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Old 08-29-2001, 05:03 AM   #41
Gixxerboy
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

Oh chill out dude.

Harley's have zero for technology (vrod - thanks Porsche) BUT they build fine bikes for those who want to cruise at 12 mph all day and make lots of noise.

Now lets not freek on the noise cuz my ricer (gsxr1100) makes a bit of that too... course I do get upset when a 42hp evo goes by making more noise than my 121hp gixxr!

Harley's simply a marketing company that happens to sell bikes... and tshirts and belt buckles and shoes and (i think) tupperwear.

Personnaly I'll take a ricer, britbike, beemer over a hog but that's just my opinion.

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Old 08-29-2001, 05:09 AM   #42
ken51
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

It's interesting that Harley even has the choice to pull out of the racing effort. They may be the only manufacturer to have that choice, given that the rest of the world races their machines on Sunday to sell on Monday. Harley, obviously with a completely different market segment, is not hurt by withdrawing the factory superbike effort. Can you imagine if Honda pulled out of AMA racing? They don't have that choice, not by a long shot. Even though Harley's bike was rarely competitive, they can bail on the program without hurting sales at all. By the same token, if Harley was winning everything with the VR, they probably wouldn't be selling more bikes anyway. Just a thot.
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Old 08-29-2001, 05:14 AM   #43
Gixxerboy
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

Finally they're outta there.

What a fiasco, Hardly, hardly racing. Why would a low tech cruiser co race super bikes? Wow, memorable finishes... like a pole position???



Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Harley bikes and harley riders... to each his own, I say. I'm just trashing a rich and capable company's half baked and insulting attempt at a certain form of racing.



I am glad that they will concentrate on dirt track and drag racing. I belive they have the drive to actually try in dirt track and drag racing - fits more with their marketing image too. How many harley guys watch roadracing???



I wonder though... will harley's drag in the unlimited classes or just against v2's?

Doh, couldn't resist the jab... flame on.
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Old 08-29-2001, 05:20 AM   #44
hindle
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

After 8 years full of embarrasments with a few shiny moments sprinkled in here and there it is finally over. Thank god.



How can everyone else come out with a new bike and win races or championships in their first year. HD 8 years and a near win is all they got?



Now they are going to try and sell their new engine based on the performance of the VR1000. LOL...yeah ok. Gee....I can't wait to get my hands on an engine given birth from a race bike that finished on the box a few times in 8 years but never won a race or championship.



Please. On another note I can't believe it's been 8 years. Where did the time go. Seems just like yesterday the HD actually looked promising like it was going to do something in the AMA with Miguel in the saddle. If you aske me the bike had more success in the first year or two then the following 6 years.
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Old 08-29-2001, 06:16 AM   #45
Spinetingler
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

Agreed. Please hate yourself as you have described and double it on Sunday. You can only be an American if you do.



It's amazing how hate-filled we are and why this discussion has to be a competition of who's better. If you look at the track, it's anyone but Harley. If you look at sales, it's Harley / Honda. It's a shame that riders hold such grudges against other riders because of the purchase of an inanimate object. We sound like idiots when we do it - let's mature a little.



Now please, go out and ride. Please try to promote the hobby as a group effort rather than the factions that these posts tend to lead. Then, get a life and ride.



The analogy to the airplane, above, was funny. How can you seriously mix transportaion vehicles like that? And then broadly state that it's a guarantee that it's going to happen because you ride a Harley? Other bikes don't break down? Or any machine for that point? C'mon, let's get serious. Planes are (or should be!) maticulously maintained every so many hours to ensure they'll stay in the air. If you did that with any bike, it would not break down as often.



As for Harley leaving racing, I think it's a shame but the writing is on the wall. Unless HD could develop an entirely new technology that employs air-cooled twins (or liquid cooled) to produce equal engine power, attempting to win is futile. Also, like most competitions, you shouldn't enter something unless you really think you can win based on engineering /skill (and preparation). The engineering was not there to compete and there appeared to be basic rules, like the bike needs to be as Harley-looking as possible because we need to sell on Monday (after losing on Sunday?? Another mystery of HD success). I would have rather HD built a secret track, create the bike that would compete to win, and introduce the bike into racing. HD could have, at a minimal, looked competent in their effort. Look at Dodge, another much maligned company. When they went back into racing, there was a clear expectation that the cars would compete to win and they claimed most of the better pole positions after being out of racing since the late '70's. If they would have won the first race (sorry to see you go, Dale), maybe we could have had 2 good things happen - restored faith in a Mopar product and Dale would still be here, rather than blocking cars behind him and hitting a wall @ 1 million MPH. I blame HD for this (preparation - not Dale Earnheart hitting a wall!); they appeared to just put a bike on the track with 'the best they had @ the time' and try to let drivers win the races. It doesn't look to intelligent.



Lastly, it appears that mass producing bikes is not the key to success. Kawasaki and Suzuki just announced they will perform certain business functions together to save money. Read the quote in the article. They're losing market share and state that HD is taking market share from them in JAPAN !!! Not to say there's fire were there's smoke, but it appears that the American culture is not the only culture that appreciates HD. Also, there is a problem w/ manufacturers and China. There are limited copyright / patent laws in China and there are firms 'stealing' the names of motorcycle manufacturers with slightly different names (like 'Suzuka') and selling motorcycles much cheaper. Much like what Japan did to the US market in the '70's. If there are trade sanctions in Japan against China, like there were for HD against Japan, will the Japanese bike riders recant on this (stupid) point? We should all be glad that there is an envornment, the USA, that allows open competition for ALL competitors. And when there is an unfair advantage, perceived or real, the government steps in to ensure competition.



God speed.
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Old 08-29-2001, 06:18 AM   #46
hemoglobin
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

How many fi touring bikess has HD sold since '95? And how many fi VFRs, F4s, 929s, XXs, RC51s, Wings, do you think Honda has sold? Worldwide, the F4 alone has probably outsold all HD tourers. I really don't think HD has come close to selling as many injected bikes. Give 'em credit for starting early, but let's not get carried away with HD's "volume sales."
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Old 08-29-2001, 06:19 AM   #47
Mutt
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

No doubt the new Buell looks great and probably handles like a dream. I wanted an M2 so bad, but they just couldn't get the reliability issue ironed out. If this new one is reliable I'd buy. Please don't tell me current Buells are reliable. I ride my VFR with a BRAG group where I live, and at almost every stop there is someone putting a band-aide on a bike. Mostly parts that come loose or fall off. The monthly rides usually generate about 10 or so Buell riders, so the attrition rate is very high.
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Old 08-29-2001, 06:20 AM   #48
DaveK
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

Hmmm... Several things here (besides the unnecessary bashing from both camps).



1. Harley recently announced renewed efforts and re-organized its racing team just back in the Spring (I think), so retirement is a bit of a surprise. Although I don't follow Harley racing it seemed like they put a new racing manager in place, changed the way racing development was done, etc. etc. It pointed to a new, major re-focus on the racing effort.



2. The performance of the Firebolt is yet to be known at large. On spec it's certainly interesting and yes does have some novel ideas. In my opinion it doesn't look that great. I prefer inline 4s and full fairings. (Hopefully one doesn't get bashed for claiming an opinion).



3. Unfortunately, while I can respect the efforts of Eric Buell to build a sporting Vtwin, the bikes have simply not been without problems and some of them serious, persistent, and prevasive. It's going to be hard for people used to very high quality and extreme performance to dismiss 10 years of less than perfect bikes leading up to the Firebolt.



4. I've seen some print recently that Harley is starting to see a softening of demand for it's products. The seemingly insatiable appetite for Harley bikes has apparently peaked. (Which is not surprising given that our economy and others aren't on fire anymore.) What we could be seeing here is just some 'plain old' business management coming into play with Harley corporate. If there's some belt tightening to do it's done with efforts that cost a ton and perhaps don't directly contribute to the bottom line. You may remember last year when the automakers all drastically cut production when word wiffed about that demand MIGHT soften. This could be a preemptive strike to save cash. And if that's the case well, hell, business managers in a public company are supposed to protect shareholder interest.



5. I've never followed Harley racing, but can appreciate anyone with the gumption to give it a shot. They have and they've had some marginal success, but honestly competing in WSB is hellaiously (?sp) tough. You're competing with the best of the best against factories with HUGE resources and many years experience. In some measure the limited success of Harley racing is still some success against the best of the best.



6. If the Fire Bolt is successful well then good for Buell. If you think you can build a better mouse trap then all to you. I welcome the competition, especially if it extends knowledge or execution and cause people to look in other directions. If it's that great and betters other manufacturers, they'll respond. The net affect is that everyone benefits.



7. I'll keep an open mind, but I've got to tell you that we've seen some stellor sportbikes in the last 10 years from the Japanese and Italy. It's going to be hard to top what's been done, but ... we shall see!





Dave K.
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Old 08-29-2001, 06:21 AM   #49
das
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

Then why do AMA Formula Xtreme bikes almost always circulate faster than the Buell Pro Thunder bikes on any given track on any given day?



For the year 2000 race at Loudon (that's a short twisty road course), the FX winner circulated at an average speed of 79mph. The BPT winner did 60mph (on a Ducati... best Buell placing was 17th). No, those aren't stock motorcycles (in either case), but it's not a completely unreasonable litmus test.



I like Buells. My good friend has one, and I've ridden it more than once. It's an ok bike. I'm not just here to bash Buells, but I'd need hard evidence to believe that a stock X1 will circulate *any* roadracing course faster than a stock R1.



As others have pionted out, horsepower and torque are mathematically connected, so talking about horsepower versus torque is pretty meaningless from a roadracing perspective. Who cares if an X1 or Firebolt makes more torque than an R1 at 4000 RPM? If you're trying to circulate a racetrack quickly on an R1, you're not hanging around at 4000 RPM very long.
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Old 08-29-2001, 06:27 AM   #50
NickdaBrick
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Default Re: Harley Davidson to Retire from Racing

You know, Harley could have been a lot more successful in superbike racing had they tried a different tactic. They tried to meet Ducati on their own turf, and got whupped.



What they should have done -- don't laugh -- was try to campaign a flathead. The AMA spots the twins a 250 CC displacement advantage; no doubt they could have been convinced to spot a flathead twin another 700 cc's. Maybe they wouldn't have been any more competive, but a 1700 flathead twin sure would have sounded cool on the high banks at Daytona.
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