View Full Version : MAY BE, buying a new Harley

08-25-2004, 09:02 PM
Alright, no flame throwing. I'm seriously considering the purchase of a new, and my first, HD. I've owned many brands, some better than others. My last ride was a complete pile of junk, BUT, the company stood behind the product and fixed all defects and problems under warranty and rarely with a fight. However, the bike spent more time in the shop than on the road. So, it's gone. If I can't ride it, I've got no use for it.

So, needless to say, I'm interested in learning about HD reliability, HD factory support, dealer support, and warranty. Every other brand motorcycle has some discussion forum, the membership of which routinely bashes the heck out of HD motorycles and the entire culture for that matter. Therefore, some of us "would be" HD owners become brainwashed over time and think that a HD motorcyle won't make it 100 yards down the road before falling apart. Now, some of my best friends are HD riders and are not "posers" (the part I intensely dislike about the whole culture thing, "posers" that is - I can't stand the HD rider that doesn't wave to a fellow rider, regardless of machine). In addition, I've been to a number of dealers and overall build quality, fit, and finish appear to be pretty good, from a "showroom floor" perspective.

I've been through the whole sportbike, racetrack, BMW, euro-bike thing, and now I'm almost (but not quite) ready to take the leap into HD land. I've rented plenty of HD's and love 'em for what they are. I'm just ready to cruise now, but I want to cruise for a long time, for a long way, and on the same reliable bike for some time in the future.

Oh, and by the way, does anyone really think the bikes are worth MSRP, or for that matter, a few thousand over MSRP? Be honest. I know it's hard, but consider the cost of most automobiles.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'm not trolling in an effort to stir up any controversey ;) . Just really concerned about dropping close to $20K on a machine that may or may not do what I need it to do.



08-25-2004, 09:11 PM
With regards to pricing the market is what it is and will bear whatever price consumers are willing to pay. Are Harley's overpriced? That's purely a subjective and individual question.

HD dealers are not different than any other. Law of averages dictates that there are both good and bad.

As far as warranty coverage is concerned a good dealer makes the biggest differerence in how well people are treated in this regard. There are dealers in my local area who are both good and bad in this regard.

08-25-2004, 09:15 PM
Hi Jim

Welcome to the forums.

Your concerns are valad, Harleys of old were less than up to standard.
Todays bikes are very well designed & now carry a two year warr up from 12 months last year, that tells you that there warr claims have been greatly reduced.

You drove the bike & if you like it then thats your answer if your ready to slow down & smell the roses, not that there is anything wrong with other brands, I will ride anything with wheels..

I understand the thought of paying $2000 over list, thats just bullshit as far as I'm concerned & those dealers need to be avoided at all cost, chech around you will find a dealer that sells at list & will be very happy to have you as a customer.

Our members may be able to point you in the right direction of some of the "better"dealers.

have you looked at the resale of these bikes? They out performed a lot of my stocks in terms of investments, I never lost any money with my bikes & believe me I had plenty

What to do with a $20,000 bike? Ride the crap out of it & have a blast, down the road you will see things that may make it better suited to your needs & style.

Hope this helps some & again welcome to the forums 1beer

BTW...We can change your username if you decide to stay :)

08-25-2004, 11:21 PM

I feel you.

I started out with a Honda at the first of the summer. I liked the Honda very much. It was a 750 but I needed a larger bike. I Liked riding so much and had always wanted a Harley so decided to take the plunge. Bought a low rider and was in heaven. About a month later made the mistake of sitting on a Heritage at the dealership. I knew that was the bike for me. When I sold my Honda I paid $7200 for it and could only get $5000 and it only had 800 miles on it. I had a hard time getting that for it. When I decided to sell my low rider with 2,000 miles on it, I sold it that day I decided to put it up for sale. I priced it $1200 less than what I had in it and because it sold so fast I think I priced it to low. What I'm getting at is the HD has a huge market demand and their must be some reason for it.

You did the smart thing and at least rented some so you should have a good idea which models you like. I think they are pricey but feel if you can afford one, you get what you pay for. Autos are the same way, a Lexus is a better built car than a Chevy or Ford. They all will get you there but if you have a demand for the best then the HD in my opinion is the Lexus of motorcycles. Just my $0.02 worth.

Good Luck

08-25-2004, 11:21 PM
Realiability of harley davidson is no longer an issue there might still be a very very small percentage of what you would call a lemon, but no more then any other brand name. they have one of the largest nationwide dealer networks not to mention all the aftermarket shops so service is not an issue as for there pricing i would never pay over MSRP for anything also you will find that the resale value of a used harley is not only higher then any other major brand but is also a faster sell I will give you one prome example 2 years ago I traded in a 95 road king black aftermarket exhaust, and cam had 65000 trouble free miles I traded toward a 02 road king with a few options for 5000.00 dollars differance so in reality i picked up a new bike fuel injection, (600.00 option) alarm system, (250.00 option) spoke wheels, (600.00 option) for 5 grand and my old bike, i can't think of any other brand name that you could do this with as wide stated i have never lost money on a harley and i have found them to be a very worthy road machinel B)

08-26-2004, 01:09 AM
Thank you for the thoughtful and informative replies. I feel much better. I thought for sure I'd be flamed in a heartbeat.

I go to the showroom at least four times a year, just to look and see. This time (last week), I went and saw the new colors, especially the black cherry on that new Softail Deluxe with white walls - classic, plain, and simple. I saw the new halogen headlights, new rims, well-designed seat, and other minor fixes to some things I new were problems in the past. It all got me thinking that maybe it's time.

Anyone know the Atlanta area as far as dealers are concerned? Killer Creek Harley Davidson is just a few miles away, but I know there are others. What's most important with any bike, in my opinion, is customer service, dealer support, and capable/trained/professional mechanics. I can do most jobs, but I wasn't about to pull the motor and camshaft on the last bike. That's better left to professionals.

Any feedback on the Softail Deluxe, Road King, Road Glide, and Electra Glide? I like a bike that tracks and corners well, so suspension is important ( I can handle the weight as long as I have ground clearance freakin ). What's the net difference between the Softail suspension and the rest? Any feedback on the difference between the Road Glide fairing and Electra Glide fairing, and how they affect steering and stability would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,


08-26-2004, 01:21 AM
Thank you for the thoughtful and informative replies. I feel much better. I thought for sure I'd be flamed in a heartbeat.

Were just sucking you in so we can beat you with a lead filled rubber hose ;) :lol:

No we dont flame here, it leads to nothing good. We try to act like we know what were doing :wacko:

The Road glide is a surperb machine if thats your thing & your posts reflect that.

This bike has the dyna suspension which is a better handler than a softtail, lighter weight & length. I dont thing the fairing moves when steering I just cant remember right now, CRS you know :). It really is a nice bike, good cross between touring & handling.

The RK is a great choice also, just a little diff look.

Our best suggestions is to rent each model for a day or 1/2 day if you can find a renter that will do that for you, that the only real way to see what fits your ass the best & the O/L also

08-26-2004, 01:36 AM

Just wanted to welcome you to the forums and to let you know that we really don't attack people that like to ride other bikes. Most of us started out on metric bikes. I am a motorcycle whore and have loved every single ride I've had. (Even when they were catching fire under me!)

We all have made a choice to buy Harleys. Many of us for different reasons. I wanted the coolest touring cruiser I could get. I'm sure that the Goldwing feels great on your ass after 500 miles. But so does my Road King. I never rode a Goldwing but don't know of women flashing titties over them and sure as hell never saw anyone so devoted that they got a tattoo of it on their arm! :P

You seem to be a pretty reasonable guy. Are Harleys overpriced? Well, to get into the market is tough. But once you do the price holds. So yeah, you can buy a nice Yamaha for 8 Gs and get a nice bike. You can buy a 20 G Harley and have, IMHO, a even nicer bike. Then when it comes time to trade it in or sell it it evens out. You get 17,000 for the Harley and maybe 4000 for the Yamaha.

Specs are listed on the Harley website. From what it sounds like you're looking for, the touring bikes might not be what you're looking for. They handle really well but you can't lean them too far over due to the floorboards. I've ground mine down a bit playing in the mountains here. You'd probably be happy with the softtail or the dyna. Try them out for a test ride. That's the best way to find what you like.

Good luck and happy hunting.


08-26-2004, 01:43 AM
HDskeptic, glad to see your opening your mind at least these are all good questions and i will start off with the easiest compareson the softtial incorporates 2 shocks to the swing arm below the frame while all other models mount on the side of the bike the biggest advantage to the softtail is how low it sits and how when you are sitting on the bike your actual in the bike this gives you a very comfortable feeling as well as a bit of nostelgia the drawbacks are it does not handle 2 up and loaded gear as well as the bigger bikes, rk, roadglide, electricglide and tends to bottom out with a heavy load also i feel it has an uncomfortable feeling when doing twisty curves not that you won't get use to it i just feel it rides high in a curve.
in comparing fairings there is actually 3 differant styles 1 being frame mount meaning the tire can turn but the fairing stays straight the only drawback to this is again when cornering you loose your lighting on part of the corner but it does handle wind much better next would be what i call the batwing fairing it mounts to the upper half of the forks and will turn when the wheel turns will offer great wind protection and is really the best all around fairing, last but not least is what i refer to as a handlebar fairing or windsheild if you like it also mount to the upper fork tubes but does not offer as much wind protection as the batwing also drawbacks are the wind tends to grab it sometimes and makes it a little harder to steer.
and finally your choice on bikes all these options have to be considerations when choosing a bike. first your size next passenger or not, highway use, or local want to be able to carry lots of gear for camping or so forth and finally looks for the money there all priced in the same area but one of the most popular bikes is the 3 models of road kings nibble enough to ride in town and fast enough to be a good tavern to tavern bike but this baby can get up and eat highway from sun up to sundown and then some. it has an air suspension in the rear which is more then adaquite to handle any load you put on her and finally the most popular reason for haviing this bike is the accessories with no tools you can add or remove backrest, tour trunk, saddlebags, fairing, windsheild, flat rack, just to name a few of the options this feature when utilized make the road king like owning 3 differant bikes i don't know about dealers in your area but once you have decided on what you want let your fingers do the walking and call them for prices and when getting prices always ask for the out the door price i hope this has covered everything you needed to know if not post back and hcg will be happy to answer your questions good hunting....

08-26-2004, 12:17 PM

I'm not far from you. I'm in East Central AL. I had checked with Earl Small HD and they appear to have a large inventory and had very competitive prices. I did not buy from them but could have saved a few hundred dollars. They will also give you up to %20 off off accessories for the first year after your purchase. You might want to give them a call. The problem I see in GA is their sales tax, AL has 2.75% were GA is 6-8%. I bought my bike at Cheaha HD located in Oxford AL. If you know of a way to buy your bike out of state and get it registered in GA without paying the tax difference then you could save some money. Just a thought :unsure:


Get your bike before the March of Dimes ride, they go to Talladega race track and expect 2000 to 4000 bikes depending on the weather.

I like the Heritage and one reason is it comes well equipped stock and has a smooth ride. Of course expect to spend $2k more for the other stuff you think you can't live without. :wacko:

08-26-2004, 06:28 PM
Since most of your questions are already answered here, I won't need to write much. But short and sweet:

Anyone on a Harley that doesn't wave to riders on other brands is very likely a "newbie", and not very bright, plain and simple.

Harley's reliability is better than ever, and as good or better than most.

In the long run it costs no more to ride a Harley. They do hold their value better than any other. However, you WILL spend more money on accessories. Just buy what YOU like the best.

08-31-2004, 08:07 PM

I'm in the Atlanta area and shopped ALL of the dealers in the area. Everyone had a slightly different gimmic. But by far the best deal was at Killer Creek. They were $500 over msrp when everyone else was anywhere from $1000 to $1500 over. They didn't charge any dealer prep either and gave 15% off accessories. The out the door price including 5% sales tax was just over 19,000 on a 05 RK Classic. The highest price I found was right at 23,000 for the same bike.

Can't speak to the service or support but will be able to real soon :D

08-31-2004, 09:01 PM
HDSkeptic, howdy. Just a liitle food for thought regarding the full dressers. The Electraglide is of course the Cadilac of the Harley lineup. If touring is your bag, go for the bagger. Don't let the size of the bike fool you. Yeh, it's heavy, but has suprisingly good handling for a bike it's size. There are two main differences betwee the Electraglide and the Road Glide.

A). The Electraglide has the fairing integral to the handlebars (moves with the bars). It is an excellent bike with a VERY comfortable ride, but, when passing a truck or oncoming car or in high crosswind, the fairing can cause the front end to "buffet" a little, or wiggle if you will. Not a big deal though. I have over 80,000 mile on my Electraglide and the degree of buffeting has never even come close to being a danger, just something you have to get used to.

B) The Road Glide is the exact same bike except that the fairing is a little more stream lined so it cuts the air a little better and it's hard mounted to the frame so it's fixed and stationary so the buffeting problem is elliminated. Many touring magazines list the Road Glide as the best choice of any motorcycle for day after day high mileage touring.

C) While both bikes are outstanding choices, the Road Glide will hold it's resale value just slightly better than the Electraglide in most parts of the country. This is due soley to the fact that the Road Glide is not nearly as popular of a model as the Electraglide and does not sell at nearly the same volume, thus, good used ones are extremly hard to find compared to the other H D models. Also, the Road Glide is usually the choice of folks who are serious about touring and used ones tend to have a lot more miles on them then the usual Harley.

Be prepared for the fact that comparing Harley's to nearly any other make of bike is like comparing apples to oranges. They simply are not the same. If you go into this expecting a Harley to deliver the same ride, low maintainence, reliability etc as the Japanese bikes, you will be dissapointed. That is not to say that a Harley is not a good bike. It is a great bike, but it is different. You will need to go over the bike occasionaly and adjust/tighten things. Things will after time come loose and rattle. If you do deep repairs, there are a lot of special tools you will need that some other bikes don't. The ride of all models (except maybe the VROD) is distinctly different then nearly any other make. But, I really don't think you will regret it. It gets in your blood. I haven't seen too many guys with Suzuki tatoos on thier arms.

08-31-2004, 10:50 PM
Welcome HDSkeptic,

I just bought a new 04 FXDI this last January. I had many of the same concerns, and looked at several other bikes. I knew that I wanted a cruiser and that I did NOT want a shaft drive.

I've only put a couple thousand miles on mine, but with no performance, or maintenance issues, although I do have an appointment to take care of a HD safety recall. I enjoy the ride very much. For longer trips I'd want to swap out for a more comfortable seat, but I recognize that I bought into the 'lower' end (pricewise) of the TC88 Dyna lineup. I doubt that would be an issue with a bagger.

I would say the cost of ownership of a Harley is not substantially different than other bikes. They are expensive but, so far, have held their value. There exists a numbing variety of ways to customize your ride, if you are so inclined.

Take comfort that there are many very experienced HD riders and mechanics here in this forum, and they are very nice about tolerating those less experienced with the HD world, such as myself.


09-03-2004, 03:24 PM
Saw a little blip on the national news about the cost of motor vehicles. They said Harleys hold their value to a greater degree than any other motor vehicle of any kind, for land, sea, or air. Relative to the cost, they were the least expensive to own and opperate.

09-03-2004, 04:11 PM
Saw a little blip on the national news about the cost of motor vehicles. They said Harleys hold their value to a greater degree than any other motor vehicle of any kind, for land, sea, or air. Relative to the cost, they were the least expensive to own and opperate

Yes, I have no doubt that this is true, HOWEVER, I'm sure this study was on actual vehicle cost Vs. resale value. It probably did not include intangables, such as...

-Increased fuel budget due to accumulating four or five times the miles due to "Just taking a ride".

-Lost time from work because "It was such a great ride to work, I just kept going".

-Money spent to goe to events ie. Sturgis, Laconia, Daytona Beach, Chillicothe, Bean Bolssom Boogie...

-The insanely high cost of decent leathers.

-CHROME (nuff said).

-Beer money.

-Bail money.

-Legal defense fund.

-Loss of the house, the car, the kids and nearly everything else you owned when the old windbag you were married to decided to finnaly blow out of your life (but by that point it was worth it just to be rid of her sorry ass).

In the long run it's way more expensive to ride that Harley. I'm not bitching though. My wife once told me "The Harley goes or I go". Sometime I actually miss that bitch (though not often).


09-03-2004, 10:57 PM
HDSkeptic, I have nothing more to add to the fine outlay you have been given so far. Just want to welcome you to the HCG. :D

09-10-2004, 03:02 PM
Saw a little blip on the national news about the cost of motor vehicles. They said Harleys hold their value to a greater degree than any other motor vehicle of any kind, for land, sea, or air. Relative to the cost, they were the least expensive to own and opperate

In the long run it's way more expensive to ride that Harley. I'm not bitching though. My wife once told me "The Harley goes or I go". Sometime I actually miss that bitch (though not often).


Isn't it funny how girlfriends can't get enough time on the back seat and when they become wives they want nothing to do with it? :lol:

09-10-2004, 05:56 PM
Isn't it funny how girlfriends can't get enough time on the back seat and when they become wives they want nothing to do with it?

Yeah, it's also funny how, after enough time on the back seat, a girl will start acting like a wife.


09-10-2004, 08:32 PM
HDSkeptic - as you can see, we got a great bunch of folks with some pretty deep knowledge and no need to flame.

When searching dealers, the guys here from your area can give you the best advice, but you may also want to check out this site: http://stealer-dealer.com/apage.htm

Pretty good info on dealers across the country.

Can't really add to anything that's already been posted except that it seems my wife becomes more like a g/f when she's palying fender bunny! :lol: