I've been around motorcycles my whole life and certainly understand brand loyalty and I've had my share of fun ribbing guys that rode certain brands of motorcycles. It's all part of the game but some do it more seriously than others. With Harley Davidson stating that they will be throwing their hat into the adventure bike ring, my question is will you give it an unbiased chance or have you already made up you mind because it's HD? I'm really curious as to what it will be and how it will compare to the rest of the market especially the R1250 because I believe BMW is the bar to shoot for. So what say ye?
It is fun ribbing people, but sometimes it's valid.
Nope. Too late. The adventure bike isn't new. BMW introduced the GS 30 year ago. That bike, regardless of how good it is, isn't going to be accepted by die-hard Harely riders. They still don't accept Sportsters after 60 years of being a "girls bike" and the V-ROD still isn't accepted by the die-hards.
HD sat on their asses for 30 years and did nothing to enter that market. I owned a 04 Ultraclassic, no ABS. I have a '92 K75S with ABS and heated grips. 12 years behind. I liked a lot of things about Harley but their motorcycles are ridiculously priced and lack a lot of options. I couldn't give a shit about chrome. Chrome isn't an option, its weight.
I briefly thought about getting another one. I'm glad I didn't. They are expensive for what they are and I'm not interested in "a look" or an "image." I do like Harley's for what they are. They are nice old school bikes and Americana. I'm 54, I'm not interested in beer drinking poker runs, image and my body is aging. I want ride modes, ABS and traction control. I know I'm not the best motorcyclist east of the Mississippi.
They spent years developing the V-Rod with Porsche, put forward controls on the V-ROD. Prolly would have made a great engine for a touring bike, neglected it. Why in gods name do fools use forward controls? You can't control a bike with them. Why are ape hangers on a touring bikes? I've seen them. I wonder if they'll make ape hangers for the PanAmerican. HD started selling trikes likely due the the demographic aging. Think about that. That's what was important to them at the time.
A radio is a "thing" on a touring bike. They still believe that shit. A SENA renders it obsolete. CB's are just not helpful anyone and its endless bullshit chatter of Truckers.
I doubt "the culture" is going to accept these bikes. Especially when sportster owners are lambasted for ownng a "fags" or a "girls" bike. The "true bikers" aren't buying HD's, they steal them from the people who do. I'd know a lot of people that got their Harley's stolen in broad daylight at work. One van, two guys and 5 minutes. Nobody is going to steal a PanAmerican if the seat height is over 30". They made pager remotes that could warn you if your bike was being stolen so you run over and get your ass kicked by the thieves stealing your ride.
The people that need ABS, Traction control the most can't get it on their products (although they do have abs as an option now). Last year I witnessed aftermath of accident, guy crashed a brand new Harley on a no traffic road. Looked like the rear brake was used and it came out from under him. No gear for him or his wife. No idea if she made it but she was seriously fucked up. It wouldn't have been cool to wear a helmet, cause you know "the look." The bike looked good too. Don't get me wrong, there are good people who take riding seriously, suit up and take classes to improve their skill. They are generally made fun of. ABS is shunned by "bikers." Some BMW clowns believe they can out-brake ABS (some pros can) but everyone thinks they are pros. That accident could have been avoided, so could the injuries. Sidenote: Some people still believe front brakes shouldn't be used. No shit. Thank god some states are requiring rider education.
Screw the image. Build a better bike. I hope the Pan American is a good ADV bike. They need to get in the arena and show people using it and build it to handle the terrain it's marketed for, not being garage queens. They need to convince the community they created it's a real Harley. I suspect the base will say "it ain't a real Harley. Fuck'n MOCO!"
Most BMW owners are the smartest people on the road. I know this because I'm one of them.