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Discussion Starter #1
Went to a bike "meetup" tonight at a local restaurant. About 150 bikes, probably 90% harleys. FWIW, Stars were probably the 2nd-most prevalent: there were 5 of 'em.

Got to talking to this Australian guy who has a 2012 HD fatboy. Never had anything but HD. Ended up walking over to show him mine. Was pleased to have him say 'nice looking bike' and such. A polite fellow.

He asked me what year/model/etc. and when I told him 2004 his jaw dropped. He just couldn't believe this was a 12 year old bike with 24K miles. He asked if I wasn't worried about the "high" mileage, and I told him a properly-maintained VS can go WAY more than that. Then I told him what it had cost new. THEN I told him what I paid for it...

I'm no HD-hater. In fact, I think some of 'em are purty indeed. Wouldn't own one (if I was gonna spend that kind of money, I'd go Indian), but it was definitely cool to have a confirmed "harley" guy liking the bike overtly and just keep saying "wow, that's really nice looking..." and "It cost HOW much?"

Everyone give yourself a pat on the back.
 

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Great story cj, had similar experience last Sunday afternoon at a friends house. Most were HD owners, and I'm not a Harley hater, or pro Harley. Their bikes are very nice, yet they were eyeballing my 950t with the new fairing. Once they found how much I had in the bike including aftermarket parts, they looked at me and said, "my bike and all I have in it was twice that, great looking bike man" was their comments, so you're right, reach around and pat ourselves on the back !
 

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I too have had several experiences like that. My Star is de-badged. It's got a ORK so even that little oil cover is gone. My wife's twin cousins both ride HDs and have bragged on my bike to others - even when I'm not around. It's an '05 with 18K miles and I paid $2K for it. For that kind of money, nobody can say it's a bad bike. I too am not a Harley hater and I have several friends that have some really nice customized Harleys. They look great and sound great but they really don't function any differently than my bike. I personally feel a lot of folks ride HD to show off or to impress others. May work, I'm just not that kind of guy. If I was to get another bike right now, it would be a Roadie. Yamaha has a great reputation and great bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I too have had several experiences like that. My Star is de-badged. It's got a ORK so even that little oil cover is gone. My wife's twin cousins both ride HDs and have bragged on my bike to others - even when I'm not around. It's an '05 with 18K miles and I paid $2K for it. For that kind of money, nobody can say it's a bad bike. I too am not a Harley hater and I have several friends that have some really nice customized Harleys. They look great and sound great but they really don't function any differently than my bike. I personally feel a lot of folks ride HD to show off or to impress others. May work, I'm just not that kind of guy. If I was to get another bike right now, it would be a Roadie. Yamaha has a great reputation and great bikes.
eruby -

Interestingly, my bike sounds very similar. De-badged except for the tank emblems. K&N Pods, so air filter assembly is gone. ORK so that cover's gone too. I'm not trying to 'hide' what the bike is, but all in all I think it ends up a cleaner look w/o those things
 

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I'm not trying to 'hide' what the bike is, but all in all I think it ends up a cleaner look w/o those things
Yeah, another funny story. I had someone ribbing me about being de-badged. He was a friend and just having fun. Said it's de-badged so everyone will think it's a Harley. Another guy, which I did not know and did ride a Harley, overheard us and piped in. He said "If he owned a Harley, he'd make sure it had H-D on it. When you spend this much for old technology and a harsh ride, you make sure everybody knows what it is". I've never rode a Harley so I don't know what it's like. I really had to laugh at that but he's right. Unless it has a very custom paint job, just about every H-D I've seen has H-D on it. I bought mine de-badged and I agree I think it looks very clean.
 

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My brother is in a motorcycle club that requires all its members ride an "American" bike but when I showed up at their clubhouse with my Yamaha they all commented on how nice it was. One of his buddies said that the look I have with my Yamaha is the look he's trying to get with his Harley.
 

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There's a local bike club where I live that requires the same thing, meaning it has to be a Harley. After one of them invited me to join and found out I rode a yammy, he said he was sorry but it's not "American" made. After I showed him his bike wasn't 100% either, he said nevermind and walked away. Oh well, I love my yammy!
 

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There's a local bike club where I live that requires the same thing, meaning it has to be a Harley. After one of them invited me to join and found out I rode a yammy, he said he was sorry but it's not "American" made. After I showed him his bike wasn't 100% either, he said nevermind and walked away. Oh well, I love my yammy!
I heard H-D is partly owned by Honda and uses a lot of imported parts. I guy riding a really nice Indian Chief said you have to ride Indian if you want to ride American. I'm American true and blue and I don't mind spending more for quality if American and Quality are together. If I was willing to spend 50% more on a H-D, I would end up with a stripped down 1990 something Sporty which most Harley guys won't even accept.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I heard H-D is partly owned by Honda and uses a lot of imported parts. I guy riding a really nice Indian Chief said you have to ride Indian if you want to ride American. I'm American true and blue and I don't mind spending more for quality if American and Quality are together. If I was willing to spend 50% more on a H-D, I would end up with a stripped down 1990 something Sporty which most Harley guys won't even accept.
I know a bunch of guys who -used- to work for Harley around here until they got laid off as more and more overseas parts and labor came into it. They would -love- to talk to someone about how Harleys are "murkin" bikes...

Not to mention, it's a public company; so the 'owners' may include Honda, Arabian oil sheiks, Russian oligarchs, dotcom-billionaire silicon valley whiz kids, etc.

For that matter, Polaris owns Indian, and they're a public company too. So same applies...

I too prefer to buy American & quality when I can. That's a lot easier to do with parts & accessories than with bikes. At least there are still some great gear & accessories companies that really are owned in, made in, sourced in the good ol' USA (and a couple more that are wholly Canadian, which is about as good in my book).

But I'm realistic about what "american" means these days. And the price/quality trade off is too often a big hurdle.

There was literally no HD in my budget range, even had I wanted it. Best I could find was $5K (double my budget) for an older sportster 883. And as you say, all that would do is have a lot of 'real' HD guys asking me why I was riding a 'girl's bike'... (a couple HD friends of mine said exactly that when I was considering it).
 

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The cost of an HD is why I have always wanted/ridden metric cruisers. My first was a Honda Shadow Ace 1100 that was actually on loan from a friend for a while. Then I went down (cost reasons) to a 93' Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Put 30k on it. Only had to put it in the shop one time and that was for a drive belt.. $700... Still have that one. Then I was eyeing a Suzuki Boulevard M109r but it required just a little too much forward lean for me and my back didn't like it. Then I was without a bike but day dreaming about another Vulcan or a VTX. Every time I saw a Harley that I thought I liked the look of, I'd see the price tag and instantly be turned off. You just don't get the same value. And when something breaks it costs you big time.. My father drives an 06' Ultra Classic with a Voyager trike kit on it.. I didn't get to ride it before the trike add-on, but I cannot stand the way it drives. Quality of the bike is nice though. His had almost 20k on the clock when he bought it and he paid $13k for it without the trike add-on that was another $5k.. Plus all of the other accessories and things he's purchased.. I'm not even half way to the cost of his trike add-on.. lol Paid $1850 for my 99' 1100 with 11307 miles on it. I've put roughly $100 into it for misc. parts. So less than $2k.. haha
 

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The cost of an HD is why I have always wanted/ridden metric cruisers. My first was a Honda Shadow Ace 1100 that was actually on loan from a friend for a while. Then I went down (cost reasons) to a 93' Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Put 30k on it. Only had to put it in the shop one time and that was for a drive belt.. $700... Still have that one. Then I was eyeing a Suzuki Boulevard M109r but it required just a little too much forward lean for me and my back didn't like it. Then I was without a bike but day dreaming about another Vulcan or a VTX. Every time I saw a Harley that I thought I liked the look of, I'd see the price tag and instantly be turned off. You just don't get the same value. And when something breaks it costs you big time.. My father drives an 06' Ultra Classic with a Voyager trike kit on it.. I didn't get to ride it before the trike add-on, but I cannot stand the way it drives. Quality of the bike is nice though. His had almost 20k on the clock when he bought it and he paid $13k for it without the trike add-on that was another $5k.. Plus all of the other accessories and things he's purchased.. I'm not even half way to the cost of his trike add-on.. lol Paid $1850 for my 99' 1100 with 11307 miles on it. I've put roughly $100 into it for misc. parts. So less than $2k.. haha
In my 'cager' life, I drove BMW and Mercedes for years and years. Until one day I went to replace my car (because it was out of warranty and the cost of repair is outrageous). And I sat there thinking "I'm buying a $65K car that I'll end up trading for $25K in 3 years when the warranty ends... why? because of what someone else thinks of it?"...

Decided I preferred my money in the bank versus impressing the neighbors and some valet parker. Went and bought a Hyundai with a 10 year warranty and never looked back. Kinda feel the same way about the "metric vs. american" bike thing.
 

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Not to mention, it's a public company; so the 'owners' may include Honda, Arabian oil sheiks, Russian oligarchs, dotcom-billionaire silicon valley whiz kids, etc.
I like your thinking. If I buy some Yamaha voting stock then I can call my 1300 an American bike?
 

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immigrants can be 'made' outside of the U.S. but if they are later born here, they are American citizens. so even if my bike, or parts of it, were 'made' outside the U.S., it wasn't 'born' until inside the U.S. boundaries. ergo, my bike is American.
 

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If it's what you want to own and ride, it doesn't matter where it was built or what the cost.
 

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You can think what you want.....but too me "American" means that the company is headquartered in the USA and pays USA Federal corporate taxes as a USA Corporation. They were founded on American soil and have 110+ years of history as a manufacturer of motorcycles based in the USA.

Also keep in mind that Harley is a Union shop. Some people like to support unions and american workers...some don't care. All I know is that if a Harley was entirely manufactured by American union workers...the price would be 2-3+ times higher than it is now and would have been closed down at the end of the AMF years.

Let's face it, we are a Walmart nation....and no longer care much about supporting our own, we're just concerned about our own pocketbooks. If they didn't source off shore like every other company on the planet, they would have vanished. It's isn't Harley's fault that they need to do this....we are the ones that set the demands for the market.

2 Americans bought the company after a giant corporation ran it into the ground....a couple "little guys"and turned it around and made it a giant again. That's a huge American success story in anybodies book.

Some "riding clubs" specify the kind of bike you ride....big deal. If you had a Ford Mustang club....my guess is that you'd probably not allow too many Nissan Altima's into the group. It's no big deal...it's just their passion and they want to share the same passion with other Harley owners.

I've had Harley's before...and I'll have Harley's again. They are a great bike and you can find them for not much more than an equally equipped metric if you look around a little.
 

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I looked long and hard before buying my 1300. Harleys were on the list but the price tag for what I wanted was $10,000 more than the VStar 1300 Deluxe. I thought about what that $10,000 could do to increase my fun and whether I would have $10,000 more fun on a Harley. I love the Indians but can't make owning one agree with that thinking either.

I've had Harley riders admire my motorcycle as well. Most are impressed but some turn their noses up. I'd rather ride my Yamaha along with a few good friends than ride a Harley with all the other HD people out there. I laugh at the new Harley ads that talk about being independent .........
 
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