I've let Harley-Davidon have it over the past month, so it's time for me to put the rage blogging aside for a minute, simmer down, and say why I appreciate them.
First off, let me say that my criticism stems from a good place. I have more good memories with my Harley's, that the bad could never outnumber. So, let's start with my connection to the Motor Company.
Growing up I wanted to ride a Harley. It wasn't a fad, or a phase, or the thing everyone was doing. My dad's friends restored classic cars, and they even rebuilt the engine on his ‘56 Chevy pickup. So, I grew up with classic American muscle cars, and in my eyes I always saw Harley-Davidson as synonymous with classic American muscle. Even as an adult, before I started riding, Harley's were my gold-standard motorcycle. Was I naive? Of course I was. But if my naivete isn't hurting anyone else, I think that’s OK.
So, when I decided to ride, getting a Harley was the end goal. And after a couple years of riding, and some fortuitous timing, I made it. I bought my first Harley Davidson. I could not have been happier, either. It was by far my favorite of the three Harley's I owned. I wish I could turn back the clock, because I really believe I would still have that bike today if it hadn’t been totalled. Back then I didn't really ride with anyone else, and that 883R was like one of my kids. It was always clean, always covered and I rode it as often as I could. It was also perfect for my need. It wasn’t a sport bike, but it was sporty. It wasn’t slow, but it wasn’t too much to handle. It was the perfect bike, and it was my dream come true.
Flash forward to the present, and I’m not so naive anymore. Harley has made some huge mistakes in the past and those mistakes have not sat well with me. Call it jaded, call it woke, but it just isn’t the same anymore. In my opinion, they have also made some questionable decisions recently, but still, STILL, when I say that I will eventually own another Harley, I mean it.
I tell this to new riders all the time, that you should buy the bike that speaks to you. Sure, it needs to match your riding style, your comfort and skill level, but it has to speak to you in ways beyond performance. The 883R did that for me; the Lowrider S did that for me; and the Softail Fat Bob did and does it for me now.
My dream would be to build out a Fat Bob and make it totally mine (I am absolutely in love with the Tagged Limited Custom Paint). As much as I desire to carve up curvy roads, and eat up the performance of my Super Duke, my creative side begs for that Fat Bob.
I know I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I’ve been called a fan boy. A hater. A child. LOL! But, we don’t exist for other people, and in my soul, I know that Harley-Davidson can’t quench my thirst for both performance and creativity. And, in my current situation, I can only have one bike. So I will ride the crap out of my KTM, and hope for the day I can make my dream come true again.