Harley-Davidson does the impossible (for them): design a modern motorcycle.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, Oct 19, 2001.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The loopy, swoopy thing is called the Harley-Davidson V-Rod. And for the first time in the Motor Company's history, it is offering a modern machine: DOHC, liquid cooling, four valves per cylinder--in the marque's beloved V-Twin configuration.
    And yet: HD needed assistance from a venerable German automotive OEM to create the thing. The V-Rod was even the subject of a documentary this week on The History Channel.
    Stop the presses! Call the media! Alert the president! Harley-Davidson has produced its first truly new engine design since the 1920s.
    Never mind that the Big Four--Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha--can produce even more advanced designs with seeming impunity. The new Triumph appeared on the scene in the early '90s, sporting engines with current technology. BMW introduced a modern, DOHC, inline Four in 1983.
    Even a new American marque has appeared--Victory, by Polaris--also sporting OHC valve-actuation.
    All along, Harley-Davidson has been lurching along, resting on its laurels by selling overpriced internal-combustion fashion statements to weekend warriors. Honda wins races, Harley-Davidson wins the retro-mania sweepstakes.
    Though the V-Rod is an interesting design, we've been here before. Think Yamaha. Think V-Max.
    Meanwhile, I'll stick with the Big Four's wares.
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  2. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Jack,
    As they say, "A classic never goes out of style". I've always favored the look of a Harley.
    Bruce
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  3. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I've read about the V-Rod for a couple months now. it sort of irritates me. The jap bikes leap ahead with new innovations every year (hell they're worse than computers, my 99 R1 is a dinosaur) HD does it ONCE and it takes SIX YEARS and the world stops. Honestly so what? it's a 115 HP at the crank bike for 16 grand, that handles like a drag bike. That discovery special on the building of the vrod all they could talk about was how fast and how it was the most powerfull HD they had produced.. with all of 115HP??!? A newer 600cc sportbike can do that [​IMG]
    just not my thing I guess....
     
  4. Ron Eastman

    Ron Eastman Second Unit

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    Mr. Briggs a 2 wheel fan? I would have never guessed the intellectual Jack Briggs would favor such a utilitarian vehicle. [​IMG]
    I wonder how long until we see a V-Rod engine in a Buell?
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  5. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  6. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Well, Philip's post cuts to the chase: HD has been developing this thing for years. And I remember the last time that HD threatened to build a modern machine--in the early '80s, and the Motor Company claimed the so-called Nova Project was a V-Four. Then it was cancelled, due to "lack of funds," according to officials in Milwaukee.
    And then I remember how, in the mid-'70s, HD was rumored to be working on an SOHC version of the venerable Sportster. It, too, was cancelled, due, you guessed it, to "lack of funds."
    Meanwhile, The Big Four continued to advance the state of the two-wheeled art.
    Consider this: the 1969 Honda CB750 Four, arguably the most significant motorcycle of the modern era, is now obsolete. Yet, until the introduction of the V-Rod, a 1969 Honda CB750 was more advanced than any Harley-Davidson ever built for the street.
    (BTW, I have a history when it comes to motorcycles--and, briefly, I was a Copy Editor over at Rider magazine. The first motorcycle I road-tested for the magazine was--get this--a Harley-Davidson Springer Softail, of all things.)
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  8. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    VERY COOL JACK!
    I'll be PM'ing you next time I'm pondering motorcycle history! [​IMG]
     
  9. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    You guys are funny. Has living in the 21st century fried your brains!
    Do any of you have any passions besides having the latest greatest gear?
    Yuppie America has lost its roots, its traditions, its image.
    I feel the same about my Harley as I do about all the classic cars i have owned.
    Its not about how fast, or how much power!
    Its about a feeling, a time in space that will never go away.
    Its about a connection with the past that is your own.
    Its about belonging, and sharing a love with others who share the same interests and stories.
    When i get into my GTO or on my Harley, not only am i in awe of the tradition, mystique, and past of the vehicle, but i think back to my younger days when I was a kid and watching my father drive up.
    I remember thinking, "One day that bike/car will be mine."
    I kid you not, when i start it up, and head out for a Sunday drive, i almost cry.
    Call me fanatical, or obsessed if you want. But these "deficiencies" that you guys are pointing out wont stop thousands from purchasing the new design or driving the old designs either.
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  10. Peter_A

    Peter_A Second Unit

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    quote: And yet: HD needed assistance from a venerable German automotive OEM to create the thing[/quote]
    That would be Porsche I believe. That new HD is the only Harley I'd ever consider buying. I'm more of a Ducati Monster fan. [​IMG]
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    Peter
    [Edited last by Peter_A on October 20, 2001 at 05:56 PM]
     
  11. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  12. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  13. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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  14. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    Henry: 14.72 @101 is not too shabby considering your traction. I think an altima runs low 16's, heck even the Honda sportster thing(I can't remember the name maybe s-2000) only runs low 14 sec. 1/4 mile times and will destroy the Altima.
    I am a Drag Racer also so I own nothing but old Hot Rods, In January I'm getting my wife a new 1990's Mini van [​IMG]
    Give me a MOPAR(I am Mopar man) or a HARLEY anyday.
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    Sean
    "Doing the Bull Dance..Feelin' the flow.....Workin' it..Workin' it."
     
  15. Kolya

    Kolya Stunt Coordinator

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    The new Altima in a 5-spd/V6 config does the quarter in 14.8 at 96.5, according to the SEP 2001 Road & Track.
     
  16. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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  17. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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  18. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    quote: And your from Florida?? Havent you ever been to Daytona?
    Guaranteed there are more hardcore bikers there than your weekend yuppie warrior.[/quote]I've been to Daytona three times for bike week and once for Biketoberfest. My observation is that the yuppie poseurs outnumber the true motorcycle enthusiasts by at least 4:1.
    Of course I've RIDDEN my bike there all four times (from Philly or Northern VA depending on the year) so my definition of a true motorcycle enthusiast is highly dependant on whether a trailer is used or not.
    Harleys are beautiful and have an almost untouchable heritage (rivalled only by BMW and Moto Guzzi). However, for the most part they run like crap, handle like dogshit, leak oil, and generally are not mechanically sound compared to the competition. I think the new V-Rod is a fantastic step in the right direction for The Motor Company. I can't wait to see Buell build a sport tourer around the motor.
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    Philip Hamm
    AIM: PhilBiker
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on October 22, 2001 at 09:21 AM]
    [Edited last by Philip Hamm on October 23, 2001 at 07:26 AM]
     
  19. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    actually... as much as I hate it, the new corvette is one of the best handling cars out there for it's price. I think it outhandles about everything (skidpad anyway) maybe a skyline can take it, I dunno.
    again though. I REALLY dislike covettes [​IMG]
    another thing about the HD Vrod, it took quite a bit of "tweaking" as I understand it from the discovery special to make the motor reliable in tests.. So, did they luck out on one test motor? or are people gonna tear up motors? especially with modifications.
    [Edited last by Philip_G on October 22, 2001 at 10:14 AM]
     
  20. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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