The $40,000 Harley-Davidson ???

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by alan halvorson, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    I rode motorcycles way back in my youth but eventually got away from them. Still, whenever I see one, I always look. Last Friday I went to the Minnesota State Fair. There a local dealer was displaying three dozen or Harleys. One of the first I looked at - something called a VRod - sported a list price of $39,990! Although it was a V-Twin and had a Harley emblem on it, it really didn't look like a traditional Harley. The frame tubes were larger and painted a light grey instead of black, and each cylinder had its own exhaust system.

    What in the world is there about this motorcycle, or any non-racing motorcycle, that could make it worth nearly $40G? This particular bike was not tricked out - it was rather plain - and so accessories were not bumping the price. I suspect it has something to do with this "VRod" thing, but come on - this is a motorcycle and it only had two cylinders.
     
  2. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    I won't get into the same discussion I usually do with my buddy, but I don't think Harleys are worth half of what they ask!

    People buy them because of the heritage ...BLAH! If that was the case we'ed all be driving 1978 Buick Regals.

    Brent
     
  3. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Alan, things have changed since you rode. Many motorcycles clock in at automtive prices (and not "econocar" prices). The V-Rod is, in truth, the only "modern" H-D in existence; it's the first truly "new" bike the Milwaukee company has designed in nearly a half-century: a DOHC, eight-valve V-Twin (all other H-Ds are still OHV, 45-degree V-Twins of yesteryear vintage). It's a limited-production machine, too.

    Check out the price of a top-of-the-line six-cylinder, 1800cc Honda GoldWing, too.

    Buying a motorcycle is ever bit as much a financial commitment as buying a car.
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Though it must be pointed out that, unlike the Japanese and British and Italian manufacturers, H-D required outside help to design its first new engine in a half-century (from Porsche).
     
  6. wally

    wally Second Unit

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  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    yes, it's a flat 6.

    I won't comment ont he V-rod [​IMG]
     
  8. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The V-Rod list price is around $20K. If a dealer told you that the LIST PRICE is near $40K you should report them to Harley-Davidson corporate, they will give them hell.

    When the V-Rod first came out they were being sold at a huge markup, mid to high 20s for an example. It was a really different motorcycle from H-D. It featured a very high performance water cooled engine designed and built in Germany by Porshe. It was and is so radically different that very few people wanted one. They got them fast, then H-D ended up with a lot of unsold V-Rods.

    Then the maintenance procedures hit. Simple stuff like changing the oil require a hell of a lot of work, way more work than on any other motorcycle (even something exotic like a Ducati). (The Porshe design philosophy of performance over everything, even service, showing). Valve adjustments (which are routine maintenance on most motorcycles including the V-Rod, but no other H-D bikes) require dropping the engine, and cost nearly $1000. And the valve adustment interval is frequent! The maintenance price of those things is astronomical.

    Owners who just had to have the latest and greatest from Harley are now wondering just how much better off they'd be with a less expensive to own and more traditional Dyna or Softail model.

    Now you can pick up low mileage used V-Rods everywhere for cheap. And most dealers have them to sell new, and they're even willing to deal!

    I suspect that the dealer who you have been exposed to is unscrupulous (unfortunately many of the newer Harley Dealers are - that's a long story). They may be trying to hit some of the people who may have seen some of the Harley V-Rod specials that were on Discovery and TLC last year and who are unaware of the bike's current "dog" status.

    Take a look at what they're going for on EBay Motors these days.
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Special TV programs for the hold-your-breath special moment when H-D actually creates a new machine. Honda designs new engines, it seems, on a monthly basis.
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  11. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    V-Rod -- Welcome to the 1980's, Harley!

    Isn't the retail in the VROD something like $17,995?

     
  12. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Psh, I'm waiting for the new mille [​IMG]
     
  13. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I am trying to keep the electrical system on my old shovelhead running, I think the ghost of lucas is possesing it, engine runs great, can't keep the lights working[​IMG]
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Call me a cyclist lurking in the motorized bike variety thread here... Shawn, that front suspension fork looks almost like a 4-bar linkage, i.e. the travel of the wheel is not linear like say a simply air/oil shock contected to the axle of the wheel. Looking at the setup, as the wheel moves through it's travel it looks like it would move in a curved pattern with larger bumps causing the wheel to move. How does it feel on the road?

    My first FS mountainbike was from K2 (formerly Girven, then Proflex, now K2) and they were famous in their linkage forks (Vector 3) which looked similar to the fork on your motorcycle..

    just curious...

    Jay
     
  15. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  16. Jonathan T

    Jonathan T Second Unit

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  17. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  18. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Philip, you remember the Honda CBX of course. Honda took that machine from concept to six-cylinder Superbike reality in just a year and a half. [​IMG]
     
  19. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  20. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Nice post, Philip. Perhaps I should have added the last name, as I was directing my CBX comment to Mr. Hamm, former-HTF-admin-in-great-standing.

    But I agree with you, obviously. The Big Four routinely design new engines, new running gear, new frames, new this, and new that without the benefit of History Channel special editions of Modern Marvels and such.

    Even the relatively under-capitalized Italian manufacturers are way closer to the technology cutting edge than H-D seems capable of. And when the Triumph marque was resurrected in 1991, the world was treated to an entire lineup of modern motorcycles with multi-cylinder, DOHC, four-valves-per-cylinder engines.

    And the American startup from Polaris, Victory, trumped H-D's "technology" in one fell swoop.

    Look, I've heard and read so many rumors about a "new Harley" throughout the decades. In the mid-1970s, an OHC Sportster was the rage of the rumor mill among the moto-journalists. Never happened. H-D claimed not to have enough money to complete the project (meanwhile, Honda introduced that year an SOHC 1000cc flat four, a retooled SOHC air-cooled inline Four, and a completely revamped CB750F; Suzuki unleashed a Wankel-powered machine; Yamaha a DOHC inline Triple; and Kawasaki pumped more horses into its mighty Z-1 903).

    Then, in the early 1980s, the motopress spread the latest, hottest rumor out of Milwaukee: the liter-class, liquid-cooled V-Four Nova. Never happened. H-D claimed not to have enough money to complete the project (meanwhile, Honda introduced an entire lineup of DOHC V-Fours; Yamaha unleashed the reborn two-stroke in the RZ350 and the FJ1100; Kawasaki sent the Superbike world reeling with the original liquid-cooled GPz908 Ninja; and Suzuki threw a touring bike and a series of [ugly] power cruisers called the Meduras, etc.).

    H-D, as former Cycle magazine associate editor Paul Carrithers put it, is famous for making internal-combustion fashion statements rather than competitive motorcycles.

    But it has paid off, obviously. (Though, in the early 1980s, when it looked as if the Motor Company was about to bite the dust, H-D successfully lobbied the White House to slap a stupid tariff on all Japanese machines of 700cc and above. Being more technologically adept might have helped more.)
     

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