In 2013 What Is The Average Age Of A Harley-Davidson Buyer?

cyrilhuzehd11You all know that Harley-Davidson has a demographic problem, their core customers still being the white boomers, a group obviously decreasing in size. In 2008, the company began an aggressive outreach campaign to appeal to the Generation X (all those born after 1964 by Census Bureau’s definition), women and minorities. Recently, I reported that for five years running, a research from RL Polk, a leading provider of auto industry data, is showing that Harley is the USA market leader among riders ages 18 to 34, as well as women, African-Americans and Hispanics.

cyrilhuzehd22But does it really mean that the average age of a Harley buyer is going down? Yes, says Harley Marketing Director Mark-Hans Richer in an interview with Reuters, stating that for the 1st time in 2012, the company average buyer is 47 (born in 1965, 1 year later that the youngest baby-boomers), so is no more a boomer.

Prior to 2009, Harley regularly reported data on the company average buyer age. In 1999, Harley stated that the average rider age was 43.4, then 46.1 in 2004, and 48 in 2008. A controversy got started because Harley-Davidson stopped publishing this average age data with the justification “that it doesn’t measure the outreach effort.” Most analysts accept Harley-Davidson’s claims that the outreach is working and that the company is a turnaround story. But Robin Farley an analyst at UBS who has covered Harley-Davidson for a decade, says that until the company stopped routinely disclosing the number, the average buyer age was rising steadily at a rate of about 6 months every year since at least 1999, and that consequently the average Harley buyer is now 50, so still a boomer.

cyrilhuzehd33After she published a note based on her calculations, she says a company “senior manager” called her to say that she was mistaken – but that the real number was 49 years and 6 months – a boomer still and not the 47 Marketing Director Richer claims. Then, Harley Spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim would have said to her that the unnamed executive misspoke because he did not refer to “the most recent and more accurate database we are using.” Katz, another analyst at Morningstar estimates that outreach customers now account for about one-third of Harley-Davidson’s domestic sales, or nearly 50,000 bikes last year. “It really made me rethink the potential of the business,” she says. So, what is today’s average age of a Harley-Davidson buyer? Only Harley-Davidson knows for sure. (photos@harley-davidson)

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47 Responses to “In 2013 What Is The Average Age Of A Harley-Davidson Buyer?”


  1. 1 Douglas Jun 27th, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Even if Harley attracts younger buyers, it continues to sell new bikes to baby boomers getting older. I think it’s the explanation why the buyer’s average age is not as low as expected. At least Harley stabilized the number around 47/48/49?. It will take years of outreach effort to replace all baby boomers.

  2. 2 Shifter Jun 27th, 2013 at 8:48 am

    It makes me think. What will be the average age of an Indian Chief buyer?

  3. 3 Greg Keller Jun 27th, 2013 at 8:50 am

    All women I know (3) who bought their first Harley during the last 5 years are over 45!

  4. 4 Gary Jun 27th, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Walk the vendors in any big rallies. Predominantly over 55.

  5. 5 BobS Jun 27th, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Younger buyers aren’t interested in seeing old drunk fat people get naked at rallies lol. Congrats to Harley for their success.

  6. 6 Josh Parker Jun 27th, 2013 at 9:30 am

    …and fat ladies exhibiting what they should hide.

  7. 7 Brother Tiberius Jun 27th, 2013 at 9:44 am

    BobS and Josh are hitting the nail on the head. Traditional old school Easy Rider style bikers aren’t attractive to the current riding audience. Watch the trend in the motorclothes to see where the marketing efforts are made. It’s not the overweight pin HOG vest crowd…

  8. 8 Brandon Jun 27th, 2013 at 9:47 am

    The Hog Pins vest obese couples are Harley tragedy. Time will resolve the issue…

  9. 9 mk Jun 27th, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Hey some youngins get a kick seeing old ladys getting nekkied

  10. 10 richard Jun 27th, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I don’t know…at my age, a lot of those old fat women look really good!

  11. 11 Tom Jun 27th, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Older riders are getting rid of their extra bikes and not replacing them is my opinion.

  12. 12 Kicker Jun 27th, 2013 at 11:29 am

    An important point to mention is that HDMC is doing more to reach female, youth, African-American and Latino riders than any other manufacturer. Maybe more than all the other manufacturers put together. That rising tide lifts all boats. Just look at their advertising. HDMC should be thanked for their efforts that bring more new riders to all brands instead of criticized.

  13. 13 pan51 Jun 27th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    The fraction of people that can afford a new Harley at younger ages is limited. It’s still a luxury item and money to spend for luxury is also limited at younger ages. In the beginning of my motorcycle life I bought all bikes used. So the outcome of this study is no surprise to me and I guess it will not change significally in any given timeframe.

  14. 14 Kirk Perry Jun 27th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Fresh from the San Diego Harley-Davidson here’s what Harley’s done and doing. Indian take note. Harley has a sales plan engineered from start to extended warranty. You cannot get away.
    First off, the dealer is going to GIVE YOU STUFF when you buy a new Harley, and DEALS that you can not, and will not refuse (unless your the “money guy” biker from *Progressive® that sheds “Jackson’s” in the wind because he’s made of it).
    Everything is upbeat in the HD showroom, the music’s playing and you’re dancing around drunk on good deals because you know they’re going to hit you with the “extended warranty package” before you get out the door, but you know in your heart you’ll run the “time” out on the warranty before the “miles” limit. And that exactly what I told CFO Vanessa before I was even fully-seated in her office.
    Then it all kicked-in.
    1. I’d pre-read the Clymer’s service manual and realize that Harley has built a motor and drive-train that only a tooled, MMI mechanic could understand, which keeps your mitts off it and builds support to lessen the “extended warranty” fear into reason.
    2. They built the motor and transmission to outlast their “2-yr. unltd. mile, front to back factory warranty” so the factory has ZERO risk for mechanical malfunctions, because they (probably) tested 100 motors, running 24 hrs. a day for 30 months in an Ohio River ditch-pump operation and they couldn’t kill one.
    3. They have practically zero interest financing from the HD Finance Co.
    4. If your a good driver, they have full-coverage insurance pricing that NO ONE can undercut from the * HD Insurance Co. (Mine was $202. for a year, not 6 mo.)
    So, when Vanessa opened her hands from their “power steeple” position, placing her lovely palms face-up and said, “Look at it this way Kirk, the factory 2-yr. warranty is like two pieces of dry chicken”. I stared at her hands.
    “Once the two years are up”, she closed her hands in front of my face, sort of, “You’re on your own”….. I’m thinking back on their intense service manual…. “and with the 5-yr. warranty most people choose (goes up to 7 or 10 yrs.), if you’re within pinging distance of a cell tower, a tow truck will haul your bus to the nearest motorcycle shop of your choosing. You pay the operator, HD sends you a check.”
    5. Get the wheel warranty. If you hit a hole and knock your spoke (or cast) rims out of whack, the allowed run-out on spokes is in the 32ths of an inch range, and cast rims get replaced.
    Indian should follow suit. A “Bike Builder Program” helps everybody. The customer ends up getting EXACTLY the bike they wanted, and the dealer is on the same page from the time you walk in the door with your dream-sickle printout.

    * Federal laws require you be informed that Progressive® who underwrites the HD Insurance Co. is a major contributor to Medical Marijuana legalization.
    So, don’t let Flo’ get any on you. 🙂

  15. 15 Terence Tory Jun 27th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    The Indian-built small H-D V-twin is an obvious bike to sell to the youngs.Their grannies and fifty year old guys on Big Twin H-D’s fooling themselves in the sun have zero appeal to them.

  16. 16 Kirk Perry Jun 27th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    “for the 1st time in 2012, the company average buyer is 47 (born in 1965, 1 year later that the youngest baby-boomers), so is no more a boomer.”
    ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    To that fact, and how it builds on Harley’s existing Bike Builder Program model, is #1, their baseline fool-proof motorcycle; their one-type (curved risers for “pull back bars”) that fits all models; likewise their one-piece exhaust systems. The modular-ness of it all, is going to be the ” dealership’s pull” for new riders – most especially that 883 Hugger market that breeds gear-ratio and c.i. “punch” discontent.
    “Keep the home mechanic away from “tweaking” it. ” is the motto that’s made Harley the Mac-Pro® of motorcycles. I’ve had an extended warranty on all of mine, and haven’t used MacHelp once. The odds of repair are in their favor. Beautiful no? Yes! 🙂

  17. 17 Highrider Jun 27th, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Who cares, HD doesn’t make a scoot I care for anymore anyhow, It is obvious they distain the older “White Old Man” buyer, too bad, I bought a Victory Jackpot and enjoy the H out of it.
    Don’t get me wrong, I still dig my FXSTC, FXSTD AND FXSTS, Just not a follower of the bagger and Black Chrome or lack of is good crowd

    I must confess, I do miss being 25 , but I still have my memory and hope the young guys have as much fun as I did, no matter what they ride.

  18. 18 takehikes Jun 27th, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Young riders are learning on other bikes. They MAY transition to an HD but at some point unless they want to pretend to be Billie Bad-ass on the weekends they will buy from someone else. There is no doubt HD has invented a “history” they just don’t deserve but they have pulled it off so far.

  19. 19 Sharrack Jun 27th, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Young riders will hit the secondary market. …..imo….the smart way to buy any bike.
    Older folk tend to blow zillions on new bikes……and vest extenders! 😉

  20. 20 burnout Jun 27th, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks Kirk. You and Cyril save me a lot of time. My customers who have purchased new bikes in the last qtr took the extended warranty. Half of em went in the dealership NOT intending to buy/trade that day. peace ps they are all 50 yrs old plus. All the young guys around here are on bobbers, new or used.

  21. 21 Kirk Perry Jun 27th, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    We’re glad to help. I have no dog running. I just want to be heard. 🙂
    •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    Two big item’s in favor of a motor and final belt drive like the Sportster 1200cp, is the maintenance schedule:
    First oil change and service: 1,000 miles, then 5,000, then 10,000. The dealer doesn’t need to see you until then. That’s a lot or road terrorizing between oil changes for any kid. And the Sportster has enough juice to get them out of traffic mayhem situations.
    The second plus+++ is a Sportster set-up with forward pegs and mini-ape handlebars, because you can use the h.bar grips to lift your butt off the seat 1/8″ over potholes, by jamming your feet down on the forward pegs. Your spine will thank you and it’s only available with this particular set up. Think Sportster 1200 – the new Knuckle & rigid Panhead.

  22. 22 Little rider Jun 27th, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Whoa, a full blown study and a bunch of analysts to figure out the average age of a HD owner….47 vs 48 vs 50. I didn’t realize that a difference in 6 months or a year would influence the HD stock.

    If HD had found the solution to decrease the age to 30, they would have done it long time ago. They just can’t. That’s just how the brand is perceived and will be forever, no matter how much marketing you throw at it. Young people don’t ride HD. They wait for used one to come to the market eventually or they just wait until they are 45 to discover it. That’s pretty simple.

    The only demographic that HD can potentially alter (and they have) is women riders. End of story. Brand positioning is very important. Young riders don’t have the funds to finance a HD, the “lifestyle” behind it, the dealers charging $400 to install a set of exhausts or a $40 t-shirt.

  23. 23 Terence Tory Jun 28th, 2013 at 4:49 am

    Kirk Perry,The tug the ‘hangers method of dealing with bumps on an XL is nonsense and sounds like a move at the gym.If the pegs were where they should be for real rider control like the 70’s FX’s and Xl’s mid-mounted pegs riding over bumps in comfort would not be an issue.The XL’s have always been uncomfortable compared to most Big Twins. especially for bigger guys.I went to a H-D dealer about two years ago to look at a few bikes and was keen to buy,but 95% of the bikes in the showroom looked cheap and nasty with weird paint schemes and a general tacky,cheap and plastic vibe.It made me so sick I went to another shop consider a BMW HP2 Sport.H-D puts so much effort into chrome and finish that the spirit of the bike is left drowning in disco flash.Base model Baggers and matte paint Sportsters are the only H-D’s I would bother with.Why they don’t ditch the horrible Dyna and build a new FXR model is beyond me.How H-D gets rid of the spectacle of all the old men milling around at the shop on Saturdays looking like a Village People leather man revival will be tricky.Plenty of young hipster H-D riders will wrench their own machines with plenty of cheap tools,advice,parts just a click away.The young hipster vibe these days is they want to do it their own way themselves and be self reliant.The LAST thing they want is to visit a dealer “who knows it all” and wants to lighten their wallet in the process.That dents their fragile egos and niggles the hip pocket nerve that leads to a shallow pool of funds.The old dealer business models are obsolete regard anyone under thirty.How Deus Ex Machina and Wrenchmonkees have a way cooler hip-factor with young people than any large company is a case study of marketing.The fact that Deus and Wrenchmonkees have only sold customized bikes in the hundreds only emphasizes how clever they are.

  24. 24 Stephen Jun 28th, 2013 at 6:37 am

    The young guys (around 30 yo) I work with reckon that HD, Victroy and the Honda Goldwing are bikes for old men. They often refer to then as geezer glides or geezer wings and geezer visions. They have zero interest in cruisers of any sort, even those from Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki. Give the young guys 10 or 20 years and they’ll be dumping their crotch rockets for something more comfortable. After all how many young guys lust after high end luxury cars?

  25. 25 Kirk Perry Jun 28th, 2013 at 10:57 am

    That’s it. I’ve had a calling to start a pleasure-religious nation called the “Non-Native American Indian tribe aka the “CommonChero’s”.
    Peace hangs over our heads, while we ceremoniously beat on the bottom of buckets or trash cans while shuffle-dancing in small steps, repeating obnoxiously repetitive chants to exhaustion – not too different from students in a Yeshiva rocking back and forth and beating their heads on a desk. We groove like that.
    No admission fee or dues or meetings ever, however the chanting rituals often take place before groups of CommonCheros embark on motorcycle expeditions to the hinterlands.
    Ya in? 🙂

  26. 26 Rob Jun 28th, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I bought my first new HD (1982FXR) at 26 in late 1981. Sold my 69 sporty to get it. Got a 12 Road King last year………………….may be my last bike.

  27. 27 Kirk Perry Jun 28th, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Back to the target age of first time buyers, Sportster 1200 devotees take note:

    1. Sportster’s have been low-geared in their final drive gear since 1957.

    2. Sportster’s ship with a 29-T transmission sprocket (pulley).
    If your setting up your ride to cruise as a magic carpet (where motor and drive-train noise are muffled into the background, to become a non-noise distraction) and not “harsh” your mellow…. follow me?…. then order a 30-T sprocket (pulley) from the dealer and let them install it. You’ll use the same 137-T drive belt, and HD has underwritten this modification as OEM warranty compliant.
    Imo, don’t even ride your Sportster until this is done. I didn’t and glad I waited. I test rode the 29-T at the dealer with two sets of handlebars, pull-back (risers) with speedster (flatter) bars and mini-ape (buckhorn), the 5th gear seemed “nnedy” at 65 mph. Then testing the min-apes on another 1200cp, that were so ergonomically comfortable with my wrist, that I made a quick-route back to the dealership and placed an order for a new bike.

    3. Order the 14″ windshield (they make an 18″ also), because it made a 90%+ difference in the “ride”. The air off a 14″ hits the w. shield and goes past your head as an “unstable air-mass”, so now it’s like riding in a convertible with the top down and windows rolled up. Something akin to sailing a mid-wheeled, gaffed-rigged, weekend schooner under a mild cross-wind. You feel the wind ruffling not howling. Big, big, Difference.

    The above controls combination will put the twist-grips closer to your head, your feet jammin’ onto the front pegs, with you comfortably perched in the ultimate power position for absolute control. I like the security of the 160/90 big front tire when threading road hazards.

  28. 28 Kirk Perry Jun 28th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    1. “The tug the ‘hangers method of dealing with bumps on an XL is nonsense and sounds like a move at the gym.If the pegs were where they should be for real rider control like the 70′s FX’s and Xl’s mid-mounted pegs riding over bumps in comfort would not be an issue.
    2. The XL’s have always been uncomfortable compared to most Big Twins. especially for bigger guys.
    3. I went to a H-D dealer about two years ago to look at a few bikes and was keen to buy, but 95% of the bikes in the showroom looked cheap and nasty – with weird paint schemes and a general tacky, cheap and plastic vibe. It made me so sick I went to another shop consider a BMW HP2 Sport”. – TT
    ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    Look at the Big Twin rider at the top of the page, T.
    Those are the curved-back risers, combined with the flatter bars (speedster) that make-up the “pulled-back bars” group of parts.
    Feature if you will, the top rider preparing to hit a chuck-hole he cannot avoid. He will attempt to lift his butt off the seat, to prevent a bone-jarring smack to the derriere, further bending his already hunched spine. That’s a-lots-of effort getting up off the seat without self-levitation.
    Now put the skinny-tire Sportster rider (bottom of page) in the same pending chuck-hole situation. Look at his seating position now. Aggressive isn’t it? Like he could kick-over someones residential trash can any time he felt like it.
    So aggressive that he’ll wait until the last moment to pull on both grips, while simultaneously jammin’ (remember the term from the late 60’s? Jammin’!, well, that’s what it meant) his feet further into the forward pegs – daring them to snap.
    And then what?
    At the last minute the mini-ape rider will lift his butt barely 1/8″ so deft & fast, that driver in the car behind him doesn’t even see him bob with the bump.
    That’s the difference T. Harley didn’t consult with me, before they designed any of this. We’re just here getting pin-pointy on one specific breed of freedom….

  29. 29 Blackmax Jun 28th, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Yes, it is aging….
    Hence the drive for women, people of clor & diversifcation into the world market.
    Give credit where credit is due, the marketing dept. has done it work only too well
    But there is something that drives a person, black,white, asian, male, female,
    green purple polka dotted to throw a leg over a cycle & ride
    that the spirit that needs to be celebrated, by everyone no matter what age, color or creed
    (or what kind of cycle you ride) !!!!!

  30. 30 Terence Tory Jun 29th, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Kirk Perry,it’s not the bumps that you can see and brace yourself for,it’s the ones you can’t react to because they hit your butt out of the blue.You can brace/lift your body for bumps on any motor/bicycle ever made,from clip-ons to skyscraper apes.

    KP:”I like the security of the 160/90 big front tire when threading road hazards” Well that must explain all the crashed XL 48’s I’ve seen at auctions of late.The crashed 48’s all seem to have washed out the front tire and then the guy landed on his head.The big fat front tire on such a light bike would not warm up much at city speeds to provide much grip.The fat 16 front tire was not fitted to the 48 for function,it was to provide a “chunky” looking bike to people who could not front the cash for a fat boy or a FXDF.An XL would handle better and generally work way better with the stock 19″ or the 21″.Fat tires work on monster trucks and Ferraris,not motorcycles.

  31. 31 Kirk Perry Jun 29th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Here we have THE textbook example of what the term “apples to oranges comparison” means.
    Terrence quite possibly has a mechanical/physics point. But he is referring to a ’48 model, and quite possibly even a different frame and control configuration (an orange) to the focus machine, a 1200 Sportster (the apple).
    •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    Given the opportunity provided, I clearly would like to point out to any 2013, last minute, “Bike Building” neanderthal-icks, that you Do-Not have to accept the 2013 (bad attitude vib-ing) snout’cut mufflers than ship stock with the XL 1200.
    I didn’t.
    The “Slim-Glide”™ and at least one model of 883 ship with the “old” 🙂 2012 tapered mufflers.
    Kids. Not only will your neighborhood love ya’…. it will also promote the “stand-down” attitude of peace that’s so needed, every time you quietly motor-off, on a zephyr their own DNA tells them, is THE true Harley-Davidson sound.

  32. 32 Terence Tory Jun 29th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Kirk Perry:The Sportster “Forty-Eight ®” model,like the one the H-D motor company sells.Not a 1948 Panhead.

  33. 33 Kirk Perry Jun 29th, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    “Not a 1948 Panhead.”
    🙂 you win … stay away from 160/90 tires if yer’ scared then.

  34. 34 Kirk Perry Jun 30th, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Another way the dealership stays connected with the customer is on “New Bike Night” – an invitational exclusive event to introduce you and your family to the employees, celebrate your new bike with a complimentary meal, the “nickle tour” of the shop with raffle prizes.

    I called to say I couldn’t make it to the event, and that’s when Trisha told me that the dealership will have truckloads of 2013 Harley’s available for constant test rides. They’ll have every model Harley makes there from this weekend, thru the 4th and the remainder of the week. So, even if you live in the far-flung reaches of San Diego County, put some pants on and make it on down to S.D. H-D at the interchange of state route 163 & Clairemont Mesa Blvd. and ride everything in the house.

  35. 35 Kirk Perry Jun 30th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    And a word needs to be said about the best (for your spine) riding position on a “model specific” XL 1200cp with forward controls and mini-apes :

    1. You can slouch like the rider in the bottom picture (whitewalls) on good roads, but if he hits a bump/hole in that position he’ll jam-up hi spine at the bottom, where it can’t bend so readily.

    2. For my liking, I’ve found that if your pelvis is tilted forward like the rider in the top picture, it seemingly puts your forward control feet more underneath your weight so your legs become shock absorbers and your back is not taking a hit at all – and your positioning is more like over-bearing the twist grips and handlebars with bunches-more aggressive control maneuvering on patchy asphalt and through the turns.
    3. With your pelvis tiled forward, the bum, below the back pockets, makes contact with the large amount of seat back-band supporting area, and not the seat bottom so much.
    On twisty county roads then, the G-force pressure is compressed on either bum-cheek, during right and left turns and accelerations and this is thrilling.

  36. 36 Brett Jun 30th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Kirk, not sure where you live…but I can tell you that $202 a year you are paying for insurance through HD is average for anyone I know with a bike here in Wisconsin.

  37. 37 Kirk Perry Jun 30th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    California Brett, but I sure don’t like even the idea of not getting a deal on my full coverage insurance that I though I was getting, because I was talking to Flo’ (personally, she said) and she said, “I see a lot of motorcycle policies coming across my screen all day” (Flo’s not going to lie to you. Look into her eyes.)…”and I don’t often see full coverage rates this low. $202. for a full year”.

    Boy howdy, this is getting me sort of steamed-up. I still feel I got a better rate than any of my peers in California. Would like to though, so I can get a good nights sleep.
    Thanks for nothing, Brett. 🙂

  38. 38 Terence Tory Jun 30th, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    It seems this topic relating to the age of new H-D buyers has turned into wild pilates and chiropractic advice.It may be age appropriate.

  39. 39 Kirk Perry Jun 30th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    It seems as though my California Progressive policies price can not be matched to mid-west pricing by anyone in California.
    •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    But given this opportunity and that I’ve given so much, to so many, for so long, for so little recognition – it seems a collection should be made between all of the motorcycle manufacturers, to collect $15,484.00, so that I can buy an exact duplicate of my current ride, and keep it in my shop for industry conference rides into the the wilds along the Mexican border and points northeast.
    The ability of someone being able to jump off a plane and right on a bike of the same cubic inch displacement as the 1200 XL, then take-off on 160 milers to spot #1 and then the next day, spot #2 are invaluable to the m/c industry. You can have the bike back whenever it’s not making you money. I’ll insure it.

    https://www.harley-davidson.com/en_US/Content/Pages/H-D1/Bike-Builder.html#/locale__en_US/model__XL1200C/year__2013/code__23-98-0-38-37-13-13-16-10-9-7-1-8-0-4-7-8-11-17-1-6-0-44

  40. 40 Reyn Mansson Jul 1st, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Harley buyers are not primarily buying a mechanical device, they are buying a lifestyle. Or as I like to say, buy a Harley, get a life.

    I’ve worked as marketing director or marketing consultant with several Harley dealers. I’ve ridden all the models from sportsters to Ultra Classics and there is not a single one I would want to own. First the weight, second the lack of power and third awkward ergonomics. I bought a XR1200 thinking I might like it, at least they had footpegs in a reasonable location. It was like riding something out of the 1980s. Got rid of it, boring bike.

    What do I ride? A Hayabusa. How old? 60

  41. 41 Doug Wozney Jul 1st, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Kirk, I totally agree with you on the best ergonomics for rider comfort and control. That being said, with a 22 inch seat height, 5.5 inches of ground clearance, same wheelbase as an FL, 560 lbs and 45 degrees of lean angle either side, I bet you’d LOVE riding my Pro-Tour ‘S’ – not that I’d let ya 🙂

  42. 42 Kirk Perry Jul 1st, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Doug, yes I agree with you, the Sportster XL 1200 is the (weight and torque wise) the new knuckle and rigid pan. I don’t know what a Pro-Tour “S” is but certainly I’d like to practice on yours. Holiday road – Clark Griswold style. 🙂

    Reyn, I’m taking your advice and ordering another Sportster 1200cp today, and then get a life after it arrives. Sounds like solid logic to me.

    Currently I’m stuck on a color scheme. No liking so much the peal-essence paint thing. Didn’t like them in 1962 so much either. Kinda girly.

  43. 43 Terence Tory Jul 1st, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Reyn Mansson,I pretty much agree with you.The time line of a typical Harley purchase goes like this: Over fourty > Over bored > Check credit > Look at catalogues and dream of the freedom that was never exercised during ones youth > Buy H-D > Ride H-D for a while > Bask in post-coital glow > Start to realize it was basically a mistake based on hype over mechanical substance > Sell bike after failing to too fool oneself > Keep the three T-shirts and one Jacket you purchased to luxuriate in “A lifestyle” > Precede to bore people witless with “Tales of my Harley riding” for the remainder of life. So endeth the lesson.There are certainly a few H-D models I would gladly buy new,but the Dyna-Mights,Softboys amd Fatgirls,etc leave this rider cold. If the lifestyle being sold means you end up surrounded by other old guys all seeking a lifestyle,can you get a refund?

  44. 44 Kirk Perry Jul 1st, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Today the new & rising average age is the person (boomer, whose sweating over the “dying factor”) who can put (2) of these no-maintenance, tong running between oil change and tune-up 1200cp Sportster’s, because they serve-well the basis for renewing friendships or creating something out of a telephone, email business/friend relationship.
    My rational for purchasing the 2nd bike was the answer to my question, “Do I want to spend money now and possibly have fun with people I wouldn’t normally get to, for the rest of my life, and then reach my 70’s still having the money I would have spent on the second bike, but missing 1/4 of my life, because I wanted to “save money” to get old on?” Everybody’s situation is different.
    The Sportster’s can sit there, covered in the shop and the batteries don’t need charging and the warranty is transferable, should one need to be liquidated.

    The total investment if you bought them both at once, would be about 30k (less than a Honda Civic-E or as much as you could trim it down, but the Sportster’s are a lightweight, a ticket out of town, and they’re perfect for county roads that network in the back country, and will pull two-people quite easily.
    I’m leaving the stock 29-T on the 2nd machine. I don’t think 2-up is good for the motor on a 30-T starting out in first gear, as it might lug, were one not careful. And newbys are newbys – doesn’t matter how long they’ve been riding.
    I already called someone about coming out, who’s initially said, “Yeah, I don’t know, you try to cram a whole bunch of stuff into a couple-three days, and end up going home beat and tired to the same mess you left”. 🙂 That’s a normal reaction today, but certainly doesn’t deter me.

    One key to a “turn-key success” for getting someone on an aeroplane for a 3 hr. trip to Gilligan’s Island can be made more fluid, if the person uses a Cit-Bank MasterCard and collects air miles. If you can rack up about 5k a month on YWCA, weed, gas, groceries, and everything else, you’ll be flying fer’ free anywhere, 1st class round-trip in no time. “The card’s in our wallet.” We fly 1st class everywhere or don’t fly and it cost us $50. each.

  45. 45 Kirk Perry Jul 1st, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    After agonizing over the color for #2 all day, I came up with the traditional birch white and blue pearl as a companion for #1’s Blue Pearl and Silver. Investment wise, I think 2-tone offers more depth of character. The pin lines use a main color of the fender as a stripe, by separating it with two other stripes. That’s 3-stripes.

    https://www.harley-davidson.com/en_US/Content/Pages/H-D1/Bike-Builder.html#/locale__en_US/model__XL1200C/year__2013/code__23-98-0-40-37-15-15-16-10-9-7-1-8-0-4-7-8-11-17-1-7-0-44

  46. 46 Kirk Perry Jul 2nd, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Bit of a problem with ordering a 2013 • XL 1200cp, there aren’t anymore being custom made until the 2014’s are released August 10th.
    I thought there might be a problem when last week, the “Bike Builder” program would only let you order a chrome spoke rim for the front, and not a chrome spoke rim for the back, but only a black one. 🙂

    Here’s hoping that between now and August 10th, HD comes up with some better color combo’s than “Rootbeer” and “Metalflake”. Stop.

    Keep the Birch White and Blue Pearl (since that’s the one I want) and offer colors not so “neon”. If you don’t bring back some conservative colors for 2014, Indian® will.

    Note: I predict a huge demand for the tapered mufflers. Not being able to order # 2 with them as an option would prevent be from buying one.

  47. 47 Kirk Perry Jul 2nd, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    ~ Harley-Davidson ~

    I was idling my Sportster 1200cp with tapered mufflers this morning at 10: 30 a.m. on the southern side of Hwy. 101 & Lomas Santa Fe when a group of bicyclist were strung-out in their own bicycle lane (right next to my idling set of tapered [back-pressured to the gills]) mufflers.
    I idled and mediated while they carried on a conversation between themselves at a normal speaking level.
    The quiet but supportive potato-potato sound was rocking their cradle and we were all getting along within our own private airspace, which is where “it’s at” right now with the coastal Pacific population.
    When these bike riders gather to commiserate, do you think they will reflect on how good that Harley sounded?
    What if a loud Harley had pulled up alongside? Would we have all still shared that common thread of groove.
    Bring back the tapered muffler as factory shipped. Don’t make the dealer do a swap-out and re-charge back to the factory, unless it’s easier for you in the long run, in that case rave-on.

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