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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Harley-Davidson Experiences Steep Drop in U.S. Sales; Stock Price Drops Dramatically in Morning Trading on July 18

Several financial news reports reflect a dramatic Harley share price drop this morning following announcements of declining sales. According to this report from CNNMoney, Harley-Davidson (HOG) shares were down more than 10% in morning trading today after the company announced an expected decline in sales for the year of 6-8%, and a 9% drop in U.S. sales last quarter. The sales decline is expected to result in some reduction in Harley’s work force, as well.

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  1. ed peatross says:

    adapt or die its that simple.

  2. Montana says:

    Time to think out of the box Harley, as BMW did with the GS series. Lots of Americans would rather buy American, but you don’t offer them anything except variations on foot-forward cruisers. How ’bout employing that terrific V-rod engine in a GS style bike or a sport-tourer?

    • Bob says:

      Wrong engine by miles, leagues and light years.

      Harley needs to rethink more than just platform development…

  3. scott k. says:

    I would suggest reading ‘The Reckoning’ by David Halberstam. It tells of the decline of the American automobile industry and the rise of the Japanese automakers. H-D smacks of making the same short sighted mistakes.

  4. BMWsailor says:

    I wonder how much of HD’s problem in this youngest generation is so attached to iPhones and less to real world experience? I’ve been riding for 45 years and it seems there has been a demographic shift up in age. I’ve also seen this my my other passion small sailboat racing.
    From another site published in 2015 “The average age of a motorcycle owner has increased from 40 to 48 years of age since 2001.”

    I know there is all kinds of videos of young people acting stupid on bikes. But that doesn’t mean more sane young riders just that the idiots always get the most air time.

    • Bob says:

      Oh look, another boomer talking shit about Gen Y and iPhones.

      That line of reasoning was tired before you repeated it, and it’s twice as tired now.

      We Gen Y riders want authentic bikes – just look at the cafe racer craze – but we need to be able to afford them while saddled with debt and limited consumer credit. And, spoiler alert, Harley hasn’t been authentic or real in decades.

      They make fake marketing-driven shit, and we know it. Why would we ever pay a premium for bullshit?

      • BMWsailor says:

        Well you are certainly passionate about your opinion but passion is not an argument. The fact is that the average age of motorcyclists has increased dramatically. Average as in all, not just Harley riders. Couple that with the fact that the gen Y people spend dramatically more hours, 100hrs/month, on the web. Which is 20hrs/month then boomers.

        • Dave says:

          The average age has increased because of urbanization. More young people move to cities from college because that’s where the opportunity is. Driver’s license acquisition is down because fewer young people are interested in owning vehicles, period. Those who do, find that cars are getting better and cheaper, with CRAZY low loan rates.

          It is older HD (and to a lesser degree, BMW) customers who have driven the avg. age up because after the recession, they were the ones left with the most disposable income.

          The motorcycle industry is responding in a similar way to the auto industry, with better values in entry level products (lots of small displacement bikes, low price, high perf. standards). Unfortunately for HD, they’re rightly seen as “old man” bikes. They’ll need to compete more directly with the Triumph Street Twin in riding posture and overall experience. There isn’t anything “sporty” about the Sportster.

  5. Mr.Mike says:

    My kids are in their 20’s and to them HD cycles are for people their parents’ age. They get much more excited when they see a 70’s era cafe racer or a scrambler. Given the economic state of many Millenials I don’t see how HD can sustain their $20K bike selling habit in the volumes they require. I give them credit for making the boom years last as long as they have, but without major change in their product line the run had to end eventually.

  6. Mick says:

    Looks like America is getting great again.

  7. Your Uncle Bob says:

    That Street Bob is one of the funnest motorcycles. It isn’t as fast as a Hayabusa or as quick as Ducati, It’s just fun to ride.

    • todd says:

      It isn’t as fast as most motorcycles. But you’re right, it is fun to ride a motorcycle.

    • Gary says:

      Yup, so great I can barely stand it.

    • Colorado Canine says:

      For many, the H-D chickens have come home to roost…

      My motorcycling background has always been more sports / touring (ST) centric, but back in the nineties I special-ordered a new H-D FLSTF through their military overseas program with a pretty significant down payment. Three weeks before returning to the States, H-D military sales notified me that the color I had ordered was “no longer available” and my only choice had become basic black. It was fundamentally a “take it or leave it” conversation. I immediately cancelled the order and purchased a new Ducati 900SS/SP upon returning to the U.S. I’ve never regretted that decision and would not own a H-D product based on that experience.

    • austin zzr 1200 says:

      gonna test ride one on Friday to get the free T-shirt. Will report back on the funness

  8. beasty says:

    The Schadenfreude is strong in this thread……

  9. Vrooom says:

    Harley is running out of overweight dentists having mid-life crises. It’s time they come up with bikes that appeal to younger people, quick, light, and affordable. Meanwhile their shares are trading for magic beans (OK, down about 20% over the previous 90 days).

  10. Tank says:

    Polaris just reported motorcycle sales down 13% for the quarter. It’s not just Harley.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      When do other manufacturers report? Soon, I assume.

      • Bob says:

        MIC numbers are out. Harley down, Polaris down, most of the Japanese flat or slightly down, KTM way up. Ducati and BMW up slightly, IIRC.

  11. ApriliaRST says:

    Maybe people who lean toward buying Harleys are pulling back as consumers because they are not sure of the impact on their future finances when they might need the money for health care. Or not. In any case political turmoil is not good for segments of the economy that depend on discretionary income. The last time Harley lacked buyers, the country was in the middle of the Watergate scandal. I’m not going political with my comment, nor do I want to discuss the merits of our current politics, but do defend the idea that uncertainly is the enemy of spending on non-essential products. No product is less essential than a Harley; cheaper, similarly functioning bikes are available and even cheaper cars can be found.

    • slipjoint says:

      I have never heard anyone speak of their health care status when considering a motorcycle purchase. Yes, you are going political with your comment.

      • Dave says:

        I don’t see it that way at all. You’re probably not going to have conversations about it but the point is valid. We know HD attracts the ageing demographic and even in the current climate, healthcare provisions are shifting around. Example: My sister in law’s healthcare stopped paying for her diabetes prescription and it’s very expensive for her to afford out of pocket. They’re trying to find another medicine that works, but you can bet she’s not shopping for expensive goods right now. Healthcare is becoming a major expense for most Americans, of course it, like any financial drain is going to effect luxury goods business.

    • randy says:

      As a Buell fan I’ve been saying it for years, “The geezers are down to their last bike or 2”. They needed to diversify long ago to get new blood into the bikes instead of the clichĂ© bikes. They did the MV thing more to get into Europe than the diversity as MV didn’t have a fun, cheap, introduction. The health care thing is more true than most would like to believe. There is most likely some more REAL expensive procedures in their immediate future more pressing than a motorcycle they can’t move around the garage or pick up after the inevitable drop.

  12. Gus V says:

    The lack of innovation has hurt them to a large degree, the Japanese and Euros are moving full speed with new technology on their bikes, also looking to keep weight down as well. If they want to keep the brand alive they have alot of catching up to do. I beleive they can, no other choice.

    • Bill says:

      Sometimes Harley Davidson gets no credit for what they do. I had a 1982 Sportster-four speed transmission, non-hydraulic valves, one front disk, solid mounted engine, chain final drive, carburetor and a two gallon tank. My 2008 Sportster has a five speed transmission, hydraulic valves, two front disks, rubber mounted engine, belt final drive, fuel injection and a four and a half gallon tank.

      • Dick says:

        Progress indeed.. in 1982 their bikes sported 1920’s technology. In 2008 they were almost 1940’s competitive.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      > and a four and a half gallon tank.


  13. Provologna says:

    Even if HD ceased to exist, I have no sympathy for at least one reason: HD has been riding a huge cash bubble for the last 20-30 years. IMO they could and should have invested in bikes comprising modern technology with modern performance specs. Would it really have hurt to build a butt kicking XR750 street bike, or maybe even an XR900? How ’bout a nice sport touring bike? An adventure bike? Sell them right next to their typical hogs or pigs or whatever they are.

    Fail, fail, fail. Thirty years ago San Francisco’s City Bike said HD’s demographic was shrinking, and would lead to shrinking sales numbers. Maybe they were thirty years too early, but it might finally be happening.

    How much has HD performance improved since the mid-80s Evo motor?

    • oldjohn1951 says:

      I agree with Provologna. What were they thinking when people asked for a street-legal XR750? They cranked out whatever they wanted, the public with cash in hand be damned. When I visited a local HD operation, the tatted-up sales dude told me that “I can do this with the bike and I can do that……” Hey, get a clue! You are a DOMESTIC manufacturer. You should be able to offer way way more than any import from any place on the planet and you’re telling me what I can do?! I’m the customer–you exist for me not the other way around. If HD tanks it’ll be because they forgot that business axiom.

  14. bmbktmracer says:

    I’ve been searching for a motorcycle on ebay for the past two months. Just judging by the listings, Harleys must have become very popular starting in 1995. From that year forward, the ads are dominated by Harley. I imagine the glut of used motorcycles is really taking a bite out of new bike sales. It’s pretty easy to find a low-mileage, 5-yr-old Harley for less than half the price of a new model. Further, many of the used bikes already have the loud pipes and chrome doo-dads that crowd seems to like. My guess is that sales are returning to normal after a 20-year Harley “bubble”.

  15. JR says:

    It’s time to get rid of the current HD CEO.. who got rid of the American Made Buell XB,s so he could build non American Street 750 and 500’s What goes around comes around. It’s pay back time. America First.

    • chuck Smith says:

      Right, because there was such a strong market for Buell when not hamstrung by the MoCo. Where is Buell right now? Hmmm…. last I heard some group was selling his company for pennies on the dollar. Convenient to blame HD but Buell didn’t understand the marketplace and people that actually pay money for bikes didn’t give two shits about his unique engineering solutions. So yes, I guess HD and Buell both got exactly what they deserved.

      • Dave says:

        It is HD’s fault that Buell didn’t succeed, but it’s not so nefarious. HD dealers and salespeople just don’t present an environment that attracts sport bike customers and were never interested to. HD was unwilling to distribute Buell outside of their dealer network and that was that.

        After Buell went independent, he didn’t have the product or distribution network to get anywhere and again, that was that.

        As for “what they deserve”, what is that supposed to mean, exactly. HD is still the #1 brand in America (and I see them in Europe everywhere I go, too) and there are many happy Buell riders clocking their miles today. It’s not as though either of these two companies did any damage to motorcycling.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The previous CEO got rid of Buell, not the current. And Buell was on the chopping block well before then. Buell was an asset drain on the company at time when the bleeding had to stop. It wasn’t a popular decision, but HD probably made the right choice.

  16. Tyler says:

    Small bikes saves motorcycling. Other makers are on board with this mantra, HD (and Polaris/Victory) will get there eventually. I am waiting for my 2019 Aermacchi-HD Sprint 350.

  17. Dave G says:

    Won’t be long now. Harley will be looking for yet another bail out in the form of tarrifs. Two obvious reasons for the lack luster performance, no pun intended. It appears that Indian sales are having an effect on Harley, and they can’t hear the millennials over their loud pipes…

  18. Pacer says:

    Harely is strong. Like real strong. They are reacting to the market lull. They will be fine.

    To all who say they are not reaching the millennials, give them time. You aren’t the first to contemplate this. In fact HD is plastered all over the X Games. Harley won’t quit, they will succeed.

    • austin zzr 1200 says:

      dream on… millennials are almost impervious to that type of marketing… “you’re trying too hard, gramps”

      What other metric are you using to measure HD’s ‘strength’? There are a lot of other companies that wouldn’t quit…sears, jcpenny..all retail they just didn’t respond to the warning signs that were there for decades

  19. Gary says:

    Is there no end to the brand snobbery?

    I’ve never owned a Harley. Not my cup of tea. But I’d hate to see the company fail. Lots of jobs and some American prestige are at stake. Why not just acknowledge that and let go of the hate?

    Ride what you like. Live and let live.

    And if you think most Harley riders don’t ride their bikes much, you must not know many Harley riders.

  20. Tim says:

    I always get a kick out of the pro and anti-Harley comments on this site. I’m not a Harley guy and can’t see myself ever owning one. They don’t visually appeal to me and the laid back riding position, the sound, the weight and low ground clearance all turn me off. That being said, wherever I ride, short of dirt and gravel roads, probably 70 to 80% of the bikes I see are Harley’s. You can’t deny they’ve done a great job of marketing their bikes to the faithful, no other brand comes close in that regard.

    Let’s face it, not as many people are riding bikes these days. The ageing rider population is going to hurt all of the brands. Let’s hope bikes like the Grom, and the Kawasaki Z125 bring in more young people. I suspect the cafe racer craze will help as well, once those riders reach the stage in life where they can afford new bikes.

    I do think Harley was very short sighted in selling off MV Agusta and closing the Buell line. Some young riders gravitate to the cruiser style bikes, but I believe more are drawn to sportier bikes. Harley has been too content with promoting the Harley lifestyle to the wealthy baby boomer generation. They seemed to forgotten that there comes a point in life when everyone has to stop riding. Maybe they’re waking up to that fact now. Perhaps that’s why they’re rumored to be a possible Ducati suitor.

  21. paquo says:

    sweet ! a few more quarters like this and we will finally be done with it, yes !

  22. Tom R says:

    So, millennials have apparently figure out what a high percentage of baby-boomers could not: that H-Ds are little more than obnoxious, anachronistic, overpriced boat anchors.

    It seems that millennials are smarter than we give them credit for.

    • Ricardo says:

      Except the V-Rod.

      • TJ says:

        It was a strong uppercut when Harley decided to kill off the VRSC line. I was there from the beginning with the new aluminum look, and thought – ” Finally We have some thing new and cool.” The plans to have a whole fleet of VRSC models ranging from Vrod to touring. ….Just disappointing and frustration of their decisions.

        Bad decisions have been made in the past ten years ( my opinion ). I could go on and on – but I wont – I think we all get it.

        • sbashir says:

          Did you buy a V-Rod?

          • TJ says:

            Ive owned a couple of them and have ridden them everywhere.

          • austin zzr 1200 says:

            I rode a GF’s V-Rod for a week…its the only Harley I have ever ridden. After riding metric cruisers, sport bikes and sport-tourers, I couldnt get over how bad the performance was. Not even fun to ride either..a 150 cc scooter is much more fun. Scared me away from HD forever

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Unfortunately, I think millennials have figured out that they just don’t like motorcycles in general.

  23. Tank says:

    Harleys are selling well on Craigslist – no shipping/receiving, setup, or doc fee. The main reason most people buy new bikes is because they need the financing. I’ve owned 6 Harleys and only bought one at a dealership. Harleys are like boats, a lot of people buy them and then rarely use them.

  24. Norm G. says:

    the Bar and Shield have been around 114 years and survived the GEC, no mean feat.

    “nothing to see here move along…” (night security gestures towards exit with Maglite)

    • mechanicus says:

      This. They’re still on track to sell a million bikes every 5 years. That ain’t chopped liver. Everything is cyclical. The sine curve rules. You just need to plan to surf the dips.

      • sbashir says:

        I think it is over a million bikes every four years. Last year was 260,289 bikes. This year will be 244,000 bikes.

  25. Your Uncle Bob says:

    Reality check. Sales were down probably i the Softtail and Dyna lines because the Touring Line introduced a new engine which is expected to appear in the Softtail/Dyna the following year. People didn’t buy so much of the last year model. It’s always that way. Means noting by itself.

    • austin zzr 1200 says:

      true, its one data point. What does mean a lot are demographic trends which are not in Harley’s favor. That is the gist of most of the critical comments here. Uncle Bob will wait a few years to trade in his evo for a Milwaukee. His trade in will be worth less and his nephew is not interested in inheriting it because he would be embarrassed to ride it. He just doesn’t have the heart to tell uncle Bob that his lifestyle is a joke

      • Dave says:

        Reality check: motorcycle choice is not a lifestyle. Riding motorcycles is not a lifestyle either, it’s just a form of recreation for most, and transportation for some.

        • austin zzr 1200 says:

          please read more closely..this is about Harleys and the HD lifestyle

          • Dave says:

            I did read. The ownership experience you describe is a hobby, not a lifestyle.

            And the demographics are in Harley’s favor. The retirement age population is the most active and well funded, not to mention becoming the largest group. If you’re not going to sell products to them, then who?

          • austin zzr 1200 says:

            I think you need to better understand your retirees..they are too feeble to pilot a 900 lb machine

          • Dave says:

            Er, no. We’re talking about 78 million Americans, many of whom haven’t “gotten old” in the same manner that their parents did. They’re more active than previous generations and spending money on activities.

  26. PN says:

    Well, Indian and Yamaha are really taking it to H-D with very competitive bikes. Finally, all that under-engineering caught up the Harley.

    • sbashir says:

      Indian and Yamaha are doing nothing to Harley. Harley is still selling 48.5% of bikes over 600cc.

  27. SteVA says:

    Harley has spent a huge effort on cultivating an ‘image’ for the typical Harley rider. Many people, including millennials and myself, don’t identify themselves with that and don’t want to. Regardless of the motorcycles they’re selling, the pirate look is a turnoff to many and will be a liability going forward as newer generations go bike shopping. I have no idea how they can turn that around. Also, I was in high-school in the 80’s and we’re all motor heads. We love old cars, bikes and anything with an engine that you can make look and sound cool. Our kids are into electronics now and don’t mind driving some lame 4 cylinder as they don’t care about what car they drive. The motorcycle dealership business isn’t something I’d want to be in going forward. It’ll be tough no matter what you’re selling

  28. ben says:

    I have been wondering how long the “same shit, different decade” model lineup would work out for Harley Davidson. Yes, yes I know about the “new” engine, etc. The 2017 bikes themselves look just like the 2007 bikes, just like the 1997 bikes..1987, 1977, 1967…I guess they have evolved enough to look slightly different than the 1957 models. My point is that Harley is so tied to its own past, they are screwed once people finally get sick of riding yestercycles

    • sbashir says:

      People like bikes that look like motorcycles, not transformers. Harley has kept the traditional look that people like while progressing in technology throughout the years. There is no modern technology that is not available in Harleys. For example they are the first ones with full LED headlights throughout the lineup. Just because they look like the original Harleys doesn’t mean they have the same technology.

  29. allworld says:

    Perhaps this is not a good time to make a bid for Ducati

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      On the contrary, this is probably the exact reason they are considering such an acquisition.

  30. ApriliaRST says:

    I wish Harley as a motorcycle business success, but as for Harley the motorcycle concept design, there is ample reason for their decline. If the MoCo thinks the recently released smaller bikes are somehow attractive to buyers, well no, they are ugly as sin. They lack in just about every respect when compared to their competition. These bikes look exactly like what they are: cheaper versions of the same old same old. The designers must have their hands tied by corporate if that’s the best they can do. I see little hope for the company because this inability to make any bike other than an 850 pound tourer goes back as far as I can recall, which is back to the days of rebadging Italian Aermacchis. Harley has a playbook that reads feet-forward, must-replace seating, half-ton, steel frame, V-twin, chromed, goofy handlebars, etc., etc. Okay, Harley, we see you can do that, but show us how you can think outside your self-imposed box.

    • austin zzr 1200 says:

      the more I think about this the more I believe that Harley will contract/recede to the boutique motorcycle that it should have been if not for WWII subsidies and baby boom that followed it. Unless they make serious inroads into e-bikes, their market share will shrink with the overall pie as even cruiser-buyers will pick up used Harleys or far-superior Indians or metrics.

      • Ryan Craig says:

        And let’s not forget, Harley was moribund in the late 60s, through the 70s, and into the early 80s – until they released the Evo models and re-entry riders came along and something, I’m not sure exactly what, made Harleys really cool to that crew. I’m not sure why, because most of that same crew learned to ride, and bought, Japanese machines of various displacements. Typically starting small, but the big 4 sold a ton of mid to large displacement standards during that period.

        Maybe the Japanese stopped making larger bikes that appealed to the average middle-age rider in north America. Sure they had tons of sport bikes that were super fast – not typically interesting to your typical re-entry rider. Big sport-tourers? Not so many, but again not very interesting to that group. They stopped making (for the most part) the big 4-cyl standards and cruisers that were so popular in the 70s and 80s. You know, bikes that acknowledged that not everyone was 5’8 and 150 lbs, had seats that were actually comfortable for more than half an hour.

        But Harley kept doing what it always had, but better. They had the look, the style, and ever-improving quality and reliability. Apparently that was very appealing to a large segment of the American (and to a lesser extent, Canadian) bike-buying public.

        I think these days everyone is dealing with a shrinking market, and I’m afraid that us enthusiasts will be the losers. Already there are many models that never make it here because they don’t sell (in favour of cruisers of various kinds) – that will probably only get worse.

  31. Buzz says:

    Love that Low Rider in the cover photo.

    Makes me wanna go buy one!

    • chuck Smith says:

      I bought that same bike a few months ago. I had never ridden a HD until I picked it up. Been a lot of fun so far. This one is a keeper.

      Good luck and have fun with whatever you ride.

      • steveinsandiego says:

        yeah, i test rode a new 2016 street bob and loved it: easy shift, easy brake, easy clutch, comfy enuff ergos, smooth ride apart from the trademark HD shake while idling. but i couldn’t justify the price, despite the fact that i had cash in hand. i bought a suzuki v-strom 650 instead.

  32. Pete says:

    At 59 I guess I’m one of Harley’s vanishing baby boomer customers. I’ve owned 3 Harley’s, 1 Suzuki, 1 Honda, and a BMW. Love Harley’s! The other bikes were great too. Road the Harley’s all over the US with basically zero problems. Probably a combined total of over 150,000 miles on the 3 Harley’s. My current bike is a 2007 Road King. Unless I get a real itch for a new one it very well may be my last bike. I generally take one week long trip each summer and a couple of weekend trips, plus an occasional Sunday ride. The wife and I are definitely getting older though. On trips where in the past we’d take the bike, now we are likely to take my Jeep. Sunshine when we want it and put the top up when it rains. Getting old for sure!

  33. MGNorge says:

    I happen to know a couple fellas that up until now had kept their desire to ride a motorcycle to themselves. Whether it’s the bike they always wanted or it’s the brand that resonates the most for them, both bought Harleys. Can’t speak for the youngin’s and their tastes but maybe some of these “closet” riders can provide at least some continuing business for the brand?

    Probably just my tainted mind here but it seems that much of the non-riding public thinks of Harley when they think motorcycle. Big, flashy, noisy (when fitted with the requisite loud pipes) and attention getters.

    Harleys don’t really appeal to me although there are some attractive models. I don’t think they’re going anywhere soon.

  34. sbashir says:

    All this gloating over HD’s demise is a little premature, don’t you think? Harley sold 260,289 bikes in 2016. One slow quarter is not going to make any difference. The second quarter is tax paying time for most people in the U.S. so not much money left over to buy a new $18,000 bike. Besides, as some have said, there are quite a few used bikes available. The Milwaukee Eight engine has just been released and many people were waiting to buy the new bikes instead of the previous models. Model switchover time usually results in a gap in sales. So all the naysayers will have to wait for several more years, maybe never before their dreams come true. Sorry to say most of them are Americans bashing a successful American company.

    • todd says:

      Is that why they’re laying people off? A friend of mine was an H-D salesman. They laid him off a couple weeks ago because sales are so slow here in California with not a very bright outlook.

    • Neil says:

      The issue for me is it is 2017. Everything is more expensive. Housing is MUCH MUCH more expensive. Cars have more technology and are more expensive. Phones and data are expensive. So there is less to go around. I’ve always liked Sportsters. Simple machine. But the chassis is not up to northern American roads for the money. This is the bike that really could have gotten new riders into the fold. Every time I see one, in Marseilles last week, for example, it looks and sounds really cool. But times have changed. In Paris I saw mostly maxi scooters.

      • sbashir says:

        Europeans love Harleys but they are too expensive for them. European and Japanese bikes and scooters are much cheaper to buy.

        • Scotty says:

          Well some Europeans do, but the demographic is different over here. Sports bike, naked bikes, adv bikes are all popular choices as are big scooters and small scooters. Among my peer group, many of them would have a Harley (particularly a Roadster) if you GAVE it to them, or if they can afford it as a second or third bike. Many of them ride sporting motorcycles, if not outright sportsbikes, if not having a dedicated trackday bike. 🙂 Its a different scene man. 🙂

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The Sportster is a neat bike. I’ve always appreciated the look. I rented an Sportster 1200R many years ago, an ’05 model if I remember correctly. It had a standard riding position and footpegs in the right place. It was alright. Slow, heavy, not very sporty despite the moniker: but it still had enough of everything to have fun on. Except fuel. Needed to stop pretty frequently for that. But like you said, the chassis just didn’t get the job done. Ride quality was pretty terrible when the roads got rough.

  35. Jim says:

    I’d hate to see Harley go by the wayside. I don’t own one, but I think they make the best looking motorcycles in the business. Why don’t I own one? Because they’re too expensive. Yes, they have beautiful paint, chrome, etc., but at the end of the day, I don’t really want a bike that I have to treat like a two-year old. For 20K, I’d feel like I had to wash and polish the darned thing after every ride or two. No thanks. I’m nearing 50, and I fully believe that I might be one of the last new (street) motorcycle buyers. I fully intend that the next bike I purchase will be my last. It may be a Harley, and it may not be, but I’ll have fun with whatever it is.

    • Troy medynski says:

      It is well worth the money and effort. If youdont have a 2 year old…whynot

      • StickyTires says:

        I actually do have a two-year old, Troy, so my riding time is somewhat restricted for the time being. If and when the time is right, I’d surely consider the Road King Special and the Street Glide. The Milwaukee Eight is a really good engine, and it suits my riding style. I just need a few years to pass before I can justify a new toy. For now, my Nomad gets the job done well.

    • John says:

      At 60, just bought my first H-D. Wish I had bought one sooner.

      • austin zzr 1200 says:

        Hi John, out of curiosity, is this your first motorcycle or first Harley? Which model did you buy?

      • chuck Smith says:

        Congrats. Bought my first Harley (Street Bob) this year. Very different type of bike than my Speed Triple but I’ve been having a blast so far.

        Not sure I understand the disdain, unless it is just jealousy that many non-motorcyclists in the USA seem to have some awareness of Harley while having next to none about other brands. Perhaps the feeling is the company has a general public awareness, or even worse, a perception of coolness that is undeserved? Must be a kick in the balls when someone mentions they bought the latest 200hp techno-missile mention and get “Is it a Harley?” for a response. For me it was a pretty common response from non-riders when I told them I bought my Triumph Speed Triple. They were even more confused when they saw a picture of it.

        BTW, I neither dress like a pirate or run aftermarket pipes. Don’t like NASCAR either. Sorry to ruin the over-played stereotype.

        Safe riding peeps

        • VLJ says:

          Yeah, unless you hang out exclusively with deaf eight-year-olds I kinda doubt that you told people you bought a Triumph Speed Triple and their response was, “Is it a Harley?”

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I have gotten the response “Is that like a Harley?” at least once for every bike I’ve ever owned when telling inquisitive minds what kind of bike I ride.

        • sbashir says:

          Agree with you completely. The disdain is for two reasons: They cost too much (leftover Japanese bikes are so much cheaper) and they don’t make sport bikes, scramblers, standards etc., only feet forward cruisers. Plus many sport bike riders are afraid of biker types and don’t want to associate with them.

  36. downgoesfraser says:

    As bad as HA/DA is doing, the Metric bike builders are no better off. I have a wife and 4 kids and all of them rode at one time, but none do now and I really don’t feel bad about that. I have been riding since 1971 and swinging wrenches for money since 1974. New York State requires an annual inspection and the mileage is written on the sticker. So far this year our shop has inspected 700 bikes, which is down 200 compared to last year. Over half of those bikes have gone less than 500 miles in the last year, which qualifies them as garage jewelry. We sell all four Japanese brands and if not for ATV and side by side sales, would probably be done.

    • Brian says:

      Yeah. Just watching dealer online inventory and Craigslist, it sure seems like there’s been a definite slowing–new and used–in my area over the past year.

  37. Glen says:

    I went for a ride on my Aprilia Sunday. put in a good 150mi jaunt between Connecticut and NY. It was a beautiful day. I stopped midday for lunch and I was sitting at a table off Rt. 22 just north of Pawling having a coffee. I watched traffic go by. Including a fair number of bikes. I couldn’t help but notice most were Harleys. I figure close to 90+%. Say what you will but they are popular. But yeah most were not young riders. And all go the speed limit.

    There are young riders out there somewhere. Because Yamaha’s successful FZ=7 is proof.

    • todd says:

      I see an average of around 50 bikes a day, about 30 a day in winter, here in the San Francisco area. Maybe 10% of them are Harleys. By the looks of things, I would think Yamaha and then BMW are the sales kings.

    • Brian says:

      It’s all Harley, all the time here in Maryland. 80-90% is probably about right. Bike-wise, my impression is that California has more in common with Spain or Italy than it does the rest of the US.

      Visited a buddy in SF a couple years ago and was constantly like, “Whoa, there’s a woman on a sportbike–actually riding it!” (I say that not because I’m sexist, but because pretty much every woman you see on a motorcycle around here is riding on the back of an old dude’s Harley.) Or, “Look at that dude in a suit commuting on a GS!” Or, “Wow, that dude is wearing leathers on the street.” Or, “Holy crap, scooters everywhere!”

      Kinda wish I lived there.

  38. motorhead says:

    I’m 58, in a prime Hog demographic, and I was hooked because of what I saw as a kid during my minibike/dirtbike years. As a kid I saw the local badass rip around town on a repaired Indian, stop, gas up, flip a cigarette and haul out of town. I saw gleaming chrome monster Harleys rumbing down main street, infrequently enough to make each sighting a treat to my admiring eye. I saw Marlon Brando as a wild one, and biker movies that got me day-dreaming and piecing together my own blue jean, t-shirt and leather costume. Those were my old dreams and there is a warm spot in my heart for that still, though I’ve moved on.

    Why would any 21st century kid or young adult ever adopt such dreams? I have no young relative who wants my classic truck, my classic guns, my musical instruments either. I can’t blame them a bit. (This is why craigslist, ebay, and goodwill were invented.) I encourage my kids and grandkids to chase their entirely new and different dreams. Leave this old junk behind, kids, you can see it in a museum if you care.

    • austin zzr 1200 says:

      thank you for your honesty here. Some boomers are realizing that they are the most materialistic generation. (Generalization alert) Gen X (myself), millennials (whom I manage) and my kids (post-millennial?) have learned the lessons of financial responsibility the hard way: watching our parents spend themselves into moral and financial ruin.

    • Brian says:

      A lot of people are going to be inheriting a lot of stuff like this. I wonder what will happen to all of it.

      I suppose it could be great for people like me…Gen X types who like bikes, cars, etc., because we were raised by people who liked it, and may have cheap access to some really nice machines before we get too old.

      I’d just like to live long enough to see virtual reality get really, really good. That would be a kick.

  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    While it would be fun to gloat over HD’s troubles, in truth they are simply the leading edge of a problem for the whole MC industry in the US and Europe and probably Australia/NZ. The European brands, BMW, Triumph, Ducati & KTM are managing to hold their own, but if you dig deeper you’ll realize that the modest success being experienced is the result of some pretty expensive discounting and incentives. Nice for the buyer, but lousy for the bottom line. Growth for all MC manufacturers is coming from Asia, not the historical markets.

  40. Harold Klassen says:

    With this news about hd can Indian be that far behind? They better get their act together or they’ll be down alot more than 10%. Apparently Polaris is going to let everthing that went into project 156 go down with victory, what a shame. I tried a cruiser but just couldn’t keep it, so much happier sitting up, don’t know what it is about a 850-900lbs. bike everyone loves so.

  41. johnny ro says:

    I would prefer a Ford F-100 which I might actually buy.

  42. chris says:

    Fred M, has it right. and I will also add to what he said which is true, most HD dealers and there sales people didn’t know or care about Buell or any other bike for that matter, and the Harley top brass dictated what Erik Buell could or could not build There were incredible designs prototyped only to have Harley exec’s say no . Harley says that they want to reach out to minority groups and women (which is great) but they show little or no interest in reaching out to anyone who is interested in some thing other than what they make, they don’t make sport bikes, or sport touring, or naked bikes or dirt bikes. I work in a multi line dealership (8) brands NO Harley’s and when the subject of Harley comes up most comments are 1.. they are all $20,000 or more 2. they are very unreliable and 3 they are to heavy and slow .. So those statements may or may not be all true but the point is that (Harley) have done a poor job of reaching out to others to educate them , and so in closing I beleive that if HD doesn’t diversify and start making some really good motorcycles than they will definitely fall

    • sbashir says:

      If a dealership doesn’t sell Harleys, of course they are going to bad mouth Harleys. What does that have to do with any facts?

  43. MotoMaster39 says:

    IMO what’s hurting ALL motorcycle sales in general is the rapidly increasing efficiency offered by modern cars. When the average mpg for ALL cars is 24.8mpg, people expect a motorcycle to be pushing 60-70mpg and thats just not the case.

    Also, young educated adults are moving into cities and away from the country. This means they are more likely to rent, and have less space for “toys” like a motorcycle.

    • sbashir says:

      People don’t buy motorcycles just to save on gas. People in California are renting because buying a house is out of reach for most people. Most apartments allow two car parking spaces. One can hold your car and the other can accommodate up to three motorcycles.

      • MotoMaster39 says:

        Don’t know about So-Cal, but in SF bay area it’s very common for 2 or more people to share a “1 room” appartment. Assuming both tennants have a car, where does the bike go? Lots of people rent unused rooms in another family’s home and are only allowed to park on the street..The bike better be your daily driver in that case.

        You’re totally right though, nobody buys a motorcycle just for practical purposes. At the same time, it’d be a hell of a selling point for a bike with plenty of freeway power to go 400 miles a tank.

        What’s actually hurting bike sales in this regard though, is the modern way of thinking , that a car should be valued mainly for its practicality. Head turning looks and a bitchin’ exhaust are besides the point. The guy or girl driving a grocery getter has never been more proud of their vehicle.. It’s hard to sell a motorcycle in that kind of practicality/sustainability at all cost environment.

  44. carl says:

    Sad day for motorcycling in general, up here in Ontario, I blame greedy insurance companies because the price of insurance for people under 25 is absolutely insane. Insurance for a brand new 600cc bike will cost you more than the bike don’t even think what a 1000cc sport bike will cost. NEW young riders are not coming up behinds us old guys to move to cruisers/baggers in laters years.

    • Neil says:

      Great point Carl. Crotch rockets have skyrocketed insurance rates as did the dreaded Harley high speed wobble on many bikes.

  45. David M says:

    I think you can also add in that over the last 20 years or so the baby boomers have bought a huge number of HD’s and many of them have languished in garages hardly being ridden. At some point ( now ) many of those older but very low mileage bikes are being sold. They just need to be dusted off because they’re mostly just like new. So, why buy new when there are so many of these bikes available used. HD’s have become commoditized.

  46. CrazyJoe says:

    This might be more of a reflection on the economy than on HD. Who can afford 20 k plus for a bike. When they do have a few bucks people are taking out 6 year loans for the platinum model whatever truck so bikes priority.

    Then there’s the press and the riders who think it ain’t nothing unless it’s 180 hp or ways a 1/2 ton. Just seems with all the stuck up a holes in motorcycling who wants to get into it.

  47. JPJ says:

    As HD-MoCo goes so will most all of motorcycling. Suzuki struggled with the 2008 market collapse didn’t import bikes in 2009/10. I see several dealers have much remaining non-current models 2015/16. Young millennials are not purchasing motorcycles, there’s much debate as to why this is happening. It’s not just motorcycles that are in decline, ie. autos, housing, music industry, just to name a few.

  48. y0rt says:

    As an engineer, former AMA pro license holder, and lover of design HD motorcycles are just plain bad. Poor engine technology, basically unridable in anything but a straight line i.e. no ground clearance, untunable suspension, overbuilt / overweight and visual design that is 100 years old.

    That said I have borrowed a friends fancy top of the line built bagger and ridden it a few hundred miles up the California coast and back down through the Owens Valley to try to understand the bikes.

    I tried, and I have never had so many dudes walk up to me and want to talk about my bike. I would much rather have an attractive woman walk up and ask me about my Ducati; God I hope HD does not end up owning them, I’ll quit Ducati then as well.

    I am not a millennial, just a 50 year old with 47 years on motorcycles and there has never been once that I have ever even once thought hmmmm maybe I want an HD product.

    Anyone that started in riding bikes in any way that demanded more than the ability to lope down the highway just can’t throw a leg over one and get anything out of them.

    Yes there are a few people that can ride a HD like no one else but those are few and far between and really really want to have to do that.

    HD’s are the late 70’s US Automakers all over again… Gremlin, Pinto, Mustang 2, Pacer and the Caddy Diesel. HD is just making the 2 wheeled versions of those fine autos.

    • Fred says:

      Yes, You can fool some of the People some of the Time, BUT Not All of the People, ALL of the Time.
      Hoggly Doggly’s trouble is that it has not been governed by an International Company.
      Example is their Solution of the latest Beef Fiasco – and hiding behind a Tariffs Wall like the 3 Little Hoggies.
      The Big Bad Wolf being Better Competitors just don’t stop blowing on the House of straw/wood/or bricks down.
      Thank Goodness for Polaris and their Victory & Indian’s showing how a modern Made in USA should be built and preform and gaining Market Share.

    • johnny ro says:

      I kind of want an XLCR. Wont buy one but it is a glimmer of slight interest.

      Also I was wondering why nobody makes a modern flathead vtwin and then Kevin Cameron does his article.

    • Denny says:

      “As an engineer, former AMA pro license holder, and lover of design HD motorcycles are just plain bad. Poor engine technology, basically unridable in anything but a straight line i.e. no ground clearance, untunable suspension, overbuilt / overweight and visual design that is 100 years old.”
      Very well said. H-D is facing the unavoidable fact: grasp reality or go into history. Even their very latest design (Street Rod)which was supposed to appeal non-HD riders and broad public failed. Why? Poor ergonomics. The same poor ergonomics which are epitome of the brand. That is in addition to overweight and visually unappealing appearance, as you said.

      They have to go thru dramatic change of engine concept to change from 45deg to 60deg or even 75. Lighter, smarter, better looking. Catch up with 21st century customer demand.

    • Randy in Ridgecrest says:

      I basically agree, having started riding in 1971 and going into motocross racing right away, you get a different perspective about riding. MX is an athletic endeavor and the bike is a tool. The evolution of MX bikes in the 70’s was brutal, you changed bikes frequently or you were a mid-pack finisher, at best. Those frantic days of development seem over as MX bikes have been highly refined, now you can race a bike for two or even three seasons!

      My interest since my racing has mosting been at what the technological advancement is bringing in terms of real world performance. Sportbike evolution in the 80’s-90’s was like MX bikes in the 70’s, just amazing advancement. But just a prelude it seems to recent development. Here I have to say I find the limits of my interest – I just don’t care about complicated electronic assisted 170 HP bikes I have to tiptoe around on. My Street Triple is about right for me.

      So what has this to do with HD sales? Not much really. It’s just a viewpoint from ,like YOrt’s, a performance oriented rider. Never was a Harley guy, I see thousands of cruiser dudes, hear the bikes passing on the highway 5 miles away, dread coming up on a “moving roadblock” of them when I’m riding. I don’t really get it. I did have a Sportster once to dabble in drag racing. That was fun as the engine is easy to mod and turning 12’s on a ramshackle pile like that is exciting. I would have dipped into the 11’s if the local strip had not closed down (Thanks FAA).
      I’ve know a lot of Harley owners. Some are well rounded people and they have a Harley by choice, but for others there is no choice – acceptance in the club requires a Harley (not a Sportster!).

  49. GentlemanRook says:

    The (Road)king is dead. It’s about time. Any brand built more on sizzle than steak is eventually going to fall flat when people realise that you can’t eat sizzle. Fool on us for taking so long to realise that.

  50. Roma258 says:

    Harley needs to get their act together ASAP. Their core demographic is shall we say….moving on. The next biggest demo, people between 21 and 35, IE prime riding age, IE millenials/Gen Y/whateverthef*ck are not buying obsolete, overpriced, illhandling landbarges. Sorry, I mean they’re just not into cruisers.

    Standards, naked bikes, ADV, scramblers…all these bikes are selling like hotcakes- as a result Ducati, BMW, Triump are crushing it, while Harley simply doesn’t compete. No more half-measure bs like Harley Street Rod, invest in a real, modern platform- weight under 500 lbs, single shock, standard seating position, modern motor- the whole deal. Sure, give it some heritage touches, but compete on equal terms- Livewire was a cracking looking bike, stick a freaking gas motor in it for the love of dog!! Just try doing something outside of your boring a$$ lane Harley, you never know…

  51. dt 175 says:


  52. redbirds says:

    Sad to hear of Harley’s troubles but they should not have been unexpected. We aging baby boomers are fast dying out and I see fewer young fellows riding motorcycles. In the US it’s not just a Harley problem, the other makers are next.

  53. endoman38 says:

    This just in…sales of black and white tv’s as well as AM radios has also plummeted.

  54. Martin B says:

    Here in NZ there is a “healthy” Harley HOG scene where the average age is 60 plus. This is equivalent to the custom/hot rod scene of Americana cars. We import a lot of American cars! Hardly ever a young person in sight though, and when the various hips/shoulders dementia frailties arise with increased age, these shiny collections will suddenly proliferate on the used vehicle websites, and values will plummet again. These shiny objects of desire are of absolutely no interest to any but ageing baby boomers. They were the privileged generation, who got all the toys. Millennials and younger don’t have the income or desire to own a piece of rolling antiquity. Who will buy the Harleys then?

    • austin zzr 1200 says:

      finally, someone who gets it

    • y0rt says:

      I was going to write about the same thing, but @Martin B hit it on the head, and was a bit more kind than I would have been.

    • minnjohn says:

      Agree. Whether NZ or here, it’s the same story.

    • mickey says:

      I dont think this is entirely true. Millenials who got a good education earn plenty of money and buy plenty of toys. My son started out making as much money as I ever did, lives in a much bigger house, and has multiple motorcycles in the garage incl 2 Yamaha’s and a Ducati. The millenials he works with ride Triump Street Triples, Honda Africa Twins, Moto Guzzi V7’s, Triumph Bonnevilles. Just none of them ride Harleys and no desire to. They make good money and they buy exotic Euro motorcycles.

      The millenials that don’t buy motorcycles don’t because they have no interest in motorcycles. Doesn’t stop them from buying pretty nice cars… BMW’s, Subaru WRX’s, Top of the line Toyotas and Hondas.

    • Neil says:

      Tons and tons of bikes in Paris, Thailand and all over Asia. India. There, however, people ride smaller machines that can zip through traffic and get great gas mileage. Amazing to see the numbers there.

  55. austin zzr 1200 says:

    E-bike adoption will accelerate HD’s decline. Pretty good run for a 100+ y/o tractor design.

    • sbashir says:

      HD has many EV designs in the pipeline including the LiveWire.

      • austin zzr 1200 says:

        but do they have the guts to produce them? What does Tesla have that Detroit doesn’t have (and dont say govt subsidies because I they all get them, turn off FoxNews) its the balls to take risks and execute. HD has no balls whatsoever

  56. Sentinel says:

    Although I can’t personally stand Hardleys, I do appreciate the heritage of the brand, and what it had accomplished many decades ago, before most of us were born. I hate to see any American icon company go down and out. I hope they can get it together. On the other hand, I would love to see an American company be able to produce bikes that genuinely compete in the general marketplace both here and around the world, and not stuck in a niche the way Harley has been.

  57. Frank says:

    Can’t say I will miss that potato-potato sound.

  58. Jdilpkle says:

    My neighborhood will finally have some peace and quiet. But now I’m too deaf to appreciate it.

    • Jdilpkle says:

      …but at least I still got the ringing. I’m 62 and been riding since ’73. Gonna get me a Vette –

    • Dan says:

      Every morning around 5:30am some dumbf*ck on a Harley roars by my apartment building which is one of a row. What satisfaction someone gets from waking up numerous people every morning is beyond my comprehension. Typical HD rider.

      • Jdilpkle says:

        Yeah. I really don’t understand how some of the HD riders can possibly think that their chrome fish-tail ear splitting, horrible sounding exhaust is cool. There is a nice semi-loud with a good tone, I can usually appreciate that – and then there’s that messy, ugly, obnoxious endless echoing blatting through the neighborhood. Sad. I don’t get it. They are oblivious to what they are doing and how it makes all of us look. It does nothing but make enemies of us motorcyclists to the driving public.
        An Aprilia Tuono on the other hand…

      • BPinAZ says:

        Yep, never heard a loud sportbike rider taking forever to up shift. LOL

      • chuck Smith says:

        You think they would be any less and obnoxious a**hole if they were on a GSXR blowing out your windows with a race pipe?

        • Brian says:

          Both groups are comprised of insecure morons and/or plain old a**holes. It just happens that there’s about a 4:1 ratio of Harley to sportbike morons in my area.

  59. Bill says:

    I think Harley made a mistake in lowering the entire Sportster line and marketing them as ideal for the inseam-challenged female rider. The older unlowered models are holding their value better. The new Roadster model has some nice design aspects-18 inch rear wheel with radial tires and more ground clearance but some are put off by the short fenders, some by the lower bars,some even by the oddly shaped footpegs. IMHO Harley needs to produce a standard Sporstster again-full-length suspension-flat track style handlebars- mid-mount pegs and a real rear fender-one you can mount saddlebags onto. That’s what the one in my garage looks like.

  60. Richard says:

    Our youth are changing…been in the motorcycle business for 30 years….they are are not as brand sensitive and just want to ride…looking for performance as well as value for money….they are not convinced to pay high dollar amounts for a Harley..wit the exception of some. The Streetster was designed to capture the youth at a reasonable price for a failed in Canada…the style was wrong and has a reputation as a sub standard Harley..the value is much better in the Japanese market at a better price , choice of style and reliability also a factor.

    • Dave says:

      The “Street” series – agree. It has lots of the right attributes but Harley’s version of “vintage” isn’t quite right. I think if they morphed the Street with the older Sportster’s ethos (see Bill’s comment above) to directly compete with Triumph’s new Street Twin, they’d be on to something more in line with what might appeal to a young rider.

      • blitz11 says:

        My wife has a street 500. She “moved up” from a Honda Rebel 250. She’s ridden the street 500 more in 3 years than the Rebel in 20. If fits her, she’s ridden 400 mile days on it, and loves it. She doesn’t care about fit and finish, foot peg design, or any of that stuff. She just wants to ride it – and she does. It’s been reliable, and i fixed the crappy stock brakes with stainless steel lines and EBC brake pads.

        She’s 56 years old, which sort of kills the demographic model – new buyers for life. If she buys another bike, it’ll be the street 750. she has no interest in anything else. The 500 is all she really needs, though.

        The sad thing is is that my daughter’s 1982 Honda CX 500 is probably faster than the street 500, and it’s 33 years older (but has the same number of miles).

  61. Dan says:

    HD represents a lifestyle image that is a joke – a caricature of an obsolete buffoon – to the younger generation. (South Park had an episode on this). Unless HD evolves rapidly it is doomed.

    • Richard says:

      Not all….I’ve sold Harley for years….some are the biker wanna be bad ass types …and posers.. these are the guys that never wave back…cause they think what they ride makes them better and cooler than other riders on other brands….usually the types that were picked on in high school …lol…can usually spot them a mile away when they arrive at the dealership..anyway to get to my point….most are regular collar..white collar..whatever who have always wanted a Harley because they are cool..or a childhood dream..they have no attitude …no ego. .. And don’t walk around looking like a clone of the one of the boys on Sons of Anarchy. They are secure with their own personality and don’t need to be a follower…just wanna ride. My buddy who I consider a true biker has 276,000 on his 07 Dyna….has never owned any Harley t shirts or any other merchandise that bears the HD club name…just his bike …which he loves.

      • sbashir says:

        I have 156,000 miles on my 2007 Softail Custom. I do dress like a biker with leather jackets and patches. I have two other bikes – a 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R and a 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1250S. I ride all three. Love the Harley!

  62. kyle says:

    Half the HD’s I see in the Bay Area are Son’s of Anarchy kids on Dynas with T bars. Imagine if that show never happened, this article would’ve been a year old now.

    • Richard says:

      Not all….been selling Harley’s for years…yes.. We have our biker wanna – be bad ass poser types who care more about the image of owning a Harley than riding one….Sons of Anarchy clones that are clearly followers that don’t wave back on the street..cause they think they are cooler than anyone else that rides another brand..I can spot them a mile away when they walk in the dealership…fun to watch a young guy buy his first Harley ..then morph into the Harley guy over the next 6 know..starts with the hair..a tattoo….the belt chain..then comes the Harley walk…lol…anyway back to my point…most customers are regular blue collar ..white collar types who have always wanted a Harley…why ? Cause they are cool…they have no ego…are comfortable with their own personality and just want to ride. I consider my buddy a real biker..276,000 Klms on his 2007 Wide Glide…never owned and HD merchandise such as T shirts..jackets Ext…he’s not interested..just wants to ride….just the bike…and he loves it…he clocks up more Klms than most and likes all other brands of motorcycle too ! He’s what I call a real biker ..

    • Kyle says:

      Forgot about the black leather vest over flannel or long sleeve shirt.

  63. Don says:

    Celebrate the fantastic success. Of course nothing lasts forever but don’t sit there like vultures waiting for a carcass (not a good look for you).

  64. My2cents says:

    North America has a shrinking market because motorcyclists are aging and they didn’t have enough kids. Not only HD will suffer so will all other brands in the American market. Younger generation is too fat. too lazy, too much video game time. They are becoming unable to go fishing, camping, backpacking, canoe, kayak, and show little or no interest in mechanical things. They want everything instantly and without effort.

    Could never imagine this younger bunch putting up a tent, in the dark, flashlight, mosquito’s, etc without comparing the event to being gassed in a Nazi death camp. Yes there are few that stray beyond the fence……………very few.

    Plus side is I have a few good years left to enjoy a less crowded parking lot at Waffle House.

    • Richard says:

      I’m 53and hate camping…love to ride though as much as possible

    • Phil says:

      I think you’re onto something here. The same thing is happening in Australia. All sports and outdoor activities are in decline as the young are besotted by their phone screens. When I go to a motorbike event – a ride, show or race; it’s an old man convention.

    • redbirds says:

      Lot of truth to what you say. As a young man I traveled everywhere on my bike with pup tent and sleeping bag bungied on the back and I’ve patched a tube or two at roadside with the tool kit I carried along. Many young folks seem to lack a sense of adventure these days. Not all of course but for the most part they seem content with their electronic toys and acting out their adventures in the virtual world.

    • peter h says:

      I don’t think “fat” takes you out of the Harley game. LOL

  65. arrowrod says:

    Say it ain’t so. The new crazy 8 engine. The new, er, revised, er, renamed, er, new paint. Still 59 H.P. Road King, with baggage removed. (Used to be Rino – Dino – oh, yeah Dyna) Oh My!

  66. blitz11 says:


  67. Jdilpkle says:

    Could it possibly be the beginning of the end of HD? I’ve ridden motorcycles since 1973, and it seemed that sooner or later the gray-haired bearded HD buyer pool would diminish eventually to nought. In hindsight, maybe HD shoulda kept Erik Buell close(er) at hand. At least one oar in the water is better than none – whatta think there HD??!! Maybe the Titanic is sinkable after all.

    • Fred M. says:

      I was pretty angry that HD shut down Buell, putting about 200 Americans out of work right at Christmas time. They refused offers to buy it, which would have kept the factory open and workers employed.

      All of that said, HD’s “plan” for Buell never made any sense. Many young sport bike riders would rather be seen going into a VD clinic than a Harley dealership. And since Harley would not allow the Buells to be sold by non-Harley dealers, they weren’t even seen by many of the people who might have bought one.

      On top of that, Harley believed that a guy who bought a Buell would want to “move up” to some Harley cruiser, bagger, etc. He’d want to trade in his lightweight, agile, high-performance bike for a Road King or a Wide Glide. Huh? That’s kind of like a store that sells nothing but sexy lingerie and adult diapers, reasoning that the girl who buys the lace panties will be switching to Depends in a few years.

    • chuck Smith says:

      I think Harley will be fine. Maybe smaller but fine. The current riders may be aging out but millenials won’t be young forever and eventually they will have the cash or desire to move on 1970s Honda CB Cafe Racer builds. Yeah, believe it or not there are some young people that don’t give a crap about multiple ride modes, 200 hp etc. They want a motorcycle that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg. That is the hurdle for HD IMO. I think the marketing word is ‘Pure”. Harley isn’t the only one rehashing their history, they just were the ones that never stopped.

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