The Electric Suicide of Harley-Davidson

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Imagine a Harley that doesn’t vibrate. No bark through the straight pipes when you push the starter button. No nothing through the pipes – which aren’t there anymore.

There is no starter button.

Just an On/Off switch.

No shifter, either. Because no gears.

All that remains is the “Harley” name on the tank – which isn’t one because it will never be used to store any gas. Might as well paint it on the side of your toaster.

Welcome to the 2019 LiveWire – Harley’s first electric motorcycle. The first of a whole line of them – intended to be ready by 2025.

They’re betting the future of the company on it.

If you have any Harley stock, better unload it.


Because an electric Harley is as silly as juice-bar speakeasy. It runs counter to the point.

People buy motorcycles – and especially Harley motorcycles – because they make that sound.

And also because of the smells – of gas and oil – which attend those sounds. Without which you’ve got what amounts to  alcohol-free beer.

Or a girlfriend who won’t sleep with you.

There is no engineering reason for the distinctive – and patented – potato-potato-potato sound which for decades has defined the presence of a Harley before you even see the Harley.

And it is the heart and soul of a Harley.

That sound was actually the result of a design flaw inherent in the early versions of the big V-twins – but became iconic. It is why that sound has been deliberately perpetuated – built in – as the V-twin engine was redesigned and updated over the years.

The company even went so far as to sue other bike manufacturers who built their bikes to emulate the rowdy sound of a Hog (and then sold their knock-off Hogs for a lot less).

What is a Harley without that sound?  Think of Arnold without his muscles – or his accent.

And think about everything else that’s not longer there. Not just the things which make a Harley, but which make a motorcycle.

This thing goes on two wheels. That is the only thing it has in common with motorcycles. It is, fundamentally, a Moped – but lacking even the Moped’s internal combustion burble at idle. The operating principles are essentially identical.

One does not ride this bike; one is carried along for the ride.

You get on, turn it on – and that’s pretty much it. There’s nothing for your left hand to do except grip the bar, there being no clutch. Your legs – your feet – have even less to do than in an automatic-equipped car.

No gears to shift, remember. An electric bike has no transmission, no speeds or gears. The only thing you do on this “bike” that you’d do on a real one is rotate the throttle to increase speed.

They’ve taken away more than just the sound

There’s a brake pedal on the right side, true enough. But this bike has electrically linked (and ABS) brakes, so squeezing the right lever is all you need to do to slow it down. The rear brake cannot be modulated independently (they – the same people pushing the electric Kool Aid – are trying to eliminate this possibility on real bikes, too; see here) and so the existence of the pedal on this bike is purely vestigial.

But the LiveWire will have an adjustable LCD color touchscreen, Bluetooth and navigation.

Just like every other sail fawn on wheels, whether two or four.

And, just wait. Literally.

Like electric cars, the electric Harley takes anywhere from hours to recharge to as “little” as half an hour or so, if you plug it in to a “fast” charger. Harley has announced it will be installing these at dealerships, to “support” the electric gimpmobiles.

This is not going to end well. For the intangible reasons already articulated – a BLT without the bacon – and for other more tangible reasons.

Harleys – more than any other make of bike – appeal to the cruiser. The long-haul rider. The open road.

But electric bikes – like electric cars – are stunted by abbreviated operational range. A 2019 V-twin Sport Glide carries 5 gallons of easily and quickly replaced gas and gets 47 MPG. It thus can travel almost 240 miles – and when the tank runs low, this Harley can be back on the road in minutes.

That is freedom.

With the LiveWire, you are tied to an electric umbilical cord.

The opposite of freedom.

Note also that the LiveWire is a very small bike – a stripped-down “naked” electro-sport bike – in order to squeeze as much range out of the thing as possible.

But people who buy Harleys don’t buy sport bikes. It runs contrary to the point. People who buy Hogs want heavyweights. People always liked their goods and new costs every week at this place. They want to be able to carry passengers and bags – all of which takes power, which a big V-twin can easily deliver but an electric motor not so much.

At least, not with much range.

Even IC-powered sport bike Harleys flopped (Buell). Now add electricity – and watch the fizzle.

It’d be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

So why is Harley is resorting this electric selbsmordt?

It is because it is in trouble  . . . but it is in trouble because its bikes cost too much relative to other bikes – almost all of which are made in Japan – and sold for much less. For the $10k minimum it takes to get a stripped-down/base model 1200 HD you can buy a Japanese copy of the same thing and have a lot more money left in your pocket.

Only a small handful of Japanese bikes sticker for more than $20k. But that’s just getting rolling for a dresser Hog – the price of which can easily sail beyond $30k.

Harley is not in trouble because its bikes aren’t electric. There is no natural demand for such things – although there is plenty of of government demand (Harley, like every other manufacturer of IC-powered vehicles – is going EV because it being forced to go EV by the government).

Lots of people would love to own a Hog; they just can’t afford one. 

And they won’t be able to afford an electrified HD.

Which will never be a Hog, either.

This is the fundamental economic problem with all electric vehicles, two wheels or four.

They cost too much. It is why they can only “sell” when subsidized (wait).

Harley had not released LiveWire pricing info when this article was written in early November of 2018  – so we don’t know the fulsome scurvy details, yet. But – to date – everything electrified has cost substantially more than its non-electric equivalent.

To get some idea of what this electro-Harley will cost, we can refer to the known prices of the other electric bike already on the market. It is the Zero, available in several different versions.

The Zero S is a “naked’ middleweight bike just barely comparable to a middleweight naked/sport bike from the 1980s of around 500 ccs (its engine makes about 60 hp and the top speed of this bike is only a bit more than 100 MPH; most non-electric current-year middleweights have close to 100 hp can be counted on to hit at least 140).

The S stickers for  $13,995 (with the “upgrade” battery that gives you 90 miles of highway range) which is about $5,000 more than you’d pay for a current 650-ish cc naked/middleweight sport bike.

Of course, Harley is counting on the government to “help.”

There are incentives – taxpayer-extorted palm greasing – for the buyers of electric bikes, just as there are for electric cars. $900 in California; $1,440 in Maryland.

Even if you don’t ride an electric bike, you’ll still be forced to buy one  . . . for someone else.

Just like Teslas.

That’s the new business model in these waning days of the empire.

It’s too bad for Harley. And it’s too bad for us.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. You’re too young to know, but riding old Harleys gave your left hand more than just the clutch to operate. Up until about 1964 the 1200 Hydro Glides and Electro Glides had a manual spark (ingnition) advance twist grip on the left. Try leaving the the ignition fully advanced with a hefty full body kick start as a 110 pound kid trying to impress two old timers, Van and Jingle Balls. I did.

    • I recall other bikes with a lever for spark advance. Couldn’t tell you how many Harley’s I’ve seen that could have used a spark advance and an automatic ether switch too. A friend had one that was so hard to start I feared he’d become a gimp from having a right leg twice as big as his left. I’d even help him sometimes. There was something wrong with the engine obviously but no more wrong then being a hard-tail, sheesh.

      Another friend bought a new 3 cylinder Kaw, a 500 I believe. He stopped by and asked if I wanted to try it out. I had just gotten out of a two stroke truck, a 9500 GMC with a Detroit Diesel. I hadn’t been on anything that quick and nearly ran it right out from under myself. Once back under control I didn’t twist that grip so fast. Damn fun bike.

  2. Harleys were always junk. I started racing cycles in 1967. I was a kid and rode primarily short track, but did a couple half mile dirt track races. The AMA allowed Harley to race its ancient KR 750cc side valley relics. All OHV were limited to 500cc. I almost bought a used Sportster in 1969, but opted instead for a beautiful Triumph TR 6 650 with a single Amal Monoblock carb. Two days after having bought the TR 6 on a trip from Austin to Ft. Worth I came across that very Sportster parked under a bridge near Georgetown with a sucked valve. I gave the misbegotten owner a ride to the nearest filling station without telling him I nearly bought that piece of Milwaukee junk.

    • James,

      My first hardtail build used that exact same engine.

      Ran for years without any problems…Once having ripped out the Joe “Prince of Darkness” Lucas electric and ignition system and replaced it with a Morris Magneto.

    • Hi AMS,

      My worry isn’t about Harley, per se. It is about the the metastasizing EV idiocy. The more “investment” made, the worse the damage will be and the harder it will be to undo it.

      • eric, it’s about to be a moot point I’m afraid. I fear the tepid, nearly non-existent middle class economy is about to tank badly. They’ll have us by the short hairs when we’ll give up our Spiderso’s and Armalite’s for a loaf of bread.

        What was I speaking of? We won’t starve. Surely Israel will rush mass quantities of food to us.

      • Goofy Hardly went with BMW (perhaps) to do the V-rod thang. I recall that they blew 25 million on that engine. Buell went to Rotax and came up with a better solution for under 12% of the cost.
        My daughter’s husband works for Harley and he defended this heap. I’ll sell my beautiful BSA 650 that will buzz the box of any chick for a lot less than this.

    • Hey, don’t worry, AMS- Ford is getting there- just a little slower than the others. Ford hasn’t made a viable light truck diesel in over 15 years now…and their stuff is becoming overly complex small-engined turbo-charged EPA-compliabnt, just like everyone else’s…..

      And while it might seem good to see the demise of the dreaded Harley, or Chrysler, etc. what we are really seeing is government regulation killing off what’s left of the once free-market, as the state’s chosen few are propped-up artificially, reducing our choices- which serves the dying companies right though, considering how easily they bowed to Uncle, without so much as a whimper- nay, they even asked for more and voluntarily jumped on the bandwagon.

      Instead of a world where diverse small manufacturers could produce a wild range of every type, size and price-range of vehicle if there we no government interference, we instead have this bastardized model in which competition has been limited…and now the very corps which profited from those limitations are themselves being the victims of that very thing, as the market is being further consolidated.

      • I agree with you there. Government needs keep its hands out of the market and let individuals decide what is and isn’t a good product. I don’t hate EVs, but like many on here, I don’t like the fact that they are being forced on us. If they made a 325 HP, AWD, 300 mile range, midsize SUV EV and sold it for around $50K, I’d probably consider it. As it is now, something like that would cost $80 to $90K after government rebates (AKA tax-payer theft). No thank you.

      • Nun, I got behind a Ford pickup with “Ecoboost” on the front fender yesterday pulling a tandem axle gooseneck with a load of boxes that might have been heavy or light, no way to tell. I noticed he was really going slow uphill and kept waiting for a place to pass while a fairly new Chevy pickup just nailed it and passed us both. I wondered why he wasn’t using cruise but then we got out of the hills, which weren’t hard grades by any means and when I went around him he was doing over 70 again. Once past him we were into fairly level with really small grades and he kept pace with me doing 75 on the few downhill miles. I realized then he’d had it nailed and would have been doing 75 if possible.

        So, how long do we think those little engines will last towing large loads? At least the new 7.3 should be able to be a set and forget with a large load. Still, I’m always struck by the complexity of Ford engines.

        The neighbor has a 2019 250 Powerstroke that rides fine, doesn’t handle fine since it’s lifted from the factory. Hopefully it will hold up. Looking under the hood sorta makes my head spin. I’m guessing checking the oil is probably the only easy thing to do. You can see the engine…or at least lots of spinning stuff way back in there. I don’t want a new truck of any sort. Everything on my 93 Turbo Diesel was easily reached. So it was longer? Probably little since it was a long bed and an X cab and not crew cab. With Edelbrock IAS Performer Shocks it rode like a dream and would outhandle my Z71….as in run circles around it on high speed corners and that’s comparing a one ton with a half ton. Light trucks are going backward as fast as possible. I won’t consider anything newer than a 94.

        • 8, anyone who buys anything prefixed by “eco” should have their head examined; and doubly so if it also contains “boost” [Hmmmm, so it needs a boost, eh?)…

          It just shows how out of touch with anything mechanical the average schmoe is today; they just believe the advertising….

          These “trucks” with the little turboed engines which are barely fit for a Toyota Corolla are gonna be on the scrap heap before their loans are paid off. They’re abominations.

          The 7.3 should be a good truck engine…low revving..high torque- push rods…no VVT/VCT…it’s looking decent. I’m just saying it’s not a car engine; Uncle wouldn’t allow it in cars or half-tons; and it’s not a hot-rod engine. And it’s not a sign of Ford rebelling…it’s just a practical solution to the covert outlawing of light-duty diesels- and it’s a good move by Ford, in this atmosphere… it’s something Dodge and Chebby don’t have an equivalent for.

          Hey, get this: A friend just bought a leftover ’18 Ram with a Cummins…. brand new; driving it two days, the freaking motor started knocking! LSS: They wanted to give him another one- but he decided that for the crazy money,m it was no better thsan his current 7.3 PSD…so he stopped payment on the check and walked away (Yeah, they’re gonna get him for that!)- Freakin’ Dodge! (If the rest of the truck fell apart, well, that would be expected…but the Cummins?!)

          • Nun, I think those are VVT but that’s not a deal breaker. The LS engines are and they last well. Met the mechanic at the corner 1/2 mile from the yard one morning in a Dodge 24V. He said “hey, I can’t talk, losing this engine (knock knock knock)”. That evening it was sitting in the yard with a big hole and lots of oil and some pieces and parts on the ground. Now the old 12 V’s were nearly indestructible.

            • It’s a damn crime, 8- what they’ve done to the concept of the once simple, indestructible efficient diesel 🙁

              The 12V Cummins were the last of the good’uns, far as small trucks are concerned- It’s amazing what they still go for in an old truck- and being a Dodge, the truck’ll be falling apart around them.

              In Yerp, they’re overtly out-lawing diesels for cars and light trucks. Here, they just do it covertly, so the average Bubba thinks that it’s the car companies who are the bad guys, instead of Uncle.

              I guess it’s the same with cars, too- instead of overtly eliminating used cars, or capping their lifespan, they just put so many mandates on ’em that they are economically not feasible to run after the warranty expires.

              My motto: If it ain’t got an injector pump, it ain’t a diesel.

                  • Mostly, Certainly. You have to use different springs and move the correct style motormount to where it needs to be. You probably have plenty room for another cooler and there’s always room for an added oil cooler. Go with the old style fan and all will be well. I have an 82 Silverado 3/4T 4WD I’d stick on in if I had it. You can use the 6.2 diesel radiator and mount the intercooler in front.

                    The main thing is to move enough air so definitely, don’t use electric fans. I haven’t heard the electric fan on pickups with GM and Dodge yet although their SUV’s now have that sound. it’s the sound of death for a work truck. The old fan clutch still does a fine job.

          • Not the only one I know to do this and the weird thing is they all lost rods, some with only 60,000 miles and almost never had a trailer behind.

            • I know ya don’t like Tritons, 8- but it’s kinda the same thing with them: I’ve never had a problem with the many I’ve owned, and they’ve always still been going strong at 300K miles…..but virtually everyone I see with the newer ones (’03 and up) with more valves…they’ve literally all dropped valves.

              • Smaller Tritons don’t have power and they don’t have enough oil flow. The oil flow can be fixed and lead to long lives on those pickups not flogged their whole lives. The V 10 is simply the biggest fuel hog to ever exist from what I can tell. They may hold up better but I’ve never seen one used hard. Seen some bought to be used hard and were soon gone. I enver asked why but probably because of their love of gasoline. Actually, I have known of one that gave it up trying to haul cattle and ag stuff. That can be said about everything I suppose.

                Some little thing stamped out, didn’t fall out and nobody noticed. Then it clogged a fuel, oil, coolant line or cooler……I get it, they aren’t hand made. You just have to look for common problems in any vehicle. I knew a guy with a Duramax that kept eating transmissions. I’d never buy from that dealer again. There was a problem, not in the transmissions but somewhere else. They do have temp gauges and people should keep an eye on such. When the next, brand new(or so he was convinced by the stealership) one did same something is rotten in Denmark and west Texas. I owe my life to a guy and his Duramax that was chipped and the Allison transmission that allowed him to run over 130 mph for an extended emergency room run. I’m grateful to him and the truck.

                Having said that I don’t want one since they didn’t come in early 90’s GM’s and I don’t want anything newer than a 94…thanks.

                • What 3/4 or 1-ton truck with any gas engine isn’t a gas hog, Eight? LOL!

                  Put the 4.6 or 5.4 in a F150, and it gets pretty darn good MPGs- just like the 4.6 in my old Town Car which got 23MPG- vs. my old E150 with the same injun, which only got 11MPG (Something was wrong there- maybe a lil trans. slippage or something- ’cause other people with the same rig get better MPGs)

                  Now granted, I’m normally not a fan of any non-iron engine – but of the genre, the Tritons are the only ones I’m not afraid of- but of course, I’d still rather have real iron blocks and heads.

                  If ya beat on ’em? That I don’t know aboiut, ’cause I don’t beat on mine- but all I can tell ya, is that the Ferds are the ones ya see with high non-highway miles- still with the original injuns and such. While I rarely see a Chevy gas truck with more than 200K miles on it, unless it’s got a new injun- and they’re usually smoking and wheezing while still in the 100’s.

                  All kinds of horror stories out there with just about all the modern engines these days, ’cause none of ’em are all that great – some are just a little better than others- or maybe the quality control was a little better where they were built, etc.

                  It’s just been my experience, that the Tritons are one of the more solid, less stinky ones among the batch of turds.

                  I’ve never understood why people claim that they lack power, too…..

                  8, have you ever actually been around any that were privately owned, or owned by a fleet where they were maintained, and not flogged around by who-knows-who in the erl patch?

                  I mean, yeah, ya can’t compare ’em to a diesel under severe duty situations….but head to head with other contemporary alloy gas engines…….

                • And re: power, Eight- Don’t forget: A 4.6 is only 280-something cubic inches….. It’s not like ya wanna compare it to a 350 or even a 305 Chebby….. With that in mind, I’d say they actually make decent power for their size.

              • Nun, why have you owned so many? One good truck is enough for a lifetime….unless you roll it or have some other similar wreck.

                • Good question, Eight! Never really thought about it till now… 🙂

                  ‘Course, I’m talking over t5he course of the last 20 years. Always buying well-used high-mile salvage vehicles.

                  My first Triton was in ’92 Town Car which I acquired in ’99, and sold before leaving NY.

                  Then got a van with 240K miles on it, which I drove down here to KY, and kept for 15 years (I wish I still had it).

                  The rest were second vehicles…
                  A 5.4 in an E350 which no onje could fix the A/C on…so I sold it within months (for a nice profit no less)

                  My current F250- which I’ve had for 9 years, but is falling apart because it was owned previously by a 15 year-old, and had lived in the rust belt prior to him (My onlky non-salvage vehicle in the last c. 25 years!- and it’s the worst.)

                  And my current V-10 Excursion…… (O-K, that’s a low-miler- only had 170-something K on it when I got it- just broken in.)

                  The Town Car with the 4.6 got 23MPG- the only GOOD MPG vehicle I’ve ever owned!

                  • Nun, after a couple years I saw the rare diesel Excursion. I immediately wanted one. I never found anyone willing to sell one or saw one on a lot and that was probably because anyone who was going to set something else already had a buyer waiting.
                    The beat up oil patch scenario as to the V10 I drove actually had been the boss’s wife’s vehicle, one she’d bought to show him she knew her stuff since he buys Duramax’s. She obviously got tired of the ride and the unbelievable amount of fuel it used.

                    Seriously, I’ve ever seen another pickup or anything else get that bad fuel mileage. It was a road queen, not a scratch on it and had few mile. No doubt it had some sort of problem. There’s no way to account for it using that much fuel but then again, I knew other people who bought them knew and didn’t have them long because of being gas guzzlers as in “not seen before in my life” to quote one guy.

                    ONE of the reasons I want another 92-93 Silverado Turbo Diesel is because they are fuel sippers. Even after doing over 100 miles at 85 on I-10, it still delivered over 18 mpg wit the 235-85 16 tires. I changed it to 265-75 16 tires and 8″ wheels and it got over 16 which was a good trade-off because the ride and esp. handling were so much better.

                    As far as oil burning goes, much of that can be traced right back to the oil used in one, regardless of the make.

                    When I first got the Z 71 with 200K even on the clock, it had some cheap-ass Pennzoil “high mileage” oil in it. It used a quart in a bit of 3,000 miles. I changed it to Amsoil 5-30 premium and even though I used crankcase cleaner, that oil got filthy rapidly as I expected since every vehicle I’ve changed has done the same. I drained it when it got a quart low at 5,000 miles. Put the same oil back in and now with over 230K it uses no oil, none, zilch. It’s not the only vehicle I’ve changed to Amsoil in the last 20 years that has done the same.

                    Several years ago eric took me to task because I’d hear of using nothing but Amsoil. I never varied on it so I guess he tried some and is now an Amsoil drum beater too.

                    The wife’s car started shifting badly and had a transmission leak on a line, probably an o-ring. I had a broken leg at the time as wasn’t into changing it so had a shop do it. They underfilled it by 5 quarts, not a good thing but it wasn’t far home. Got home and had no extra so I had to drive it another 30 miles to get some synthetic fluid that wasn’t Amsoil. Once full it began to shift better and in 3 weeks the leak went away to never come back. In 2 months it was shifting properly and would lock up the converter in OD.

                    The fact that the second change on my pickup showed it to not be using oil confirmed what I’d seen time after time, even with my Turbo Diesel which used a quart every 3K when I bought it with 107K on it. After a couple changes with Amsoil it not only sealed a leak(on the filter housing which is an sideways thing to change it from vertical so to clear the front driveshaft.), it made it use less oil, much less oil eventually to the point I could get 6-7K on a change and that was working it pretty hard and with 4.10 gears it was always wound up. It never completely quit using oil but not enough that it was an issue. In the owner’s manual there was a line in there about service it. It said “Check the oil every day, after all, it is a diesel”. I thought that was funny to be right there in the manual. Somebody was being truthful. And sure enough, it wasn’t unusual for me to have a big load in the bed and a very much overloaded trailer and have it nailed fairly much all day long in Texas heat. Last year we had a bit worse heat than normal(hope we don’t this year)so nearly every day from the second part of April it was triple digits that then devolved into 108 just about every day at least and too often 115. We were like that through September and wondered if we’d ever get a break. October was liveable but barely and finally when it rained(no rain for several months), the heat let up and it only got into the 90’s. My point is, that’s oil using, overheating weather for anything.

                    As far as the town car getting 24 that’s really good, almost as good as the old 90’s model Chevy and Buick Shamu’s that would get 30 mpg….with a 350 V8.

                    Of course I’m sure you’re aware we’ve been going backward on mileage for some time now. Car makers feel they have to change looks every year and do some total change every 7 years like a grasshopper invasion. They could have quit in 94 and we’d all be better off for it, reliability, repair costs and fuel mileage wise.

                    As for iron blocks, I would have been there with you but have no driven enough LS engines with 230K to 350K that use no oil and get good fuel mileage.

                    I once had to drive from my house to Midland every day in a 3/4T crewcab Chevy worktruck with an LS. It’s over 150 mile each way so I’d nail that thing and drive 85-90 in the we hours and even after 5 pm cause the wife was gone and I needed to get home. First trip I checked the mileage, a bit over 17mpg. I puzzled this out and rechecked. I did this every day for 2 weeks. Not only did the truck never use oil, it got that same 17mpg every run. I was impressed. Had it been at 60 mph I would have been impressed but commonly running 90? Now LS engines are considered to be the best of the best. I can’t argue and you can always increase the power in many ways. I wouldn’t. They have plenty power for this old man.

                    • My old 350 burns oil horribly now. Checking the plugs shows it’s all 8 cylinders. I was thinking/hoping maybe just valve seals as rings don’t all usually go at the same time?

                      Is it worth the gamble to try Amsoil to see if it will heal?

                    • Hmmm? Well, when the snow melts I will charge the battery and see if I can start it again.

                      Weird thing is it was running more or less fine then I bought the 4×4 and it sat for a while, and then started smoking like crazy….

                    • Ah, yeah, Eight- and when you do see those diesel Excursions for sale, it’s total insanity what they go for. Negates any fuel savings by exponential numbers.

                      I specifically wanted a V-10o, ’cause they go for about a third the price of a diesel, and are a lot cheaper to maintain- and don’t have all the lendless little issues and leaks that the 7.3’s have as they age.

                      And to tell ya the truth, even with the darn 4.30 gears, the Exc still gets better MPGs than a Suburban with a BB. (That’s often why most Fords suck on MPGs- they’re almost always geared low- Put 3.73’s and a 5 or 6 spd. stiuck in my Exc and I’d bet anything that she’d get 15+ MPGs.)

                      Hmmmm, you’re kinda almost talking me into trying Amsoil…..

                      I don’t think ya caught my point about the Chevy mileage though. TX= mostly straight open-road highway driving….. Ha! Yeah, wouldn’t surprise me to see 200-300K Chebbys there….and probably 500-600oK Ferds!

                      And yeah, I agree- they definitely have gone backward on the MPGs and ridiculous overly-complex technology.

                      Look at these cars today that weigh more than a big old sedan from the 70’s, but don’t even have a trunk- or SUVs that have a cargo area that is maybe a foot long, that you couldn’t even fit a suitcase in, let alone a sheet of plywood, like ya could in an oild station wagon which got better MPGs and didn’t require you to take out a mortgage for 7 years to buy, and then have to get rid of it before it’s paid off because it needs $12K worth of repairs to two items….. It’s insanity.

                      I can’t even tell the difference between a current “SUV” and a crossdresser and a minivan vs a plain old car…they all look exactly alike, and are all pretty much useless for anything except transporting a couple of adults and a car seat or two, mandated for the sprogs.

                    • Dread, I would do a compression test on it- That’ll tell ya exactly what you’re working with and if it’s worth fooling with.

                      Valve seals generally only smoke on start-up and when the engine’s still cold- so if you start her, and the smoke clears after youi start driving for a few minutes….it could well be valve seals.

                      Like Eric said too- PCV could be in the mix too- but likely if it’s clogged, it’s from all the oil-laden smoke, rather than the cause of it.

                      Another possibility, since you say it was fine when you were driving it: The oil galley drain holes in the heads could be clogged, allowing a whole lot of oiul to sit up there in the heads, and thus accentuating even any normal wear in the valvetrain.

                      Do a wet and dry comporession test (Look on Youtube if you need instructions- it’s quite simple)- If your compression is decent, and the smoke doesn’t clear shortly after start-up, I’d suspect clogged holes…..

                    • Thanks, Nunzio. The old truck is just not very high on my to-do list right now, besides not having a lot of money to fix/restore things. Also, I’ve known of cases where oil rings went bad but compression was still okay – but of course I won’t know until I check it. The C20 is one of five vehicles and I dropped the insurance on it a few years ago. But gosh I liked that old pickup! Sometimes I want to get an 8 foot cabover and go to the mountains. Don’t need 4×4 with that kind of weight on the back.

  3. Interesting.2 tesla’s charging at the store we were shopping at.They are out there…..Also interesting in SoCal,no problem with range.We did 6 stores and lunch today in San Dimas,Calif over 8 hours,nobody living there has any worries getting in all the shopping they can do in a day,maybe put on 20 miles there.Not to mention all the power they sucked in that 8 hours.Very viable in that area.How many million people live in SoCal?Im going to start looking to see just how many destinations have chargers.Its happening,I saw it.

    • Hi Fred,

      I don’t dispute that for some people, an EV can be functionally viable. But the economics are stupid, regardless. Only a fool would pay $40,000-plus to own a car to “save gas.” And if “saving gas” isn’t the point, then what is?

      They’re more expensive and less convenient; they have serious functional deficits that non-EVs do not have.

      The same issues you’d have buying any other specialty/exotic car.

      But specialty/exotic cars are by definition not mass-market/everyday cars.

    • fred, it’s all about lifestyle choices. I can’t imagine anything like you describe as my life. Everything you describe sounds like torture. I go shopping online and occasionally at the nearest Sam’s club and local grocery stores. No, I can’t try things on at ebay or Amazon but I’m not into bling. I manage to do it all from the farm for the most part.

      When George the Bush ran for prez the SOB wore a Patagonia jacket identical to mine. It rankled me to the point I gave mine away. I’m grateful they didn’t show his penis.

      • ROTFL!!!! AHhhh…best laugh I’ve had in a while, Eight!

        Hey, no worries there, even if they would’ve shown his schlong- unless yours is a raisin…….(Such evil, power-hungry ‘men’ have no nads, which is why they lust for power- the power is their nads, and they are the pricks!)

  4. Speaking of the Leaf mentioned in numerous comments take a look at how much money Nissan got from Uncle and other layers of government for it. It make’s Elon’s crony electric car look like penny-ante theft.

    • Hi Brent,

      Yup. If the Leaf’s price reflected its true cost, it would be around $40,000-$45,000. For a car that is basically an electrified Versa. But you can buy a Versa for about $18k well-equipped. And it has a range of close to 400 miles on a tank and only takes a few minutes to refuel.

      And they ask me why I drink . . .

  5. “That’s the new business model in the waning days of the empire.”

    No truer words were ever printed (well, hardly any).

    I still say that electric energy is not the best option available. Since electricity doesn’t occur in a form that can be harnessed from nature, it always requires conversion from another source. And each level of conversion is a reduction of efficiency.

    On another note: You must have been channeling Tom Wolfe with the allusion to the “electric Kool-Aid,” as he titled one of his books, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”.

    I couldn’t help putting the Tom Wolfe reference in there; his brother was the university roommate of my dad’s university literature professors. I don’t know if the thought was Tom Wolfe or not; it just seemed appropriate.

  6. You can’t have efficient AND heavy. Uncle Sam is asking for both. Uncle Sam is insane. The only way electric will work is in a LIGHT vehicle. Such as an aircraft. BUT – Uncle regulates aircraft and will not allow mass adoption of aircraft as it would basically create a civilian air force. Imagine the “speeding cops” shooting down aircraft.

    • johnny, I hauled a 2,000 lb dozer the other day. It was uber powerful but didn’t seem to be able to do shit. Of course it had no wings since it wasn’t meant to fly. Obviously this is sarcasm. Some things need mass to work.

      I recently saw an electric/diesel VTOL for a few people and a fairly good range. Leave home and go where you want. Naturally the guy who invented it isn’t doing so for the US market. Imagine the hoops required by the FAA alone. Then there’s all those other agencies. it won’t happen in this country till after the civil war.

        • A bureaucrat would be excited by that. A bureaucrat doesn’t even wonder why they always walk and never run. You can’t run being that full of shit!

          • The fiber optic construction company had a big boring machine on tracks that was radio controlled. They would unload it from the flat bed standing there with the control unit, and then unhitch the trailer and walk the machine up a dead end road while following in the truck.

            It was weird to watch for a country boy like me.

          • My old D-2 Cat was tiny, but it weighed maybe 5 to 6 tons with the blade on it.

            Anyway, it was a hell of a load over the mountains on a trailer behind a half ton pickup – LOL

  7. I think the biggest problem,thats too late to solve,was their piss poor management.They laid back,took the money,didnt innovate and acted like the market changing wasnt going to hit them.See Sears for that thinking.
    As for you can work on them,as pointed out,thats no longer the case.
    Is an electric bike any more long lasting/disposable than todays cars? Light off an airbag,need a new tranny….car is disposable.Just like bikes.Just like Smartphones.
    As for costs,make em by the millions costs will go thru the floor.Just like color TV’s or solar cells or computers.There IS a tipping point,and it will be reached.Always has.
    All i can say,next 10-20 years…cant imagine what the vehicle landscape will look like,but 20 years now is huge change to tech we have today.Tech is moving faster every day.The GM model of 50 years ago with minor minor changes each model year is now a couple months for BIG changes in the World model that is being led by Asia manufacturing.US leading the way is a joke now,we are lucky to hang on to anything anymore,much less lead it in manufacturing.
    HD is finished,and our cars? ONLY if they are bailed out or subsidized,that market is history too,they wont be built or designed here.Have to go total isolationism as a nation to keep our manufacturing of vehicles,dont see that in the Globalists cards.
    Its bound to be different though if only because the globalists have the power to mandate it.That alone will make the change.You,me and the rest of us be damned,doesnt matter what we think.

      • Why anything? To use one for of energy to power something which in turn produces another form of energy, which is then finally used to accomplish work, is inefficient, as something is always lost in the process; whereas just using the initial form of energy to do the work directly is more efficient (And less complex; less expensive; less prone to failures…)

        The only reason diesel-electric locomotives use such an arrangement, is because of the humongous weights involved, and such an arrangement eliminates the need for a transmission/gearing, and provides amazing torque (And in the case of passenger RRs, allows dual-mode operation…so the train can operate off of a third rail when underground, and the diesel can be shut down, so that emissions in a confined space are not a problem).

        • A turbine can run a generator at a constant RPM – caching electricity in a simple lead acid setup. It is a MUCH less complex system than piston engine. So it may be cheaper to mfg, but yeah – maybe not as energy efficient as the piston engine. I don’t know, but I’m guessing they would be making them this way if it saved energy / money. I know turbines also don’t wear out. So simple.

            • Turbines require expensive materials and exacting manufacturing above and beyond that of a piston engine if you want them to work well. Other than noise issues and hot exhaust that’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

              I think turbines plus the average person’s not maintaining things are also a mix for sudden and catastrophic disassembly. As to loss of efficiency when small I don’t know off hand. Maybe.

              • This got me wondering as to why chrysler never put their turbine car into production. I will read further on this when I have the time, but here’s some stuff I found just doing a quick looksie:

                “selling the cars to the public was totally out of the question. Maintenance and support infrastructure would have been nonexistent . It took a team of five specially trained mechanics dedicated full-time to keep the brand-new Turbine Cars running during the public trials. Not surprisingly, the bronze beauties were far from trouble-free. Expensive materials to contain the initial (not final) 500 degree exhaust and certain performance aspects unique to the turbine (see below) were also considerations. The Turbine Cars had to be fed kerosene or diesel, neither of which was all that convenient to buy. Leaded gas left problematic deposits on the turbine blades.”

                “There were numerous functional challenges and limitations with the Turbine Cars, of which sluggish throttle response was the biggest. This is an inherent design limitation of turbines, as they need to spin up to over 40,000 rpm to develop full power. The Turbine Car had a one and a half second lag from first pressing the throttle. That could be considered dangerous; it certainly would by today’s standards. Throttle lag was noticeable at higher speeds too. Performance was reasonable, about 12 seconds 0-60, but substantially less than if a 383 V8 were under that sleek hood. One extended test produced an average fuel economy of 11.5 mpg. Not terrible, but far from good. A comparably-quick conventional car at the time would be expected to achieve about 15 mpg.”


                Looks like we’re both on the right track, Brent- just off the top of our heads.

  8. Harley fans were happy enough when Reagan increased tariffs on foreign bikes to rescue the failed bike maker so fuckem if they have to do what government dictates now.

  9. It’s ironic- the one thing I could kinda sorta like about Hardlys- their use of simple old-school technology [If only they had dome it with better quality!]….is the very thing they are jettisoning by adopting EV technology. That, and the fact that it was likely the ‘heirloom’ aspect of Hardlys- their ability to last a really long time and retain their value and even appreciate, that also appealed to purchasers. And now, going EV, will kill that virtue, as electronics don’t age well…and nor does plastic. No one will be clamoring for a 10 year-old electric Hardly- much less a 30 year-old one- as only the latest, state-of-the-art unfaded latest & greatest will be relevant and desirable- and after that becomes evident, who’s gonna shell out big bucks for something that not only has nothing to distinguish it from any other brand or cheap Chinese one, nor has any value or desirability by the time it’s paid off?

    • Harley jettisoned “Old School Technology” 10 years ago. Today you can’t even change the tire yourself. Left alone carbs, pipes, valves etc… The damned computers RUINED the bikes.

      • True, Johnny. That is why Harley’s reputation and lore of old has been in the dumpster for quite some time now already. Adopting the new-fangled cookie-cutter crapola, and trying to capitalize on the biker image, only aiming it now at orthodontists and such who are the only ones who can afford the silly new bikes and who would actually pay inflated prices for poorly done versions of what the Japs have been doing for decades now, has made them into a laughing stock- and now with the electric bikes, their fate as just another generic maker of “transportation appliances” will be sealed- and after the initial craze of the electric bikes wears off (They may attract a few new customers at first- but ultimately, they will not be long-term or even returning customers, like the die-hard Harley riders of old, because electric vehicles are all just generic)…we’ll likely be reading of HD’s bankruptcy before long.

  10. Electric vehicles are here to stay, like it or not. Thus I suppose that it just boils down to additional choices for the customers, and that cannot be bad.

    I.e. as long as the ordinary HDs are not discontinued, then the customers can choose between motorcycles powered by gasoline engines or by electric motors. Therefore we should just leave it to the customers and to buy what they want according to their own judgement.

    The same applies to cars. Earlier the customers had a choice between diesel or gasoline powered cars. Today they have more choices and can additionally also buy hybrid cars and fully electric cars. Let us just leave it at that, and let the free marked do its thing. My only objection is that car and motorcycle manufacturers should not be forced to discontinue conventionally powered vehicles. That would be wrong.

    • Jone,

      EVs are only here because of mandates, subsidies and regulations; if those go away, so will EVs – as anything other than boutique toys for the affluent.

      There is no free market for EVs. It is a forced market.

      You don’t seem able to grasp those fundamental facts.

      HD is only building the LiveWire because it dreads the imposition of the same regs as currently beset the car industry. It also is counting on the government subsidies available to EV buyers to promote sales – which perverts the very concept of a “sale.” If you have to pay people to buy something, then it’s not economically viable.

        • Amen, Zane!

          There is an old guy in my neck who has a circa ’85 Cutlass with the 307 and T-tops…I want this car, badly. I am trying to scrape together the money… sigh… divorce…

          • Wow! The last of the old-style RWD Cutlasses/Grand Pricks/Regals were the last of what was good about GM. About the only good vehicles of that vintage. Sweet!

              • But Eric! You wouldn’t want to be ‘stylin’ with 22″ rims wrapped in tires whose sidewalls are the height of a used eraser; with the sheet metal painted-up as an homage to Ronald McDonald? 😮

                How do you expect to attract any big-bootied canklesauraus baby-mamas?!

              • Eric,
                I agree, the “rhee-ums” crowd is not my cup of tea, however, they ARE, in many cases, saving perfectly good cars from becoming scrap. The money some put into resurrecting v8 rwd sedans is simply amazing. I’m impressed with the execution and attention to detail that goes into this genre’. Again, not my style but, I respect any man that respects his ride. Rimmed, riced, radical or renewed, car guys need to hang together or we’ll hang separately.

                  • You don’t get it do you Chuck? You want ex-communicate me for being a bicyclist like many bicyclists did for me being a motorist. Go ahead a try. See if I give a shit.

                    You people and your desire to fall right into divide and conquer. Divide yourselves and fight the other serfs. That’s exactly what expands government. Gets the public way carved up. Anti-freedom nonsense.

    • Jone, electric vehicles are a fad. Even with all of the subsidies and mandates and all….once enough people become familiar with the inconvenience of living with them (and it becomes common knowledge- enough so to dispel the Mary Poppins-esque pro-EV propaganda that the media spews while remaining silent as to the inconvenience and false economies of owning an EV); and once enough peiople get a bad taste in their mouth after having paid top dollar for a car that becomes ridiculously obsolete in record time and depreciates faster than dog crap on a Las Vegas sidewalk in July; and once they see that the infrastructure to accomodate these rolling turds in mass numbers is not forthcoming…..the idea will be abandoned and poked fun at, much like with past incarnations of the EV.

      In the past attempts, they were unsuccessful at selling EVs on the free market as economical and environmentally-friendly transportation appliances… now, they are trying to force them onto a captive market, and pimping them as “performance vehicles” and state-of-the-art techno-gadgets….but that won’t last, because those gadgets are very expensive compared to regular cars- and as some are starting to notice already, even the vaunted Teslas aren’t aging well- not to mention the other EVs and hybrids, which cost substantially more than an IC car when new…but after just a few years, can be had for a fraction of the cost of their ICE used counterparts.

      • Or they can just legislate ICE off the road.Cant see that happening (europe)…..Welcome to the bus or electric car.Look,the globalist have said its electric.Thats the end of the story.

      • “Jone, electric vehicles are a fad”.

        You could be right. If subsidies were removed, then electric vehicles could disappear again. I am not sure. Some people just need to drive to school, work or to buy groceries, and they would appreciate the very low energy costs of using an electric vehicle.

        If you say that subsidies should be removed, then I agree with that. It is not the task of the government to subsidize certain solutions and tax others heavily. The marked should decide if electric vehicles will survive without subsidies, and if they do, then the free marked has decided. In Norway fuel is about twice as expensive as in the USA, so electric vehicles are very popular here, due to the low energy costs.

        • Jone,

          You write:

          “Some people just need to drive to school, work or to buy groceries, and they would appreciate the very low energy costs of using an electric vehicle.”

          The least expensive EV is the $30,000 Nissan Leaf. How does it make sense to spend $30k on a car for the sake of “low energy costs”? Wouldn’t it make more sense – financially – to buy a $15,000 non-electric car instead?

          This EV insanity means everyone will have to buy an entry-luxury car (that happens to be electric). How will they afford this? Is the government going to subsidize these $30k-plus cars for everyone? Where is the government going to get the money?

          Someone is going to have to pay for all of this…

          And, why?

          Why are we being prodded like cattle into EVs? Does anyone ask?

          There is no sound economic or practical reason. EVs are inferior in both respects. This is why they have to be forced on us.

          Yet people keep gulping the Kool Aid.

          • The thing is that Leaf doesn’t even do the local shopping etc. I have a friend with a Nissan Leaf. When she gets home from work, it has no power left, and charging it will take too much time. So she does her local shopping with her husband’s V8 powered Toyota Tundra pickup.

            It’s an expensive paper weight. They should have ditched it when the batteries went dead. Nope, throw thousands into a car they can barely use. They will end up wearing out the Tundra since it does most of the driving for them.

            Its so ridiculous watching this. They have to plan like they were a one car household. Because they basically are.

            • AHAhahaha!!!! That is freakin’ hilarious, Richb! ROTFL!!!!

              They paid top dollar for a little bitty car…put even more money into it; and still essentially have no car. Meanwhile, for far less, they coulda bought a Toyota Carolla or Honda Civic, and had a real viable car, which would even retain some value, and which they could actually use as needed, and which would be cheap to operate.

              Man! It’s INSANITY, what people do.

              It’s funny you should mention that too- ’cause I was just thinking about that very thing, based on Jone’s comment re: “just needing a car for school, work, groceries…”- and thinking: Even if such a car had enough cargo room to accommodate my needs for shopping and errands, given that I usually put on 70 miles or more on a shopping trip (17 miles to the outskirts of town; few more to the other side where the big store is; more running from place to place; then home again)- and that the majority of time I’ll either have to have the A/C or heat cranking; maybe lights and windshield wipers; stereo- that would be taking many of these EVs right to the very brink, when NEW…never mind once they’re a year or two old and the batteries start losing capacity…..

              And never mind if I had to incorporate into such a trip a side trip to go and look at a tractor or something a little further away….. Instead of the efficeincy of doing everything in one trip, I’d have to make several trips (and the further away one would be impossible)….

              Suddenly, my 10MPG haul everything go anywhere vehicles are looking pretty darn efficient, considering I can do EVERYTHING in one trip, and only need drive once every week or 10 days or so….

              • You have a very long way to go shopping. Nonetheless a Nissan Leaf or another brand of electric car, would easily run 70 miles on one charge.

                • This is a big country. People who live in crowded cities with Starbucks on every corner really have no concept of what it’s like to live in rural areas.

                  Will that Leaf easily run 70 miles on one charge when it is 5 years old? 10 years? In subfreezing weather? In summer heat with air conditioning running?

                  My old barge which is over 40 years old still has the same range it did when it was new and can be “recharged” in 5-10 minutes. It has required no expensive drivetrain repairs in that time – engine, transmission, and rear axle have never been apart.

                  How much will it cost to replace a dead Leaf battery pack? (At least in a hybrid you have an engine to pick up the slack as the batteries deteriorate.)

                  • “Will that Leaf easily run 70 miles on one charge when it is 5 years old? 10 years?”

                    Yes, it would. A new Nissan Leaf will run about 169 miles on one charge under ideal conditions. My experience with my own Nissan Leaf is that during winter, with winter tires and sleet on the road, then I loose about 35 % of the optimal range.

                    Nissan guarantees 75 % remaining capacity in the batteries after 8 years’ use. Thus during not ideal winter condition an eight year old present model Nissan Leaf, would run at least 82 miles.

                    Yet; if I buy an electric car next time, and I am not sure if I am going to, then I would rather prefer for instance a Kia Niro or similar with at least a 60 kWh battery.

                    For you, if you live in north America, due to the low cost of fuel, an electric car would probably not make sense economically.

                    • Hi Jone,

                      This EV Dementia fascinates me!

                      Imagine a conventional car that lost 35 percent of its capacity in winter…. or even 10 percent. The “consumer” press would be howling with indignation – rightly so.

                      But the EV’s functional gimps just get passed over.

                      Like the economic idiocy of these things.

                    • I’ve read accounts of the range of older Leafs plummeting to 30 miles under severe winter conditions.

                      This would not surprise me given the life-span of lithium-ion batteries seen in other electronic devices. They experience significant deterioration in 3-5 years.

                      However, taking Nissan at its word that it will guarantee 75% capacity for 8 years , that means when the car enters its 9th year and needs a battery pack costing about $5000 it will most likely be junked. (Just what is the value of a 9-year-old Nissan Leaf with a bad battery?)

                      My ICE car, on the other hand, has lost none of its range over the last nearly 45 years. It has not required any 4-figure repairs either.

                      As Eric has observed so many times, electric cars today just make no economic sense except in very limited circumstances and even at best they do not have the functionality of a gasoline-powered car.

                    • And of course, bear in mind: What rechargeable device EVER actually has the stated capacity, even when brand new and used under the best real-world condition.

                      MP3 players…rechargeable tools, etc. the ‘best’ conditions are only achieved in a laboratory, apparently….and their actual real-world performance is a percentage of that from day one….never mind a few years down the road, and under less than laboratory/perfect conditions…much less under adverse consitions.

                      And what do half the people do, who live in parts of the country where it can be below freezing for part or all of the day/night for extended periods, where they therefore can’t even charge the damn cars?

                    • Advertised battery run time is one of the most fudged and played with figures. Basically the device is operated at ideal conditions under an electrical load so light that is generally useless for the device’s purpose.

                    • ….and I’d bet it’s the same with EVs….just as it was for IC cars and the “official EPA gas mileage” figures back in the 70’s and 80’s- remember that nonsense? “43MPG official EPA rating would translate to maybe 30MPG in real life..if you were lucky.

                    • 40 miles! Holy crud! To classify those things as toys, would be doing an injustice to the term!

                      Basically, a Leaf is no better than one of those little electric “City Cars” of the 70’s.

                      And just like computers and cell phones, the newest, latest & greatest will always be ‘the best’ and most sought-after, most desirable….with the latest incarnation being .1% better than last year’s- and that they will call ‘progress’- and the old model will be looked upon with scorn and not be desired nor have any value; thrown away; cast upon the trash heaps.

                      Bad enough to see that with computers and cell phones, that cost $500-$1000 -I can’t imagine that scenario with freakin’ CARS that cost tens of thousands of dollars- but the average person today will probably take no notice; they’ll just clamor for the latest & greatest, and go in as much debt as necessary to keep a steady stream of new ones in their driveway.

                • Jone, my situation is not uncommon. In-fact, I actually drive very little compared to most Americans.

                  Think of that 70 miles, under poor conditions- stop & go traffic in town [not optimal performance], with the heat cranking, wipers going, headlights on, when it’s 29*F…the car is a few years old.

                  If it peters out on the road….I’m stuck there in the middle of nowhere maybe waiting a few hours for the flatbed.

                  And that would be assuming the little car could even carry what I need it to: 40 lb. bag of dog food; 20 lb. bag of cat food + a case of canned cat food; groceries for two households; hardware; farm supplies; building materials…..LOL It had better be a self-driving car, so I can send it home alone and then have it return for another few loads, and then finally to pick me up! 🙂

                  • What rechargeable device EVER actually has the stated capacity, even when brand new =========Eneloops,NiMh,best rechargeable battery ever IMO.

                    • Yeah,I would drive the electric in my 1 car family.No,Id drive my winter beater.Or 4×4.But Im only a 1 car family,and its electric.Hogwash.Using a backhoe to replant those goalposts in your worst case scenario as your normal drive?Guess what?My Lexus is essentially worthless in the snow.No ICE sedan for me!!!!

          • I actually reacted to your heading: “The Electric Suicide of Harley-Davidson”.

            This heading came on rather strong. Do you really think that Harely Davidson will go broke just because they offer an electric motorcycle in addition to the ones driven by a large gasoline engine? I do not think that HD for now plans to discontinue their classic motorcycles.

            Now that you remind me, I obviously understand that with the low price of fuel and also because ordinary cars are noticeably cheaper than electric ones in the USA, it does not make any economic sense for the customers there to buy electric vehicles.

            Besides from that, I actually believe that electric vehicles are here to stay, especially in countries with high fuels prices and low prices for electric power.

            • Of course electric cars make no economic sense in the marketplace. They are much more expensive than conventional vehicles and carry expensive batteries that deteriorate over time. That’s without even getting into their practical disadvantages. Yet government thugs are attempting to nudge, if not outright force, people into them for no good reason. That’s the whole point.

              Nobody here would have a problem with electric vehicles if they were simply competing in the marketplace on their own merits. If they really are superior no coercion would be necessary, people will migrate to them naturally.

              At some point in the future electric cars probably will make economic sense, but it’s going to take something a heck of a lot better power source than lithium-ion batteries for that to happen.

              • “Nobody here would have a problem with electric vehicles if they were simply competing in the marketplace on their own merits”.

                This is also what I recommend, that electric cars should compete with ordinary cars on their own merits, and without additional subsidies.

                Yet, I don’t think that electric cars would completely disappear without subsidies. Some people would still buy them, especially in countries with relatively high fuel prices and low electricity prices.

                • Hi Jone,

                  In this country, the natural market for EVs is slim to nonexistent. A very few very affluent people might buy them, not for reasons of economy or practicality but to virtue signal.

                  Ironically, if there were a free market there might be economically and functionally sensible EVs. But they would be nothing like the EVs on the not-free market today.

                • What Eric says, plus, let us not forget: Take away the EV purchase and manufacturing subsidies, and mandates and carbon credits, those EVs would be even more expensive than they already are- thus making appeal to even fewer people, and affordable to even fewer- so I don’t think anyone in their right mind would manufacture anything like the Tesla in such a case (Not even loony E-loon Musk-rat -because even he has the sense to know that this crapola wouldn’t fly without the subsidies and carbon credit scheme, etc.)

              • Wrong “electric cars make no economic sense”. They make great economic sense. It is HEAVY electric cars that don’t make economic sense.

            • Harley’s sales are not so good at present. If they put their development money into electrics they just may not have the product to turn things around.

        • Jone says: “they would appreciate the very low energy costs of using an electric vehicle.”.

          Ah! But the problem is: Energy costs for electric cars would really be no cheaper than for ICE cars, once EV drivers are made to pay the actual costs of the energy they use, and to pay road taxes, etc. which ICE drivers are charged through fuel taxes, but which EV drivers are not charged….YET.

          Also, someone is going to have to bear the cost of the huge infrastructure which will need to be erected to charge EVs- and no private companies are going to do that without massive subsidies (a la Tesla) and more taxation of all citizens- not to even mention the problems for people who live in major cities and have to park on the street.

          In places like NYC, there can be lines at gas stations where it takes only a few minutes to fill your car…imagine if everyone were driving EVs and taking 45 minutes to charge ’em?!

          Evs might work in limited places for some people….but they are just not practical as universal transportation, like an ICE car is- and even for the limited market which could actually be O-K with them, they still don’t make economic sense- and really offer no advantage over an ICE car…..unless government artificially punishes ICE drivers and rewards EV drivers- which is very unjust.

          • I am really being shot down in this discussion. Aren’t I?

            Remembering the low price of fuel in the USA, I realize that the difference in energy costs between ICE and electric cars would be insignificant. The same applies to Denmark and Germany, where electric power is very expensive.

            In other countries, such as in Norway, where electric power is cheap compared to fuel, it actually makes economic sense for the customers to buy electric cars.

            • such as in Norway, where electric power is cheap compared to fuel— You are right,electric vehicles might make sense there.If its market viable,Im all for them.And I LOVE electricity,just it has to make sense.Electrics in USA are just ridiculous for most as the market stands.

              • Hey,a used electric,doing 100 miles would do most of my driving.And my ICE barge for longer trips.I mean really,I dont know a single 1 car family,do you,anyone?Worn out battery pack at 10 years?So im down to 75%,still meets a lot of my needs.How about a worn out 7-10 speed tranny.An ICE killer for sure on a 10 year old car.

                • ITS WINTER!! WHINE CRY CRY!! Give me a break.If its cold and rainy,bring on the Lexus.If its snowing,park the Lexus,its out of its league.Bring on the JEEP!! Booyah!!!
                  But my ‘lectric….whine snivel will leave me stranded in the snow and cold and rain.Right.In your 1 car family,that doesnt exist.You honestly dont shuffle your vehicles to weather now?Unless youre driving a 4X4 cummins Ram as your only vehicle,I doubt your veracity.Thats just one argument I find ridiculous.Fantasy land,1 vehicle family.

                  • I don’t know what circles you travel in, but I know quite a few people who have only one vehicle. Many live in apartments where there would be no opportunity to charge an electric car at home.

                    • Exactly, Jason. Most people who drive in NYC, only have one household car.

                      Me, here in the sticks, I have two vehicles, but only because I live alone and have to have a back-up in case one is down or if I’m doing work on one, etc.

                      And they are both the same type of vehicles- 3/4 ton 4×4. Because some little car that sounds like this:
                      Wouldn’t be of any use to me for anything.

              • You nailed it, Fred!

                Really, what’s not to love about electricity? I’ve long been a fan of electric traction- as in subways and trolleys and diesel-electric locomotives. It’s awesome! It’s tough, old-school, simple and heavy-duty!

                The only problem arises when it has be used in conjunction with a battery. That is the weak point, which makes it’s use in private cars unfeasible.

                So, it’s not electric that we’re against…it’s the idea of huge, heavy, expensive, rare-material, high-pollutin’ batteries that are the problem.

              • Thank you, Fred. Different conditions for electric cars in different countries.

                I am actually just emphasizing that the customers now have additional choices when buying vehicles. They can select electric and hybrid cars in addition to ICE cars. Besides from that, I would leave it up to the free market what people actually buy.

                • Hi Jone,

                  We’re agreed that the free market ought to decide – the problem is, there isn’t one. EVs are grotesquely propped up by subsidies – and their manufacture/sale prodded by multiple mandates, direct and indirect.

                  Let’s remove all of that and see how they do.

    • “ordinary HDs” were discontinued more than ten years ago. Today they are computer controlled catalitic converted plastic unfixable money pits.

  11. Here is a different viewpoint. With electric bikes doing all the work that means the operator of the ebike can and will then doze off. And dozing off on a cycle just for 0.1 second will get you killed. Without all the shifting of gears and brake modulations etc. boredom will ensue quickly.
    Of course with a now higher death rate, the government will step in and ban motorbikes totally. So the first stat on an ebike will be the much higher death rate for people occupying an ebike. But the gov’t will not make a distinction between IC and ebikes, just use this as an excuse to ban all motorbikes. Now what will HD do, make lawnmowers or tiddly winks?

    • Hi Joe,

      That is a sound point. In addition to taking away from the enjoyment of developing a higher-order skill set, electric bikes will encourage more people who ought not to be riding to “ride” – much in the same way that cars with automated parking systems encourage people who should be taking the bus to “drive.”

  12. The US is collapsing.

    Americans used to love freedom and fight Nazis and Commies, but have now become Nazis and Commies.

    Americans are completely ignorant of history and don’t realize the effects of unintended consequences and decrees.

    There was a time when there were no passports or driver licenses and people survived just fine.

    Driver licenses used to have just a name, but then birthdates, gender, and photos were required.

    Now fingerprints are needed to get a license.

    One problem with outlawing everything is that you must have so many loopholes to live that tyranny becomes useless and makes the laws pointless and ineffective.

    Licenses now can list any age or gender you want.

    Americans used to be taught to love freedom, be moral, be independent, and have personal responsibility.

    Americans today are told to love Socialism, be immoral, be weak, and be dependent.

    Americans are taught to use safe spaces, not have friends, not hug kids, get tattoos, use drugs, get divorced, become homosexuals, get welfare, love war, embrace debt, shoplift, and pee in public.

    Life has become meaningless now that everything is illegal, hard work is punished with taxes and regulations, and laziness is rewarded with welfare.

      • “We”[read ‘they’] were commies even then. Why did we fight the Nazis? To protect the Soviets, and then we helped them impose communism on all of Eastern Europe- all in the name of ‘making the world safe for dumbo-acracy’.

  13. I don’t own a MC and haven’t been on one in years. One thing about these electric bikes puzzles me. If they have no gears and continuously accelerate via throttle, what about the higher torque in the lower gears?
    While the Harleys are not generally used for off roading I would think that for even short drives up steep driveways and other inclines or declines, a lower gear ratio torque would be very useful at times. I don’t know if the electric bikes can emulate that ground gripping effect. Especially for the heavy road bikes.
    Any thoughts?

  14. The writing was on the wall when I walked in to the HD dealership last time and could not find the Dyna line. They have discontinued that style. Will ride mine until it or I break(s) down completely. Equally disappointed to hear about this… Anyone know why the movie “World’s Fastest Indian” had such a limited release in 2005? I suspect many similar factors are at play. Excellent movie by the way.

  15. as I see it Harley can go to hell along with the fat graybeards that ride them. the noise these overpriced 100 year old tech piles of junk make are beyond anything I have ever heard. on the weekends I can hear these assholes coming from a mile away. sounds like a volcano. these guys are egomaniacal look at me selfish pompous low lives who don’t care about any body. they think they are tough cause their bike is loud. I cant believe an engine like that can make that much noise. also it is against federal law to take the stock pipes off so it puts Harley riders in the same boat as illegals where federal law means nothing. the electric bike is….Hardly A Davidson

    • Hi Mr. Meener,

      Tell us how you really feel!

      My objection is to the Kool Aid slurping; the fatuity of electric vehicles as other than urban/short-range basic transpo.

      Electric cars are a species of economic and functional retardation I can’t contemplate without getting a headache – and electric motorcycles are just sad.

      Like beating off to an image on the screen as opposed to banging a real woman.

        • Just reading about a bike from kymco that will allow for the electric sounds to be amplified to a level you dial in……F1 here I come…buzzing bee’s?

      • Loud pipes being safer is the bullshit line Harley riders tell to justify their annoying exhaust system. I agree with Meener. One such bike rode past my house, and I could follow his progress around the neighborhood.

        Explaining why they have loud pipes is then followed by a tale about the time they were run off the road. Wut?

        I’ve been riding since high school, and had a bike, usually Yamaha, until relatively recently. My first observation is that many Harley riders I’ve met lack the skill necessary to be riding safely. I’ve watched them not lean, but try to steer turning at intersections. I’ve argued with many of them about yes the front brake is needed, and you need to use it as well as you don’t go bar hopping on your bike.

        My second observation is they are the least situationally aware riders there are. I passed many toddling down the road, at the speed limit, in their own world, like they are driving a Buick. Hence, they were run off the road.

        And electric bikes are stupid for any manufacturer. But why not Harley? Their customer base is used to the thing not running.

    • Statist demands that you adhere to the law! You may not remove and replace the exhaust on bike that you own! There are words written on paper somewhere that forbids it!!!

      I like the earth shaking sound of the Harley. Besides, that sound helps to wake up the sail fawn commandos driving beside them.

    • Hear, hear! Fine every old asshole who has installed loud (and illegal) straight pipes because they want everyone to look at them and think they’re tough guys.

    • The exhaust is a safety feature. You can be heard so that people actually look out for the bike. I drove around with my exhaust completely broken after the flex pipe until it was warm enough to fix it. I was embarrassed but was not going to pay $ for someone to fix a 20 year old camry. It was loud and slow.

    • ~~ I’m with the guy who is tired of the hubristic, obnoxious assholes blasting around the landscape on their noise toys. They have no respect, concern, couth, or common sense, but they fit right in to this quickly diminishing Ah-murka.
      One of the shittiest acts I’ve seen lately is for a bunch of biker and their hogs on their hogs approaching an intersection, and four bikers will take up positions to effectively block traffic movement in all four lanes, while they take up two, three, or four traffic light changes to get thru the crossroads.
      A bunch of low-life bottom feeders who treat the rest of us as tho we have no particular place to go, so we should acquiesce to their needs.
      The only thing comparable is once the biker season is about over, here come the lil yellow prison buses, hauling the kiddies to the temples to be indoctrinated as societal prostitutes….

  16. How do you get three beats and a pause out of a two-cylinder engine? I understand that the sound is irregular because of the asymmetry of the piston configuration, but I still can’t come up with how this particular pattern of sound is possible.

    • Jdl, the front fires at 315 degrees and the rear fires after 405 degrees of rotation hence the long pause.

      A popping Johnny is even more uneven.

        • I believe it’s easier to understand if you just think of the second cylinder firing 90 degrees later than the first and then the front fires again at 450 degrees more rotation. It’s done to increase torque.

          A friend who used to ride one said it was the most expensive and the best vibrator he’d ever had.

  17. I’ve owned three bikes; all Japanese and I liked them a lot. Don’t care for the Harley sound or their higher repair rate. Electric bikes will dominate within ten years due to the new, fast charging, solid state lithium batteries. Charge times of maybe 15 minutes. Gas bikes will still exist but with their heavy engines and drive trains they’ll be an anachronism. Some people do indeed like the potato sound, high-priced company gear and the smell of gas but I’ll take fast acceleration, no vibration, and cheap maintenance.

    • How long have people been claiming that 250 mile ranges with quick charge times are “right around the corner”?

      I’ll remain skeptical, as no one has a crystal ball.

      • Hi No Bernie,

        Yup – thanks for knocking that one out of the park for me. And even if Bernie is right – how the hell is a 15 minute recharge progress? That is still at least three times as long as it takes to fuel up a car and 5-6 times longer than it takes to fuel up a bike.

        Nothing like adding a 15 minute halt to my travels going to – and coming back from – every day. And bear in mind that – unless battery chemistry changes – you only get a partial recharge at a “fast” charger. Which means much less range before you have to stop . .. again… and wait … again.

        These EV imbeciles make my teeth ache.

        • But youre assuming everyone has a long commute.I doubt thats the case.I dont know many people commuting over 100 miles a way,do you honestly?There isnt ONE in my extended family.

          • What does it matter how long their commute is, they’re entitled to fill up on gas as little as they please and as infrequently as their car’s gas mileage can afford them. In an actual free market no consumer needs to justify such a gross inconvenience to anyone else–They demand it and the manufacturers provide it. The electric car concept is a rip-off propped up by the government and ultimately designed for purposes of limiting citizens mobility and as a result, their freedom. It’s a shit idea with horrible consequences and these types of questions only serve to distract from the reality of it all..

  18. It was dissonant enough when Harley started making belt drives but the electric Harley is cognitive dissonance on steroids and might even be a little psychotic. We Are talking about Harley-Davidson here..

    BTW, Matt Smith’s Buell smoked Eddie Krawiec’s Harley for the NHRA Pro Stock motorcycle championship on 11/11/18..
    6.765 seconds @ 201.22 mph! (no seat belt)

  19. Your timing on this piece is interesting as I was seriously considering writing a piece anonymously about my experience in being trained to teach a variant of the MSF curriculum (that is mostly additive) for Harley.

    I can’t give you any details about time frame as I don’t become a target or on their radar-(I still want to teach)

    The overall experience was good, but it is clear to me that aside from the major negative demographic trends downward in motorcycling(not Harley’s fault obviously, Millennial’s and younger aren’t as interested in motorcycling, many of the are pussies), Harley has done plenty to put themselves in a position where their lineup doesn’t appeal to younger generations and has made a serious of disastrous management decisions, even related to their version of the MSF training program. Case in point:

    There’s a whole chapter on “diversity” in their training now. See, they feel that they need make sure their coaches “respect diversity”, as if there is some epidemic of trainers not respecting diversity.

    How deep does this “concern” for respecting “diversity” go within Harley you might ask? I’ll tell you how deep: There was instructions to make sure we used the proper pronouns in referring to the class.

    “It’s not “hey guys, gather your gear and let’s go out to the range”, it’s “everyone, let’s grab your gear”, etc.

    Harley has taken it upon itself to purge the patriarchal “bad think” from it’s representatives. Don’t get me wrong, it’s their prerogative to do so- but it’s indicative of a lack of focus on their part on the true issues facing Harley and the big picture.

    They have a pictorial cross in their training literature that represents what they believe are some of their customer perceptions in words of H-D, which in irony shows the word “rebel” as being a key component of their branding….yet here they are smashing any such notions of said “rebellion” among their own on the altar of PC conformance demanded by Leftists.

    These seem to be the concerns of H-D more so than their lack of a smaller displacement bike made cost effectively that appeals to certain segments of riders(ie., young), nor do they fully understand their own customer base, it would seem, on the surface.

    It doesn’t take a a genius to see that H-D chased the short term dollar by focusing on high dollar bikes appealing to boomers, that are now aging out. They had a chance in the “good years”(before the precipitous sales drop in the last year in particular) to make investments in models that would appeal to younger generations, but failed to do so.

    Instead, their focus includes some societal need for everyone to better respect “duhversity” as a key to future H-D success. What a joke.

    The bad news for H-D is that their customer base typically doesn’t give a rats ass about “duhversity”, and that goes for a new crop of black riders/buyers of H-D bikes. What binds black, white, yellow, lesbian, or whatever other “group” of people to H-D is the experience of riding a well engineered bike with the mechanical H-D “experience”(setting aside quality control issues) in the quest for their own enjoyment. H-D has accurately hit on certain values in their pictorial “cross”, like the word “freedom”, which is in said cross- but their utter cluelessness regarding “duhversity” speaks volumes of their management decisions in the last 10 years.

    This bullshit electric bike is a perfect example of that. It’s a business decision born of PC nonsense, not practicality or the need for profit.

    • Hi Joe,

      Thanks for “hipping” me to this… I am appalled. But not surprised. Did you catch my piece about what happened to me and my relationship with GM?

      • I did catch it- it’s sad.

        Everyone knows of or has read 1984, it was prescient in it’s thought control premises, but I can’t say most considered that it would be corporations participating as well, a la fascism.

        • Sure,as long as people dont age,or grab at new tech,HD is just fine.But the video gamers,serious guys,these ‘ugly’ electrics are whats on their radar.Ignore them at your peril.The cruiser,weekend recreational crowd….a dying breed.
          The young actual daily driver commuters,thats the new paradigm.And they are NOT commuting 100 miles each way,every day.100 range,a charge at work,this WORKS for that crowd,and they are taking over.
          Look to Asia and see the future.

          • Sorry, I see no demographic evidence that younger people in the US are focused on motorcycle commutes. If you have some, I’ll consider it.

            As to your argument about comparisons to Asia, I’m confident the youth in Asian aren’t spending $13,000 USD on an entry level commuting bike. I have no doubt that the Livewire will come in over that. I highly doubt Asians are running around on electric motorcycle at HALF that price. Your attempt to draw a comparison has no merit.

            Now, if Harley had made an electric scooter or electric bicycle that was selling for $1K or $2K, you’d have a bette3r argument about considering the dynamics of Asia to the US- but we are no where near that in this case.

            • I see a ton of those commuters both locally and in the greater SoCal area.So they exist.And they are the future.My eyes are wide open.Asia is going to overwhelm HD if they dont get modern.And this is their attempt at doing so.They wont last as a company supporting weekend recreational users that are dying off….fast.And Asia responds FAST to market trends.
              I look at my BIL,lifetime HD rider.Until he laid down his bike at age 70.Bike is history.HD lost another supporter.
              Who do you propose buy noisy smelly heavy expensive high maintenance bikes?? It wont be the millennial or younger crowd.That just doesnt appeal to them,none of it,to the future riders.
              The ‘traditional’ HD demographic is as dead as the dinosaur.

              • As to your argument about comparisons to Asia, I’m confident the youth in Asian aren’t spending $13,000 USD on an entry level commuting bike.
                They are literally selling in the MILLIONS.Now go move the goalposts on what a motorcycle is,that trend is real.And NOT insignificant.

                • Should say bikes are selling in the millions.A large market on the smaller end,scooters and mopeds,are going HUGELY into electric,RIGHT NOW.When Vespa came out with their new electric they received 10 times the response they expected.These commuters have turned the IC market upside down,at TWICE the price yet!
                  You better believe that market is real.
                  And upsizing these bikes,seems Asia is all over that market too.
                  A gen x-er on an HD cruiser?You bet,not happening.

                  • Scooters are THE major mode of transport for the lower to middle working classes in Asia- and they’re as cheap as dirt- I had one- a Tao Tao- it was awesome- cost $700, shipped. THOSE people will not be buying an electric Harley; they can buy a new car for less than the cost of the Hardly.

                  • Hi Fred,

                    A low-cost electric scooter/motorcycle may make sense in the urban context. The problem is that – just like electric cars – electric bikes cost a lot more than an equivalent not-electric bike. Thousands more. And what’s the benefit? Bikes use very little gas – even the big ones. And a scooter uses almost none; many get 100-plus MPG and cost less than $2,500.

                    What person in his right mind would pay three times as much for an electric scooter?

                    • Because,scooters being so cheap,paying twice as much is still in the gen x budget.Their bad to the bone guy is a ninja,not a flat sloppy smelly HD rider of ‘cool’ bad to the bone 1960’s.
                      Vespa is killing the IC market with electrics in europe.Demand for gas ones,thru the floor.

                • Boy, with H-D trying to sell Livewire’s at $30K and suspending production over supposedly 1 defective bike(wanna bet it’s because they aren’t selling instead?)- your comment hasn’t aged well at all and it’s still less than 1 year old.

                  • Hi Joe,

                    I used to think it was just me, but now I think differently. When car guys begin to lose interest in cars and bikers no longer care about bikes like Harleys… there is something awry with the cars … and the Harleys.

              • Hi Fred,

                I agree with you that Harley’s business model is badly flawed. I disagree with you that the solution is electric. For the same reason I think that electric Porsches will be the end of Porsche.

                The brand becomes a label – that’s all.

                Harley’s real problem is that its bikes are too expensive. They made a half-hearted effort to bring out 750 cc bikes in the $7,500-ish range but these are too small; they are basically entry-level bikes. Meanwhile, the full-size Harleys cost way too much and that is what keeps the younger buyers away.

                The Japanese brands offer a range all the way from 250 cc/small frame bikes to 1200 cc (and more) full-on bikes and everything in between. You can get a real (not entry level) bike for well under $10k from Kaw/Yamaha/Honda/Suzuki.

                That’s what Harley needed – about 15 years ago. It is probably too late now.

                PS: Internal combustion is integral to the motorcycle experience; take it away and what you’ve got isn’t a motorcycle anymore.

                • Eric, this reminds me of a Youtube video I saw a while back, where this jigaboo goes to the Hardly dealer to pick up his new $30K bike (!!!!)…and then proceeds to drop it within 100′ of leaving the stealership! OUCH!!!!!!

                    • Hiya Nunz!

                      I bought my ’03 ZRX1200 new back in ’02. It was $7,500 out the door. Full-size naked/sport bike with a big 1200 CC engine. And it’s still running like new today – 16 years later. And still worth about $3,500 or so. No degradation in performance. It will probably still be running 20 years from now – and if it gets tired, could be rebuilt to as-new for a few thousand bucks, tops.

                      IC bikes without computers are as close to being immortal as machinery gets. I have a couple of bikes pushing 50 that are ready to go anytime I like – anywhere.

                      The LiveWire is basically a middleweight naked/sport bike – but it will almost certainly be priced well above the cost of a current (IC) full-size liter bike. So, you’re paying about $4k more – at least. For what, exactly?

                      The efficiency argument is vacuous. Performance? Current liter bikes run 9s in the quarter-mile. You’re not going much quicker without wheelie bars and other dragstrip-only stuff. Traction is already the limiting factor, so EVs have no performance advantage.

                      And – as you wrote earlier – the electric bike will depreciate very quickly due to the nature of the thing; it is a sail fawn that rolls. 16 years from now – if it eve still exists – it will be worth next to nothing.

                      God help us. This EV thing has become a kind of herpes… and it’s spreading.

                • It is cool to you Eric.It isnt to the new guys,like it or them matters not.They are the future.They see bikes as fast,smooth,and all lit up.Thats the new market.Just because we have old school biases doesnt mean the car of 1940 appeals to the new drivers of ultrmodren Japanese road racers.
                  Time will march on.No matter how much our generation doesnt like it,its historical fact.Old people dont adapt well to change,change still happens,then we die.
                  Our definition of a lot of things is now arcaic to the young,just how it is and has always been in the industrial period of time.

                  • This change ain’t natural though. Why do the young want it? Because they’ve been conditioned to want it.

                    It’s not even a question of electric or ICE, but of governance or freedom. Electric simply is more adaptable to the former.

                • A few years ago I knew a guy with a brand new hog, something along the lines of a big cruiser. His drive belt didn’t line up properly from day one and he had to adjust it back on straight many times before getting to Canada and many times coming back. He’d had it to the dealer. They just blew him off and that’s another thing I have against Harley, really asshole dealers. Seems like that’s the only kind there are.

                  • Hi Eight,

                    I’ve not owned a Harley myself so I can’t speak to this directly, but my sense of the mess is that HD priced prospects out of the showroom. I had occasion to visit an HD store about two years ago when I needed parts for a HD I was working on and was sticker shocked into stupefaction by what they were demanding for what looked to me like nice but nothing especially special cruisers and touring bikes one could buy very comparable examples of at a Honda or Suzuki or Kaw store for many thousands of dollars less. I get paying substantially more if you’re getting something more. But it seemed to me that what you were getting at the HD store was a brand and membership in their club, as it were. Thus, HD transmuted into a brand for older, mostly affluent guys who liked the image. The younger crowd couldn’t afford to spend $20,000 on a cruiser or even $10k on a basic, entry-level sportster.

                    My sense of what made Harley what it was is that it used to specialize in bikes for bikers – average guys who enjoyed wrenching as much as riding. More blue than white collar. A HD bike was analogous to the traditional muscle car in that it was loud, ballsy – and accessible.

                    The new stuff (DeadWire excepted) is loud.

                    The more I ponder it, I think what really killed HD is . . . Uncle. The government civilized Harleys by applying regulatory pressure to make them “comply” with various standards. This made them more docile – and expensive. More reliable – less animal.

                    Think about modern muscle cars. Tremendous performance, sure – but they’re so damned expensive only old men (mostly) can afford one and almost no one except professional “technicians” can service them.

                    The same medicine has been applied to Harley.

                    • eric, HD is its own worst enemy. They used the best profits they ever had to do buyback shares and still rewarded their stockholders. Then they laid off a lot of people.

                      Trump has threatened them with a big tax and has dropped the tax on imports of 800cc and above from 75% to 50%.

                      The big Japanese(and other)bikes should get cheaper and HD is killing the goose that laid golden eggs since those taxes were especially made to keep HD in bidness. It’s the duck tax I guess since it’s just the bike version of the chicken tax.

                    • Hi Eight,

                      Yup! I suspect HD would be doing fine if the majority of their bikes sold for $15k or so, were simple to DIY maintain and modify… like the old stuff.

                      This over-complicating of everything is ruining everything.

                      It is certainly ruining business – by driving away young customers.

  20. If someone wants an electric bike, there are enough electric conversion parts available to do so. Even for bikes up to 250CC. Probably practical for urban use, don’t plan on long range cruising though. don’t plan on converting a Harley or anything near that size. A moped or scooter, even bicycles.
    Harley is popular with the dentists, lawyers, accountants and realtors who like to dress up in “colors” for the weekend and go out charging down the highway. I see the type all the time during summer months up here in Northern Michigan. Bandanas, leather vests and no helmet, the idiots with big Harley stickers on the rear window of their pick up, which NEVER gets used to actually haul anything.
    As for the sound of the engine, I don’t mind but when some low IQ moron decides to use drag pipes and go charging from one stop light to the next making over loud fart noises: here I am louder than you can stand, ain’t I sumptin?
    One clown was stopped by the local gendarmes for such loud fart sounds and the bike impounded.
    Nice engine sound is ok but when some idiot decides to make it a loud assault on the ears for blocks…….loud bikes save lives, type of PITA idiot, he deserves whatever he gets.

    Congrats on a great promotional campaign though.
    The only other problem I have are the squids, the type who ride through traffic at 80MPH with the front wheel off the pavement. Sooner or later they leave a big red smear on the road surface.

    • Couple years ago up in Buffalo some guys on crotch rockets were on 190 I believe, weaving in and out of traffic At night, think the cops were on em too. One of these asshats runs into a tractor trailer killing himself and I think a girl on the back. They tried pinning it on the truck driver!!!

  21. Every 4th of July out town has a street parade and at the end is the parade of the Harley’s. Every Harley owner around seems to come out of the woodwork and joins in the parade, often with the woman of his life seated with him. A Harley is a motorcycle, not an electric bike. And all the kids listen to the Harley’s sputter and fart. It’s why kids loved to go to the train station and watch the old locomotives start chug and spit their steam and smell like burning petroleum. Trains and Harley’s sound ferocious. Now fast forward and imagine this same July 4th street parade followed by the parade of the almost silent electric Harley’s. It would be a useless parade. Who would care. Say what you want. The electric cycle is not manhood. It’s too easy. No skill required. You’re a wuss if you drive the e-Harley. Think of Scottish Highlanders marching without their bagpipes. That pipe sound was to spread fear the Highlanders were coming. Same goes for the Harley. The e-Harley is pointless. It is feminized biking, not motorcycling. Girls can drive them. Good luck in the marketing. It’s the end of maledom. The e-Harley is a genderless motorbike now.

    • Wrong! The video gamers of today will ride them,and they are the now and the future.Get over it.The world moves on.Period.Its about THEM,not YOU,going forward,if nothing else you are losing a numbers game.
      Excuse me while I go outside and chase those whippersnappers off my lawn and wave my cane at em.
      Its their world now.

        • Hi Erie,

          I suppose HD could – in theory – change its entire buyer demographic, which seems to be the long-term agenda. And in one sense, it makes sense to do so, because most current HD people are middle-aged guys and that market is necessarily getting thinner each year. So I get appealing to the younger crowd. But I think HD’s mistake is assuming the Prius Profile Millennial rides…. anything. The one who do ride want a bike – not an electric scooter that sort of looks like a bike.

  22. I won’t touch on whether they should sell an electric bike or not but the single crankpin 45 degree layout is not a “design flaw”. That layout allows for a narrow, compact twin that was a relatively easy fit in early frames which were not far different than bicycles. The resulting engine being not much larger than a single. You could argue that there were many good reasons to leave it behind over the past century, but it was not a “flaw”.

    Also, Harley attempted to trademark the sound, there was no patent involved.

  23. I’ve never understood why so many people have an animus against Harley. If price is the problem, one can get a late model Hog 883 or 1200 Sportster in great shape for a decent price. I ride what I can afford–a 1978 Yamaha XS 650 (standard, not the dumb ass semi-chopper Special). I laugh when my insurance company asks me if it has ABS and so forth. But I wouldn’t mind a Hog in my garage, but then I was steeped in Harley lore since childhood.

    • Hi Ross,

      I have never owned one but have nothing against them. I’ve never owned a BMW bike, either. I just prefer Japanese and British bikes – old ones – for my own quirky reasons. Just as I am partial to Pontiacs rather than Chevys. But I like them all and certainly appreciate them all.

      • Eric, I read a review of the electric Harley last week and watched their vid. They engineered a noise into It to have a uniiqe sound.

        They gave ranges for various driving techniques. Also it has the battery saving mode and then the full blown mode……but it has to be stopped to change modes, more nanny fun.

        The same day I read an article entitled “The Dirty Truth About Electrics”. Probably something an uninformed friend would take to task since he’s a virtue signalling Republican who tries to pass himself off as libertarian. As long as the pollution from coal, nuclear and battery metals isn’t running through his backyard, he just addresses the informed as nit pickers.

        There you go John, stick your head in the sand. I would give him a sign for his door with the three monkeys that hear, see, speak no evil yet he has various uniforms for various heroic battle enactments.

      • I have fourteen bikes, and all are Italian or British, I don’t know why I am so prejudiced against Japanese and Milwaukee. In my day I liked bikes that didn’t always toss your butt airborne.

    • Ross, I think the animosity towards Harley which is expressed by many, is due to two factors:

      a)After Harley got bought-out by AMF in the 70’s *And has since been passed around like the proverbial doobie), they have tended to make nothing but unreliable, slow [for their engine size vs. other bikes] showpieces that make a lot of noise and do little else.

      b)In more recent times, Harley has been trying to capitalize on “the biker image” associated with their bikes of old, by marketing their products to people who are not bikers, but who like to pretend that they are, and have a lot of money- so as a result, you’re more likely now to see a bandana-clad orthodontist riding a hog on the weekend, than a “biker” or just an average person who is into the sport.

      Even before going electric, Harley was like the Tesla of motorcicles, in that it is essentially virtue-signaling for dirtbags 😀

      [Old joke:
      What’s the difference between a Harley and a Hoover?…

      …..The position of the dirtbag! ]

      • ” it is essentially virtue-signaling for dirtbags”

        Funny! Good joke too.

        Anyway, Sonny Barger, the king dirt bag, weighed in too:

        “It’s always been important for Hell’s Angels to ride American-made machines. In terms of pure workmanship, personally I don’t like Harleys. I ride them because I’m in the club, and that’s the image, but if I could I would seriously consider riding a Honda ST1100 or a BMW. We really missed the boat not switching over to the Japanese models when they began building bigger bikes. I’ll usually say, “F*** Harley-Davidson. You can buy an ST1100 and the motherf***** will do 110 miles per hour right from the factory all day long … While it’s probably too late to switch over now, it would have been a nice move because Japanese bikes today are so much cheaper and better built. However, Japanese motorcycles don’t have as much personality.”

        It’s funny, because Harley seems to be distancing themselves from “outlaws” too- which is part of why many people buy their brand, the perceived connection to such individuals.

        • Wow! Old Ralph/Sonny actually telling the TRUTH?!!!! 😀

          Cool quote! It nails it, exactly.

          Hey, that’s one positive aspect of these electric HArdly-Ablesons coming into existence: Maybe ol’ Sonny’ll be condemned to have to ride one for a few hunnert thousand years in Hell! 😉

          -But seriously, no offense intended to those who just like Hardlys for their aesthetics…as I’m sure one or two people might. (Although I’d bet that even to those who might genuinely like them just for their aesthetic- they probably would have an equal or greater amount of abhorrence for the bikes, due their image….)

  24. Why so sad? Hardley will finally make a bike that won’t rattle apart on the freeway and won’t sound like a giant bag of farts. I’d just like to say thank you!

      • Eric, I believe it was the BMW electric bike I didn’t read.

        Soon there’ll be a list of unconscionable manufacturers who have no electrics, a walk of shame thing.

  25. This could be very hazardous to my health. If I see some fat-ass denim-clad bandanaed biker going down the street on one of these things as it makes a little puttputtputt Jetson’s car sound, I may die laughing- possibly before the dude beats me to death.

    Well, at least now they’ll actually go fast….

    The world has truly gone crazy…..

  26. Wow. seems like an end of the world issue to me. No way they would work for anything other than a short commute, and I don’t know many that use bikes to commute.
    If all bikes go Electric, there will be a lot less bike manuf. left. What would be left to differentiate them?
    When I ride street, we ride all day.

  27. Im going to vote with the practical commuter young guy market.I think they are going to love electric bikes.
    Fat old men on Harleys….its just a dying breed.Screw HD,Im very happy with a bike that says HONDA.I would prefer a commuter that is always ready to go.I just want to get on and go.Im not a long range cruiser,that market means zilch to me.And I am just Joe Blow average guy so there are lots just like me.

    I think this is a natural niche for electric transportation.Just hope they are free market and not mandated for exclusivity of electric only.

    I want free market choice,thats all.IF they can do it free market,then its what people want.

    • I ride an electric skateboard because it is a blast to carve with. I also ride a Ducati Hypermotard Evo SP because it is a blast to carve with.

      Harley never appealed to me but I am glad people ride in general.

      I will be absolutely stoked if the technology evolves within the free market to allow me to fly a plane with an electric motor which has range, performance and a short recharge time. Battery weight is obviously the challenge. Until then I will kick the eco-warriors in the teeth if they come for our 100LL.

      • That’s the dream that they try to promote, CA- The glorious future- the world of tomorrow- where technology will solve every problem and we’ll all live in colonies on the Moon!

        But of course, the reality is, that this stuff is far from ready-for-prime-time- and likely will never live up to the hyped claims.

        The EV technology is about right for skateboards and scooters; but not for cars and trucks- and likely never will be, except for ones intended for very limited use, and then at great cost (Financially; environmentally; etc.)- forget planes and such!

        • Ive watched EV’s go from garage built models “that’ll NEVER WORK because of lead acid batteries with 6-12 month lifespans,35 mph speeds,etc etc etc) Thats sure changed.Its not here yet,but it will be.We can bet on it,be it tech or fatwa.

          Ive seen the solar cell haters from day 1,”that’ll NEVER WORK,too expensive,takes more energy to make than they produce.etc etc etc) Thats sure changed.They DO work,and work great,in their niche,the light of day when they are needed most.Any argument they dont is from someone who has never used it.Those who do,they get it.

          An electric airplane….its coming.Just that you dont see it,in your mindset.It wont be a 747,it will be a Cessna.

          Ive seen fred flinstone too many times in just my short lifetime to go with the nay sayer crowd “That’ll NEVER WORK.”
          Hogwash,it already has and does no matter what the hater mindset of those who deny it.Tech WILL march on.

          • “And you will never force ME to use it,take it and I’ll beat you” types….Good luck on that Don Quixote.You will just fade away is all.Example,wind plants get bigger and MORE efficient by the day.That genie isnt going back in the bottle either.ALL arguments aside,even the good ones on proper placement for health reasons.Bird kills,get over it.Cars and trucks,buildings kill millions a year,somehow thats escaped the outraged wind plants persons radar,eh?

          • Ferdie, technology marches on when it can fulfill a genuine need to accomplish something faster; cheaper; better; etc. and because there is a genuine desire/need for it.

            What we are seeing in many cases lately- EVs being a prime example- is a technology that can not do those things, but is instead inferior to that which it seeks to replace, yet exists because of artificially created need (e.g. gov’t fatwas; disinformation about “greenliness”/desire of some to virtue-signal[ subsidies; etc.)- in which case, that technology is not an advancement because it it actually becomes restrictive and economically prohibitive.

            Technology, given enough time, may indeed one day be able to make an EV or E-plane, etc. which will be superior to the current technologies used in those things, and thus offer greater advantage- but at the moment, such is not the case- but forcing the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time technology onto a gimped market, is actually an act of regression, not advancement.

            • but forcing the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time technology onto a gimped market, is actually an act of regression, not advancement.
              Agreed The electric car,mandated,is a terrible plan.But it IS coming.Nobody in the gov gives a damn if its unworkable for us cockroaches,the mundanes.In fact,thats exactly what they want for us.It wont ever apply to them.

              • Fred, IF it comes [and that is a big if] it will prove to be utterly unworkable. Legislation can’t make something that doesn’t work suddenly work.

                There are really only two possible scenarios:

                a)It WILL indeed come- but will utterly prove to be unworkable- (If they started construction tomorrow, it would take a few decades to erect the infrastructure to support such vehicles)- which may be the plan- so that we are deprived of the ability to freely, cheaply and conveniently travel.


                b)It will be realized how ridiculous and unworkable current EVs are for the majority, and the idea will be abandoned.

                But the idea of everyone driving around in EVs in a few years? It just ain’t gonna happen, because the infrastructure ain’t there; the cars are too expensive, and few want them when they’re not subsidized and or when the electricity isn’t free or nearly so; The cars are too limiting to be of normal use for most people.

                We live in a world today where people think that decreeing/mandating something is equivalent to creating reality- whether it be decreeing that a fast-food worker must be paid $15/hr, or that EVs must be shoved down our throats- but of course, actions have consequences, and they can decree all they want; it doesn’t lessen the consequences or make their stupid unrealistic snowflake plans work.

                So they push a $15/hr minimum wage….and instead of making people prosperous, it makes their jobs go away and replaces them with robots.

                In similar fashion, soft-mandating electric cars which can not hold a candle to IC cars that cost half as much…will also prove unworkable. And even if that is the plan…that is also unworkable, for just as the infrastructure for the widespread use of EVs is afar off, so is the infrastructure to herd everyone into the cities and onto mass transit….

                Even when it comes to their own nefarious plans…government is incredibly inept, inefficient, ineffective and short-sighted. -So who knows what bastardized conglomeration of all of the above they may pursue to one degree or another? But one thing’s for sure, their decrees can not make something that doesn’t work, work.

          • It has taken more than -FORTY YEARS- of forcing electric cars, solar power, and wind power along with untold billions of taxpayer funds on top of corporate (mal)investment to get things that sort of work if you have just the right circumstances. They are being pushed because of their shortcomings. The moment those shortcomings no longer exist watch the political winds turn against these things.

            Lets say we get some sort of high tech energy storage or zero point or something else. That could completely free us from the corporate-state. Do you think that would be allowed for even a moment? It would be stifled before we even see it. And if it did get out we could expect a huge effort to demonize it to the point where we couldn’t have it.

            • ‘Zactly, Brent!

              As a perfect example of what you’re saying, sonsider that in many places it is already defacto illegal to live ‘off of the grid’- i.e. those who can do without, or who can live within the current constraints imposed by the physical limitations of the current state of solar/wind/etc. power, are prohibited from doing so merely because our overlords don’t want us to be free of the constraints of their system.

              • Heh, just look what they’ve done to the ICE car, even: Making it so heavy; needlessly complex; gimped; inefficient; expensive, etc. that it is essentially being legislated out of existence- only instead of overtly so, they are just making it so that it will be so unaffordable and undesirable that people will just be made to not want them anymore…or unable to afford to purchase and maintain them even if they do still want them.

                These demons who run the world are fiendishly subtle and clever! The average person has no clue that this is going on, as he plays right into the script created for him.

      • Hi CA,

        “I will be absolutely stoked if the technology evolves within the free market”

        Pardon my English, but what the fuck are you talking about?!?

        “Until then I will kick the eco-warriors in the teeth if they come for our 100LL.”

        Well 80 octane was killed by those eco-warriors you mentioned. That’s why the 100 Low Lead (with 4 times the lead as 80) is the replacement.

        The replacement for 100LL isn’t even going to be 50% gasoline.

        It will be a mixture of chemicals the government declares safe. And in a short time, the gals at the approach end of Runway 23 will be pushing out three headed babies.

        The free market left the building before Elvis was even born.

    • I owned at one time or another several old British bikes. My family also had a few Brit bikes–the Norton Commando was a spectacular example, as was the Trident. They were leaky, rather unreliable bikes that you had to spill gas on (tickling the carbs) to start.

      And we loved them. Don’t get me wrong–I wouldn’t take any of those old Brits on a cross-country trip. But if hygienic efficiency is all you seek in a bike, then the future is yours. If none of this chatter about Hogs and Brit bikes makes sense to you, then the chasm is unbridgeable.

  28. Harley would have died back in the ’80’s if Reagan hadn’t selected it for special protection. They’ve been sucking on the gub’mint teat for a long time.

    A lot of my earlier bikes were HD’s, from when I started riding in the ’70’s. My last bike, the one I’m riding now, is a Honda V-twin (VTX 1300), a better built copy of the V-twin for which the idiots at HD failed to renew a patent. Half the money for twice the bike and it’ll last twice as long. Already has! And when other riders try to give me hell for not riding “‘murikan” I point out that my bike was put together in Ohio.

    HD is just a brand, no more like the originals than is the new incarnation of Indian. Should’ve been pulled off life support a long time ago. This new two wheel sissy-mobile is just the figurative gun they’re finally fellating. The hell with ’em.

    • Bill B: Interesting to hear that Harley D. was on life spt. Hubby was into Japanese cycles years back. Younger people don’t like to shift gears and some older ones don’t either, esp. in city traffic. Other companies may offer various options like in cars. I had a 75cc cycle in the ’70’s w/ auto clutch.

      • I remember Honda (I think) advertising an automatic transmission bike years ago. It failed miserably. We bikers ride to ride, for the most part. Making it easier just isn’t part of the equation. More reliable sure, to an extent, but not easier.

        But as was pointed out to me in another section here on Eric’s fine site, it ain’t my world any longer…

    • I rode a VTX 1300R for 10 years. Bought it new in 05 (first bike), and rode it trouble free (and motorcycle license free) all that time. Sold it in ’15 and bought me an old musclecar. Those 10 years of riding saw a huge uptick in sail fawn usage by the drivers I shared the road with. I had my fun for a while, but it was time to let it go.

  29. Well, it wouldn’t take much to add a speaker playing fake motor sounds. Why not have fake clutch and gearshift too?

    Oh, and the EHD needs a little plastic tank that programatically drips oil!

    • A better and more economical solution to add sound would be to take a baseball card, attach it with a clothes pin and let the spokes make the noise like we did on our bikes back in the 50’s and 60’s. No wires or nothin’ to hook up. I always thought it sounded really cool…

  30. I have mixed feelings on this one. For Harley, selling overpriced codpieces for the marshmallowish desk jockies of suburbia is their niche. Electric just isn’t what they’re selling.

    I have to note that the sound can easily be added with digital electronics. And even some vibration if desired (and it will be). But Harley is probably going to find that its carefully cultivated image is going to need considerable and painful reworking to be a Tesla.

    But having said that, electric bikes are a great idea. A street bike/city commuter with a 60-120 mile range is an eminently practical idea. Performance will be good to excellent- modern street bikes are overpowered and a bit dangerous for joe average. Slightly less power in a solid street bike package will sell just fine. Regen braking and 2 wheel drive are entirely possible- and regen braking has potential for even more stopping power than the dual discs found on every sport bike. Quick change battery packs should be quite do-able on a visceral machine like a motorcycle.

    I can even easily see electric bike racing being a thing. Flat track definitely, motocross perhaps a bit hard on chemical batteries? And if the battery is an easily swapped pack, these things have a future.

    With current technology, or for the forseeable future, electric cars are a bad idea and the stuff being done to force them on us is going to backfire on the industry, and the country, and western civilization for that matter. Until we have safe clean fusion power packs, they are simply inferior, and no amount of agitprop will change the fact that hydrocarbon fuels are a bargain at several times the current price, and their supply is in fact not limited for several more lifetimes.

    • Hi Ernie,

      I don’t disagree… except as regards this bike. This brand. This electric bike represents everything a Harley isn’t – and that is the problem. For Harley, I mean.

      I don’t go to Wendy’s for a tofu burger and soy shake…

      • I spotted the “Marlboro Man” smoking an e-cigarette.

        Now, what man (or woman) would want to ride around with a battery pack wedged between their legs? I’ve seen those Tesla fires. No thanks!!!

        What is this world coming to?

      • But you dont even do HD Eric.Thats telling.Their market is dying,they better get with it real fast.The Asians arent standing still at all.Wake up,or DIE! This Midway quote covers it…. “You better shape up before some hotshot Jap pilot flames your ass!… You’re being paid to fly planes, not sit in your room and cry over your girlfriends picture!”

      • eric, I’ll bet my left one there is an ad campaign in the making to market this bike to women. Not women who already ride a bike, to the ones that don’t and never have.

  31. Congrats Eric, you and I both will still be alive when this whole car thing comes crashing down in a ball of flames. There will be millions of people who will not buy these and other EVs, car manufacturers might go out of business in the process, uncle sam issues fatwa to make their purchase mandatory and bails out GM again.
    A more optimistic side of me sees retrofitting of older vehicles becoming a booming business. I am in the process of planning and saving up to drop a VK56-D (Titan, Armada, QX80) into my Xterra to have a brand new vehicle on my hands and add some leather seats. I still see a ton of first gen X’s on the road in Houston, though not pretty on the outside, they are still humming along in traffic. With available technology it should be easy for people to drop small V6’s or V8’s into their modern SUVs and re-cable them.

  32. 90 Mile range?! Harley deserves to die for this. End the tax that helps prop up harleys as well please and we can really get some affordable performance.

    • Hi Mooeing,

      Harley’s real problem – in my opinion – is that it built loaded/expensive bikes for middle-aged guys with lots of disposable income. Go to a Harley store; it’s mostly graybeards.

      There was a time when HD was a young man’s bike. If they could get back to that…

      • What they need is an adventure bike. Back in the day they had what basically was a dirt bike. (Evil Kenievel rode one) When I traded my 2013 switchback for a suzuki adventure bike (vstrom) my son said “Dad, that’s not an old man bike”

      • Eric, stop with all old guys riding 2000 pound hogs! I’m 69, and I ride a 2007 883 Sportster. No wind screen, no saddle bags, no cup holders, no radio or gps. All I have done is a Screaming Eagle exhaust, air filter, and a change to the computer. She does surprise a lot of people 🙂
        My first post, love the site

        • I wanted to reply, but it says “Skip”…. 😉

          Ha! A friend of mine who is now 70, just sold his Honda Goldwing….wants something sportier! (I’m 56, and I saw the ‘Wing and said “If I rode, that’s what I’d be riding!”)

      • I see alotta young guys building thier own around my way. Kinda 60-70s styling is what Ive noticed. Im glad to see there is some young blood still into HD. Dont think its enough of them though.

  33. Harley-davidson toaster:

    Funny, as I read the first half of your post all I could think was “And that’s the exact agreement against me getting a motorcycle.” I have this constant back-and-forth with myself when it comes to bikes, I really want one because I like the idea of adding an engine to my two wheeled travels. But unfortunately one cannot just own a motorcycle in the United States. You have to have to join the “culture.” A culture that demands you get in line with everyone else. You’re expected to wear the correct fashionable clothing (even when not on the bike), spend hours on end boring everyone around you with the latest issue you’re having with your bike, and every so often make the pilgrimage to Sturgis.

    Oh I know. You’ll all reply with your arguments, in your mind all sound, as to why (if I just break down and buy one) I’ll have an epiphany and suddenly turn into a bike guy. But can I just like the idea of long touring and camping out under the stars without having a lot of extras with me? Can I just fill up my gas tank without getting harassed for not “buying ‘merican?” Or worse having an expensive bike vandalized because it doesn’t have the HD logo on the tank? All these things have happened to friends who own bikes other than the accepted brand. Sure, not every day, but when has a perfect stranger harassed you at the gas pump for driving a Toyota?

    I just want a motorcycle, not a lifestyle. And certainly not a sex machine.

    • Hi RK,

      I don’t own a Harley; I (currently) own four Japanese bikes. Never had any issue with “culture” – but that is probably because I don’t ride with groups (of any kind) and just do my own thing.

      I suspect you can do that on a Harley, too.

      Believe me – there are groupies among the sport bike set, too!

      But you don’t have to join a group to ride – regardless of the type/brand of bike you ride.

    • I have about 300000 miles on bikes. Have rarely met any biker who cared what brand of bike you ride. We give the salute to anyone on two wheels. Scooter, Jap, whatever. I do ride with CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association) as a ministry. And they ride everything from Wings to R’s. A hog used to represent an old school machine you could fix yourself. Harley doesn’t qualify at all for that description any more. (Although I do keep a 95 sportster. Nothing newer than that for me) If you want an old school machine – get a URAL! I ride a URAL all the time. It’s a blast.
      A Harley to an Adventure bike is like a concrete truck to a jeep. All you have on a bike is maneuverability, and the Harley is the one of the least maneuverable bikes.

      • Yep. You’re right. I’ve been riding almost every day since the mid 1970’s. I do have leather, but don’t wear it much (too hot here). No tat’s, no MC (well, my dog rides with me so he and I started our own 😉 ), and I don’t give a rat’s a** what anyone rides, thinks, or says, unless it’s egregiously unfriendly.

        The only bikers around here who don’t give the wave are the actual one percenters, and sometimes even they do. Nah, it’s easy enough to do your own thing on a bike. More so now than ever before.

    • You must live in a weird place. I haven’t seen the trash talk rice burner crap in decades.
      Back in the 80s I knew the local Harley crowd and they’d rib me about my Zuk but we nodded at the stoplights and they jacked around always letting me start first since nobody wanted to appear to challenge the 1000 GS.

      I rode 95 % by myself. ..or at least not with another biker. I always figured who rode behind me wasn’t worth mentioning since women would invite themselves. No point bringing that up at the supper table.

      On another note, the review 5 the lectric Harley mentioned it was a light bike. My minds eye envisioned half a dozen 18650 rechargeables. Then the weight was given, almost exactly what my GS1000 and a buddies Yamaha 1000 weighed. That “spirited” riding range of 23 miles left me wondering what barn I could charge at on the way to town.

      I ostensibly could make it to the liquor store and home but who’d carry the 3 cases of beer?

  34. haha – A quiet Harley – funny but genuinely sad. Imagine those movie scenes where those hells angels kind of bikers pull up in their bikes up to the bar… then que for the charging cable and check their smartphone to see if its charged or not!!!!

    BTW, have you seen any of the Royal Enfield bikes? Noticed them when I was out in Mumbai last month. (Now have to admit im not a bike person like a lot of the guys here, but am starting to feel the desire to get one… maybe one day)

    Apparently these are the original British bikes from WW1/2, and were manufactured under franchise in India since forever. In the 70s/80s the parent company went under in the UK and stopped production, but the Indian partner bought up the rights and started making them independently out there. Today, they are basic bikes, at a very reasonable price, which look and sound amazing. I guess the advantage of staying away from taxes and regulation in the west, you can make the kind of bike people actually want at the price they can afford….. They are now re-launching these bikes here in the UK, and I think the US as well. Maybe, this is the eventual future for Harley Davidson…..

      • 4 years ago I was living and working on the high plains near a tiny town. In the dark of morning at a convenience store I see a guy ride up on one with a sidecar in his BDU’s, a perfect match to the bike.
        He was a young guy I had several conversations with. He loved the bike and said it was dead reliable and all he’d ever done was gas and ride. It was his only transportation.
        He was a match for it.

      • I’m not a fan of bikes, but that URAL might make me rethink that. The two wheel drive model looks pretty interesting, and the price isn’t bad for a new one.

          • You can afford macaroni?! I have to make my own! 17000, while cheap in comparison t a lot of things, is more money than I have ever paid for anything. Including my house.

            My transportation budget tends to run more towards boot leather than leather seats. I’m always broke.

      • Man, I like that set up! Kinda makes my inner Afrika Korps Soldat sit up and take notice. If I can ever get my damned business dealings settled I may have to look into getting one of those.

        Thanks for making me aware of it!


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