2011 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow 883
I love love love love love love love love love love ALMOST everything about the new 2011 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow 883. It's the one motorcycle from any manufacturer so far released in as a 2011 that I'd crawl across 5 miles of broken glass just to grovel in the shadow of the dealership that features it in its store window.
Of course, my old bud Willie G. after 28 years still is not taking my advice on how to run his swiftly failing company (and if he had, he's be Wall Street's darling right now). So... there are some really serious problems with the 2011 Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow 883 that will keep it from selling in the numbers that it should. Here we go!
Tank - Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know, I know. The peanut tank doesn't hold enough fuel... it didn't hold enough in the Ironhead era and it doesn't hold enough in the second decade of the millennium. So what? The solution is not to provide 4.5 gallons of capacity in a boring swoopy tank that looks like it just came off the Kymco assembly line! There are countless options to reimagining the peanut tank without resorting to the Korean styling handbook: Make the peanut tank wider, or really use some good old American ingenuity, and place a secondary tank below the saddle with a fuel pump running a line right through the inside of that big ugly frame member over the top of the rear cylinder! What's wrong with you, HD? I've been telling you how to run your business since 1982 Daytona and you STILL won't listen to me! If you had, you'd actually be selling bikes now... wow... what a concept. Sales! Riders come into your dealerships, give you money, and ride your bikes out. I know Harley management hasn't seen that in a few years, so I can understand how they have forgotten it.
Seat - Where does HD get off on continuing to plunk solo seats on their lower end bikes? What's the cost at the factory level to stretch out the saddle to make a fairly small pillion, like ten bucks? Stop being so damn cheap and wake up to smell the coffee, HD. Even if the mythological loner riders of Harley lore don't have any friends, they still have to carry a stack of books to school or a bag of groceries back from the store. Give them something to strap it on to! Sheesh!
Paint - Stop being greedy ravenous idiots and charging $500 for a paint job. It's another addition that costs you $10 at the factory. Total and typical HD ripoff. By the way, the only really nice paint job is the two tone Birch White with Sedona Orange that you're raping your customers an extra half a grand to get. The blue is pedestrian and... Merlot Sunglo? You've been drinking too much Merlot if you think that this disgusting dark purplish brown fecal color belongs on this bike.
Tach - WTF, HD? Motorcycle riders aren't 1990 Subaru Justy owners. We like to know what that big expensive lump of iron between our legs is doing, so throw in a damn tach. OK, so maybe it's not $10 at the factory like the paint and saddle extension, but it's not more than twice that. For $20 let the rider see the revs, for cryin' out loud!
Price - Crazy, stupid, demented, lunatic, senseless, delirious, outrageous, unreasonable, crackbrained, demented, witless, irrational, and outright screwy. In this economy where 26% of all Americans no longer have a credit rating at all, you don't charge eight grand and up for an entry level bike, up a full thousand bucks from last year! Ya, I know, you put a few new parts on this one... so what? $5,999 is the exact MSRP you should be selling this bike at! Shame on you, HD! Cut your bloated and inefficient management, or pay them what they're worth (too bad the minimum wage in Wisconsin is $7.25 an hour as the entire current Harley Davidson executive team put together isn't worth that much)!!! Start cranking out bikes real Americans can afford, not just dope dealing Angels and retired petroleum CEOs! At 80 large, the name of the bike will be prophetic: SuperLow will indicate its sales figures!
So Harley execs... Smarten up and fly right. If you want to make sure that HD doesn't go the way of the dodo bird wake up to the new economic realities of your customers. They want Hawgs, but they damn well can't afford them. If this is an entry level bike, then the 2011 lineup is showing that the (possibly very short) future of Harley Davidson will only bring more of the same clueless management which has sunk the greatest and most historically significant motorcycle manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere.
Wanna fix HD? Fire the entire board and execs. Give me the reins, get the hell out of the way, and I'll show you how to spark the Great Harley Renaissance and move no less than 500,000 bikes in 2012. Yeah. No crap.