Harleys are dumb

The dumbest possible means of transport is an annoying waste of money

Harleys are dumb

Harleys are dumb — period.

There is nothing quite as tranquil as the morning. A natural early riser, I haven’t used an alarm clock in well over a decade and in the summer, there’s nothing better than waking up to the sounds of chirping birds and the smell of newly awakened sunshine carried to my sleeping face on a fresh breeze through the open window.

I’m fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. Just below my home lies a dock welcoming the residents of nearby little Vashon Island via ferry.

Quite a few residents drive across on the ferry each day, lining up on one end and then the other to make their way to Seattle and beyond for jobs that help them pay for their island lifestyle. To keep costs down and to save time, many commute via motorcycle (two-wheeled transport and walk-ons don’t have to wait in the sometimes very long car line). When the ferry arrives at the dock, all the motorcycles get off before the cars, heading off into town in one long line.

It’s a pretty smart approach if you’re going to live on the island: why not save yourself some time and cost by switching to two wheels (assuming you’re willing to accept the inherent danger). If I lived over there, I’d consider it myself.

But there are always a few douchebags that spoil things. These are, as you’ve no doubt guessed, the Harley-Davidson riders.

At 5:42 a.m. each weekday, I”m awoken by the annoying growl of the world’s most ridiculous motorcycles.

These sociopathic gas-powered noise machines are increasingly a frustrating fact of life in most urban and suburban areas these days. For some reason, law enforcement seems to ignore noise ordinances even as these obnoxious machines take enjoyment away from our peaceable existence.

No noise, no crazed following

During our recent vacation to Maui, we stayed in a condo that turned out to be on a road that was a little louder than expected. The normal road noise, however, was tolerable for an affordable vacation getaway. The Harleys, however, were completely intolerable. There was a Harley-Davidson rental shop nearby and tourists fly in from around the country for cosplay on rented bikes. They vroom-vroom all over the island, certainly having a great time, never realizing or caring how many vacations they’re ruining in the process.

Not unlike the jerks that think it’s hilarious to trash the environment just to piss off people who care about it, the whole POINT of riding a Harley is to annoy people with noise. Without the noise, is it really a Harley?

Being a responsible corporate organization, Harley wouldn’t produce a vehicle that blatantly scoffed at noise laws. It leaves the job to third-party manufacturers so you can customize your hog to be even more annoying. Yes, now you can not only annoy your close neighbors, but your entire community as well. Congratulations, you’re an ass.

Vrrooom — there goes your money

If annoying people with your racket is your thing, you still might want to rethink your choice of a Harley. If you’re choosing the two-wheel route for commuting reasons, there are better choices out there. Like any vehicle, you can always find a used one that’s already depreciated down to your comfort level, although a quick Google search makes it sound like there are maintenance issues with aging hogs (I’ll leave it to people who have owned them to confirm or deny that). Buying new is obviously foolish so we won’t even get into the price of new Harleys, although I also saw some complaining online about Harley flooding the market with cheap bikes, which is interesting.

Since Harley buyers purchased their rides for the noise and no other factor, it’s not surprising that things like fuel economy aren’t important at all. It shouldn’t be hard to find a bike that can get 60-70 mpg, which will help keep your commuting costs nice and low, but Harleys will be lucky to reliably get into the 50 mpg range. Now admittedly, that’s better than the 30ish you could expect from any sane car these days, but at least a car can be used for other things, giving you greater utility for your dollar.

Oh, and since you’re buying a machine strictly for image reasons, you’ll naturally want to be customizing that beast, right? Cha-ching again! Gotta have little leather saddlebags so people think you’re a legit Hell’s Angel member. Plus tassles and custom chrome pipes, right? Fancy spiral wheels, of course! And, naturally, you have to wear special little outfits so you can fit in with your fellow aging baby boomer bike riders (see below for more).

Harley riders live in fantasyland

My background is in marketing. One of the things we marketers always have to explain to nonmarketers is that branding isn’t the logo, the corporate colors, or the business processes. Those would be called branding elements. Your brand is the feeling that takes place inside your head. How you personally feel about McDonald’s is their brand to you, not the identifying golden arches. Big companies will spend big dollars putting statistics against how many people feel a certain way about a particular brand and then use advertising and strategic PR to reinforce or change those perceptions. You and your kids might have a completely different internal view of McDonald’s as well as a completely different reaction to the smell of their grease.

The Harley brand is all about how it makes riders feel about themselves. They throw a leg over the bike, rev up their obnoxious machine and imagine that all the world is in awe.

Have you ever had that experience at work where some condescending idiot is talking to you like YOU’RE the one who is dumb? If you’ve ever heard Sarah Palin talk you know what I’m talking about. That’s how I feel about Harley riders. If you happen upon a Harley rider in a parking lot and happen to look their way, you can almost read their mind. They’re sauntering toward their bike, soaking up your gaze, thinking “I’m a such a bad ass! I can feel that guy totally admiring me across the parking lot! I bet he’s super impressed by me. Maybe even scared of me. I am pretty tough. Yeah, me! Get yer motor runnnnnninnnn…“. Or something like that.

In reality, I’m thinking, “What a dork!” or “Isn’t that guy hot with all that leather on?” or “Wow, you can totally see that old guy’s tummy poking out of his vest.”

Because, let’s face it, Harleys are for old people. Nothing against old people, but is that really the look you’re going for? The last time I saw someone on a Harley look scary was probably 1978. And I think it was when I was watching CHiPs. (dooo-doo-do-do-doooo!)

Playing dress-up

Harleys are dumb -- playing dress-up

Let’s all play dress-up!

And what is up with these little costumes that Harley riders are apparently required to wear? I assume it’s required because I’ve never seen a Harley rider not wearing one. The color-coordinated little outfits are like little toddler dress up costumes. Leather chaps, vests and jackets. Bandannas — branded of course — tied ever so carefully over the balding pate.

When not on duty, these people maintain their look, sporting branded T-shirts and belt buckles.

Every tribe has its identifying plumage. Street gangs famously line up by colors (or at least used to). White collar workers sip their lattes in their Dockers. People who pretend to be modern cowboys wear giant cowboy hats and big belt buckles as if they’re just about to head out to the range to brand a steer. But is there any other group that so identifies itself by pasting a corporate logo all over itself as the Harley rider? I struggle to think of anything even close. Perhaps the girls who have the word “Juicy” on the butt of their sweat pants come close, but even that seems like a much smaller group.

It’s easy to take on the trappings of any subculture that interests you these days. Everything has gotten so corporatized that you can buy the look that makes you feel like what you’ve always wanted to be. Only thing is, everyone knows you’re just a poser. People are spending massive amounts of money to appear to fit into one group or another. Sure you might be an overweight laid-off computer programmer, but with a few swipes of your credit card, you’re a BIKER!

Look, I get that people love to drop disposable income on things that make them feel better about themselves. Since people screw themselves out of their pretirement in so many different ways, it may be unfair to insist that above all other vehicles Harleys are dumb. But when your single-purpose vehicle drains your money, makes you look ridiculous and annoys everyone else, we need to agree that Harleys are the dumbest possible means of getting around.

I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their life. I’m just one voice suggesting that maybe there’s another way. If you want to blow your money on toys, go for it. But, maybe pick a toy that doesn’t ruin life for everyone else in the process.

So what do you think? Have I convinced you Harleys are dumb? Even the dumbest possible means of transportation? 

Important post-script:

Harley-Davidson recently began showing off a prototype electric motorcycle. Should they actually begin selling these and displacing their nasty gas-powered inventory, I’ll take it all back. And I might even buy a Harley T-shirt. 

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46 Thoughts on “Harleys are dumb

  1. Hahaha this is funny. It seems like you’ve had it with Harleys.

    I’m with you on this one though. I have a motorcycle, but I have a Japanese motorcycle, which I bought used for $2,800. The reason I could buy it use is because they are very reliable, unlike Harleys which leak oil all the time and you have to always keep fixing them.

    My pipes are also stock, which means they are very silent, like a car. I never understood why people needed to change their pipes to make them loud. Some say that loud pipes saves lives but that’s just not what the data has shown.

    Motorcycles pipes sound very low (no different than a car) when they come from the factory. People go out of their way to make them loud and those people are just jerks. They, along with people weaving in and out of traffic on sports bikes, give people that have motorcycles a bad name.

    Harleys are one of the most expensive motorcycles (you can buy a car for the same price), but they are not the best motorcycles. They just have done a good job marketing their product.
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    • Pretired Nick on July 24, 2014 at 8:37 am said:

      You nailed it, Aldo. You can pick up a very decent used Honda for $3,000 or so and not annoy the hell out of everyone in the process. And drive it for years and save a ton of money. But motorcycles should be willing to accept that riding a bike is MUCH more dangerous than a car. But many careful riders go years without any accidents so people have to do their own risk/reward computation to decide.

  2. So tell us how you REALLY feel about Harleys!! Thanks for explaining branding…I always find marketing interesting. On Jimmy Kimmel last night, he had someone go out telling people that Apple had come out with a watch…an iWatch I believe (it was just a Casio with an Apple logo). The Applephiles raved about it and loved it…why? Because it was an Apple product plain and simple… It’s crazy people pay so much to make them feel better…not based on functionality.
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    • Pretired Nick on July 24, 2014 at 9:48 am said:

      My pleasure! Yeah, the Apple and Harley brands are two very valuable brands. We all like to think we’re not susceptible, but then if you go look in your closet you’ll find you’re just as manipulated as everyone else. It’s a very interesting phenomenon indeed.

  3. Ugh! I hate Harleys. They are ridiculously noisy. We live in a building downtown and once in a while, a Harley would go by at 3am. The noise reverberate around the buildings and woke everyone up. The guy would be revving and being extremely noisy just because he could. What a *****!
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  4. Ginny on July 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm said:

    These “guys” really? I thought I lived in the 21st century. I’m a girl who has enjoyed riding my Harley and waking you all up as I’m leaving for a beautiful ride through the county to see the sunrise and the sun set. You will never see a more beautiful site. I will remember to rev my motor a little louder next time I’m in WA. BTW the gear is for safety. My husband was hit on his bike as a 17 year guy was turning into the liquor store. If he did not have his ”dress up” on they would be picking out more glass from him as well as cleaning up road rash.

    • Pretired Nick on July 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm said:

      I was wondering when someone would show up to help me PROVE MY POINTS. Thank you!
      So waking us all up as you ride around gives you pleasure? So in other words it’s not the enjoyment of the open road, it’s ruining other people’s day that gives you pleasure? (It’s spelled “SIGHT”, FYI.) How does that not make you a sociopath? Would it really not be the same to enjoy a morning bike ride on a less obnoxious bike? That’s detestable.
      I am aware that proper outfitting is an important part of safe riding, but this isn’t “gear”, this is cosplay:

      This is gear:

    • Bill Rathbone on July 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm said:

      If Harley riders don’t start being respectful of others, they are going to find that the public will start fighting back and they will be on the losing end of the proposition and their cherished “lifestyle” will be legislated out of existence.

  5. Ugggh. Well said. And way to take the issue head on.

    We live on a fairly busy street. Cars, loud cars, poorly maintained loud cars, cars with booming stereos playing the latest rap tunes, and harley motorcycles. Guess which one is the most annoying to our quiet repose? Harleys by far. It’s like nails on chalkboard and the sound carries for such a long distance, we can hear one for over a minute.

    I’m glad the other commenter “Ginny” enjoys riding, I just wish she didn’t enjoy being an ass to other people’s eardrums. What’s the point of being obnoxious and wanting to “rev my motor a little louder next time I’m in WA” just to piss someone off? It’s too bad she couldn’t enjoy the beauty of a sunrise and a sunset without interrupting the peace and quiet of thousands of other people.

    I’m all about individual rights and freedom to do whatever the hell you want until you become a nuisance to someone else and interfere with their rights. Maybe I should get a jacked up stereo system installed in my Honda Civic and blast my shitty electronica in front of each Harley owner’s front door at about o’dark thirty in the morning? 🙂
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    • Pretired Nick on July 25, 2014 at 6:57 am said:

      Yeah, as she proved quite clearly, the whole POINT is being an ass, the “love of the open road” being the pretext for the behavior. I think it comes from some sort of low self-esteem issue where they have to use obnoxiousness to try to put themselves above others. It’s a disturbing view of humanity.
      “Shitty electronica”? Is there such a thing? I guess so, but somehow I suspect Ginny wouldn’t like it if I drove by her house in the middle of the night blasting my favorite Bonobo track. But I wouldn’t do that because I’m not a sociopath.

  6. When I’m out riding my muscle-powered bicycle like a man, I often see motorcycles. I assume they have a disability otherwise why would they need an engine to get around town. Their muscles are probably not develop enough for a bicycle. That or their smoking habit hinders their breathing.

    Motorcycles… the wheelchairs of the road. Hopefully that’s not insensitive.
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    • Pretired Nick on July 25, 2014 at 7:03 am said:

      Heh, I guess it’s more macho to ride around with a motor than use your own muscles to get around or something. I have a lot more respect for anyone peddling their way around under their own power than anyone riding around in a car of motorcycle. And even more respect for anyone who doesn’t have working legs and gets around in a wheelchair.
      Motorcycles, scooters and bicycles all have their place, but loud, ridiculous Harleys should be shunned by society completely.

  7. Harley’s are definitely loud. I had a Honda for a while, it was definitely more quiet. Of course, I bought pipes to make a ‘roar’ just a bit more enthusiastic.

    The only reason Harley is still a viable company is the Harley tariff they put on imported bike over 700 cc. in the 80s. It has since been lifted, but they would be another PanAm otherwise.
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    • Pretired Nick on July 29, 2014 at 11:37 am said:

      I didn’t know that about the tariff. Makes sense, though. I wonder if all their government-hating riders know their bike only exists thanks to government intervention. Heh!

  8. Too funny! We ride around on our little 125cc Yamaha scooter, which is comically quiet. It’s so funny to hear the noise these things produce. It’s like a go cart.
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    • Pretired Nick on July 29, 2014 at 11:36 am said:

      I’m a big scooter fan. I wish we had scooter-only roads here. It’d be so efficient to get anywhere. I remember being in Rome and being amazed at the packs of scooters zooming around. I rented a Vespa and cruised around the city for awhile. I had a blast but it was pretty dangerous. I wouldn’t do it again. I’d love to have an electric scooter here. It’d be great for quick runs around my neighborhood.

  9. “…cosplay on rented bikes”

    Haha that was an awesome post! I completely agree with all of your points. I simply don’t understand Harleys at all. Personally I enjoy my hearing as is, I know I damaged it in my younger years so I don’t feel the need to do any more damage to them now.
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    • Pretired Nick on July 28, 2014 at 9:01 am said:

      Thanks, Zee! Maybe they’re just torturing me because they’re jealous that I don’t have to drive into work every day like they do. I don’t know. I don’t get it.

  10. I get very annoyed when motorcycles (or other vehicle drivers) act like they are the only ones on the road and everyone else has to keep an eye on them because they are exempt from following the same rules of the road. *just my opinion* I lived in a very rural place growing up, and it was not uncommon to see a motorcyclist or a car driving down the middle of the road.

    • Pretired Nick on August 7, 2014 at 5:49 am said:

      Yeah, I grew up in the country, too and saw the same thing. At least in that situation you’re more likely to only kill and annoy yourself vs. everyone else around you. That said, the noise is still an issue. Many move to the country to escape the noise and to have a loud machine going at all hours is ridiculous.

  11. Nick, I’m thrilled that you’re back! I was starting to get worried.

    The last ‘hood I lived in was loaded with RUBS. During the week, they would drive BMWs or Jaguars and wear suits for their jobs in middle management. When the weekend came, they would emerge from the garage with a Harley shirt, Harley pants, Harley boots and a Harley bandana (no helmet) on their heads (all of this stuff is made in China).

    They would then start up their bikes and rev them up in the driveway for 5 minutes (throw in some frat boy esque high-fives) before driving a mile down to the local bar (always a great idea to drink alcohol on a bike). A couple hours later, they’d return. They’d announce it by revving their bikes up again as they slowly made their way back down the street (loud revving is a special treat at 11:30pm). The bikes would go back into the garage until next weekend.

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    • Pretired Nick on August 7, 2014 at 5:57 am said:

      Oh man, I hadn’t heard the term “RUB” before but it is hilarious! Brilliant! I can definitely see why you moved. That would be so annoying.
      I love watching these guys prance around feeling so bad-ass, never realizing we’re all laughing at them.

  12. I worked in a funeral home and saw far too many fatal motorcycle accidents. I don’t necessarily think Harleys are “dumb,” but I do think life is dangerous enough without having to ride one. I’ll stay in my car with a seatbelt on, thank you very much! =)
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    • Pretired Nick on August 7, 2014 at 6:00 am said:

      Oh, Harleys are definitely dumb, no question about that! But you’re right, all bike riding carries some inherent danger. That said, though, a fair amount of the biker splatter comes from irresponsible riding. Check out YouTube to see what I mean.

  13. I used to live in Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway. It was like clockwork every Sunday, those nimrods would come “roaring” down PCH at about 20 mph (there’s too much traffic on a nice day to go fast) to let everyone know just how cool they were.

    We’d be sitting on our balcony looking out onto the pacific ocean having a nice conversation and then pretty much just have to pause for 10 second intervals while the harley riders drive by.

    I somewhat disagree with you on the utility of some two-wheeled vehicles. We have a scooter that works just fine for us to do almost any errand, even the grocery store. We can fit some food under the seat, some in a backpack and some at the floor of the scooter… all while spending about $4 a week on gas. Meanwhile, I ride my beach cruiser to work.

    And as far as “Ginny” is concerned, her reaction is almost exactly what the riders in that South Park episode would have said, pure comedy.

    • Pretired Nick on August 7, 2014 at 6:06 am said:

      Tom, Malibu is one of the most amazing places on the planet. I cannot imagine how frustrating it would be to have some Harley douche defiling it.
      I totally agree that two-wheels can be great choices if your lifestyle fits it. Bit, let’s be honest, you’re not going to be carrying any large items on your bike. So if you do need to do any hauling, you’ll need to have or borrow another vehicle. But if all you’re buying is groceries, a bike can be a great option.

  14. I disagree somewhat but I’m one of those freaks who loves anything with wheels. Vintage and racing bicycles, motorcycles and cars old and new. I do agree that some motorcycles are way too loud. They claim its for safety so people know they are there but how far away do you really need to announce you are approaching. I have also noticed folks now are taking older Japanese motorcycles and turning then into loud cafe racers, bobbers and rat-bikes and they are just as loud as the Harleys. More bikes for you to hate. Noise is noise and I have as much disdain for jacked-up 4X4 diesel pickups where the exhaust pipe is perfectly positioned at my car side window and ear splitting noise blowing black smoke. I love the rumble of a performance engine but not when it rattles the nearby house windows and causes parked car alarms to go off.

  15. Pretired Nick on August 7, 2014 at 6:11 am said:

    I love the sound of a well-tuned gas engine myself and totally dig classic cars. But not at the expense of annoying everyone around me. The reason governments have noise rules isn’t so much about ensuring a peaceful existence for everyone, but rather about preventing violence. As we fill up the world with more and more people, we have to maintain some respect for the people around us or else tempers will boil over and we’ll start having some real problems getting along.
    Oh, and I’ve heard the safety argument before, but it’s ridiculous too. A big part of safe riding is being able to hear threats around you. These guys are effectively deaf and putting themselves at great risk.
    And, yeah it’s not just Harley douches that are creating all the noise, but they’re the only ones where the noise itself is the reason they bought their particular bike. So I call them out as being exceptionally dumb.

  16. Maverick on August 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm said:

    Wow. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Dude, you certainly seem to be grinding your axe down to the handle with today’s post. Relax. 🙂

    I’ve had my motorcycle license since 1983. I only ride for pleasure (in the summer) and never used it to commute to work. I first bought a ’83 Honda Nighthawk 650. An engineering marvel for it’s size and price with 4 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters, anti-dive front forks, auto-tensioning camshaft chain, hydraulic clutch, shaft drive, and six speed overdrive. While it was considered a sport bike, the rider has an upright position. I kept it stock and know how to perform all the maintenance / repairs on all my vehicles. I still have it, but don’t ride it as it has reliability issues with the 4 sync’d carbs. Also the hydraulic seals on the clutch are shot and leak. Numerous plastic parts have aged and cracked / broken. I’ll completely go over it and repair it…someday. Later models were made without the high-tech features to save cost and reduce the consumer’s price point.

    I’ve since acquired a 1983 Harley Sportster. Yep, the vintage that you claim is SO unreliable. At the beginning of each summer, I can set the choke, press the start button and it always fires up without an issue. Why? It’s a simple engine design with only one carburetor. [It’s now got historic tags.] While it did not have stock pipes when I acquired it, they are not very loud…like the drag pipes you are most likely hearing. Since the Sportster is at the smaller scale of Harley’s, it’s not suited for a long ride two-up with my wife. There are very few plastic parts (such as electrical connectors) and NONE have broken.

    So when Obama was trying to stimulate the economy, I bought a new 2010 Harley Fat Bob which is suited for two-up riding. It’s still in stock condition, with the factory pipes, fuel injection and catalyst. I was just out on it today riding along the rural farmlands and enjoying the open air, sunshine, and smell of fresh cut grass. When I came to a small town, slowing down along the main thorofare, I could smell the perfume on women walking along the sidewalk.

    Now what I didn’t see you bitch about was the imported cafe racers with NON-factory open pipes, high reving loud motors where the rider is hunched over the fuel tank in a fetal position. I have seen these owners/riders split lanes, weave between lanes, and pull wheel stands on public roads just to name a few high risk behaviors,

    So there you have it. Input from someone who owns Harley’s and enjoys them responsibly. Now if only all the automobile drivers understood how to pay attention to the road (not other in-vehicle objects like smartphones), and all other vehicles on the road, stop flicking cigarettes and trash out their windows, the motoring world would be a more harmonious place.

    We good now? Happy motoring! 🙂

    • I got a 1985 Nighthawk 650 and have to agree that it’s an engineering marvel, especially considering it’s 30 years old. Most parts are still available at the dealer or you can always get what you need on ebay. No reason not to get it all fixed up! Great bike bought with 8K original miles for $1,200. Not loud at all with the stock pipes.

      This post is a bit harsh but I know where Nick is coming from – when we used to live by the road I could not stand Harleys, Folger can exhaust Civics, ambulances and firetrucks. Solution? Sold the house and now we live in a nice quiet area far away from any major roads. Unfortunately that’s really the only solution – complaining online won’t get you the peace and quiet you want. As long as there are roads by your house there will be something to annoy you. Harleys are just one of many things.

      • Ambulances and fire trucks as least serve a purpose. Loud ass exhaust on a Harley? Sure, the owner gets to listen to the deafening noise emanating from twixt their legs, but other than that, what’s the point? I mean this is 2014. Couldn’t the Harley engineers employ some form of sound dampening to make their bikes more socially compatible with the other 6.999 billion humans who don’t like annoying unnecessary noises puncturing their ear holes? 🙂
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        • “Ambulances and fire trucks as least serve a purpose”… Absolutely! Yet they become irritating just as quick as loud Harleys if you are unfortunate enough to live next to their main route, at least that’s what happened for us. We bought a house in the suburbs but felt like we were living in Manhattan with all the sirens all the time.. what’s the point of living in suburbia then? That’s why we sold it 6 years ago and never looked back. Oh and I wouldn’t blame Harley engineers – factory Harleys are not that loud actually. It’s the “Screaming Eagle” exhausts, straight pipes and other aftermarket add-ons that make Harleys loud… There is a lot of money in that and wishing it to go away won’t help. Time to move!

          • We hear the sirens from the nearby 10 lane highway or eight lane freeway very infrequently, but we know there’s at least a purpose behind the minor inconvenience. And knowing we could be helped within a minute or two makes bearing the inconvenience easier, for sure!

            We’re pretty lucky to have found a good compromise between city living and country life by buying a house on the city owned lake. We’ll sit out by the campfire in the backyard surrounded by trees and stars, listening to the roar of the frogs and crickets and forget we’re in the middle of the city. Until we hear one of those Harleys or a fire truck on the main highway. Then we return to our nature reserve until the next noisy interruption!
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    • Fat bob, slim bob, Billy bob, pork chop, oink platter, Harley’s are all the same. JUNK, JUNK JUNK!!!!!!!!!

  17. I am a late 30,s manly guy but I have zero desire to ever own a harley. they are the ultimate look at me machine. Im with u on the point of noise pollution. I live in a scenic quiet community with a road that snakes by the beach for many miles. Whats annoying is these douches on harleys with there loud pipes disturbing everyone for a few miles all around them. They are the ultimate in I am a selfish prick attitude
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  19. I totally agree with you. I’ve driven motorcycles for almost 40 years and I can not understand the hostile attitude of Harley riders to the other riders.

  20. Thomas Lang on June 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm said:

    Hey, came across this blog and would like to ensure this particular post continues as we move in to spring/summer 2015. I’ve read a lot of complaints, yet few potential solutions. I’m preparing a more detailed posting. That said, there’s no need to “reinvent the wheel”, so to speak. Every jurisdiction (there are no doubt exceptions) in the country (federal, state and local) have ordinances to deal with environmental noise since the early 70s. The traffic code, in most states, states that (in so many words) you can’t modify a stock (from the factory) muffler for the purpose of creating more noise…PERIOD! Forget about the unproven platitude “LPSL”. More evidence exists that loud pipes shorten lives, with increased and unnecessary stress leading to depression, high blood pressure, thus heart disease, stroke, etc, etc. This is a public health issue, as the WHO has defined it. We’ve already (as a nation) dealt with this issue legislatively. The fact that our public servants (police and courts) routinely ignore these offenses alludes to much larger issues. I intend to expound on these issues in a future posting. Thank you Pretired, and others for a very articulate forum on a subject that is very resonant with me. We need to frame it as a public health issue, like smoking. I have so much more to say on this subject but I’ll leave you with this…It all starts out locally.

  21. Hi there,

    Just read your well written post and felt compelled to compose a response.

    I admire your passion for this, however I feel like you may be over reacting slightly. It would seem to me that the overall tone of your post is more concerning the

    type of image that certain types of people, stereotypes in particular, try to create for themselves and buy into in terms of Harley-Davidson ownership.

    I would consider your points from your post to be as below;

    1. The noise of a *modified* Harley.
    2. A perceived lack of reliability
    3. That all people who purchase a Harley-Davidson motorcycle buy one purely for the noise of the above mentioned *modified* Harley-Davidson for noise
    4. Fuel economy is a major factor to consider when buying a motorcycle
    5. People purchasing a motorcycle should be doing so for cost efficiency over other factors
    6. People purchasing a Harley-Davidson motorcycle are buying them with the intention to make appearance modifications that are not to your own personal taste
    7. That those purchasing a Harley-Davidson motorcycle are somehow making a mistake purchasing a Harley-Davidson because of how it makes them feel
    8. Old people by nature prefer something that is unrefined, undesirable and a poor purchase overall
    9. That Harley-Davidson owners overall are all trying to be a part of a scene by wearing a uniform to present their image
    10. That having the freedom and disposable income to pursue one’s dreams and desires is a bad thing

    Now whilst I appreciate your post is somewhat tongue in cheek, it is also quite harsh overall, including a lot of speculation and stereotyping on your behalf.

    Like many things in life, certain types of motorcycles are a luxury purpose. They aren’t particularly good transportation in the modern world, consuming oil,

    inefficient at transportation for its footprint on the road, little to no safety whatsoever for the rider, and many more. So we can probably safely say that a

    motorcycle isn’t the best form of transport?

    Not everyone buying a motorbike is doing it for its practical reasons. Some people are buying something for how it makes them feel. Maybe it makes them feel young

    again. Maybe they’ve always dreamt of having one. Maybe they like to see it in their garage. Is that really such a bad thing?

    If that person was to leave that bike completely stock, and did not buy a single piece of merchandise, and was an overweight out of work middle aged developer, can he

    or she not enjoy something that makes them feel good?

    We are already living in an age where freedoms are being eroded and we are maligned for having tastes that are nonconformist. To own a Harley-Davidson is to hark back

    to a more simpler age, appealing to sensibilities that are not all about that quietest, smoothest, most efficient experience possible.

    They are something raw, something that stirs the soul. If we are to aim for technological nirvana, where miles per gallon and perceived mechanical perfection and

    perfect numbers are all that matter, where does it all end? What we gain quantifiably, do we perhaps lose something else, along the way?

    Personally, I respect Harley-Davidson for being a manufacturer who has a true vision for their product and dance to the beat of their own drum.

    To me, it’s a throwback to an era where things were made for how they look, like a great Art Deco building, that also served a purpose, a purpose that purely from a

    technical construction and architectural perspective, has now been superseded, but are we not glad it exists? To appreciate something for not only its function, but

    also its form?

    Yes, they may not be fast. Are they supposed to be? Yes, they don’t corner that well. Are they made to do that?

    They have created their own niche, and there are many people out there who believe in that. And considering how many other manufacturers create bikes to compete with

    them stylistically, and still Harley-Davidson exists, and succeeds, I think that proves that they do produce something that is unique and has a place in this world.

    Thank you for your time

  22. Brian on July 6, 2016 at 8:54 am said:

    You know sometimes I read websites like these just to humor out of life and the strange people who live in it, and this is one very funny website, I have to laugh because you have nothing better to do than to bash people who are not like yourselves, get a life, there are so much more things in this world to bash than a Harley Rider, a lot of them who have served in this Countries Military to keep your low life safe, no a lot of them have been sent to places where we should not have been, some have come back with a total different outlook on life, but people like yourselves don’t think about the other people, you think that all people should be like yourselves, once again get a life and complain about something worth complaining about. Have a Great Day, from a Harley Rider.

  23. I have owned about 7 bikes…5 in the last 5 years…all metrics (standards and cruisers)…and i enjoy the reliability of each one and yet….i love the cantankerous sound of a harley (also loved my vw beetles with their non synchronized exhaust cadence)…1. yes, super loud bikes are obnoxious 2. yes, idiots in southern cal. earn the title because of their callous, selfish ignorant driving skills and bikers are scared (and tired of getting hit) so they hope obnoxious exhaust keeps them alive 3. The stereotypical biker outfit is a costume unless it’s necessary for safety in my opinion….anyways…my next bike will be a yamaha road star

  24. Hahahaha. I’m with you on this one. They are gas guzzlers and sound like old pumpboats. I myself ride a ninja 636 as my commuter bike. I now it’s uncomfy as hell but I love that bike to bits. It is quite sexy too. I bought it 2nd hand and is priced half as much as a Harley.
    Arnel Dy Ollete recently posted…Is Target Open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2017?My Profile

  25. I personally would not get a Harley, not my style.

    I’m more the dual sport king of guy, jack of all trade 😉 that leaves to work in the morning sometimes pushing my Vstrom off the garage to the street not to wake my neighbours at 6:00am and take off slowly. Same with the gas mower, not before 10:00am or do it same time my neighbour if I can.

    Harleys when ridden with a brain can be almost like a normal bike (lessthe performance and comfort for a high price tag).

    Anyway it’s not the bike at fault it’s the no brain douche bag riding it.
    Again not all Harley riders are jack asses but it seems to be a majority here in Canada as well.

    Rebels that spits at society but will endorse their welfare checks

  26. My wife’s a neuroscientist, her surgeon colleagues refer to motorcyclists as donorcyclists…

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