Everyone has a few things to hide. Major companies and corporations are certainly no exception. They may very well be the worst culprits when it comes to concealing information that is less than appealing to their consumers.
Harley-Davidson is a brand that's certainly no stranger to this game. Like any other major corporation, there a few things that are associated with their brand that they wish they could keep buried. Some of this information is less than desirable, and would certainly not garner them the right kind of attention if it were front-and center in the world of information.
Most of these details have risen to the surface, but clever marketing has kept them as low-key as possible. Let’s take a look at 15 shady things Harley-Davidson failed to mention to their riders.
15 They Have A Confederate Bike
Clearly not the most glamorous moment in the history of Harley-Davidson cycles, the Confederate Edition bike is a rare one, but it’s still out there.
There were roughly 700 of these made, according to Motorcycle Classics. That doesn’t erase the fact that at one point in time, they found this to be an acceptable design to flaunt.
14 They Have Questionable Lending Habits
If you want a brand new Harley-Davidson, you can probably get one pretty easily. There’s not much standing in your way, even if you have bad credit or questionable finances.
The folks at Harley want you to own their bikes, especially if you want a brand new one. There are lots of easy financing options for used ones too. They’ll turn a blind eye in most cases, which is good for buyers – sort of.
13 They don’t always use American Parts
For a brand that really relies on their die-hard dedication to living the American dream, they sure don’t use very many authentic American parts. Known as the ultimate American ride, Harley-Davidson takes a very patriotic approach to their branding, but ultimately, parts are currently sourced from all over the world, including Japan and China, to name a few.
12 They Aren’t Dependable
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are not exactly known to be the most dependable bikes out there. It’s a common-known fact that they often break down and require maintenance and repair. They are finicky and require way more frequent upkeep than the average consumer would assume.
If you’re looking for a bike that you can always count on for long rides and spontaneous adventures, this may not be the best suited motorcycle for you.
11 Twin Cam Issues Are A Real Thing
Harley’s design of the cam chain system works against their bikes. The plastic shoes rest on the cam chains and are known to wear out over a relatively short period of time. The constant friction of the shoes rubbing against each other needs to be remedied, at the cost of the Harley owner, of course.
This is an issue that can’t be ignored, unless damaging the engine doesn’t phase you!
10 Maintenance, Maintenance
There's a lot of upkeep required with Harley-Davidson ownership. Anyone who owns a Harley will tell you that there is a frequent and regular maintenance routine that is required to keep their bike in tip top shape. The brand may not want you to know this, but it remains a reality for all Harley owners.
9 High Theft Rate
It’s no secret that Harley-Davidson ownership requires a decent investment. Even their low-end bikes cost significantly more than the average motorcycle on the market. They also retain their value. Of course, this makes them very appealing to thieves everywhere. There is a high theft-rate associated with these bikes, which drives up the cost of insurance.
8 Oil Leaks
If you wake up to find a little oil patch under your Harley, don’t worry about a thing. This is sadly a very, very normal occurrence. Harley-Davidson Motorcycles are known to leak oil on a regular basis.
This is one of those realities of Harley ownership that is certainly not appealing, but it's a harsh fact that the company conceals, and all owners learn to live with.
7 Hard Starts Are Damaging
Who knew that staring your Harley could actually be detrimental to the bike? Well, it’s true. During a hard-start, the kick back and the grinding of the starter on the clutch ring are fierce, and damage is sustained to both the clutch ring itself, as well as the starter drive.
Upgraded compressor kits are available as quick solutions, but it remains an ongoing issue that Harley owners have to contend with.
6 Recall After Recall
The Harley-Davidson brand is no stranger to recalls. They certainly won’t advertise this, but if you’re buying a Harley, or currently own one, it may be a good idea to stay on top of current recalls, and take your bike in to get fixed up when required. Sadly, the recalls are too many to list here, and they seem to have affected most models. It’s an all-too-common occurrence.
5 Negative Affiliations
There is not a single clever marketing campaign that can change the image that has followed this brand for several years. There are many rough and tough riders that are part of motorcycle clubs and Harley riders are often labeled with this persona. The Harley-Davidson brand is certainly no stranger to gang and crime affiliations, but of course their sales pitch doesn’t include this information.
4 Hardly Any Handling
Taking a curve or exploring some twisties on your Harley won’t be easy. Harley-Davidson’s aren’t really designed to hug the corners of the road, they’re more so a cruising bike. If you’re looking for good handling on a bike, you may want to continue beyond this brand. The handling is basic and definitely won’t be winning any awards.
3 Wrenching ‘aint Easy
Working on a Harley-Davidson is not an easy task. There are very few mechanics that are knowledgeable enough to work on these bikes, and even fewer that are honest about the repairs they're doing. Unless you want to pay hefty dealership fees for repairs, it’s going to be tough to find a Harley mechanic that you can trust with your expensive, fussy bike.
2 Expensive parts
Well the bike was expensive to purchase, so – you guessed – it’s going to be very expensive to repair this motorcycle as well. Buying parts for this bike is expensive and will have you exercising your wallet, without a doubt.
If you don’t have the budget for expensive parts and repairs, it’s safe to say this isn’t the type of motorcycle you should be purchasing.
1 Old Man's Club
Harley-Davidson sales are on the decline, as ridership is primarily dependent on the older generation. The old-school bikers that built up the brand are the original buyers, and there isn’t a lot of new blood that's investing in these motorcycles.
The brand is increasingly being associated with an old man’s club as younger motorcycle enthusiasts opt for other types of bikes with superior handling and speed, and a more affordable price tag.
Sources: MotorClassics, Clement Cycles, Overkill Custom Choppers, Revzilla