Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell To Ride For The 1st Time To Sturgis Bike Week.

Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell, contrary to most of his predecessors who had a motorcycle background because promoted from inside the company, was criticized for not being a biker with the innuendo that he could not fully understand his clients. Well, on Thursday August 6 he will stradle one of the company touring models to be part of the group of Harley-Davidson executives riding to Sturgis Bike Week.  More credible than photo opportunities just sitting on one. It will be a first for Keith Wandell and I am sure he is going to learn quite a few things while on the road and during the rally. 

Harley-Davidson executives scheduled to ride from Milwaukee to Sturgis will also include President and COO Matt Levatich, Senior Vice President and Chief Styling Officer Willie G. Davidson, Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum Bill Davidson and SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer. Harley-Davidson riders and customers are welcome to join the ride and relax with the group at various stops and dealer events.

The schedule of events for the Harley-Davidson Ride to Sturgis is as follows: Thursday, August, 5: 5:45 p.m. – Bike Night at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. Friday, August 6: 7:30 a.m. – Riders pancake breakfast and depart from Harley-Davidson Museum. 10 a.m. – Capital City Harley-Davidson, Madison, Wis. 2 p.m. – Bala’s Harley-Davidson, Mauston, Wis. 5:45 p.m. – La Crosse Area Harley-Davidson, La Crosse, Wis. Saturday, August 7: 8:30 a.m. -Rochester Harley-Davidson, Rochester, Minn. 11:15 a.m. – Mankato, Harley-Davidson, Mankato, Minn. 5:30 p.m. – J&L Harley-Davidson, Sioux Falls, S.D. Sunday, August 8: 3:30 p.m. – Peterson Harley-Davidson, Pierre, S.D. Monday, August 9: 2:30 p.m. – Black Hills Harley-Davidson, Rapid City, S.D. Tuesday, August 10: 2 p.m. – Harley-Davidson Motor Company riders arrive in Sturgis with the 10th Annual Dakota Thunder Motorcycle Run followed by a moving veteran’s tribute and B-1 fly-by over Main Street. Updates at Harley-Davidson Website.

42 Responses to “Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell To Ride For The 1st Time To Sturgis Bike Week.”

  1. 1 Woody Jun 27th, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Good for him, better late than never. At least he’s responding to criticism and making the attempt to get a better look at things he should know if he’s going to steer the company. Maybe he’ll get tired of being passed by all the other makes while his nuts burn off, and help spur some new designs for the future. At the least he’ll have a great time and learn why Harley exists is more than just shaving $5 off the cost of a bike.

  2. 2 Lance Dickwood Jun 27th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I hope he fries his thighs, has the TBW run away and give him a good scare, walks two miles to a gas station because of the crap gas gauge, can’t sleep with a stiff neck caused by unexplainable buffeting, experiences limp mode at least twice, has someone jack his laptop after popping his saddle bags with a screwdriver, and has his speedo and lights quit, while the bike starts throwing codes. And when he phones the closest Harley dealer to help figure out what the codes mean they tell him, “Sorry, you didn’t buy from us so go F yourself . . .”

  3. 3 Axel Jun 27th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Hope he doesn’t make a blunder that gets him killed, like has happened the last two years to two experienced rider/dealers on the way to Sturgis.
    Riding to Sturgis for the first time at an advanced age can’t replace a lifefime of immersion in motorcycles and the lifestyle.
    God forbid he gets the idea Harley has to “modernize” and come out with Japanese-style motorcycles.

  4. 4 Jeff Nicklus Jun 27th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Riding to Sturgis is the easy part …… riding home after a week of fun is the difficult part ….. bet he flies home.

    Lance Dickwood, LMAO!

    Over & Out,


  5. 5 Grey Beard Jun 27th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    His first thought when he arrives…..
    Damn…. screw the motorcycles, we have to expand our boutiques, suspenders, socks and do-rags is where it’s at.

  6. 6 pabstbluerigid Jun 27th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Periodically lurk this blog to get objective news from Cyril…

    Am amazed at the continual jealousy and the gallons of “haterade” that flows freely & regularly on this site (though i must admit it is the same crew every time…i guess with limited floor traffic for your dated barley rideable “assembled bikes,” you have much time to provide input?). It absolutely kills me!

    Y’all would not have shit if not for the motor company….there would be no S & S, no Merch, no TP…no Ultima motors…none of the opportunities for craftsman or “out-of-the-box” thinkers would have ever have existed if the v-twin had not first been birthed.

    Performance Machine, Kuryakyn, Corbin, Rich Products….the ENTIRE aftermarket exists because of opportunities created BY Harley Davidson. Things they couldn’t or wouldn’t provide.

    Sucker Punch, Big Dog…these comapnies once thrived because of niches that were not met.

    But so much animosity towards the Motor Company! So much Freudian “penis-envy,” kinda reminds me of the guys who buy (or build?) wide tire bikes…trying to compensate for a “shortfall” elsewhere.

    i digress.

    Wandell had/has a tough road to ride, in the business sense? He is committed to make sure HDMOCO & it’s dealer network/employees do NOT go the way of GM. He has axed many in the name of survival. tough job. Former administration could NOT do the job as too many ties and/or connections dating back too many years…he saved my ass in the AMF years, i got his brother a job, he got promoted because he knew her & so on.

    Wandell came in knowing no one. owed no one nothing. objectively took to the task it hand. give him a chance?

    In the last year, we have seen the departure of some pivotal HDMOCO staff…Ron Hutchinson, John Flickinger, Jim McCaslin, and the list will grow.

    We will survive. We will perservere as we always have, perhaps on a smaller scale.

    The survival of our industry depends on the survival of the HDMOCO.

    Don’t kid yourselves…close the cap on the “haterade.”

  7. 7 1550tc Jun 27th, 2010 at 11:36 pm


    I hope he fries his thighs and melts those stupid 2cent plastic deflectors

    It will be his lucky day so this wont happen
    , “Sorry, you didn’t buy from us so go F yourself . . .”

    BUT BUT lets say he leaves on sunday and on monday he wants evrything u mentioned fixed!

    He gets his 110ci SE, 80 hp FLPOS ( f-ing lovely piece of shit) towed to the closet dealer and business is so bad, that they dont have techs working on monday, so he gets a hotel room and hopefully get on the road that day ……….then as Jeff said he flies home after Sturgis and gets to find out how good the extended warrantee is at re-imbursing/paying for his hotel and meals & towing !!!

  8. 8 Johny Jun 28th, 2010 at 7:10 am

    It’s kind of sad this love/hate relation with Harley. You are better off to all support Keith Wandell in his efforts. Without Harley doing good, your after-market business will die very fast

  9. 9 Taco Jun 28th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Oh my! I am not sure he has ever ridden that much. I wonder if he will make it the whole way or if he will take one of the corporate jets for some of it? poser…

  10. 10 pabstbluerigid Jun 28th, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I actually logged in this am to see if anyone had an ephipany after looking in the mirror…but alas, more pompous grandstanding.

    Wow. The way y’all talk, you were all “born on a Harley” and your very first ride must have been a “coast to coast run!”

    Really righteous!!!!

    Give Wandell a break, everyone has their “first ride!”

  11. 11 1550tc Jun 28th, 2010 at 8:49 am


    We all support Harley in some ways I’m sure or we wouldn’t be here.

    The whole aftermarket mostly exists and is usually 2-3 years ahead of HD because of Harley’s creative engineering , quality, lack of performance and their copy cat business model. The courts are about the only way Harley slows down the aftermarket.

    Who knows what the future holds, the big 3 in Detroit 30 years ago didn’t know or care about a bunch of lil carmakers who are now selling cars in most of their old showrooms.

    HD will always be there, it has the most passionate and loyal owners of any mass market product EVER , no body tattoos Honda, KIA ect. or even Apple on their body nor do 300,000 Canon owners meet anywhere in the world to take pictures for a week!

  12. 12 pabstbluerigid Jun 28th, 2010 at 8:57 am

    oh yeah…before any shots are fired…lemme state i am:

    -proud HD dealer, over 35 years
    -have never, ever discounted (cheapens brand) NOR have we charged anything more than advertised MSRP for any bike, model, or part we sold….even during the 90’s when all around me were addding “premiums” for instant gratification
    -i sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of aftermarket parts annually as i KNOW HD cannot/will not provide everything my customers need
    -we are open 7 days a week year round, no techs on Sunday only (service pick-ups & drop-offs only, service advisor present – for emergencies we have multiple techs minutes away)
    -flat rate charges apply, no hourly bullshit – yo uknow what you’ll pay up front pending “suprises and/or rusted/frozen components” – we are here to KEEP customers & make friends

    and i am excited about the future – things can only get better and I HAVE BEEN AROUND LONG ENOUGH TO HAVE BEEN THHROUGH THIS BEFORE!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. 13 Sasha Jun 28th, 2010 at 10:18 am


  14. 14 Betty Jun 28th, 2010 at 11:16 am

    hey 1550tc , I used to work with a guy who had an Apple logo tattooed on his leg LOL

  15. 15 hoyt Jun 28th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    PBR… how was your Buell business?

  16. 16 pabst blue rigid Jun 28th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    was one of the first US Buell dealers, came on in 1994….did great with the early tube frames…xb/next gen was so/so…when the rebates came/door closed, we reduced price by amount of rebates….NOT, NOT to cost…no of that “chicken little, oh my the sky is falling!” so many dealers discounted sooooo fast…they cheapened a quality product and skewed an already challenging market – we successfully sold the remaining dozen or so we had…still have a couple dated units we gave generous $$ on as a trade thus we will lose on these, but we move forward…how’s that song go….”don’t look back, a new days breaking.”

    live my life with the glass half full.

  17. 17 1550tc Jun 28th, 2010 at 3:04 pm


    we are open 7 days a week year round, no techs on Sunday only (service pick-ups & drop-offs only, service advisor present – for emergencies we have multiple techs minutes away)

    thanks pabs and good to here this and i hope that me or anyone who does need service on a trip is in your area 🙂

    sounds like you have a great store 🙂


    -i sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of aftermarket parts annually as i KNOW HD cannot/will not provide everything my customers need

    nice to see you dont have HD stamped on your forehead 🙂


    had an Apple logo tattooed on his leg LOL

    probably some kid drunk on red bull and grey goose………kinda like that comercial where the guy goes out for a nite drinking and wakes with the cheryl tattoo on his back LOL


    i know you love cool adds of any kind check this one from benz shot up in canada
    The Tunnel is China Bar on Hwy 1 just north of Boston Bar. The bridge is Alexandra, just 2k north of Spuzzum, BC.


  18. 18 pabstbluerigid Jun 28th, 2010 at 3:19 pm


  19. 19 RUB Jun 28th, 2010 at 3:34 pm


    “So much Freudian “penis-envy,” kinda reminds me of the guys who buy (or build?) wide tire bikes…trying to compensate for a “shortfall” elsewhere.”

    I know one of these hard core “bikers” . 2 weeks after he bought the “chopper” , 2 full sleeves of tats and a dozen T shirts with F*&K YOU on the back . The bike is on ebay now . ( 3 yrs , 2 trips to Daytona and a couple thousand miles later )

  20. 20 1550tc Jun 28th, 2010 at 4:14 pm


    I had a break down near Bubbas if you see him at the up coming meetings tell him about this.

    I cant say enough good things about bubbas staff ……from eating at the in house diner to his guys dropping me off at enterprise to them nearly ripping up the work order, Bubba’s GM even phoned me to ask is the work was ok and if everything ran good on the way home! Grand Rapids MI also has an awesome store. Guys in Ranoke VA?? especially the guys grand kid…WOW best tech i have met at an HD store, they run a race team out of that shop ??

    Pabs if your in the SW riding around, stop at Rods in Hanceville AL, he has to be the best TRUE no frills independent shop in the SW. Guy is a wiz on a dyno and efi.

    Guys in Marysville even though not open on monday, were unreal, a great young tech there! How can u not love a tech that tapes off parts of your bike with green painters tape so he dont scratch your bike/parts and mine is almost a factory rat bike ……..I’m like man don’t worry about it, adds character lol


    from what i see most guys that are over chicked and under dicked , well? money sure is a great equalizer for them 🙂

  21. 21 fuji Jun 28th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I find it interesting to hear from a dealer and they are alarmed to hear the sentiment towards Harley Davidson.

    The dog is mans best friend and companion but if you beat the dog for not eating what you feed him eventually he is either going to run away or if you have him chained down he may bite or bark back. One thing for sure, that dog will never trust you again regardless of how much you beg, for you have lost his trust and when you need him the most.

    Dogs do not forget.

  22. 22 Doc Robinson Jun 28th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Hey pabstbluerigid, when you say, “Am amazed at the continual jealousy and the gallons of “haterade” that flows freely & regularly on this site” I am right with you. Plus I support everything else you had to say and good on you for being a proud dealer for the Motor Company. When I read stuff such as submitted by Lance Dickhead I am beyond being saddened and get to wonder where his Jap dealership is located. As for Fuji’s attempt to draw a parallel between a beaten dog and Harley-Davidson, it beggars belief …

  23. 23 maroco Jun 28th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Have a nice ride Mr.

  24. 24 fuji Jun 28th, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    As I stated a long time ago…..Harley Davidson was a company with a run-away fad.

    I can’t believe that the HD corporate board didn’t see the end coming and they rode the train to the end of the tracks for the payoff.

    Harley didn’t gain their fame as one of the five worst corporate boards by trying to do cost cutting measures back when they should have.

    The Company and Dealers all knew that the loans they were making at the height of the frenzy was like Swiss cheese.

    Dealers knew their finance and insurance was out of hand with sub-prime loans [I can hear the F & I manager snickering], so that makes them part of the end result and where they are today, so don’t blame it all on the economy, as the economy disclosed them and their failures.

    For me to be sympathetic…I don’t think so.

    Wandell was hired to do a job, chop heads and that he is doing, a job that has to be done. If I could read his mind, his mind would probably be thinking…”how can I exclude some people with the last name of Davidson and make this company a little thriftier”….?

    So why are we trying to make Wandell a biker? He’s a damn golfer going for a hole in one.

    Most of those that ran the company were with Harley for many years and so to speak are the people that let the company and you down.

    If you want a figure-head, go after Willy G and ask him how he let all of this happen.


    Pabstbluerigid & Doc,
    Good on you both.

    I am actually another proud HD dealer and support the theory that without the Mo Co, there would not be a V-Twin or after market industry but aside from all of that, I see a simply answer for Fuji & Mr Dickhead.
    Simply UN-subscribe from this blog, sell your Harley if you are actually lucky enough to own one and not just a t-shirt and bugger off and stop spoiling this blog for the people who are passionate about the Harley-Davidson brand.
    See it’s like this, no one makes you own or ride a Harley. Real HD enthusiasts do it because we want to and we enjoy it.
    May I suggest, If you stop enjoying it, then get off if and go ride a Victory or Jap crap and bitch about those companies and see if they give a toss about your opinions.

    NO other brand of motorcycle in the world provides the support network, branding or life style that Harley-Davidson does and as a whole there was a real risk of us all losing that in the manner that GM suffered.
    Someone HAD to come in wielding an axe and I am sure Keith Wandell, as would any decent human being, was concerned at the cuts and job losses, but if he had not had the balls to implement these cuts the other 8000 Mo Co employees, Dealers World Wide and their staff plus associated businesses which could easily equate to 50,000 people directly affected, if the Mo Co was to close its doors.
    I for one am pleased with the direction the Mo Co is taking.
    I guarantee that the Company is listening to what the punters want, it just takes time to filter through like any big corporation.

  26. 26 Grey Beard Jun 28th, 2010 at 6:35 pm


    It’s not the bikes that piss some of us off, it’s what management did to some of the dealers that have kept their ass afloat during the lean times. Case in point, Reggie Pink HD in White Plains NY. A family motorcycle business since the 20’s selling motorcycles and bikes, in the early 40’s they started selling HD’s. Help keep HD afloat during the AMF era. So how does HD reward this loyal legendary dealership ?!?!? A few yrs back HD told the Reggie Pink dealership they had to build one of them super HD stores, if not, they were going to take their HD dealership away. The family knew they couldn’t afford the finances to build a big store, but they decide they would give it a try instead of loosing an 80+ yr family owned business, 60+ yr HD business.
    This yr Reggie Pink HD an 80+ yr family owned business, 60+ yr HD business, closed their doors.



  27. 27 1550tc Jun 28th, 2010 at 7:12 pm


    I can’t believe that the HD corporate board didn’t see the end coming

    American banks were lending money to anyone with a pulse above 10 beats per minute or anyone who could fog their prada sunglasses.

    no one saw it coming except the few that created the mess

  28. 28 fuji Jun 28th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    no one saw it coming except the few that created the mess.

    Im sure Eagle Mark didn’t have a clue.

  29. 29 fuji Jun 28th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    If I portrayed anything that was false correct me and Doc don’t take it personal being naive comes form ones surrounding as a youth.

    Long live Harley Davidson but in a fashion that is credible and honest just like we want the Dealers to be.

    To the dealers. listen to your customers and build a future.

    If you think that we are all happy campers because of tradition and life style just remember there has to be a customer before you can sell that life style and many customers have been destroyed.

    So Mr Harley dealer thanks for the response and by the way I do own a Harley but most dealers are to proud to do any service work on it because it is to old just like me. Selective clients I guess. Sorry there I go again.

  30. 30 1550tc Jun 29th, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Im sure Eagle Mark didn’t have a clue.

    they borrow their $$$ of someone else, like most lenders

  31. 31 Drummer Dave Jun 29th, 2010 at 6:42 am

    He’s actually been on a long ride. This is just his 1st on a Harley!

  32. 32 1550tc Jun 29th, 2010 at 9:21 am

    He’s actually been on a long ride

    He needs to get on onther in Strugis.

    Get over to the chip and onto Kid R (.) (.) ck’s ripper packed bus and

    he will get the ride of his life!

  33. 33 hoyt Jun 29th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    There’s always room for improvement and constructive criticism.

    The $150 million (or whatever) cost to shutter Buell + the refused offers to buy Buell amount to probably $300 million in money that can be counted. There’s a lot of lost, intangible money with that saga. The dealers were a big part of that problem (not all, but many, as well as the HD management)

  34. 34 Axel Jun 29th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I seem to detect some hints here that no criticism of Harley-Davidson is justified. If there are good dealers posting here, they should be the first to admit that there are some lousy dealers out there. Like the ones who don’t work on any pre-Twin Cam bikes. Ever hear of a Chevy dealer who wouldn’t work on ANY car, much less limit their service department to 1999 and newer Chevies?
    And how can anyone not criticize H-D for forcing dealers to build Taj Mahal dealerships, whether their business and location justified it or not? Harley lost a lot of their class and character when many of their older, funkier shops were abandoned. And now, they’ve lost some of those dealers.
    What about the way that they’ve cheapened the product? Weak crank and cam bearings, no trap door on XL transmissions, unrepairable, noisy six-speeds, overheating Big Twins, unsafe Dyna and Touring engine mounts, and on, and on……
    I realize Wandell isn’t responsible for any of these decisions. But the board that hired him is responsible for selecting a generic “CEO type”, instead of someone with some kind of motorcycling or engineering background.
    But hey, it might work out. I remember that Vaughn Beals was an AMF exec before they moved him over to head up Harley-Davidson. He wasn’t a motorcycle guy either, but he became one, and shepherded the MoCo through the most challenging time in their history, far more challenging than today’s troubles.
    The question is, can lightning strike the same company twice? I think even the most enthusiastic critics would be happy if it did.

  35. 35 Doc Robinson Jun 30th, 2010 at 3:40 am

    Axel, fair criticism of Harley-Davidson is quite okay, it’s just that so much of it is biased and distorted if not total bullsh*t. BTW the 2010 6-speeds are not noisy and as for weak crank and cam bearings, what’s your factual info on that? I’m with you on the XLs, however.

  36. 36 Skipper Jun 30th, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Is this guy the moron that killed Buell? Maybe he should stay home and supervise the new line of Harley belt buckles and do-rags. Also he could help pick out the new colors for 2011 so Harley will have something “new” for 2011. Maybe he could come up with some more ridiculous names for the 2011 lineup. Fat Bob and Night Train and the such are getting old like the bikes. With the baby boomers dieing off so will Harley Davidson and that will be good. Then I will not have to put up with the morons showing off there loud exhaust.

  37. 37 sdbiker Jul 3rd, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Skipper, Buell was a great motorcycle. But , no one bought them and the company never made a profit in 15 years. They had a great run.

  38. 38 4Cammer Jul 5th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Yeah Skipper, only some 136,000 people bought Buells. In spite of having to go into a HD chrome emporium to get one. 🙂

  39. 39 Donny Jul 21st, 2010 at 11:57 am

    i have bin riding for 23 years started at 16 on a long fork chopper, i have rode every thing,almost every thing and the best motorcycles i have ever road were triumph and buell ,but since buell is gone triumph here i come,sorry harley your to old and crusty,if you wanna no your future look at indian motorcycles,thats you in 10 to 15 years if your lucky,and sorry harley riders if buell will not die quite,but id rather rage against the die ‘ing of the light.(PS) most buell riders i talked to are going to go with triumph after there buell is dead,but harley guy you keep your fantasy and walk around your empty dealer ships,and the druggy abusive looser thing is dead its over sorry.(sorry about spelling i em so mad i think there is smoke coming out of my ears.

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