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I am a college student working on a project concerning brand communities. I suspect that Harley Davidson maintains an extremely loyal and tight community. Can anyone explain why he or she loves Harley so much? Any details about the brand, its history, culture, rituals, etc. would be very helpful.
Thank you.
 

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My favorite Harley saying:
"If you have to ask you'll never understand!" lol
Here's 100 reasons

They're made in North America. Most of their components, anyway.
They're loud (or they can be with a little help).
They're beautiful.
Everyone wants to own one.
There are thousands of accessories available, so you can make your Harley uniquely yours.
They can be painted outrageous colours, with strange murals, and no one thinks they look terrible or silly. They just look like Harleys.
There are more Harley mechanics around than for any other bike.
Even an old, beaten up one looks good.
They have a long, rich history and heritage.
Anyone can ride one.
Everyone recognizes a Harley.
You can get a Harley tattoo.
You can get a Harley bumper sticker.
They hold their value, most of it, even years later.
There are songs about riding Harleys. There are even collections of Harley music on CD.
You can find more Harley parts at swap meets and flea markets than for any other bike.
You can get a loan to buy a Harley easier than most other motorcycles.
You can buy a fully-dressed Harley with a radio; comfy seats with armrests; a big, useful windshield; solid saddle bags and a trunk, and no one thinks you're an old fart when you ride it.
You never have to wonder how to spend your extra money.
You always know there's something appropriate you can give as a gift to a Harley rider.
You can join a HOG chapter, wear a patch and pretend you're a one-percenter on weekend rides, then go back to your real life on week days without getting into serious trouble.
An old Harley rusting in a barn is probably still worth something to someone.
When your Harley is stored away for the winter, you never feel ridiculous when you go to the garage to sit on it or polish a little chrome.
When you say you're going to clean the bike, your spouse will always know what you're up to for the next few hours and not have to worry.
It can make you smile on a bad day.
It gives the local police a way to earn their salaries and keeps them wondering if you're a badass biker or maybe really an influential judge or lawyer under those leathers.
It gives you the opportunity to try out every metal polish and auto cleaner in the hardware store.
Every man's second childhood is more fun on a Harley.
Even a small Harley is a big bike.
You don't have to wear a lime-green and purple leather body suit to ride a Harley.
You're more willing to go out and pick up milk and the newspaper if you can ride to the store on your Harley.
You can wear a Harley cap and not look as silly as 99 per cent of people who wear baseball caps (except of course backwards, which immediately identifies you as a dweeb regardless of the brand name... Remember: people who can't figure out which way a hat goes on are also poor prospects for mates.).
Unlike sport bikes, you don't need to visit your chiropractor after riding a Harley for more than 15 minutes.
You never have to explain or apologize for your choice or ride.
No one ever asks you to race them.
There's something infinitely satisfying about that big-twin rumble.
You always have something to talk about with other Harley riders.
You can always find an after-market part for any Harley, no matter how old it is.
The chrome is on all the right parts, but you can always add more or take some off and it still looks good.
If you own two Harleys, people get even more jealous than if you have just one.
They have only one carburetor to adjust.
They're always in style.
If you ride another motorcycle at 40, people think you're either crazy or haven't grown up. If you ride a Harley at 40, people think you're young at heart and have style.
Harley riders always have something to talk about at parties.
Sure you can ride other motorcycles to Daytona and Sturgis, but why?
Women riding Harleys look sexy, confident and independent.
Cleaning your bike becomes an act of love and respect - almost worship - with a Harley.
Harley riders have a better sex life. Honest!
Harley riders are recognized worldwide. Wear a Harley cap or T-shirt anywhere in the world and someone will walk up and talk to you about your bike.
People can argue endlessly about the technical advantages and ergonomics of other motorcycles, but when it's all been said, Harley riders get on their bikes and ride away with a smile.
Harley riders always have a wrench handy to loan someone.
Harley riders never have to worry about their Harley-riding friends asking to borrow money.
Harley riders learn to say 'No' early to people who ask to borrow their bike. This skill is useful when dealing with sales people, Jehovah's Witnesses and children.
Harley riders always turn heads going through the center of town.
Harley owners can (almost) always get a loan (although they may not be eligible for a Harley Davidson credit card simply because they own a Harley!... or a house, a computer, another motorcycle and a car... or have a steady job and no significant debt... maybe you have to be Bill Gates to qualify, because I have all the rest and I still didn't qualify).
Harley riders don't have to worry about their bikes being outdated by new technology.
Long-term marriages are safer with a Harley because the husband will be too preoccupied with the bike to bother meeting other women. And the wife always knows where hubby is when he's not in the house... he's in the garage, polishing something or out riding around town showing off.
When someone asks "What do you ride," everyone understands "Harley." They don't care what the model is. If you tell them a GSX... or a CBR... or an Intruder... or an ST100... or any of these makes, you have to explain who makes it and what kind of bike it is. Note the eyes of your audience glazing over...
You meet more people at bike shows and rallies who ride Harleys.
Speed doesn't matter on a Harley.
Harleys even make good rat bikes.
You can ride a Harley in rodeo and field day competitions at bike rallies (try riding a sport bike in the barrel push... or the weenie bite).
If you want speed and power, you can buy a Buell and still have a Harley. And when people ask you what it is and you tell them, they get a wonderful look of amazement and say things like "Gee, I didn't know they made one like that..."
There are more Harley riders at any gathering than any other bike rider.
Harley still offers demos and test rides.
No matter that he rode a 1953 Triumph Thunderbird in his role, everyone still believes Marlon Brando rode a Harley in the movie The Wild One. Harley makes its own mythology.
When you do the wave to another Harley on the highway they wave back.
Every other issue aside, Harley takes pride in its people, and its people take pride in Harley. Harley Davidsons aren't built on a faceless assembly line that cranks out motorcycles by the ton, it isn't just a product pumped out for consumption. It's made by people who care, for people who believe in it.
You get more grins per mile, even in the rain!
You dont need to understand "double overhead cam's" to maintain them.
Harley riders understand that if you have 2 Harley's you are not rich, if you have 2 harleys you have no money at all!
Non-Harley riders will never borrow your tools...no metric!
Harley Davidsons feel better than any other bike. You can feel the rumble pulse through you as you ride.
You don't have to drop the engine out to work on it.
You can find any style of seat for every year.
You can build one from the ground-up, and everyone thinks its cool.
If you have to ask or have it explained, you wouldn't understand.
They can get you laid!
The older you are the better; the idle helps keep your pacemaker synchronized...
Simply put, "They're big, they're bad, and they look good!!!!!
So you can have nice, wide, soft seat to fit your old, wide, soft butt.
When people ask "Isn't there a waiting list?", you can tell them "Yeah, I waited 33 years and 9 *** bikes"
Harley salescritters gotta eat to
Help keep your neighbors from sleeping away their whole weekend!
You can do your part to keep the highways properly lubricated.
Lots of extra protein from those bug hits while rollin' on and smilin' wide!
Remember those old-time vibrating excercise belt machines? Think of all the flab you can shake off just going to the grocery store!
Let's just think of them as the Winnebago of motorcycles -- room for everything you ever wanted to bring along... and then some.
It's a piece of physical fitness equipment -- you have to make sure that you are in shape, just in case you ever have to stand it back up.
You don't have to explain your mid-life crisis in detail -- "got a Harley" will suffice nicely.
If someone cuts in front of you in traffic, then sees you in the mirror, you have the "Biker on a Harley" intimidation factor on your side.
If you get stuck in boring business meetings, you can always think about that stretch of back road with the big sweeping turns.
"Honey, it's economical -- gets GREAT gas mileage!"
You can putz along at 20MPH, and still look dangerous.
If things got bad, you could melt it down and have enough iron to build a locomotive.
Think of it as "dry cleaning" for your brain -- hop on and do a few miles, and it's amazing how much clearer things are.
You have a great excuse to wear really old jeans - "He rides a Harley" explains it all.
You get to hear that neat "plop" sound that comes as their jaws hit the pavement.
Relieve eye strain and muscle tension -- crank it up and shake 'em around for a while.
When someone asks what color it is, you can answer "mostly chrome"!
Because you've wanted one since you were 11 years old, and that was a very long time ago!
 

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American Pride

I once heard a story about someone that wanted a roll top desk with all those little draws inside. As the story went, they finally bought a beautiful desk, fine in every respect, but it did not have those draws. Every time he sat at the desk, he failed to see the beauty of the desk, what he saw each time, whas that it did not have the draws.

For many of us, HD is the same. There are fine bikes out there, Fine in almost every way. But when you sit on them, you don’t see the beauty, you see that it’s not a HD. The same is true for almost all who see these bikes. Ask many automobile drivers what they first notice when they look at a bike pull up next to them on the street. Do they notice the 15,000RPM redline, the drive shaft, the carbon fiber, no, they notice if it is a harly, or one of those other bikes.

Many of us can not define the reason this is important. Certainly there is the American pride , with all it’s faults, and all it’s greatness. Nor will many of the other bike manufactures define why they spend so much time and money trying to make their version of a HD, but it’s there. It’s not something the Harley Davidson company does to promote this, it something they respect, and for the most part we respect them for it.
 

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Hey Cathari,

This is no **** now.

I own a roll top. Belonged to my Father and was left to me. It has all the little drawers but more importantly, a plaque that he earned some 40 years ago.

I also have inherited the family Grandfathers Clock. It has names and dates inscribed that are the family tree back 97 years. My name is in it now and someday I will die and some child will point to the name and ask, "what about him?"

I own a Harley for the same reason. "Tradition" that is far richer than the new item on the block. One that takes pride in America. We may not be the fastest. We may not be the sleekest. But we ARE the LOUDEST and PROUDEST, the STRONGEST and The most LOYAL this planet has ever seen. We are like the Vets of America. The Few, The Proud, The Breed set aside from the rest. We are the most Independent of the Free who catch the lustful look of those who choose to be less.

The fact that our student friend is writing or asking about us says it all. You can't write about us. You can't ask us why we are who we are. There is no way to explain, nor is there a way to understand that which flows from the heart.

Harley Riders should never submit themselves to the microscope. Let the mystery remain as such to those who do not hear the call. Let the low five remain the "hello brother" to those that do.
 

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Well Curious, I guess you have your answer. Phatcoy, cathari, and JimmyK have pretty much summed it up. Kind of makes you proud to be an American AND a Harley rider :) Wow Phatboy! How long did it take you to think of all that? You folks are awesome. Nuff said.
 

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Ahhh! The power of the Internet! Boys, I suspect that Curious won't be the last college kid we see asking about us on these boards. Harley's success story has become a model study for classrooms to discuss.

Btw Phayboy... very funny post, bro.

=)
 
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