…But Its Not A Harley

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

No matter what metric bike you ride, you’ll always find someone to tell you it’s not as nice as a Harley. Sometimes that’s true, and I’ll be the first to admit that Harley makes a big, powerful air-cooled v-twin. The problem lies with “big” and “air-cooled”. Modern Harleys are not the maintenance nightmares that their 1970s-80s ancestors were. Most of them are very nearly as reliable as a well-built metric. But liquid-cooled motors will always be more reliable than air-cooled ones. Keeping a constant operating temperature helps all the bits and pieces last longer. It also helps when you’re stuck in city traffic or otherwise putting around town. Big, air-cooled motors need air moving over their cooling fins to keep everything at a comfortable operating temperature.

But mechanics aside, there is one huge problem with Harleys that I will never be able to get over: the price tag. Even used, a Harley is easily two or three times as much as any metric, except maybe the Triumph Rocket III and the new “factory choppers” from Yamaha and Honda. Let me offer this used bike page from a major Iowa dealer. My favorite Harley, the Dyna Wide Glide, goes for about $15,000 for one in similar condition to my Honda. Granted, the Harley has a MUCH bigger engine and is much more powerful. But my Honda was $3000. Say I do pipes, a Mustang seat, and get a stage-1 jet kit for my Spirit 750. I’m at, lets say $4700–and that’s a high estimate. I could buy 2004-2008 VTX 1300s all day for $6000. The same goes for 1100 and 1300 V-Stars. I just don’t see what the extra $10,000 gets you with a Harley, except you get to tell people you have a Harley.

I would rather tell people I ride a Honda and can still afford to retire in my 60s. Then I might buy a Harley.

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