Is Harley Davidson selling bikes, or a lifestyle? - Harley Davidson Street Forum - Street 500 and 750
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post #1 of 48 Old 02-20-2014, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Is Harley Davidson selling bikes, or a lifestyle?

I read a great editorial piece on AutoEvolution that took a critical look at Harley Davidson and its new Street 500 and 750. The main idea is that Harley-Davidson is using marketing genius to sell the Street. And that can be taken for better or for worse.



I wonder how much money it took to put the Harley Davidson Street into the next Captain America movie. It couldn't have been cheap. This move is aiming to get the bike as much exposure (to a younger audience) as possible. Ideally it would spark a trend. Captain America rides a Harley, and you can too!

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Now, it's only a fraction of posers who bought a Harley just because it represented something which looked good. They hoped their own lives would become better just because they were wearing some branded clothing and ride on Sundays around the town to be seen on lab-clean bikes and with carefully ironed shirts.
Is this quote accurate? Are Street 750 buyers buying a brand and not a bike? I think that represents only a small fraction of buyers.

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Are these machines bikes like no others? Definitely not, as middleweight Japanese cruisers have been around since forever. Oh, wait, but they're not Harley, right? So back to square one.
It is true that there is something about it being a Harley that sets it apart from other bikes. It also is the fact that it is a first. The first Harley that is affordable, and the first Harley that goes with "less is more" rather than "bigger is better."

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Advertising a locking fuel tank cap as a feature for a modern, 2014 bike is pure crap. It's like selling bottled water and saying that being able to drink it is a true feature and benefit.

The same goes for the passenger pegs and the dark attire. Seriously, is the all-black color one of the big selling points in a modern, all-new bike? Many of the decent, true-to-themselves riders will smile, I just know. Because this is the truth. Still, the way these bikes are marketed can make them sell very well, especially with the right price tag.
The Harley-Davidson Street 500 and 750 are kinda like the iPhone 5C of motorcycles. Sure, its a Harley, and it works well and is cool, but you know that you are missing out on the real thing to a certain degree. Harley-Davidson has done an amazing job at marketing so that you don't get this feeling though. The Harley-Davidson Street is ridden by Cpt. America. It represents freedom and heritage, just like every other Harley.

So what's the difference? Oh yeah, its a 35hp, 480 lbs cruiser. Not exactly your dad's Harley.

On Bigger Is Better and Less Is More
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post #2 of 48 Old 02-20-2014, 07:13 PM
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Eh, the Street models are a clean break if you ask me. It might not be the ideal bike for how I ride but I can see Harley paid some attention to function and light weight for a change aiming at a completely different market segment than they have in the past.

I don't see them trading on thier heritage with the Street. Rather I think the Street is kind of a rude poke in the eye to their existing heritage. They will build a new heritage from the ground up along the lines of what BMW did with the liquid cooled K bikes and the F series singles.
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post #3 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 05:21 AM
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The way some people are reacting to this bike, you would think that HD were going to stop making every other model they produce & just have two models - street 500 & 750.

I don't see what the big deal is, Its an addition to the range. Most of the negative comments seem to be coming from HD enthusiasts.

Nobody said you have to dispose of your current larger HD model & buy a street.

Do you hear Honda riders complaining because that company sells a 500cc bike as well as the Gold Wing & other large capacity bikes?

Why is it that the Japs can sell a wide model range but HD should not?
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post #4 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 07:20 AM
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people just like to complain

its what humans do

personally i have a great appreciation for the rest of the HD bikes and I find the Street to be a great addition.
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post #5 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by revolution-x View Post
The way some people are reacting to this bike, you would think that HD were going to stop making every other model they produce & just have two models - street 500 & 750.

I don't see what the big deal is, Its an addition to the range. Most of the negative comments seem to be coming from HD enthusiasts.

Nobody said you have to dispose of your current larger HD model & buy a street.

Do you hear Honda riders complaining because that company sells a 500cc bike as well as the Gold Wing & other large capacity bikes?

Why is it that the Japs can sell a wide model range but HD should not?
I have a Street Rod and have been told condescendingly by the bandanaheads that it's "just a crotch rocket". They are insecure little babies and their Milwaukee vibrator is their affirmation of their worth. Bring up that something else might be a better motorcycle and you have just assaulted their self image.
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post #6 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 11:42 AM
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I mean I wouldn't say that the Street 500/750 is a "better" bike than more traditional Harleys. That's kind of the point of the article in the OP. Harley has marketed the Street well enough to make people feel like the Street is just another Harley even though it is not the same as previous Harleys. Its about selling the Street as part of the Harley family even though it really doesn't fit into the typical Harley-Davidson range.
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post #7 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by revolution-x View Post
The way some people are reacting to this bike, you would think that HD were going to stop making every other model they produce & just have two models - street 500 & 750.

I don't see what the big deal is, Its an addition to the range. Most of the negative comments seem to be coming from HD enthusiasts.

Nobody said you have to dispose of your current larger HD model & buy a street.

Do you hear Honda riders complaining because that company sells a 500cc bike as well as the Gold Wing & other large capacity bikes?

Why is it that the Japs can sell a wide model range but HD should not?
Ive been noticing the perception from the harley crowd for the street models. I really don't understand why it should even be a topic of discussion for those guys. Ride what you own and move on.
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post #8 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 02:39 PM
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I mean I wouldn't say that the Street 500/750 is a "better" bike than more traditional Harleys. That's kind of the point of the article in the OP. Harley has marketed the Street well enough to make people feel like the Street is just another Harley even though it is not the same as previous Harleys. Its about selling the Street as part of the Harley family even though it really doesn't fit into the typical Harley-Davidson range.
Liquid cooled, overhead cam, plane bearing bottom end, thoroughly modern engine architecture, it is a better bike. It is more than half a century more advanced than most of the old fashioned garbage Harley peddals and the bandanaheads cling to faithfully like it was a religion or something.

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post #9 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 03:54 PM
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Liquid cooled, overhead cam, plane bearing bottom end, thoroughly modern engine architecture, it is a better bike. It is more than half a century more advanced than most of the old fashioned garbage Harley peddals and the bandanaheads cling to faithfully like it was a religion or something.
but it really is religion like isnt it? What I think is going to become interesting over time is how Harley integrates the new Street crowd with their existing "bandanaheads" as it was so eloquently put

I see this as playing out one of two ways.

1) Harley overall image begins to undergo an overhaul and it settles into a happy medium.

2) The crowd Harley IS targeting with the street is really just the same crowd laying in wait. And what I mean by that is I wonder if we will eventually see this new generation of harley riders eventually amalgamated into the current culture...
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post #10 of 48 Old 02-21-2014, 04:07 PM
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Oh boy. I have expressed a few times on this forum about how the "traditional" air-cooled big twin Harley guys generally feel about any bike, even of the HD brand, that does not fall into the archaic design and engineering. They hated the VRod when it came out, they also hate the Street, and many even go so far as to run down the Sportster as a "girl's" bike. These people are so closed-minded and they have the attitude that if you don't ride what they think you should ride, you are wannabes and posers. That is just the way it is. So what? I would bet dollars to donuts, that 0% of these self-proclaimed bad-ass "bikers" came out of their mama's womb on a Harley, and that 99% of them have owned non-Harley bikes at some point in their lives. Can you say "hypocrite"? Now keep in mind, not ALL HD big twin riders are like that, but you can generally tell them quite easily by the end of their first sentence. You can't necessarily tell them by appearance, because there are a lot of guys that you might assume will be the anal appendages of the HD motorcycling realm, that actually are down to earth and decent folks... and won't judge you by what you ride. What is interesting is that there is a split between big twin riders and Sportster riders, even though the Sporty is archaic and air-cooled. The divide is not nearly as bad between BT and VRod/Street models, but it is still there. In the end, I would not worry about what the anal appendages think. Buy and ride what YOU want. If you want a Street and want to dress up with all the leather, doo-rags, gloves with no fingers, spike collar, and whatever... go for it. If you want to buy a road couch and dress up in a fully armored textile sport bike suit, go for it. Who cares. There will always be someone that will ridicule you no matter what you ride. There are just as many Harley haters riding Jap bikes, Brit bikes, Victorys, and Indians. Just look around the internet at Youtube and mc forums, the hatred is running wild in all directions. So the moral of the story is, it doesn't matter what you ride, somebody is gonna hate you. Err, no, I meant ride what pleases YOU.
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