From the early 1900s to the '70s they were THE bike in America. From the '50s to the '70s, Hollywood did a great job of screwing up the biker image and the public perceived mostly only badasses or Hell's Angels riding Harley Davidsons (and for that matter, motorcycles in general..of course it was pretty hard to look bad or anything but stupid on the Japanese bikes of the day). During the AMF years posers started trading in their Hondas and getting into the act. When AMF finally got out of the motorcycle business (good fuckin' riddance), the image of the badass biker finally started to fade and the Hawgs started getting better, everyone wanted a Harley again.
The older badass bikers still think that anyone not living on his bike is a poser. The weekend warriors and new Harley riders could give a shit and all of them know that Jap bike owners are Harley owner wannabes with shit paying jobs and no money.
Am I looking a second bike? Yes, a Ducati Monster. Can I afford it? Yes. Will I trade my Harley for it? SHIT NO!! I'll ride the Ducati when the soul is dark and the death wish is upon me (or I'm just pissed at the neighbor's cat for shitting in my yard), but I ride the Harley when I feel the need to live and be alive.
Shit, man...look at the dumb ass on his oil leaking, noisy, slow moving piece of crap Harley Davidson. Gawd, I wish I had one.
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