Harley's ARE good bikes

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by BOWHIKER, Aug 3, 2011.


    BOWHIKER Junior Member

    I got to thinking about this when I was walking last night . There are or almost 50,000 members on this site . If our harley's were really much trouble you'd see all kinds of posts every day all day long but you really don't see that many having mechanical problems because of mfg. defects . Most are opinion posts , or service related . Really not that many where guys broke down because the bike is badly built . Like a lot of guys have said the 96 and I'm sure the 88 & evo are pretty bullet proof . I'm sure I could break anything if I really abused it bad . Sure you'll have something like a weight fly off a wheel probably because of bad adhesive , insidents like these are unfortunant but hey things happen . I've heard of people driving off the lot with a brand ned ford pickup and the tranny went out , doesn't mean all fords are bad . Anything mechanical can break at any given time . JMO
    1 person likes this.
  2. Mavagrand

    Mavagrand Senior Member

    "I got to thinking about this when I was walking last night ."

    I gather your walk was not the result of the bike breaking down. hehe.

    I think HDs are very reliable. I've noticed it is the modified bikes that cause a lot of the problems that are discussed here. Keep her stock, maintain her and don't abuse her she'll give you many happy miles.

    BOWHIKER Junior Member

    I so agree , pipes and a free flowing breather backed by the Doebeck are all the mods I think I need .
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member


    That's the way I feel about these bikes. The newer ones are far from bullet proof, at least compared to the 88 with the 5 speed. I'll take one of those any day over the 96 with the 6 speed.
    Once you open the engine up after it leaves the factory whether it be to install cams or otherwise, it never lasts as long as it would from the factory with only a few exceptions.I see the posts here when someone modifies the bike with problems day in and day out.
    Harley has quite a ways to go to bring the bikes up to a bullet proof level and if they would stop cheeping out on finding better ways to save a buck when building them, we may have a better chance for a bullet proof bike someday in the future but I seriously doubt we'll see that in our lives.
  5. harley@16

    harley@16 Junior Member

    What I'm gathering from all the post is that we have to be very aware of what is going on with our bikes and listen for and look for the clues to problem as they begin because there is little time in progression to bad. It is great to have the expierience of those who have had the misfortune to find out the hard way and to learn from their trials and tribulations, so I thank them and this forum for providing a great service to the rest of us who are eager to avoid difficulty.
    I have come to the same basic conclusion that the less modification you do the better, either that or you go in and beef up everthing you can, we might even be talking a S&S motor, I don't know. I for now am content to be stock as the power is plenty for my needs and pocketbook.
    K&N air filter and TFI, 07 FLHT
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

    The biggest problem facing anyone with an 07 or later bike when doing upgrades to the motor is the weak crank. If you do upgrades that increase power to any extent, there's a very good possibility that your crank will scissor from the added power. They just aren't built to take any more power than what comes from the factory and even that is marginal.
  7. Retrop

    Retrop Active Member

    I think there are a lot more problems out there with late model bikes than what most realize. Since the shops of most dealerships are locked tighter than (EDIT)
    , we don't get to see them. It makes me wonder what in the world they are trying to hide from us. I was just kidding. I know what they are trying to keep from us. When asked any service manager or employee will say "Oh, that is just for insurance reasons". No franchised bike or auto dealer wants their customers or potential customers to believe that their cars or bikes are anything short of perfectly assembled works of art. Harley has made some attempt at modernization of their product over the last 5 years, but they are for the most part still far behind other bike manufacturers when it comes to modern design of the engine and transmission. Their sales have been falling since reaching the peak in 2007. I do see them doing things to improve their corporate bottom line in order to keep them out of bankrupcy court, but those for the most part are confined to becoming more productive as well as cutting down on manufacturing costs. It is this cutting down on manufacturing costs that comes back to haunt their buyers. Sadly, many of the problems that new owners/riders have, do not manifest themselves until the 24 month warranty runs out. If you are a typical rider who rides less than 3000 miles per year as opposed to an everyday rider who might have racked up 15,000 miles over the course of a year, you are riding a ticking time bomb. It kind of amazes me that many riders would not let an auto dealer get away with some of the stunts that Harley dealers seem to let slide on a regular basis. There are some riders that sell their bikes or trade them because they get a belly full.
    Please read this...
    A Friendly Reminder - Harley Davidson Community[/note]
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2011
  8. scottyguitar

    scottyguitar Member

    Retrop stated that Harley sales have been declining since 2007 (actually, sales are up so far for 2011, but I shall not dwell on that fact).

    Anytime I see someone cite a statistic, I look it up. :D

    At any rate, I think that Harley sales declined because the economy tanked, not because their product is bad. The fact that sales are up this year when the economy is still very wobbly speaks well to HD's marketing.

    Here's some anecdotal evidence: My 2008 Fatboy has a little over 15,000 miles. The only mechanical mods have been pipes and a better air cleaner. It runs like a scalded dog.

    Am I worried that something in the engine will fail anytime soon? Not really. I have been doing all maintenance on every vehicle I have owned since I was in high school (graduated in '73). I would not hesitate to jump on this bike and ride it across the U.S. tomorrow.:D

    In my opinion, HD makes a good product.
  9. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member

    Sometimes a consumer is upset about the purchase made and it has nothing to do with whether the product is inferior or not. I have ridden metric bike for 23 of the 25 years of riding. Some were great and some just good. On a 1999 Kawasaki I had a oil pump gear fail do to faulty manufacturing and it destroyed the engine. My part was $1,500 toward repair. Then in 2008 I purchased the best motorcycle money could buy. A new 2008 Harley EG. In 3 years of ownership the smiles to mile ratio far out weigh any Metric bike I have owned. Other than normal maintenance I have not had to repair bike for any reason. I will also add that anything manufactured by man can and will have issues from time to time. Just because a item is more expensive does not exempt it from having problems. I will also say that when employed at a Harley dealer for a year 95% of problems with the Harley's we repaired were do to owners incompetence in working on or trying to modify bike or from the help of a buddy who thought he knew. So if the ticking time bomb was true the dealer would be a flood with all the owners of these touring bikes who ride many tens of thousands of miles per year and I do not think that is the case. Soooo Harley makes a great product and I would never own anything else......
  10. dnailbndr

    dnailbndr Member

    It is just a motorcycle. ya ride it and maintain it, I beleive you should get 100,000 miles with out crackin a case. If you make performance mods, service life will decrease due to greater stress than parts are engineered for. IMO HD makes a great machine... They are not the only one that does.