On 1/17/06, Nhojs@aol.com wrote:
bike # 1 plate 2 yrs in a row first to run in 6s send suzuki to there trailers"
Oh, goody! Ignorance is just so damn cute when it is presented with both the honesty and enthusiasm that you have managed to assemble. I believe the word you are looking for is "their" trailers, Sparky, not "there" trailers. “Their” is a possessive pronoun, as in “their Harleys kept breaking down all the time” while “there” refers to a general location or direction, as in “inside the third double-wide over there in the trailer park where you live.”
So what you are telling us is that Harley can build a non-production, non-streetable trailer-queen bike that goes fast in a straight line? And how does this compare to their real world models that go really slow in a straight line? Do you mean to tell me that Harley has a professionally built (there's an oxymoron if ever there was one) drag bike that runs six second quarter miles?
Wow. (Please notice the period)
Where was Harley Davidson this year at the Isle of Mann TT? Where was Harley at any race track around the world? They simply were not there, Sparky. Why? Well, you see, Harley tried to compete with the rest of the world. Oh, yes, they tried, and they failed, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Harley Davidson poured a whole bunch of money into a design of a bike called the "VR1000" and spent over eight long, embarrassing years losing race after race after race. What went wrong? Many, many things the first of which was that Harley actually tried to compete when it neither knew how to do so (since no one would change the rules in their favor this time around) nor did it know how to build a motorcycle design capable of competing with modern high performance machinery. Let's take a closer look at the failure of the VR1000 for it is as remarkable as it is complete.
The VR1000 was a perfect example of how to shoot yourself in the foot (all the while bragging about how much of an expert marksman you were). The VR1000 appeared in 1994 as a 60-degree V-twin that enjoyed double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, electronic ignition, fuel injection and (gasp) liquid cooling! It should have been the same as the competition, and it may have been a good bike but it was how the bike was built and how it was campaigned that ultimately proves that Harley knows nothing about performance or how to compete. In seven years of racing, the VR1000 led only two races, held the pole only once, was on the podium only twice (a second place and a third place finish) and even qualified on the front row of Daytona (but again, it only did it once). The real tragedy is that in those seven years, despite all the money that Harley Davidson threw at the VR1000, and despite being ridden by some of the greatest and most capable riders to ever sit in the saddle, the VR1000 failed and it failed miserably.
Who rode the VR1000? A lot of very talented and capable people. Chris Carr. Doug Chandler (Superbike champion). Scott Russell (World Superbike champion and multiple Daytona 200 winner). Perhaps the most humorous failure of the VR1000 was when it was ridden by none other than Miguel DuHammel at the Daytona 200 in 1994. DuHammel (who you may already know is famous for winning just about everything there is to win on a Honda) managed to lead the pack at Daytona on the VR1000 and he was flogging it for everything it was worth (and for some it wasn't). He lost the race because his pit crew couldn't figure out how to change the rear tire. What really added insult to injury was when this happened right in front of an international audience and was televised as it was happening. Ouch. Even the hillbillies in the grease pits at NASCAR know how to change a tire. That would make the VR1000 crew dumber than NASCAR, which is really saying something.
So, what happened?
The VR1000 was an exercise in stupidity. While it is a known fact that HD had its own competition department, it didn't use them. HD did not use its own engineers, who had built and campaigned fast bikes, at all during the VR1000 development. HD hired an outside contractor to design the chassis. The HD in-house engineering department did the lower end of the engine while the heads, induction and exhaust were given to Cosworth Engineering (a mistake if there ever was one). What made things go from bad to worse was during the long campaign, when professional riders offered or demanded changes to the bike to help set it up better and to help them win, the execs turned them down and ignored their requests.
What did Harley Davidson do with the experience taken from a decade of constant losing? Why, they used their experience at consistently losing to design and produce the V-Rod! That's right! Only Harley could (or would) take nearly a decade of consistent losing, bad decisions and ignoring the advice of champions to produce a street bike based off of that legacy. The rest of the world throws away the designs that don't work, Harley can't afford to because they aren't smart enough to come up with anything new. Yes, as soon as the V-Rod was announced, HD killed the VR1000 and thus came to an end one of the most embarrassing racing attempts by an American company ever ... well, attempted. The fact that the majority of the riders who did take to the saddle of the VR1000 had long records of winning very prestigious races both before and after their bitter experience with HD clearly shows that it was HD upper management, the design of the VR1000, and Harleys insistence on ignoring good advice when it was freely given that was to blame for the long line of losses.
Why is that important? Well, since we are talking about competition and Harley Davidson's role in that competition, I thought it would be worth while to the situation if I brought you up to speed on Harley's last attempt at going fast while also trying to do corners at high speed. I think that since they couldn't figure how to do both of those actions at the same time (the phrase "can't walk and chew gum at the same time" comes to mind), they've had to go back to their roots which is simply going fast in a straight line and hoping you have enough vacant lot or plowed up corn field at the end to stop in after your run.
I've seen Harley Davidson compete, if you can call it that. I'm not impressed.
So Harleys can go fast in a straight line? Big deal. Going fast in a straight line is training wheels compared to the motorcycle competition around the world and frankly, Harleys are already known for going fast in a straight line. It's the stopping and hanging the curves where the Harleys kind of come up woefully short in performance. Oh, do please let me know when Harley Davidson enters the Isle of Mann TT or starts to compete in world class superbike races. Indian (now long defunct) won the Isle of Mann early in the 20th century with their designs. Harley has still not won the Isle of Mann. Better yet, please let me know when Harley starts placing anywhere in the top five, at least once a year, for at least a year. Drag bike? Any moron can ride a drag bike, it's drop the throttle and hang on for a quarter of a mile. Try handling that kind of power for hours on end, leaning this way and that, decelerating and accelerating through curves.
Going fast in a straight line is no reason to brag.
Hell, I remember an identical situation back in the mid 1980's on the street.
You see, the Buick Grand National owners (back
in the mid 1980’s) had something
unique going for them but they
eventually learned a hard
lesson. The bone stock Buick Regal GN (with its
turbocharged, intercooled and sequential fuel injected
3.8 liter V6) could easily
dust a brand new Chevy Corvette (with its much larger 5.7
liter Tuned Port Injected small block V8), stock for
stock, from stop light to stop light
and at the drag strip hands down. The Buick guys were
loving it, being able to beat up on the one world class car that
had dominated the street for so long. Oh, how
they liked being able to hand the bigger, badder Corvette owners their
collective fiberglass ass. This went on for a little
while, a few months, maybe a year, until one
local Corvette owner, fed up with the smug Buick
owners, stated the rather obvious truth.
“Put a curve at the end of the track and then we’ll see who wins the race.” He said.
The same could be said for our discussion.
Going fast in a straight
line is nothing to brag about. Most manufacturers were doing
that way back in the 1950's and 1960's. Going fast in a straight line then hanging a
curve to come back around and do it all again, at speed, now that would be
impressive (not that a Harley would ever be able to actually do that, mind you,
but it would cause me to sit up and notice you whereas your current
"performance" feat does
So you won a drag bike contest two years in a row, a straight line drag bike contest with no curves and no trickle down effect of the track technology required to go 6 seconds being shared with the models on the street in order to improve the breed. Good! That’s typical Harley Davidson engineering (what I like to refer to as "nostalgic engineering" since, much like the models it is built on, this particular mindset is so far out of date and out of contemporary circles as to be painfully ludicrous). Oh, I am glad to see that the classic Milwaukee specific ignorance continues unabated, especially at the upper levels of management!
Don’t stop bragging now, Sparky!
After all, you've just got five more years of losing with the VR1000 against world class machines to make up for. After you master seven years of going fast in a straight line, maybe you can go back to trying to figure out how to make your six second bike go fast around a curve or ... maybe not. Harley doesn't seem to really be very good at building bikes that handle at high speed (as evidenced by the numerous law enforcement agencies now suing Harley for high speed wobbles that resulted in officer deaths in the line of duty). In any case, please email me again when you break even from your previous nearly decade long losing streak in front of the world's audience.
I look forward to hearing
from you five years hence as I’m sure my site will still
be around just as I’m sure we’ll still be making fun of people like you.