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In the early 90s, HD pretty much turned their backs on the people who kept them afloat through the tough years. This also included the dealers like Robison HD in Daytona Beach that was for years a center of activity during Bike Week. HD demanded that Robison remodel his dealership into the more trendy "boutique" style. When Robison refused HD pulled his dealership license. For a good article on what Robison's HD was like in the good ole days click here. Many HD dealers now are just big, greedy corporate conglomerates who's only interest is whats in your wallet. Just TRY and borrow a wrench these days! They would be happy to SELL you a wrench set (complete with HD engraved logos) for five times the market rate of an equivalent set!

HD first started annoying me in the mid-90s when they wanted to patent the "sound" of their engines. At that point, they were really paranoid of all the Japanese cruisers taking some of their market share. Why couldn't HD just focus on building a better motorcycle instead of engaging in legal wrangling to prevent someone from using the same bore and stroke? How ridiculous. Since HD was doing so well financially they didn't dare approach Congress again for import tariffs or some other good ole boy favor.

I'm really surprised HD is doing so well these days. Although HD would never admit to this, the reason they are doing so well is because they became "trendy" in the early 90s. HD would lead you to believe it is because of their superior engineering, reliability and styling. Most of us know that is absolute BS. Although I must admit they have made progress in engineering and reliability, but then, who the heck wouldn't when you have boatloads of cash coming in! I just wish they would spend less on glam marketing and litigious attorneys (just ask DP) and more on engineering and reliability. Like all trends, some day the HD trend will end and I can't wait to see greedy dealer showrooms packed full of bikes that no one wants!
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