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grover750 12-22-2001 08:11 PM

Re: Harley Davidson is Company of the Year
Agree! So much potential, so little results.

The one good thing they have done is made cruisers popular, which allowed Honda (and everyone else sans Ducati) to make loads of money selling bikes like the shadow, money that was spent on developing great sportbikes.

Iceman996S 12-22-2001 09:08 PM

Bravo!,...Harley Davidson is #1
Guys & Gals,

Ride what you like, and like what you ride. Brand loyalties aside, we all ride motorcycles.

I own 4 bikes (Harley Fat Boy, Aprilia Mille R, Yamaha R1, and Yamaha R6 track bike). I enjoy riding them all, but will end up trading/selling the sportbikes for Harleys in the next year. I'm in my early 30s, but am starting to shift my riding focus due to changes in tastes and the riding community.

From my experiences as a rider (15+ years), it is easy for me to understand why Harley will be #1 in the foreseeable future from a business and rider standpoint.


1. Plenty of dealerships, with tons of bike & rider accessories available. Most other brands don't keep a full line of items on hand. If I wanted to buy from a catalog, I can do so online.

2. Harley Owners Group (HOG) and so many rider events scheduled throughout the year. I'm married, and my wife enjoys to ride. We like to plan for scheduled events.

3. Consistency of dealerships/service: Sure, there are good/bad anywhere you go. However, like the "burger franchises" the Harley shops are pretty much set up alike. That makes them easy to navigate. I've lived in 4 different cities over the past decade due to business moves, and it is easy to find a Harley shop and get quickly acquainted.

4. Aftermarket support for Harley is unequalled. Engine, wheels, frames, chrome, pipes, etc., can't be matched by any other brand.

5. Marketing of labeled accessories. I admire the fact that many Harley t-shirts and items are bought by people who don't even ride. Harley-Davidson is well established in the American psyche as "The Motor Company." When someone thinks motorcycle, Harley comes to mind.


1. I've owned 19 bikes over the past decade; all types. If I could only keep one bike it would be a Harley. Why?

2. Harley's don't become obsolete. Sportbikes become dated within 2 years of launch. One upsmanship is the name of the game with sportbikes. My favorite sportbikes are Ducatis and Aprilias. I don't care that they aren't the lightest or fastest. They are unique and fun (compared to some).

3. I like my Yamahas, and have enjoyed my HondaKawaZukis over the years. I can't say that anything distinguished one from the other. They were all reliable and nice bikes. From an intangible standpoint, they were all pretty much the same.

4. I love sportbikes, and always will have a soft spot in my heart for them. That said, unless I hit the track; there aren't a lot of places in metropolitan (and even rural) areas where you can really push them to the limit without risking attracting attention of the law.

5. Cost isn't an issue for me; however, insurance is not cheap. Depreciation on resale isn't fun. Difficulty finding parts for older bikes isn't either. Harley does a better job than most here.

6. Harley's are like golf. If the Lord is willing, and I can live until I'm 80; I'll be able to keep on trucking on my Harley. There is no way that I'll be an 80 year old riding an R1/GSXR/ZX/CBR. I'm happy that I've found a brand of bike that I enjoy.

The above are my reasons. I bet that I am not alone. My dad rode a Harley when I was a young boy, so that probably put the idea in my mind. That said, I'm betting that many readers of this page will someday own/wan't a Harley. If not, that is fine.

Happy Holidays!



TheMadScientist 12-22-2001 09:19 PM

Re: Harley math
Hey, don't ask me. I don't really give a crap about the rebel image. I don't see many of the stripped down Softails like my wife and I have, and the ones we see don't have saddlebags. Most seem to be Fatboys, Heritages and Road Kings. But...there are 26 different Harley models.

Besides, what kind of rebel rides the touring bikes, of which there are 4 models besides the Road Kings?

As for selling prices, the ones I've seen fall are the ones where people are asking for more money than a brand new bike. I mean, why the hell would anyone pay more for a used bike than for a brand new bike?

Also, the fact that the prices haven't fallen through the floor considering we're in an official recession is astonishing to me.

Last. There may be a lot of them on the road, but like most motorcycles, they're not being ridden a lot. Another one of those things I don't really understand. My bike is my main transportation, something understandable since I live in traffic hostile but lane splitting friendly Los Angeles.

It does make one wonder though. If they're now making 250,000 Harleys a year, where are they all going? I don't think they're actually taking sales away from other companies. Though I do know people with multiple bikes (hell we have 3 and only 2 people riding them).

And *I* want something else. Though as an addition to the stable instead of. Maybe a Buell, V-Rod based sport tourer or a Sprint ST. You can't have too many motorcycles (until you run out of space in the garage).

TheFox 12-22-2001 09:57 PM

I think you missed the point.
I believe what he is saying is that a house for him would cost about $100,000. So if you line up 5 Harleys worth 20k (I am including accessories and T shirts here, and I am being generous with the $$$...let's pretend they are all Fat Boy's, hmm?), and put a house on the other side, I would take the house too.

I would never own a bike, or a car, or anything excepting buisness related materiel worth more that 1/5 my me that just isn't sound financial planning.

Obviously, if your house is worth 500K you aren't going to have trouble finding the scratch for a new hog.

BTW, not to be a jag here, but bragging about what you're worth just pisses a lot of people off. We only care what you ride and why, not about the value of your home. Modest house my foot. One day I would hope to own such a fine piece of real estate, but I would never be so crass as to refer to 500k as 'modest'.

TheFox 12-22-2001 10:02 PM

Urals suck, and the only things Kalashnikov ever made good were guns. Yeah. Commies.

Laff. Just kidding!


nome 12-22-2001 10:38 PM

Re: Harley Davidson is Company of the Year
What reliability issuses are you speaking? Just wondering.

starvingstudent 12-22-2001 10:54 PM

Not really
"So if you line up 5 Harleys worth 20k (I am including accessories and T shirts here, and I am being generous with the $$$...let's pretend they are all Fat Boy's, hmm?), and put a house on the other side, I would take the house too. "

Well, if you offered me EITHER a $100,000 house OR 7000 audio CDs, I'd choose the house too. But that doesn't mean that CDs aren't worth owning. The same goes for the Harley analogy--nobody lives homeless on their bike, and as far as I know, nobody owns FIVE $20,000 bikes. But that doesn't mean that no one ever buys a $20k bike.

starvingstudent 12-22-2001 11:15 PM

Re: Harley math
First off, I didn't assume that they _stopped riding_ after ten years, I was assuming that they would be _looking for a new bike_ after ten years. In that case, repeat this scenario every ten years until death/incapacitation, and you'll see that buying Suzuki vs HD does not make a huge fiscal difference in your life--so the decision should be based entirely on what motorcycle you prefer, and not what is superficially "better for the pocketbook" because of lack of depreciation.

As for inflation: it has been my experience while looking at Blue Books that HDs keep their _original_ MSRP, not the _current_ MSRP. Maybe with some models this is different. As it is, inflation is much much lower than 4%-8% per year, so the general concept of my example still works. The economic difference is not so great that it should overpower your subjective taste in motorcycles.

"Not that I think you're coming from this point of view (although your screen name could infer it), the Harley haters usually are ticked because they cost as much as they do and decide it's not for them and hang the argument on technological competition."

I don't like Harleys for myself, but I really don't care if other people ride Harleys. If someone likes their motorcycle, wether it be an R1 or FXDX or KLR, more power to them. I really hate certain HD owners who feel it is their responsibility to tell me that I am "unpatriotic" for riding a Japanese bike, or that my bike isn't a "real" motorcycle, but I'm not going to condemn all HD owners because of a few bad seeds.

I also realize that all HDs are not $20k--a Sportster 883 is as inexpensive as an SV650--but some models, like my uncle's Fat Boy, are (especially if they have to buy above MSRP). Of course not all examples work for all situations, but I think that my counter-example works just fine for those who say that "buying Japanese motorcycles is an economically bad decision."

I don't hate people for riding 996SPS's or MV Augustas or BMW K1200LT's, even though I couldn't afford those bikes either. It always baffled me why some people hate Harley riders for riding expensive bikes. It's their money, it's their business how they spend it.

starvingstudent 12-22-2001 11:27 PM

Suzuki and Kawasaki ARE really hurting right now, but it's not primarily because of any North American business practice, like revising sportbike lines or participating in racing. It's because the recent boom in Chinese and Korean bikes has KILLED the Japanese Big Four in the East Asian, cheap, small displacement, commuter bike/scooter market.

starvingstudent 12-22-2001 11:46 PM

Re: Harley math
No, actually, I don't make a living at all at the moment--I live in an 8x10 foot dorm room and eat dining hall food. And you are correct that I major in history, not economics. Perhaps you would like to share your degree and business experience in the field of economics if you're such a master? If my math sucks, please point out the point where it is wrong. This is the formula I used:

(starting investment) * (1+[APR expressed as a decimal])^(# of years invested) = (ending value)

Doesn't seem wrong to me.

And I never said that all Harleys cost $20k. But some do. My uncle paid $20k for his Fat Boy, and I can assure you he's not the only one in the USA who did. Sportsters and some other models are significantly cheaper--an 883 is the same price as my SV650--but I've never met an 883 rider who tried to his purchase solely because of resale value.

My post was aimed SPECIFICALLY at those who buy $20k HDs, telling themselves not "I like this motorcycle" but instead "this motorcycle is a good investment." That's bad logic and a horrible reason to buy a motorcycle. I've got no bones with someone who rides a Fat Boy because they like riding it (like my uncle).

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