HD have done what the British motorcycle industry did and buried it’s head in the sand shouting “lalalalalalalalalalala” with it’s fingers in it’s ears. The crazy thing is that was the death or British bikes back in the day, however for HD it has been it’s USP, it relied on the patriotism of the yanks and (am sure Pearl Harbour helped) it paid off. Now they are rich men’s toys and what non bikers think of when folk mention motorbikes.
They are now so overpriced (at least outside of America) that they have become a mythical beast and those that can afford them either don’t know better or are too scared to admit they are not worth the money.
flip the coin
I have actually ridden a Harley and lusted after a couple of them. I can’t ride one though because I am not green and don’t advertise tinned peas, they are just not the right dimensions for a UK rider IMO, I actually had to think about going up in cc to be able to ride one as the forward pegs just don’t fit me.
I think BMW have struggled to shed the shackles of the flat twin and Moto Guzzi are another company defined by a particular engine layout.
In BMW’s case it isn’t a problem as sales have exploded in recent tears, no doubt aided by the ‘Charlie and Euan’ factor and the expanding need of middle aged blokes to buy something more interesting than golf gear. In fairness the bikes are hugely capable too. In the case of Guzzi I really think it has held the brand back.
I have ridden two Harleys…a 1989 883 Sportster, which was new at the time. I thought it a very poor bike: Slow, unrefined and under braked even for the limited performance. I have ridden a 2014 1585 too, which I have to say I enjoyed. I also suffer from the feet forward riding position, as I somewhat of a stumpy as you know.
As for the TV series it will be interesting to see if that do a second batch of programmes bringing us up to date. It could take in the AMF and Cagiva days