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Old 04-29-2009, 04:51 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee View Post
Some of the things that you listed about Harleys, like everything being made from metal, can be viewed as a negative. One of the main factors in the handling qualities of a bik, is weight. The bikes have a lot of plastic because it weighs less, which leads to better handling.
Tanks are all metal too, but they handle like... tanks.

Motors higher tech than they look? Well, a little maybe, but cmon they are air cooled, pushrod, v-twins from the 1930's.

I trust what you said about the fuel injection is true, and I'm sure the European/Japanese company that makes it worked hard to make it so good.

The quality thing is where you lost me. Harley has come a long way, but it was because they got together with the bike makers and learned to build good engines.

In any case don't take offense. I'm not putting Harley or their customers down in any way. I had one, loved it, moved on to something new.
They are great bikes and if I were to get another cruiser it would be Harley, without a doubt.
But I still say they are overpriced, largely, as was said before, because they are marketing "cool". The metric cruisers are over priced because they are riding Harley's coat tails.

When you look at the technology and materials in a modern sportbike, compared to a modern cruiser. Assuming the sportbikes are priced reasionably, the cruisers should cost around $8,000.
harley customers want METAL bikes, not plastic parts designed to look like metal. harley spends a lot of time making their bikes look like those of old, to continue the look and feel of the classic harley. it's what their buyers want. they take great effort into hiding all the technology in them.

harley didn't get with the japanese to learn to build a better motor. all the quality issues they had in the late 70's and throughout the 80's was due to huge cost cutting measures put in place by AMF. when AMF sold the company back to willie g, and the other 12, they went back to harley's roots. building the best bike they knew how to, regardless of price. they have outsourced a lot of their parts to japanese parts manufacturers, i have showa forks on my harley for example, but not to any bike manufacturers.

The corvette Z06 motor is a pushrod 45* V8 from the 50's. But is it low-tech? NASCAR cup engines are based off the same design, are those low-tech? Just because they share the basic layout from an old design doesn't mean there isn't a TON of technology in them to be able to make the power they do, and be able to pass modern emissions testing. It's even harder for harley because they are air-cooled, making controlling emissions an even harder task. Sure they could build a water-cooled engine that made more power, ran smoother, and ran quieter, but that's not what harley customers want. They want the heritage, they want that sound, they don't want bikes with radiators. HD knows this, and continues to refine it's engines to suit both the customers needs as well as the EPA's. and just an FYI, the Twin cam engine in modern harleys has only been around since 1998. Before that it was the Evo, the Shovel, Pan, Knuckle, etc. It's not the same engine they have been using since the 30's. Merely the same 45* single pin crank layout HD customers want.

My ecu is designed by harley engineers and built by Delphi, an American company based out of Troy, Michigan, and one of the global leaders in high end automotive electronics.

Sportbikes are priced the way they are because it is an incredibly competitive market. most new riders, especially younger ones get caught by the motorcycle bug by sportbikes first. You get them on your brand sportbike, and likely you'll have a customer for life (just look at all the kawi, yami, zuki nutriders here). Most of their cost comes from R&D costs, not materials cost. My harley has the same high-tech aircraft grade aluminum alloys that sportbikes do, but twice as much of it. It also has good ol' american made steel. One place the japs definitely have harley beat is in the fasteners. The zinc coated pieces on all my sportbikes were much higher quality than the nuts and bolts on my harley.

You have to remember the type of person harley markets their bikes to to understand why their bikes are designed the way they are. There is an image someone sees in their head when they hear harley davidson. Harley goes to great lengths to maintain that image with their new bikes, even if it means they look like bikes made 30 years ago.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:05 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlipSideUp View Post
I have no problem with Harleys per say. In fact, I really like the Night Train (and may just get one)!!

What I get a chuckle out of is how they (Harley owners) think that a "Harley is the Real Thing", and everything else is a copy. It's hilarious, actually.

I mean, wtf? A cruiser is a cruiser, man. It's a type of bike, not a brand name. Typical Harley buyer seem to be the ones that think a Harley is the real thing, as compared to any other bike out there, and all the quips against them (be it in jest, envy, or ridicule) can be attributed towards this attitude Harley owners have upon others.

That idea stems from the early-80's. When the japanese big 4 started mimicing the style of the HD cruiser. Before the 80's there was no cruiser catagory, it was just harley. Honda made scooters, sportbikes, and standards, as did all the other manufacturers. They then started copying the style and layout of the HD cruiser and hence the birth of the cruiser segment, and the people who said they stole the style from HD.

As for myself, I prefer the looks of HD's over the metrics. HD just seems to get the styling and proportions right. I don't feel the same about the metrics. I'm not saying their bad bikes, I just don't like them. I prefer HD, and that's why I bought one. It wasn't because their marketing campaigns said I should. It wasn't because I wanted the biggest heaviest loudest bike I could afford. It wasn't because I wanted the fastest best handling lightest bike around (i had that with my zx-10). I bought it because it was the one that fit me and my personality the best. It was the one I liked the most.

None of the big brands build a bad bike these days. But as we all know, motorcycles are more than a sum of all it's parts. Motorcycling is more than an exercise in rationality. It's about passion and soul. For me, HD has more soul than any other ride, and evokes more passion (no not sexual asshats) in me, than any of the other bikes I was looking at the time.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:45 PM   #63
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:55 PM   #64
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Harley frames are formed, forged, and welded in the USA, in the York, PA plant, Kansas City, MO, plant or the Wauwatosa, WI and Tomahawk, WI plants, depending on the model. Yes, harley outsources a lot of parts manufacturing to other countries, but that's nothing new. Everyone has been doing that for years. American companies have been doing it because it's more cost effective, however, it takes jobs away from the US, and causes other long-term problems that we're now experiencing. BUT, that's getting to close to politics, so we should probably leave that out of the thread, lol.

I brought up delphi, because the poster i was replying to was misinformed and believed the ecu's must be from japan since they are so high-tech. I was merely educating him.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:58 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretAgent View Post
harley customers want METAL bikes, not plastic parts designed to look like metal. harley spends a lot of time making their bikes look like those of old, to continue the look and feel of the classic harley. it's what their buyers want. they take great effort into hiding all the technology in them..
You are right, I had the impression you were mentioning all that metal, as if it somehow plastic gave bike less quality.

Quote:
harley didn't get with the japanese to learn to build a better motor.
Yes, they did. Once the AMF was ousted, Harley went to the japanese and paid to learn how to make their engines more reliable, durable and seal better, to stop the quality issues that had plagued them for decades. Even before the AMF, Harleys were known to leak and break (in their defense so did most other bikes until the Japanese got it right).

Quote:
all the quality issues they had in the late 70's and throughout the 80's was due to huge cost cutting measures put in place by AMF.
You are right.

Quote:
when AMF sold the company back to willie g, and the other 12, they went back to harley's roots. building the best bike they knew how to, regardless of price. they have outsourced a lot of their parts to japanese parts manufacturers, i have showa forks on my harley for example, but not to any bike manufacturers.
Also correct.

Quote:
The corvette Z06 motor is a pushrod 45* V8 from the 50's. But is it low-tech? NASCAR cup engines are based off the same design, are those low-tech? Just because they share the basic layout from an old design doesn't mean there isn't a TON of technology in them to be able to make the power they do, and be able to pass modern emissions testing.
IMHO it's a pretty big stretch to compare a Harley motor to a LS3 or a NASCAR motor. For example, a 1935 flathead Harley mtor put out 37hp @ 4800 RPM.
A 2009 Harley, in stock form puts out 59hp @ 4600 RPM.

Wow, all that technology and only gained 22hp in 74 years? (don't forget the 1935 motor was only 74cid, which makes it even worse).

Quote:
It's even harder for harley because they are air-cooled, making controlling emissions an even harder task. Sure they could build a water-cooled engine that made more power, ran smoother, and ran quieter, but that's not what harley customers want. They want the heritage, they want that sound, they don't want bikes with radiators. HD knows this, and continues to refine it's engines to suit both the customers needs as well as the EPA's. and just an FYI, the Twin cam engine in modern harleys has only been around since 1998. Before that it was the Evo, the Shovel, Pan, Knuckle, etc. It's not the same engine they have been using since the 30's. Merely the same 45* single pin crank layout HD customers want.
All true, all true.
But, that doesn't change the fact, that Harley's cost so much more than they should.


Quote:
My ecu is designed by harley engineers and built by Delphi, an American company based out of Troy, Michigan, and one of the global leaders in high end automotive electronics.
My bad, I thought it was Japanese or European.

Quote:
Sportbikes are priced the way they are because it is an incredibly competitive market. most new riders, especially younger ones get caught by the motorcycle bug by sportbikes first. You get them on your brand sportbike, and likely you'll have a customer for life (just look at all the kawi, yami, zuki nutriders here).
A competitve market does drive down costs, but the get them on your brand thought would work and has worked for Harley too.

Quote:
Most of their cost comes from R&D costs, not materials cost. My harley has the same high-tech aircraft grade aluminum alloys that sportbikes do, but twice as much of it.
Yes, R&D is expensive, but don't forget that sportbikes have lots of expensive things besides aluminum. Things like magnesium, exotic alloys of stainless and titanium.

Quote:
It also has good ol' american made steel.
America doesn't make much steel anymore. Ask the folks in Pittsburg.

Quote:
You have to remember the type of person harley markets their bikes to to understand why their bikes are designed the way they are. There is an image someone sees in their head when they hear harley davidson. Harley goes to great lengths to maintain that image with their new bikes, even if it means they look like bikes made 30 years ago
Don't assume that I don't understand. Like I said, I had a Harley and would gladly buy another, if I could afford to have it and something more sport oriented.
I'm too old to ride a sportbike as daily transportation, but Harley doesn't offer the performance to be a daily driver either.

I want both, dang it!
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:17 PM   #66
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Interesting thread. Different bikes for different personalities and uses. It's all in what you want and feel you need to have.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:20 PM   #67
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my bike with the 96ci TC96, makes 72whp and 88ft lbs of torque, and all i have are slip ons, a drop in filter, and some O2 trickers to richen up the fuel mixture.

You can say they don't make much more power, and it's true, i suppose, but they also didn't have to contend with emissions requirements back then either. they sacrifice greatly in the power department to get them to pass emissions. they also last a LOT longer than they did in the past.

and yes, a competitive market will drive down costs, but even in these rough times, you're not going to find a new harley for less than msrp, and dealers, around here at least, are still selling them very well. you also won't find 2 or even 3 year old BRAND NEW harleys sitting in crates in dealerships like you will with some other brands. Harley is able to find customers to buy their bikes, without having to discount their prices. Yes, they are selling a good bit less now than they were last year or the year before, but they are still selling by the thousands, over 424,000 in the US last year alone. regardless of our opinions, they must be doing something right to sell that many bikes in a year.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:24 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbob65 View Post
IMHO it's a pretty big stretch to compare a Harley motor to a LS3 or a NASCAR motor. For example, a 1935 flathead Harley mtor put out 37hp @ 4800 RPM.
A 2009 Harley, in stock form puts out 59hp @ 4600 RPM.

Wow, all that technology and only gained 22hp in 74 years? (don't forget the 1935 motor was only 74cid, which makes it even worse).



Not sure what harly you have thats only making 59hp but y dont you go take a real look. and not pull numbers out your lol. Maybe a 883 sportster makes that, but most make closer to 80hp with the 95 inch twincam motor, but makes almost as much torque.
Perhaps it does, but then again, my little 80ci twin in my Vstar 1300 puts out a little OVER 80hp and 87lb/ft of torque. My VStar 1100 (65ci) could run with the 88" HD's all day long.

Does HD make a good machine? Yes they do. Are they a TAD overpriced? Yes they are - not a lot mind you, but notably so.

I cant fault them for what they charge though - after all, people are willing to pay for it.

The only thing that really chaps my about HDs are the owners of them who have the audacity to say things like "So when are you getting a real bike?" ....especially while leaning against their 3 year old garage queen which they just managed to get over 2000 miles last week...
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:29 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbob65 View Post
IMHO it's a pretty big stretch to compare a Harley motor to a LS3 or a NASCAR motor. For example, a 1935 flathead Harley mtor put out 37hp @ 4800 RPM.
A 2009 Harley, in stock form puts out 59hp @ 4600 RPM.

Wow, all that technology and only gained 22hp in 74 years? (don't forget the 1935 motor was only 74cid, which makes it even worse).



Not sure what harly you have thats only making 59hp but y dont you go take a real look. and not pull numbers out your lol. Maybe a 883 sportster makes that, but most make closer to 80hp with the 95 inch twincam motor, but makes almost as much torque.

The numbers I pulled out of my came from K&N engineering's website based on a 2008 ElectraGlide Classic 96ci., on their in-house dyno. And even using your own numbers, it's still only a 50hp increase even WITH a 20ci displacement increase!
That's really sad.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:30 PM   #70
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your bike is also water-cooled. makes a big difference in how much power the bike can make and still pass emissions. if harley were to go to water cooled bikes, they could make the same, or more power. it'll probably be happening soon too, because there's not much they can do to pass the future emissions requirements already put in place and still make a decent performing bike. they'll have to switch to water-cooling in the next few years to be able to comply.

and you gotta remember, u get idiots on both sides of the camp. you have the harley guys that think it's the only real bike, and you have the metric guys that think all harleys are oil-dripping, vibrating, unreliable, pieces of junk. but you can't fault the bikes for that, that's all the idiot owner's fault.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:32 PM   #71
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over 424,000 in the US last year alone. regardless of our opinions, they must be doing something right to sell that many bikes in a year.
Honda sold 1,428,765 bikes in the same time.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:32 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee View Post
The numbers I pulled out of my came from K&N engineering's website based on a 2008 ElectraGlide Classic 96ci., on their in-house dyno. And even using your own numbers, it's still only a 50hp increase even WITH a 20ci displacement increase!
That's really sad.
they produce close to 1hp/ci. not bad at all really, considering it's based on 1930's technology according to you. not to mention they'll run for 100k+ miles, and comply with all 2010 CARB emissions requirements. but again, your numbers aren't accurate. the TC96 makes 65-70whp stock, and is rated at 80hp at the crank.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:54 PM   #73
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Quote:
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they produce close to 1hp/ci. not bad at all really, considering it's based on 1930's technology according to you. not to mention they'll run for 100k+ miles, and comply with all 2010 CARB emissions requirements. but again, your numbers aren't accurate. the TC96 makes 65-70whp stock, and is rated at 80hp at the crank.
Ok I acknowledged that my numbers might be off, so I used your numbers.

80hp is still pretty tame after 70 years of development, don't you think?
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:02 PM   #74
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your bike is also water-cooled. makes a big difference in how much power the bike can make and still pass emissions. if harley were to go to water cooled bikes, they could make the same, or more power. it'll probably be happening soon too, because there's not much they can do to pass the future emissions requirements already put in place and still make a decent performing bike. they'll have to switch to water-cooling in the next few years to be able to comply.

and you gotta remember, u get idiots on both sides of the camp. you have the harley guys that think it's the only real bike, and you have the metric guys that think all harleys are oil-dripping, vibrating, unreliable, pieces of junk. but you can't fault the bikes for that, that's all the idiot owner's fault.
We can agree on this stuff.
I'm not trying to make enemys here. If you recall, my original point was that Harley's are overpriced.
I will stick to that.
They are, relative bikes, low tech, using few exotic materials. Since they perform basically the way they did decades ago, the hasn't been a need for huge amounts of structural engineering.
Still using welded steel frames.

So, where does all the expense come from?

Marketing and perceived value.
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:08 PM   #75
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anyone forget the vrod?


1250cc Revolution V-Twin: Standard on all 2009 VRSC models, the 60-degree Revolution 1250cc V-Twin is liquid-cooled and features Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), dual overhead cams, four-valve heads, and a five-speed transmission. The engine is rubber-mounted in a hydroformed steel perimeter frame. A shell covers the large-volume airbox located over the engine. A five-gallon fuel tank is located below the seat on all VRSC models. The engine is tuned to produce up to 125 hp at 8250 rpm and up to 85 ft-lbs. of torque at 7000 rpm.

Yeah, Porsche did a nice job on that motor.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:27 PM   #76
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I'm a little lost. My 1990 Honda - designed 45ci motor puts out 100hp and 53lb/ft. How does a 2009 80ci Harley motor produce just 120hp/ 85 ft/lb? That's not very innovative.

Please take into account thats it has got over 54k miles on the clock and still purring with just oil changes.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:37 PM   #77
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I'm a little lost. My 1990 Honda - designed 45ci motor puts out 100hp and 53lb/ft. How does a 2009 80ci Harley motor produce just 120hp/ 85 ft/lb? That's not very innovative.

Please take into account thats it has got over 54k miles on the clock and still purring with just oil changes.
So roughly a 45% increase in displacement + close to 20 years resulted in only a 20% increase in performance?
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:46 PM   #78
mammothmc
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Choppers don't have to be expensive....just don't pay for a brand name.


Here is ours that won the Houston IMS show. Its built with a honda engine and gsxr wheels & brakes. We sell these around 10k & they'll outrun almost any chopper.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:47 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mammothmc View Post
Choppers don't have to be expensive....just don't pay for a brand name.


Here is ours that won the Houston IMS show. Its built with a honda engine and gsxr wheels & brakes. We sell these around 10k & they'll outrun almost any chopper.
That's a pretty sick Weber DCOE 45 (40?) set up going on there.
Except no air filters? But then again, rebuild kits for those are what like $40?
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:20 PM   #80
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i can't speak for others but i bought my harley for several reasons...
1. more comfortable than my sportbikes for my wife.
2. higher build quality than the hondas and yamahas i looked at.
3. more reliable than the kawasaki vulcans i looked at
4. and yeah, the looks. it had the old school look that i wanted. the other brands try to copy it, but they just don't get it right, they always end up looking like what they are....copys. i wanted the real thing. so i bought the harley.

the performance is more than enough for me to have fun with (13.0 1/4 mile stock), there are TONS of aftermarket parts to make it anything i want, the sound and the heritage played a small part as well. i figured if i was going to get a cruiser, i was going to get THE cruiser.

the one problem with owning a harley is everyone automatically assumes you're the typical harley buyer, weekend-warrior type, poser, rub, whatever you want to call it.

I have taken apart a 05 and 07 Harley road king and the way they put these things together is , I dont think they are worth the money at all. But every person is different.
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