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Harley-Davidson Blackline First Look

Friday, January 21, 2011
“Lean as wire, hard as iron and dark as a tar road at midnight.” That’s how Harley-Davidson describes its latest addition to the Dark Custom line, the new Blackline. A version of The Motor Company’s Softail model, the Blackline is, as H-D press describes it, “pared to the bone.”
The 2011 Blackline looks best in black. The graphics on the tank are real subtle.
Harley-Davidson's latest addition to its Dark Custom line is a new Softail model, the 2011 Blackline.

H-D’s Twin Cam 96 V-Twin powers the new Blackline, the engine rigid-mounted to the frame. Peak power claims are 89 lb-ft torque at 3250 rpm. Cosmetic alterations to the powertrain package are “gloss black powdercoat on the rocker box covers, the crankcase, the outer primary cover, and the transmission side cover. The cylinder heads are silver powdercoat with machined highlights. The derby cover and timing covers are chromed.”

The frame, swingarm and triple clamps all get black powdercoat treatment. The rear end is freshened up with the bobbed fender, the fender supports also getting the blacked out treatment. The bottom of the fork get black paint too, with the spoked aluminum wheels featuring black anodized rims.

The two up seat is claimed to be the lowest offered by Harley-Davidson, reaching 24 inches from the grown fully laden. H-D points out a new “gap between the nose of seat and fuel tank exposes the top of the frame.”

2011 Harley Blackline Photo Gallery
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As with its earlier Forty-Eight Sportster model and the entire Dark Custom Line, H-D looks to attract younger riders to the Bar & Shield. The embedded YouTube video below is Harley’s promotional ad for the Blackline, complete with hipster threads and young-ish tattooed riders making out with busty hot chicks. Curiously, there’s no mention of the Blackline’s $15,499 pricetag!

Stay tuned for more details from our Cruiser Editor, Bryan Harley, who attended the New York IMS debut of the Blackline.

Harley-Davidson Dealer Locator

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Mike in WV -Sat on a Blackline today  January 29, 2011 07:37 PM
OK...my wife and I stopped in for lunch at our local HD cafe and while she shopped in the merchandise area, I chatted with my buddies in sales. They had one of the new Blacklines (I called it a Darkline in another thread because it wasn't very memorable lol) so I sat on one to get a feel for it. First of all, there is a huge gap between the seat and the tank...and there is a huge bolt right there in front of your crotch. I asked my buddy, "hey ****, what the hell is this?" pointing at the bolt. He said "I know, but Willie G didn't ask me before they made that thing." As far as the rest of the bike, the handlebars felt really small and tight, the seat was stiff and overall...it felt like I was sitting on a Sportster instead of a Softail. It might make a good chic bike, but they'd want a new seat. On the up side, it did have really nice paint!
sotch -hey sloppy  January 29, 2011 08:11 AM
all branches of the service had there bad guys,or did you forget about timothy mcveigh,an army sgt.the worst home grown terrorist in us history.yes all my cars are us made,my choice just like you choose to ride that other brand,your choice.ever serve in a combat zone?or did you float around on a boat while the rest of us did the dirty work?you sound like a hollywood marine,boot camp in california,if you didnt like it you walked out of the gate and went to hollywood,no questions asked.your interpreting my comments all wrong.i did not say if you were not a marine your not a patriot.unless your a dirt bag criminal.all americans are patriots.freedom of choice,thats what its all about,i choose to ride and support harleys,99.9%of the people on this site choose to ride the other brand,your choice.before everyone gets there panties in a bunch,theres nothing wrong with that.be kind brothers,we all ride,thats all that matters.
GB -rudy  January 28, 2011 11:59 AM
you are right, calling someone a COMRADE and other names is an intelligent debate. i'm not gonna lower myself to you're 3rd grade level.
Rudy S. -GB  January 27, 2011 07:23 PM
I guess responding with an intelligent debate on the subject of unions is just over your head GB and I’d expect that from a union slob. I agree sloopy, GB is a lost cause but judging from his poor grammar and spelling he isn’t a union boss but just some grunt hoping his factory doesn’t go through another round of layoffs.
GB -sloppy-rudy  January 27, 2011 06:11 PM
can i get a #5 with a pepsi? LOL!!! you both sound like you're about 17. comrade?? that is great!!!
Buyer -decisions  January 27, 2011 04:27 PM
After carefully reading all these post, I know my next bike has to be a Harley Davidson.
sloppy -wasting your time Rudy  January 27, 2011 03:17 PM
Comrade GB is either a union boss, a fat lazy union leach that can't get fired or very young and naive and that will change with him opening his eyes. Anyways, he ain't changing at least not yet.
Rudy S. -GB  January 27, 2011 11:08 AM
“but without unions the middle class would not exsist.” Without unions the middle class would be better off. The vast majority of the working middle class is NOT union. Unions only make up 12% of the work force but we end up paying for your retirement and healthcare; it is the middle class that can do without you guys! Your dues go straight into campaign funds for politicians who in return do you guys special favors like giving you guys a waver to be exempt from certain mandates in the new health care bill and don’t tax you guys extra for the “Cadillac” HC plans but everyone else pays more.

“if you think that you have not somehow got a benefit from what unions have accomplished then you are dumber then you sound.” There was a time for unions about 100 yrs. ago. Long since then they have become just a huge source of campaign revenue and mindless guaranteed loyal votes to the party that milks them for their dues and votes.

“it's people like you that let these companies move south and then take the job at just barely livable wages.” People like me who “let” these companies move south…gee I didn’t know that if I owned a big business I would need your permission to move somewhere else to do business. Thanks for another wonderful insight into the working mind of a typical union guy. Look at all the jobs you union guys drove out of the country and if you guys had your communist way you would just make a law that says you can’t leave this country and these businesses would go belly up and then nobody in the south or in a union would have a job, brilliant. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Businesses compete with each other a concept not understood buy unions and while competing your competitors are looking for ways to bring down costs in order to be more competitive, try running a business and you will realize it really is necessary, so in order for you to stay competitive you too need to bring down costs or you will be uncompetitive and out of business.

When the big three auto makers had no competition from overseas they had no problem keeping up with union demands because the car companies could just lower quality and raise prices, where else ya gonna go for a car in the era? And don’t try and tell me the cars of the past were well made because I have owned many and they weren’t. Basically, if it were as easy as just paying everybody the wage and benefits that would make them happy and in return charge a price that would cover that and the product would still sell then fine but that is not real life now is it. GM was selling the most automobiles per yr. in the whole industry yet it went under part because of bone heads running the show but largely because of all the legacy costs from all the promises made in decades past when competition was not nearly as fierce. Certainly GM and the union members did not have a crystal ball to see how bleak the future was going to become but somehow I don’t think it would have mattered because even after witnessing what has happened and changed in the global market you still think we should not LET them do what is necessary to stay competitive and in business.

“and unlike you i can find a job anywhere.” Union member ship is at record lows and union unemployment is very high right now, just ask the 2,000 plus people let go from Harley. “Union Membership in U.S. Fell to a 70-Year Low Last Year” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/22/business/22union.html)
Kool Aid -SOUL??  January 27, 2011 09:50 AM
I am getting sick and tired about hearing about how HD bikes have soul! HD bikes are for sheep. It is always the same old tired design with an up-charge to join the fabled club. We love riding our bikes to bars and watching all of the people wearing all of their HD clothing. We laugh at how they look and act. Let me tell you, finding a good looking woman in HD gear is a real chore. My Raider gets tons of looks and compliments. Our "Jap" bikes are better and our women don't look like leather turds that have been on the cooker too long. To me soul is having a good time with friends, riding on the open road--enjoying life. Yup, my Raider gives me 100% of that.

I think HD COPIED Honda on the design of the Blackline.

Here is a tip to HD. Design a modern bike, different design at reasonable prices, and I would consider one.
Nikki. -JIML  January 27, 2011 09:29 AM
Making fun of their bikes is like shooting fish in a barrel sometimes. Eventually the discussion turns to how HD is run as a company. Personally I couldn't care less.
JIML -Sloppy - GP  January 27, 2011 02:30 AM
I thought we were talking about a newly released model from HD?
GB -sloppy=too dumb to be an idiot  January 26, 2011 08:38 PM
let me guess, you're like a manager at taco bell right? sorry to burst your bubble but i depend on me for my retirement. you think i don't know that union bosses and corp heads are the same? sounds like you're the one living in a fantasy world. my point is there are good things unions do and there are bad. but without unions the middle class would not exsist. and if you think that you have not somehow got a benefit from what unions have accomplished then you are dumber then you sound. yes, corps move down south to take advantage of lower wages, does that make it right? no it doesn't. i'm union and i get a great wage, my union helps me to stay educated so that i can do my job, the days of standing on the "line" and putting a bolt in for $20 a hour are done. it's people like you that let these companies move south and then take the job at just barely livable wages. great, go for. just because i'm in a union does not make me uneducated and unlike you i can find a job anywhere. of course so can you cuz taco bell is always looking for sheep like you. and no, i don't want fries with that....LOL!!!! moron.
sloppy -GB Troll  January 26, 2011 04:08 PM
"i am anything but a commie as your tea-bagging mind thinks." Nice try Comrade GB. As for the Unions being the moral defenders of the universe, the only dolts that buy that BS are idiots like you. You gave away who you really are with that Tea Bagger comment. Why do you think that the American Companies that stay here are moving to the South. No unions! Look at Michigan especially Detroit and tell me the joys of unions. The union bosses feed you this BS about corporate greed, what a joke. They are the greediest bastards that ever walked and screw the union members and they fu-- up the company. Where are the jobs then? Don't kid yourself GB, you have been fed a line, I guarantee you that your retirement package would be better with out a union and that if you didn't pay these idiots your money for "dues" you would have a better standard of living. Unless of course you are one of the many lazy a$$es that the company can't fire because you are "union".
GB -Rudy S.  January 26, 2011 02:46 PM
"Many employers do not offer insurance,many businesses not only don't give holidays off but they don't even pay holiday pay, safe working conditions"

maybe if you were union you could have that?
OSHA?? dude where the hell do you think OSHA came from?
oh and sorry about the typos, i can spell just type like crap.
Rudy S. -Oh GB  January 26, 2011 10:32 AM
"you can thank unions for getting you days off, overtime, insurance, holidays off, safe working conditions and all the benifits you non-unions poeple enjoy." Many employers do not offer insurance,many businesses not only don't give holidays off but they don't even pay holiday pay, safe working conditions uhmmm you can thank OSHA,and what other benefits (that's with a E not I)are you referring to?

Unions take care of their own which is fine as long as they do it with their own but not when they leech off consumers and tax payers.
Freddy -GB  January 26, 2011 10:23 AM
"i am anything but a commie as your tea-bagging mind thinks." I only hear socialist and communist bashing tea party people so which are you... it doesn't matter they are one of the same.

Tracey -Blackline is sharp  January 26, 2011 09:49 AM
Unions aside, I do like the Blackline. I think Harley does have a good product and seem to understand market conditions. I have had a couple of Harleys and have never had issues with burning oil or maintenance problems aside from regular service. They are not inexpensive to own but I have greatly enjoyed mine and never regret that I bought them. Harley is not the only company going after the younger crowd either. Since the boomers are aging out, many companies are doing the same by marketing and developing products for the younger crowd.
H/D -unions  January 26, 2011 09:45 AM
just looking at royal enfield that was made in India makes me so mad, the poor Indians hue make them get paid 5% wage of his European counterpart, so no unions in India.........so we must be getting cheaper H/D in Europe, at the expense of American jobs so no more H/DS for me..........
Tracey -Unions Good?  January 26, 2011 09:21 AM
You can thank competition and free markets for wages, benefits and jobs. You can thank unions for jacked up prices, skimming from union members, racketeering, intimidation, and promoting mediocrity. When I was a kid my uncle was a pro union guy. He loved his union and was a proud member of it. They had a strike and his buddy crossed the picket line because he needed to work to support his family. Some union thugs trashed his car and beat him up so bad he had a skull fracture. He lost partial sight in one of his eyes permanently. Needless to say, my uncle changed his religion about unions. The sad fact was he couldn't leave it. Not if he wanted to work. He talked about that to me from time to time until he died. I will have to agree with sloppy on this one. I hate that H-D is unionized.
BigBadBri -Too expensive  January 26, 2011 08:43 AM
I like all bikes -- but Harleys are just too expensive. And why isn't anyone talking about Harley sending jobs over to India!!! No thanks H-D, I'll build my own!!
GB -sloppy  January 26, 2011 04:00 AM
you can thank unions for getting you days off, overtime, insurance, holidays off, safe working conditions and all the benifits you non-unions poeple enjoy. you think corps are just gonna give you this stuff? they want to make money and they don't care if it comes from the customer or the worker. yes, there are union people who are worthless just like there are management people who are worthless. with out unions there would be not middle class. unions make the working conditions of the non-union people better. i am anything but a commie as your tea-bagging mind thinks.
H/D -same old  January 26, 2011 12:37 AM
its got a sportster light, dine-er forks, crossbones exhaust, its a parts bin special.............must be getting rid of all the old bits of stock before we get the new bikes 4valve heads over head cams,97hps..............lol
italian rider -Rider  January 25, 2011 02:07 PM
Character, history, performance, passion and actual hot girls - i think ducati has that covered.
Mark -HD  January 25, 2011 12:18 PM
I think it's sad that Harley still trys to sell bikes with images of tattooed smoking pirates bar hopping with loose women. They never try to sell bikes by emphasizing performance, efficiency, practicality, reliability, etc. It's always about form over function, looks, tradition, history, mistique, etc. Unfortunately, this will prove to be their downfall.
doug -sloppy unions  January 25, 2011 12:05 PM
Sloppy you are SO right. Unions are the reason many states are nearly bankrupt. Yes state governments spend too much but guess what 60-70% of their budget is spent on…union entitlements (pensions, healthcare, perks). Unions = higher cost with lower quality, higher taxes with less services and a shrinking cash strapped middle class because it is us who have to pay for all the inflated wages and benefits that the union slob thinks he/she is entitled to.

Let’s use some logic. Would anyone think a union worker is entitled to a new car purchased for them with tax dollars for say 40,000$? NO! How about a $150,000 car? Heck NO!!

Okay well then why do we have no problem with giving individual union workers hundreds and thousands of dollars to their retirement accounts? I say buy them a new car and be done with it. It will save all of us a lot of money. But the union guy will say the retirement is an entitlement because I need it and deserve it. Well you need a car and if you deserve hundreds and thousands of dollars out of everyone else’s pockets you can also deserve a car but yet we as a society would never buy the union guy a new car but over the course of their career we will contribute loafs of cash to each and every one of their retirements.

Oh but not all unions are in the government. Your retirement contributions will come from the higher price you pay for the product or service and goes right into their pensions, not better quality.

I work hard I get paid a wage and some of it goes towards my retirement but for some reason union slobs think they are better and deserve more for less. Why should I and everyone else be responsible for our retirement AND all these union people’s retirements? Why should anybody be responsible for anyone’s retirement other than their own? Ditto for healthcare.
Unions are the social scam of the century.
sloppy -unions are a parasite  January 25, 2011 11:30 AM
I knew that someone was going to have a hissy about my union comments. This "corporate greed" BS is right out of the class envy(i.e. communist) playbook. Unions are as worthless as tits on a boar. Dennis, you need a union like you need a new hole in the head. Leave it if you can, but I bet you can't. And oh yeah, they are communist.
Remy -sotch  January 25, 2011 11:20 AM
“.if you want to ride at a spirited pace as you call it, go ahead kill yourself and cause accidents if you want.the only reason to go that fast is to impress people that dont care.”
What a fascinating insight into your lack of understanding of the very riders you scorn. Sotch, the number one place where riders get killed is at intersections when a car does not yield and makes a left hand turn in front of you. People die on slow moving Harleys in large numbers because often it is not the speed of the rider but the lack of attention the car driver is not giving to the road in front of him.

If you can handle a motorcycle well at a spirited pace then you have just increased the odds of your survival when you’re in an emergency situations because you can react under pressure rather than just laying her down or locking up the rear tire and gripping the handle bars with white knuckles because you have never made any quick maneuvers before. Also, when I and most other riders ride at a spirited pace we are doing it early in the morning far from urban areas where I may come across three cars the whole morning so I guess I am hardly doing it to impress anyone since nobody is around to watch me ride. I’ll bet sotch you ride your HD in populated places in the middle of the day cranking the noise handle every two minutes for the attention you desperately need.

“the eighties harleys were un reliable only because they were mass produced to keep up with the foreign invasion of your so called superior imports” The foreign invasion happened in the late fifties and sixties form both Asia and England. Harley was not mass producing their bikes in the eighties to keep up with the competition they were lobbying to get tariffs put on their competitor’s bikes. The motors were unreliable because they were, well unreliable but regardless the superior imports were mass produced AND they were very reliable.

“ask any bike builder and they will tell you that they use the evolution or twin cam engine because it is very reliable.” They use them because they are cheap, easy to work on and have good after market support because they are easy and cheap to build parts for.
“you talk about freedom of choice it sounds to me like your the one shoving imports down our throats.remember Toyota saying they were reliable and safe cars until they suddenly excellerated” So now it is a car thread. Okay, how about all the people who died in the Ford Explorer roll overs that had the problem with the firestone tires (http://www.car-accidents.com/pages/9_firestone/firestone_overview.html) I think sotch you get my point.
Dennis -patriots? union communists?  January 25, 2011 11:17 AM
soch, in my family we've had 12 soldiers(Army), 2 airmen(Air Force), a Coast Guardsman and a Marine. Are you telling those 15 others weren't Patriots? Or perhaps I'm not because I didn't serve because the family has done far more than others have? There are many forms of Patriotism. You don't have to carry a gun, wear a badge or fight fires to be a Patriot. Sometimes just getting and going to work everyday is enough. At least you are contributing to the tax base. Go wave your flag somewhere else while the rest of us work and contribute. sloppy, union workers are card carrying communists? Where in the world of propaganda did you get that? I've been a Union worker for over 20 years and I'm certainly not a card carrying communist nor have I met any amongst my co-workers. Unionism is collective bargaining. Period. It's brought everyone safer work places, workers rights, better pay and hours, a better work place and an end to many types of abuses in the work place. As a country, we often have a short memory and it's all too easy to forget the horrors of the factory work place at the turn of the last century. Unions helped end the abuses, injuries and deaths that plagued the work place many years ago. HD's Union workers aren't the cause of their products high price. It's called corporate greed and it is running rampant in America and is only getting worse. If you looked at the details of the last contract that was shoved down their workers throats last year you would see this. Also, keep in mind that a large portion of HD's profits come from their accessories lines. Guess where they are made? Not in the United States, that's for sure. Remember that HD riders next time you put on that HD jacket, doo-rag, boots or chaps. Yeah, HD is a very patriotic company.
Mike Schmitt -Fat Customers  January 25, 2011 11:09 AM
What happened to the 300 pound guys and women that ride HD? They were totally missed in this ad. I think Harley is misrepresenting their true customers.
Jeff Knepp -really  January 25, 2011 11:00 AM
I really hope Harley goes under, 100 year old technology, an annoying, uneducated fan base and overpriced. Loud and shiny, that's all you got. Take some riding lessons Harley guys and seriously, NO ONE wants to hear your straight pipes but you and your pals
sloppy -sotch you are a disgrace  January 25, 2011 10:08 AM
Hey sotch, what a stupid comment about patriotism. Look at Harley's website. The have a Latino only Harley association called the Harlistas (a play on the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua). They are heavily unionized. That's one reason they are so expensive. Many of the union leaders are card carrying communists, and certainly associated with organized crime and intimidation. I still may buy a Harley sometime but cut the BS with "just because I am a Marine, you are not a Patriot". Lee Harvey Oswald was a Marine as well as Rev. Jeremiah Wright. My dad wasn't a Marine, is he not a Patriot, my uncle was in the Navy in WWII, was he not either. However, I was an active duty Marine and in the fleet the whole time (9 years)except for training , now I am in the Reserves. That still does not make these others any less patriotic. Are all of your cars made in the US? How about your running shoes? Are they New Balance. All others are made overseas? You better wake up and quit getting the marketing brainwash. You are definitely a disgrace.
Motorcyclist -sloth  January 25, 2011 09:40 AM
"You shake a slogan at an American and it's just like showing a hungry dog a bone." (Will Rogers)
alii1959 -sotch  January 25, 2011 09:14 AM
Did you even read the comments others made? This is not a patriotism thing, I am a veteran as well. Further, I realize in this global economy few things are truly made all in one country or another. Harley doesn't seem to have the allegiance to its riders/employees as much as the riders do to Harley. Their treatment of Buell shows perfectly well that they have little concern for the American worker. I was poised to buy a Buell until Harley did what it did. Yes I admit Harley does wave the flag a lot and they seem to offer vets a bone on occasion, but I am not sure it is anything more than marketing. If they want my business, and that of many others, they'll have to make more than cruisers; they'll have to be competitive on price; and they'll have to be competitive in performance. It is a hard lesson that GM, Chrysler, and Ford are still struggling with. I would hate to see Harley go the way of so many companies who refused to change with the times, but at this point it doesn't look good. Sure, they sell a bunch and I hope I am wrong but I just don't think this is sustainable.
sotch -motorcyclist  January 25, 2011 07:29 AM
i know more about patriotism than you ever will,unless your a former marine like me.as far as the slogan goes it was created by the imports to attract attention to there products.i didnt say if its good enough for me its good enough for everyone.thats your interpretation. everyone uses hot girls in there videos.yes even imports.when was the last time you saw fat, ugly girls used to sell anything?to all my harley rideing brothers out there stay loud stay proud ride american!
Motorcyclist -Mike in VW  January 25, 2011 07:00 AM
Hear, hear! Your remarks are, as always, right on target. I am also a former H-D owner. I had several one-year memberships to HOG. It came with the new bike purchase and I never cared to renew. The social bonding is fine for some people, but I like bikes for what they are, a piece of machinery. Harleys don't perform better than other motorcycles any more than a Rolex keeps better time than other watches.

To scotch and Milwaukee Mike. Buy and ride what you want, but don't try to rationalize your purchase decison to me. It only makes you look more stupid.
Mike in WV -Some validity  January 25, 2011 05:40 AM
While each comment here has some validity, some arguements are based on either misrepresentations or misunderstandings. SOTCH, your reference to Honda's slogan was not a Harley bash, it was to generate interest in their bikes, as a social invitation to join all these other nice people riding Honda bikes. Additionally, I don't believe that those out here wanting more power and performance in a cruiser or touring bike are tearing up the streets like kids on street bikes. The reason we want the power is that most of us ride 2 up and that extra power is really handy when it comes to long steep grades. I had a '92 Road King that was just pathetic. I'm glad there are more choices (and the freedom to choose) and I would never imply that people should buy imports, they should merely be given the option to choose the bike that's best for them.

Jiml...you are using a number for one statistic and applying it to the entire market. The fact that Harley "flooded" the market only means that there was more opportunity to buy their bikes, it has nothing to do with quality. MacDonalds sells more hamburgers than any other fast food business in the country...are you really going to try to convince me that they have the best burger??? Do you see how your logic is flawed?

Motorcyclist brings up some valid points as well. Harley's demise was not the importing of foreign bikes. Their downfall can be directly attributed to poor production and financial mismanagement. Personally, I don't even consider the AMF bikes Harleys because they were so poorly constructed.

Here's the bottom line as I see it. We are a capitalist society that is based on a competitive market. We as consumers in this country are blessed with so many products (bikes)to choose from. The fortunate outcome of this competition is that the bar continually gets raised. We as riders have benefited from new suspensions, brakes (ABS and linked braking), fuel injection, tire technology, creature comforts like heated grips and seats, navigational systems, tire pressure monitoring, etc... Companies like Victory are willing to step outside the design norm and offer an alternative to the "traditional" mindset. Harley can either benefit from the advancement of other companies and offer new designs as well, or they can gamble that their traditional designs will never grow old in the consumers eye.

As a former Harley owner/rider, here is my promise: When HD can produce a bike that meets or exceeds the performance and quality of what ever my current bike may be, and when the price for their bike is competitive, then and only then will I consider buying another Harley.
Motorcyclist -Scotch (not too) Brite  January 24, 2011 10:20 PM
Your rambling screed provides an excellent example of what went wrong with American industry in general and Harley-Davidson in particular. A careless disregard for the English language reveals an attitude of doing only what is needed to get by. If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for the rest of us, right? Wrong. Most forum members can tell the difference between a cogent argument and a drooling rant. Starting in the 1960s, American consumers started seeing products that were better than “good enough” and found the value in Honda and other Japanese motorcycle brands.

Foreign competition didn’t cause Harley-Davidson to crash and burn. Lack of quality was the reason, and increased production only exacerbated those shortcomings. Do you remember the Motor Co’s answer to Honda motorcycles? They IMPORTED motorcycles from Italy. How patriotic was that? In the early ‘80s, Harley and other manufacturers were caught up in a market share turf war between Honda and Yamaha. When it appeared that it was all over for Willie G and the gang, Ronald Reagan rode to the rescue.

Having worked in both the motorcycle and auto industries, I respect H-D for getting their act together and competing with better products. The domestic auto industry was another story. Like scotch, they believed that good enough was acceptable for the American public. Instead of builder better cars, they only offered one excuse after another why the deck was stacked against them. It wasn’t their fault. Yes, they finally got the message, but it was almost too late.

FYI, the nicest people slogan was an American marketing creation. It was needed to break the existing public perception of bikers. Honda bashing motorcyclists indeed! They helped make motorcycles socially acceptable, including Harleys.

“I distinguish, between nationalism and patriotism.”
(Michael Ignatieff)

sloppy -Do the Math  January 24, 2011 05:41 PM
JIML, You may want to read the article again. It mentions H-D as the leader in heavyweights!!!!!! (cycles over 700 cc's and 400 lbs.) And yes, there are a lot of 600cc and less bikes out there.
alii1959 -JIML???  January 24, 2011 05:23 PM
My simple minded point was the fact that the American consumer doesn't always pick the best possible tool for the job. We have a history of liking things that don't always make sense. According to many of the dealers I have spoken with most of the Harleys sold get less than 2K per year on the clock. Can't say that those guys really like the bike or even use it. I am aware that Harley's marketing scheme is remarkable and they have done a fantastic job of playing to their target audience, but I just wish they could branch out a bit.....that is all. And, even with this new gimmick they are still playing the "bad ass" card, when most of their clientele never even get their assless chaps dirty. Yet, they buy into the hype and become "badasses" just like the rest of the herd. Like I tell the teacher who teaches marketing at our school, Harley may be the best at this game of anyone, but that doesn't mean they make something for me.....I just wish they did. The bikes they make are very good, don't break, and are more capable than many people believe....doesn't mean one is for me.
jiml -alli1959  January 24, 2011 04:55 PM
Really? I don't think I could research that one but I DOUBT over 50% of the cars sold in the 70's were Pinto......because those cars were junk! Also the pet rock is not a good comparison because there was only one manufacturer and fell out of FAD in like 2 months.....HD has been around for ......oh.....yeah....thats right 113 freeking years! And Jersey shore.......please........I'll pretend you didn't even make that comment!
sotch -calm down  January 24, 2011 04:37 PM
calm down mike in wv ,i didnt say jap riders (oops)metric riders have no class.and as far as them having a better reputation,remember the saying that you meet the nicest people on a honda.talk about bashing.that meant that only outlaws ride harleys and we know thats not true.if you want to ride at a spirited pace as you call it,go ahead kill yourself and cause accidents if you want.the only reason to go that fast is to impress people that dont care.ok the eighties harleys were un reliable only because they were mass produced to keep up with the foreign invasion of your so called superior imports.ask any bike builder and they will tell you that they use the evolution or twin cam engine because it is very reliable.you talk about freedom of choice it sounds to me like your the one shoving imports down our throats.remember toyota saying they were reliable and safe cars until they suddenly excellerated .they still say its driver error.i know its a car reference but you should get my point.oh by the way softail has just one t.theres a saying about our country from the french that we have no class,the only thing we gave the world is rock and roll and harley davidson .i say what else do you need!
alii1959 -Reply-JIML  January 24, 2011 04:22 PM
I would agree to that except for a couple of things: how many Americans bought Pintos? How many pet rocks sold here? And, would "The Jersey Shore" be a hit anywhere else?
JIML -Do the math!  January 24, 2011 03:40 PM
All I can say is that according to WIKIINVEST marketing research 304,000 new motorcycles were registered in the US in 2009. 162,000 of those bikes were HD!!!!So out of ALL the other makers out there 53.3% of the bikes sold were HD!!! All the HD bashers out there have to answer this....are you saying that over 50% of the riders in the US are riding an inferior bike?!?!?!? I can't possibly believe that many riders are wrong!!!
alii1959 -Guess I have more than 2cents...  January 24, 2011 02:00 PM
I think some of these people miss the point that many on this thread (and others) have to say. I don't begrudge anyone any bike they ride. Truly, I have enjoyed all the bikes I have had. All that said I expect the owner to be a rider as well, regardless of the make. But what I am trying to say to Harley (although I don't think they care) is, "why can't you make a different style of bike....for the rest of us?" Sure, the V-Rod was a start, the XR1200 is a great effort, but what about those of us who do not want to spend that much? The "48" isn't exactly a barn burner...sure it looks good, but.... With all of the R&D money they have spent over the years, they have created a few cool designs....that they never sold. Even Ducati is branching out, BMW is possibly making a scooter, and the rest all have full line-ups. Why not Harley? I ride a Suzuki because Harley doesn't make anything like it. Come on Harley, step up!!
Mike in WV -GB  January 24, 2011 12:42 PM
Thanks GB, Too bad we can't just tear all the name badges off of the bikes and ride "bikes". I'm amused by all my friends who feel the need to announce they are taking their "Harley" out for a ride. Why not just say "bike"? It's this need for some to think that a bike has given them status.

SOTCH...you exemplify my point. You talk about "Jap" bikes "looking" like Harley's...copying Harleys and wanting to be like the "best". So why don't you just come out and say that anyone who rides a metric is less of a person than someone who rides a Harley? Why don't you just come out and say Harley riders have more class? Here's a clue for you that seems to have eluded you...any similarities between HD's and metrics is purely cosmetic (looks) because most can attest that performance wise and dependability wise, metric bikes have a much better reputation. As a former HD owner, I can say this with utmost certainty. As far as your comment "owning a harley is like owning a part of true freedom", what part of true freedom are you referring to? The freedom of choice? The freedom to not walk blindly behind the masses? What about the freedom of not worrying about how reliable a bike is? Oh...here's another freedom for you...how about the freedom to drive a company near bankruptcy and only survive by gov't bail outs? What about the freedom to break away from old molds and investing in innovation and design? Tell me SOTCH...what new innovations are there in this bike that you won't find in another SoftTail?

I don't fault anyone for riding a Harley if that's the best they can do, just like I don't fault anyone riding a Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, etc. Enjoy what you ride...that's your right. But you do not have the right to impose your will on others and try to supress the rights of others to that same enjoyment.

I'm glad HD doesn't make airplanes...I'd most likely end up taking a train.
Remy -sotch  January 24, 2011 12:06 PM
“i dont think anyone cares about your age” Well Harley sure does care about your age, that’s the whole point of this bike and the marketing behind it.

“it just shows that young people care more about speed and speeding tickets than they do about class and patriotism.owning a harley is like owning a part of true freedom.” How exactly is riding at a spirited pace un-patriotic? And if going slow is classy I guess Corvettes, Porsche, Ducati and Harley’s own V-Rod are classless vehicles.

With other bikes you can go fast AND slow but with Harley you can only go slow not because you have class but because you have no choice. That doesn’t sound like “true” freedom to me that sounds like true BS.
Tremont -HD  January 24, 2011 11:47 AM
It looks like a $15K+ Honda shadow vlx 600…really it does except I think the little Honda has a bigger front brake rotor. What a surprise it has the 96 cu in motor in it…as verse to what? Oh and “ it is pared to the bone”, wow just like ALL of the other HD cruisers and sportsters. Black paint, cheap and original!

Soul? So how much of the $15,500 is for soul and how much is for the VLX wanna be? Is this why the V-Rod is a poor seller because HD exchanged its “soul” for performance? Will HD try to patent “soul”? What gives a HD “soul”? It can’t be the motor because Buells used to have HD motors in them and they didn’t charge extra for the “soul”.

“Lean as wire, hard as iron and dark as a tar road at midnight.” This is genuine side splitting humor!

Why all the HD bashing? Why not, most of it isn’t even bashing it is just pointing out facts and sometimes the truth hurts.
sotch -nice bike  January 24, 2011 11:15 AM
to all you harley bashers,i have been rideing harleys since i was 27.started out with a sportster then moved on to the big twin dynas.anyone notice how the jap bikes look like harleys? because they want to be just like the best!.i dont think anyone cares about your age.it just shows that young people care more about speed and speeding tickets than they do about class and patriotism.owning a harley is like owning a part of true freedom.
GB -Mke in WV  January 24, 2011 08:57 AM
you hit right on the head. always love reading your posts.
alii1959 -Uggg....not again  January 24, 2011 08:50 AM
To start with...I am part of the H/D demographic, 52 years old, always on the lookout for another bike. But, this is getting to be pretty sad. New paint doesn't mean new model, period. Further, this is the only advertisement that has mentioned cigarettes as a positive in years (save the tobacco companies). What has gone wrong? I always dreamed of owning a Harley, but they seem to be moving away from me more and more. They had the Streetrod....killed that. They had the Sportster Roadster...killed that. Prices going through the roof while performance drops or stays the same. I cannot imagine spending the money for a Harley when I could get a Ducati 1198 for the same price....are they crazy. That'd be like buying a brand new Model-T, when you could have gotten the viper....man you gotta really love Model-Ts, eh? Then there is the ubiquitous argument over soul. It is a machine...the definition of no soul. It seems to me that "soul" in a motorcycle is a euphemism for a lack of performance, lack of technical ability, poor design, or poor workmanship. I have been riding for 30+ years and every bike someone has said has "soul" is one that is sorely lacking, in some way, when compared to the competition. Why do so many bash Harley? Because they disappoint us. They have a great history, why not create a great future? I would love to have a Harley sportbike, that didn't cost too much, that had the performance of the competition. Everyone mentions Triumph...great company. They acknowledge their past with affordable retro styled bikes while working to move into a variety of niche markets with more modern offerings. Harley could do the same....we want them to. America needs them to. Or, will they be like Studebaker....fun to restore, but new ones seem to be hard to come by.
Mike in WV -Food for Thought  January 23, 2011 06:19 PM
No one is disputing that HD helped to establish the cruiser and tourer. But to say that every other manufacturer is copying their bikes because they have V-twins, 2 wheels, fenders, etc... is seriously flawed. For example...HD still uses push rod technology (oxymoron) in their V-twins to where many other makes do not. Subsequently, you see higher power and torque in the other makes. Another flaw in the "copying" theory is this...if HD went out of business or stopped making cruisers, would everyone else follow suit (because they are copying HD)? No...because it is the market that determines what the manufacturers produce and to what quantities. Cruisers will continue to hold sales as they are designed for those who want better performance and a sportier look than a tourer and the ergos you can't get on a crotch rocket. I can appreciate the beauty of a classic cruiser (love old Indians) and I love chrome as much as the next guy, but I also believe that part of the American Spirit is innovation and design. Ultimately, the test of any bike is how it makes the rider feel when they are out there on a 2 lane road with no other traffic...no one there to feed your own ego or placate your desire to intimidate cagers with your "image". Does your bike make you smile when it's just the 2 of you on the road? If it does...great...be happy and ride on. If not...try to figure out what it is that's missing and look for a bike that "moves" you. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing what the 2012 GoldWing will look like and offer...not saying I'm going to run out and buy one, but because I love bikes, I look forward to technology that will make my riding more comfortable and safe. I also love the Vipers...that's 152 cu inches of asphalt ripping power! There's nothing like a country road on a Triumph. My point is...there are many bikes out there to feed your soul, maybe just be gald you live in a country that provides you so many choices to satisfy your hunger. Peace out!
Matt -Waste of design time  January 23, 2011 04:38 PM
A design/face only a mother could love :-)
Mitch -Not the intended audience  January 23, 2011 02:45 PM
P.S. As for the Blackline commercial I think it's intended to entice younger or young-ish non-riders. I doubt any current riders are supposed to take it seriously.
Mitch -Blackline does what it is intended to.  January 23, 2011 02:16 PM
Judging by the specs and the advertisement of the Blackline I think it's fair to say that this bike is intended to be a barhopper and nothing more. And there is nothing wrong with that. Some people only ride a few miles a week & a few months of the year around town so what do they need a performance engine or smooth ride for if they are only going 60mph tops for 10-30 minutes at a time. If it's going to spend most of its life parked in a garage or on the street then I don't really see the reason for needing a tachometer, gear indicator, trip-meter or other such features. Although I do agree with the article that the price is a sizable mark up, especially for a non limited production bike. I think another poster put it best by pointing out that part of the "prestige" to owning a Harley for many owners is the price they paid for it. Being the most expensive adds kind of a "placebo value" to a product when it is being marketed as "premium". And to H-D's credit this is something that not just every manufacturer can make work. Victory for example is a fairly new brand and doesn't command enough loyalty and recognition as a name yet to charge a huge mark up so their product & prices remain more competitive. Who knows though in another decade or two the equivalent to a Jackpot could be right up there if not more expensive than a Rocker.
JC -hmmmmm!  January 23, 2011 11:59 AM
I wonder if the consensus would be the same if the HD was 13,500.....shame, I actually like their bikes but the price for me does not justify the " parts bin " looks.
Tom -Definitely want it now...  January 23, 2011 11:46 AM
NOT! Haha, what a joke... This vid was made as a high school assignment? Look like a bad trailer for an even worse movie, namely wild hogs. I wonder how many dentists will be swayed into a life of wild hog bad-assery after seeing this one! Can't get any cooler now, say hello to all those chicks... Some comments though -Harley is making this really easy for me. It's not that I don't like cruisers (even if I'm under 30) On the contrary, at 6'4" that's about the only sort of bike that suits me (together with the likes of the 'softcore' street oriented adventure bikes. But even so, Harley would be bottom on my list. Price being chief amongst the reasons for not getting one. Not that I don't have the money, it's simply not worth it, especially if you take a look at second hand ads where you're beaten to death with 10 year old harley's. Why is Harley making this easy for me? Well, since the bike hasn't changed in over ten years, I can get a cheap 10 year old one, by some parts from a catalog and end up with more or less the same bike as above (visually) for half the price. And that's all a sunday toy is worth to me. No need to go 'modern' for the 'technology' *achum* same old same old. I'd take a triumph over this any day of the week. -I had the unfortunate privilege to run into some real imbeciles on harley's.... Which in my experience you see much less with other brands. It takes some special kind of douchebaggery to own a Harley apparently. Damn... Deluded individuals suffering from a severe case of cognitive dissonance. -Don't get me wrong, I like the history and the countless books, but that's where they belong. In colorful books and museums... -Don't get me started on the UNIQUE argument. In your own words, Harley's are selling by the millions. 6 out of 10 bikes in the US is a Harley. Wooptidoo, uniqueness in spades there! For only 6000 dollar more, a bargain! Everyone and his mother rides a Harley! The only place where harley's are truly unique is in Europe and Asia -Harley can make a cross over the European market. Besides some pensioners with an 'easy rider' fantasy, absolutely no one is buying them. I wouldn't either, I'm too young and I'd be the laughing stock of just about everyone. (not the mention the reasons above) So for everyone <30, Harley could just as well not exist. And guess what, that's where your future demographic comes from, Harley! So start building a new platform if you want us to stay remotely interested! (and I even like cruisers, for christ sakes) -As pointed out, forget about the 'hot chicks' in your Harley fantasies. Chances are you're balding, middle aged and have a bear belly. No Harley or whatever bunch of steel is gonna change that! And I like my girls with some brain cells... Besides, if you really think that girls care about the brand, or that they even know what the hell it is you're riding, you're just delusional. -Even myself know that Victory is 100% American, in actual production even more so than Harley. Assembly and production is for the most part state side. SO STOP REFERRING TO IT AS METRICS, you dumb asses. Even harley's are 'metrics' then by your own definition. Also, it speaks to the age of the people responding here if they find the headlights of the Victory's too far out there. What the hell? You're 85 or something? Motorcycle design peaked in 1935, downhilll from there? -That comparison with the nissan and the porsche below is totally unrelated and irrelevant. THE PORSCHE ACTUALLY IS A BALANCED AND POISED SPORTSCAR. It is a quality car with a superior handling, performance and driving feel to it. And yes, it also has the history, but that in no way warrants a comparison with a harley in that context and for that reason alone. YOU ACTUALLY GET SOMETHING MODERN FOR YOUR MONEY. With harley, you ONLY get the history, and none of the tech for that money. -Please Harley, make something for us, the people that are not five years away from incontinence and a walker. I know you can do it, but please deliver. There is a market for an advanced, modern 1000-1200cc modern cruiser with a quality feel to it and the attention to detail you are known for. But none of your bikes do it for me at the moment. -Triumph is an incredibly small motorbike company compared to harley. But they got a stellar line-up which beggars belief. From nakeds, roadster, the rocket to three different adventure bikes, one of the best cruisers of the moment, modern classics and tourers. None of the other brands match the same line up with the same amount of soul. Harley in actual fact has one type of bike, with three model (sportster, evolution and vrod) Waw, impressive. Anyway, so far my two cents. It's clear that this doesn't rock my boat and I'll be spending my money elsewhere. Luckily most of you don't and I can see how this bike will be a success among the target audience. You gotta give it to them for pulling it off. I would just like to see a competitor (in my taste) for triumph, ducati, guzzi, ... Cheers
Harley bro -Dude-  January 23, 2011 09:04 AM
- from an appearance basis, I don't think the High Ball has it all over the HD. I'd have to spend probably 500 bucks to remove/replace those bars and that headlight, for starters Just those two items would bring the difference down to 1500 bucks. I bet there's a lot of folks who will pay that much more for history. If you like the HIgh Ball tho, hey, go for it, and pocket the diff!
Quicky -??  January 23, 2011 07:56 AM
Why the video? Trying to show this time a girl around a Harley with teeth. LOL
Dude -hmmmm  January 23, 2011 07:38 AM
$15,500 for the HD, $13,500 for a Vic high ball. high ball has it all over the HD. unless you're a sheep, no contest. madison avenue does sell a great bike tho.
Hitch -883 V twin  January 22, 2011 08:11 PM
How about a 883 V-twin dual sport? Something American made that can go from Baja to Alaska... or perhaps allow the USMC to use instead of a Kawasaki?? Just a hint of Nationalism. Pick up where the Ulysses was sort of going, but make it actually dirt worthy. Though I think the new Triumph Tiger 800 looks awesome!!!
jiml --gb  January 22, 2011 05:41 PM
You are right that there are lots of HD riders that bash every other bike out there.....I'm not one of those guys. Different manufacturers have different strengths. For me and the type of riding I do only a harley will do. As I said before....I'll wave to any guy out there on a bike.

Oh.....and back on subject.....the blackline looks cool.....I would like to see HD put together a new platform in the near future though.....possibly something to take over where buell left off!
Harley Bro -Irksome -  January 22, 2011 04:11 PM
Yes, Triumphs are great bikes. I'm actually thinking of getting a T-Bird myself.

In fact, if I had the space and the bucks, I'd have a Yamaha FJR, a BMW S1000RR, a T-Bird and a couple of Harleys, all at the same time. They all have their own strengths; but I'll tell ya, on hot summer nights for slow cruising, the Harley's what I want (or maybe the T-Bird!).

Agree that some Harley guys have to lighten up, too.

GB -Harley bro  January 22, 2011 02:59 PM
you wanna know why people bash HD? people like me-wank-ee mike. all the guy does is preach hatred of every other bike. he is a cancer for you HD riders.
Sweet Chrome- -New Blackline  January 22, 2011 02:17 PM
...I think is a sweet ride~
jiml -lots of bashing!  January 22, 2011 12:40 PM
Why all the bashing of other likes and dislikes in motorcycles? Triumph makes a great bike but sorry to disagree with you and your "beloved" triple.....Harley makes a great bike too! Why did triumph start building "cruiser" motorcycles like the thunderbird? They sure do resemble HD don't they? They build them to compete with HD that is why!!! Because contrary to what some folks bashing HD in this thread......HD sells a TON of bikes in the USA!!!!! The Triumph cruisers are great bikes I'm sure because they are made by a company with a long history of making quality machines. But are they better than HD bikes.......That's up to the rider to decide.
irksome -oh please...  January 22, 2011 10:11 AM
Bashing the pirates that try to live the HD Myth is like shooting fish in a barrel but when I read comments about "soul", I just wanna puke. The last time HD had soul was during the Reagan years when they asked the federal government to lift the tariff on Japanese bikes because they wanted to compete in an open market. Compete they did, and I admired them for it. But every advancement since then has been a dismal failure because of the pirates who, for some inexplicable reason, insist on riding ancient and archaic bikes. Remember "Hear no Evo, see no Evo..."? Anyone notice any positive reference to V-Rods in this or any other HD thread? Hell, I know people who hate OHCs. This video is another example of trying to perpetuate the myth. HD is on life-support and the pirates killed it. They remind me of an older woman who dresses like a whore and keeps getting facelifts. As soon as MilwaukeeMike gets his walker and RV, they're done. You want to ride history? You want soul and heritage? Buy a Triumph, the OTHER 100+ year old MC company. Triumph actually posted an overall gain in sales and profits this past year. How? By adapting to the times and by riders willing to move with them. I'm 52 and have been riding since I was 14. And I will eventually trade in my '98 Sped Triple for either a 1700cc Thunderbird or a Rocket II Roadster. Why? Because my beloved Triple has been a rock of performance and reliability. And yes, soul.
JIML -jiml - superlight  January 22, 2011 09:52 AM
I don't think superlight gets it. Of course it would be game over if a ducati raced any Harley but you are under the impression that Harley riders are looking for a race! You even said in your first line that cruisers are not your thing! It is all good.....and I'll wave to any bike out there on the road.....we all need to understand why we ride.....different people ride for differnet reasons! Go ahead and "race" your ducati......and get as many speeding tickets as you want.....I'll be cruising on my super glide and enjoying my motorcycle for decades to come!!!

Superlight -HD  January 22, 2011 09:17 AM
Cruisers aren't my thing, but how would one of those cool young guys on a new Harley like to have a Ducati Diavel pull up next to them? With 150 HP and a chassis that actually handles corners, Game Over, for no more money.
Al -Pat-  January 22, 2011 08:55 AM
The Honday Fury has plastic "chrome" cylinder top trim, plastic fenders and a lot of other plastic parts. It's a nice looking bike, but it's a make believe chopper, much more than any Harley. Underpowered, shaft drive (can't hang a fatass rear tire on it), etc. There are great metric bikes out there that make a lot of sense as a Harley alternative, but I don't think the Fury is it.
Harley bro -something to think about  January 22, 2011 08:48 AM
A lot of folks here obviously think that Harley buyers are overpaying for an inferior bike, based on some intangible that those folks don't see, and that really bugs them. Why?

Harley buyers are not the only ones here in the good old USA buying into a myth, and I say, so what? What about all those folks who put on some tremendously overpriced jersey with their hero's name on it on NFL days, to cheer on "their" team. "Their" team is a bunch of multimillionaires on some distant field, who really don't give a rat's ass about jersey boy. YOu think the guy who's name is on the jersey cares about the wearer, who forked over big bucks for it? Doubt it. Does that diminish the myth? No.

My point, a lot of people buy into myths. So what? Let 'em, it's their myth and their money. If guys like me want to pay a bit more for the Harley myth, it's still a free country and our money.

Last point and I'll shut up - if you don't want to ride a Harley, don't - it's a free country. Ride what you like; that's cool. But why do you have to diss us who ride Harleys, or wish extinction on us? One less biker of any kind is one less voter who cares about bikes, just like the musket shooter and the machine gun fancier who need each other to keep the gun haters at bay. We all need each other; we should start acting that way.
Monty -Less=more?  January 22, 2011 08:20 AM
Typical HD move. Give you less bike for more money. I've owned HD's before and recently went to an HD dealer to trade my Yamaha Road Star in on a new Road Glide. I got the cold shoulder right off, they didn't want my Roady, said they are an HD dealer and they don't take metric trades. Then the salesman totally ignored me when I tried to make a deal, he said the price marked was it, no deals. Well I will sell my Roadie this spring and I'm buying a new Victory Cross Roads. I est rode one and that is one amazing motorcycle, way better than any HD I ever rode. And the dealer was willing to bend over to get the sale, The HD dealer just wanted to bend me over!
GB -Harley bro  January 22, 2011 06:40 AM
"Tell the truth, what would you rather pull up next to a hot chick at a stoplight on - a Harley or a Victory? And which do you think the hot chick will guess will give her a better ride?"

speaking from expierence, she'll jump on the Vic as Hd's are a dime a dozen. Chicks dig power not pirates.
you and me-wank-ee mike are a dying breed. can't happen soon enough.
Vince XB -Nice, but not as nice as that new Victory  January 22, 2011 06:19 AM
I'm underwhelmed by this. How many different ways can HD repaint their existing model line to copy the stylings of Exile and Russell Mitchell. It's a great look, but let's be real about it. If it weren't for Biker Build-off and Russell Mitchell putting his stylings out there for the world to see on the Discovery channel, I doubt there would be enough Wild Hogs out there wanting to buy a Dark Custom. I think Victory has a better bike with their High-Ball. It's got more power, better brakes, better lines, and all the soul an American bike could ask for. Personally, I think it's HD bikes that lack soul these days. You can only keep putting different dresses on the same pig over and over and over and over for so long before people figure out something: it's still just a pig.
Harley bro -Are you listening , Harley...  January 22, 2011 06:10 AM
...to Marketing Critic? He/she is on to something. Great idea!
Pat -Blackline original?  January 22, 2011 03:47 AM
4bikemike -
"after all the b/s settles on whose bike is better, it comes down to 1 thing: almost all of the other manufacturers have been imitating HD with v-twin cruisers, and HD is not imitating the others. 'nuff said!"

Don't know about that. This new model reminds me of an ugly version of the Honda Fury.

Marketing Critic -Uninspired video -- HD can do better  January 22, 2011 03:13 AM
I just watched that video and I'm dumbfounded. Central casting indeed! Was that professionally done or was it the winner of some YouTube contest? I was not impressed, rather I felt sorry for the old guys at HD for allowing this thing out into the public. Who's going to believe this video and be inspired to buy (finance actually at a bad rate) a $16K bike. HD management, how much did you pay for this nonsense? You were taken. Why not try this: have a contest for 50 young riders (your target market, one per state) and give them $5K (or whatever you think is appropriate) and stock Sportsters (the cheapest ones -- SuperLow & Iron883 -- the ones they can actually afford) to modify as they see fit with the help of local dealers. Then see what they come up with. Might surprise you. Then use your marketing muscle to promote it as your target market talking directly to the target market. Cost less than less than $1M if you do it right, which is probably less than some of the EPIC FAIL marketing programs you have going on right now. The message of this proposed program would be that Sportsters (rejected by the elderly, bloated baby boomers) are the cool, youthful bikes. Now that, I can get behind!
Nick -Real vs. Fake  January 21, 2011 08:22 PM
If you like it, there's no reason not to get one. A bit overpriced in my opinion, but hey, that's capitalism.

By the way, I was at a Harley dealership. They had everything -- bikes, clothes, gifts, you name it. "Wow," I said. "You even have gag gifts. Check it out, fake vomit." "Sorry, son," said the salesman. "This is a Harley dealership. That there's REAL vomit."

Iowa Boy In Cali -SAMCRO  January 21, 2011 07:47 PM
Boy, watching that video I was really suprised I didn't see a Sons of Anaarchy patch anywhere
4bikemike -whose bike is better  January 21, 2011 07:26 PM
after all the b/s settles on whose bike is better, it comes down to 1 thing: almost all of the other manufacturers have been imitating HD with v-twin cruisers, and HD is not imitating the others. 'nuff said!
Dan K. -Harley Boy.  January 21, 2011 06:26 PM
That's cool Harley B. I'll give you credit for laying it out and being honest at least. Personally I do like some of the Glides. I just don't $19-24,000 like them ;). Ride on man.
Harley bro -To Dan K -  January 21, 2011 06:11 PM
3 grand more I'll do - 8 grand I won't; will wait for a used one :)

Look, a Nissan 370Z will hold its own against a Porsche Cayman for 20 grand less. But, assuming you could buy either, which one do you want? The Porsche, right? Why? Because of 50+ years of sports car history and a pedigree that can't be duplicated.

Same with Harley vs Victory - one drips a century of history (and sometimes oil) - Wild Bunch, Easy Rider, on and on - while the other is a latecomer. That history just speaks to me. Others can disagree; I'll still wave to you no matter what you ride; it's cool.
Harley Bro -No Pork speaks the truth  January 21, 2011 06:04 PM
I wave to every rider no matter what they ride; it's true that a lot of my Harley bretheren cop an attitude - that ain't right. Cool is being comfortable in your skin, not acting like a jerk.
Dan K. -Harley bro/M.Mike  January 21, 2011 06:02 PM
Harley bro/M.Mike you have said it your self. You personally are paying thousands more for the brand and not the bike. By that rational how big is too big of a mark up for the Blackline then? another $5,000, another $8,000? I'm not making fun I am just curious. And as for the random hot chick senerio let's be realistic here. Most women don't know the difference or give a damn. I guess that's what makes them more mature then us =).
No Pork -Another exciting bike?  January 21, 2011 05:34 PM
"No other manufacturer has the soul, style and class of Harley." Too bad the same can't be said for some of their riders.

Before anyone (other than Mikey) gets his panties in a bunch, I've owned six H-D big twins. Mostly Softails, with a couple of baggers and a Dyna. I enjoyed all my Harleys, but I could have done without the pretentious d-bags who feel that wearing the Bar & Shield somehow makes them better than other riders.

I currently ride a $1500 "Craigslist Special" Nighthawk, and an old, old Brit thumper. For sheer enjoyment, this can't be beat. One doesn't need to spend $15k, or own a particular brand to enjoy the sport. Those who feel othewise are the true wannabes.
Dennis -This is the best they can do?  January 21, 2011 05:31 PM
"looks just like a honda shadow 750, ugly bike for $15,000 no way" That's the first thing I said when I saw it too. I had to take a look at that Victory someone mentioned. Victory seems to get it much more than HD. Their bikes look fresh, well designed and modern(well, for cruisers). And from what I see, they have some of the highest customer service ratings out there. HD should spend some money on product development instead of just splashing paint on parts bin specials for cryin' out loud. You would think they were following the Lego business model. I've owned a couple of HD's and it's painful to see them do this to themselves. Almost as painful as watching that pathetic video.
Harley bro -Milwaukee Mike is the man  January 21, 2011 05:20 PM
Yeah, it costs more than the Highball, but so what - it looks like what it is supposed to look like - tough. That Victory with its weird bars and alien headlight just looks stupid, IMHO.

Harleys have history, and soul; that's just a fact. Either you get it or you don't. Tell the truth, what would you rather pull up next to a hot chick at a stoplight on - a Harley or a Victory? And which do you think the hot chick will guess will give her a better ride?
Niki -Shaken not stirred.  January 21, 2011 05:13 PM
I think I am just as shocked by the price if this bar hopper as the author is. Especially for a rigid-mounted motor. Don't the Sportsters even have rubber mounts now?!.
Dan K. -manufacturing nostalgia  January 21, 2011 04:52 PM
Where did they get these guys from Central Casting!? When was the last time you saw a group of 20 somethings riding Harleys? Marketing fantasy might sell $80 jeans at Ambercrombie or $50 cologne to teenagers. But most males in their 20's & 30's are more media savvy and less interested in what their fathers were nostalgic for. As the baby boomers age out of the market and the economy forces people to be smarter with their $$$ I think Harley is going to have a harder time justifying it's price-tag to a generation that has more options and no memories of Harley's heyday.
Hogtied no 'mo' -Had all I can stand  January 21, 2011 04:47 PM
'JO - HD' wrote: 'I can't imagine ever buying a new one again.'

I'm with ya, Jo. I've owned a number of new HD's and for the life of me I can't understand why the hundred pound heads in Milwaukee can't see beyond their rose colored glasses. Hell, I have a HD tattoo and 200 HD t-shirts.

I'm moving into Triumphs. Great bike for the price, the motors are bullet proof, and they actually go around corners.
bhahn -honda look a like  January 21, 2011 04:38 PM
looks just like a honda shadow 750, ugly bike for $15,000 no way
Peter H. -BOOOOORING!!!  January 21, 2011 04:34 PM
Blah blah blah … same crap different colors! Thank you but - No Thank You!
Cyrax -Video  January 21, 2011 04:29 PM
I just watched the video..I got one thing to ask..What the Hell was that?? A bike video or a day at the bowling alley video...
iliketoys -milwaukee mike - you were saying?  January 21, 2011 04:03 PM
Yamaha tattoo... http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2447/3826614947_9f1094e1ac.jpg
milwaukee mike -Another exciting bike  January 21, 2011 03:31 PM
Harley is number one for a reason. Have you ever seen someone with a Yamaha tattoo? I didn't think so. If Harley wants the younger crowd they will get them. Maybe they don't have the performance of the jap wannabees but they have got soul. No other manufacturer has the soul, style and class of Harley.
Red.R -Hahahaha  January 21, 2011 03:21 PM
Can't stop watching this =)
Andy -Ambercrombie ad for Harley  January 21, 2011 03:02 PM
Victory hires engineers, Harley hires actors =)
Desmolicious -Nice fantasy video!  January 21, 2011 02:37 PM
1st off, I like Harleys. I had a 2009 Street Bob (RIP).

But this video is pure fantasy. Being in the bike 'scene' in CA I can equivically tell you the Harley babe thing is pure fantasy. Does not exist outside a nudie calendar.
The vast majority of riders and their 'old ladies' are just that. Not easy on the eyes... Want to see hot young babes on bikes? Then you need to check out the sport bike scene. Want to see hot hipster babes on bikes? Then you need to check out the Ducati scene..

JO -HD - Lost All Ability to Create a NEW Motorcycle  January 21, 2011 02:27 PM
Does anyone else think HD will be out of business within 5 or 10 years as a result of the crap they're putting out? I have a 2001 FXDX and love it ... I've loved HD my whole life. It just seems they've lost all ability to create a truly new motorcycle, and I can't imagine ever buying a new one again. Hope I'm wrong, but it just seems like they're going down.
Eric -Uh...ok...  January 21, 2011 02:10 PM
"H-D points out a new “gap between the nose of seat and fuel tank exposes the top of the frame.” This is a GOOD thing? Funny - if it were a metric or even a Victory, we'd call that "Poor fit and finish"...
Bob -No Cigar  January 21, 2011 01:59 PM
The Victory Highball is a much nicer bike. More power, less money, better style. The devil is in all the details. Willie G and his design team are losers. They think that a new paint scheme constitutes a new design. That's how they've been thinking all decade long. No wonder guys like me bought their last HD 11 years ago. They haven't made 1 thing, since the FXDX, that appeals to me in all that time.
R34 -"NEW"  January 21, 2011 01:57 PM
Awesome, looks like any other bike to come out of Harley the last 50 years.
Mike in WV -Parts Bin with Paint  January 21, 2011 01:49 PM
Milwaukee Mike is sucking too much Harley exhaust. There's nothing bad ass about this thrown together bike. Victory isn't a wannabe...it's a full fledged American made bike that out performs HD's and at a better price point. They say they are trying to attract younger riders to Harley...do they really think this bike will do it? Younger riders are about performance, not nostalgic antiques. That's why so many younger riders like sport bikes...they like the power...therefore if they ride one of these boat anchors, they won't be impressed and they won't buy it. Once again Harley has proven that you can polish a turd...and in this case, they've given it a new coat of paint.
Farmer -none  January 21, 2011 01:39 PM
Whoopee another version of the tractor.
milwaukee mike -Nice job HD  January 21, 2011 01:37 PM
There isn't a metric that can come close to a "bad ass" Harley.
I prefer the Dressers, but any HD outclasses the metric wannabees.
alan sharp -HD  January 21, 2011 12:33 PM
sorry H/D going to after be the new victory highball 97HP $13000...........
Morvegil -Umm wtf  January 21, 2011 11:56 AM
Its a softail with black paint...and a primary thats gloss black...whats new?