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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?
 

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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. :)
 

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I think HD would have had a better market reaction if they'd made an honest hot snot sport bike with that big torquey v-twin engine. HD owners aren't shy about spending an insane amount of money on their motorcycles so come out with a bike that has Brembo M50 monoblock brakes, Öhlins suspension, sporty ergos, and make it as light as possible. While they're at it, throw the whole carbon fiber catalog at it for the bling factor (something HD owners appreciate). A true sport bike or even sport touring bike that makes all it's power between 2000 and 3500 rpm would be really easy to ride and make a more novice rider look better than they are on a twisty road.

You say it can't be done? This bike is 1300cc V-twin in a 400 lb motorcycle that makes nearly 160 hp at the rear wheel and has absolutely owned the naked hooligan bike market for the last 5 years - that's a long time in motorcycle model years.



A BMW R engine isn't the only way to make a twin cylinder sport bike.

My concern about HD making an adventure bike is the thought of taking their bike out into the wilds of an epic ADV ride hundreds of miles from help. I'm not sure the reliability of the brand inspires that kind of confidence in me. Maybe that criticism is not deserved but does that matter if there's enough buyers that believe it to be true?
 

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Harley Davidson do seem to be their own worst enemy. They introduced the XR1200, a very un-HD like bike. I took one out for a test ride and was tempted, although I eventually bought a BMW R1200R. As the mainstream HD owners disliked the XR it only lasted a few years. I wonder if the Pan American will have a similar fate?
 

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I'm thinking they'll loose out before they even leave the parking lot. On the spec sheet. Weight, options, performance and price. If they don't match or beat the tried tested and true ADV bikes out there why would anyone bother. Old school HD riders are going to s#!t all over'm too so no sales there. We see but good marketing won't save'm this time.
 

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It all about them building a bike I would be interested in buying. Same with any other manufacturer.
Brand promiscuity.

I'd love to be faithful to a brand provided they meet my general needs. So far BMW does it. They've got several forms of bikes, ADV, sport touring, cruiser, commuters, scooters. Honda does too, they are good bikes, but "appliance-like" to me and "soulless." They just don't have character. Honda is making some weird looking motorcycles in the "modern cruiser range", many of them linger unsold for a few years and it seems extremely hard to sell after buying them.

Harley didn't really offer a wide range of options, now they are forced to address that lack. It was a cruiser genre providing for a core demographic they rested their laurels on thinking they'd always be there.

The one thing that bothered me about HD was years ago (80's), you couldn't get a new bike without being on a 6 to 12 month waiting list and used bikes were more expensive than new ones. I got a Honda. I was in the Army and couldn't afford the wait and barely the cost. Later it was their price or the highway. Some dealers were going strictly MRSP or "don't let the door hit your ass on the way out." I had to do some traveling to find a dealer willing to sell a bike.

BMW needs more of a dealer presence. There's one dealer in my state. I hear the reason is BMW requires their brand in a dedicated facility and most dealers either don't have the space or won't spend the money to get it. I did find a dealer in Maine that was grandfathered in based on demographics.

My father was heavily into motorcycles, he always had about 6 in the garage, as a kid I ask him why he didn't like Harleys, he said "They are underpowered and get stolen too much." So, what about those weird BMW's? He said, "Now that's a thinking man's motorcycle, do you know what that man is thinking?" Uh no, I said. "Where in the hell can I get parts for this thing?" He was a avid Kawasaki rider and loved his 2-stroke Kawasaki's triples. He friend owned a Harley Dealership and gave us a 6 old Harley AMF's, we cobbled together the parts and made two good bike out of the lot. My first "real" motorcycle. I owned that bike for years, wasn't perfect. My mother gave it away a week after I left for the Army. I never forgave her for that.

I wish HD well.

Similar to my first bike:
 

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I would like to think I am open-minded enough to give it a fair chance, but honestly I'm not sure. Let's assume that it's competitive with the GS in terms of price, features, weight, power, and reliability. Further assume that there are as many aftermarket parts available as there are for the GS - suspension, luggage, crash bars, etc. Then it seems like there is no reason not to buy it. But I'm imagining this conversation at work:
"You ride a motorcycle?"
"Yes"
"What Kind?"
"A Harley"
"Are you a Hell's Angel?"
:rolleyes:
 

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After being a devote HD rider for over 30yrs, I'm predicting this to be a flop. They should stick to what they know.....building cruisers and touring bikes.
 

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After being a devote HD rider for over 30yrs, I'm predicting this to be a flop. They should stick to what they know.....building cruisers and touring bikes.
That's the problem. It isn't working. The entire industry is taking a hit and other manufacturers are filling the void by producing bikes the larger market responds to.

One problem is they aren't reducing pricing to reflect the lack of demand and they still want to retain former profit margins. It's not working. It's supply and demand. They reduced production levels, but haven't reduced prices.

I don't want to see them fail. I want them to be successful. They are trying to produce a class of bikes people are interested in. The problem is they need to stop pandering to that core market exclusively. They aren't buying bikes like they did during the boom.

I'm positive some GS owners are going to buy them. They'll rave about it for maybe a year to justify their purchase. Maybe even completely reject it. The motorcycle press isn't as honest as they'd like us to believe, they rave about it to capture ad revenue. Most motorcycles are decent enough.

I respectfully disagree. Harley has got to change it's strategy or it's thinking. Some people see them as dated relics, with old tech. Nothing wrong with it, it works.

If I had the money I'd have a range of bikes. Different tools for different jobs. An UltraClassic was nice for what it is, it's a shitty around town commuter that 70% of the buying public can't afford. I wouldn't mind having a G310GS to fart around on.

I would likely rent a PanAmerican if I can't get my bike out there. There's a good deal of rental companies, most rent Harley's, not BMW's.
 

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Brand loyalty is one thing but, I wouldn't buy the HD because the only dealer around here is terribad. You can spend 30 minutes in the showroom without anyone even acknowledging your there.
 
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