Riding a Harley Davidson compensates for a small penis. There. It’s been said. We can move on.
Our culture defines us by what we consume. Are you Louis Vuitton or Kmart? We segregate and often socialize with people based on what they use. Regardless of how much we wish we didn’t live in a world where we are controlled by judgmental attitudes, it is where we live. (Would you feel better if your surgeon drove up in a Mercedes SLK or a Geo Metro?) Advertisers take huge advantage of this and Harley Davidson brought itself back from the brink of oblivion by redefining motorcycling and making HD the definition of a real motorcycle. Many who ride Harleys are influenced by the rhetoric. The fact is for the money a Harley is crude, uncomfortable, not very fast, and over-rated. You can get bikes that do anything a HD does, and does it better, for less money. Except it won’t be a Harley.
Then there are those of us who rode Harleys before they were cool. I woke up one day and I was trendy.
Mechanically Harleys are simple which means those of us with lesser brainpower can figure them out. Also, they are designed to be rebuilt and rebuilt again. Even those who hate to admit it have to say that the latest generation of Harleys is very reliable. It can be said a Harley is for a person who wants to become mechanically intimate with their machine. Parts are plentiful and can be found inexpensively with a little Googleing.
Harley Davidson was steeped in Americana long before its shield became the decal for the back of every redneck owned 4x4. In 1903, the same year the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, the first Harleys went on sale. By the time WWI rolled around almost 20,000 Harleys were used in the war. “One day after the signing of the Armistice, Corporal Roy Holtz of Chippewa Falls, Wis., is the first American to enter Germany. He is riding a Harley-Davidson.” That’s some powerful history. These motorcycles were used to go where jeeps could not and bring back wounded over roads impassable to four-wheeled vehicles. When the 1950s came along, Harley Davidson crashed into the movies and other media as the bad boy bike and they became an American icon. In the 1960s the U.S. was invaded by the Japanese…motorcycle industry. Mr. Honda came to the Chicago motorcycle convention and persuaded almost all the dealerships there to start carrying his smaller, cheaper, more reliable Hondas. Harley started to see its market share dwindle. By the later 1960s, HD is sold to AMF and this resulted in the production of Bowling Ball Harleys, named so because AMF made bowling equipment and Harley was just a sideline. Quality fell thanks to that, as did sales. In the early 80s the employees of Harley Davidson bought their company back and introduced the Evolution engine which was fast, reliable, and didn’t drip oil. They also got militant about protecting their brand and put a lot of private shops out of business and got down to the business of making Harley a sound business that traded well on the stock exchange. Today it has a huge part of the world motorcycle market with a lineage that goes back 109 years. Many say the technology they use isn’t that different than the old bikes and in many ways they are right. It has also been said that in the sound of a Harley exhaust is the sound of over 100 years of American history.
You either get that or you don’t. If you feel the pull of American and motorcycling heritage, a Harley will do nicely since it is the longest lived American motorcycle brand. Indian is the second longest coming in at 1901 and going out of business in 1953. The brand Indian Motorcycles is still pimped out to newer bikes, but the lineage is broken.
It’s all about choice. I also ride a KLR for its ability to go anywhere with great gas mileage. But when I want to get out on the road and do 700-mile days, my FLHT is my first choice. Also, listening to the V-Twin come to life between my legs really makes me feel better about my small penis.