from:          John Hubbard
to:               Me
date:          Sat, Aug 24, 2013 at 5:15 PM
subject:     Where to begin.....I did not get out the dictionary and thesaurus to play big word games with you.
 

After taking a few evenings to read through all of your writings, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of who you are. I would LOVE to work with you, be your neighbor, etc. Oh, the heated arguments we would have. You must feel pretty proud of yourself being the smartest guy in Mississippi, a state known for it's people of high intelligence among other things.  Your extra long American Angst writing is like listening to a C.D. with a bad skip in it. The same few points over, over, over, over..sorry pal, not buying it. There are many reasons to purchase a particular item, performance being one parameter in the mix. But you know that right, because you surely did not buy a 86 Tranny for it's killer performance did you? Mr. Technology. You are lost in the 80`s my friend, just like Harley is lost in the 1940`s. There are a few little  facts that you missed on your sport bike to Harley comparison. TORQUE, you never mention it once on your beloved Ninja/Cbr because they have none to speak of. The 600 sport bike engines are very impressive, and do make horsepower numbers at extremely high rpm. I happen to own a Banshee, you may know it as it's sport bikes cousin the RZ350 that Lawson raced to victory in the G.P. races. Same thing, all h.p. no torque, extremely fun to ride, but it won't drag a downed elk off the mountain during a hunt. My Banshee makes 80 plus h.p. Yes clown, stroked,different cyls, carbs etc. 421cc 180 psi comp. race gas, all of it. It is more American made now than Jap. My 40 h.p. utility ATV can drag it no problem. Torque is why everyone says their Harley is so powerfull, they have lots of it and can feel it. I like sport bikes, I own fast things, but I also own/like antique cars, old tractors, guns etc. and appreciate them for what they are. Fun toys for
they're intended purpose. You don't take a Harley and race sportbikes up the canyon. And you don't take a Ninja and ride across America. You could do either, but not the best tool for the job. Your seating position sucks for long distance, no wind protection, and passing semi trucks blow your light bike around. We already experienced the time of the bullet bike, I remember it well. You are lost there wondering why everyone left and bought Harley or metric cruisers. Let me fill you in on a little secret Terminator ( the Harley and semi jump were awesome in T-2), fads come and go, nobody cares about Swatch anymore and Nightrider is off the air. Go buy yourself a big KTM adventure bike and go for a ride. You will be doing the new "in" thing. Quit bashing HD, they are selling bikes because people like them, not because everyone is stupid. And get off the computer, nobody likes a internet tough guy.

 

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To which I replied

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“Where to begin … I did not get out the dictionary and thesaurus to play big word games with you.”

That’s probably a good thing, John.  The dictionary and thesaurus are very powerful tools and with you obviously not being familiar with the operation of either, you very well could have hurt yourself really badly in trying to use them.  Stick with the basics, John.  Leave the high powered expert stuff for the professionals.

“After taking a few evenings to read through all of your writings, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of who you are.”

Oh, I wouldn’t bet on that, John.  No, I wouldn’t bet on that at all.  Why, if I had a dollar for every email that I read where someone said those exact words to me I do believe that I would have long ago become independently wealthy.

“I would LOVE to work with you, be your neighbor, etc. Oh, the heated arguments we would have.”

Sorry, John.  I doubt that I would give you the time of day, even if we were next door neighbors or office workers or whatever.  You see, I’m a loner, a misanthrope and a misogynist.  I’m very picky with whom I spend time with and that’s because I have a very low regard for the human race in general.  I prefer not to be caught up in the daily stupidity, the drama plays that most people refer to as their lives.  Life, at least for me, is far more enjoyable when it is filled with an absence of people, especially stupid people, and the beautiful silence that particular absence of stupidity brings with it.

I do occasionally make the rare exception … heavy emphasis on the words “occasionally” and “rare.”

You most likely would not be an exception.

“You must feel pretty proud of yourself being the smartest guy in Mississippi, a state known for it's (it is) people of high intelligence among other things.”

John … I see that you used the word “it’s” incorrectly during your attempt to broadly state that people from Mississippi are dumb.  You used a contraction where you obviously should have used a possessive pronoun.  Now, contrary to what you claim I’m not really the smartest guy in Mississippi …

Far from it.

However, I am pretty smart (or so my IQ score of 138 indicates) and smart people like me refer to what you just did as “irony” and this “irony” makes smart people like me smile, sometimes it even makes smart people like me laugh … out loud … at people like you.

Apparently your rather limited knowledge of my great state is taken from what you’ve been told or from what you have learned from the media rather than from the standpoint of you having actually done any fact checking or research into the matter on your own.  That shows a severely lazy approach to both learning and personal education in general and it gives me even more insight into exactly who (and what) I am dealing with.

I won’t go into Mississippi’s many, great contributions to the arts, science, medicine, music, literature and culture of this once great country, all the great people who have lived in Mississippi, all the great things that Mississippians have done for America and the world, etc.  This is an email, not a history lesson and you should have learned that information in elementary school.

“Your extra long American Angst writing is like listening to a C.D. with a bad skip in it. The same few points over, over, over, over..sorry pal, not buying it.”

My posts are extra long because they are intended to both entertain and enlighten and to that extent they seem to be quite popular (if I can trust the many emails that I receive).  My posts are not intended for people of low IQ (which is why you may be having such a problem with my work) or people who have short attention spans. 

My extra-long posts enlighten by presenting facts that the Motor Company would rather the average person didn’t know and my extra-long posts entertain by making fun of idiots. The beauty of the arguments that I make (and of how I have set those arguments up) is that regardless of whether you believe the points that I make or agree with how I present these facts, your opinion on the matter does not keep the points that I present from being both factual and true.  All of the points that I make are carefully researched and backed up with facts and figures taken from a variety of resources not the least of which is Harley Davidson itself.

“There are many reasons to purchase a particular item, performance being one parameter in the mix.”

Performance is the last reason anyone ever buys a Harley and this is simply because performance hasn’t been a part of Harley Davidson lineup since the early 1950’s.  What little performance Harley Davidson ever had to offer was copied, usually directly, from some other manufacturer.  Harley Davidson has a long history of copying, again often directly, the Europeans and the Japanese, sometimes even down to the very last nut and bolt with the only difference being that Harley Davidson slapped their name on the side of the tank instead of the original manufacturer.  From specific models, to management techniques, to production techniques, Harley Davidson would not be in business today if it had not directly copied the Europeans and the Japanese time after time after time.

“But you know that right, because you surely did not buy a 86 Tranny for it's (it is) killer performance did you? Mr. Technology.”

I’m not sure what an “86 Tranny” is but I am sure that I don’t own one.  Maybe the word “Tranny” is your juvenile attempt at an insult based sexual innuendo.  Perhaps when you say “86 Tranny” you are referring to my 1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. 

1986 BLACK AND GOLD PONTIAC FIREBIRD TRANS AM COMMERCIAL

Fair enough.  Maybe I should explain to you and those like you the reasons why I bought my ’86 Trans Am:

1)   The 1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is a sports car that I fell in love with my senior year of high school when this Firebird was brand new and represented, at that time, the cutting edge of then still evolving American high performance technology.  I first fell in love with the 1986 TA when I saw the magazine advertisement (shown above) in an issue of High Performance Pontiac early in my senior year.  WS6 suspension, sixteen by eight inch wheels, big fat Goodyear rubber, T-tops, factory Recaro competition bucket seats, kick ass stereo system with subwoofer option, four speed automatic overdrive transmission, indestructible 9 bolt Aussie Borg Warner limited slip rear end that was stronger than even a Dana 44, strong 5.0 liter port fuel injected V8 under the hood and the kind of looks that would empty a convent in under a minute.  The design and the lines are classic and still remain so over a quarter of a century later.
 

2)   Way back in 1986, my TA represented one of the best performing, handling and best looking American built cars available to the American general public.  However, at over $18,000 brand new and with me working part time at a grocery store twelve to eighteen hours a week (in six hour shifts) for about $4 an hour there was simply no way that I could afford the purchase price (let alone the insurance on) a brand new 1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am way back then.  No, I just had to be happy (at the time) with my fully restored black and gold ’79 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, T-tops, WS6, factory custom interior, four wheel disc brakes, 10 bolt limited slip, and big Rochester Quadrajet fed 6.6 liter V8 under the hood.

It wasn’t a bad way to spend my high school years, in hindsight, however I always told myself that one day, when I was established in my career, when I had disposable income and space in the garage that I was going to get that black and gold 1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that I saw in that magazine advertisement way back then in high school.  As fate and luck would have it, twenty years after I first saw the TA I wanted in that magazine advertisement I was flying to North Carolina, driving the car that I wanted a thousand miles back home and parking it in my garage.

What good are dreams if you can’t chase them and grab them with both hands? 

Better late than never.

3)   Today, the 1982 to 1992 Pontiac Firebirds are very rare cars, from a generation of GM F-body that people have almost forgotten about.  There are plenty of aftermarket parts and support for the first, second and fourth generation Firebird but the third generation is kind of the step child of the four which is funny since it was also the last American made Firebird (the fourth gen actually being an import from Canada).  Seeing a third gen F-body on the road today is rare simply because it was a generation that, while praised at the time, soon after was considered pretty much disposable.

Seeing a restored third gen, one that is well maintained and cared for, is even rarer.  When I drive my ’86 TA, I don’t see myself coming or going in traffic.  I don’t see another car like mine on the road, at the stop light, or in the parking lot at all.  That makes my TA unique and because I am eccentric I like driving unique cars, especially ones that no one else has, even if they aren’t the most powerful things on the road.  My TA gathers a lot of attention and a lot of offers to buy it.  Everyone rubbernecks when I pull up and it forms small crowds around it when I park it.  As far as I know, my TA is one of about 215 ever built optioned the way it is which makes it pretty rare from the start.  I doubt many of these ’86 TAs, spec’ed like this particular one was, still survive today.  If you see another 1986 black and gold, LB9, WS6, T-top, with factory Recaro interior equipped Trans Am, let me know.

Because so many of these cars have gone to the boneyard and beyond, there will come a time when collectors seek out the third generation F-body and when they do the mad race to find these cars and restore them will be on but it will be like the movie Jurassic Park, these come late collectors will be trying to resurrect dinosaurs, trying to resurrect an extinct species by sorting through rust buckets and decaying metal skeletons in junkyards.  Prices will start to rise and those who have these cars will be among the few rather than the many.  In that regard, I’ve already got mine, restored, protected, and enjoyed.  It’s nice to be ahead of everyone else, even if it looks like you’re driving an old piece of 1980’s pop culture and if the collectors never appear, no problem.  I didn’t buy my TA to flip it and make a fortune.  I bought it because I like it and it’s unique.  In that regard, my ’86 TA has been perfect.

4)   As for performance, my ’86 TA is now 27 years old.  It has 210 horsepower at 4400 rpm and about 270 ft-lbs of torque at 3200 rpm on an engine that has 70,000 miles and some change.  Match that to a four speed automatic with a deep first gear and a 3.27 geared limited slip pumpkin out back and she’s pretty fast … Stock way back in 1986 she’d do zero to sixty in about seven seconds, the quarter mile in about fifteen and had a top speed of 140 miles an hour.  Blistering performance way back then but completely mediocre by today’s standards.  She’s no road scorcher or Ferrari beater but she still has some guts left in her … she’ll still hang a corner better than a lot of newer hardware and she’s got enough power to pass on a two lane or a back country stretch of road no sweat when the long skinny pedal goes flat to the floor. 
 

5)   My TA is stock, not because I can’t do anything to it but because I choose not to.  When I go to a car show, I like to see cars just the way they were when they rolled off the assembly line.  Any moron can throw a big block between the fenders, slap a blower on top, chrome out an engine bay, tub out their rear wheel wells and paint their car some eye melting color … that doesn’t impress me.  Chrome hides a multitude of sins the first and foremost being ineptitude. 

What impresses me is seeing a bone stock car at a car show, a car with an original window sticker showing how much it cost, what it came with, etc. when it was brand new … that’s what I like to see at a car show.  I like to see factory literature about the car, I like to see magazine articles, magazine advertisements and dealer showroom brochures.  I like to see an old car as a snapshot back in time, a window to looking in on a particular year, a particular model, and I like to see that car preserved right down to the stock radio.  Preserving a car, from the past, for future generations to enjoy … that’s a challenge and it takes a lot of skill, patience and forbearance.  Keeping that car looking like it had just rolled off the dealer showroom floor, despite the desire to bring it up to today’s level of performance, that takes skill and commitment.

Now, if I wanted to go fast, really, really fast, well, I’d just take the cover off of my port fuel injected 406cid John Lingenfelter pro-built stroker small block, one of only three such motors in existence (Summit Racing has one of the other two in their Phaeton pro-rod tour car); that big mill has aluminum D-port heads (taken off of one of John’s own Corvettes), full roller cam, aluminum TPIS “Big Mouth” ported intake, aluminum ported SuperRam intake, aluminum 1000cfm throttle body and custom computer chip.  In an otherwise bone stock ’88 IROC-Z, this motor was pushing the Chevy to 12.11 seconds at 114.44mph through the quarter mile.  That was on street tires, worn out stock suspension and a somewhat slipping 700R4 four speed automatic transmission with stock converter.  I campaigned her on the street for a while, made some money off of her at late night meets then because I’m not a real big fan of Chevrolets or Camaros I yanked the motor and computer chip, sold the rest of the car and went back to Pontiacs and Firebirds.

The reason why I haven’t put this monster motor into my ’86 TA is that I don’t want to punish something that is basically a time machine already.  Why tear up something that nobody else has just to be like everyone else?

“You are lost in the 80`s my friend, just like Harley is lost in the 1940`s.”

There are worse decades to be lost in, John. 

Everything past about 1990 has sucked, in my opinion, and it has sucked in every category.  Oh, I remember the 1980’s quite fondly.  Those were my teenage and early adult years … high school and college.  America still had a working space program.  Good music, good president, good times, good movies, good TV shows, good food.  Women back then had long hair and ripped jeans.  Tattoos and piercings were still counter culture instead of pop culture and mainstream.  Harley Davidson was struggling to switch from being a three times failed motorcycle manufacturer to being a highly successful provider of a make-believe lifestyle.  Convertibles came back!  Neon was everywhere!  We had cool cars, a return to high performance, and there was even a factory horsepower war between the major manufacturers.  Computers came of age.  We had sex, drugs, rock and roll, video games and low gas prices.  Yeah, I went through a lot of cars, whiskey, gas, tires and pussy in the 1980’s.

Fond memories indeed.

I like to reminisce about the 1980’s because I can, John.  That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m stuck there.

“There are a few little  facts that you missed on your sport bike to Harley comparison. TORQUE, you never mention it once on your beloved Ninja/Cbr because they have none to speak of. The 600 sport bike engines are very impressive, and do make horsepower numbers at extremely high rpm.”

Torque?

No, I did not miss mentioning torque, John. 

In fact, in the area where I compare Honda’s offerings throughout the last three decades to Harley’s offerings throughout those same three decades, I clearly indicate not only the horsepower and the torque of each of the offerings but also the performance figures (link).  If you look at the comparison, you will see that the sport offering Harleys do indeed make more torque than their Honda counterparts yet the Honda sport bikes still have higher performance.  During the last part of my comparison, you will also see that my ’04 Honda CBR600RR makes the exact same horsepower as the much larger motored V-Rod (the current top of the line performance Harley Davidson) but makes only about half as much torque.  Just for grins, let’s step back about 8 years and look at the comparison that I did between the Harley Davidson V-Rod and my ’04 Honda CBR600RR. 

You’ll note that the HD V-Rod is the fastest production Harley made and that the CBR600RR is not the fastest production Honda made.

Specifications 2004 Honda CBR600RR 2004 Harley Davidson
VRSC V-Rod
Engine Type 4-stroke liquid-cooled In-line four cylinder 4-stroke, 60 degree liquid cooled V-twin
Displacement 599cc (36cid) 1130cc (69cid)
Bore x stroke 67.0 x 42.5mm 100.0 x 72.0mm
Compression ratio 12.0:1 11.3:1
Valve System chain driven double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder Four valves per cylinder
Induction Dual stage fuel injection- PGM-FI Sequential port electronic fuel injection
Ignition Computer-controlled digital transistorized with three-dimensional mapping Sequential, single fire non waste spark, coil on plug
Starting Electric Electric
Horsepower 115 hp @ 13,250rpm 115 hp @ 8500rpm
Torque 44.5 lbs. / ft @ 11,250rpm 74 lbs/ft @ 7000rpm
Transmission Close-ratio six speed 5 speed dog and pocket, spur type first and fifth gears, helical second through fourth gears
Frame Type Aluminum, extruded Steel perimeter upper frame w/hydro-formed main rails and bolt-on lower frame rails
Rake / trail 24.0 degrees / 3.7 inches 34.0 degrees / 3.9 inches
Wheelbase 54.7 inches 67.5 inches
Suspension- Front 45mm HMAS cartridge fork with spring-preload, rebound- and compression damping adjustability Wide 49mm custom fork
Suspension- Rear Unit Pro-Link HMAS single-shock with spring-preload, rebound- and compression damping adjustability Cast aluminum swing arm
Tires, Front / Rear Tubeless radial; 120/70ZR-17; 180/55ZR-17 Tubeless radial; 120/70ZR19; 180/55ZR18
Brakes- Front Dual 310mm discs with four-piston calipers Dual 292mm discs with four piston calipers
Brakes- Rear Single 220mm disc with single-piston caliper Single 292mm disc with four piston caliper
Seat height 32.3 inches 26.0 inches
Fuel Capacity 4.8 gallons 3.7 gallons
Dry weight 370 pounds 595.7 pounds
Performance 10.63 @ 130.22mph 11.91 @ 112.6mph
Top speed 165mph 135mph
Retail cost $8499.00 USD $17,995.00 USD

Now, while my CBR600RR does not make nearly as much torque as the V-Rod, the performance tests between the two machines clearly shows that my CBR600RR will blow the V-Rod into the weeds by a full second and a half to almost two seconds in the quarter mile, even though the bigger motored Harley makes far more torque.

Why is that, John?

The Harley makes more torque but the Honda is quicker.  Why is it that a bike that makes the same horsepower but less torque can beat a bike that makes the same horsepower but more torque?  If torque is so important then how can a bike that makes less torque be faster than a bike that makes more torque?

It’s simple, really.

Torque is important, yes, but it isn’t all that is important.  Torque is only one aspect of going fast or making power, albeit a very important one.  Torque isn’t magic.  Making power and actually using that power effectively, those are two very different concepts.  All the power in the world is no good if you can’t transmit that power effectively to the street.  Harleys make power but they do not use that power effectively or efficiently.

There is an old hot rodder’s saying, John, and that is “horsepower sells cars but torque wins races.”  I learned that saying when I was thirteen years old and it has stuck with me ever since.  Even today I’m a huge believer in torque and while torque is important, torque isn’t everything especially if it’s the only thing that you have going for you in your favor and especially, especially if you can’t really effectively use all the torque that you’re producing. 

“I happen to own a Banshee, you may know it as it's (it is) sport bikes cousin the RZ350 that Lawson raced to victory in the G.P. races. Same thing, all h.p. no torque, extremely fun to ride, but it won't drag a downed elk off the mountain during a hunt.”

I am more than familiar with the Yamaha Banshee. 

I’ve ridden several and never had a problem with their stock performance nor did I try to modify them into something that they were never intended to be used for which is racing and going fast off road, not hauling lumber or dead animals.  For what it is worth I used to own a 1984 Yamaha RZ350, pro-built by an ex-motorcycle racer in Louisiana.  For a two stroke twin with lots of work done to it by a competent professional, that little bike would easily outrun bikes up to twice its displacement no sweat and I had a lot of fun on it until I got tired of going to college classes smelling like gas and oil.  I sold it in the early ‘90’s and bought a used 1984 Honda VF500F Interceptor … liquid cooled V4, and probably one of the finest Hondas I have ever owned. 

Since I have lived in the city most of my life and since Mississippi is covered in paved streets, roads, highways and interstates I’ve never found myself walking into a motorcycle dealership with one of the criteria of buying a new sport bike being that it had to have enough torque to drag a dead elk off of a mountain after a hunt. 

“My Banshee makes 80 plus h.p. Yes clown, stroked,different cyls, carbs etc. 421cc 180 psi comp. race gas, all of it. It is more American made now than Jap.  My 40 h.p. utility ATV can drag it no problem.”

So you’ve got an 80 horsepower heavily modded four wheeler and you like to hunt?  I think I’m starting to see a clearer picture of you, John.  Do you like monster trucks, line dancing and banjo music as well?  You talk down on me for living in what you see as a backwards state and you chide me for owning a 1986 Pontiac Trans Am but the only people around here that mod four wheelers and hunt a lot are the kind of people who fuck their sisters and think NASCAR is a religion.

As for carbs, I stopped playing with carbs a long time ago, John.  The only thing that has a carb on it at my house is my riding lawn mower (which doubles as a Harley simulator on weekends).  Way back in the early-‘90’s I went with fuel injection and computer controlled engine management systems (something even my Pontiac TA had stock way back in 1986) and never looked back … I guess I just got tired of dealing with Fred Flintstone technology when George Jetson technology made life so much easier.

It’s the 21st century, John.  If you’re still playing with carburetors then which one of us is really living in the past?

“Torque is why everyone says their Harley is so powerfull, they have lots of it and can feel it.”

No.

Harleys aren’t powerful, John.  They are simply designed for low end pulling power much the same way that a Ford tractor or a Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel powered pickup is designed for low end pulling power, it has the power required not to go fast but to get a lot of weight moving at a reasonable speed in a short amount of time … or to pull a heavy trailer behind it or to yank an old stump out of the ground.  As I have said before, making power and actually using that power effectively and efficiently are two very different things.  Harley engines have never been known for either their effectiveness or their efficiency.  Harley engines are noise makers, they are window rattlers and attention getters … nothing more.

You praise torque but do you remember the old saying “there is no substitute for cubic inches?”

So, if there is no substitute for cubic inches, or to paraphrase that, no replacement for displacement, let’s look at two different engines … two very different engines; the 999 cc Suzuki inline liquid cooled, DOHC, 16 valve four cylinder found in the 2013 GSX-R1000 series super sport bike and Harley’s bigger Twin Cam 88, which is an 88 cubic inch (1449 cc, 1.44 liter) air cooled V-twin.  The Harley motor has almost 1.5 times the displacement (1449cc) of the smaller Suzuki motor (999cc) so you would think that it would make more power yet the Harley V-twin, the top of the line Harley V-twin that powers most of their offerings, only produces 62 hp and 70lb-ft torque. 

On the other hand, the one third smaller Suzuki motor produces 191 horsepower (over three times the horsepower of the Harley motor) and somewhere around 80 lb-ft of torque (or ten lb-ft more than the much larger Harley engine) so your argument is pretty much invalid, especially since the Suzuki weighs about half of what the average Harley packing a Twin Cam 88 motor weighs.

Performance isn’t just making power, it’s using the power that you make and in that regard bigger isn’t always better, John.  Elephants certainly are big, loud and powerful but you don’t see them building skyscrapers and space stations, now do you?

You talk about Harleys being powerful but that’s only the opinion of the uneducated riding something that they know nothing about and then comparing that sensation to the sensation that they are normally used to which is sitting on their fat ass in a big comfy recliner, drinking beer and watching syndicated reruns of “Hee-Haw” or “NASCAR”.  Compared to that, yeah, Harley’s are pretty powerful and they’re really, really fast.  Compared to something like a Suzuki GSX-R1000, a Harley is a joke in every single category.

A bit of advice here, John, from an old rider with lots of motorcycle experience (over three decades now and counting).  Please don’t ever claim that Harleys are powerful (or “powerfull” like you said …).  If you do ever say anything like that, then anyone with an IQ over 88 that finds their selves within earshot of you and hears you say something ignorant like that will just shake their head in dumbfound disagreement and wonder what trailer park you escaped from.

“I like sport bikes, I own fast things, but I also own/like antique cars, old tractors, guns etc. and appreciate them for what they are. Fun toys for they're (they are) intended purpose.  You don't take a Harley and race sportbikes up the canyon. And you don't take a Ninja and ride across America. You could do either, but not the best tool for the job. Your seating position sucks for long distance, no wind protection, and passing semi trucks blow your light bike around.”

If I wanted to tour in luxury, John, I’d rent a RV, not a thousand pound motorcycle with more comfort options than some Mercedes.  Too many people have forgotten that motorcycling is about getting away from it all, not taking it all with you when you go.  In that regard, HD and some import companies have seen fit to build motorcycles that are less motorcycles and more subcompact RVs.  Some of these bikes are so big and heavy that it’s like they sawed a Winnebago in half, right down the middle and put a kick stand on the half that they decided to keep.  I mean, really, if your motorcycle has a trailer hitch on the back then you’re not riding a real motorcycle.

The full dresser HD’s (appropriately named since they are the size of, weight of, have the performance of and maneuverability of full loaded oak dressers) are some of the most ridiculous excuses for a motorcycle to ever insult the American highway system.

As for not taking a Ninja across country I have to disagree, again.  Maybe a soft ass, luxury prone poser like you wouldn’t take a sport bike across country but I’d do it any day.  I’d take my ’04 CBR600RR from the east coast to the west coast and back again while having no regrets.  In fact, in the old “Iron Butt” endurance race, I once read about a 65 year old veteran who toured America on his big Kawasaki ZX-11 Ninja. 

His advice? 

“All old farts should have one of these.” 

That man became my hero right then and there.  When I get 65, I’m going to still be riding sport bikes and with that being 21 years in the future I can’t wait to see how technology improves the breed.  If we come half as far in the next 21 years of sport bike development as we have come in the last 27, it’s going to be a glorious time for performance science and technology.

“We already experienced the time of the bullet bike, I remember it well. You are lost there wondering why everyone left and bought Harley or metric cruisers.”

As far as I understand it, sport bikes have been around for decades, at least since the 1950’s and probably before that.  Sport bikes only got really swoopy and covered in plastic in the 1980’s and that trend continues unabated even today.  Sport bikes still sell, John, and they sell well.  Just because the company that you put on your cheerleader outfit and throw your pink pom-poms in the air for doesn’t race and doesn’t compete in world class events anymore (and hasn’t in decades) doesn’t mean that the rest of the world doesn’t still compete in those events nor does it mean that those events have no significant impact on the manufacturing of motorcycles.

Competition improves the breed.  Challenge weans out the weak and makes the strong stronger.  Sport bikes aren’t an afterthought, John, they are the driving incentive for most companies other than Harley Davidson.  Sport bikes are the experimental planes, the brand new rockets, the bubbling cauldron of cutting edge ideas where dreams become reality.  What Honda or any of the other major motorcycle manufacturers learns at the race track leads to trickle down technology being shared by other models in the corporate lineup to one degree or the other.

Companies like Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Triumph, Ducati … they are dynamic, they compete, they win, they lose, they learn, they create, they imagine, they engineer, they push the edge and they evolve.  Their designs evolve.  A company like Harley Davidson is stagnant … it creates a new model simply by rearranging existing parts and changing letters in the name.

Now, if everyone sold their sport bikes and bought Harleys then why did Harley recently have to beg Warren Buffet for money to avoid going bankrupt (again)?  If everyone was beating a new path to Harley Davidson dealerships everywhere to trade in their sport bikes for Harleys then why did Harley Davidson post an over 70% drop in profits when the economy tanked? 

I’ll tell you why, John.

It’s because Harley Davidson is a company that produces, markets and sells make-believe.  Here is a humorous image I created several years ago.

Harley has had to beg, steal and borrow almost since the day it first opened its doors for business and it has had to do all of this just to stay in business.  Harley has never been a leader or innovator, it’s always been a copier and a follower, a begger and a borrower, a stealer and a bragger.  Harley Davidson management has been a joke on more than one epic occasion which is why they continually need to be bought out or helped out of whatever hole it is that they dug for their own selves.  Harley is a whiney company, it makes its own problems and then it tries to blame others for those problems and instead of doing anything to help itself it expects (and depends on) others to bail it out.  That doesn’t sound very American to me. 

You can go ride your Harley or your big metric cruiser if you want, John.  You can cruise in comfort on a suspension that not only soaks up all of the road noise but becomes totally deaf to changing, sometimes dangerous road conditions ahead.  You can depend on substandard brakes, a single tiny disc up front and a tiny rear drum out back.  You can hang your leather tassels from the handlebars and wear your sissy half helmet with your Oakleys and all of your funny stickers.  You can roll your throttle and make lots of noise and think that the noise you are making is a display of raw power when it’s nothing other than simple noise pollution.  You can dress like a cliché from a 1950’s make-believe biker film and pretend that you’re a bad ass outlaw all weekend long before you return to your six square foot cubicle on Monday and start writing out quality reports for some corporation in a 8 to 5 boring ass job.  You can advertise for free, from head to toe, for a corporation that charges you for the right to advertise for them.  You can ride around with your polished boots with your legs set high up on highway pegs like a teenage girl’s first time in the stirrups at the OB-GYN.  You can ride your big full dresser with your cruise control, your AM-FM Stereo 6-CD player, your CB radio, your Sat-Nav, your cup holders, your arm rests, your reverse gear because your bike is so damn heavy that you can’t even walk it five feet backwards out of a parking spot yourself, your 80 plus stick on accessory lights and reflectors that make semi truckers shake their heads, your heated grips, your heated seats, your variable windshield wiper, your dash vents and your trailer hitch to pull even more stuff because you ran out of hard storage on your rolling dresser to store crap that you didn’t ever need to take with you in the first place.

You do that, John.  

The rest of us, those who still understand what motorcycling is all about, will only shake our heads and laugh at you as we slowly ride past … that is, if we even give you the time of day.

“Let me fill you in on a little secret Terminator ( the Harley and semi jump were awesome in T-2), fads come and go, nobody cares about Swatch anymore and Nightrider is off the air.”

Let me fill you in on a little secret, John.  The Harley jump in T2 was faked, it was heavily edited and used a variety of special effects to insure that a lackluster imitation of a motorcycle that they decided to use for the stunt actually could be used for what amounts to yet another bit of fanciful make-believe associated with Harley Davidson. 

Did you even read that part on my website where I show you how the Terminator 2 Harley jump was done? 

Probably not.

Going back I see that I discussed this particular stunt way back in 2007 ... here's the link.  You'll have to scroll down about two thirds through the article to find the relevant information.

Yes, that jump, just like HD itself, was fake … it was smoke and mirrors.  James Cameron had to build a special rig with wires and pulleys which gently lowered the Harley from its take off point down into the drainage ditch because if the Harley had really jumped it would have broken its frame in half, smashed itself into pieces and probably hurt or killed the stuntman.  Everyone knew this.  Once again, Harley Davidson couldn’t perform what was required of it so it had to be helped out and saved by another company.  The whole custom special effects rig was used to fake the jump of the Harley.   Cameron wanted it to be absolutely safe so he took the first ride on the stunt himself to prove it and it worked beautifully.  With a lot of help, with a rig, a boom, pulleys and cables, that Harley flew on the silver screen which is ironic since so much of Harley Davidson’s performance heritage existed on nothing more than the silver screen. 

After the Harley Fat Boy’s jump, with the lowering rig, the pulleys and all the cables, after everything was shot on film, Cameron hired another company, a special effects editing company, to go into the final film and edit out all of the stunt rig.  That way, it looks like the Harley jumps by itself.  What you don’t see is the special rig because it has been carefully edited out of the scene and the film.

Magic!

And for what it is worth, Swatch was something that other people wore in high school and the television show you are referring to was called “Knightrider” … Knight with a “K” because the lead character was named “Michael Knight.”  If you’re going to try insulting what you believe is some piece of pop culture that is relevant to someone else, here’s another little secret; be sure to get it right when you do it otherwise you come off sounding like an idiot.

Knightrider. 

               

I can’t say that I watched very many episodes of it even when it was on because I was more a “Miami Vice” kind of viewer.  By the time that Knightrider was on TV I was swinging wrenches on small block Chevys and chasing girls … spending a Friday night watching a show about a Trans Am that talked really didn’t rank high on my “To-Do” list, not when I could be spending it with an attractive member of the opposite sex.

“Go buy yourself a big KTM adventure bike and go for a ride. You will be doing the new "in" thing.”

This is another example of how you really don’t know me at all.  You see, I don’t do the “in” thing, John … Never have.  The “in” thing is for people who follow the herd and people who can’t figure out how to be original on their own.  Since the vast majority of the human race is superfluous, anything that is popular or the “in” thing is by definition only popular because it is liked by a majority of idiots.  If you’re doing the “in” thing, John, then you’re certainly in good company.  I’m happy with my 9 year old Honda CBR600RR.  It’s never failed me yet and I use it to commute over 75 miles a day to work and back.  It does just fine for that job, keeping me safe with its 115 horsepower, triple disc brakes, adjustable suspension and world class handling.  The 42 miles per gallon fuel economy doesn’t hurt, either.

Maybe people like you, people who are used to a soft, comfortable life, need big, cushy motorcycles with cup holders and saddle bags to get you where you’re going.  Maybe you want to pull up at your local Starbucks on your big Harley, vibrating the window panes trying desperately to get noticed in your poser biker gear, pretending to be something that you simply aren’t while sitting on an irrigation pump powered recliner pretending to be a motorcycle … I mean, really, how bad ass can you be if you ride up to a Starbucks on your Harley wearing all of your catalog ordered gear, order a something something something something something latte mocha extra grande, pay for it with your platinum series credit card, stick your brew in your cup holder on your hog then roar away?

Not very.

People like me are laughing at people like you, John, because not only do you just not get it but you never had it to begin with.  You and those like you are posers.  Big, soft, fat assed, slave to comfort, image dependent posers who rely on other people to not only dress you like they feel you should dress but to also tell you what kind of motorcycle you should ride.  You’re soft.  You don’t want to be tired after a long motorcycle ride.  You don’t want your tender little tushie to hurt after an hour in the saddle.  You want to be able to ride your motorcycle and smoke your cigarette and drink your Starbucks and you want to look good while you are doing it.  The only reason someone buys a Harley is that they are so forgettable and unoriginal as a human being that they require a big, heavy, loud, flashy machine to get people to notice them.

You talk about using your ATV to drag an elk off the mountain during a hunt.  A century ago a real man would have done just that only without the ATV.  You’re not a cowboy, John.  Cowboys ride horses … women take the big, comfy stage coach where they can put all of their frivolous stuff in traveling trunks and clothes boxes and let someone else decide the best way for them to get where they are going.

“Quit bashing HD, they are selling bikes because people like them, not because everyone is stupid.”

Why should I quit bashing HD?  What has HD ever done that was great?  What has HD done for this country, John?  Does my bashing of HD, using facts and figures, provable, undeniable, facts and figures hurt your feelings?  Does the bitter truth hurt, John?  After all these years of make-believe does the real truth about HD make you angry?

Maybe more people need to make fun of HD, John, because the Motor Company certainly has gotten ridiculous since Willie G. and his Twelve Disciples bought his grandpappy’s company back from AMF.  AMF may have been the best years for the Motor Company, especially in hindsight.

As for me, I’m hoping to live long enough to see HD go completely out of business, to finally fuck up so bad that no one, not the government, not another company, not even a private wealthy individual, will be able (or willing) to bail them out of the hole that the Motor Company seems to dig for itself every decade or so.  I thought Harley was about to become extinct a few years ago but Warren Buffet stepped in and stopped the process of natural selection more out of pity than out of any national need to keep HD around.

Oh, well.

Closer and closer.

On the day that Harley Davidson does finally become extinct, mainly due to their own managerial incompetence, I’m going to go outside and dance a jig at Harley’s demise and I’ll probably be waving an American flag while I’m doing it.

Harley doesn’t sell bikes to stupid people? 

How naïve are you, John? 

HD does nothing but sell bikes to stupid people and stupid people like Harley Davidson because they don’t know any better.  Harley sells a prepackaged lifestyle to people who have no lives.  Harley depends on stupid people, uninformed wannabes, to stay in business.  Please don’t ever forget that … or think otherwise. 

Oh, and in case you haven’t been keeping up with current events, HD isn’t selling very many bikes these days, John.  It seems that when the economy starts to go bad that people have less disposable income to spend on stuff like entertainment and make-believe which is why Harley Davidson almost went bankrupt and why Honda actually posted a profit during these dismal economic times.

“And get off the computer, nobody likes a internet tough guy.”

Apparently a whole lot of people actually do like me, John, if the amount of favorable emails that I get is any indication.  People like someone who isn’t afraid to stand up for the truth.  Maybe it’s because I’m not afraid of the posers and the fake bikers who have helped Harley become the empty company that it is today.  Maybe it’s because I tell the truth.  Maybe it’s because I have a lot of fun at the expense of people like you.  Sorry to burst your bubble and dispel your personal belief that the world thinks just like you but there are a whole lot of people out there who don’t like Harley Davidsons, who don’t think that Harley is a real American bike and who don’t like the kind of idiots who worship Harley Davidson like the pagan religion that it has become.  Every time that you ride a Harley Davidson you wipe your ass with the American flag, that is my opinion and that is my firm belief based off of the history of the Motor Company and based off having been around and having to deal with the posers who worship Harley Davidson over the last three and a half decades.

The only people who don’t like me are the people whose feelings I hurt by exposing them to the truth and showing them that their world is based on make-believe.  I don’t spend a lot of time on the computer, certainly not on my websites and that is probably where I get the most hate-email, telling me to get off my butt and add new rants against ignorant Harley riders or build more models or write more stories or do something new with my bike or TA.  In fact, when I posted this email and my reply that was the first update to American Angst in nearly 3 years. 

You should feel honored, John. 
 

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