Harley Davidson Forums banner
1 - 20 of 50 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I work for a company that's content to rest on it's laurels yet it demands growth. My argument is that stagnation lessens the relevance of a company and stifles growth. It's at that point someone high up in the company will say, "Oh yeah, what about Harley Davidson? They've been building the same thing for a bazillion years"

Well I don't know much about Harley, I have never owned a street bike, dirt bikes yes, Harley's no, so I am completely ignorant about this product. My gut feeling is that the Harley of today shares almost no common components with the Harley of 30,40,50 years ago but has managed to innovate without losing the "charm" of the product.

So when I feel ignorant I take my questions to the experts, in this case you guys/gals. Is Harley innovative? Has there been change over the years?

I'd dearly love some good answers to shove up some peoples nether-regions, un-lubricated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,340 Posts
H-D is hardly innovative in terms of engineering. Changes come slow and typically are responses to reliability issues and/or safety or due to pressures from the EPA. You park a 15-year-old Harley by a brand new one, and in some cases, it takes a fairly well-seasoned Harley guy to recognize the differences. They have responded to some competitive pressure in the market with the recent Rushmore project, but even those bikes are far more similar than different.

Where the MoCo has been particularly innovative is in marketing. They have expanded their market exponentially by marketing the "biker" image and the notion of "freedom" to an upper middle class that can afford to drop $20K+ on a man toy. They've expanded their global presence and crossed the gender barrier with reasonable success all the while peddling a machine that trails almost all other manufacturers in the industry in terms of "modern" design principles.

I hope they don't change that. Remember "new" Coke?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,957 Posts
Harley rests on Tradition. While it still innovates with improvements to engines, tyranny's, brakes, fuel injection, computer engine controls, suspension, improved reliability and no longer marks it spot when parked. The look & sound of the Harley is timeless.
Attached 2 pixs. One is a 1984 Softail the other is 2009 same model Softail. Still cool after all those years, but better.:biker:
 

Attachments

·
On the loose
Joined
·
8,723 Posts
They have , VARY recently l will add, introduced there Street 500 & 750 models that is a departure from tradition , water cooled small ci motors , light crusiers.

Also they are testing electric
prototypes .

They have survived ,as has been mentioned , by in large on tradition & legacy rather than inovation, it works for Harley , not so well for many others .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42,157 Posts
Harley does not make changes simply for the sake of making changes.

Why "fix" what isn't broke.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
I think that HD has had to do a very delicate balancing act. Improvement in the competition drives change, yet loyal owner base says it must look like a Harley and it must sound like a Harley. No other manufacturer has to work under such restrictions. I tip my hat to the job they have done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
811 Posts
They have , VARY recently l will add, introduced there Street 500 & 750 models that is a departure from tradition , water cooled small ci motors , light crusiers.

Also they are testing electric
prototypes .

They have survived ,as has been mentioned , by in large on tradition & legacy rather than inovation, it works for Harley , not so well for many others .

True !! My exact thoughts


Sent from Motorcycle.com App
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,278 Posts
Don't forget the V-Rod and Buells thru the years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,534 Posts
harley aint ignorant - i would love to see the tech they dont flaunt and show-

they live by 2 principles - money and dont change a thing unless forced too
 

·
On the loose
Joined
·
8,723 Posts
You can afford to do that when your the one everyone trys to beat , Harley just got it right , the look , the sound , and the heritage , pretty hard to top.
 

·
Glad to be anywhere
Joined
·
4,335 Posts
It was 33 years between bike #4 and bike #5. I would have been disappointed and probably wouldn't have bought it if it wasn't still a Harley.

Deep down in, humans resist change
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,753 Posts
Previously, I owned a Suzuki and a Yamaha Road Star, both fine bikes. Funny how I tried so hard to make them look and sound just like a Harley. I didn't experience true motorcycle nirvana until I got my first Harley Davidson. It was the style, the sound, the history, the being in the club that I longed for. I don't want the company to change the styling; I love the chopper-like Wide Glide I have, and the Road King is...well, called a Road King for a reason. Two Harleys is better than one...much to the OL's chagrin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,427 Posts
Just as others have said, Harley Davidson has maintained it's traditional foundation and resisted change simply for the sake of change. Some manufacturers completely retool their production from year to year, usually to promote new engineering concepts. Harley Davidson is more restrained. They will refine a model indefinitely such that a bike from 1984 is aesthetically similar to a bike produced in 2015.

In recent years, there has been some departure from the traditional marketing platform by introducing more advanced engineering models such as the VROD, Buell, LiveWire, and the new 500 and 750 singles. However, these models are a much smaller percentage of the overall sales for Harley Davidson.
 

·
Nocturnal Ancestor
Joined
·
6,788 Posts
I don't even know what to say!...Welcome aboard? lots of good advice and good people here. :what?
 

·
Life long rider
Joined
·
138 Posts
I gotta disagree when others say that Harley isn't innovative. If you are talking just about straight forward appearance then I would agree with you. But there is more to a motorcycle than just looks. If you define innovation as a spaceship bike then buy a Victory Vision.

The basic lines and appearance may be the same but the MOCO is always innovating and improving. The EVO was a big improvement in power and reliability from the shovel head. Twin cams was another innovation. Fuel injection came widespread in the early 2000's. Throttle by wire came into being late 2000's.

The new Rushmore bikes are in-freaking-credibly innovative . The engine management system enables me to plug in my V&H fuelpack, read all values, change and adjust perameters, fuel mix, etc. as needed or wanted by using my smartphone. The hydraulic clutch is a big innovation, the EMS gives you the choice to shutdown 1 cylinder to save on fuel and heat during slow speeds and idle, Daymaker LED headlights, an option for water cooled models, ABS, quick jumping acceleration and torque, etc.....Can you tell that I'm in love???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,340 Posts
I gotta disagree when others say that Harley isn't innovative. If you are talking just about straight forward appearance then I would agree with you. But there is more to a motorcycle than just looks. If you define innovation as a spaceship bike then buy a Victory Vision.

The basic lines and appearance may be the same but the MOCO is always innovating and improving. The EVO was a big improvement in power and reliability from the shovel head. Twin cams was another innovation. Fuel injection came widespread in the early 2000's. Throttle by wire came into being late 2000's.

The new Rushmore bikes are in-freaking-credibly innovative . The engine management system enables me to plug in my V&H fuelpack, read all values, change and adjust perameters, fuel mix, etc. as needed or wanted by using my smartphone. The hydraulic clutch is a big innovation, the EMS gives you the choice to shutdown 1 cylinder to save on fuel and heat during slow speeds and idle, Daymaker LED headlights, an option for water cooled models, ABS, quick jumping acceleration and torque, etc.....Can you tell that I'm in love???

in·no·va·tive
ˈinəˌvādiv/
adjective
(of a product, idea, etc.) featuring new methods; advanced and original.
"innovative designs"
(of a person) introducing new ideas; original and creative in thinking.
"an innovative thinker"

I don't think anyone is saying that they haven't kept up with the times to some degree. But "innovative" suggests that they are ahead of the curve, which they are not by any means in terms of engineering.

I'm not knocking them in anyway. I love what they do. I'm just not willing to call them innovative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
445 Posts
Actually I would say HD is innovative to a degree. They came out with Live Wire electric motorcycle, the Mt Rushmore system is innovative, don't know of any other motorcycle coming out with something like it. Now I see Polaris has an electric one but HD was first. There are many things HD can change or do and they know it, problem is how many things can you change on a motorcycle and still keep it symbolic to its namesake? Most other manufacturers don't really care about keeping a style, they change it every year or two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
811 Posts
This all is just funny to me. Who is number one? HD!! Who has been around more than 100 years? Nobody but HD!! Who does all road bikes want to be like and copy ? HD !! If it ain't broke don't fix it, HD is #1 for a reason!! Enough said.


Sent from Motorcycle.com App
 

·
Life long rider
Joined
·
138 Posts
I gotta disagree when others say that Harley isn't innovative. If you are talking just about straight forward appearance then I would agree with you. But there is more to a motorcycle than just looks. If you define innovation as a spaceship bike then buy a Victory Vision.

The basic lines and appearance may be the same but the MOCO is always innovating and improving. The EVO was a big improvement in power and reliability from the shovel head. Twin cams was another innovation. Fuel injection came widespread in the early 2000's. Throttle by wire came into being late 2000's.

The new Rushmore bikes are in-freaking-credibly innovative . The engine management system enables me to plug in my V&H fuelpack, read all values, change and adjust perameters, fuel mix, etc. as needed or wanted by using my smartphone. The hydraulic clutch is a big innovation, the EMS gives you the choice to shutdown 1 cylinder to save on fuel and heat during slow speeds and idle, Daymaker LED headlights, an option for water cooled models, ABS, quick jumping acceleration and torque, etc.....Can you tell that I'm in love???

in·no·va·tive
ˈinəˌvādiv/
adjective
(of a product, idea, etc.) featuring new methods; advanced and original.
"innovative designs"
(of a person) introducing new ideas; original and creative in thinking.
"an innovative thinker"

I don't think anyone is saying that they haven't kept up with the times to some degree. But "innovative" suggests that they are ahead of the curve, which they are not by any means in terms of engineering.

I'm not knocking them in anyway. I love what they do. I'm just not willing to call them innovative.
Thanks for the dictionary definition. I bet you rule the school on scrabble night....

HD innovates in bad-assery......

*MIKE DROP*
 
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Top