Biker Lifestyle

Triumph Harley Honda Oh My! Who makes a better bike?

By James Macecari

We all know the ongoing battle in the biker world, What company makes the best bikes? Of course that debate is no longer influenced by the way the lifestyle use to be defined. As the old timers start to retire and the notion that Harley was king and everyone had to own one starts to fade, who actually is making a better motorcycle?

An old saying is starting to hold true today. If you want too hit the rode and enjoy a long ride in the wind- Get a foreign bike like a Honda, Yamaha or Suzuki. If you want too learn how to fix a bike- Get a Harley.

One company has slowly made a return over the years, one many old timers actually started on and respected. Triumphs!! My first ride was actually a 77 Triumph Bonneville. That machine gave me the love of motorcycles. It was a 750cc kickstart. Even at cold start it would never take more than two kicks to come too life.

Triumph has been focusing on the cafe style rider as of late. Most of it’s newer models have been geared to that line of cliental. Personally the cafe style design is something that never interested me. But one cannot argue that Triumph is a solid machine. It also can’t be argued that a Triumph engine on a hard tail chopper frame screams nostalgia. It is also a cool looking piece of power on a chopper.

Triumph Forum

I currently own a 01 Fatboy. I’m pleased with it so far, not any major problems with it. The one issue I do have with Harley Davidson is the fact that they have no creativity. Every year it’s the same model and design, except of course the paint jobs, that’s really the only thing that ever changes.

Most who own Harley’s are those who are middle aged. Harley has been having a huge problem drawing in the younger generation. Harley’s marketing campaign has seen a boomerang effect. Generation x and older have bought into the lifestyle that was sold too us. But for the younger generation not so much. Actually if you mention a Harley to say anyone younger than 32, they will say ” Why would I want to get on one of those? Too dress up in leather and have beards and look like my grandpa?”

The stereotype is now embedded into the motorcycle community, it doesn’t bold well for Harley. It also don’t bold well that Harley is putting out the same ol same ol year after year, it also hurts that it is becoming a far less Superior product against the competition.

Harley Davidson Forum

The younger generation (which is a must for any company to go after) is opting for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki. Who after all can blame them? Not only does these companies make a mechanical sound machine, but they do it for far less then Harley would ever think of building one. The so called foreign companies (just like the car manufacturer) knows that the market share will go too the company with the best product at the lowest cost.

If Harley is too stay viable then it must start accepting the fact, the older generation is also starting too move away from their product just for those reasons. It’s 2017 and most people really don’t care a hoot about what others say about what they are riding. It’s all about being on two wheels now. If Harley is going to be competitive again than quality and price is going to have to get back in line. Not too mention the horrible dealerships around the country.

Personally I see Harley going through some very tough times in the next few years. Right now I do not see them as the best manufacturer out there . Honda and Suzuki have them beat in the quality and price department. After all, no one wants to mortgage their house to by the product. Many of people have complained over the years about it, the company hasn’t listened, until they do, they will continue too see market share lost.

So what do you think is the best bike out there right now? Do you think Harley will ever get the point?

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3 replies »

  1. I can agree with some of what you said. I right now don’t have an Opinion on what is the best Bike. HD has made a lot of changes over the Years. They just recently came out with a new engine, new frames, new shocks even a mono shock frame. even the old tried and true electra glide from 70’s to the 90’s to now has seen a lot of change. here’s the Problem when HD get to far from what people think is a Harley they wont buy it. that what keeps HD looking the same year after Year. I have been riding Harleys since the 60’s I now have a 2010 electra Glide with 80K with no problems. I love reading your Blog. Bikers For Christ TC

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  2. Indian, Yamaha both build great bikes but dont have the brainwash that Harley does that if you don’t ride a Harley you don’t ride anything. Harley did a great job in times passed to promote that narrative.

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  3. I think back in the golden age of motorcycling the question was not who makes the best motorcycle but who makes the fastest. Remember back then you had flat track, board track , scrambles, TT and hill climbing. There were dozens of motorcycle manufacturers then and most were American and English. Until the Hollister incident motorcycling was a gentlemen’s sport. The American Motorcyclist Association promoted it as a family wholesom thing. World war two vets put a new face on it and the infamous one percenter was born. Along with the Harley/Indian vs everyone else battle.Asian bikes changed things completely in the late 60’s with light affordable and reliable motorcycles. Still there were loyalist that would not give up their Harley or Triumph. You may ask why. Many reasons, the sound, the way the Milwaukee and British bikes put the torque to the pavement, and did you ever notuce the lines on a metric cruiser? Sort of looks familiar doesn’t it? A lot like a Sportster huh? So if they aren’t better why try so hard to be like them? Don’t start about oil leaks and break downs, that is a thing of the past. So who is better? Depends on who you ask?

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