Matthew Levatich, the CEO of Harley-Davidson since 2015, stepped down recently. As he left, Levatich said, “I am proud of what we have achieved during my time as CEO, in one of the most challenging periods in our history.” (see video below)
It's well known that Harley has been struggling for some time and sales have been declining steadily year to year. There’s just not a big demand for the bigger expensive touring bikes that make up the core of its model line. The company’s loyal base of older customers, who drove a Harley revival during the 1980s and 1990s, is aging and purchasing fewer new motorcycles.
Because the company needed to do something quickly, they selected Levatich as CEO back in 2015 to try to save the company. Levatich joined the company back in 1994 and served as a chief operating officer from 2009 through 2015 prior to becoming CEO. So, he had a good background and knowledge within the company.
What former Harley CEO Levatich did in 5 years
Levatich authorized dozens of new models for both the U.S. and foreign markets. Harley certainly sees growth opportunities in the foreign markets and has clearly been targeting them. But that’s been tough because of competition from existing brands that are solid in those markets.
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Levatich expanded the output of motorcycles overseas, looking for more customers, especially in Asia. But, the smaller motorcycles aimed at those markets are less expensive than the bigger touring Harley models that they rely on in the U.S. and that has hurt the company's overall sales revenue.
He also tried to get the company into different markets such as the Adventure Riding with the Pan America, which is supposed to be released in 2020. And they created the Street Fighter to get into the sports bike market, but there’s no timeline on the release of that bike.
And of course, Harley created their first-ever electric motorcycle named “LiveWire.” However, it had some major issues after launch and a recall on it’s charging system that didn't help its reputation.
Additionally, Levatich attempted to offset declining sales with cost reductions. The company closed its Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant in 2019, Conducted several rounds of layoffs, and voluntary buyouts for employees. The company also shifted some of its productions overseas as well to avoid tarriff’s. And they took some consumer and political heat for doing such.
Levatich had a mission to attract new riders with their ridership classes, which are basically a driver’s ed class for new riders. These classes were not necessarily new, as these classes pre-dated Levatich, but the company just renewed its focus on promoting the classes.
Measuring progress toward the ridership goal created tension between Harley managers and its dealers and investors and this festered over time. Dealerships complained the learn-to-ride classes were expensive and didn’t bring enough new motorcycle buyers.
Tensions between dealerships and Levatich rose even more as he brought many new models, engines and made other attempts to revive sales, but they all failed. Harley also created a fleet of smaller, cheaper bikes such as the street series to attract new riders.
However, none of these things seem to have really moved the needle in attracting the younger generation.
Who is filling Levatich's position?
Harley’s board said that director Jochen Zeitz would serve as acting CEO and board chairman as it looks for a new permanent CEO. Zeitz’s background is in sporting goods and lifestyle products. He served as CEO of Puma SE from 1993 to 2011, where he led a turnaround of the company when it was near bankruptcy.
Areas where I believe Harley failed under CEO Levatich
First, customers are tired of paying the Harley tax on anything with a Harley logo as it's marked up excessively. I believe buyers are smarter these days and are not buying more expensive Harley stamped items such as coats, pants, shirts, gloves, helmets etc. They are buying aftermarket merchandise that is cheaper and better quality. I'm certain this has cut into Harley's overall profits.
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Second, the long time Boom Box Infotainment System debacle and all its problems that continue to this day and the lack of support customers have received has really hurt the company's reputation. This has been going on since 2014 now. Harley's silence about these well-known Boom Box issues has hurt them badly.
Third, the implementation of the new overly strict warranty voiding issues on the newer Milwaukee-Eight models. The company has forced the dealerships to void long time loyal customer's warranties for trivial items.
The biggest failure is their long time failure in proper up to date marketing. In the company's passion to attract new younger riders, they've left their current core customers (the ones with the money) behind. Many, once brand-loyal customers, are leaving because of it.
Instead of connecting with current core customers, Harley went after Hollywood actors and extreme sports athletes that don't even ride or live the biker lifestyle. That sort of outdated marketing continues to hurt Harley.
Harley has forgotten how they originally built their brand. It was more than just about a motorcycle, it was about a lifestyle and everything that surrounded it. It seems Harley has just abandoned its original brand values. It's now only about trying to attract a younger generation of riders. Yes, that's important, but they must not forget about their current customers.
Unlike other companies and industries, the Harley marketing team has not yet awoken to new-age techniques and practices where they could intimately connect with their core customers and even that younger generation they're after. Harley has failed to leverage current online influencer platforms to connect. These influencer platforms include YouTube, podcasts, online communities, and social media groups just to name a few.
These well-established platforms are where their largest customer base is hanging out and it's a very targeted audience. They could easily connect with these very large online communities, but they seem to be completely blind to it and are falling further behind every day. The days of Harley remaining silent and not talking directly to their customers are over and they better get on board quickly.
Harley owners and riders could care less about over-privileged Hollywood actors or athletes riding or being given free Harley's. This does not speak to current Harley owners or future owners in this day and age. Those are old outdated marketing techniques for the motorcycle industry.
Harley's current core customer and new younger future customers are watching more online videos than watching traditional TV and they are not listening to traditional radio that is dying. They are not reading or buying outdated magazines and print media. Instead, they are hanging out in large targeted online communities and Harley has done nothing to get involved in these places.
Most importantly, Harley needs to keep their current customers happy, because after all, they are the ones that will be introducing that younger generation of riders they're targeting, to motorcycling and Harley ownership in the future.
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Michael Althouse says
I’m with you about 90 percent. That’s 85 percent more than Harley is with me. My 2017 FLHXS will be my last new Harley – there are plenty of used bikes that are no longer under warranty (and, therefore, cannot be voided) and that I can buy without my money going to a corporation that doesn’t value me.
Patrick Dunster says
Interesting article, but it fails to mention one crucial aspect of the HD issue: the product. I’d been riding Harleys for 5 yrs, until I tested another brand, a 4-cylinder very hi-tech bike, and it was a revelation for me. My Harley felt like a two-wheeled tractor compared to this other bike, which also happened to be $7,500 cheaper. I think Harley have been focusing too much on the ‘Harley lifestyle’ to the exclusion of the product. The lifestyle, HOG membership and all that, is great, but I (and I suspect, many others) still want to ride something exciting, rewarding, technically up-to-the-minute and which handles great! Harley need to wake up to that, and fast, or else they risk being left behind. Livewire is a step in the right direction, but they’ll need many more.
Ryan Urlacher says
Good comments. I’ll say that types of bikes and rider experience varies greatly from rider to rider their personal expectations and needs. Looks, sound, feel is dependant on each rider. I’ve ridding many many bikes of all makes and models. I’ll still say that I would want no other bike than my Harley Police Electra Glide for routine day to day duties. And I love my Street Glide for long-distance touring……soooo comfortable. But I love my Kawasaki for dual-sport riding. Thanks for the conversation.
David Thomas says
Great Article Ryan, I have been riding Harley Touring bike since 2005. I have to agree with the comments made that Harley marketing the “Harley Lifestyle” and they have done a great job at keeping these buyers coming back for more.
For me, I came to Harley purchasing a used 2003 Ultra Classic from riding 2004 Honda Gold Wing 1800 GL. Loved the Wing, but accessories or aftermarket difficult to obtain. The only issue with the wing for me was rider position or lack of adjusting while riding. After market stuff usually did not fit well or had to be retrofitted.
The accessories after the sale has been Harley’s bread and butter. Technically their bike have fallen way behind many other manufactures and pricing has gotten way out of hand. I currently ride a 2016 Road Glide Special which I have done very little to other than fix Harley’s shortcomings in rider comfort. All Harley riders that I know have to fix the sucky fitting of stock bikes. To me that is planned by HD to get you to spend another $3-4K after initial purchase. I don’t need HD stamped on everything I put on my bike. One for instance I recently changed out the stock handle bars to 12” apes. Visited the Harley Stealer-ship locally (not the same dealer I purchased this bike from) and they estimated $300 for a set of 12” handle bars plus $500 to install them?
I purchased the same handle bars after market for $200 including new bushings and put them on myself. Two hours later and I’m riding with my new bars? I am not a trained Harley Technician and I was able to perform this bar change out in a couple of hours, $600 saved over Stealer-ship price?
Now, I am capable of wrenching on my bike so I have saved thousands of $$ in labor charges from the Harley Stealer-ships. I love my Harley and have learned a great deal, with your help from your webcasts. Harley Dealers find every excuse in the book to not provide warrantee work. Dealer I purchased my bike from said that if I did not have them do the first oil change and 1000 mile check that my factory warrantee would be voided? Cost for this oil change was $375.00? I argued the point, but they did not care, told me it was a complete check of all the fasteners etc on the bike and took about 3 hours to complete and is not covered by Harley? I gave them the benefit of doubt and took the bike to them and waited. Bike was in and out of the shop in 45 minutes. Then I waited 2 hours for it to be washed. I argued the point with the Stealer-ship before paying the bill, but was pretty much told if I wanted my $26K New Harley back to shut up and pay the bill! Sales staff was good, but it was clear that this dealership was not interested in service after the sale. Last visit to that Stealer-ship! I know there are good dealerships out there, but Harley does have this problem with service after the sale in a lot of the Dealerships. I did write a complaint to Harley about this Dealership which was a waist of my time.
I will be due for another bike in the not too distant future and I can honestly say that currently Harely is not on my radar. I do not like what Harley has done with the black chrome on everything but their CVO models, which are ridiculously priced. I would purchase a CVO model, but not for $50k and still old technology. That is almost as much as my 2018 Duramax P/U I purchased new? I am still going to change bars and seat on a CVO and highway pegs shifter and break pedal on a CVO.
I see Harley trying to gain market share with the younger generation (I am 60 years young) with all the black chrome, but it comes down to $$! When you can buy a faster more technical motorcycle for $7k less, it is smart to buy the more technical bike. And the market that Harley is trying to after can not afford a $300-$400 monthly bike payment.
Myself I don’t care about speed, I love riding my slow Harley, but price of new touring models for a blacked out bike I don’t like is more than I am willing to anti up. Could I step up to a CVO financially, yes, but is ma not willing to spend that kind of money with the experience I have with the service after the sale and Harley Warrantee issues and Dealer support.
Indian or back to Honda may be in my future? Never wrench on my Gold Wing other than tires and oil?
Ronald Nance says
I bought my 2014 street glide special new from Red Rock Harley in Las Vegas, NV. Got a good price for it, a fair trade in for my 2005 police special and had all the service done by the dealership. I never felt “gouged “ at all there.
I moved back home to Santa Cruz, Ca and made the Monterey Harley dealership my go to dealership. I paid cash for my extended Warranty from them 1830.00
They were bought out by House of Thunder in Morgan hill. And what good service and prices went down the drain.
I had new rubber, front and back and was blown away with the 1,000+ price tag. I should of asked for a price before but never had to do so before.
I ate the gouging and rode on. A week later I picked up a nail on the rear tire, went back and had to buy another new tire, but was told if I had the extended warranty they would honor it. I brought my extended warranty card and original paperwork to the dealership and was told the warranty was never issued. So I ate the 500 dollar tire replacement , and never set foot in any Harley dealership these past years.
I ride my street glide a lot, so my own service and replaced both front and rear runner for less than 500 bucks.
Harley lost a devout customer and in friend to the lifestyle.
I love my bike but hate the dealerships out here in Cali.
That’s my gripe.
Jim Coughlin says
just read your comments on recent HD troubles. Your thoughts were right on. I hope you sent a copy to the knuckleheads at HD headquarters and that it put a burr under they’re dumb asses. It wouldn’t hurt if you could setup an email campaign and let them know that us old riders are still out there and yes we have the bucks to buy new bikes if they would listen to us. Thanks again
I agree with everything you stated but will add one addition. Upper level management must also be cut since they don’t do the work. The engineers and wrenchers are the ones who design and build the bikes ,, not the stuffed shirts. The prices for the touring bikes has gotten way too expensive and has turned many away. I own a 2020 Ultra Limited and paid over $31k ,, the younger crowd can’t afford that for sure. Also they stuffed shirts did away with the heel shifter and bag liners ,,, WHY ? They said they took a survey ,,, from who ? Did they actually talk to owners of those bikes ? The bean counters have too much say in the building process. Get back to basics and design the bikes the public wants ,, or die out !!
Greg Payne says
A very coherent and knowledgeable account of HD s woes at the current time. Totally agree about their lack of empathy to the senior riders and warranty issues.
The warranty problem is not trivial They & us ignored the law and flaunted it Now it’s trouble. However. The bigger problem is the engineering problems that cause warranty claims Rear cam bearings, chain tensioner, inner bearings, lifters, early cvo heads, sumping. All handled with the ostrich method, head in sand.
Ryan Urlacher says
Agree mostly. I will say that having spoken to HD mechanics over time, many of the things are very trivial and it actually angers them. But we won’t dive in any deeper into that subject here.
ROBERT PECK says
You never mentioned the price of their bikes, my 2018 ultra limited was 25000.00 dollars, the new ones now are pushing 30000.00! I paid that for my first house. I’m 64 yrs young and this bike is in all likelihood the last one I’ll buy, I’ve owned 8 harleys buying my first one at age 39. The young folks harley is after are in their twenty and thirtys, just married with youngsters, huge house payments and jobs that are not paying what they use too!! 400 dollar a month bike payments aren’t in the budget. I cringe every time I go to the dealership, totally outrageous bike pricing, 500 dollar leather jackets, 30 dollar t-shirts, not to mention aftermarket parts that would kill a dead horse. Harleys so eager to screw you out of your warranty for just trying to unleash the potential of their engines, I blame the EPA for some of this as well. When I could buy a Japanese bike for half the price of a Harley that performs better in every way, which way do you think these youngsters will go?!! I love my HD, but I get it. Your marketing Harleys to kids wearing skinny jeans is totally missing the mark, don’t forget about the people who carried you through the tough times. I think we will see HD shrinking to a smaller scale, with more manufacturing going overseas unfortunately, meanwhile I’ll be riding mine as long as I can into the sunset, be safe out there!
Byron Stoddard says
This is all true, I have owned three Harley’s since 1998, all three I bought new, all three broke down on me, at a cost of thousands of dollars, even with warranty Harley would not stand behind them, they told me to bring it back when the bike was screamin at me, than they would fix it, twice the crankshaft burned up, five times the compensator went out. I used to work on my bikes as a kid, and soon realized that I would have to fix them myself, this led to spending much more money on tools to fix these bikes, very expensive parts, waiting for parts, etc. I still have two Harley’s in my garage today, and both of them are broke, I’m getting to old to work on them all the time, I bought these to ride, not to replace parts that should last. When growing up I had lots of Japanese bikes and always wanted a Harley, I bought my first Harley, thinking they had fixed their problems, was I ever wrong, and they just keep raising their prices, and now my bikes are not worth a fraction of what I paid for them, what a waste of money, sorry I can’t say anything good about them, except for the friends I have made over the years of riding.
Rich Vollenweider says
great article and i believe it is on the money.
Jim Erickson says
Totally agree with everything that you said. I think Harley is destined to fail because of the expense of their bikes.Most younger people cannot afford to spend that kind of money on a toy.
Ryan Urlacher says
Mike Carrubba says
Ryan, you provide a very good perspective on Harley’s faults and recommendations for success. You do sound very anti H-D at times, but your continuing to remind us that it is not intended that way is good and is meant to be constructive in nature. H-D is a classic American success story and I’d like to believe they will persevere and come out on top again, that this is just yet another cycle of American business. Three times this company has been at the brink of collapse and came back with style, grandeur and stronger than ever. I believe they can do it again. I am one of the loyal customers you speak of and some day (not soon I hope) won’t be riding due to aging, so all loyalists can help keep this American success story going. After all, each generation ages with different interests, so older can help the younger enjoy the riding dream. HOG was a brilliant Marketing strategy that no other company has initiated, it created the enthusiast and brought bikers together in a common community by creating a Chapter family out of strangers. This needs to strengthen again too with H-D Corporate more in control than at the dealer level. I agree price points on merchandise does need to be reduced as do bike prices. Engineering of new bikes needs to be done with the customer in mind and help those that want to do there own wrenching do it successfully. H-D dealers won’t loose revenue, they’ll strengthen the bond and keep the lifestyle going. Harley needs a biker at the helm not a fashion industry executive, the position needs to be an executive who rides all the time and subscribes to the lifestyle community everyday and just gets it. All this will translate to sales and company success. It’s a hard business, one that has persevered for nearly 120 years and has competition emulating design, I believe H-D can ride the storm and hit the ground riding the road to success again. Thanks.
Ryan Urlacher says
Thanks for the comments.
Jay Dee Coy says
Ryan’s interview with “other Ryan” about the infotainment system should be mandatory viewing for everyone that works for Harley Davidson:) Although I doubt they’d find it as entertaining as I did.
Ryan Urlacher says
James L Patin says
One example of HD’s drop in quality: I bought a HD tri fold wallet when mobby dick was a guppy and was first class until I lost it. No problem, so I thought, I bought another one. Ever try and fold a sheet of plywood? Pure China junk but still had the HD price tag. I wound up throwing it in a desk drawer and buying a Hot Leather one from my independent shop and it was made in the USA. Harley needs to get their quality back on top shelf. I agree 100% with Ryan they need to re-establish their rapor with us old farts
Harley needs tv commercials that appeal to the younger people. I overheard guys saying while looking at a HD only fat old men ride them. I came up with something me and quite a few others though was really good but HD wouldn’t even let me suggest it.
charles furnari says
I read all the replies. very good and spot on. Harley prices are way up there. That’s the whole product line. I’d love to buy some HARLEY clothing and parts. Way out of my price range. I own a 2006 heritage
soft tail springer. I’M retired ASE Master tech. so all repairs are none by me. I owned several bikes. but Harley is my favorite. I don’t know what Harley can due. I’m not a business man. Maybe it all has to due with stock holders and return on Investment, and the cost of over head and production. I wouldn’t count on millennials, they like nice cars and very nice home’s. Nothing wrong with that. I’M 74 and ride with the PATRIOT GUARD RIDERS. (NEVADA). I’M sure there’s a group of people, before the millennials and my age group. Harley you need to regroup. Don’t fail your group of supporters.
I have been building and riding Harleys since 1973. I love Hogs! We were stroking chopper engines and racing them on the streets and drag strips since the days when Harley said it could not be done. I still have a rigid frame chopper with a stroked Shovelhead engine (stored). I now ride my 2014 Street Glide which I bought used in 2014 from a private party. I will probably never buy a new Hog again. And, now I can afford it. They have just gone too far with their prices and cheap tricks (one FOB, one tranny shifter pedal, etc.). I love riding my Hog but, I simply will not play that fools’ game anymore. Since I cannot completely control my need for two wheeled toys, I am now considering an Indian Challenger Dark Horse rather than pay what a comparably equipped and outfitted 2020 Road Glide Special. Again, love them Hogs but, HD has gone too far with their prices and cost cutting actions.
Fists to the Wind!
I too am one of the many that agree with what you have written. The only thing I would like to add to it is the way they finance the bikes. There are not too many people they can go out and spend $30-$40,000 on a bike that they’re only gonna be able to use anywhere from 7 to 9 months out of the year, excluding California Florida Texas Arizona. They need to somehow work on the financial Side more keeping the monthly payments lower than $375.- to $500 a month for one of those bikes.
Bob Blair says
Harley has to recognize that their market is shrinking and reset their goals accordingly. The mega-company that was just out of reach in the past is never going to happen. Maybe that means that 70% or 50% of volume, but that is still a viable business. Adjust to the new reality and learn to make do. Don’t go bankrupt chasing growth.
Greg Ahrnsbrak says
What a great American success story H-D has created. I’m not sure they can pull another comeback.
The previous commentators have identified many of the serious issues confronting this American Icon.
H-D’s biggest asset has always been it’s image. That’s what sells bikes. However, in my view they have become arrogant and lazy, relying on the past to carry them through towards continual big paydays. H-D is going through an identity crisis. Consequently, they find themselves at a financial and creative crossroad.
Their image will suffer if they continue to re-create H-D image in order to appeal to millennials. It doesn’t make sense to soften their image towards smaller, electric, metro-sexual scooters.
Why not seriously downsize the corporation and emphasize quality over glitzy tricked out boats.
Sure, they can still offer a smaller selection of higher end rides for mature riders but, return again to an entry Sportster.
But, give it a more beefed up classic look like some of those Kawasaki Vulcans. They start at $7,100.
The younger riders they need cannot afford H-D prices. Hell, who wants to spend $30-$40 on a t-shirt. I find the advertisements I get in the mail amusing. Do you ever see 20-30 year olds like that riding around?
Ford made a comeback with their F150’s by actually building quality back into their machines (Ford Tuff). Will that appeal to a younger market? Or are we witnessing the end of a culture?
Ryan is absolutely right H-D has not penetrated any of the newer media platforms. Perhaps if they didn’t change the image but, simply updated. If they can get folks on a bike with an open road ahead, most will stay riding. They may not look or sound quite like us but, most people like flying.
They also need to create some modern day Easy Rider flicks!
John N Riise says
Ryan ! I like what you have to say ! You are like my wife — always right. I have been around and ridding bikes sense 1955, I remember seeing my first Harley, they looked like the FLSTC or the Heritage softtales today, (don’t forget the very big seats) my first bike was a Cushman, (very cool) then it was traded for a Harley 125 hummer, traded that for a Triump TR-6., I went into the Marines in 1961 and when I came back to the world I bought a Harley and loved it. I road it for years. Then I became an Instructor for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. over the years I had all kinds of Motorcycles, My favorite is the 1974 BMW R90S, (still have it)., very Fast lots of fun, But I found a 1992 Harley (which I remember as a young person) FLSTC Heritage Softtail, Not fast but comfortable We still have it . A few years ago we bought a 2014 FLSTC, Love that sixth gear and all the new electronics, it speaks for its self. The BMW has over 80,000 miles, The 1992 Harley FLSTC has over 111,000 miles on it and still runs great.
My wife and I have been all over the US on motorcycles, we towed small trailers we alway camped out, never stayed in a motel or eaten in a restaurant. We loved it. Lots of wonderful stories. We are both 76 and still ridding. We now tow a fifth wheel camp trailer and haul our Harley behind our trailer. We set up cam and go sightseeing on our Harley,
Ryan ! We need more people like you to teach us the proper way to work on our motorcycles, and need to learn the proper way to ride our motorcycle Safety first ! Plus let us know what is going on in the Motorcycle world. Thank You so much.
PS I’M not Biker. But I”m a Motorcycle Enthusiast. (William H Harley said this)
K Murphy says
Great article Ryan! I agree with most of it as well. As the rain falls here on a Saturday in Roseville Ca and I can’t go out and tear it up on my 2014 Limited. I am currently watching some of your maintenance videos Ryan. Lol.
I personally have owned 3 Harelys since 2002. I came from sport Bikes. My first 2002 Sportster never had a single issue. But as I approached 40 I really wanted a touring bike and was tired of not being able to keep up with others in the group! So I saved and saved and My next bike was a 2000 HD Electra Glide Classic I bought in 2014.. I was in love! But can you imagine how angry I was when I learned about the cam chain tensioner issue from reading? That being said that was at 27,000 miles. I ended up changing the tensioner out to the Screaming Eagle upgrade hydraulic tensioner and large oil pump for $1700.00!!! Then the stator went out riding thru the Sierras at 25k miles!! After those two $2500 repairs.
I am now at 42,000 miles I have never had a single problem with my 88 inch twin cam. It’s an amazing bike. And I actually love the shake of the old school V-twin. And was upset when they made the M8.
I have since saved and purchased a used 2014 ultra limited in 2017. I just could not trust that M8 motor! Single cam? No vibration? Holy crap.
Onto the 2014 Project Rushmore Limited.
This bike is absolutely amazing and handles incredible. I scrape pegs in the canyons regularly! I personally have had some glitches with the infotainment center but nothing like anybody else has reported. The difference between the 2000 in the 2014 for me it was such an incredible change that I absolutely love my 2014. However since I purchased that used in 2017 and extended the ESP warranty I have had To replace multiple multiple items including a compensator among other things. Thank GOD I have a ESP thru Discount ESP.
For me personally I am a diehard Harley guy. And very deep in the lifestyle. Spend thousands of dollars on clothing etc. but even I draw the line at $37 for a T-shirt. I used to buy 1 t-shirt, short sleeve and long sleeve every visit.
To give you some perspective I am 48 years old and before COVID-19 I was in the dealerships three Saturdays out of a month even if just for a few minutes. And no many of the owners of the dealerships.
My opinion is people are tired including myself, of paying for Harley Davidson’s engineering mistakes. I don’t think it’s fair that they do design flaws in a motor and repeat them year after year and we get stuck with the bill. So you want us to pay $32k and then pay to repair your flaws? Killing me!
That being said I will ride a Harley the rest of my life. I am die hard.
However recently I have started looking at the Indian Darkhorse and the Challenger as they come with many of the items that we end up adding aftermarket for a high amount of money on a Harley. I doubt I would ever purchase an Indian. But it’s tempting. I agree with many others I could never purchase a new touring bike. I have the money, but I just can’t do it. I was recently in the dealership and shocked to see that a 2020 limited other than the motor is the exact same bike as my 2014 and runs almost 36,000 out the door. That’s ridiculous. I remember when a 2006 Harley Davidson Electra glide ultra classic was about $24,000. I know because I was in my 20s and started saving. It’s disappointing to me that Harley Davidson is not taking care of those of us that are actually paying the bills. With that being said rock on Ryan. I am a recent participant in your emails and watching many of your videos. Keep up the great content. I am close to joining as a patreon member!
Ryan Urlacher says
Lawrence Kauderer says
Before we start writing Harley Davidson’s obituary, I think it’s important to remember, Harley Davidson is a one hundred and nineteen year old company. During their long and storied history, there have been many times they faced challenging times. I remember in the early eighties, many people predicted Harley Davidson’s demise and once again, they were proven wrong. With competent leadership from CEO Vaughn Beals, the buyback team, that allowed Harley Davidson to gain their independence from AMF, and a committed workforce within the company, Harley Davidson came storming back in a big way and regained its dominant force in heavyweight motorcycles and majority market share which it still enjoys today.
With that said, in order for Harley Davidson to prosper again, it will require a change in the mindset of traditional Harley Davidson riders, that it is possible to produce more than one type of motorcycle and it doesn’t mean the company is abandoning its core riders. It will also take an open mind from the public and a willingness to look at Harley Davidson as more than just a company that produces cruisers and touring bikes. The new products being offered today are all high quality, sophisticated motorcycles that in many ways are superior to their competitors. People would be depriving themselves the opportunity to experience this superiority, if they aren’t willing to give Harley Davidson a chance. Of course, there has always been a segment of motorcyclists that have a chip on their shoulder in regards to Harley Davidson and the company will never satisfy these people. That’s their problem, not Harley Davidson.
When things are going well, everyone wants to act like your friend. But, the true friends are the people that stick with you in good times and bad. I am fifty three years old now and loved Harley Davidson since I was fifteen. This will never change. They are an excellent company and a major force in the motorcycle industry. So, let the naysayers have their fun and take their cheap shots. Harley Davidson will rise above their challenges now, just as they have every other time. I am sticking with the one, the only, the best, Harley Davidson.