American Vs. Metric Cruisers

A Styling Analysis Of Why The Japanese Still Don't Get It!

Many moons ago, when I was considerably younger, sexier, still had a hairline visible from the front and a waistline in the double digits, I was the editor of a motorcycle magazine. The first Kawasaki Vulcan 750 V-twin had just been introduced and I wrote in an editorial about how it had really missed the mark.

The target for these first Vulcans, Shadows, Intruders and Viragos were the elusive Sportster look, long, thin, raked and mean. What the Japanese stylists came up with their first mid-Eighties efforts at creating a Metric Cruiser Look was fiddly, incoherent, lumpy, cliched and far too compact. I stated in my editorial that "The Kawasaki execs should just buy a Harley and send it down to the styling department with a note attached 'Copy This Down To The Bolts'."

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This is the target for the Harley-cloners: Perfectly proportioned, utterly classic, completely updated. It doesn't get much better than this!This 1985 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 shows everything that was horrendous in the first attempts at forging a Metric Cruiser.This was what the Kawasaki 750 Vulcan was trying to imitate. This was my own personal scoot, a 1978 Sportster 1000 completely box stock except for the 4 inch over front forks. Which one do you prefer? Duh!The first generation Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 was all wrong too. Why design an engine with a rear cylinder exhaust port on the left and have the pipe exit right? What is that thing on the headlight brow and the other under the triple tree?The second generation Vulcan 1500 finally started to get it right. A really nice cruiser with the vast majority of styling obscenities finally erased.The Yamaha Road Star, very close to absolutely perfect!The Road Star's replacement, the swoopy and grimly Bat-biked Art Deco Stratoliner styling wreck.How could Kawasaki saddle a great cruiser like the Vulcan 2000 with this three-eyed alien happy face of a headlight?
This is the target for the Harley-cloners: Perfectly proportioned, utterly classic, completely updated. It doesn't get much better than this!
This is the target for the Harley-cloners: Perfectly proportioned, utterly classic, completely updated. It doesn't get much better than this!
This 1985 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 shows everything that was horrendous in the first attempts at forging a Metric Cruiser.
This 1985 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 shows everything that was horrendous in the first attempts at forging a Metric Cruiser.
This was what the Kawasaki 750 Vulcan was trying to imitate. This was my own personal scoot, a 1978 Sportster 1000 completely box stock except for the 4 inch over front forks. Which one do you prefer? Duh!
This was what the Kawasaki 750 Vulcan was trying to imitate. This was my own personal scoot, a 1978 Sportster 1000 completely box stock except for the 4 inch over front forks. Which one do you prefer? Duh!
The first generation Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 was all wrong too. Why design an engine with a rear cylinder exhaust port on the left and have the pipe exit right? What is that thing on the headlight brow and the other under the triple tree?
The first generation Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 was all wrong too. Why design an engine with a rear cylinder exhaust port on the left and have the pipe exit right? What is that thing on the headlight brow and the other under the triple tree?
The second generation Vulcan 1500 finally started to get it right. A really nice cruiser with the vast majority of styling obscenities finally erased.
The second generation Vulcan 1500 finally started to get it right. A really nice cruiser with the vast majority of styling obscenities finally erased.
The Yamaha Road Star, very close to absolutely perfect!
The Yamaha Road Star, very close to absolutely perfect!
The Road Star's replacement, the swoopy and grimly Bat-biked Art Deco Stratoliner styling wreck.
The Road Star's replacement, the swoopy and grimly Bat-biked Art Deco Stratoliner styling wreck.
How could Kawasaki saddle a great cruiser like the Vulcan 2000 with this three-eyed alien happy face of a headlight?
How could Kawasaki saddle a great cruiser like the Vulcan 2000 with this three-eyed alien happy face of a headlight?

The Kawasaki PR man who called me the same day the magazine was released chastized me for not appreciating the wonderful technical and aesthetic features of his new baby, but by the end of the conversation asked me in a roundabout way if I would consider coming on board as a consultant. In those days journalists had ethics (you can read up about that strange concept in dusty old books), and I refused on the grounds of conflict of interest.

If I had decided to take on Kawasaki's offer, I wonder if I could have saved them 15 years of muddling around before they finally started to hit the styling mark with the second generation Vulcan 1500s, which was the first Japanese V-twin to look like it was a real cruiser based on a righteous SuperGlide, not an dollar-store appliance.

Although the Japanese stylists have continued to get closer to the mark of a truly righteous ride, they seem to be like the Renaissance architects: they create a perfect design then add one obviously incongrous element to prove that only God is perfect and humans cannot be.

Yamaha had a 99% bullseye with the Road Star (Wild Star in Europe) 1600. It had all the proportions down of a truly great ride. Hefty, classic, clean and funky, it was a bike that really captured that "elusive pre-War aesthetic." All you had to do was remove those federally mandated battleship cannons passing for mufflers, and replace that Big Block V8 chrome air cleaner cover with something smaller that showed off that scrumptious pushrod V-twin, and then go proudly chugging around town. Still, you can't really fault Yammy for having to pass emissions and noise regulations. The Road/Wild Star whetted my appetite so much, I had it as my computer desktop background picture for years.

And a couple of years ago, Yamaha decided to "improve" it. So they added a couple of hundred cc's to that previously perfectly balanced pushrod engine and went with an Art Deco styling that turned a phenomenal motorcycle into a nightmare from a Gotham City freshman industrial design class. I wouldn't be caught dead passing by one of these new "Stratoliners" (ugh) on the street, let alone adorning my PC's desktop or my house's garage with one. Everything about the bike's styling is wrong. It harkens back to the mid-Eighties styling disasters in almost every way. they did make the air cleaner cover a bit smaller, though. That's about all I can congratulate them on. The rest of the bike is just a grim joke.

Apparently, I'm not the only motorcyclist who believes this. Yamaha Canada carries the full range of motorcycles, but the Stratolaugher is nowhere to be found in their catalogues. They're sticking with the classic good looks of the Road Star. I'm glad to hear that the Great White North may still be a bastion of taste in a regard other than beer.

And don't get me started on the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000s headlight! Even Kawasaki had to admit that they had created a monster and quickly issued an "LT" model with a conventional round one and not something that looks like an alien, three-eyed happy face!

It seems that even almost a quarter century later, my advice to the Japanese manufacturers was as valid then as it is now. Harley's look is classic, proportioned and perfect. Clone it, but don't mess with it!

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Comments 58 comments

steve 9 years ago

as for the vn 2000 headlight that's one of the good reasons for buying for me its original and non harley too along with a 4 year warranty good brakes huge power and reliability <very non harley> bye


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi! Don't get me wrong, I love the big Kawi. You can check:

http://hubpages.com/autos/_The_Biggest__Meanest_20...

http://hubpages.com/autos/_Which_Cruiser_Engine_La...

to see what I think of the 2053cc Goliath!


mico 9 years ago

so nice!!!!


Mike 9 years ago

Well, I do AGREE that some Jap bikes look wrong but they should also have their own style. Saying all bikes the Japanese make should look like a Harley is like saying all muscle cars should look like a 69 Camaro. How boring would this word be is every Cruiser looked axactly alike? Thank god you do not like the AMC Pacer or Gremilin then yo would be saying all Japanese compacts should look like them too. I think your opinions on style are valid but do not encourage them to make exact duplicates of a Harley.... Please! By the way, I am a proud owner of a Yamaha V-Star 1300 and it cost half the price of the equivelent Harley and looks great too.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

I agree that the V-Star is one of the better looking Metrics, but there is a certain aesthetic quality which is captured by the really nice Metrics and Americans which sets them apart from the rest. The short cylinder heads on the V-Star is a great example. They seem to use the same castings on the 650 as the 1300 which makes the bigger bike look too compact. At least to my eye! :)


Mike 9 years ago

Hal,

From what I read it is obvious you have the credentials that I do not have when evaluating Bikes. I actually agreed with you assessment on styling but disagreed that they should NOT try to make Harley replicas. I would have purchased a Harley if not for their ridiculous price tag on their Softail and FLH frame bikes. However, in Fairness to Harley and their styling I HOPE the Japanese makes to not make exact replicas but find their own character that will make them loved cruisers for the people that like them.

My decision to get the V-Star 1300 was a mixture of style and performance compared to others in their price range. I do agree with you the Twin looks only a tad bigger then the 650 or is it that the 650 is just bigger looking then what it is. Yamaha used a 70deg design that does make it seem more compact this could have looked. If it was up to me I would have loved to see them make a pushrod version of the 1300 like their 1700 and 1900 that give it that Bad-A$$ look I love so much. For some things to look classic even the motor should be looking classic and for some reason the overhead cam motors all seem to be missing something in the looks department. However, overhead cams and FI are both here to stay.

I also like the fact some Bikes are ugly because someone out there likes that ugly look and will keep more out of the really good looking Bikes. People actually did buy Pacers and Gremlins…. LOL. The Japanese are the masters of refining designs from engineers in other countries. They are definitely not the innovators found in Germany and the USA….. Harley will always be Harley and that will never change, but sometimes I have to look too close at some Japanese Bikes to make sure its NOT a Harley. This is also why I love Victory, they are unique, look great and do NOT look like a Harley. Remember the Bike Kawasaki put out, the Drifter that looked like an Indian Chief? To me, I loved the look but do not think I would want people asking me if I am on an Indian, when it’s a Kawasaki. The V-Star I have looks similar to Softail at a quick glance but as I look you realize its NOT a Harley and that is GREAT news to Harley lovers that actually went out and Dropped 18K on that Softail.

You may be right on the castings... but how did they still find room for the internal water jackets and larger pistins? That is the Part Japan is good at. :)

Thank you for your response….


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi, Mike. I've answered your last query in it's own hub!

http://hubpages.com/autos/Styling_Why_Harleys_Look...

Thanks!


bigspringerchance 9 years ago

3 years ago i walked into a local motorcycle shop with my father they had harlys, metrics, rice burners of every shape and size..i being new to riding and anxouse for my first ride sought out for the love of my life..i serched for something i could aford and something easy on the eyes around $5,000.. a sales person showd me some metrics i thought cool ill be riding in no time..but my father told me "son there aint nothing like a harly" but i didn't understand what he ment by that? i told him "guy they look so much alike and thare cheeper and ill ride sooner ect"..and we went home i countinued to save, reserch, and drool for 2 years till i saw this add in the papper it was a black & crome springer so i got it though i could have gotten any metric with the money..so i took my first ride and rushed home with a smile and told my father thank you cuse now i know what he ment there aint nothing like a harley..harley is the standerd of what all metric bikes compaire them self to just listen to any metric riders coversation and it wont be long befor you hear them say things like well it all most looks just like a harley or sounds like a harley or its almost as big as a harley riders umm...springer

..if you like two bikes for the price of one theres nothing wrong with that..but if you love harlys colect a few cans and be paitint cues you get what you pay and its worth the wait..... yours truly chance


sabre04 8 years ago

bigspringerchance, were you drunk when you wrote that?


Jim 8 years ago

Hey Hal, I'm sure glad Kawasaki didn't hire you if that's true. You never mention what bike you ride if you ride at all. Sometimes style is between your knees and between your ears. I think you lacking in both area's.


BaliMermaid profile image

BaliMermaid 8 years ago from Ubud Bali

Great Hub. I sent to my uncle - a real harely buff.


BaliMermaid profile image

BaliMermaid 8 years ago from Ubud Bali

sorry the link did not come through. Let's try again

http://worldwidemotorcycleassociation.com/


Al 7 years ago

Harley... not Harley...what the heck, I ride not for the badge on the tank but for the pleasure a bike can give you. Looking for style, everyone has his own, buy a cruiser metric or American and customise it your own way, make it a rat bike like coming out from a mad max movie or a modern super shiny techno cruiser its up to you. There are no rules of what a bike should look like......


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

bigspringerchance: Metrics have made quantum leaps forward since their inception in the 90s (or even 80s) but... yeah... there aint nuthin' like a Harley... Hawgs Got Soul! :)

sabre04: Hey, as long as he wasn't drinkin' and ridin'! :)

Jim: I RODE a Harley FXD. I now ride a crappy little economy car. I'm waiting for some development in diesel or electric or SOMETHING that will produce an ecologically and financially feasible single track mode of transport. By all means send me your email, so that I may send you a photo of what is between my legs so that you may spend the rest of your days tormented by envy! :P

BaliMermaid: Say Hi to Unc!

Al: There are SOME rules, and I'm about to publish a Hub on the 25 Ugliest Motorcycles...


Tim Kreitz 7 years ago

Those old Vulcan 750s speak for themselves in sales alone. When you can leave a bike unchanged for over 20 years and wear out your tooling in the process due to consistent demand, you've done something very right. Hats off to Kawasaki for designing a classic. The sour-grape attitude expressed by certain members of the Harley orthodoxy really amuses me.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

http://hubpages.com/autos/Top-100-Ugliest-Motorcyc...

Read #8... and weep. :)

P.S. I no longer ride a Harley.


doncrs 7 years ago

I have been only riding for about a year now, and i have put about nine thousand miles on my bike,( I use it as a daily driver) and i love it. I ride a 2007 650 v-star silverado and i love it,although do wish it had a sixth gear but it does a good job and i get a lot of complements of how good looking a bike it is,even from Harley riders and no body would guess that it was only a 650(acually its a virago 535 bored and stroked) but no one can tell.I like all kinds of bikes if its a pretty bike or if it has some other quality it dosent matter to me.i will ride what i like and who cares what anybody else thinks, you should do the same.I hope one day to upgrade to a Royal Star tour deluxe,but right now with the economy the way it is,i can barely pay my bills as it is. If i were to buy an american bike my choice,s would be either an Indian deluxe,but i could buy three Yamahas for one Indian,or the Harley softtail deluxe.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

What I like about the 650 is that it looks almost identical to the 1100, but that's what I don't like about the 1100, so six of one, half dozen of another. I'm glad to see that you are standing up for the perfect suitability of midrange cruisers to be successful and competent mounts, proving that you don't need to straddle two litres between your legs at a time in our history when conservation is not just a standard to be aspired to, but an absolute NECESSITY!


Stallion 7 years ago

Just another Harley buff. I have owned Kawasaki and Honda cruisers for years. My "05"1600 Vulcan classic being my current bike. I have ridden Harley Road Kings, Dynas and an Ultra Classic and it just made me happy that I bought a Kawasaki. I also prefer water cooled over air cooled. I am not just a buyer because a bike looks good to someone else(Frankly I don't care much what other people think). I buy for comfort, reliability and handling. I ride from Phoenix to Florida every year with my bike and must say that in 32000 miles it has never had a single problem. Ever.I am ready now to hand this bike to my wife as she has outgrown her Honda Shadow 1100 tourer(another fantastic bike). I am now looking at the VN2000 Vulcan... Yes.. with the headlight you don't like and which is what appeals to me greatly on that model. (It's different.)The nice part about the Japanese cruisers is that they are not the same old thing HD has been doing for years on end. Wanna talk ugly... How about the new HD Rockers. HD to me has always been over priced , under engineered and the same ol thing every year. Hell the front fender is on almost every bike since 1938...lol. Theres innovation for ya.I guess it works for them... but not for me. I think the Japs figured it out long ago... Build something that looks kinda like a Harley but make it better for less money.

Bob...Phoenix, Az.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Bob/Stallion, please read some of my other Hubs, especially the ones where I call the Rocker one of the 100 ugliest bikes of all time, and the ones where I discuss having sold my Harley long ago and displaying my respect for motorcycles such as the Honda Fury.


Kip 7 years ago

I am curious about your opinion on the Triumph Rocket 3


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

http://hubpages.com/autos/_Which_Cruiser_Engine_La...

But keep in mind that was written almost two years ago when the world was very different than it is today... :(


supermagnaJB90 7 years ago

are you retarded? comparing a P.O.S. bowling alley sporty to a dependable, well designed 85 vulcan 750 w/more horsepower and better fuel economy!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Nowhere near as you for thinking that stodgy commuter bike that looks like you went through a junkyard with an electromagnet can come anywhere close to forming the basis of a satisfactory motorcycle. :P And, BTW, the R word is generally considered distasteful. But then again so is the 85 Vulcan 750. :)


09 raider 1900 cubic in.v twin 7 years ago

i see you couldn't say anything about this bike. harley will be buying this one so they can see if they can retool and try to catch up. of course when they get close it will cost 30.000


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

I hope if that is true, Harley doesn't adopt a shred of the stomach-turning styling! :)


Jay Mack 7 years ago

The V2K headlamp is a very misunderstood styling element. It is very attractive. From the rider's seat, the handlebars' lines flow into a dull point along the sidelines of the lampcase, bezel, whatever. The effect is very appealing. Also, aLSO, OOverall, it is also distinctive and original without being quite so phallic as the M109.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

I respect your opinion but I find that looking at the Vulcan 2000's headlight straight on, it looks like a monochrome version of the Martian spaceship heads in the original War of the Worlds! :)


pete 7 years ago

This isn't 100% on, Honda did get it and the mid 80's and got sued for it! Anyone remember the Rebel 450 that looked so much like a lower end Harley that Harley went after them?

As for the modern cruisers, a lot of the bikes in the 90's actually delivered a look that people wanted like Drifter, ACE and Volusia Intruder Line so I understand a Harley Bias but reality is they did get it right and some of these designs dated back to 1988.

Also, if Honda didn't get something right they wouldn't be the #2 in sales behind Harley in the USA and possibly #1 the world over.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Yes, but if you'll remember the court ruling in the Harley Honda lawsuit, the judge ruled against Harley stating that there was not sufficient resemblance as the bikes were very different. The only thing Harley got on Honda in that suit was that the Rebels were being dumped in the market. Don't get me wrong, the Drifter is one of my all time faves and I really liked the ACE as well. Still, most of the cruisers, especially the 2009 Suzuki and Yamahas are vomit-inducing.


Hellcreep 7 years ago

Cruiser-riders, chance a ride on a sport-touring bike sometime: especially you long-distance touring guys.. just for fun.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Hope you're not referring to me, as I've likely done well over 100,000 miles on sport tourers. :)


Hellcreep 7 years ago

Nice!

Real motorcyclists-authors are afoot!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks! Publisher and editor of several national motorcycle magazines; owned 37 motorcycles; raced superbikes and motocross; ridden hundreds of thousands of miles on everything from weenie 100cc singles to Hogs and Gold Wings... yeah, I've been around the block at least a couple of times. :)


senor08 7 years ago

all my fellow rider friends are on harley davidsons.i personally only like the heritage softail model, and i am fancy to 1991-1998, carburated and 1300 models, good for about 20,000 trouble free miles,my ride is a 2000 road star,all i need to ad is the chrome wishbone, and swing arm and the customizing is over, with the accessories yamaha offers and the way my bike wears them, harley riders make room for me in the formation,and the way the drive train remains trouble free mile after mile, i have much respect for the japs at engineering, from 1999-2003, road star,the most bike for the buck ever.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

I can certainly come close to agreeing with you on the Road Star. It is one magnificent motorcycle. By far the best bike that Yamaha has made in the last decade. I love it!


Peter 7 years ago

Some of the Suzuki's are ugly I'll give you but I would love a VL Intruder 1500 as that is an excellent bike...

Oh and honestly even bikes like the Shadow Spirit are nice little rides... Crud I brought a Shadow Spirit to a Body shop and the bike had straight pipes with a mustang seat and custom risers... Well the guy in the shop looks at it and asks me what I want painted and then asks me if it's a Harley so not everyone can tell.

As for the Yamaha, actually the VStar 950 looks a lot like an old Knuckle Head in the curves and really is an incredibly smooth ride with plenty of pick up.

And then of course the VTX line tends to have models with that drifter look to them which seem to be decent bikes for the money.

My only gripe with the Metrics is that they use too much plastic on the bikes and finding metal replacement parts is a chore sometimes.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

I disagree on the VL1500 series, as although it's not as disgusting as some other models, it looks like a Sportster that was compressed horizontally. The VStar 950 is a knuckle head only in the sense that it's just knuckle heads who buy one. Check this out and you'll see just how repugnant it really is:

http://hubpages.com/autos/Top-3-Yamuglies-Yamaha-S...

There has never been a VTX with anything close to "Drifter" look, as that was one of the great classics and a model style that Kawi would be well advised to bring back. I honestly don't know what all the fuss is about plastic vs. metal. Sure, I don't want a plastic cylinder head, but why anyone would freak out because their sidecover is plastic rather than metal which adds two pounds and is otherwise identical is just beyond me.


Nick B profile image

Nick B 7 years ago from Normandy, France

The Japanese have reliability hands down. I can forgive them for not getting the styling quite the way you North Americans like it, but for us mere Europeans with our twisty narrow roads, they do the job admirably.

I had an SR 125 Yamaha as my first cruiser style bike and was as pleased as punch with it. It got me through my bike test so that I could get a proper machine, but by then I couldn't afford one.

Nevertheless, I think it's a case of horses for courses and as an Englishman, I think in a lot of cases, the Japs have it spot on.

Damned good hubs by the way.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks for the comments and I fully agree that the Japanese manufacturers have reliability down to a T, but then again, so does BMW. :)


custom motorcycle profile image

custom motorcycle 7 years ago

Hal, I own 2 1100 V-stars, a Kawasaki Voyager and an Electra Glide Classic all with over 30,000 miles on them. The Voyager has 99,000 miles on it. I am constantly looking at both Japanese and new Harley Davidson models and I believe both have hit the mark on styling and have also totally missed the mark on certain models.

Take the V-star 1300. Why would you throw that horn way out in the open like that? And from the HD side, the Crossbones and the Rocker are both utter train wrecks as far as styling goes. Easily as bad as the Stratoliner.

For those of you who think Harleys are the end all of motorcycles, unless you are in my position where I change bikes every day you really don't have the experience of constant comparison. I do.

There is no noticeable difference moving from my Electra Glide to my V-star 1100 other than the fact that the 1100 is so much faster than the 1450 Electra glide. They handle about the same and have about the same comfort level. One happen to cost half of what the other did.

A someone who has ridden almost every Harley model out there, and many Japanese models, if I could only own one bike the rest of my life it would be a Vulcan 2000.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Well, as a guy who had a warehouse full of road test motorcycles for year, I can certainly understand constant comparisons, and I agree with you. The Vulcan 2000 (Classic) is definitely one of the bikes I'd pick for the "rest of my life." The only problem I have with the Kawi is that it's just not coherent with my fairly newly found ecological and economical awareness to ride around on 2 1 litre jugs.


truth 6 years ago

Harley's cannot compete with metric bikes...

I want to buy a product, not an image!

"Hardleys" do not appeal to us, the younger gen...

As far as Japan is concerned, since you all seem to have a quench for knowledge... see the link: http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/classics/bike.asp?...

Ride safe (not behind a Harley)! LOL


mm49 6 years ago

I appreciate a good bike it doesn't matter what it is most real riders get what fits there personality, I have friends that ride road kings, I have a friend that rides a Yamaha Tour Sport, One that rides a yamaha xv920 pretty fast bike, another friend that rides a Heritage Classic, And I chose to buy a Yamaha Roadstar 1600 and paint it and customize it the way I feel fits my personality, Just as all my friends found there bikes to fit theirs. If you ride its because you love the feeling of the freedom and the open road, no matter what gets you there just enjoy getting there.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

truth, you lie. :)

mm49: YA GET THERE AT THE SPEED LIMIT! :)


Marc 6 years ago

I think someone needs a cup of coffe and wake up. NOT EVERYTHING IN THE BIKE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND HARLEY'S. I am SOOOO sick and tired of reading and hearing all the time that HARLEY'S are the greatest thing on earth. GIVE ME A BREAK. For those of you who own one, Iam not putting you down. It's your choise to buy a bike that costs more than a years salary to own and only be able to drive it a few months out of every year. I know - I know, its a STATIS thing. I just don't see it. Everyone keeps telling me i should get rid of my 88 intruder (which I love and have spent a lot of time customizing)and buy a REAL bike. Bull SH*%, everyone has their own likes and dislikes. if you want a harley- buy one, and if you donr, then don't. Just enough of these harley freaks putting down metric bikes. those of you who do can just take your precious harleys and shove them.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

You need some anger management. Here, Dr. Willie G. Davidson offers classes. :)


Tony 6 years ago

I just recently started riding and have friends that have ridden for years. Most of my friends ride Harleys, but they don't care that I bought a Kawasaki Vulcan...at least we're out there riding. I'm thinking of upgrading and have considered a Harley, but when I talk to my Harley friends and how often their Harleys are in the shop, how little my metric friends' bikes are in the shop, how much is on the Harley sticker price vs the metric sticker price makes me steer towards getting a bigger metric (I have a 900). Additionally, one of my Harley (Dyna Lowrider) riding friends told me that the best bike he ever owned was his Kawasaki Vulcan...less maintenance, better ride (but he asked me not to divulge this info to his other Harley riding friends...LOL).


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

The Harleys are less reliable than metrics tale is mostly balderdash which is not backed up by statistics. Both Harleys and metrics are in their latest models about as reliable as can ever be expected. So it really is a matter of personal choice.


Tony 6 years ago

You may be correct, as I've never owned a Harley. But what I was told came from a guy that owned a used Vulcan and a new Harley. At this point I don't know which way I'm leaning most towards...but with this economy, I will most likely go with a metric, since Harley is really proud of their bikes...but then again who know, I may fall prey to the Harley "image"...LOL. What do you think of the V-Rod?


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

HATE the V-Rod. Despise it. It's the worst Harley since the Aermacchi junk. :)


Peter 6 years ago

Okay Hal, now that 2009 has passed and your opinion has been shown to be just that let's revisit this...

The VL1500 LC resembles a fat boy or road king more than it does a sportster... I think you're thinking of the 1400 models... Also, I own one... it was designed by former members of the Harley Design Team and doesn't have a lick of plastic on it... Crud, I got more for the money with this bike than I would have with a fat boy.

Now another area where things didn't go the way you thought is the VSTAR 950 as that was awarded the label of Bike of the year because if you've ever ridden one you just might realize it could be the most comfortable cruiser ever created and a lot of the lines did resemble the knucklehead.

Anyway, as for the Harleys... when they stop trying to charge me M109R pricing for a sportster 1200 and shift the other bikes pricing in line with the competition then I'll look at them but until then I guess we could write an article on why Harley Just Doesn't Get It!


t knapp 6 years ago

GIVE ME A VL1400 INTRUDER OR S83 WITH A LITTLE AFTER MARKET HELP. AND YOU WILL HAVE ONE OF THE BEST LOOKING GREAT RUNNING MOTORCYCLES,THAT YOU CAN FIND FOR UNDER 8,000 DOLLARS.VERY LITTLE MAINTENANCE.HAVE OWNED TWO. I LOVED BOTH.


Jim 6 years ago

Harley doesn't even build the best American cruiser, Victory does.


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adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

Never mind standard cruisers, most of which have a difficult time outrunning the neighbor kid's poorly muffled Honda Civic.


Richard 6 years ago

Your evaluation of the Stratoliner has to be amiss. It's a fairly good representation of the Deco era of design. I believe the Zenith of Yamaha's prowress in the V twin line-up available from the V Twin makers. It;s stunning. As for the Vulcan 2000, well it's yet another V Twin animal due respect. Harley Davidson doesn't hole the world hostage with their products, and clearly there are a fiew company's who have every bit as good or superior products. With an 'ego' driven market, ie. Harley Davidson, the alternatives are not always clear. Immage will only rest on it's laurels for just so long before the new kid on the block up and rises to Stardom. Did I mention the Yamaha RoadStar......nuf'said


Terry Orr 5 years ago

The best bike is the one you enjoy riding the most.I have several bikes including a V-Star 1300 tourer and a Harley Dyna. I can't honestly say I prefer one over the other for performance or looks. If every bike on the planet looked and rode exactly like a Harley the world would be a boring place. Owning a Harley is 50% psychological so if you need an ego trip only a Harley will do.


American? 5 years ago

What's American anymore?

95% of Harley Davidson parts distributors do not inform customers of the country of origin

64% of Harley parts on the market are made overseas and buyers don’t know

37% of all Harley parts do NOT fit as advertised due to poor manufacturing processes

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