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Old 06-10-2003, 11:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
James_Quinn
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How long does a harley last?

I was reading a thread where you were all talking about how old you were. Many of the guys in the thread said they had owned their harley for more then 10 years, 14 years in one case!

Which brings me to my question, how long does a harley engine last, if properly taken care of? (in miles?)
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Old 06-10-2003, 11:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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We dunno, because even the oldest ones are still running...

The damm things are built like bridges, overengineered and relatively few moving parts. Properly maintained, their lifespan is measured in generations. AND, since the engine design changes gradually and relatively slowly, you can still get parts for very old bikes.

Since Japanese makers seem to like complicated designs (many moving parts which even afficionados refer to as 'lots of monkey motion'), there is lots to go wrong. Japanese makers change their components about as often as I change my shorts, so parts for older bikes often disappear in only a few years. That's some of the reason why Japanese bikes lose resale value MUCH more quickly than a Harley. They're disposable.
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Old 06-10-2003, 11:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So why do the *** bike owners always make fun of harleys saying they will lose parts on the road, leak oil and break down constantly?

I've always been told *** bikes were more reliable.
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Old 06-10-2003, 11:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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During the 80's and early 90's Harley were notorious for breaking down. The AMA years really had product quality issues. Then HD broke away and really worked to fix this short fall.
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Old 06-10-2003, 11:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Back in the AMF days at HD that is exactly what they did. They were like puppy dogs and marked their territory with engine oil. And when they went down the road....parts would vibrate loose and fall off.

If you rode for an hour you tightened for an hour !!!!!

When I would ride in the 70's on a 100 mile trip or so. There would be say 20 bikes. 18 *** bikes and 2 HD's. Guess which ones came back in the back of a truck?? The HD's just weren't reliable.

They have come a long way.
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Old 06-10-2003, 11:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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well i have put 11000 miles on mine since 2000 and i only ride 6 months out of the yr. i ride it like i stole it all the time and i have had no problems
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Old 06-10-2003, 11:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by James_Quinn
So why do the *** bike owners always make fun of harleys saying they will lose parts on the road, leak oil and break down constantly?

I've always been told *** bikes were more reliable.
VIbration...However, I also own an 1100 ACE and sh*t vibrates off all the time. My Deuce does not.
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Old 06-10-2003, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I know what you guys mean. I bought my first bike in '79... a Honda. (I was in High School, and it was about the only thing I could afford, although I loved the way the old choppers looked) There was about 5 buddies of mine that would all get together and ride. 4 of us had *** bikes, and the fifth had a Harley (Panhead I think)

We always made the Harley ride in the back of the group 'cause he'd spray oil everywhere. He was always having to stop and tighten stuff, and pour in more oil.

I think the introduction of the Evo motor in.... '84? marked the turn-around for Harley reliability.
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Old 06-10-2003, 12:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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In 1969, Harley-Davidson merged with American Machine and Foundry Company (AMF), (by this period they had substantial stock in Tomahawk Boat Co also). In 1981 senior members of Harley-Davidson bought back Harley-Davidson Motor Company from AMF.

Having own a few Sporties, particularly '68, '77, '79, an '83 Shovel, '90 EVO and now the TwinCam, don't know if I would agree with all the comments. Maintenance on the Harley was (and maybe should still be) high..................
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Old 06-10-2003, 12:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by James_Quinn
So why do the *** bike owners always make fun of harleys saying they will lose parts on the road, leak oil and break down constantly?

I've always been told *** bikes were more reliable.
And they were TWENTY YEARS AGO .... Today's Harleys are as relaible as any other make. Usually less maintenance too, because of the simple design, easy access to the motor, hydraulic lifters and belt drive.

People forget that the AMF bikes had engines designed in the 1950 and '60's. Well lemme tell ya people, EVERY 1960's motorcycle leaked oil and was unreliable as compared to modern bikes. (My 1974 Honda CB750K was DESIGNED to leak engine oil onto the chain drive for chrissakes, to lube it ... )

Harleys continued to leak into the 1970's because AMF didn't put any money into R&D ... The evolution engine introduced in 1983 brought Harley into the world of modern engine reliability and tightness that the Japanese manufacturers entered in the 1970's. The newer twincam and revolution motors are even better.

IMHO, every major manufacturer today builds a good machine, WORLDS better than we rode years ago. Keep that in mind, and GO BUY WHAT YOU WANT!

Last edited by Boismier; 06-10-2003 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 06-10-2003, 12:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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at least 100 years
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Old 06-10-2003, 12:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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"So why do the *** bike owners always make fun of harleys saying they will lose parts on the road, leak oil and break down constantly?"


Because.........Thanks tbag
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Old 06-10-2003, 01:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Good one, Frank. LTIPMP!
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Old 06-10-2003, 02:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I went to a bike show and they had a 1916 Harley in running condition. The engine was original and there had only been some minor restoration done to it but looked great. The owner still rides it....it was owned by his grandfather who rode it often and has been an heirloom in the family. A bike will last as long as you maintain it.
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Old 06-10-2003, 02:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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harleys = peices of troll.

I am a troll and I have nothing better to do with my life. I believe my purpose in life is to troll. Maybe someday, if I can breed with a rat, I'll improve my station in life. Until then, I must continue my efforts as a troll.

Last edited by pasadenajim; 06-10-2003 at 04:53 PM.
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