Services or HDFS. HDFS is the friendly “folks” who lend you the money you need to purchase a new motorcycle or an “authentic Harley-Davidson” leather jacket or whatever it is that the dealer has that you want. And, as sales income drops interest income drops, too.

“As we look at the year in front of us, we expect 2010 to continue to be challenging,” Harley boss Keith Wandell told investors last week. This week Wandell very publically demonstrated his confidence in Harley’s robust future by buying a thousand shares of his company’s stock, which probably cost him something like one half of one percent of his annual salary.

Outlaw Machine

Back in the 1990s Brock Yates, the screenwriter who gave the world Cannonball Run, very memorably named Harley-Davidson motorcycles the Outlaw Machine. It was a brilliant and incisive turn of phrase that described both the motorcycle and the real subject of Yates’ book which was actually “the long ride of the Harley-Davidson into the mainstream.”

That long ride began after the Second World War when restless and edgy veterans bought war surplus Harleys. The bikes were dirt cheap, easy to work on, went anywhere, ran pretty good and they were American. Some of these edgy veterans joined or formed clubs. Hollister happened and the more freewheeling clubs came to be called outlaws.

Which was also a brilliant and incisive turn of phrase. America still loved the idea of outlaws in the conformist 1950s. Bikers became outlaws because that was what the rest of the country really wanted bikers to be. Our tolerance for “outlaws” was one of the things that separated the good, old US of A from the “totalitarian states.” And, in the 1950s America still longed for the days of the frontier. The predominant television genre until about 1965 was called the “Western.”

Americans also still adored the idea of personal freedom, of just being able to take off and go somewhere without being tied down. America was the land of the fresh start before it became corrupted into the nation of free credit report dot com. One of the iconic TV shows of that era that was not a Western was called Route 66. It was about a couple of drifters who collected a lot of stories and broke a lot of traffic laws.

One of the best known novels of the 1950s was called On The Road. In 1960 the last, great, American champion of the common man, John Steinbeck, went on the road with a dog named Charley. He announced he was looking for the “real America.” In mid-decade Simon and Garfunkel released a hit song about going to “look for America.” And, none of this was ever considered pathological.

Motorcycle outlaws were all part of that vanishing Americana and Harley-Davidson more or less tagged along with its customers. The rule for the first patch holders was that prospects had to own a bike “manufactured by one of the allies in World War II.” Beezers, manufactured by British Small Arms, Trumpets and Indians were all okay. The Pagans started as a Triumph club. Harleys were the cheapest. After the hated Japanese started selling cheap bikes in the United States in the 1960s the rule eventually became you had to ride an “American motorcycle.” It was common in the sixties to hear, “I would rather see my brother dead than on a Jap bike.” After Indian went out of business that more or less meant you had to own a Harley.

Don’t let people kid you. The first two decades after the Second World War were a great time. At least compared to now. People still long for the country that America was before Vietnam ruined everything. Some people born after 1980 are still trying to live up to 1965.

Subcultural Commodification

One of the things that fell apart after Vietnam was Harley-Davidson’s business. All those war surplus bikes got used up. The new bikes were no longer cheap or particularly good. Only the outlaw mystique endured and when Harley came back to life in the 1980s it was because the company was selling the idea of the outlaw as much as it was selling motorcycles. Harleys became the Outlaw Machine because that is what Harley-Davidson wanted you to think.

If you couldn’t afford a motorcycle, the official outlaw company would sell you a tee-shirt. They cost more than just ordinary tee-shirts but that was only because they included a magic ingredient. The magic was, when you put them on you became an outlaw, too.

The simple fact is, Harley stopped being a motorcycle manufacturer long ago. For decades Harley has been a company that sells magic on credit.

Anthropologists call this magic business “late capitalist subcultural commodification.” And they aren’t just talking about making some money from the “biker lifestyle.” “Gangsta Rap” is probably America’s most important subcultural commodity. A close cousin of the ‘biker lifestyle” called “the counterculture” has become a most excellent way to sell boomers everything from organic produce to investment plans. An MTV show called Jersey Shore is currently hawking the “Guido lifestyle.”

The problem is that “subcultural commodification,” the selling of an instant identity, is at heart a pyramid scheme. The American economy is now largely based on credit and magic. And, that is the economic minefield through which the deaf and blind Harley-Davidson Company is now wandering. This magic minefield is the big picture Harley cannot see. All of those layoffs and unemployment numbers and diminishing wages are the big booms Harley cannot hear.

What Blind Men See

In the mirror of its own mind, Harley-Davidson thinks you are the problem.

If you work for Harley-Davidson you are the problem because you make too much money, your health plan costs too much and you take too long to build a motorcycle. If you want a big salary and health benefits why don’t you get a job as a prison guard?

If you are everybody else you are the problem because you are exactly who Harley still aims its motorcycles at. So you are too old.

“The Easy Rider Generation Is Aging” an investment newsletter recently advised its subscribers. The “massive drop in sales underscores Harley’s main problem; the company’s key Baby Boomer customer base is aging to the point where they’re trading the experience of roaring down an open road on a ‘hog’ for something more sedate like tooling around the links in an electric golf cart.”

Harley intends to “streamline its manufacturing” and what that means is the company intends to put more people out of work and cut the wages and benefits of the workers it keeps. The company also intends to “boost sales” by exploiting two new markets.

The first new market is women, and Harley doesn’t mean your woman. The company means women like Carrie Bradshaw and all the gang from Sex in the City. It has to be those women because those are the women who can afford to buy a Harley.

And, the second market is India. Harley is going to introduce twelve models for sale in India. India, makes sense because that is where at least a million American jobs in engineering, computer programming, customer service, phone sales and even the law have gone in the last few years. On the other hand, India does not make sense because the average salary there is only about $1,000 a year.

So the company’s future would seem to boil down to the question of just how much middle class Indians and upper class career women will be willing to spend for 600 pounds of outlaw magic? And, the obvious answer is Harley is doomed.

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246 Comments For This Post

  1. sled tramp Says:

    “Harley cannot hear you anymore”.
    Hell, Harley hasn’t listened to us for thirty years….India huh? figures..and yeah, as a matter of fact, I DO have a HD tattoo or two from many,many years ago.It’s really old, really faded and kind of hard to read now.
    Gosh, lucky for us ol’ Arlen is selling thos spiffy Victory bikes made by some snowmobile company.Next time I inherit a fortune I’ll be in line for one of those.
    Harley may be the promised land of glassy eyed converts in the R.U.B. world but I’d rather see an old scooter tramp puttin’ on a Dick Allen sled or NorCal semi stock Shovel than a happy CEO on a 2009 Road Glide.I’d cross the street to piss on the motor company these days if it would help what’s happened to our world.
    I’m not a fucking sheep with a million dollars to spend on a fantasy I ride from bar to bar on weekends or trailer to Sturgis.Those motherfuckers in HD have raped us long enough.I ride cause it’s my religion, not because I thought Dennis Hopper’s dick was bigger than mine…
    Piss on ‘em…
    sled tramp

  2. fayettenamhoe Says:

    i never thought of my self as “an easy rider generation” interesting? i have been a part of the stereo typical sleazey generation but that was even before me shoved an ole pan basketcase between my legs 30 sumthing oddball years ago, Harley lost their soul when they gave up on kick start motorcycles, 12 years ago i was in that big dirty campground at daytona watching fools buy t-shirts and belts and blingles, one of the lucky fools with his arms full of cheap goodies went to push the button on his chrome steed and it went crcrcrc, triple aaaa took 5 hours to save his soul, he was to daft to realize he could have pushed it off with a little help from his well dressed friends, but who would want to get their new outfit sweaty or dirty? no doubt harley forgets, they had a great run, but money means more to the fools that run that company into the ground than the machines that helped create a breed that others try to copy, theirs no life like the low life, harley should just try to be harley not an image of phoney idealism, “may we all rust in peace”

  3. laz Says:

    the only thing i’ve bought from harley in the last 10 years are spark plugs and oil filters and both were overpriced.i guess i’m part of harleys problem also.i’m a biker who works on his own bikes and i don’t plaster product advertisements all over myself.i’d wish them the best although i doubt they’d care.

  4. JAMES Says:

    Sounds like the end of an old long drawn out movie,or a dream.MAN still think back as a kid 12 years old when I first saw a real greasy assed outlaw biker on his stripped and chopped KNUCKLEHEAD, pipes 8 feet tall, long beard, greasy pants, engineer boots,waiting for the light to change so he could blast off, those were the days and that was what image I fell in love with and grew up wanting to be, went and got an old CUSHMAN and that was my first ride and I progressed from there.You want a custom part, fabricate it,you want a set of cool pipes, make em, do your thing your way. Sad to see those days of old gone and what it has become.

  5. ratbikejohn Says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. I can see nihilism is alive and well. My oldest bike is a 1945. My newest is a 2004. I have three others in between. Know what? Love them all. For different reasons. I have to laugh at the notion of a kick starter on my 113″, 11:1 big twin. I’ll bet a dollar to a dog turd that guy doesn’t have crank starter on his car. Indian Motorcycle went out of biz in 1953. However, I have no problem at all keeping my 1945 Chief on the road, with better than new parts. If Harley goes under, it will be a long, long time, if ever, Harley-Davidson motorcycles disappear from the streets of the world. The aftermarket will take over where Harley left off, if it comes to that. Which, personally, I really doubt will happen. GM survived, Chrysler survived, and so will HD. The world has changed since 1950, only an idiot would presume any business would not
    have to change as well to survive. As always, when it comes to Harley-Davidson, “love the machine, hate the company that makes it”. Has it EVER been otherwise?

  6. troyez Says:

    Harley is a blind man in the dark. Reminds me of a tune…

    Let ‘em die.

  7. DocB Says:

    Dear Troyez;

    I think we’ll just make you V.P. of entertainment around here.

  8. Goldsboro Williams Says:


    That was an outstanding piece of writing. Are you an aging rebel, or simply an aging philosopher? I wonder if I were to approach the gods at Delphi now, who they would point to as a wise man…

    You are right about the time after WWII. I can’t testify about the ’50’s, but the sixties were a great time to be a kid. Everyone I knew had food, clothes, and shelter, even if they were poor. My family was dirt poor, but I remember my family and most of the ones like us took great pride in working for peanuts, rather than living on “public assistance.” We were living the high life in a homemade house that my grandfather built himself on a hill in Ashland, KY.

    But we had lots of food, a small television to watch Bonanza and Star Trek on, and I had a lot more freedom to roam then kids have today. My main concerns were little girls, pretending that I was in the Leather Stocking Tales (before anyone cracks a joke that is a Cowboy and Indian reference), and reading about astronauts and space. Cars and motorcycles were objects that you worked on yourself, and a certain level of knowledge was expected out of any man with two hands.

    I also remember in the ’70’s the snide comments when someone would show up on a Jap bike. I also remember being confused as to why a Jap bike was “junk,” when my AMF-Voit Harley would not run…

    I was just called by a Harley dealer and asked if I still had my “metric cycle,” and if I wanted to trade it in on a Harley. He had obviously seen me one of the times I rode there on my KLR650 (Jap or not, it is fun as hell). I had to tell him that I had two Harleys, but that I bought them on Ebay because they were thousands of dollars less than what he would have sold them to me for.

    As such, it is their own fault. For pandering to yuppies and ignoring the blue collar workers who thought of “Harley” as iconic, rather than thinking of it as just another label that one should own to prove that you had disposable income.

  9. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    -Oh, on a positive note, maybe we will be able to buy Harleys on the cheap once they are made in India… It seems to have worked for Royal Enfield. Those people seem to love riding the Bullet’s that they make.

  10. chornbe Says:

    In recent years I’ve owned two Harleys and am mid-purchase on a Buell. My Sportster is a permanent part of my garage because it’s a visceral, fun, enjoyable machine that reminds me of years gone by, and the Street Glide, while awesome in many ways, was sold in favor of cutting costs and getting a lighter, less-expensive, sportier bike. (No, the Sportster is not “sport” – hence the Buell.) Harley does nice bikes, and regardless of what many people think, have been very successful at growing their business in the past 2 decades doing it their way.

    The “core buyers” – the guys all bitching now – are ones holding Harley back by insisting that the shaking, rattling, air-cooled engine is the end-all, be-all of motorcycling nirvana. I love twins; I think they deliver power in a more streetable, more user-friendly way than I4 engines, so I fully understand and support Harley’s desire to remain as faithful as possible to the iconic twin. However… people are nuts if they think the air-cooled, run-lean & hot toaster oven is going to survive in its current form for very long.

    Harley HAS to contract, Harley HAS to focus on the future. Guys thumping their leather-clad chests and hollering about ‘heritage’ are not the future. Neither are guys making $20,000 a year and taking out a 3rd mortgage or taking 10-year, 110% financing to buy a Harley. They either have to drop prices, or shrink and sell to more financially solid buyers.

    Does anyone truly see Harley dropping prices? No, me neither.

    Harley will survive and if they’re smart, they’ll do it by (FINALLY!) embracing a different subset of riders and actually listening to them… while still placating the ‘heritage’ buyers. But here’s a clue… re-dressing the Dyna and Sportster in YET ANOTHER “dark custom” trim package ain’t gonna get it done.

    XR1200 frame, V-Rod engine, the good suspension bits from Europe. Legacy styling plus all the modern tech and better engine (Yes, I said BETTER!)

    That’s a start. Trying to sell full-on sport bikes (Buells) inside Harley dealers was dumb. Just flat out stupid. Had they been putting them in dealers that are more used to selling sport bikes… Buell would be a household name for all the right reasons now. But… That ship has sailed.

    Harley’s not going anywhere. The question is, will they be big and strong and more diversified, or will they go back to the niche they once were?

  11. Stoney Says:

    I have two bikes, a restored 74 Ironhead and a 2009 yamaha V-star 1100. The V-star was a few $1000 cheaper than the comparable HD and looked, rode, and was better made.
    Around town and when I go to the clubhouse I ride the Ironhead but for longer rides it the V-star all the way. I would love to own a Street glide but not for what they want for it and the price to get it fixed when it brakes down (notice I said when not if).
    I think HD in as much trouble now as they were in the late 70s.

  12. sasha Says:

    However, marketing to so called upper class women is a very very different approach. Sex in the City type women, which you refer, shop from a very unique perspective. Yes, it’s about quality, but it goes beyond that, way beyond that. It is about the entire shopping experience in selecting something excellent, and then, it’s about the experience of bringing the excellent purchase to life.

  13. Jabba Says:

    The only bikes I’ve ever owned, or ever wanted to own, were Nortons and Harleys.

    Got on a BSA once, wasn’t the same. Rattled like an old amusement park ride.

    My first ever, serious, bike was a silver 1975 Norton Commando MK3.

    Had it from 1985 to 1989, sold it and got the bike of my dreams – my first Sportster, followed by a Night Train, followed by a Street Bob.

    HD’s were my fucking DREAM.

    Occasionally a (financial and mechanical) nightmare, but always a dream.

    I don’t give a shit about who else rides them, weekend poser or whoever the fuck they are.

    I’ve got mine and I’ll keep it going for as long as I can. I don’t clean my bikes as much I should, but that’s because we do too many miles and i’d rather ride than polish.

    If I can’t buy a Harley, or keep mine on the road, I don’t know what the fuck I’ll do.

    This post really has me worried.

    Honestly people, I’m a BRIT! Where’s your grief for an American icon fallen on hard times?

    Jabba – in mourning

  14. sled tramp Says:

    “I don’t give a shit about who else rides them, weekend poser or whoever the fuck they are”.
    “but I’d rather see an old scooter tramp puttin’ on a Dick Allen sled or NorCal semi stock Shovel than a happy CEO on a 2009 Road Glide”.
    I’d like to clarify something. Nor do I care who rides what.However, it is,in my mind,an indication of what has evolved in our culture when I see people trailering long distances,opening garage doors at length so we can all gaze with envy upon the unridden penis enlarger,never working on their own sleds,worrying more on forums about looks and lines than how their ass feels after 400 miles,testosterone glares from GQ faces only on sunny days….I’m fed up with the whole RUB thing because of how it’s affected the entirety of the experience.It ain’t like I’m special but I miss the honesty and the dedication through group cultural effort that allowed us years ago to arrive at a point where we felt something- both individually and collectively- that we seem to have lost forever in the present day.
    I don’t see Dick Allen walk into a dealer for a set of rings and then tear down his knuckle in the parking lot and fix it,rarely do I hear of guys hanging a tank off the tree and painting it with Krylon (and doing it well),when was the last time that CEO down the road changed his tire or for that matter, his oil?
    Not that one HAS to do these things but that it was a lifestyle of independence. Independent people who were self reliant and a culture that didn’t need anyone or anything else.We didn’t NEED the dealer to save us,we had each other.I did wired, you painted, he wrenched,she put out :-)
    We were generally poor,to a large degree wore levis and deck jackets rather than leather with the motor company logo,welding gloves in winter instead of electrically wired gloves,knew how to fix ourselves when we broke down in squat and gobble nowhere rather than call H.O.G. and use a credit card.
    Again, it wasn’t so much better as it was US. We had each other. While it’s certainly true that there are clubs and groups that share and work together these days, it ain’t the same by a long shot.Walk up to a group of peolpe one day at a rally or festival or whatever they call it and talk about bikes.Not model vs. model or do they like the position of the iPod holder, ask about valve lash or jockey shifts or springer flop vs. girders…it’s just a BMW or shiny go ride thing now.We all enjoy riding, the experience of road and wind never changed.That’s wonderful whether it be on a Night Train or a V STAR. But I lament the passing of the culture that we shared with Harley-Davidson.The team if you will.They survived because of us and we WERE us because of them.And likewe often see on this page, there’s a sense of betrayal and backstabbing in this and I’m not from a world that either understands nor condones that.
    sled tramp

  15. Jarv801 Says:

    As much as HD sold out, to an extent so did the outlaws. Once outlaws started making rules about American bikes, the outlaws gave HD all the fuel they needed to comodify the subculture. Outlaws were the ones that gave HD its monopoly and HD did what any monopoly would do — squeezed the consumer for every penny they could. But, since you had to have a big HD to be an outlaw, thousands of hard-working dudes kept buying what they sold. Rest in peace HD, but also rest in peace the idea that in order to be an outlaw you have to follow some rule.

  16. Jabba Says:

    Sled Tramp – I stand corrected. I see where you’re coming from, just never really thought about it like that I s’pose.

    Comes from being an ignorant bastard that never really looks beyond himself or family.

    Still, can’t help but mourn.


    PS. I aint gonna sell my heated gloves though, it’s fucking cold over here.

  17. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Dear Sled Tramp:

    I loved that post. Reading that post is a big part of why I’m here.

    I wonder if HD goes out of business, whether it will revive the culture you describe as those who are really serious about motorcycles find ways to keep their sleds running WITHOUT the company?

  18. puterindasketchief Says:


    Started on an ironhead, still miss my stripped-down shovel. Rode coast to coast last year, and damn-near border to border.

    Got a 2009 Road Glide, heated gloves, and a patch. Wouldn’t trade any of ‘em.

    My point? Guess I don’t have one of those.

  19. SWO Says:

    I don’t think that it matters what you ride, as long as you ride. This may be because I was not around for the glory days. I am a 28 year old Navy Officer and I sold my beloved truck so that I could purchase my first motorcycle. I have always dreamed of having an HD Heritage Softail Classic but with it being my first bike I settled for a Kawasaki Vulcan. It was much cheaper and is very dependable. I try to do all of my own modifications and maintenance (have not taken to a shop since the day I bought it), but know that if I have to, it won’t be nearly as expensive as it would be if it were an HD. I still dream of the day that I can purchase the Heritage and take a trip from coast to coast on it, but a Jap bike will do for now.

    I like the image of what HD used to be, the time period from before I rode. Hell, the time period from before I was born. HD needs to get back to that (and lower priced bikes) rather than trying to capture the eye, and the wallet, of upper class ‘Sex and the City’ types.

  20. PoorBoy M.F.F.M. Says:

    It’s a strange feeling looking around today and wondering what the fuck happened. I used to wear engineer boots, ( they cost $16.00 a pair at the army surplus store ) and levis so black with greese they absolutely shined in the sun. I held them up with a greesy old primary chain I ran through the belt loops. The other kids in school were growing their hair long, wearing bell bottoms and sandles. They thought I was a strange kid. I thought they were lames. I turned 15 in 1967. I got a summer job at a produce house and worked all summer, sometimes late into the night. At the end of summer I had $500.00 saved up. I bought a 1957 Panhead from one of the guys I looked up to. They called him Tom Thumb and he was a patch holder. I had been hanging around Thumb and some of his Brothers for a couple of years being a pest. I guess after a couple of years they figured I wasn’t going to go away so they finally started having me do things like polish chrome and run to the corner for cheese burgers. When I bought that bike I thought I had arrived. It was a sight too. It had a black frame, a flat red oil tank and rear fender and a chrome peanut tank and I thought it was the baddest thing on the road. I learned how to work on my bike and over the next year made some improvements, like a matching paint job. About the time I got my scooter looking presentable this guy started bugging me to sell it to him. At first I wasn’t even interested but every time I would run into this guy he would offer me more money for my bike. Finally one day he offered me $850.00. It was so much more than I had paid for it I lost my mind and ended up selling it to him. I will never forget the night he showed up with the money. He paid me and then got on MY motorcycle. He got it started and kicked it into gear, he took off like he knew what he was doing and then missed second gear and over revved the motor. He ground it into second, and then my bike was gone. That was one fucked up feeling watching someone else ride away on my bike and I swore to myself I would never do that again. I walked around with that $850.00 dollars in my pocket for about a month looking for another bike. One day I saw a guy on a nice looking panhead ( turned out to be 1954 ) and asked him if he wanted to sell it. He said it was for sale and that he wanted $750.00 for it. I told him we had a deal and bought my second panhead. That was in 1969. I finished off the 60’s, rode through the 70’s and 80’s and half of the 90’s on that bike until I finally let a Brother convince me to take a ride on his low rider. Damn, I didn’t know a motorcycle could feel like that. So in 1994 I bought a brand new FXLR. It’s fast, dependable and soooo much nicer to my kidneys, but you know, really, it just ain’t the same. I still have my old panhead and once in awhile I take it out of the garage and ride a real motorcycle. I’ll never sell it, hell I still think about my first bike that I made the mistake of selling, it’s engine number is 57FL6590. Anyone seen it? Harley Davidson ain’t the same company it was in the 60’s and the days of $500.00 panheads have been over for a long time. But damn, I sure am glad I got to live through those days. They were a fucking blast.

  21. DocB Says:

    hey Stoney

    About Harley quality! Muther fucker please!

    I rode pans and shovels till 2002. Ya had to work on em. Built my own engines and transmissions since back in the late 60’s. They weren’t all that well designed. The difference between these late motors and the early ones is night and day. You’ve got an obsolete Iron head that was marginal when new and a brand new un proven jap bike. Talk about what you have and leave my twin cam motor out. You don’t know anything about them.

    My 2002 Fat Boy has 158,541 miles on the original motor and transmission. Still got the original belt and clutch. Been all over this country and never had to be worked on to get home. My wing man has a 2001 Springer with about 130,000. Same deal. All original. Never left him broke down. A third brother has a 2001 Touring model with around 170,000 miles,same fuckin’ story.

    Put 150,000 on your Jap bike and we’ll compare notes. Until then you just don’t have anything to talk about except your own shit. Stick to something you know about.


  22. Stoney Says:

    About Harley quality! Muther fucker please!

    I rode pans and shovels till 2002. Ya had to work on em. Built my own engines and transmissions since back in the late 60’s. They weren’t all that well designed. The difference between these late motors and the early ones is night and day. You’ve got an obsolete Iron head that was marginal when new and a brand new un proven jap bike. Talk about what you have and leave my twin cam motor out. You don’t know anything about them.

    My 2002 Fat Boy has 158,541 miles on the original motor and transmission. Still got the original belt and clutch. Been all over this country and never had to be worked on to get home. My wing man has a 2001 Springer with about 130,000. Same deal. All original. Never left him broke down. A third brother has a 2001 Touring model with around 170,000 miles,same fuckin’ story.

    Put 150,000 on your Jap bike and we’ll compare notes. Until then you just don’t have anything to talk about except your own shit. Stick to something you know about.

    wow anger mgmt. might be a good idea.

  23. DocB Says:


    It’s OK now. I kicked the dog, went outside and found some total strangers to scream at.

  24. Rebel Says:

    Dear PoorBoy M.F.F.M.,

    Great post! Make me all sentimental and shit.


  25. Rebel Says:

    Dear Goldsboro,

    Yeah. You get it. Work with your hands. Know how to do things. Sell your labor not your soul. Stand on your own two feet. All that traditional, blue collar stuff.

    As for my point of view, I am just another outsider looking in. I have just always talked back, is the thing. It is my great character defect. Yesterday, I chose to talk back to the Harley-Davidson Company. I am pretty sure Harley did not hear.

    your pal,

  26. Rebel Says:

    Dear fayettenamhoe,

    “Rust in peace” in the best line I have heard all week.

    your pal,

  27. One "Selfish" Bitch Says:

    PoorBoy M.F.F.M – Love reading and listening to anything you have to say. Much respect for you always.

  28. troyez Says:

    Let me clarify my comment.
    I said “Let ‘em die.”
    By that I meant that I want the new RUB “biker,” culture to die (the culture that Harley propagated). Not the work on your own bike, get your hands filthy on the side of the road in the middle of the night on some lonely road in western Nebraska, ride 1000 miles with no windshield and love every minute, ride through Kansas twisters and torrential rain/lightning, get hit in the face with a crow type of lifestyle. Hell no! I love that stuff! So the Harley Davidson corporation is dying, so what. Everything we are talking about on this topic, the love of buying surplus panheads, wrenching on your own sled, freedom in the wind, is something that comes from inside each one of us, not from some logo! The logo is just a way of describing/representing what we love about the open road.

  29. Damon Says:

    Maybe this is what it takes. After ‘Harley-Davidson’ becomes whatever it needs to become to survive; when the last authentic OEM parts for air-cooled V-twins have rolled off the line and been cleared out of the warehouses; when the dealers finally stop servicing them; and the hobbyists finally accept half what they paid for their softails so they can make room for the new snowmobile/traithlon gear/powerboat; maybe then we’ll get back to something like PoorBoy and sled tramp are talking about. Swapping parts, making parts, sharing tools and garage space. It won’t be the same, it never is, but it might restore something of the same spirit.

    In times of great upheaval, people often revert to the familiar. That isn’t always such a bad thing if your ‘familiar’ is built around practical competence and a strong sense of community.


    Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.
    After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.

  30. sled tramp Says:

    Great thread.Many,many well said points and thoughts.Some of you guys ARE the guys I referred to and some are newer.All of us share the spiritual journey a bike brings no matter how we get there.BTW, so we’s clear…I love any v-twin.Don’t matter what.I’m open to the future but my left nut sez panhead, the right one flat head and I’ll leave alone what says shovelhead.This has been a great topic.
    ratbikejohn/Iaz/chornbe-guys like you thirty seven years ago are the reason I started out well.
    That’s a really provocative thought there.I really like that.
    PoorBoy M.F.F.M.,
    uh….are we maybe related,twins or separated at birth…?!?

    Thanks for making my day better people
    sled tramp

  31. Anonymous Says:

    I missed the glory days, I missed all the good times of being a Harley rider. I have paid too much (three times) for a motorcycle that some claim is inferior to a JAP bike. I am tired of hearing “It was cheaper and more reliable.”

    First off, a Evo or Twin Cam are very reliable as any real rider on here can tell you. I am willing to wager that the majority of you shaft driven riders all “customize” your JAP bikes to look like the Harley we all ride. If you want cheaper and “More reliable” buy a car. But don’t buy some overseas bullshit, and call yourself a biker. You can paint, chrome, or add apes to your turd, but it is still a turd.

    Here is my biggest problem, and it is with all products these days, not just Harleys. So many people these days would rather buy “cheaper, and better” and by doing so they are selling out our American work force to oversea markets. Our economy is in the dumps, local and USA businesses are closing, and the working man is losing work. All because it is cheaper to have some other country do our work. The reason this happens is because of all of you “cheaper and better” thinkers. You people are short term thinkers. You don’t think about how your logic is fucking up our nation and our culture.

    I may have missed the old days, but am I the only one who remembers the slogan “Buy American?”

    Have some pride for yourself, some pride for your nation and help support it. Harley may have never cared for us Outlaws but we have kept them afloat. And all you wannabes on your Shadows and Vulcans want to chim in on your opinion, well your opinion doesn’t mean shit to me, because you sold out our culture, our country, and think you should have a voice. Ride your Jap bike because it was cheaper, but don’t ever think you are the same as us.

    We buy American. I may not be able to afford a show room Harley, but instead of buying some over seas knock off, I have worked my ass off, saved every penny,made sacrifices and found deals and have gotten bikes for the same price as your JAP POS. what it comes down to is not “cheaper and better” but laziness and selfishness.

    Have fun wearing your star riders patch. I wear a three piece, and belong to an American club, and ride an American bike.

    Sorry for my rant… I am done.

    Sled- best post yet my friend, i enjoyed it.

    Poor Boy 1%er- Love your post as well big brother, I am sad I never got to experience those days.

    Happy 40th birthday to the great Mongol Nation!! MFFM

  32. DocB Says:

    We buy American. I may not be able to afford a show room Harley, but instead of buying some over seas knock off, I have worked my ass off, saved every penny,made sacrifices and found deals.

    you’re right, it’s not about cheap, it’s about soul………. when the motorcycle budget gets tight, cut back on non essential stuff like food, clothing, or housing. It’s always been that way for a lot of us.
    rely on yourself, your own inginuity, find a way, work harder and make it happen. It’s always worth more when you invest yourself in it and earn it.

  33. PoorBoy M.F.F.M. Says:

    I haven’t told anyone about that shit for a long time but after reading the ealier posts I thought this might be a place where I could do it. Looks like I was right. Thanks for the warm welcome.

    Anonymous – You might have missed my glory days but it sounds to me like yours are happening right now. If you love it keep doing it. In not too many years you will be telling some younger ones about the days back around the turn of the century, riding with your Brothers and raisin’ hell. My experience has been that whatever is happining right now, in a few years will turn out to be the good ol days.

    Sled Tramp – Possible, very possible.

    Selfish Bitch – Thank you sweetheart

    Rebel – My respect. Thanks for a great site.

  34. "Wild Bill" Says:

    I always liked Harley’s but have owned 6 jap bikes. They are cheaper to buy but last longer and you get a hell of a lot more for what you paid. I currently own a 2007 Kawasaki 1500 vulcan classic V-twin. The best bike I’ve owned. Sorry to hear about Harley but everything with H-D on it is very over priced.

  35. Bud Says:

    This has been coming for a long time. When I was a kid and went to the local Harley dealer there were a few bikes and sometimes there would be someone out front. Most of the time however you waited for someone to come out of the back with a beer in his hand, jeans stained with oil and brake fluid smellin like gasoline cus the guy that was wrenchin on the bikes is the same guy who was gonna sell it to you. You knew that you were dealin with someone who knew what he was talkin about.
    Now you you some button down sneaker wearin yuppie greetin you at the door like your lookin for a table at a restaurant. And if you need mechanical help you dont get a mechanic, you get a “technician” that unless youre there for routine maintenence covered on your warranty or sales agreement your gonna have to take it back at least once to get it done right (personal experience on more than one occassion).

    Hopefully this will be a wake up call and Harley will realize theyll have get back to basics and support the biker who rides not the poser who smiles.

  36. not-a-hippie Says:

    Good post, Rebel.

    A few months ago, I went to my local HD, filled out a credit app, and sat back and waited for the rejection. Man, I haven’t had a straight job in 20 years, so who would lend me jack?

    HD Credit approved my credit application. wtf? no shit? no way! 30k credit? They are insane. I mean seriously off the beam. Bat shit crazy.

    I didn’t get the new bike. I could’ve got it, sold it, and kept the money, but the sales manager is a retired patch, so out of respect, I didn’t do it.

    I’ve got two already, anyway: a V-Rod and a Vulcan 500, both I paid cash for (guess which one gets ridden the most). That statement right there kinda dooms HD’s business model. This badass doesn’t need new, doesn’t need credit (heh), and sure doesn’t need a marketing ploy to prove myself to anyone.

    RIP Harley. See you in the next reincarnation.

  37. DirtyBruin Says:

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if Harley ran into further trouble … and somehow wound up in the hands of real bikers. Some who “remember when,” and some with ideas to catch the interest of younger folk.

    For myself, part of the reason I didn’t buy a Harley is that I didn’t want to be seen as a RUBbie. I do my best not to deceive myself and I know I’m not “hardcore” the way some others here clearly are. And frankly – I’d rather not deal with the folks who can’t see past the brand to the person on the bike. [I do find one aspect of Honda’s “more traditional than thou” design of my VTX a little annoying; most Harleys have had fuel injection available for some time … and yet the VTX only comes carbureted.]

  38. TLW Says:

    It is entertaining to see how many people buy into the HD marketing BS. I ride for the ride, not because I have to have an HD to feel like a man. Ride what you want, but if you have to finance a motorcycle with a 12 year loan then you are a dumbass lemming wanna be “biker”

  39. JAMES Says:

    POOR BOY MFFM. hell yea those days were a blast, I wouldn’t trade those memories for a whole new life, even though bikes are better built and you can buy whatever or however you want one to look, I always loved to wrench and fab my own parts that you just could not walk into a shop and buy from a catalog.Just took some of the fun out of things as many of you can relate to if you have anything you tinker with that is unusual as to say, H-D in the sixties just didn’t have alot of stuff and custom builders in CENTRAL U.S.A were far and few if any, so you had to depend on your skills to make custom parts, I loved my old rigid framed H-D’S and love alot of the new ones too,hopefully H-D won’t disappear.Also “HAPPY 40th MONGOLS M.C.” FROM JEFF1%er MONGOLS M.C. OKLAHOMA

  40. pb68slab Says:

    What goes around , comes around. 10-15 years ago , Harley was selling bikes for sometimes $5000 over MSRP and some dumb bastards were foolish enough to wait on a list for 2 years to get reamed.
    Now they have 2 year old leftovers.

    Seems more and more of a HD is forgien made parts , ‘Assembled in USA’ is more like it.

    Most dealers won’t even work on ‘non-current models’.

    A few years back , I got a flat on my 1968 FLH on a trip. Tore the valve stem off the tube. So my wingman found a local HD dealer , called on he cellphone , and they asked “what make and model bike” I replied “Harley FLH Electra Glide”. So they came and got me. Made a big fuss that I couldn’t stay in the service bay. 10min later , they came to get me because NO ONE knew how to remove the rear wheel! School was in session as I explained all the details of a 40yr old Harleys rear wheel and drum brake. They didn’t even have a 7/16 allen/lug bolt wrench. Which I always carry.
    As I was paying the bill , I joked with the service manager that he should comp me for teaching his ‘technicians’ about old bikes. He replied , not joking , that if I told him it was a 1968 Electra Glide , I’d still be out on the turnpike!

    Back in the late 70s-early 80s , my local HD dealer would occasionally give his good customers a free T-shirt when ya spent $50-100 bucks or so.
    Now they want $50 for a shirt!

  41. Rebel Says:

    Dear pb68slab,

    Yeah, I am also a connoseur of Harley dealers and thinking back on three dealers that helped me out over the years just illustrates the problem. The three I will always remember fondly are Kingman Cycles, Chick’s in Albuquerque and Bud’s in Dodge City. Problem is, those three dealerships, in order, are now “Mother Road Harley-Davidson,” “Thunderbird Harley-Davidson” and “Dodge City Harley-Davidson.” No offense to any of these fine corporations but I felt more comfortable dealing with guys named Chick and Bud.

    your pal,

  42. Mikonos Says:

    HD evolved and sold out to the marketing department. Porsche did the same thing. At the risk of seeming like a yuppie jackass I’ve owned several of those. The 84-89 911’s were purist cars, race cars you could drive on the street. Noisy, hard shifting, oversteering mechanical wonders, if you learned how to drive them they were an absolute blast and different than any other car I’ve driven. I could never afford a new one so I bought good used and maintained them myself…which was still a lot of work but not expensive as the fundmental mechanicals were bulletproof and rarely failed. Anything that wasn’t related to going fast was an afterthough…stereos and air conditioning (if you could find it) sucked.

    Haven’t owned one since 1999. The company philosophy historically was endurance racing and everything they learned went into the cars. Since 1995 they have steadily evolved to plush interiored, cup holder everywhere fancy stereo mid life crisis solution for fat professionals and executives. They lost their soul.

    American Big Twins had a similar arc…described well by Rebel in the post. But not sure its completely gone. I had a 2002 Indian Chief and absolutely loved it. The 100 inch engine was a section of a big Pratt Whitney Radial from WWII. I had to fix all the nickel and dime issues with it and had the engine rebuilt (properly) by Blackhawk but that thing was a machine! Also push started that damn thing for a couple of months because I couldn’t find the time and $$$ to replace the starter…that’ll keep you in shape. Worst day of my life was day I sold it for financial reasons.

    So dreaming again…the 2009 Road Glide and Road King look pretty nice, no? Still have the old school look, sort of hot rodded out, nice size (but not too big) motors, nice balance of parts and doo-dads stock and priced way below a couple of years ago.
    I think the water cooled VRod type motor and bike is the ABSOLUTE antithesis of HD…but the core big twin models seem ok.

    Am I missing something? Have I become the middle aged guy stuck in the pyramid scheme?


  43. Rebel Says:

    Dear not-a-hippie,

    I do not own my bike. A corporation owns it and I am somehow connected to the corporation. No one really knows how. And, I paid cash. And, it is amazing how much these two little details inconvenienced the “fine folks” at the dealership where I purchased my current bike. They acted like they thought I was some kind of odd ball, or trouble maker or criminal or something.

    Also, I am the world’s worst motorcycle mechanic. My favorite thing to say when I work on my bike is, “DOH!” But I have an awful lot of tools and my garage is kind of a museum of motorcycle parts. So I guess I’ll be alright.

    Although, I actually have been thinking about getting a V-Rod. How do you like yours? Can you put saddlebags and apes and forward controls and a bitch pad and a sissy bar and a luggage rack on them things? How are the seats? I need a good seat.

    your pal,

  44. Rebel Says:

    Dear Troyez,

    “Hit in the face with a crow.”

    I hit a jay once. Pretty sure it was a jay. It was Kansas and it seemed to be stupid scared of a jayhawk so I am guessing it was a jay. I did not quite catch it all. At the time, I was just thinking, “Look at them pretty sunflowers…. BIRD!!!” Had a helmet on and I managed to get my head down. Bird shit on me as it died. Had a sore neck for a week.

    Just thinking about a crow makes me sore all the way down to my toes.

    your pal,

  45. Grumbler Says:

    The perception that metric cruisers were more affordable and reliable than the comparable Harley-Davidsons might have been justified a decade or so ago. Now, I don’t think so.

    During the high demand/low supply cycle (2002 comes to mind) with stealers charging $4K above msrp, you either grabbed your ankles and passed the vaseline or went elsewhere. Used Harleys cost more than the msrp for new ones then.

    As far as supporting Americans by purchasing an American motorcycle, this is a global rather than localized economy. Harley uses a lot of imported parts on their motorcycles, and just by checking their MotorClothes, you can see labels from other countries.

    Owned a ’86 Gold Wing which was built in Marysville, Ohio. It supposedly had more American sourced parts than a Harley. However, Honda ceased producing motorcycles at that plant. I put 100K miles on that bike, and sold it in 2003 for $2,500 less than what I paid for it in 1990.

    Haven’t done any actual research, but I *think* most metric cruisers are assembled in Japan and loaded onto container ships. The cargo is then off loaded by longshoremen in American ports and loaded onto semi-trucks and/or trains operated by Americans. Those motorcycles are delivered to American owned dealerships with J-brand franchises. Those same dealerships employ Americans. In fact, more Americans work for imported motorcycle dealers than Harley dealers.

    When referring to metric cruisers as being cheap knock offs of the real thing, it’s more like expensive Big Twin knock offs these days unless they’re in the same displacement category as the Sportster.

    Why did the Big Four start producting knock offs? Because there was a demand for them. Many of those who purchased metric crusiers called them Harley should’ve beens back in the 90s. Liquid cooling and other high tech features in a more affordable and supposedly reliable package was a major selling point. Didn’t hurt that some of them, such as the Vulcan 1500 Classic and Road Star 1600, were real nice looking bikes.

    The current generation of J-brand metric cruisers don’t do anything for me. They’ve gotten too expensive and their styling themes are AFU vs the old skool designs of the two bikes I mentioned above. Then again, I don’t care too much for the Victory designs, either. Harley got it right in my book.

    Harley has evolved into better and better motorcycles over the past decade and, in some cases, are more affordable and reliable than the comparable J-brand. The base 2009 Dyna starts at $11,999. That’s a great price.

    If the MoFoCo would get away from those gigantic department store dealerships with high operating costs, the dealers would be more profitable and able to weather the storm far better while retaining their employees.

    Am tapped out. Gonna head out and buy some American beer.

  46. not-a-hippie Says:


    After reading your yet-another-HD-bashing post, I was once again annoyed at HD.

    Check this out….The reason I like Google is the homepage is simple and the results are accurate and fast. Kinda what I expect from a motorcycle company. HD is more like a than a Google, see?

    I don’t know about custom, except for removing the logos and other identifying marks from these bikes, I haven’t customized them.

    The V-Rod is great. I don’t do more than 400 mile road trips–round trip to the nearest big city–so the sport bike is what I like. It has a Euro-feel (Porsch frame, maybe?) that I get off on.

    The Vulcan 500 is a simple classic. Built for around town, I can park it anywhere and forget about it. This bike is so quiet, I can follow behind a jogger and not be noticed.

    Hey, I may be a dinosaur, but Im no fossil.

    Google Up, Harley and get back to basics.

  47. Big Bagel Says:

    A detailing of HD’s present financial troubles and more favorable spin on HD’s future financial prospects.

  48. pb68slab Says:

    Back in the 90s , Harley had lots of cash to spend on an army of lawyers to look at almost every independant motorcycle shop. Usually acting on a report by a disgruntled HD boutique , any one with an ‘improper display’ of their trademarked logos , names , colors , etc , was met with legal action. Many independant shops who bought out stocks of genuine HD parts from defunct dealers back in the 70s , were informed they could not display anything HD for sale because they were not authorized HD dealers. Not matter how old the stuff was.. I even know of tattoo shops that got visits for having flash of HD logos on their walls.

    They even tried to sue most aftermarket parts manufacturers and suppliers like S&S , V-Twin , STD , the Hog Farm , Hog Hollow (now Fog Hollow) and others. Claiming they hurt the Company with inferior knock-offs. These companies made far higher quality parts than HD , and kept old iron on the road and the Harley legend , which they cash in on every day , alive! The aftermarket keeps my old bikes rolling. I’ll never buy a new HD from a dealer. And since they don’t have anything for my Pan or Shovel , I don’t need them. And anything I need for my ‘new’ ’97 ex-Police Roadking , I can get from my local independant shop.

    They got too big , too greedy , and now are paying the price.

    Well , maybe future generations are. I’m sure the Board of Directors have a good Golden Parachute package after they sell the remains of the company to Honda.

  49. troyez Says:

    So, what I’m hearing from most of the brethren here is F.T.F.

  50. pb68slab Says:

    troyez Says:
    January 30th, 2010 at 5:39 pm
    So, what I’m hearing from most of the brethren here is F.T.F.

    Back in the late 80s-early 90s , FTF was the cry of the old Iron Horse magazine. That and flying yer Harley patch upside down. The ‘factory’ has fucked itself , and us. I’ve been to Milwaukee and York ‘assembly’ plants. Not much is actually made by Harley anymore. Frames and sheet metal are about it as far as I know. Darn near everything else is sub-contracted or outsourced. Even the Twin Cam engine cases are made by Mercury Marine. Take one apart and you’ll see their logo cast in.
    Showa forks , Kayaba shocks , Keihin carbs , Hitachi starters , Nippon Denso electrics seem to conflict with the Red , White and Blue , Stars & Stripes and Eagles they so proudly adorne their merchandise with.
    Did I mention the ever failing IMPORTED INA cam bearings that still plague the new T/C motor. Torringtons are made in the USA and never fail.

  51. DocB Says:


    Yeah, they even tried to trade mark the “HARLEY SOUND”. The point was made that if NBC could trade mark their tri tone sound of the 50s and 60s Harley could own the potato-patato sound. LMAO


  52. Muck 1%er Says:

    Fuck Harley and their yuppie fuckin stores. I’ll never be buyin a new one. Since I graduated to an EVO I have gotten spoiled. I can”t say as I miss workin on the old pan or shovel, with the primaries off and the engine torn halfway down in the blisterin heat or cold ass rain alongside the freeway. Trucks blastin by a couple of feet away, blowing dirt, leaves or water into yer parts n shit while you’re just tryin ta get home.
    The advent of aftermarket manufacturers and dealers, pretty much garauntees that I wont be buyin jack shit from the stealership for a long time. Fuck…I don’t even run a Harley motor in my frame anymore. Gots me one of them S&S supersidewinders.

    Happy 40th to the Mongol Nation
    Muck 1%er

  53. kz1000st Says:

    Not once during any of this did I see Victory mentioned. They are American. They build bikes with specs they can be proud of, for the same price. Harley should have built them that way first. Americans CAN build good motorcycles, Harley chose not too

  54. Jabba Says:

    This is gonna be unpopular.

    I paid about $16,000 CAD for a 2009 Street Bob last year, about half the price of the same bike in the UK, when we moved to Canada. Got the money from selling a Night Train and an old Saab 900 back in England.

    Rebel – Yep, I was treated like a drug dealer. “You have no CREDIT CARD sir?”

    “Nope, I’ve just moved here and I have no credit history.”

    “Ah, but we need a card for a deposit.”

    “Look, I want to pay everything now… in cash.”

    “But we need a credit card for a dep…”

    Oh fuck… I’d have had less trouble stealing the fucking thing.

    But this is my unpopular bit. I’ll always ride a Harley. I used to drool over my uncle’s as a kid. I used to go to meets with him, and him and his mates would take me for rides before I was big enough to get on one by myself.

    I helped him in his garage, stripping his bikes down and always tinkering with something. If he didn’t have the tool to do a job, he’d make the tool to make the tool.

    I don’t know shit compared to him, but I know I love everything about the bikes that I’ve had, and I could have fucking exploded with joy the first time I opened up on the Canadian highway.

    And I’m even stupid enough to try and ride the fucking thing in an Ontario winter.

    Frost-bitten balls not withstanding.

    Can’t see I’ll ever change, no matter where I can get the bike or parts from.

    The bike’s are a bit like my family. They cost me fucking thousands, I can be shouted at, abused and generally fucked off by all of them, but I’ll stick with them until they put me under the dirt.

    Must be some sort of fucking idiot.



  55. Snow Says:

    Damn it, it was bound to happen, little family owned shops that bought locally and supported the communities have been replaced by these giant gaudy boutiques that’s all clean and shiny, maned by people who really don’t know shit, WTF??? Times have changed, most people don’t work on their stuff any more, gotta have a guy to call to get tings running again…We are truly in bad times, America no longer produces goods, we consume them. The well paying jobs are disappearing overseas to cheap labor but the prices for goods keep rising, how is that possible? I have had a love/ hate affair with HD for a long time, it is the bike I ride, it is the bike my son rides, hopefully it’s the bike my grandson will ride, but don’t give me that Genuine Factory shit when the box says made in fucking Taiwan. Sorry about the rant, I feel better now…….

  56. Goldsboro Williams Says:


    Your assessment of the showrooms as “gaudy boutiques” is dead on. The dealership close to me is a showroom/clothing store/garage. The first two parts of it remind me of the place where my wife shops for clothes and the place where she gets her hair done. The garage is a little better, but even it is set up to look “trendy.” I don’t have anything against a place being clean, but these are designed to appeal to wealthy yuppies who want a summertime hobby, and not to folks who are looking for a preferred mode of transportation.

    Someone else talked about their prices… I just bought a polypro balaclava at the Army/Navy store for $5. Good quality and it covers the whole neck. A similar one at the Harley store is $35. Of course, it is stamped “Harley,” so it must be worth an extra $30

  57. Bud Says:

    When you walk into a Harley shop the H-D now stands for Hundred Dollars cus thats at least what youll spend on anything

  58. Vacuus Cura Says:

    Dear Jabba,

    “If I can’t buy a Harley, or keep mine on the road, I don’t know what the fuck I’ll do.”

    I have one word for you: Triumph.

    If the MoCo doesn’t seem to want you as a customer, then buy from someone who does.

    Vacuus Cura

  59. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    Vacuus Cura:

    I really like the T100 and the Scrambler. I took a friends for a spin last fall and it was great. Light weight, very maneuverable, and a lot of fun to zip around on. Quality was good, and functioning was equally fine. I spent a care free afternoon on it. Very nice. Then again, I’m only 5’8″ (if I stand up tall), so I gravitate towards Sportster sized bikes.

  60. Rebel Says:

    Dear Bud,

    And, I still go to the Harley dealer and spend money just to keep the dealer going. Not as much now as some other times because I have less now. But it has always seemed to me that that was an obligation, to try to throw the dealer some business. So I buy plugs and oil and filters at the dealer even though I know I am overpaying for them. Sometimes a tee-shirt. I do it the same way that I always throw the bum a buck.

    Something Harley has seemed to forget is that it has survived because its core customers have felt for decades like they had a stake in the company. The company has been one of those things certain types of people have felt intense loyalty towards. Before tribal tattoos, people would get USMC and Death Before Dishonor and Harley-Davidson put on their arms. Nobody ever tattooed Ford or Chevy or IBM on their arms. Nobody ever tattooed Kawasaki on his arm.

    Harley is squandering that good will.

    your pal,

  61. pb68slab Says:

    Rebel , I beg to differ. I know quite a few old time hot-rodders that have the Chevy Bow Tie or blue Ford oval inked on their tough old hides. My Pop had the V8 emblem from his ’32 on his arm. A guy I work with even has the Porsche emblem.

  62. Beowulf Says:

    HD is just like all the other major corporations who forgot where they came from and who put em on the fuckin map. They just couldn’t be satisfied with the people who were with em for the long haul, they wanted to cater to the yups who jumped on the damn bandwagon. Well I hope they are happy with their over-priced bs. I actually walked in a dealer yesterday that was having a mini swap meet, only because I knew somebody who was gonna be there. Bottom line is I had to put my shades back on when I walked in, spotlights, neon, wtf I couldn’t even smell any grease or oil. I definitely wandered into a strange place. Won’t be back there anytime soon.

  63. troyez Says:

    I know exactly what you mean! Every time my cousin and uncle want me to go to an event at the local HD store, I say “nah,” because the place just reminds me of a mall store! You’re right, you can’t even see the service area, let alone get a whiff of grease, and they keep the grease-monkeys in the back (the “customer service” people are squeaky clean). And I haven’t even touched on the prices! Taiwan-made, but with “Harley” sticker prices; no thanks, I’ll order from Jireh and pay much less. Oh yeah, that same HD dealer put the little shops in the area out of business, so I HOPE HD bites it so the little custom shops will open up again!
    I’m with you Beowulf, I won’t be back to the local HD dealer anytime soon.

  64. not-a-hippie Says:

    Hey, a Kawa tat? Set in a background of rice fields, maybe?

    Y’all trying to make me feel guilty for owning a Vulcan 500, ain’t ya? It ain’t gonna work. I’m my own man, pay cash for everything, and keep the lights and the ol’ lady turned on, most of the time.

    Shoot. I own a Harley. Can I help it if there are better in-town bikes? Can I? Huh?

    Alright, I’ll go buy a fucking Harley t-shirt from the dealer….geeeez. No guilt here, huh?

  65. Rebel Says:

    Dear pb68slab,

    You are right. I have seen those. I just haven’t seen one in so long that I forgot I ever did.

    your pal,

  66. Jabba Says:

    VC > You know, when I landed in Canada, top of my list was the new bike. First really “NEW” bike, straight from a dealer I’ve ever bought. Never had the money before.

    Old lady wishes we never spent the money now.

    But there was never any other bike I even considered. Yeah, I know bikes. Like rebel I’m a crap mechanic. Two left hands and ten thumbs. But I keep two wheels on the road and haven’t had to take a bike to anybody else (with the exception of a few friends dropping by to lend a hand) EVER. In four years, my old Night Train did more than 190,000 miles with me in the saddle all over the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

    Triumph – yeah, popular in the UK. Good bikes, can’t see anything wrong with them. They’re probably cheaper to run than the Street Bob and all the rest, but… every time I swing a leg over her, I think to myself, “When I grow up, I’m gonna have a bike just like this.”

    Sorry people, but for each of us, our bikes mean a whole mess of things. A lot of these we share, that’s where we get a sense of brotherhood, it’s what makes us share heartfelt condolences, on this same site, for people we’ve never met but we know what makes them ride.

    Our history on the other hand, is our own, we share a lot of it, a lot of us have lived through similar times, but the badge on the tank when I looked over my uncles shoulders as I bought him another cup of tea, or another bottle of Guinness, while he was working in a sea of parts and grease (often in his mother’s kitchen) late at night, wasn’t a Triumph.

    One said Norton, my first said Norton, the rest were HD.

    Can’t help it. It’s more than a bike. It’s more than just my main means of transport.



  67. Roach Says:

    I have owned both metric and HD’s and gotta say that my metircs were cheaprer, more reliable, and I liked them more. I just bought a 2010 street bob and while it is a nice bike, i wish I still had my metric. the only reason i own an “american” bike is because of my club.

  68. The Creep Says:

    My Sporty is the second bike I have owned thus far and my first Harley. I built it out of wrecked bikes, a Paughco frame and some clever DMV paperwork. 20,000 + (I have no speedo and thus no odometer), the bike still runs great. I don’t have the money to go buy a complete, running HD. Nor do I have any desire to own one. I’m way too cheap and don’t like my stuff to look like other people’s stuff. Still though, I have some friends that ride Kawasaki’s, and they can’t wait for the day when they can afford a Dyna or a Road King.

  69. fayettenamhoe Says:

    i seen to much, it blinds me, all the whore mongers that build total garbage out of useless crap at a nickel on the dollar then pass it off to some unexpecting fool, i mean total garbage that has no rite to be on the road, look on ebay and most of those preety preety things with brite shiney chrome are aftermarket cosmetics and torn out cases and reground cams rusty gears and pure shit, that are pitted to hell, i know because i know some of these dirtbags that build them from shit, a paint job won’t get you home, but then i’m talking about antique shit, 1930’s upt 1970 shit, never buy an old bike even from grandma unless its in pieces, dam i just shot myself in the foot, harley is to blame, they used to build a motorcycle worth stealing, now its just a babe catcher and a false ego filled with viagra for those who wished they were poor, when i used to go to swap meets and buy stock fenders and linkert carbs for 5.00 apiece and was laughed at 30 years ago, hahahahahahahahahahahahah, i loved all that rusty metal those ape hangers could’nt wait to get rid of, fuck the t-shirts and the cooly looks, i built all my junk out of 1 piece at a time, fondeled every part as if it were a woman, it made my wife jealous, but she encouraged me, it kept me out of the white mans jail, i think i just shot my other foot, damn, to bad i sold the sidecar, hahahahahahah any way $20.000 on a sporster is a liitle much plenty good used parts out there just fondle them, building a hog ain’t that expensive, the past is just around the corner, just write ole H.D. aletter and tell them they lost touch with us knuckleheads, and don’t tell them i said to fuck off

  70. fayettenamhoe Says:

    hahahahah, if you are flat black on two wheels, you always be guilty of a crime you never comitted, the cool wore of years ago, go teatch another, tell them its hard out here, nite or day get used to the put down, it will never go away, Harley was easy its the Bullshit that gets thick, the man the man. the man the man. the man, the hardest part of Harley has allways been dealing with the MAN, that hate of the midnite ride, going , and going and losing the followers

  71. fayettenamhoe Says:

    my wife married a whore, and so i be one evryday

  72. Mikonos Says:

    Jabba, great quote:

    “Sorry people, but for each of us, our bikes mean a whole mess of things”

    My mess of things (opinion):

    To me the American VTwin is American. The metric knock-offs just don’t make sense. Like a fake Rolex. Even if they handle better, are higher quality, more dependable (all debatable) I still would not ride one…no character, no soul.

    Not completely against metrics either, I’ve owned Honda VFR800’s, RC51’s, Ducati’s and others but those were sportbikes…they have their purpose and are fun to ride but I tire of them very quickly. Much rather be on a big VTwin cruiser through the twisties scraping the floorboards than be on a sport bike.

    That’s why I don’t get the VRod either. No offense to the owners out there, I realize they are great handling bikes with lots of power but it’s the crossbreeding thing. The Japanese making HD knock offs is sorta like the VRod being an HD Japanese knock off…easier when everyone stayed in their respective corners.


  73. chainsaw Says:

    The fact is, a motorcycle is a recreational item for most riders. Very, very few people use a bike as their primary means of transportation. RVs are getting hit hard in this recession because they are not a necessity, they are a luxury. Same with motorcycles.

    When times got tough over the past 2 years, a lot of weekend riders sold their rides. There have been a lot of good deals on used bikes so buyers passed up the expense of a new bike further cutting into HD sales.

    Just like the RV manufacturers, Harley is going to have to weather some tough times but I do not think they will go under. But you never know. In any case, HD is not targeting the 2% of the population that uses a bike as their primary means of transportation, they are targeting the 98% of riders (purchasers) who use them recreationally on weekends and vacations.

    By the way, the real RUBs are buying $50- $100,000 custom bar hopper choppers, not Harleys.

    All the Harley owners I know make good money, but are all working men. One of the best things about riding a Harley is that Harleys bring all types of people together. A great writer like Rebel can be drinking a beer at Sturgis with a guy who can’t hardly write his name and yet they get along great. Plumbers, engineers, mechanics, computer programmers….. it doesn’t matter, everyone seems to get along when they ride.

  74. BabyDave now in Indiana Says:

    Hay there: I have had a time reading all these posts. And, as I was reading I was thinking about a lil talk I had with the factory Rep that was at Daytona Harley during Bike week in 1999. My wife God bless her, had set it up for me to buy a “new” Harley the summer before. [1998]. Ya see we had just got our self’s married, in may of 1997, and as many of you can relate I’m sure I sold my stash of parts and my bike. Which I had been collecting for years. Well, I sold all my stuff, so we could start our new life free from debt! I payed for our wedding, our honeymoon, and a big down payment on a house. I felt it was better to be debt free than start out swimming in debt!! Anyway, I’m an over the road trucker, so I make a fair living and my wife does well also, so I come home one week end and she says lets go for a ride. So, we end up at the “Harley” dealership, and I’m blown away that she has set it up for me to pick out any bike I want!! Well, I guess she knows I been jones’in ’cause I started riding in 1979 and like I said its 1998 so I been riding for a while, But it’s been several months without a bike!!
    So, I looked over the stock and finally decided on a used [8 months old]
    Ex, police bike [road king]. Now hears were the storey comes back around, I rode the piss out of this bike, living in central Florida, ya can ride every day of the year!! So, anyway, were at Bike week like I said and I’m up in Flagler Beach, that’s about 25 miles North of Daytona when the bike just dies?? WTF, it cranks over, but no spark?? WTF. Well, I end up having it towed to Daytona H/D, and after waiting all day they finally get to looking at it and tell me it is the crank positioning sensor, [it’s an injected bike.] So, now here comes the RUB, they tell me it will be $150.00 plus tax??? And, to that I say It’s a new bike, it’s only a year old, surely it’s under warrantee?? OHHH, no they say that was null and void when “you” altered the bike!! Well, I responded by telling then that I bought most of those parts from them, like the stage 2 kit, which I put on myself along with the BUB mufflers and some other things!! Now there stance was that even though I bought the parts from them, that I put them on myself “voided” the warrantee?? WTF ?? So I bitch back and forth and fight with the service mananager, and he isn’t budging!! Well, the “Factory Rep” was on site so my wife found him and told what was happening and he came over and talked to me and the dealership people and then sided within them. Well, I went into asshole mode and started to get really pissed!! Anyway, they said they would pay the labor if I payed for the part. So fearing that was the best I was going to get I said, OK, but this is where I had the talk with the Rep and told him “that the “Motor Company” had forgotten who brought them to the dance and that someday all the gold card yuppies would go bye, and all they would have left was guys like me who rode because we live it 24/7/365 and not just play dress up on weekends!!!And that if I had bought a Honda or Yamaha they’d bend over backwards to fix their 1 year old bike on warrantee!! He says to me that maybe I should have bought one of them instead!! That they didn’t want people like me anymore, messing around working on their bikes and changing them!! WTF ?? So ,anyway I still ride my “Harley” I have several, but I’ll never ,ever, buy another new one !!
    I’m fine with my old shovel and iron head, and that pan I’m building this winter!! So, I know this rant has been long, but it’s all to say this!! We, only have the power we take!! And not give away!! You vote with your dollars, and I’ll never spend another at any dealership!
    With the “Harley” name over the door!! Any of Ya ASSHOLES at the “Motor Company” read this; I hope ya all go to HELL!! hope Ya enjoyed your run , I for one am glad it’s over, lasted a lot longer than I ever thought it would, just goes to show Ya how damm stupid the American people have become !!! Harley will and needs to go the way of the pet rock and the mood ring!!! GOOD BYE AND GLAD TO BE RID OF YA!!!

    One last thought, Thanks to all the lil shop’s and parts manufactures out there!! Keep up the good work!! Ya keep me and others like me in the wind!!



  75. BabyDave now in Indiana Says:

    Hay: Forgot to say ” That when Motorcycles are outlawed only OUTLAWS will have motorcycles !! Ride free, ride hard, party till ya drop !! there will be time to sleep when your dead !!!


  76. Big Daddy Says:

    Well, does this mean we can stop saying – “15 grand and 1500 miles doesnt make you a biker” any more.

    All i can say is good for them. I have a 99 Road King and plan on being buried with it. The price is what makes me walk in, and right out of a dealership. AMERICAN GREED.

    Build another version of the V-Rod and charge some hard workin dude or dudette 30 G’S for it. Im sure theres a NEW batch of yuppsters waitng in line, just to buy it – so they can say they did – and park it in their garage for show – then try to sell it to the workin man who made the bike what it is – for the same price they bought it. sorry, ya’ll this pisses me off.

  77. Grumbler Says:

    Mikonos: The metric knock-offs just don’t make sense. Like a fake Rolex. Even if they handle better, are higher quality, more dependable (all debatable) I still would not ride one…no character, no soul.

    Some metric cruisers are more visceral and emotive than others although we do have our share with zero personality. Depends on make/model.

    I recall getting on a friend’s FXR for the first time in early ’90s … it looked and sounded like a Harley, but it didn’t *feel* like a Harley as it was too smooth compared to my old Shovelhead.

    One of the more interesting bikes that I ever rode was a black Norton 850 Interstate (demo ride) in Santa Cruz. It was loaded with character, had gobs and gobs of torque, and smooth as silk vs my old Triumph 650/750 Bonneville.

    Did a demo ride on the ’96 Triumph Daytona 1200 (I-4 motor) more than a decade ago, and it definitely had a personality to go with all that power which put a shit eating grin on my mug.

    My old ’86 Gold Wing had the personality of a fridge. No real bond btw man and machine. Was a great all weather commuter and did more than my share of mirror clinking from balls of front brake and clutch levers while lane-splitting in the Bay Area.

    BTW, wish if the MoFoCo would offer a base FLH without the bags and ‘shield. A stripped Road King with better looking side covers comes to mind.

  78. Grumbler Says:

    Chainsaw: One of the best things about riding a Harley is that Harleys bring all types of people together.

    Had a real sense of brotherhood back in the good old days. We’d stop whenever we saw a stranded rider. These days, not so much. I recall a friend with FLSTN unable to start his bike near Jackson one Sunday afternoon a bunch of years ago.

    That was during Street Vibrations in Reno with hundreds and hundreds of HD riders heading home via Carson Pass. Care to guess how many of them stopped to help him out? NONE! Man, he was totally POed about it.

    Finally, a guy on a J-brand sportbike stopped by to give him a hand.

    Too many cagers are masquerading as bikers.

  79. fayettenamhoe Says:

    me i’ll just file my points and move on, a chain here and a quart of oil there, a liquor store before it close, a job? i got used to no money, maybe i just scared of bikes with brains, with out kickstarts, points, and easy living, i would get lonely, poor is easy

  80. fayettenamhoe Says:

    a long time a go a blind man, could build a harley, before money took it over, druugs and profits, they foget about haert, us poe people still remember ‘ trust, before profit, and i lie

  81. fayettenamhoe Says:

    doomed, i’ am , lost in a flock, no try, no more, allways picked out—- i’ am, flat black is not easy while those collorfull bikes fun down the rousdy , looking for freedoms, and profits allong the way, fuck me poor fits my wardrobe


    The HOLE HD dug itself will soon be filled by its competion. Being a rider for only 30 years now at the ripe age of 40, in 79′ I had no clue of HD , Honda or any other make of MC. All I knew is when I got on that blue metallic HondaCB, started it with a kick and having to rock it off the center stand and let off the cluth at the same time the tires hit the ground because i was to short to touch reach the earth I was Free. Never had I had a smile from ear to ear so large. To go what I thought at the time was fast and ride around my lil world not knowing of the recent past of the Vietnam War, riots, racial tensions, hippe movements or the hostages in Iran, didnt care didnt give a shit. I was nine and I was riding. Years went buy and I kept riding a grocery list of all types of motorcycles or at least the ones I could afford!. Always wanted a Harley or Indian but instead I had to eat. Id ride from So Cal to visit family in West Texas on everything from a CBR900rr to a 750 stand up enduro. No matter what the weather and Id always try to out do my last time to get there faster gasssing and going, stopping only to eat and fuel, to broke to buy gloves Id wear socks to keep my hands warm and slip newspapers inside my hand me down leather jacket and do my best to kiss the tank and stay out of the wind in 40 degree desert nights. Then Id see those big comfortable cruisers ride by on occasion.Thinking of how someday, somehow on my military paycheck Ill save up enough to buy one of those big Harleys with the large tanks, windscreens, low revving V-Twins and saddlebags to carry more socks! Shit. almost twenty years later I finally got around to buying a American made Bike like I always wanted and out of all the dumb shit things to do I bought a off the shelf chopper. I could hear the money getting sucked out of my wallet, now knowing why some bikes had to have tool bags attached to the bars. Never on any other foreign horse did I ever have worry about breaking down, no matter how many miles I put on the shoes. With this long stretched out fat 280 tired pony I got to turning wrenches and keeping certain tools I always seemed to need not to mention a tube of blue thread lock. I remembered some of the stories of ol timers and how they had to wrench on their pride and joy on the side of the rode, most of the time in the shittiest of weather and always having to keep checking and performing constant maintenance. Before they ever dreamed of cell phones to call for help and the nearest phone could be half a state away waiting for some dimes and nickels . Now here I am doing the same thing. I rode that beast from CAL to Florida and back to CAL. took me 34 hours just to get to San Antonio ( piss on that 3.5 ga tank and 30 MPG when your doing 80), but I kept her running strong and earned the respect of some ol timers along the way. THEN IT HIT ME!!! like a big fucking brick in the face and yes Im a bit slow and cant spell for shit! but it hit me. WHY?!?!?!?!?! Why would I pay so much hard earned cash for such a uncomfortable and unreliable piece of American made machinery? At the same time I learned to respect those before me that didnt have the options of riding in comfort. My next awaking, I decided to buy a HD, something for the long haul, I tried them all , street glide, ultra, kings, and then went back to trying some foreign crusiers. Now Myself Im not one to be questioned as far as my loyalty to country and American Pride, being a young VET of Desert Storm and a old Vet of Iraq, I just never had the money to save up for a HD especially when they produced so few and jacked the prices up comparable to a nice new car with a five year warranty even thou Id take the HD over a cage any day. But man do the other bikes leave HD in the dust as far as performance and price!! And PlEASE dont give me the HD BS of holding its value! I can by a jap bike at 12000. loaded without having to but all the HD bar and sheild accessories at over inflated and most of that stuff is now made in china… and in two years re sale that “jap crap” at around 6 to 8g. A fully loaded HD 20,000. plus and re-sale at 12 to 15g. 6000.00 is 6000.00 give or take but it hurts less when the initial price is less than 15000.00 loaded and the monthly is less, more realiable, less services and better performance. But my heart couldnt buy a overseas bike as a V-Twin Im the proud owner of a Chevy Truck made in LO. and a chopper made in Texas, so I bought a Victory. Much better performance, less in cost and maintenance and leaves HDs looking like their going in reverse when haulilng ass up those mountains or when passing slow traffic, modern up to date designs, some taken from the other competition out performing HD. Hey the stole HDs basic design why not steal some technology back??? And this is why HD is going to fail. They will not change to what bikers, riders, MC enthusiast what ever the title you want to give them, what they want today. Powerfull, reliable, affordable big V-Twin fun. The type of fun that puts that smile back on that 9 years olds face and has him grinning from ear to ear as his AMERICAN MADE MOTORYCYCLE is scraping the floorboards on every sweep. Dont get me wrong Im a fan of HD but untill they pull their head out and give the people of today what they want not the rider of the past with the wrench in his hand wondering WTF! on the side of the road, HD is simply going to follow the ways of other American Companies gone by and Die. Harley Davidson make America proud again and bring badass back to the orange and black.

  83. Mikonos Says:

    Grumbler, good points. I tend to be a bit high level and judgmental on some of this stuff, bikes should be judged on their individual merits. Triumph Speed Triple has some character as well.

    I like the idea of the FLH without bags. I had a 2002 Indian Chief Roadmaster and was great that I could dress up/down including taking the bags off without some funky shocks being exposed.

    Was in the custom business for a few years and we did a bunch of different softails and hardtails around Diamond chassis frames with 96 – 124 motors. My favorite was our cheapest model, hardtail chopper with just a little bit of rake on the front end and a 250 rear tire and 113. The thing handled fantastic, cornered on rails. Not a daily or a distance bike though. Seams in the pavement tough for a 47 year old with a bad back as well….

    Factory bike I would take a new Road Glide, I really like that bike (sorry to the FTF guys…I think the factory got that one “right”…excepting you can’t pull the bags off). If I built my dream bike it would be a Chopper Guys FXR frame with a 103 twin cam or a 113 evo. I’m 6’2″ so the newer Dynas just feel small.

  84. sled tramp Says:

    A) Thank you for your service.(Air..BORNE all the way.
    B) I loved that post.
    sine pari,
    sled tramp

  85. troyez Says:

    I also enjoyed your post. I read it and felt as though I was looking in a mirror. I started on the jap bikes when I was about 12, got an 1976 Iron head Sportster next (broke down more than I rode!), and bought a chopper when I got out of the Army (more reliable, but still need the blue tube in the toolbag). Now, I’m seriously thinking about a Victory. Heck, Sonny Barger has one (and likes it), you like yours, and I’m sure I’ll like mine when I get it! Thanks for your story.

  86. Doc Jones Says:

    Does anyone remember the “Tote Goat?” That’s the first bike I ever rode. It was bulky, low geared and made to travel up hills. I worked for a guy who worked up the mountain behind our home but some of his tools were located down by my house. I was 9 years old and I would bring him what he needed and my pay was I GOT TO RIDE THE TOTE GOAT!! I was in heaven. I loved that slow little bike!! Then my dad bought me a mustang three wheeler for 50 bucks. This was when I was in High School. My dad was an asshole and beat the crap out of me almost daily until I was a senior. Anyway, my dad wouldn’t let me ride the Mustang very much so I would ride it anyway while he was at work. Then I bought the most beautiful black and chrome Moped that anyone ever laid their eyes on. I bought it from a kid in High School for 15 bucks!! I rode that beautiful machine in the field behind our house almost everyday and I could even get it to go up small hills. One day when I came home from school my dad was waiting for me and when I walked through the door he smacked me in the mouth. That’s when I grabbed him by his throat and slammed him on the floor and said ” if you ever hit me again you cocksucker I’ll beat the shit out of you!!” That was the last time he ever hit me. Anyway, I went into the Navy and became a corpsman and was stationed at Mare Island in Vallejo, Ca. That’s when I met the first club member. Those guys were big scary guys and I wanted to be just like them. I was always treated with respect and started doing a few things. I ended up stabbing a guy to death but I always held my mud and earned a lot of respect from the club. Hell, I didn’t know anything but I didn’t rat. I was charged with murder and my dad hired me a great lawyer and my charge was reduced to involuntary manslaughter. I could go on and on but I’m certain that nobody gives a shit about my life. The bottom line is that I bought my first Harley, a 1971 police special and I’ve always rode a Harley from that point on. I’m still taking my pain meds for my shoulder surgery and I kinda got on one. I’ve felt for awhile now that I’ve connected with a few of you who write on this site and for one reason or another I wanted to share a little about my life and how I started riding. Thanks for putting up with my ramblings!!


  87. Mikonos Says:

    Dear Doc,

    Thanks for bringing back memories! My first ride was at 12, a used Solex that had the two stroke motor mounted above the front wheel that you raised and lowered by hand…had a rubber spindle that turned the front tire. That thing was a blast and boy did I feel like “the man” buzzing around on that thing while my buddies were on their Scwhinn’s. Graduated to a 100cc “Indian”. Funny because when people say Indian I always ask “slurpee or casino?” (I know, bad joke) but this was both as an Indian company was building small scoots under that brand. That’s where the running from the cops all started…

    Thanks for taking us back.


  88. sled tramp Says:

    “I went into the Navy and became a corpsman and was stationed at Mare Island in Vallejo, Ca”. Huh….. We may know each other…
    Those pain meds are interesting aren’t they? Threw mine away last week.Just now getting back to normal-well, at least as normal as I get…
    sled tramp

  89. DocB Says:

    Dear Doc

    My old man wouldn’t let me get a scooter when I was a kid delivering papers in the neighborhood. I had a bicycle and a horizontal shaft lawn mower that I made money with in the summer. Took the motor off the mower and with the help of a bowling alley mechanic mounted it on the bike with a belt and centrifigual clutch. Didn’t go very fast and had very little power, but I can still remember the feeling of riding free for the first time without peddeling. Never got over that feeling…….

    I enjoyed your post. It’s my memory that back in the late 60’s the first 1%rs I ever met were basically un-aproachable. Me and some of the guys I grew up with eventually got to know them ’cause we just wouldn’t go away. Some joined clubs, some didn’t, but we all learned some old school values.


  90. pb68slab Says:

    Gotta say all this Shovelhead bashing is way off base. A Shovelhead , put together with good parts , by a good mechanic who really knows his shit , can be as reliable as anything out there. The new S&S Shovel motors are very good indeed.

    It’s just that there’s too any hacks , just slapping them together with the attitude that ‘this don’t matter , that don’t matter , ya ain’t gotta go thru all that!’ , doing it on the cheap , with inferior parts , after too many beers and joints.

    Yeah , a lot of the stock HD parts were crap , poor quality aluminum castings , poor assembly. But with todays good stuff from S&S , STD , Jims , and a few others , them ‘old’ Shovel , Pan and even Knuck motors can be great reliable rides.

  91. John Cokos Says:

    WEll…. I’m Tanned,I’M Rested and ready to Blog !

    HD…I brought a few pair of Riding Boots a few years ago’s, the price was right and after all it was HD. Being too anal to throw anything away, went out a few days ago and got a new pair for $120.

    I looked inside the boot, “MADE IN CHINA”. I guess I’ve been out of the loop, I just couln’t get past the idea that HD would sell boot’s that were made there. I felt a little shitty and guilty at the same time because I purchased them. Force of habit. I think if I

  92. sled tramp Says:

    I are now, have always been, and will always be…
    A Shovelhead guy.
    (The fact that I currently ride a Street Bob is explained by my refusing to take my own good advice…).

  93. Doc Jones Says:

    Sled Tramp,

    I was stationed at Mare Island in the early 70’s. I was a surgical tech. That’s when I caught my murder case that was reduced to involuntary manslaughter. Could we know each other? Also, thanks for mentioning throwing away your pain meds. It’s about time for me to “man up” and get rid of mine.

    Never heard of a Solex. What a cool story!!

    I don’t know how you got that bike running but how cool to first come up with the idea and then actually build it!! You beat the crap out of American Chopper. Get on Bro!!

    I loved my Shovel!! I’m with you!!

    John Cokos,
    My son in law bought me a pair of those made in china Harley boots. I have to say, they are the best boots I’ve ever had. Damn, I wish could have said something different!!

    Thank you to everyone on this site and especially to Rebel for putting it all together. I’ve learned a lot and it’s a blast to hear the stories. Even the guys who post ideas that I don’t agree with…….I respect your freedom to express your thoughts and I’m glad that you do.

  94. Grumbler Says:

    Speaking of Shovelheads, have a blog of our 1979 Feather River Loop on, you guessed it, Shovelheads! … other than a mikuni carb and glasspacks, it was box stock in the engine department. Needed top end job at 33K miles (180mi a quart). The oem top motor mount was a flimsy POS. After it cracked, got a big, thick and chromed aftermarket motor mount. Did all the work on it except for 16->19 front hoop. Used to go to the HD dealer in Sunnyvale until they went TU.

  95. sled tramp Says:

    I had a REALLY (REALLY) shitty morning….made the decision among other things to put a dog down,and that wasn’t the worst of it.Then I clicked on your link.
    I’ve been sitting here trying to tell you something but it gonna come…
    Thank you.
    sled tramp

  96. sled tramp Says:

    You remember a guy named Kenny from Alameda? Rode a 1976 FXE and then a 1980 dresser? Worked out at Traders for years.

  97. troyez Says:

    Sled Tramp,
    Sorry about your dog.

    And, throwing away your pain meds is a bold, tough move; it’s something I want to do, but they’ve got their hooks in pretty deep and it’s winter in Illinois, so the pain/withdrawal would be bad. My prayers are with you, and I know they’re heard. Be strong and let us know how you’re doing. If things go well for you, I’ll give cold turkey a shot.
    Your friend,

  98. Grumbler Says:

    Sled Tramp – Can’t say that I do. Only knew two people in Alameda, a stripper and her BF. Sucks that you had to put a dog down. BTDT with our Siberian Huskies 3 years apart. Mare Island, a good friend of mine, Eddie (’86 FSXTC), was in the SBU there, and got into a drinking contest with some Navy SEALS. He won.

  99. sled tramp Says:

    Thanks for the kind words guys.Roughest day I’ve had in months.
    Grumbler: Unfortunately, she was a Siberian.I’ll miss her singing.I worked with Master Crank Butcher of the Vallejo SBU out of Mare Island.SBU 11 PBR jockeys. Good guys.
    Troyez: Yeah…I miss them little buggers…but it was for the best.My mind is messed up enough all by itself.My people are from southern Illinois around Carmi so I can appreciate your situation.
    Again, I greatly appreciate your thoughts.On top of everything else,I went out to go for a ride to let off some stress and my fucking seat retainer snapped so it’s bungee’d on….shoot me….

  100. troyez Says:

    Sled Tramp,
    Carmi, huh? I have some friends from down there (Carrier Mills area), I wish I could get down there more often in the fall to see the Garden of the Gods – stunning scenery and great riding!

    This is off topic, but I thought you could use some laughs:

    Conan O’Brien interviews Hunter S. Thompson and they go drinking, while shooting – fun stuff!


  101. fayettenamhoe Says:

    i remember, harley don’t —seems to me a that if a bunches of us old fools were to hobble. (cough cough) ride , push my ass, (cough cough) to york P.A. and rip that slimey bastard out of his easy chair and explain, (nicely) with a gun to his head –=—+++ Harley Davidson would soon build a motorcycle that would be fitting for even the skateboard child, and it could be worked on easily, and i Don’t mean polishing chrome, simple, basic no bullshit motorcycles, with all this TECHKNOLOGY , children would like to ride too, but for some reason harley whoreporation, excluded the future, relizes upon old men to jerk off in the closet, getting paid to kill an icon, a thing of the past? willie G. is a butt fucking asshole, or are you willie? dumb ass rich stupid, your superglide idea was ugly too mutha fuka,

  102. fayettenamhoe Says:

    at least i got parts to last a life time, why try to catch up, life is easier in the slow deaf dumb and blind lane, drugs are better when your a corporate whore with out a care for a motorcycle company that gave and gave into an image instead of its soul, to bad, ebay sells parts, Harley was the most stolen bikes in the u.s— even the thieves had class

  103. pb68slab Says:

    John Cokos & DocB (and everyone else)

    For over 30 years I bought nothing but good ol’ American made Carolina boots. Bought a pair of sub-zero insulated loggers come fall and a pair of unlined linesman’s in the spring. Didn’t even need to try ‘em on , took the same size for years. They fit and felt oh so good!
    Two years ago , I noticed that ugly Made In China tag on the boots , even though the box still had an American flag!

    Price didn’t come down any , went up in fact , over $150.
    ‘Bout a year ago , I noticed some damn nice looking loggers at a local farmers market shoe shop. Yep . made in China , but they didn’t hide that fact. They are just as well built as my Carolinas. Could even be the exact same boots made by the exact same chin’s. Price , – $50!

    Point being , whether it’s Harley Davidson Motorcycles/Motorclothes , or Carolina boots , if ya think yer doing a good thing by buying an all American brand from an all American company , yer probably not. Yer padding the pockets of the same people padding their own pockets by shipping our jobs overseas , putting our fellow Americans out of work..

  104. sled tramp Says:

    Yep, all gone or going.Danner and Wolverine went to China so I no longer buy those for work.There are some that make Engineer and loggers that still make them here though.You might check our WESCO or White’s among others.In the end, a cow is a cow and linen thread is all the same but If I have a chioice I’d always buy here than theirs.

  105. DocB Says:

    Dear pb68slab

    I don’t particularly have a problem with China. I don’t have a problem with “Jap Bikes”. I just don’t know much about them. I know they are inexpensive, and seem to be reliable. I think that’s just wonderfull.

    I’ve known for years (since Showa tubes started showing up on Harleys)
    that Harley Davidson motorcycles are partially made somewhere other than the good old USA. I don’t really care. I ride Harleys because I’m familliar with them, have all the special tools I need to work on all the models I’ve ever owned, and I like the way I feel when I ride them. Likeing the way I feel when I ride them is everything. I don’t care about much else.

    As far as Made In America goes, here’s what I think:

    We’re engaged in a world market. The Idea here is to sell what you make to somebody else. That’s where growth comes from. Sell more overseas than what you buy and the country gets richer. If you only buy what you make in this country, at some point it gets to be like bathing in your own bath water.

    Anybody that has a problem with the trade defficit ought to stop shoping at Wally World and all the other companys that support the import market, and sell something to a Chinaman. We all know that’s not going to happen.

    My point here is there are some things you can do something about and some you can’t. The trick is to fuck with the shit you can change and leave the rest alone.

    I’ve enjoyed your posts and look forward to reading more of them

    Yer Pal Doc

  106. Doc Jones Says:

    Well, shit!! I still can’t deny the fact that I really like my Chinese Harley boots. Also, my first Shovel was a 1971, you know, AMF. That damn bike leaked oil and it wasn’t that reliable. Actually it wasn’t reliable at all. I was always working on it and changing it around. Being a Police Special, I had to strip it down and make my first chopper. I heard all the stories about when AMF took over they ruined everything and that 1971 was the worst year of all. It seemed only natural that my bike was such a pain in the ass. It was AMF’s fault. Looking back on things, I now realize two things…….I didn’t know what I was doing and I was a whacked out speed freak!! Maybe, just maybe I had a part in my bike fucking up all the time. I put straight pipes on it and it was so damn loud that you knew where I was when you were miles away. It didn’t perform that well though but damn, it was loud!!

    These days things are different. My bike sounds great and runs great. It was the first new bike I ever bought. I have a 2005 Fatboy and I love it. I found out that loud doesn’t equal power. I’ve learned so much over the years and when I look back at my past I can see how stupid I was!!

    I still have to say that I love my Chinese boots that my son in law bought me for Christmas.


  107. Grumbler Says:

    Sled Tramp – we had to have the vocal cords of our Sibs cut as the neighbors were complaining about all the howling they did. The cords eventually grew back.

    Back in the early ’70s was roaming around Santa Cruz with a friend one cold winter night. We spotted a dead cat on the road. Since we were bored, we used an old towel to put in the trunk of his cage.

    We drove around pretty much all night trying to figure out WTF to do with that cat. Dawn was breaking. Had my friend pull over at a coffee shop with an enclosed newpaper rack. Dropped a coin in the rack, got the paper, put the dead cat inside, and closed the rack.

    Someone certainly got a surprise when they grabbed a dead cat instead of the morning paper. We were laughing our fuken heads off on way back to my digs.

  108. sled tramp Says:

    Yeah….I’ve had to dump strange pussy in some weird places before I headed home at dawn too over the years….
    sled tramp

  109. fayettenamhoe Says:

    i like that dead cat story, reminds me of lots of the hell in ,…;’later

  110. c8652 Says:

    We have done and survived some dumb shit. You all make me laugh! I still get that ‘first time’ thrill every time I get on my bike. Every time.

    Thanks for the laughs.


  111. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Dear Sled Tramp:

    I was sad to hear about your dog; that sort of thing always hurts. I’m glad, though, to see that despite everything, you’ve kept your sense of humor. Hope things look up for you.


  112. troyez Says:

    Sled Tramp,
    How’s the no-pain-med thing going? As a show of solidarity, last night I took half of my normal dose and couldn’t sleep! Good thing it was 10-15 degrees this morning with the wind howling straight out of the north, or I would’ve fallen asleep driving that skidsteer! Who needs coffee when you’ve got winter wind blowing straight south out of Chicago?! I strongly prefer summer winds chock full o’ bugs out on the Great Plains, thank you; that’s what I was thinking this morning as my face thawed, but I digress. Hang in there brother. I’m pulling for you.

  113. Mikonos Says:

    DocB, you’re spot on with the analysis of World markets and selling more than you buy. US GDP is $14 trillion and 25% of the world. Next largest economy is Japan and it is only $5 trillion. More importantly the US is the global center for innovation. Americas intellectual property dwarfs every other country. As an example Apple computer does $60B a year in sales. They develop and engineer the products here and have them contract assembled in Asia. They have sold 250 million Ipods, mostly outside this country. The high value jobs are here, the profits are here.

    Global warming is driving innovation in renewables (I don’t believe in Global Warming but if Owl Gore can push it for energy innovation that weans us off our oil addiction I’m all for it). Energy independence can stop us from paying half a trillion a year to the Arabs for our biggest import…oil, while they build indoor ski resorts in the desert with the money you pay at the pump. This will go a long way to fixing the trade deficit.

    Yes we do outsource manufacturing to Asia but many foreign companies have operations in the USA. My Toyota Sequoia was built in the Carolinas. Furthermore as China and Indian economies grow their wages go up and things become more expensive. The company I work for used Indian market research firms that five years ago did the work at 25% of what it would cost here. Now it’s about 70%, to the point that we are bringing it back over here…not worth the trouble of coordinating work 12 time zones away.

    The above makes me sort of indifferent to where things are made.

    Now back on topic. Rebel is right that HD is “doomed” inasmuch as the baby boomer demographics are working against them. Women and India can’t fill that hole. The brand is iconic and will be around for a long time but will find it difficult to grow.

  114. sled tramp Says:

    “It’s more like it used to be than it ever was…”

  115. fayettenamhoe Says:

    my apology, some of you good people write some realy nice blogs, i have to admit it, its hard to see the reality on the street, tunnel vision, i love the internet, i hate technology when it comes to motor vehicles, leave that to the bitch on the cell phone when they blind, i traded 200 dollrars and a few bike parts for an old truck , file the points, them old trucks, only one harley is all that matters , had 7 harleys 3 more in pieces, the paranoid man will self destruct, the hatred follows you,one by one, and a piece at a time, its a desease, a curse few understand, all my cars trucks are old, i hate Harley stores, i hate people, just ask the dead ones, follow me to the cemetary, shut up and listen, they do speak,

  116. fayettenamhoe Says:

    fuck the topic, ride that bike

  117. fayettenamhoe Says:

    its cold and snow outside, maybe go into the garage and jerk off on the bike, give a new spot job, fill those dents with go go juice, —————fuck, its better than porn

  118. fayettenamhoe Says:

    one meal a day, i wish that Harley company would think like that, ???????????????????????????????????????

  119. DirtyBruin Says:

    sled tramp: I forget the attribution, but I’ve always loved the line “‘Normal’ is a setting on a washing machine, not something for a human being to aspire to.”

  120. Possible Fucktard Says:

    Don’t know when they first went public but since they got their first patent Harley has been a business that has to turn a profit in a competitive market. Now they are a global corporation. Without geek engineers and accountants and bankers making some unpopular decisions( and milking customers every chance they get) they would have disappeared years ago like every other US motorcycle company. There was a time when they were struggling and their only loyal customers were a few stubborn diehards – strongly blue collar, tending to be patriotic and mechinically inclined. You know the type because if your on this site you are the type in many cases. I remember those days too and I recall a lot of chopped Jap and British bikes but not for these guys. If Harley could have made a living off them they would have. They went on to become the old schoolers of today. Some are still on the same machines they rode then. Some may still be paying them off. Or on the dodge for not paying them off. They’re all still working on them. These guys did much to create the Harley myth and feel they are owed something but the company can’t survive selling them antique parts at swap meets. The MoCo grabbed a market niche where they could out do the Japs based partly on great bikes, partly on their history and unique position as the only domestic manufacturer and partly on their reputation as being the first choice of all the better bad boys. It worked so well they came back from the brink to dominate the heavy cruiser market and become the darlings of the Fortune 500. It worked so well the Japanese began to build their bikes to look like Harleys and capitilize on their history. Harleys, even the Harley clones and fancy customs became mainstream status symbols appealing to a more affluent clientele that pumps money into the industry but is thought by some of the old timers to be diluting the culture by attempting to buy into a lifestyle without having paid ther dues. Harley wants them to believe to get their business. If they can sell motorcycles by marketing fantasy they call that a good thing. People want what HD has for sale – even when they can’t afford it and that’s true for many right now. There will always be a demand for Harleys and they intend to be there to fill it for a long time to come. If certain business practices are unpopular with some longterm loyalists, they’ll live with that in order to appeal to those who can actually afford their product. They remain a dominant force in the industry and intend to continue. Rebel admits he buys their overpriced imported tee shirts even though he doesn’t want to. Is this loyalty or something even deeper: guilt over not feeling loyal enough? Only a powerhouse brand could inspire such behavior in such an independent old cuss. All respect Rebel, just using you as an example. Now about the V-Rod. If you love kickstarts, hardtails, fishtails, apehangers and oilstains you WILL NOT like this bike. Too smooth, too hi tech. If you can settle for something modern,fast, powerful stylish, versatile, comfortable, reliable, nimble and fun as hell you might like it. Plus it’s great fun thinking up smart ass replies to all those who don’t know what to make of it. HD is the only source for a lot of the parts and you can expect to wait to get even basic stuff. It’s fuel injected and computer controlled and not easy to diagnose some types of problems – the computer chokes on simple mechanical stuff, you still have to figure it out like a detective. Some things never change Just like finding the loose johnson rods and left hand monkey nuts on the old bikes. These are the only types of problems I’ve had – hard to find but simple to fix. However, the chance of fixing it on the side of the road (at night in the rain, uphill both ways)is iffy. It’s not easy to work on or find someone who can – around here it’s hit or miss with the dealer, just like it is with the classics. They get about 30 – 35 MPG so range is an issue with the early models with 3.7 gallon tanks. After the first couple years they came with a 5 gal. tank but they don’t retrofit. They had to spread the frame and raise the seat. A 5 gal tank to fit the old models is available from V Mods but it’s expensive – about $800. I use mine as a road bike so this has been an issue but it’s so smooth and comfortable I like it for long rides as well as short fast ones. It does a lot of things well but no matter what pipes you put on it will never say potato potato. Now they offer a wider touring seat, windshield, floor boards, crashbars, and longer handlebars for a more kickbacked position but you have to change out all the cables too. Guess I’m not the only one usindg a thoroughbred for a trail horse. Sorry for being so long winded but I have a lot of time right now for lurking on websites and writing long messages. Thanks for an informative and interesting site. This is my first post so be gentle with me. For the record I’m not a cop, not in any type of club or organization, too old to be a yuppie and too poor to be a rub so people who don’t like me or my ride should find something else to call me. I’m’not sure – I may be a fucktard so I’ll go with that for now. Maybe in few more years I’ll be the old guy on the Rat-Rod and then maybe I can be old school and finally be cool after all these years. Hope I can still get parts at the swap meet for an antique V – Rod

  121. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Dear Sled Tramp:

    Weird works; you have to go with it.
    Better Times,


  122. pb68slab Says:

    Chinese boots , sad truth be told , the Chin-made Carolinas actually seemed better built than the last pair of US made I had. The heel pad was thick leather and did not come loose after 1 work day.

    While I put part of the blame on greedy corporate management , those organized extortion rackets called labor unions (where’s their RICO charges?) deserve some of the blame too.

    Another part of the puzzle. Craftsmanship , pride in one’s work , seems to be dead. Nobody seems to want to work with their hands anymore. Nobody wants to learn a skill or trade. Nobody wants to get their hands dirty.
    All they want to do is type away on this damn keyboard and call it work.

  123. Rebel Says:

    Dear Possible Fucktard,

    Outstanding comment: Insightful, informed, polite, intelligent, reasoned. Are you sure you did not stumble into the wrong site? And, now for an irresponsible, possibly opposing, view.

    This, in my opinion, is what is wrong with Harley including four suggestions as to what Harley should do to save itself.

    1) Get real. Nobody likes a phony and being phony is not working. How about if Harley starts an ad campaign that suggests, “Hey America! Let’s go for a ride!” “Hey America! Want a legal way to ride in the car pool lane!” How about, “You meet the nicest people on a Harley!” How about if Harley pays George Clooney to park his marshmallow ass on a Harley in a national ad. The company used Elvis in the 50s. How about if Harley appeals to American nationalism? “The last, best thing we still make in this damn country!” Harley’s marketing is awful. It is bullshit and faddish and insincere and nobody believes it. It is becoming counter-productive.

    2) Simplify the goddamn motorcycles. As the recent Toyota fiasco demonstrates, simple systems work best. (Don’t even think about asking me to compare the M-16 to the AK-47.) Part of the appeal of Harleys has always been that you can work on them yourself, in the dark, by the side of the road, with a simple set of tools and some piano wire. You should work on them yourself. How about if Harley starts building motorcycles that are easy to work on and actually starts training new customers to work on their own bikes?

    I do not think everything about the bikes should be de-engineered. I do not miss Shovels. I am not one of those guys. I think some improvements to the bikes have worked out just great. I love motorcycles that have base gaskets that do not leak and I cannot begin to tell you how much both I and my ass love rubber mounted engines – especially on concrete roads that were surfaced by poorly trained monkeys – like that long section of US 70 in Kansas where the rain grooves all run laterally across the road.

    But I hate fuel injection. Why do I need fuel injection? I always have at least a screwdriver or a dime or a switch blade knife with me. So, I still run a carb. I have spare carbs in my garage. I understand carburetors. When they break, I can figure out what has gone wrong without breaking out a laptop.

    Or, for another example, for years new bikes have come with some sort of a bullshit, automatic shut off petcock that will sometimes shut off in the middle of the freeway. All to protect me in case I forget to close the petcock when I get off the bike. Stop assuming bikers are stupid!

    I could go on. I already have, I know.

    3) Lower the cost. There is absolutely no reason why some guy cannot walk into a dealer with ten grand and ride out with a brand new, fully functioning motorcycle with the handlebars where he wants them, saddle bags, a luggage rack, pipes that do not choke the engine and that people can actually hear and a fully adjustable carburetor. And a bitch pad. Period. Ten grand including tax and registration and all that. And a full tank of gas. And a Pingel petcock.

    4) Harley-Davidson must stop acting like Harley-Davidson is just another motorcycle company. Harley-Davidson is an institution. Harley is a national treasure. Harley is the Boston Red Sox. The management of Harley should not be a bunch of entrepreneurs. Right now they are maggots feeding off the corpse of America. They need to start acting like stewards of a national institution instead of a bunch of grifters. Harley should set an example for other American companies in how it treats employees, its dealers and its customers. There is no excuse for the President of any American company to make 250 times as much as some guy out on the shop floor. There is no excuse for any American company to shoot for double digit profit margins. Either we are all in this together or America has become every man for himself. Harley does not have to stand tall but it is about time that some American company stood up. It should be Harley.

    Gee! Now I feel great! Thanks for reading however far you read.

    Your pal,

  124. Rebel Says:

    Dear Sled Tramp,

    There is nothing worse than losing a loved pet. It has never happened to me that at some point afterward I did not break down. Pets appeal to a very vulnerable part of you. And, I am sorry you have to go through this. Try to think of him with that stupid look he would get on his face whenever he licked his dick. In a big field of flowers.

    your pal,

  125. sled tramp Says:

    Thanks for the thought on my dog. I’m pretty fucked up this week so I really appreciate it.I had a Pit once that was hell bent on self gratification. One fine day,the results of which landed all over the legs of a member of HAMCO who happened to be wearing cut offs at the time. It was a uh…awkward moment.
    A M-16 is like disco.I hate disco. A AK-47 is a 68 GMC truck with a stick and a six.I can’t believe that the first time an operator snuck through a perimeter with an AK, all the legs didn’t rejoice and collectively toss their Mattel toys away.
    For what it’s worth, I agree 1000% with your above post.
    Possible Fucktard,
    If you write like this all the time,I think you’ll be very popular with the ladies…great and insightful post.” They went on to become the old schoolers of today. Some are still on the same machines they rode then. Some may still be paying them off. Or on the dodge for not paying them off. They’re all still working on them”. LMFAO…I’ll be smiling on that for a week.Thanks.I really needed that today.
    Never thought of RUB’s as “Buying in” to our culture but that certainly hits it.I just always resented being what appeared to be looked down at by people with no history.Kind of like a working class town that suddenly gets “Discovered” and next thing you know, the people that are born and raised there can’t afford to live there anymore and feel like strangers in their own town.Appreciate your post.Keep writing.
    sled tramp

  126. Grumbler Says:

    We’ve the Rolex Riders (or Dream Riders), Zen Riders, and Tour Gliders. In addition, there’s the Hard Core, Hog Heaven, and Live to Ride segments. At least according to this article published in 1997 from one of the most unlikely sources, BYU magazine:

    I just wanna ride my machine without being hassled by stereotypes. ;)

  127. pb68slab Says:

    Dear Rebel,with all due respect,
    putting our sentimental attachment to the myth , lifestyle and legend of Harley Davidson aside , we must remember that it is the Harley Davidson MOTOR Company 2010. They make vehicles used for transportation upon public highways. There’s a lot more to building motorcycles than pleasing us sentimental old fools , or the new bottom line profit driven corporate shills. Ya got the Department of Transportation dictating lights , ride and braking performance , crash worthiness , the Environmental Protection Agency controlling engine noise , gas milage and exaust noise levels as well as emmissions. the National Highway Safety somethingorother and National Insurance Institute demanding their say in how things go. We’ve seen the last of the carburators. Fuel Injection , for all it’s gremlins is the only way to achieve the gas milage and emissions standards set forth by the aforementioned Federal alphabet soup agencies. What I suspected when I first saw that liquid cooled monstrosity called the V-Rod was the death knell of the air cooled V-twin. Judging from the spark plugs I’ve seem pulled from new stock Twin Cam motors , lean don’t describe them. The writing is on the wall for the air-cooled big displacement V-twin. Catalytic converters are coming. So are yearly emission tests for motorcycles. Cali demands them I believe. and several Euro-makes like BMW and Moto Guzzi equip every bike bound for the US with catys.

    Modern manufacturing methods are the other coffin nail in the motorcycles we once knew and loved. The thin-wall castings that make the T/C engine cases , made by Mercury Marine , are scrap if ya crack , break or punch a hole in a set. Ain’t no welding and machining them. Cranks , well no more rebuilding or replacing rods or bearings. The hollow crank pin is an .008″ press fit in the wheels. The pinion and sprocket shafts are welded in. Even God can’t seperate them now. Ya just gotta toss that big hunk of steel. Motors ain’t even assembled by real live people anymore. Robotic assembly lines do all the work. Computors check the final product.

    Them new square-backbone frames of the Dyna and Road King? Stiff and tough. But if ya hit one hard enough , it WILL bend. And there ain’t no straightening them. Can’t even make a good chopper from one. Replacement cost , only from HD , over $2000. And ya gotta cut out and send the steering head w/VIN number.

    And don’t think the health care contingent ain’t looking at doing away with motorcycles entirely. That or making riders buy their own coverage. Something tells me that won’t be cheap.

  128. sled tramp Says:

    Man, I apologize…I was re reading this thread and I realized you’d posted some links for me I overlooked.Thanks for the thought.
    sled tramp

  129. Possible Fucktard Says:

    Rebel – sure I read it. You plowed through my long rant so fair is fair. Thanks for you’re kind comments, you too Sled Tramp. There is always a reality gap between the way it is and the way it should be. Some of us spend our whole life rattling around in there feeling like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape. Outrunning our persuers but boxed in on all sides by impassable barriers. Having to choose between going out in a blaze of barbrd wire or giving up and taking the beating and return to captivity. Evertything you say is true regarding the way it should be and I’m looking at the way it is so we’re both right. The good news is you can still ride yor own ride and be your own man if you can meet the price in terms of dollars, pain, potential incarceration – different bikes, and associated lifestyles carry their own set of risks and rewards but you get to choose. By the way, I’ve seen pictures of Elvis’s bike, a way cool black dresser – a Hydra Glide I think. Also, the rumor I get from a guy who works at HD is that they have not had good success at putting the Revo motor into heavier bikes. Not enough low end torque even if they play with the gearing so while you may someday see a watercooled Harley tourer it won’t be the Revo motor. Too bad. I would love it even if it does sound like a sewing machine inside a jet airplane. Guess that’s what makes me such a happy fucktard. Too stoopid to know those guys I just blew by on the highway think it’s a pussy bike. I wonder why they were waving with just one finger? They were doing about a 100 per and I still had a gear and 1000 RPM left to play with. The X – wedge motor is an air cooled V – twin that meets current EPA standards so it can be done.

  130. troyez Says:

    As for the M16 vs. the AK47, the M16s I used for 3 years had to be cleaned, oiled, and babied constantly to be reliable, so I bought an AK47 when I became a civilian again because I like to shoot without jams; it’s a case of direct impingement and tight internal tolerances (M16) vs. gas piston and looser internal clearances (AK47).

    Sled tramp sums it up perfectly:
    “A M-16 is like disco.I hate disco. A AK-47 is a 68 GMC truck with a stick and a six.I can’t believe that the first time an operator snuck through a perimeter with an AK, all the legs didn’t rejoice and collectively toss their Mattel toys away.”

    Sounds like you know the difference between these weapons first-hand Sled tramp, thank you for your service, Sir.


    P.S. The story about the pitbull and the self gratification on the dude’s legs – LMAO! Awkward indeed!

  131. Mikonos Says:

    Possible Fucktard…love the name. Thinking of changing mine to “Occasional Fucktard” or “Usual Fucktard”.

    My belief is not some but most men are like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Or as another put it “like a monkey riding a bicycle on a high wire”, unnatural but God bless him for trying.

    Rebel, I agree with your assessment of Harley as a national institution that should be managed differently. Just not sure how that happens in the USA with the endless appetite for profits and stock price appreciation. Would have to be taken private by a willful benefactor.

    I also agree there should not be a factor of 250 between the compensation of the CEO of a company and the shop floor worker. If you study the way this has evolved its a joke. Company boards have a compensation committee that studies what other companies are paying for equivelant “talent”. A lot of board members are staffed on multiple boards and comp committees of other companies. Its an ugly incestous last bastion of “the old boys club”. The good news is its changing pretty dramatically given the recent economic upheaval.

    That said you would not want one of those jobs no matter what it paid. You don’t have one boss, you have the board of about a dozen that (while they pay you well) can second guess every decision you make, your customers, your dealers, etc.

    Friend of mine ran a large liquour company (lost his job recently for trying to do the “right” thing). Worked 100 hour weeks travelling all over the world. His best memory from last year? Himself and the rest of his management team riding bitch with a bunch of bikers in Australia during their annual meeting. Apparently some guys down there do corporate events. I don’t care how big his McMansion is or how much Chinese made crap he stuffs in it, if that’s the definition of “freedom” I’ll take my simple life any day (and my mountain bike since I had to sell my V-Twin).

    Or maybe I’m just a fucktard…who knows.

  132. sled tramp Says:

    As much as I love the AK as a tried and trusty friend, the safety always had that annoying “opening a warm beer can” sound. The 16’s only postive trait is the ability to slap the receiver to send the bolt forward when work gets busy. As always, I appreciate your kind words.
    sled tramp

  133. DirtyBruin Says:

    Mikonos: There’s another reason CEO pay has gone astronomical: the income tax code.

    Back in the day of President Eisenhower – a Republican President, mind you – there were a lot more tax brackets, and the very top one – for income over about $2.5M in today’s money – was 91%. Beyond a certain point, it simply made no sense to pay somoene more, because most of it would simply go to the government. Of course – back then, corporations paid something more like their fair share; what with offshoring and lobbying to move the tax burden to the middle class, the corporations themselves pay far less of the total tax bill than they used to.

    President Kennedy’s big tax relief scheme dropped that top tax bracket from 91% to a mere 77%. It wasn’t until we hit Reaganomics that the rate on the ultra-rich was dropped so low that it encouraged corporations to start shoveling money at CEOs like it was going out of style.

    Just to make an interesting point – in his last year of running GM into the ground, Rick Waggoner made more than the entire executive board and CEO of Honda, a much more successful company in some ways. And Honda is headquartered in Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities on earth.

    I say we need a return to old-fashioned Republican values – do some tweaks for inflation and cost of living and such to the Eisenhower tax rates, and bring ‘em back. Corporate income should be taxed where it’s made – people I know who are citizens of other countries but working here have to pay US taxes, so it shouldn’t matter a bit where a corporation’s headquarters is located – their operations here should pay here. Any corporation that tries any kind of tax dodge to avoid paying their fair share should be ABSOLUTELY banned from receiving any government business of any kind.

  134. DocB Says:

    Dear Mikonos:
    “Possible Fucktard…love the name. Thinking of changing mine to “Occasional Fucktard” or “Usual Fucktard”.”

    I agree, great name. I was thinking for me maybe “Son of Fucktard”


  135. Mikonos Says:

    Doc B, my wife says no qualifier necessary!

    DirtyBruin, very interesting. I agree with your thinking on this. Not really a dem/repub thing either.

    I’m a conservative at heart and have no problem with individuals gaining wealth. Especially from creating businesses and gaining the upside in stock value. It’s the “wind up CEO” that’s running the established mature business that somehow feels he is entitled to 250 times the income of the shop floor worker I have an issue with. Most of the Fortune 500 CEO’s aren’t really talented people, they are good general managers, can read a balance sheet, understand marketing, are ok at most of the things you learn in an MBA program. I was on a track to be one, and I ain’t that talented.

    The talent (in my opinion) is in entrepreneurial guys like Steve Jobs that are for all intents and purposes “rebels” like the readers and contributors of this blog. I don’t say this because I read it in magazines or hear it on the news. My opinion is based on the fact that I’ve worked in the tech industry and see how singularly focused a guy like him was on his concepts and ideas and how he just pushed right past all the corporate bureaucrats and naysayers to bring his ideas to life.

    Another example is Henry Nicholas, the founder of Broadcom. He’s looking at significant jail time for “back dating” stock options. What the Feds are doing to him is exactly the same as the crap they are doing with the MC clubs. It was a generally accepted accounting practice that one day the government decided was a crime and are now locking people up for it.

    Henry created from scratch a $4 Billion dollar semiconductor company. The “back dating” by the way was a method for creating wealth for the employees of the company….all of them, and he made thousands of millionaires. He also did not pay anyone in the company over $100k per year, including himself. You made money on the stock of the company.

    Henry was a wild and crazy partying fool. Hookers, booze and drug fueled orgies. He had (has) a wierd (not evil) side that includes feeding his animal spirits. Currently in a lawsuit with a construction firm in Laguna Beach that was building a hidden underground “party room” under the hill his house is built on. Embarrasing because his (former) wife was not aware of the construction.

    Not sure how you make a distinction in the tax code for this but agree that thre should be a cap on amount of basic income most can make while allowing for truly talented people to create wealth for themselves and others.

  136. DirtyBruin Says:

    Mikonos: Another example of an exemplary CEO is Jim Sinegal, one of the founders of Costco. He gets about $500k/year in salary and benefits. He insists on giving his workers decent health insurance and other benefits despite the Wall Street blatherers whining about him being “too generous.” I saw one interview with him where he was exasperated over said blatherers not being willing to see the advantages Costco reaps from employee loyalty – low turnover, low pilferage, word of mouth that it’s good to shop at Costco because Costco treats its employees right, etc.

    I’d say one possible way to achieve the goal you mention in your last paragraph would be to make a reasonable personal exemption of some kind for the founders of a company as long as they are an officer of said company. That would allow people like Steve Jobs of Apple, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Jim Sinegal of Costco and others like them who’ve really innovated and brought improvements to benefit from their talent – and would act as an incentive for others to follow their examples.

    I concur with you that Henry Nicholas is getting a raw deal. At worst, there might have been some financial adjustment made in the wake of the change of perspective on the back-dating issue, but the criminal proceeding is just ridiculous; that situation is a far cry from what the Enron bastards did, for certain!

  137. Possible Fucktard Says:

    Getting pretty far off topic here but I’ll throw this out anyway since the subject came up. According to the Wall Street Journal half of US corporations and three quarters of foriegn corporation doing business here pay no US tax. They also track the richest 400 individuals who payed an average actual rate of 17.5%. Even the famous billionaire investor Warren Buffet commented that his actual tax rate was less than his secretary’s after loopholes and legal accounting tricks. How about a dollar is a dollar whether earned as ordinary income, captal gains, corporate profit, profit on currency speculation in foriegn markets,ETC. and evey dollar is taxed at an across the board rate for everyone participating in the US ecomomy or trading in US currency anywhere. Or a national sales tax where you keep what you earn and are taxed when you spend it? Then tax foriegn goods at the same rate when they are imported into this country so there’s no tax benefit to buying foriegn products. Respond if you want but I’m done till we get back to talking bikes and funny internet handles. Hey, all you fucktard wannabees, how bout them new Triumph 1600 cruisers?

  138. DocB Says:

    Hey, I’m not a fucktard wannabee, I’m a fucktard hangaround, soon to be a fucktard probate as soon as they vote me in.

    (Son of fucktard)

  139. Jarv801 Says:

    ^Imma a LEO who infiltrated fucktard and is now cooking up charges because fucktard was actually sorta boring and nothing very illegal happened.

    But seriously, no go on the sales tax thing. It’s pretty recessive. Rich people spend a lower percentage of their income on purchases than poor people — that’s why they have money in the bank and in investments. So, basically you have poor folks just trying to get by contributing a bigger part of their income than the rich.

  140. DirtyBruin Says:

    Jarv801: Nail, Head, BANG!

    Why do people think that the very rich are for flat taxes or national sales taxes? Because they’d make out like bandits under those schemes. And that’s why I suggested bringing back the Eisenhower-era (or even Kennedy-era) income tax structure.

  141. TAO Says:

    Once a HOG fan…Now I ride a VTX1800… why…well too old care, too tired to turn wrenches and no long give a crap what Harley thinks or any one else thinks…. American Brand…Come on… My Ford truck is full of Japanese, Chinese parts…There is hardly left an opportunity to buy American… American has been sold…and all is left is the PR Advertisement campaign to “BUY MY PRODUCT, IT WILL MAKE YOU ______________” Hell, fill in the blank… Hell a brand wont make you an outlaw….. It comes down to one fact now… How do you tell the big empire of corporate America to stick it?? Well it aint by buying into the largest successful add campaign …Harley.

    ..hell go out and read independent reviews on their bikes… geeeeeeeeeeeeeee..I do miss the days when American was a strong manufacturing giant… We let the politicians sell it so we could buy a cheaper weedeater at Wally’s… Never mind about keeping our American brothers employeed… We have become a nation of what we think of as independents..but we are just lemmings….

    So ride what you wish…. just ride…it is all you really have left.

  142. sled tramp Says:

    Damn…where’s that Robin Hood guy when ya need him….

  143. fayettenamhoe Says:

    why try? i hate to mutch now, Harley is in my blood regardless of what happens

  144. troll7552 Says:



  145. Mikonos Says:

    Dear Sled Tramp,

    I would take Rambo over Robin Hood the way the jokers on Wall Street have behaved over the last few years. Mark my words the wheels are going to come off *again* on Eurozone troubles and commercial real estate crisis.

    Good chance that handling a weapon, knowing how to fight and being able to live off the land and fix mechanical things are going to be the key skills required in the future.

    I hope I’m wrong…

  146. Mikonos Says:

    DocB, your on to something, Sons of Fucktard MC! I guess we (assuming I can get past hangaround) would be the second online MC behind SOA. Probably some fighting over the bottom rocker, in cyberspace, have your own avatar and all that BS.

    I take it your writing up a charter?


  147. DirtyBruin Says:

    “Did you see this? Bankers have started getting bonuses again; it’s like finding out Bin Laden got air miles for 9/11.” — Russell Howard, on Mock The Week s07e11

  148. ruffrider Says:

    In 1965 when I returned from my senior trip I bought a very used 500 BSA thumper. I learned three things, a one lung bike is not a good rosd bike, BSA stands for basterd stopped again and I love motorcycles. After I stood all I could of that bike I traded it and what money I had for a Triumph and started hanging around some North Long Beach biker bars and met some good people. Pretty soon we had cut that poor Triumph all to hell, it sported a hardtail extended front end ect… I did every thing I could to make it into a harley but it wouldnt cooperate.After I figured out that this bike was never going to be a Harley I traded it and what little cash I had for a 60 pan that someone had chopped the shit out of. It took me about 3 years of rideing it while I was improving it before I got it how I wanted it. It looked a lot like the wideglide that willie g built in the 80s except this had a hardtail and a kidney motor (i put shovel topend). He copied me. After a few years and many miles I traded this bike for a 72 FL with bags windshield and all. the FL was a good bike but I am still kicking myself in the ass over that one. It had to do with a woman and I should have kept the bike cause the woman is long gone anyway. That was my first electric start and the bendix must have been plastic because it never lasted more than two or three weeks so I just learned the combination and kept her tuned and used the kicker. I sold that bike and tryed to take a few year off but it didnt work. When it’s in your blood it’s in your blood. in 2002 I bought a piece of shit 1972 FL that someone had taken the electric start off of. It was a nice looking bike but I need to have a talk with whoever did the engine work on it. Anyway I got it cheap put what money I had into it. I rode it around for a couple of years till I met some kid on a softail who told me he wanted to learn to work on motorcycles. I told him do I have a deal for you. He payed me a fair price for the shovelhead and i gave him a couple of good basic manules and a hell of a bike to work on and told him to call me if he got stuck. The next day I went to my local Harley Davidson dealer and laied out the cash for a new 2004 Road King. This kid who looked like doogie howser went over everything on the bike with me then he said he would go back inside because he knew it made people nervous if someone was watching them on a new or strange bike. I nearly dropped it laffing. I went back in two weeks for my first service and after me handing them 18,000 two weeks before they didn’t know me. this was in may and they told me they couldnt do my service till the end of june. I said fuck you very much. I run synthetic but not harley I don’t run harley filters. If I have to go to a dealer I go to the next town but we have a couple of good shops around this area that are not harley co stores. Ok HH Boot co makes American made and are very good. They make Biker or engineer (whatever) and they also make a military line. I like the tanker boots. I love the bike but I hate the factory. The bikes Willie g designes are all ripoff’s from thing I have seen around for years and years. I could get into the origins of HOG also but that is for another time (another ripoff from the factory) Remember when a run was all your friends getting together and going to the kern, not going to Reno and paying 200 a night to stay in a shitty motel 6 to see 500 vendors selling the same thing. PoorBoy if you are still out there. If you are from or use to hang around a town that starts with a B. I believe we know each other or at least have friends in common.This would be from many years ago. I believe It’s a Black and White World

  149. DocB Says:

    Quote: HH Boot co makes American made and are very good. They make Biker or engineer (whatever) and they also make a military line. I like the tanker boots

    Carolina Boot makes the same thing for about the same price. The engineer boots (biker boots) are American made in a union shop, steel toe, steel shank, etc. I’ve worn them since back in the 80’s for work and play (except for dresup at weddings, funerals, and felony court appearances). Most Carolina boots are made up the Yangsee river somewhere, but a lot of their work boots are still made here in the USA. lists their complete line and the American boots have a flag beside them. Double H boots are also available on line, proudly made in the USA. You’re right the tanker boots look pretty tough.


  150. troll7552 Says:


    does georges roundup or tikki hut ring a bell? i was there in 66 fresh off the boat chemically induced, cant remember if they were in north east south or west long beach some good memorys

    snowflake retired

  151. ruffrider Says:

    I remember tiki hut not georges roundup though. Toutch of velvet south street and magos mostly

  152. ruffrider Says:

    I’ll try again. I don’t much understand these damned computers and I don’t type worth a crap. I think my wife got me this thing to pay me back for the years of abuse she had at my will. Anyway troll I don’t remember georges roundup but that don’t mean shit cause i don’t remember lots of things. I do remember tiki hut. I mostly hung around south street bar, mago’s and toutch of velvet untell it closed. There were a lot of others but those were the ones in n. long beach
    Respect ruffrider

  153. Grumbler Says:

    ruffrider – BTDT duirng my Santa Cruz daze with a ’67 Triumph 650 Trophy (TR6R). AEE hardtail, 10-inch over forks, 21″ and 16″ hoops and so forth. Sold it and got a new ’73 T140RV. Have copyed/pasted the article below FYI. FWIW. YMMV. WTF.

    Choppers magazine editor Chris Bunch (RIP 7/05) went on a fact-finding mission in 1973 to examine Britain’s chopper scene. He came away disappointed.

    “The reason that most Englishmen build such lousy chops is because there’s no real reason for their existing. It was sensible, in America, to strip all the garbage off a Harley dresser, and from there, make it better looking.

    But there isn’t much to strip off a Triumph. You don’t need a longer front end to keep your pipes from scraping when you corner. Nor a slim contoured seat to replace a spring-loaded horse saddle.

    Even the riding conditions are different. There aren’t a lot of freeways, and little long-distance straight-line jamming, so there’re no benefits to be gained by raking your scooter.

    No benefits, other than cosmetic ones. When you’re building a bike strictly for good looks, and there isn’t much of a backlog of knowledge about what happens when you extend your front end such and so inches, you have a tendency to come up with a pretty odd motorcycle.”

  154. DocB Says:

    Dear Mikonos:
    I take it your writing up a charter?

    Yep, we took the charter to the coalition of domains and submitted our avatar and .com and they decided since SOA was preimenent we’d have to wear our .com upside down. The brothers said fuck protocall. We’re flyin anywhere we want straight up. They’ll just have to deal with it. We’re puttin domains everywhere.

    Information highway captain
    Fucktards Forever Forever Fucktards

  155. sled tramp Says:

    “Good chance that handling a weapon, knowing how to fight and being able to live off the land and fix mechanical things are going to be the key skills required in the future”.
    You’d like where I live..Bunch of wrench wielding,gun toting shadows flitting through the triple canopy.Don’t like outsiders from the world and these boys can shoot.”Southern Comfort” comes to mind.

    Cool…..I always like to read old daze stories.Reminds me I’m not alone.

    As usual, I’m fuckin’ laughing till I’m chokin’ amigo.

    Why the fuck would anyone chop a Triumph/Norton/BSA et el? Like ape hangers on a Ninja..
    Chris Bunch was good people.I had started riding when he was at Choppers magazine. Bunch was a S.F. blankethead in the Highlands with the yards I think.He alluded to as much.Makes him righteous in my book anyway.

    I got told yesterday by the medics I’m gonna be 95% or better.No more cane’s been 900 days since I hit Bambi.I’m fuckin STOKED.Think I’m going to treat my sled with a belt drive or something….
    sled tramp

  156. Mikonos Says:

    DirtyBruin quoted Russell Howard:

    “Did you see this? Bankers have started getting bonuses again; it’s like finding out Bin Laden got air miles for 9/11″

    That’s why some (me?) are calling for blood in the streets. Its based on a simple detail that has somehow escaped the scrutiny of the general public.

    FASB 157 outlined “Mark to Market” accounting rules and required companies to value their assets at what they could sell them for at whatever point in time they are reporting. That’s where the large banking institutions went nose to the pavement because there were no buyers of their dogshit mortgage obligations.

    In comes the US Taxpayer to bail them out as they write off huge losses on their balance sheets through their income statements. Stocks dropped to single dollar levels. Bankers forgo cash bonuses (not really but some did) and take stock instead at unusually depressed levels.

    The above is all fairly well documented and understood but here is the real neat trick nobody talks about:

    In April of 2009 FASB changes rule 157 to allow for valuing assets during an “orderly disposal” instead of “market value”. Now if I’m a banker I can say that an orderly disposal is in 5 years at whatever number I can convince my accounting firm makes sense. Viola! Big GAINS on the balance sheet written through as income on the income statement. You probably have heard that banks are delivering big profits again, they are, on paper. Its an accounting trick, they aren’t lending money to make money…we all know that as well.

    Now the best part…the scumbags who created the mess, and were bailed out by the government (us), have their bonuses tied to company income and stock values defined at the low point before the rule change. Bankers all getting huge bonuses again!

    Nobody wants to really make a big deal about it. Government is trying to have it both ways…take credit for recovery and be tough on banks but the reality is its a disgusting dirty secret. And the average (or above average but not a Wall Street banker) individual who makes things and is a productive contributor to society is getting screwed coming and going.

    I would characterize myself as a man of fairly even disposition. But this makes me want to put on my college T-Shirt with the simple slogan “Drink Beer and Break Shit”.

  157. Square Verbose Doc Says:

    Dear sled tramp:

    “I got told yesterday by the medics I’m gonna be 95% or better.No more cane’s been 900 days since I hit Bambi.I’m fuckin STOKED.”

    Hey, mazel tov–that’s great news! Made me smile to read it.


  158. Rebel Says:

    Dear Sled Tramp,

    Stupid, fucking deer!


  159. Grumbler Says:

    sled tramp – was bitten by the chopper craze as a teenager. My ’67 Triumph chopper was extremely quick with 32mm Amal Concentric Bowl carb, Q cams, TT pipes with half baffles, and CDI (no battery). Unlike many other Limey riders, was diligent about keeping it tuned-up (carb, points, and valves). Beer can tab was used as a feeler gauge for the valves.

    However, the HF vibration and numb butt syndrome finally got to me. BTW, had to replace the light, rear 18″ alloy wheel with a heavy, chromed 16-incher mounted slightly to the right in order to clear the chain. Better ride, but sure did notice the extra weight.

    My best bud had ’59 Triumph Bonnie (pre-unit construction) with raked swingarm frame, 6″ over *rigid* forks (no sliders) and spool 21″. A little old lady inna VW bug pulled out in front of him in downtown Santa Cruz, and managed to snag his right fork tube with left part of her rear bumper. He fell off, and got up yelling STOP! STOP! STOP! running after her while his bike was being dragged down the road!

    He sold it as a basketcase thanks to all the damage and, like me, got a new ’73 Triumph 750 Bonnie. That bike eventually sailed over a cliff on Empire Grade Rd and got rebuilt with TR7R gas tank and 6″ over forks.

    Then, while we were riding with 2 other friends riding from Watsonville to Aromas, he got hit by something which caused him to lose control, and dump it in a culvert. The bike went down while he flipped over and landed on other side of culvert.

    The gas tank got knocked loose which pulled the fuel lines off the carbs. It caught on fire and was completely incinerated except for the tranny which was transplated to my old ’68 TR6R after I swapped it to him for his killer stereo system.

  160. ruffrider Says:

    Rebel, I found your site on a link from the san gabriel valley news in oct 2008 while I was trying to find out what the hell was going on with the Mongols MC. I’ve been following ever sence. I hesitate to post because I am not very computer literate, don’t type too well and don’t want to sound any more stupid than I am. I came along too late for the computer age. My point is I enjoy your site and most of the postings are informative, humorous interesting and so forth. I will not quit riding Harleys till I hit a tree at 100+ mph.

    Respect and Regards

  161. troll7552 Says:

    ruffrider thanx for the walk down memory lane. i think georges roundup was on broadway it was a western bar. they had a caddilac in a window showcase dash was plastered with silver dollars if i remember right

  162. Grumbler Says:

    ruffrider – I’d suggest a redwood tunnel tree at well under the ton. ;)

  163. ruffrider Says:

    troll I remember the cadillac so I guess I remember the bar, me and a friend got our asses kicked in there one night becaause of our hair and ear ring if it is the place i am remembering. I was only in there that one time. They had live music and some pretty big name performers if I remember. Grumbler I’ll try to take your advice. This shit is addicting. It is a nice day here in no cal I’m goin fer a ride b4 it starts raining again

    see ya

  164. Grumbler Says:

    ruffrider – when out riding in Humboldt County, have usually stayed at one of the motels in Fortuna next to the Eel River Brewing Co. Can walk over for suds and grub then stumble back into the room. There’s also a KOA within walking distance. Can pretty much haul ass through Avenue of the Giants near dusk after the tourists are off the road.

  165. John Cokos Says:

    Post Mortem on the HD Boots saga:

    Well, they are pretty well constructed and they will probably last a lot longer than I will. It’s a little like the the Pod People in Invasion of Body Snathcers (B&W Version). They look like the real thing, BUT it’s still a little creepy. Those sneaky little bastards could have put a RFD Chip in the heel for all I know.

  166. fayettenamhoe Says:

    fayettenamhoe (0 friends, send message) wrote: 9m ago
    t,t,t,t torture, ???? try having your family boiled in a pot, as you eat their stew family or friend, is not important, having a heart and soul
    is a curse

  167. rico Says:

    HD charges $20k for a bike. Yamaha, suzuki, Honda charge like $12k for same bike.
    Big differance.

    I dam sure aint spending $35.00 on a t-shirt jus cause it says Harley Davidson

  168. fayettenamhoe Says:

    the whores that run Harley Davidson into the ground, shame on them, fuck willie G. that electronic , fuel injected piece of garbage pail, no kick, no start, no compatibility, no future by a hunk of cock

  169. fayettenamhoe Says:

    ding dongs fly a flag of ego

  170. JW Says:

    As Harley goes so goes America.

  171. Highway Nomad Says:


  172. One American Says:

    I am calling BS (Bandwagon Speculation) on this one. As with one generation to the next, we always say how much better things were when “I was your age” and whine and cry about how we miss the good old days.
    I enjoy talking to the younger generation about bikes and I really get a kick when they ride up to the Harley shop on their organ donor crotch rockets and drive out V-twin thumping grinning ear to ear.
    Guess what… the price of eggs went up too. I am not giving up on breakfast. Shame on those bastards for reducing the cholesterol too and saving my life. How I can properly clog my heart up like we use to in the good old days.
    Life goes on. Bikers adapt. Harley adapted. Why should they target consumers that quit buying their products? Hell, last year I wanted try an upgrade to a smooth ride. I bought a 2009 Road King. Kick ass ride but I keep old faithful. Harley sent me a questionnaire and I filled it out. Have you given any input or just cried like a little bitch on this site. Harley is the major player but they are not the only game in town. If you don’t like it, get your puss-ass on a heated Goldwing seat and quit your bitching. Sign me Brutally Honest.
    Guess I offended thee if this doesn’t show up.

  173. Justme Says:

    does anyone do any home work anymore or do they just read whats posted on the internet and go with it, I myself did a little price shopping a 2010 Honda Glodwing costs 28,184 a 2010 Halrey Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide with the same options as the goldwing cost 20,999
    but myself i traded my 2007 ultra for a 2010 CVO Ultra 35,999 trade in value 15,999 (let me see you get that on a goldwing I dont think so) anyways financed 20,000 at 3.4%
    and i own a 2005 HD Wideglide, iron head sporster on a rigid frame, panhead on a softtail frame,I have previously owned a yamaha, suzuki,kawasaki and i cant imagine riding anything but a harley, but to each his own and iam sure if harley does tank i myself will find a way to keep mine on the road.

  174. sled tramp Says:

    Now there ya go….one of the great things about being a rider since Christ was a corporal is that my original rigid frame 1938 Schwinn has a trade in value greater than my house.Gotta like what ya have…trading up makes sense sometimes but frankly, my Dyna will get to where I’m heading just as fast as a CVO Hollyweird model.
    $36k huh? Look, I have this bridge I’m not using…..
    Seriously…36 thousand dollars?!

  175. Justme Says:

    sled tramp
    i know everyone including my brothers have been giving me a hard time about it but i dont care what anyone has to say i love it, over priced is putting it mild its fucking ridiculous but i have a good ol lady that told me we just had to have it she is the one that decided we were getting it and of course im not going argue with my Ol Lady she said she needed something more comfortable than a towel LOL.

  176. sled tramp Says:

    I once spent inordinate amounts of otherwise desperately needed monies on a 1959 XLCH with Magneto,K model solo and tank.I couldn’t have lived a complete and fruitful life had I not torn it from the moronic grip of the guy using it to prop his barn door open.Although there WAS ample acreage and a shovel or two about should I have needed to go that route.In any event, I consider your situation justifiable if it makes you happy.Happy is hard to find and even harder to keep.If you can share it somebody important and it makes HER happy,win win.
    BTW, I’m with you on that don’t piss off the old lady thing…mine shot me 4 years ago.Said it was an accident but ya never know.
    Oh, and the towel…yeah, was in a rush to party so I bunggeed a army blanket on a rigid one night.Stood up at 75 or so and came down on a bare frame.My brothers were calling me “Bone chips” for awhile.
    Enjoy the sled,
    sled tramp

  177. Justme Says:

    Sled Tramp
    Dont mean to laugh but after reading that and the picture i got in my head i bet that was some funny shit after the fact.

  178. Roadcrack Says:

    We don’t mind all these fancy boys with all those nice leathers and all that glitter hanging out acting like bikers cause we like looking at all that fine pussy they bring with them. In the end the real bikers will still be there cause no self respecting harley man would ever give his bike up to a repo man. There was a time when not just anyone could own a harley, meaning you had to be able to protect it and that’s what it meant to be an outlaw. I’m not sure that it really matters to any of us if Harley Davidson survives this latest downturn because anyone that is a real biker, (if you have 800.00 worth of gear in your climate controlled garage I’m not talking to you) will always be driving whatever harley they choose to own or build. So keep bringing the sweet young chicks to the rallies but stay the fuck away from my bike.

  179. Cap'n Bill Says:

    When all the ‘gomers’ who bought into the whole image thing finally decide to sell their ‘investment’ & find something else to emulate, maybe the real deal will magically appear in front of a Davidson relative & things will get back to the way they were…sorta…

  180. FTNWO Says:

    FTNWO, arm yourselves, educate, pass on learned valuable skills to you’re children, question authority, eat the rich, kill the bankers, politicians,pedophiles and lawyers first, recreate the good life for yourself, fuck the scum, carry on, ride free but remember be big bad and dangerous first.

  181. Dan the Man Says:

    I like harleys but I hate the moco. Buell did have some orginal and inventive ideas until they got shut down.

    Harley should rebrand a few buells as HD and sell ‘em. It’d be nice to see a few adventure bikes, the 1125r, and the never release ducati killer 1190rr released in the US of A.

    Of course, it’d also be nice to see some 21st century hooligan bikes to go with the again mid 20th century hooligan bikes

  182. Pointman Says:

    I have my 1953 Pan chopper in my living room and a new 2010 wide glide for fast interstate riding outside.

    While I appreciate the new tech and performance, my Pan will always be my main ride for fun in the sun.

    I remember the old H-D shops growing up- the smell of oil, dirty parts on the counters, swearing and dirty jokes, the smell of burnt coffee, and a bottle of whiskey set up for anyone who needed a snort…and customers that knew what they were talking about.

    I wish H-D could return to that proven way of keeping customer loyalty- like a second home, but when I walk into the Harley boutiques now- I’m ignored, isolated, and waited on by the staff that drew the shortest straw.

    If The Factory continues on it’s course of being a global corporation they will eventually lose the distinction of being an American icon, and will blend into the motorcycle world as an overpriced oddity with no soul, and limited sales.

    I see it at most of the old time corporations who went global and now are losing millions from the stupidity of global partnerships- Boeing as an example is producing new planes (years behind schedule because of partners that have never built airplane parts before playing catch up) that can’t be distinguished from Airbus…the difference is fading.

    I would like to see H-D survive- but until they’re hammered into reality and return to their core mission-like the Titanic, they won’t know it’s over until they hit the water.

    The independent shops will be our only hope like the ones that used to be H-D dealers in the first place- where you know the owner, the mechanics, what they ride, their families, where the beer is, and when’s the next campout.

    My mechanic and friend is the only one who rides my Pan besides me- 18″ apes and suicide shifter that a new H-D “tech” couldn’t even kick start- let alone work on it. (6 volt-mechanical advance points/condenser-generator-mechanical brakes-original wishbone frame uncut)

    I like the atmosphere if Independent Shops and the trust factor is absolute.

    So, while I may have bought a new bike for meat and potatoes riding- I use Independent shops for the real work to keep me rolling.

    The road is my shepherd….I shall not stop..

  183. BroadwayJoe Says:

    Harley doomed? Maybe if it is sold to a conglomerate.

    Maybe Harley needs to slim down, get prices more in line with reality.

    My first Heritage Softail cost $10,400 in 1993. Last last Road King cost me $18,000.

  184. Phuquehed Says:

    Bitch, bitch, bitch. I get on some Harley forums and all I read about are motherfuckers whining about it being too cold, too hot, their pussy itches if they sit wrong on their seat… and then they go on to say it’s all Harley’s fault. I ain’t never heard so many fucking people who sit behind a computer calling themselves ‘bikers’ bitch so much!

    BFD Harley’s doing this or doing that and you don’t like it. You gotta sit there and paint doom and gloom because it fucked your egos up that Harley’s don’t break down as often as they used to!?

    When me and my bud got our drivers licenses at 16 years old in Vegas, we used to try almost weekly to sneak in to the local titty bar that *real* bikers used to hang out all the time (probably ’cause the bitches working there were the ol ladies of those guys). Of course they’d catch us right at the door, laugh at us, kick hard in the ass and literally throw us back out. After a few months of trying though, those guys finally decided we had some grit and they’d let us in. We’d drink and hoot and holler at the girls and if the law showed up, before we knew it someone would have grabbed us up by the collars and thrown us on our asses out the back door. These guys were cool as shit and they were what made me want to own a Harley and not ‘be like’ them, but to ‘live that life’.

    Shit happened though and life threw stuff in my way. Got in trouble with the law at 18 and had the choice to join the military or go to jail. 3 years in the military and I got in trouble again anyway and did 90 days in a red-line brig and a BCD. Moved overseas for a while, came back home and tried to just catch-up on my life and not until 8 years into being disabled (fucked my back up on the job and can’t stand straight…crushed two discs and irreparable muscle and ligament tearing) I find out that sitting on a bike is easier on my back than trying to get in or out of a car and sitting in my p/u truck.

    What’d I do? Spent the next 3 months trying to find a used bike I could maybe pay off monthly to the owner (I live on a piddly $750 disability check per month). That just wasn’t going anywhere. I tried to borrow money at the bank and my credit being so fucked up they said no. Finally found a dealership that would actually let me lease to own a bike. Got myself a ’09 FXD and in two years I’ve put 26,000 miles on it with only two problems – seat tongue cracked and then the stator went bad…both fixed under warranty.

    I’m gonna ride this bike into my own grave if I have any say about it and I’ll be damned proud of it even then.

    Thing is, back in ’83 I got myself a beat up pos ’72 ironhead that was slightly raked and leaked like hell but it was mine and it was a fucking Harley, even if it was an AMF Harley. As far as I was concerned, you were a turd if you rode anything foreign. I still feel that way. I’ll keep my Harley and keep laughing at the stupid fucks who buy ‘cheaper’ foreign bikes and then spend out the ass to make it look and sound like a Harley and I’ll keep laughing at pussy fuskers in forums who whine like raped school girls if a drop of rain fell on them while they rode their sled to work.

    No matter what anyone says, H-D is still the best. It got you the attitude you have now, the badass way of life you now live and the bitch who now sits on the p-pad. If there’d not been a Harley Davidson, you’d all be nerds with pocket protectors who ride some kind of crotch-roxcket that hurts your ears from the loud whining sound it makes and wearing the little fag colored one-piece ‘riding’ suit and funny looking little italian booties.

    Kwitcherfugginbellyakin’ about Harley and just enjoy that it’s still there and does still work and is still more American than most anything else.

    I’m just a nobody who ain’t never had the chance to hangaround or be invited to prospect any clubs, so I know this shit’ll be taken with a grain of salt, and it’s just my opinion and no hard feelin’s meant and I don’t mean no disrespect to no one, but I felt it had to be said and I may have said it wrongly but it’s the best I could do.

  185. Founder Says:

    Just like to pay our Respects to all Brothers and Troops around the world, and say hello.

  186. Timo Says:

    I am not an economist, but I do believe that Harley are indanger of failing in the overall scheme of surviving. When the little dealerships are chased out of existance by the requirement to “get with the big building program or get out”, then Harley has failed to see that one supersize does not fit all. When a dealer is local, then I am able to use it. I might stop by and simply have a coffee, but that usually results in a purchase of some sort. When I have to ride two hours away or more to get to a Big Dealership, then I am more than likely shop at the Independent. The Independent is taking up the holes left behind by the removal of the smaller dealerships disapperance. I am treated like a friend at the local shop, something Harley never sighned up to. I can talk to the mechanic directly about my concerns, not trapped on the otherside of the counter speaking to a service rep. I can buy from a wide range of aftermarket products at my local, many with a better build quality than the Motor Company produce. All in all, I don’t see Harley surviving if they don’t recognise that the sale of the bike was just part of the process, not the whole process. I love my FXDi35, I am not impressed with the way I am ignored as a customer by Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. My opinion, for what it is worth, is build a product that people want, build a quality that last (More that four years), and treat each customer as if they were your lifeblood, and you will retain the business. Remember this, many people make better quality parts for existing bikes, and many shops exists that have taken over your customers. After you are long gone, Harleys will continued to be restored and used, by others. Harley, you have a choice, at the moment…..

  187. Dante Says:

    I won’t even shop at my closest dealer anymore, they’ve sold me the wrong parts twice and didn’t have battery acid last time I bought a battery and then bitched when the NAPA charged a lot for it and I had it charged back to them even though they approved it ahead of time.

    Everything inside of those stores is made in China or Mexico anyway. I have been asked to leave before for reading the “Made In…” labels out loud more than once.

    Several small shops have popped up and they have gone above and beyond in providing service to me and my friends.

  188. Dante Says:

    Oh and while I know they get hit up for a lot of charity events, I don’t expect much… once, four years ago they donated a shirt and a $15 gift certificate. Now they won’t even take my calls to find out why we can’t even get a can cooler or a bandana. Fuck ‘em.

    I went on one of their rides a while back – all brand new shiny bikes, new vests, new boots, lots of HOG patches and lots of BLACKBERRYS. Everyone was there to try and impress the next knucklehead with their fancy new toys but virtually none could spare a dollar for a charity.

  189. Jenna Massoli Says:


    The Last Biker…The old ones stand out now, their numbers dwindling down. They’re sad loss to the American scene, these individualists with the worn down clothes, saddles and faces. You can still see them sometimes, the real ones, some in packs, not as large as a while ago, sometimes alone.

    The alone one is the best. One who’s been there a long time, staying in the life he loves, never giving into a system that sucks you up like a vortex if you slip just one foot into it. He’s got his connections – a few like him, that care for and protect each other. Hanging onto the only unique lifestyle left, like old dinosaurs, their faces are leathered and rough by forty, but their eyes still sharp and knowing.

    Some are gray in the beards and braids, some are limp in their step and some pain in the kidneys. Still they know that no other life is life, but merely a dreary journey into everyone else’s monotony. He looks at the new ones, and then turns away, knowing they will never know of life on the road and of the women who can take it. Wild, loving women who’ll hang in with them, because they love it too. Women with wild hearts and loyal souls, that’s what’s needed here.

    The new ones are shiny and young and a bit too clean. They’re born into a system that has an iron grip now. The new one’s don’t seem to know and couldn’t take “the life”.

    I think it’s a mystery, even to the old ones, why this life is theirs, but it is, and it’s the only one.

    When the last biker falls, like the dinosaurs, the sun will go down on a breed of heart-of-gold, tough as nails, free of spirited men, who even at their worst, love what’s theirs and protect it. In a worldwide system that is making all people as alike as manufactured dolls, the earth will be a duller place…when the last biker falls.


  190. Byron Says:

    I ride a Harley because I like it and I like to ride it.
    The writer of this article/story sounds as if he/she doesn’t like Harleys.
    Hence the “Harley is Doomed” angle.
    We’ll see.
    Maybe by the end of 2011, 12, 13, 14 or does the writer mean: a hundred years from now?
    But the writer doesn’t really know any more than the rest of us do.
    The evidence is weak and, might be, even a little bit of corporate “bad mouthing” by another bike manufacturer. (There’s no auther by-line.)
    I believe Harley-Davidson Corporation knows more about HD than the writer of this article.
    I really like my ’08 Road King Classic.
    HD made a great bike.

  191. Harleymike Says:

    Shut the fuck up and ride. Who really gives a fuck about any corporate shit or making some political statement about HD anyway. Folks sounding of like a bunch of yuppie fags crying in their bottled piss water. I ride a harley because one I fuckin want too and two its the baddest ass motorcycle on the streets bar fuckin none. Fuck rice an imported shit. My opinion..and who gives a fuck about my opinion?…nofuckinbody and if you do..I don’t fuckin care anyway. I wouldnt even be writin this shit but Im stuck indoors cause the weather is fucked and Im pissed I cant be out doin more productive shit. Why cant you motherfuckers just ride..have a damn good time with your bros and those who want to do the same? Who really cares about the corporate bullshit at HD and if folks want to wear overpriced HD shit…I say fuckin let em and get off folks. My buds work at HD and they have a job so Im down with that. You know, if HD doesnt want to listen to me..I don’t give a fuck. I don’t listen to them. I just ride a Harley. Support your local Red Machine!!

  192. CBCZNC Says:

    Jenna Massoli seems to think that once the current generation of graybeards dies off, there will be no more “real” bikers left, well Jenna, you are wrong and you are ignorant. I am 39 (born ’72) and I ride because I love to ride. I’ve ridden since I was 9 years old and I get fucking pissed everytime I go to Myrtle Beach bike week and see posers doused in perfume and new clothing riding their 30,000 dollar street glides while rap music screams from their HD sound system. I ride in the same boots that I work in, I hate fucking posers. I dont take shit and i welcome a good fist fight,,,but i do realize that I am one of only a few. Granted, Jenna, real bikers numbers are dwindling but we will never disappear! Over time i think the bikers remaining in this country will go the way of society- they will become more polarized.
    That shit you posted also says: “The new ones are shiny and young and a bit too clean. They’re born into a system that has an iron grip now. The new one’s don’t seem to know and couldn’t take “the life””. …thanks for slapping a label on me. You are an idiot if you think you can slap some label onto anyone. Try and label me and I will prove you and your label wrong! Granted, I was born into a system that has an iron grip but I have freed myself from that iron grip by telling IRS, corporate america and a host of others to KISS MY FUCKING ASS. The younger “real” bikers may not roam the country side like they used too, but that doesn’t mean that the “real biker” spirit doesn’t live on,,, it does and I know it does…because it is in ME! so fuck you and your ditribe that you didn’t even write.

  193. Tom Kirth Says:

    You know, no one would say **** about hardley if hardley riders weren’t constantly begging for attention. C’mon, every stoplight rev, rev, rev? No one thinks you’re cool, or tough, no matter how many of you internet commandos try to claim otherwise. Loud pipes don’t save ****. Helmets & the rest of the proper gear (not to mention defensive driving) are what keeps you safe. Do you see the 99%’rs doing that? Nope, but you do hear them trying to make as much noise as possible because they think that makes them seem impressive. Yeah, well, that doesn’t work especially people can smoke your brand new heritage classic black edition blah, blah, blah, with a 30 year old metric. Done that more than once and laughed every time I did it.

  194. fayettenamhoe Says:

    rebel, don’t forget, those chrome plated dicks

  195. fayettenamhoe Says:

    the next, eye ball that can’t breath, poe childs growing up with hunger

  196. JC Says:

    Good riddance Harley!

  197. America is doomed Says:

    I know this is about Harley, but it’s bigger then that. I’ve owned several and my most recent 2010 FLHTC (bought used off craigs list, I can’t even afford HD used bike prices) I don’t ride 24/7/365 as someone else stated on here, I would like to, but the reality is that I work 7 days a week, and half of those days I am making a delivery in my own personal truck. So I really can’t even ride it to work. Sturgis has been on my list since the late 80’s… maybe 2012, maybe never!
    If you can’t tell by the past paragraph… yes , I own my own (small) business, and have for the last 6 years (Ace Hardware), what sceams americana more then Ace? Everyone on here was probably raised near one where they went for just about everything. What pisses me off the most on here is I keep reading F*** the stealership, Harley is doomed… and even at my store, I hear every single day… “F*** the big boxes”, Depot and Lowes, then they follow up with this statement “I walked around depot, and lowes for an hour looking for this item, nobody knows shit there, I came here you walked me to it and I’m on my way home, this happens all the time, I check everywhere else then I come here and find it!” WTF??? The point I’m trying to make is that most people talk the talk, but when it comes to the walk, they will still end up at the stealership first, just as in my case they will always check Lowes and Depot first. Hell, Lowes and Depot even send people to our store every day! People wonder what happened to small town America, and the great old days of yester year, we sold ourselves out to the huge conglomerates owned by foreigners for the hopes that by shopping there we could save a dollar or two! Even knowing that we continue to short sale our soul on a daily basis. Harley is doomed? America is doomed!
    Do I feel better? A little!

  198. slapstick Says:

    Bring your Jap bike over so’s I CAN PISS ON IT!

  199. Skull Says:

    Whine,Whine, WHINE! You have forgotten the kick until you drop, fuckin’#1cylinder coil fuckin’quit, kick start back slap, oil leaking, push rod bending, clutch cable snapping on long road trip, trying to get away from the law engine quitting bullshit we put up with in the past. You all sound like a bunch of rice rocketeers! Ride for 50 years then shut the fuck up! My ’07 road king can beat up your panzycycle.

  200. Doctor Fine Says:

    I rode ‘em in 1964 because even a wet behind the ears 16 year old could fix the damn things. They were cheap and unbreakable. And fuckin cool as shit. Man what a sound with P cams and straight pipes.

    Nothing has changed except I got fatter. I do all the work on my Harley anyway so if the MoCo fucks up and goes through another period of financial meltdown (like the 60s) I could care less.

    I buy into Harley because it is an organic part of my soul as an American that can FIX things. Bury me with the damn thing.

    But care about “the vanishing of an ICON.” Don’t make me fuckin laugh… All that is going to vanish is ME, haha.

  201. Rebel Says:

    Dear Doctor Fine,

    P cams! I remember those!


  202. swampy Says:

    I know that I’m gonna get slammed for this: I can’t seem to stay away from VICTORY’s web page lately.

  203. Tooj Says:

    “Gosh, lucky for us ol’ Arlen is selling thos spiffy Victory bikes made by some snowmobile company. Next time I inherit a fortune I’ll be in line for one of those.”

    “I know that I’m gonna get slammed for this: I can’t seem to stay away from VICTORY’s web page lately.”

    It began with Victory comments and ends with Victory comments. That’s what I read. HD has them beat on price by producing the Sporty, but where else you going to get a new 100 cube bike for 14k?

  204. swampy Says:

    Tooj, first off, screw Alen Ness. Yes, the prices are very attractive for a 106 motor and six-speed trans. However, I’m not too keen on a cam-chain motor. That HAMMER 8 BALL model with double 18-inch wheels looks like it would be a BLAST.


  205. Grumbler Says:

    Had high hopes for the Triumph 1700 Thunderbird Storm given my old limey daze only to subsequently discover that it’s one heavy mofo at 746-lbs (wet). The Street Bob is 74-lbs lighter (wet).

  206. Tooj Says:


    sorry, i’ve had my ’07 100 inch Vegas on my mind. Yes, they only put out 106 motors now from the Wisconsin plant. Now, I won’t argue pushrod or chain, but if a chain can drive your back wheel…

    i do my own work which includes having cut up the frame and currently have the entire back end pulled off. i’ve met some of their engineers and they love cycles.

    arlen wouldn’t make an ingrown hair on my ball sack.

  207. Tooj Says:

    arlen did, however, get a good gig going for corey and zack to do minimal design work for a good payday.

  208. Ines Says:

    I am a lady from Honduras, and I love motorcycles. I have an honda tornado and I was thinking of buyin a Harley D., to be part of the Honduran club, but I was wastonished to know some of the prices and I wonder if one of the bike’s parts has gold in it. Nice bikes but even though I have the money, it would be too harrd to give so much for a bike and the right to meet some people. Also, they look so heavy that for the kind of swift and fast riding required in my city, Tegucigalpa, it just would be so stressful. I don’t see my bike as a pet or a friend, yes it is an instrument I have to move and feel free but I won’t adore stuff. Want to be or not want to be, I just feel free and smart enough not to be cheated!!

  209. Wild Bill Says:

    I grew up on a Harley dad would take me riding with him on his old Shovel Head and his Trike! I started riding on mini bikes then dirt bikes then a Sportster at 18.
    Customized that Sportster myself had the pride and love for that old Sportster that comes from making it your own not a factory cookie cutter creation!
    Now years later and many more miles later and few more Harley’s later I still get the same feeling every time I throw a leg over my sled crank it up and fly down the road!
    That is the feeling Harley Davidson can’t sell they can’t manufacture the feeling of customizing your bike to your taste!
    They can’t sell the feeling of the open road wind in your hair and beard in my case!
    That is what Harley Davidson has lost they use to get it long ago it’s not about being a pretend outlaw it’s about freedom!
    And you cant sell freedom to people who are not free!

  210. Bill Says:

  211. Kelly Says:

    I got my first ride on a Panhead. I was about Five. That is when I decided to get me one when I am older.
    I did.It was my third motorcycle, and my fourth.Okay, so I have been to both coasts and Canada several times.
    I do not need any stinking radio, or GPS to get there. I even Made it over Wolf Creek Pass on my first Harley. ’78 Sportster. 6800 miles and 18 days, loads of fun and Yes at the time we were thought of as Outlaws. Though I had a good job at the time. It was 1980. We were treated like it a few places, but mostly, old men approached me to ask about my bike and tell me of when they rode. Either in the war, or when they were young. I would never trade the trip for a million dollars, as I still have those memories. Are they over priced? yes. they are way too complicated now. I could tear down my Ironhead Sportster and have it back together in about forty five mins. Just so that I could change a gasket. My last bike I have had for 32 years. I can still fix things by the side of the road if I have to. And I have the parts with me.. LOL!
    They can put all the bells and whistles that they want on the bikes, but they will never beat the sound of the engine or the feel of the engine in the grips that let you know you are alive and kicking.
    I kinda feel sorry for those who have never felt the vibration of the engine. They know not what they miss!

  212. JED CLAMPETT Says:

    I ride a 77XLCH,the last of the Kickstart IronHeads, “VIVID RED, LOVE the reaction of folks when I kick it over after filling the 2.2gallon gasTank & the 38″long XLR pipes ROAR thier way into life.
    was always told : “That bike sounds like a74 { a 1200 shovelhead} and it does , very deep, LOUD……
    Think BigBlock Chevy with open Headers!
    Set of 121″ “A” Bars, a COBRA SEAT Polished stainless Spokes on super hi polished alloy {stock} rims
    EVERYBODY has a comment when they see it ,hear it
    HARLEYS do that to people,
    Wanted a XLCH from the time I was 4 and my DAD snatched me by the seat of my pants after leaning down and put me on the front of his saddle of his 52 PAN

  213. Rebel Says:

    Dear Jed Clampett,

    I once had a ’76 XL. Piece o’shit. The engine blew up.


  214. Latigo Morgan Says:

    I’ve been saving my clams to get a good used Road King, and now Harley went and discontinued it.

    Every bonehead with one for sale is going to raise the price because they think they now have a “collectible” Harley.

  215. Grumbler Says:

    @Latigo Morgan – The MoFoCo didn’t dump the Road King. The 2014 Touring Road King starts at $18,249. Maybe you were thinking of the Road Glide which went into hiatus for the 2014 model year.

  216. Latigo Morgan Says:

    Hey Grumbler – I went and checked their website, and you are right. I was given bad info from someone who should have known better.

    I reckon I’ll have to double check things like that before I get pissed off.

  217. Phuquehed Says:

    I also thought it was the Road King that was dropped and said so in another post somewhere. Crap, sorry if it was me that caused any confusion.

  218. DesertH-D Says:

    Rebel said: “I once had a ’76 XL. Piece o’shit. The engine blew up.”

    Now that’s some funny shit… As if there’s an Ironhead anywhere that ain’t blown up at least once. (Maybe two or three times minimum by now…) “That’s part of the charm!” Haha. Yeah. Right….

    Yeah, I’ve had a couple, they blew up a lot… Moved on. But I might have to build another someday, just to see if I can conquer that bitch… :-)

    Now then, apologies in advance, but I can’t talk about something “blowing up” without picturing a young Bill Murray: “Blooowwwed up, sir!”

  219. Gumbo Chaff Says:

    I have been riding Harleys for 30 years,I cant believe how many different models the factory produces and I wonder if this over production has contributed,along with the recession,to the present crisis.I have a 99 evo nightrain ,the new version of that here in the U.K. would be about 23,000 dollars ! I am not looking to buy a new bike ,I like the one I have got,I have had it for 10 years and will probably have it for another 10.I maintain it myself,I couldnt afford a new bike if I wanted one.

  220. Road Whore Says:

    Although I’ve never owned a Harley, I have nothing against them except their price.

    2014 Road King: $18,249

    2013 Honda Interstate: $13,240

    Back in 2005 went to buy my first new Harley. Dealership I went to, every salesman breezed by me like I was invisible; couldn’t get a soul to talk to me. Pissed me off, so I went and bought a brand new without a mile on her Honda VTX 1300…tax, title, license, gap insurance, helmet, gloves, the works: out the door for about $9,000!

    I’ve put over 88,000 miles on her without a hitch, and she runs better now than the day she was brand new.

    But…maybe Harley makes enough money selling to the rich movie stars, etc., so that they don’t need to consider the “common man” anymore.

  221. Road Whore Says:

    An addendum to my comment above: I get that buying American supports American jobs, and I’m 100% for that…back when I bought my Honda they had a U.S. plant and were providing American jobs, so I accepted that as a reasonable alternative to Harley.

    Now…Honda closed their U.S. plant and moved all operations back overseas.

    I can’t wear the damn thing out but if I ever do get in the market for a new bike, it will be a Harley simply because I will buy American and support U.S. workers. (As soon as I win that damn lottery…)

    Ride Free

  222. Freeman Says:

    What harley has forgotten is the end justifies the means motto alot of us have lived by.

    I was never a good mechanic, but i had became somewhat of a mechanic back in the day because i could not afford to hire one, tweeking a beat up shovel just so i could ride to a party, changing the transmission on an old 77 oldsmobile, in the middle of winter, undoing the driving shaft in order to take out the transmission, undoing the bolts that attached it to the motor, bolts where wet, air was cold they would stick to my fingers with frostbite, and as im laying flat on my back, with the transmission right over my chest i start to wiggle the damn thing to pull it off so i can install the one i bought at a scrap yard, not knowing that i am about to receive a shit load of stinking, red transmission fluid on my face while wrestling with the transmission to get it off my chest and out from underneath the car.

    Nowadays i would be hard pressed to do anything on the old ladie’s pontiac g6, i still remember the first time i bought a new washer and dryer, barrel in the washer stopped turning at one point, im thinking to myself, no biggy probably just the strap, open the fucker up to find everything inside is sealed and there are a couple of blinking led lights…

    In the day you could fix most of your stuff yourself, and you would because the end justified the means.

    Harley stuck to selling something that doesn’t exist anymore, mystic or magic, whatever you want to call it, like rebel said, yeah put on that over priced tee-shirt, in my world if your a dick head, your a dick head, and if your a dick head wearing that shirt, to me it only means your an dickhead that wasted good money by buying that shirt, and should shove your head in your arse.

    Dont get me wrong i have always owned harley’s, loved everyone of em for what they where.

    Thing is i dont believe in magic, i believe in common sense, tried out a victory hammer 8 ball yesterday and a victory crossroads 8 ball this morning, both of them had awsome handling, power and stability, loved the narly look of the hammer but will most probably go with the crossroads because it fits my needs better, and im not kidding myself i know the black on black look of those bikes was designed with the current trend, soa lovers in mind, but the black on black look also drops the price compared to hd shined up chromed up overpriced machines.

    Right now i can land a brand new 2013 hammer for about 13 000, almost half priced for an equivalent hd, harley could learn a thing or two from that snowmobile, quad making company, harley davidson has forgotten who made them who they are today, us.

  223. Grumbler Says:

    There’s no sporting models comparable to the XL1200R nor FXDX in the current 2014 model range. Dyna Fat Bob seems to come close although I’ve my misgivings about the forward controls, 16-inch front hoop and fugly rear fender with that giganormous tailight in the anus.

  224. JMacK Says:


    Glad you enjoyed the test ride. You won’t be sorry.


  225. Meh Says:

    The folks who made HD aren’t the folks who buy new HDs, they are the folks who buy USED HDs then customise them.

    Same as “back in the day”. FTF isn’t new.

    In the day you could fix most of your stuff yourself, and you would because the end justified the means.
    Shit, it pays much better now to DIY so I do. Tool costs are pretty much flat, labor rates are high, so buying tools pays off very quickly.

    Working on any vehicle is much easier now. Instead of being bent over by local dealers or shops (not all of who were customer-oriented!), you can get damn near any parts you want with a couple of mouse clicks. Finding salvage or new parts is quick and easy, and finding information is almost instant.

    BTW, working on any modern motorcycle is easier than working on modern cars, and that isn’t really difficult. It’s DIFFERENT, but plenty of mechanics made the transition easily.

    The insane amounts of money and hassle you save over the years by learning to wrench what you own mean independence and more cash staying in your pocket.

  226. Freeman Says:

    @ JMacK

    Thanks man, yeah i thoroughly enjoyed it really, had trouble bringing it back to the dealer.

    I have a 2000 Polaris sportsman and that thing brought me deep in the woods and ALWAYS brought me back, very mechanically sound so i know victory have that part covered, i wonder when they are going to come up with a liquid cooled model they have been doing it for years on the quads.

    @ Meh
    I was talking about days of old, you are right modern bikes are not that much more difficult to work, cars well thats a whole other story.

    My point is in these times i dont have the time to learn all the new technology, in the position i am now i want i to put the key in it and ride,and at 13k at an hd dealer i have been told i would not be buying a very reliable bike and that i should go with the higher end models.

    i dont have the time that i used to have, and technology changes continually, what i want from it is start,ride,take me back and i dont want to spend a fortune and even less so because of a brand, wich is what hd as become a brand, when my 14 year old comes to me wanting this piece and this other piece of clothing, i explain to him this company in thailand makes those shirts, its the same damn shirt, 5 bucks without the logo 25 with the logo, you know?

    tools vs labor you are very right, but having the tools doesnt mean you know what you are doing, every craft has evolved and you have to be aware of everything, i am in the process of renovating a house i bought, and i can tell you the guy that built it had the tools but didnt know what the fuck he was doing, thats my craft, im a carpenter/site foreman worked in construction all my life.

    back in the day technology was much simpler to work around, nowadays its more complicated and no one can keep up with everything, so my point for hd is if i got to shell out 30 k for something reliable, i will go with the 13 k victory that is known to be reliable, and that leaves money in my pocket if something should go wrong with the damn thing.

    you are also very right about labor versus tools

  227. Phuquehed Says:

    @Freeman – Whoever told you “…at 13k at an hd dealer i have been told i would not be buying a very reliable bike and that i should go with the higher end models.”, is fucked up and high on something.

    My FXD in four and a half years has 57,000 miles on it and runs just as well as the day I bought it. It *still* gets 47 mpg and at 90 mph I’m still only using half the throttle.

    I’ve had two different problems. The first was covered by the warranty and has worked correctly since then (bad stator).

    The second was wheel bearings went out on it (I’m positive the weight it carries – me – constantly is the simple problem). A very easy fix and pretty cheap at my indie…and I get by month-to-month on $300 ($250 on the quarterly months because of the insurance payment).

    If I had a place I could put a nice concrete slab and be covered, I’d do 90% of any work on it I needed (I’d just have to svae up often to buy the expensive tools like a wheel bearing puller/installer, stuff like that). It’d kill my back if I had to do too much, but I have more than enough confidence in this bike not fucking up on me in any major way in the foreseeable future. Yeah, sure I’ll eventually have to put new pistons, rings and jugs on it, but I’ll bet the bike (the only thing I own other than 3 dogs and my computer) I won’t have to do that until I get around that 100k mark.

    Just my opinion is all, not ragging you for wanting a Victory, though I do have a problem with that company in that I’ve noticed that *every* one of their bikes that I’ve ever been around or passed, is obnoxiously and ear-hurting loud, yet H-D has to quieten theirs up more and more. Why is that?

  228. JMacK Says:


    Funny enough, it was the performance and reliability of my Sportsman quad as well as various quads and snowmobiles that friends and family had that even allowed me to crawl onto the seat of a Victory. And now I can’t get off. But like I said, I like some variety so I may have to just check out those new Indians….


  229. nikki Says:

    Is this another one of those “my thing is bigger than your thing” things?

    This is certainly old news.

    HD could never be doomed. They will forevermore have their overpriced parts and their very overpriced tee-shirt sales that will net them as much profit if not more than their bikes ever have or will. Ask all the people out there that have one and have never owned a bike of any brand.

    The choices in “America” for bikes are becoming more plentiful. Gotta love that if your American-no matter what your brand.

  230. Nikki Says:

    Now I know I am in America. Proof positive.

    HD has some stiff competition going on. It’s a welcomed change.

  231. Rebel Says:

    Yeah Nikki.

    It’s an old story. I really like how stupid you are. Are you married? Recently divorced!


  232. Freeman Says:


    I believe everything you just told me, thing his coming back from my ride, at the victory dealer, i made a lil detour and dropped in a hd dealer, same clothes same attitude same everything (cept i was a lil high cause it was the first time i had ridden a bike all summer) i am dressed as i am 90% of the time beat up steel toe boots, jeans and a t-shirt, what i mean by this, is i dont ”look” like i can whip out my gold card and put 30k on it.

    No i did not believe the salesman when he was telling me his bullshit,(like i said i have always owned Harley) i dont like salesman, i find them annoying, but it really felt like house policy you know? either that or the fucker wanted to thicken up his comission, either way, i wont have any of it, and rebel’s article was dead on back then,even worst now, man i was offered with anything over 25 k a 50% rebate on all subside products, boots helmet, clothes, you name it, they have it.

    point his, and i have said this before i always buy 2-3 years late, that way i profit from the devaluation (just have to be careful with the millage on it, like sit wears,peg wears, winshield and headlight discoloration/wear to make sure the clock wasnt turned back, know what i mean?) and after 2-3 years you know what is a lemon and what is not.

    So in the end i will be buying the first new vehicule in my life, simply because this company makes something that i can afford and fits my needs, and i wont be paying extra for the logo, and for those that dont know victory is polaris, and polaris is american, and most probably as less asians parts in it then hd, and btw (not directed at you personnaly Phuquehed, thats my lil thing) boundaries and continents being what they are, though i live in canada, i am american too, north america is north america, and im just a tiny,lil bit jealous of your south states for i will be knee high in white flakes of doom in about 2 months.

    @ JmacK
    i checked out the indian too,(good move for polaris separating the brands) thunderstroke 111 motor seems awesome, and the bikes have a higher end finition, just out of my price range, that and im a minimalist at heart, what can i say…

  233. Base Says:


    You do know the world is not flat, right?

  234. Phuquehed Says:

    @Freeman – The same happened to me at a dealership here in TN. I was in there walking around for close to a half hour and not one of those punks would even look at me. I had to go all the way to fucking Louisiana to get my bike. So long as the asshole salesmen who look down their noses don’t get any money from me, I’m happy.

  235. Freeman Says:

    Rebel id say divorced 3 times on his way to a fourth marriage, running in circles on a flat earth.

  236. Snow Says:

    Fucking Louisiana, damn man I resemble that remark, lol.
    Any idea why your link works on some posts and not on others?
    Keep speaking the truth.
    Respect sent, Snow.

  237. Sieg Says:

    Y’all realize you can get a running Shovel with all the parts for anywhere from 2-6K, right? Clean title and all. Even cheaper if yer willing to put it all together. Hasn’t been that cheap to get a running sled together since I was a youngster.

    Check it out…you pay, let’s say the full 6K for a Shovel, maybe an FLH, maybe an FXE. Tear that sucker down, spend another grand for all the shiny-shit that floats yer boat, performance upgrades, and cosmetics, then sell all the stock parts you pulled off it to some whacko gotta have stock parts for his latest resto project. You’re up and eatin cornbugs for maybe 5-6K, and ya got a stylin sled to do it on.

    Biggest benefit, an I know most of the riders here know this, is that you KNOW yer sled. Sumpin goes south out in the tules, ya pull over an fix it, no major.

    Just my .02. I came up figuring ya had to build yer own and do yer own wrenching if ya wanted to ride. Never had a reason to change my mind.

    5 to 1

  238. JMacK Says:


    I agree 100%. And i wrenched on a bunch of old junk from a wore out Dyna to a little Virago that was gifted by a friend to KZ1000 (was gonna be a drag bike project). My problem is I go up north to work, I’m gone from 14-24 days. Thats a lot of evenings to wrench and play. When I get home, I wanna ride the damn thing. I’m looking at getting another job closer to home for the fact that my kid is coming into his learning years and I need to have him out in the garage busting his knuckles instead of wearing out his thumbs on a goddamn video game controller. The by-product of that is we may finally get to go find that old shovel project finally…


  239. Phuquehed Says:

    @Snow – The links on the nym that highlight used to be my website. I don’t have one anymore at the moment, so my nym doesn’t highlight for the nonce.

    @Sieg – That was my plan the day I found out sitting a bike is easier on my back than sitting in a p/u or car. Problem with that though was, the bank didn’t like the way my credit history looked and wouldn’t even loan me $1200 for an old beatup shovel I’d found.

    Still, I can’t really complain, this bike (’09 FXD) has done me pretty good so far and the only thing I’ve had to do with it myself that was a big job, was taking the primary cover off to look inside to check the compensator and behind the clutch pack. Went and got me a super dooper badass bike lift just for this job, sorta like this one basically…

    I figure once I pay off the bike, my credit should take a nice turn for the better and I’ll be able to put something together that I *really* want and keep this one for a spare.

  240. Freeman Says:

    @ Sieg

    True to that, but i spend 4 hours on the road every day to commute to work, couple that with the 8 hours spent on the job, week ends working on the house, it doesnt leave me much time to wrench at anything.

  241. Tooj Says:

    @Freeman, glad the test went okay for you. You WERE warned. The best times I’ve had involved riding or wrenching on bikes. Always keep one up and running; ALWAYS.

  242. Snow Says:

    I see guys with Victorys on occasion, we have a dealership near by, the ones who have them seem to like them a lot. I personally think their cruising/touring line look a little strange with all the angles, kinda throws off my sense of balance. That said, ride what ya like as long as your in the wind.

  243. Glenn S. Says:

    A bike is like everything else: If you want one bad enough, you’ll find a way to get one. Whether that means learning to wrench and buying one in a box or selling the cage or working two jobs or giving up the needle (as I did) or making the OL get a job or…whatever. Today, if something happened to my bike, I’d sell the cage and get another one. Then when it gets too cold and rainy to ride every day, I’d get me some piece of shit cage at a buy here pay here lot.

    I got most of my leathers, etc. CHEAP from yuppies that buy bikes, keep them for a few years but never ride them, and then need the garage space for something new. They’ve bought all that overpriced Harley stuff (that is good quality most of the time, exception: the boots are shit) and they put it on Craigslist, like they did the bike. I’ll soon be in the market for a second bike, if things work out the way I hope they will. I’ll get me some yuppie’s credit glide, probably a 5-10-year-old Road King, maybe an Electra Glide, with less than 10K miles, complete with thousand dollar Reinhart pipes, tuner, upgraded air cleaner, chrome do-dads, and flashy old man’s seat for about $8K in the middle of winter. Shit, he might take one look at my tired ol’ tattoed and scarred white trash ass, decide he’s my kindred spirit in his dreams, and cut his price. Happened with the just broke in $800 leather jacket I picked up for $70. Nice old-school jacket, Harley brand without “Harley” emblazoned all over it (don’t think they make them any more), almost never worn, warmer and softer than most. Same with the chaps: $300 new, got ‘em for pocket change, don’t think they were ever worn.

    Cons for yuppies riding: they’ve made the prices go up. Pros? The pigs know they might be pulling over somebody on city council so they’ve sort of changed their mindset. And the yuppies tire of the new toy, or their families bitch about it, and they sell it cheap.

  244. Freeman Says:

    @ Tooj

    Yup best times ive had too, that and playing guitar, those 2 things get me to a place where im alone and the world is far far away, still have the guits, dont have a bike, was a sad thing to let go of, but as it always did, it gave me back more than i put in, end justified the means, and the means are coming to an end. and yeah after this i will always have one up and running, ALWAYS!

  245. WAR PIG Says:


  246. kaintuck Says:

    I used to love Harleys but I don’t like being played for a fool. Triumph makes a fine bike. The Rocket (roadster and touring) runs like a bat out of hell and isn’t a pain in the ass. In WWI about 800,000 Limey soldiers (population 45.4 million) died fighting for the Allies. In WWII 384,000 of them (population 48 million) died for the Allies. Triumph has metric fasteners but it’s not a “metric bike”. I’ll bet a Triumph has more “allied” parts in it than a Harley.

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