Not Your Father’s Motorcycle

September 5, 2013

All Posts, News

A couple of recent and widely reported stories illustrate where Harley-Davidson is heading with its products – whether you like it or not.

For at least the last five years, since Keith Wandell became the Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Company, Harley has canned workers, cut pay for others, tried to tame its outlaw image and courted women to replace its old customer base of aging and increasingly impoverished blue collar men. The company has sought riders in India and China. There is an assembly plant in India now. And, Harley engines in the United States have gotten bigger and less efficient.

Sales are down but profits are up and the company continues to evolve. Witness Rushmore.

Rushmore

The blathering, August 21 press release that announced the Rushmore bikes – yeah, like the iconic mountain in South Dakota – claimed that Harley had redefined “American freedom machines.” The nearly incomprehensible release continued:

“Project RUSHMORE is a pure expression of our relationship with our customers and a shared passion for riding motorcycles,” said Mark-Hans Richer, Harley-Davidson Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s resulted in some outstanding innovations, but from day one we’ve been focused on taking the total rider and passenger experience to the next level. We get there together, we come together – to quote the Beatles – through a process that uses not just formal feedback, but the kind of input we get from listening to customers out on the road, in the real world, and then blends that with our engineering and styling expertise. For years at Harley-Davidson we’ve been saying that we ride with you. Project RUSHMORE elevates that devotion to a higher level.”

What all that marketing noise seems to mean is that the American Harley market is going even farther up-scale. Another release explains that Rushmore is not actually a line of new bikes but rather “an initiative to bring a new level of sophistication to the brand’s biggest motorcycles.”

All the bikes have 103 cubic inch engines and an “expanded infotainment system” that includes “Bluetooth connectivity, GPS, navigation, phone, intercom and CB radio options.”

Harley is also rolling out a “Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam engine” which means the new power plant is liquid cooled rather than air cooled. The engine is now available in 103 and 110 cubic inch versions. The smaller of these water cooled engines is available now on the new Electra Glide Ultra Limited and Tri Glide Ultra. The big engine is standard on the CVO Ultra Limited.

Meanwhile In India

Harley also announced a new bike to be manufactured in India. The new Harley will have a 30 cubic inch, or 500 cubic centimeter, engine.

Matthew Levatich, Harley’s Chief Operating Officer, told the technology website gizmag that the new bike is “nimble, light weight, has a low seat height and supple throttle and braking. I’ve ridden it – it looks great, sounds great, it’s a Harley, and it’s priced right. We want to get it out as soon as we can, but it’s got to be right. New engines are complicated, and we’ve got to get everything right from a durability, reliability and confidence perspective. On the other hand, chassis and other things are a lot more straightforward.”

The tiniest Harley will be unveiled at a trade show in India in February. Harley expects to export the bike. Nobody has asked Harley management yet if the new bike will be exported to the United States.

 

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141 Responses to “Not Your Father’s Motorcycle”

  1. fayettenamhoe Says:

    yes i meant every word, even i’m chewing upon my womans pussey hair, yummmy even when it all stuck to the roof of my mouth

  2. fayettenamhoe Says:

    quote this,,, just shake my head and thank the gods that he’s allowed on the computer only once per month, ’cause I’m pretty sure no matter how drunk/stoned/high-on-whatever I was I wouldn’t be able to decipher his posts.———————————————————————————————————————————————————-yes sir i can thwart a thread———— thank you

  3. fayettenamhoe Says:

    I just shake my head and thank the gods that he’s allowed on the computer only once per month, ’cause I’m pretty sure no matter how drunk/stoned/high-on-whatever I was I wouldn’t be able to decipher his posts.

  4. fayettenamhoe Says:

    i have no idea of what a new harley is, ive seen them in pieces but i get lost, a harley used to be understandable, now they look as if they only fit one way, called no way, i used to be able to take a part here and a part there and sweep the floor with some more parts and put some SHIT together, now nothing fits nothing except a tailor made suit to fit a tailor made rider, fuk me, i’m part flat head, panhead, knuckle, and a bit of blockhead, m74B, no cool t-shirts for me, all i need is a pair of Visegrips and a monkey wrench to keep my shhiit running, and some duct tape and bailing wire, hahahaha, no paint involved, good luk

  5. fayettenamhoe Says:

    new harleys suck, you can’t even work on them, no visegrips or ducktape involed

  6. fayettenamhoe Says:

    you mutha fucker you better stop, keep on reposting me? i said this shit years ago, what the fuck you want now,,,,,,, i been eating my womans pussey for the last several months, making her ass taste sqeeky clean me be loving pussey, old pan can wait

  7. fayettenamhoe Says:

    they keep holding the breath

  8. fayettenamhoe Says:

    did i believe my friend, his pussy looked bad in his grave, his children worshiped
    him fayettenamhoe Says:
    January 25th, 2014 at 11:02 pm
    my dad grew up on bicycles, the nazi’s stole every one, before he came to amerika he rode any thing that had two leggs, Vespa ruled when there was nothing else but an escape from the USA pounding machines, rebuilding what the neocons destroyed, bang bang, amerika was not ready for rock and roll back in the fifities not even a bikini, USA? the puritan mind set? OMG theez womans french kissed, enter Harley, broke down GI’ from the battle field, enter shit like doris day and walt dizney, a sanitized mentality that still kills, enter 1948-2001, who are the grey people that want to hang a fool for 420,let alone looking at a white baby, bbbbblllllaaaaaccccckkkkk, are you lying, i find it hard to hate those that don’t try to use me, but those who purpectuate lies and hatred, deserve the wrath of mankind, regardrless of a

  9. fayettenamhoe Says:

    my friend, his pussy looked bad in his grave, his children worshiped
    him

  10. fayettenamhoe Says:

    hahaha

  11. Dave Says:

    A little late to the dance, but I like some things about the new line-up and hate other things about it. I am not angry about the new stuff. I don’t see any reason to be. They are trying to create a certain perception and don’t think that the consumer will abandon them. Good business tact. Just not sound.

    More and more I find myself wanting to re-build an older bike or get something no later than 2006. I miss my 05′ electra glide classic with it’s awesome 88 and true dual rineharts. I could listen to the radio, pop in my own cd, or turn it off and enjoy the purr of that motor. I miss it…

  12. Mike Says:

    My ’99 is so fine.

  13. old boy Says:

    My bike is a black 2000 Road King. It has cams and a huge VH exhaust, Big Sucker with a… nostalgic billet cover that doesn’t cover anything. I bought if for eight and have twenty in it. Everyone keeps asking me why I don’t get a new one.

    Because that would have been easy, is why. I would rather build on the worst EFI ever devised and not even bother with the Zippers upgrade (too easy).

    The guys who did my dyno said it’s awesome for not having any head work, so now I have to get head work or my head will not let that go.

    There are some advantages. Right? I don’t have to rip a catalytic converter off to replace it with another off-road use only 2-into-1 cap magnet jail bait system like the one I have not: only more illegal.

    I think in CA anyway I wouldn’t buy a post-2012 anyway. Who knows, with some head work maybe I can break the EFI and have to replace it with the upgrade. I can’t afford it, but I couldn’t afford the other stuff either; but there it is.

    I is my bike, there are sixty million other black Road Kings, but this one is mine. It will outlive me, that’s for sure.

    I just hope that someday I can afford to restore an even more ridiculously high-maintenance 1977 dresser with a big ass white buddy saddle and hang gee gaws all over it like it IS 1977, when I met my wife on a 72 Triumph Bonnie.

    If the CEO of the Motor Company would harken back to that era, make a dresser with motor as pretty as a Shovel, that sounds like a Shovel but runs like a 2012 Block – buddy seat and all – I don’t think they could keep pace with demand. Same goes for every model from that period. (sans the 70s paint kits)

  14. Tooj Says:

    @fayettenamhoe,

    I hear that, but I am as always…nobody.

  15. HDinsider Says:

    I know this is an old post and lots of rehashed topics, I worked for the MoCo for 30 something years until I recently retired and I thank God I made it through will the new regime that is pushing all the buttons in Milwaukee.
    It is appalling to see the direction this company that I loved for so many years has gone, if prospective buyers and current owners knew 1% of what has going on with this company they wouldn’t even consider purchasing a quart of oil from them or their dealers.
    The top brass at HD are not even motorcycle enthusiast, they (including the CEO) have never even owned an HD until they got a job at the MoCo, it is all about selling their widgets and keeping shareholders happy, sure their stock has did very well but that isn’t the topic I’m addressing.
    What I am pointing out is the company is no longer ran by passionate motorcyclist that care about every owner and would (in the past) do whatever it took to make them happy. They cut all that fat out to make way for maximum profits, not happy customers.
    I’m also not saying that HD isn’t offering a quality motorcycle, but outsourcing components to foreign countries is selling your customers a lie and taking jobs away from Americans.
    Now they have stooped to selling the biker image like it was a halloween costume, watch any of these trendy biker programs and you’ll see a bunch of HD commercials selling an image, not a product.
    As far as saying FU HD and riding a different brand? Most other motorcycle manufactures have tried to get that image the MoCo was handed to them by us (passionate owners and real bikers) and that is just another lie someone else trying to capitalize on to make a profit.
    If you (as a customer) are OK with all this, by all means go out and get your new 750 or 500 or whatever, just don’t parade around town flying a big American flag cause that ship already sailed.

  16. fayettnamhoe Says:

    he idid a bad thing, he believed,——now he dead, left the skull behind, he wished he did, all gone now, he tried to find peace, hahahahahahahahahahaha, no luck

  17. fayettenamhoe Says:

    i wrote a while back, my friend bought a 2011 new harley, the battery died, he let it sit for a year and the fuel injection died, now his chrome is pealing, he hates the damn thing , and all i do is feel badthat he wasted his money on a piece of crap, ego don’t fly when the the desire is vacant,, i told him, you got to chase your farts,desire, fuck the wind , its all in the heart, turn your self inside out, now he found some kind of religion, he forgot how the wheels spun,he let the fools take control,i missses him,i can slowly watch him die

  18. fayettenamhoe Says:

    new harleys suck, you can’t even work on them, no visegrips or ducktape involed

  19. fayettenamhoe Says:

    my dad grew up on bicycles, the nazi’s stole every one, before he came to amerika he rode any thing that had two leggs, Vespa ruled when there was nothing else but an escape from the USA pounding machines, rebuilding what the neocons destroyed, bang bang, amerika was not ready for rock and roll back in the fifities not even a bikini, USA? the puritan mind set? OMG theez womans french kissed, enter Harley, broke down GI’ from the battle field, enter shit like doris day and walt dizney, a sanitized mentality that still kills, enter 1948-2001, who are the grey people that want to hang a fool for 420,let alone looking at a white baby, bbbbblllllaaaaaccccckkkkk, are you lying, i find it hard to hate those that don’t try to use me, but those who purpectuate lies and hatred, deserve the wrath of mankind, regardrless of a color, religion, or weakness,

  20. fayettenamhoe Says:

    AVAGOVFFV Says:
    September 5th, 2013 at 5:51 pm
    Dear Harley Davidson Motor Company,
    As a aging and broke working class customer after careful review I must report as of today I have chosen to withdrawl my support of your products and to not ever buy another shirt or anyother Harley licensed product from any of your dealerships or online distributors this would also include at the rallys which I attend each year. As a American company you have shown that the American economy and workers mean zero to you regardless of you marketing towards the wealthier class of US citizens.

    You lose

    fayettenamhoe say; i know what you mean

  21. fayettenamhoe Says:

    i have no idea of what a new harley is, ive seen them in pieces but i get lost, a harley used to be understandable, now they look as if they only fit one way, called no way, i used to be able to take a part here and a part there and sweep the floor with some more parts and put some SHIT together, now nothing fits nothing except a tailor made suit to fit a tailor made rider, fuk me, i’m part flat head, panhead, knuckle, and a bit of blockhead, m74B no cool t-shirts for me, all i need is a pair of Visegrips and a monkey wrench to keep my sshhiitt running, and some duct tape and bailing wire, hahahaha, no paint involved,

  22. DAS64 Says:

    Hello Mothership,
    Your are messing up, I can say this based on recent BS with a flhx I bought new in 2010 a hold over 09. From the outside it rode ok was kinda a dog and had the whiniest clunkiest tranny I have ever owned in 4 hawgs. Its had two recalls and a failed bearing at 23G. Coming off an evo softail which has 60 on the trans stock NO issues with a motor that’s way beyond stock these days…only complaint the big motor starts hard…well…its got a personality you learn it that fixes it. I guess I cant understand how you can from from something like the evo to this supposed to be better flhx….I don’t mind it but I only ride it not rod it like old one……..figure it the F out before you ruin it………..I have looked at Indian and others….its getting harder to let the blood tell me to stay……….

  23. Jim666 Says:

    Shit ya`ll makin me want a newer bike now,,,,,,,,,,,,
    training wheels you say ?/?????

    Respects to most
    Jim

  24. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    Chokeachicken,

    My jaw just hit the floor. When I saw Homer Simpson riding his new hog with training wheels on it, I thought The Simpsons’ writers were joking.

    (Funny that even The Simpsons’ writers distinguish between “gangs” and biker clubs. When Homer won the bike, he saw a bikesploitation flick and decided to form a “gang” of his dork friends, but the real Hell’s Satans who showed up later said “You stole our club name!”.)

    YYZ Skinhead

  25. chokeachicken Says:

    YYZ Skinhead there is actually an aftermarket part that are training wheels that extend when coming to a stop i believe.

  26. sherides Says:

    Thanks Ol’ Lady Rider!

    I just love, love, love my Sportster!

    I’m pretty sure he likes me too as he hasn’t thrown me off yet.

    I too am not impressed with the new Harleys. A guy at my work bought a 2014 Sportster – you can barely hear the thing when it’s running.

  27. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    Panhead: Congratulations! I “hear” the pride and sense of accomplishment in your comments. Good on ya!

    sherides: Congratulations to you as well. I hope you’ll enjoy many miles together!

    For the record, I LOVE my 2007 Street Glide. But I will never buy another HD. I looked at the 2014s and thought, “Shit, that’s just another cage.” Integrated phone? Really?

    I’ll keep rebuilding this one until I can’t anymore. And by then, it’ll be my kids’ problem.

  28. sherides Says:

    And just parked in the barn tonight…. a 1999 XL1200C… dark blue with sort of silver trim. Right bike at the right price. We seem to be bonding together nicely.

    She rides….a Harley now.

  29. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    Viking 1%er and Phuquehed,

    I think those bikes (heavily advertised during Sons of Ass, of course) are aimed at cagers who want a car on two wheels. I want a CD/MP3 player installed on my dreambike, because I like listening to Rush, Megadeth et al while I travel, but those bikes that come with a mobile device and GPS are essentially two-wheeled cages. They probably have training wheels attached.

    YYZ Skinhead

  30. Phuquehed Says:

    @Viking 1%er – Yeah, H-D is really fucking up big time, in at least three ways, the one you mention where the model resembles more a fucking PoS Honda goldwing than an Harley. The other two I’ll refrain from mentioning here so as not to get too many of the non-regulars butt-hurt and whining and bothering Rebel for it.

  31. Viking 1%er Says:

    Jesus water cooled Harley that has a fucking gps AND a phone with fucking caller ID seen it in the commercial said Boss calling!!!! Even the fucking jap bikes have not gone THAT far atleast I don’t think so I ain’t shopped for one. My kid just quit his sales job at Harley and accepted a Head of Sales position in a brand new Indian store they only have 3 models so far 111 cubes hell why not?? When I am riding I WANNA BE LOST AND UNREACHABLE atleast from the old lady and work!!! On a fucking Harley with a cell and gps built in LEOs will know where ya are whenever they wanna push a few buttons FUCK THAT!!!!! Ain’t made by Americans for Americans anymore should be made by a FEW poor Americans for rich Americans OH and indians too

  32. Austin Says:

    My Dad rode a bike for one summer. Nearly every hour of every day of that time is etched into his 84 year old memory like it happened yesterday. In the summer of 1948 or 1949 he traded an old Pontiac for a nearly new Indian Chief, and went from Pomona, CA to his USFS job in Pierce, Idaho and then at the end of the summer, back to school in Virginia. He has spent 50 years telling me not to ride motorcycles, but his eyes sure lit up when he saw my little Honda. Kinda like… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vksdBSVAM6g&feature=youtu.be

  33. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    Phuquehed,

    $5500 on Craigslist eminds me of the “Sons of Anarchy” bike some mystery dude in Riverside had on eGay for $7000 that only had 326 miles on it. Yeah, 326.

    http://www.agingrebel.com/2898/comment-page-3#comment-28164

    I kicked myself for not having $7000 at the time, for weeks.

    YYZ Skinhead

  34. DesertH-D Says:

    Phuquehed – Yes, your 09 has the newer tensioner and chain design. I have a mildly hot rodded 07, and I haven’t bothered going to gears. Similar to Snow, I wouldn’t be able to unless I split the cases and dealt with the runout on the pinion. Mine has 6 thou of runout (or did when I did the cams 40k miles ago), which is way more than I like… The factory has gradually opened up the spec over the years, and I have been told on the 10’s and newer they allow up to 0.010″!

    Mine has held up fine though, so I would say the retrofit is a good option for any older bikes that have too much runout for gears.

    As for the primary tensioner, there are now kits to go back to the manual style tensioner.

  35. Snow Says:

    I put the hydraulic tensioner kit in my 2000 fatboy a few years ago, little bit too much runout for gears though that would have been my preference, and has absolutely no issues with it.
    I have heard there have been issues with the automatic primary chain tensioner on the older 6 speeds, seems it ratchets too tight at times and is causing premature bearing wear in the trannies.
    It seems every model has some bugs, finding and fixing them before they become a problem can be an adventure.
    Respect sent to, well yall know who, Snow.

  36. Phuquehed Says:

    The cam tensioner in my ’09 just barely has any wear in it at 59,000 miles. I mean you can see it, but you can also tell it’s going to last another 59,000 pretty easy. I’m glad that problem was fixed…finally, heh. I also believe that these newer types can be retrofitted into older models…at least I think I saw or read it somewhere. (is it the kind I have in my bike that you’re taklking about, DesertH-D?)

  37. DesertH-D Says:

    Sherides – What Snow said… :-)

    BTW – The 07+ (and 06 Dynas) have a completely different cam chain, with a semi-hydraulic tensioner. They seem to be holding up much better.

  38. Snow Says:

    Sherides
    Glad to help, remember the cam chain tensioner issue goes for all pre 07 twin cams.
    Next time you go bike hunting, get as much info as you can then go home and get on line, kelly blue book will give you trade in values as well as purchase prices for private and retail. You can also google for recalls and issues for that particular model.
    The more you know the better your chances of getting what you want at a price you can live with.
    Also personally, I would walk out of a dealership that requires paper work to get a price but that’s me.
    Good luck, hope this helps some, Snow.

  39. sherides Says:

    Well I have decided against this particular bike.
    Definitely not spending money at this particular stealership.The first question I had for them was when did Screaming Eagle pipes come stock on a ’99 Low Rider? The bike itself was in what I would call fair condition . So I spent more time checking out other bikes. None of which had prices on the tags. Just for grins, I did take the step to ask about the price…so we go upstairs do the paperwork so that Mr Sales Mgr can give me a figure. I saw the number on the paper and laughed. $8999 was the magic number. So I mentioned that I would have thought that it would have been in the 5K range. We chatted a little more about what I liked and didn’t like about the bike. I mentioned I wasn’t fond of the broken kick stand … then I asked if they were willing to take the cam cover off to check the chain tension spring adjusters
    to see if they had been replaced. He told me no. He politely told me I could buy a warranty for $600 per year. At that point, I said “really”? I guess we’re done now.
    I will keep looking. Someday I will find “the one”. It just wasn’t today.

    Please excuse any grammar type errors. Posting from a stupid smart phone.

    Thanks for the advise Desert HD and Snow. It I’d very much appreciated.

    Sherides

  40. DesertH-D Says:

    Naah. Don’t feel stupid. Always remember, nobody knew anything, ’till they did. Nobody had done anything, ’till they did. Stupid’s not knowing about something… Stupid’s not knowing about something and not doing anything about it when advised. Or not being ABLE to do anything about it.

    There are examples of these traits from posters on this site, to remain nameless… ;-)

    Indy shops are more likely to give you a reasonable price, just be sure to find a well established one with a good reputation. All in, parts and labor, doing a full cam swap and going to gear drive should be right around a grand at full retail. Cheaper deals might be available… Even at full price it’s a great investment, the gear drive is much more durable, and even bolt-in cams help wake up the motor.

    https://www.denniskirk.com/148883.sku?utm_source=shopping&utm_medium=cse

  41. sherides Says:

    Desert H-D,

    I did indeed do some googling… I have now freaked myself out. I wish I knew more about how all of this works. My head hurts and I am feeling really stupid about this kind of stuff.

    I am going to go check it out, check the comfort factor, chit chat and then bail.

    If I like the bike, I am going to bring my Ol Man back next week and let him deal with the sales people. If the bike can be had cheap enough, maybe I will just switch over to the gear drive as recommended. (I have a different place in mind to do the work – this particular stealership doesn’t have the best reputation)

    Here’s a link to the bike:

    http://www.grandrapidsharley.com/used/Harley-Davidson/1999-Harley-Davidson-Dyna+Low+Rider+FXDL-7332e8e10a0a00bf3a846cd0daa82f0d.htm

    Thanks again for the input.

    sherides

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