Decreased H-D Quality for 2010 Models

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by JDPEagle, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. JDPEagle

    JDPEagle Active Member

    If you're like us, big decisions can sometimes come down to the small details. When we were in the market for a cruiser bike last year, we considered some of the finer Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha models. On one of our many trips to the local import dealer, I noticed a very small detail consistent across all of the models; an exposed sheet metal joint along the tank body and the tunnel. The wavy and inconsistent weld bead was distracting and gave an impression of the typical craftsmanship and economic shortcut that has become common over the past several years.

    Our next stop was the local Harley-Davidson dealership. The first thing I noticed was the clean and detailed finish of the tank and the overall machine. The technology may have been "outdated" by some's standards; however, the craftsmanship and quality was not compromised. My grandfather's wisdom echoed in my mind: "you get what you pay for," and "quality comes at a price." This small detail, a finished and hidden bead weld along the tunnel/tank, was responsible for pushing us into a lifelong appreciation of the brand. We purchased our first Harley the very next day... a 2009 Dyna Super Glide Custom.

    Last weekend, my wife and I were browsing the new models at the dealership, and both of our jaws dropped at what we saw. The new 2010 models have apparently adopted the less expensive tank assembly methods of their Japanese counterparts (rough, exposed, an uneven bead welds)! While this detail, as I conceded earlier, might be small in relation to other characteristics, it is an indicative trait of what might be an overall concession of quality and finish in favor of an inflated profit margin.

    Please don't misunderstand my motives here. I hope that the brand thrives through these difficult economic times; however, a sacrifice on quality American craftsmanship will only serve to hurt the MoCo in the long term.

    Has anyone else noticed this (or any other cost-saving manufacturing methods)? When I pointed this out to a few of my riding friends and dealership personnel, they were just as shocked as I was.

    Here is a close-up picture of the new 2010 gas tank (FXD Model) weld:
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    If you pay close attention to detail like I do, you'll also find that the welds on the frame are lacking too with the powder coating done over the welding flash without smoothing any of it out. The quality and finish has declined in place of higher profits and cheaper ways to manufacture parts for a healthier bottom line and better return to the share holders.
    It's the same with many products but until the consumer airs their distastes with the product and the quality/fit and finish , it will continue to manifest itself in poor quality and high/higher prices. We as the consumer accept entirely too much in poor quality just to carry on the heritage of HD and in return we get the lame excuses from dealers instead of the service we are entitled to for the price of the product we purchased.
    Dealers make on average about 3-4K on the sale of a touring bike and when a problem arises, they want us to believe that they aren't making a profit and try to brush us off wit excuses like "they all do that" which in most cases aren't true.

    OK, I'm done now :D
  3. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

    I too noticed the hideous welds on the frames bet they are going to see recalls again remember the cracking frames oh oh
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    Cracking frames and bad welds are common on the newer bikes. They weren't so much of a problem years back.
  5. kemo

    kemo R.I.P

    I would think with robotic welding that the welds should be near perfect.
  6. Davidw2415

    Davidw2415 Senior Member

    Maybe HD doesn't remember what happened to the Big Three in the late 70's and early 80's When they thought the only thing that mattered was profit and they thought buyers would be stupid enough to keep buying their product even though quality was almost non existent. They lost a lot of buyers back then and a lot of them never trusted the big Three again. A mistake the they and we are still paying for today.
  7. kemo

    kemo R.I.P

    Harley had its own problems in the 80's. They don't have to remember the auto companies problems. If it wasn't for the US gov. putting embargos on import motorcycle over 700 cc the MOCO probably wouldn't be here today.

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  9. joel

    joel Junior Member

    Guess I need to visit the dealer for a up close look, The picture above looks good to me, the color is great, I think the area of concern is beside the chrome bolt? Wife said my new glasses are in, I better go get them, maybe MOCO is hoping we all need glasses,:newsmile082:
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  10. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

    It wasn't an "embargo", it was an import taxes. Also known as "The Harley" tax.

    An embargo basically stops all import of a product.

    This tax is the reason the foreign manufactures want to bikes that where 699cc during that era. I was not in favor of it. Mainly becuase I was purchasing Itailian motorcycles for racing during that time. Harley lobbied for the tax to help them against the Far East manufactures. But it was applied to all imports.

    Ont the subject of quality. Yes, I have seen Harley's decrease in quality. But, they have to try and compete in the market. And the cost of a Harley is very high. Since they are not selling as many, they need to cut costs to improve profits, control costs, and perhaps (yea right) lower the cost of buying a bike.