no politics...just ridin'

Brand Bashing....

I love looking at a nice bike - any bike, no matter what the badge on the tank says. Having said that, I read a very interesting article this morning that was posted over on In his article, Swag describes how some Harley owners display their arrogance, talking down non-Harley's and their riders. Whilst I don't like this and generally try to avoid these types of people, I do believe that it is a by-product of a brilliant marketing strategy that Harley Davidson has developed over many years. They have been able to make a lot of people think that owning a Harley sets them apart from other bikers. And it's worked well - very well!

Have a read of Swag's post....
If you are from the Middle Tennessee area you don't need me to tell you that the 2007 Tennessee State HOG Rally is in town this week. The event is taking place at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Resort and Harley-Davidson owners from all over the Mid-South have descended on The Music City to enjoy the festivities.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Harley-Davidson terminology, HOG is an acronym for Harley Owners Group which is Harley's national members only club with chapters operating out of local dealership literally around the world. It's a good way for fellow H-D owners to get to know each other and participate in group rides together but it also serves as the primary means for H-D to continue preaching the Harley message to its existing customers.

You have to hand it to Harley-Davidson. They are the masters at building brand recognition, customer loyalty and an overall sense of family. (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and the likes could learn a lot in this area.) Still, although I am a HOG member by default, I am definitely not in to the whole H-D HOG vibe. In fact, some of my friends are aghast because I often flippantly say that I am "anti-Harley".

I guess I need to choose my words more carefully because the truth is I'm not "anti-Harley" but rather "anti-Harley-arrogance". The fact is I love many of their bikes but the Harleyer-Than-Thou attitude that a lot of H-D riders take annoys the crap out of me. Maybe it's because my chosen field is marketing related but it seems ridiculous to me that people actually buy into the message that dropping $20,000 on a particular brand of motorcycle suddenly transforms you from pastel wearing Polo Shirt weenie into certified MOFO in leather who has the right to bad mouth anyone who rides another brand.

Don't get me wrong… I think it's totally cool if someone is legitimately a one brand person (lord knows most of my family has a hard time straying from Chevrolet) but the fabricated personas and the arrogant attitude that seem to frequently come with a lot of H-D owners really chaps me. And it's usually the big-mouthed ones that are the biggest posers. One guy I know takes every opportunity he can to let everyone know he rides a Harley (especially in large settings) but I know for a fact it hasn't seen sunshine more than two times in the last six months. Another guy I know has only been riding his Dyna for about a year-and-a-half… complete with all the H-D branded clothing money can buy. Despite his low saddle time, I hear him smack-talking guys with metric bikes continuously, telling them how their "rice burners" suck. I guess his vast year and a half of riding experience has already made him an expert on brand selection. Amazing! Yet another guy I know, who barely ever rides his H-D was recently bashing a another guys BMW behind his back. Is he serious? Bagging on BMW engineering when he rides a bike that hasn't changed significantly in decades?

In the end, my view point is... who gives a rat's ass what brand of motorcycle someone else likes and rides? If I could afford it, I'd have one from every manufacturer. I say ride what you want, ride safe and stop bashing those who happen to like a different brand than you do. News flash... riding a Harley doesn't make you better than the rest.

And BTW, those of you reading this that are just itching to play the Made in the USA card... all I can say is that if you believe H-D is all about American made products, take a walk through the clothing department at your local shop (a significant portion of their profit) and see if you can find more than just a few items that aren't imported... you won't. Preaching the USA only message is valliant but none the less hypocritical when those doing the preaching are wearing Made in Hong Kong Harley shirts, Made in China Harley hats and Made in Mexico Old Navy jeans.

Holy cow… this turned into a major rant... can you tell it's really late as I write this? hahahaha I didn't intend to write a stinkin' book but I think I'll go ahead and post it so I can get a good laugh from the onslaught of emails I'll get from the rabid H-D fans out there who think I'm bashing the Motor Company. Remember morons, I have an H-D in the garage right now. I just don't buy into the all the hype that many blindly subscribe to.

I gotta go now... have to get up early and go for a ride on the Harley... but just so you know, it's with one of my friends that rides a USA built Honda!

It is so true, even down here in Australia. It seems to be just a few weekend warrior, fairweather riding loud mouth types that make it harder for the genuine bike enthusiast.

Footnote: Due to the fact that there was no direct link to this article, I took the liberty of copying and posting it. To view the original article, along with other interesting stories, go to



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh so true, I have owned most brands and I have loved them all, including the most unreliable and cantankerous HD Road King that would scare the shit out of me as it wobbled around most corners. I am over brand loyalty as it only proves that you are a victim of as previously stated a great add campaign! I still like HDs but cannot justify the price for a V Rod when compared to my old Jappa!
No one wants to steal it either and I am not a fashion victim/statement!

3:06 PM  

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