Harley and BMW Owners Say Their Brands Are Less Reliable, but More Satisfying

moto mechanicConsumer Reports magazine has conducted their first ever motorcycle reliability survey and they say that a quarter of all Harley-Davidson owners reported experiencing a major problem with their motorcycle in the previous four years.  BMW owners reported their motorcycles are even less reliable, with 33% of owners reporting problems in the previous four years.  Japanese import owners reported fewer problems,.(10% or less)

The full report will be released tomorrow, March 28th.  In the advance release of the report, no mention was made of responses from Triumph, Ducati,  Victory or Indian owners.

Interestingly despite the higher percentage of owners reporting problems with their motorcycles,  BMW and HD owners reported being the most satisfied with their motorcycles.  An overwhelming number of Harley-Davidson owners, 75% told interviewers they would buy their bike again.   BMW and Honda owners also reaffirmed their purchase at 74 and 72 percent respectively.

“Reliability is one of many factors consumers might consider when purchasing a motorcycle. However, other factors like sculpted lines and rumbling engines also strike the right note among motorcyclists,” said Rik Paul, Auto Editor, Consumer Reports.

Among the bikes that needed repairs, survey respondents reporting having the most trouble with accessories, such as lights, instruments, switches, and radios (21%), brakes (20%), the electrical system (16%), and the fuel system (15%). Fortunately, most repairs were fairly inexpensive. Three quarters cost less than $200 out-of-pocket.

What about you?  Are you happy with your bike?  Take our poll below and tell us!

2012 Harley-Davidson Switch Back

IMG_8502 Passing through the rust belt near Allentown Pa, I can see the black wall of angry storm clouds racing towards me from the southwest. It seems “thunderstorms and test bikes” are my constant theme in 2012.

First it was tropical storm Earl and the Victory Cross County Tour, then it was an unnamed but equally drenching early summer downpour on the Triumph Explorer, and now this dark ominous mass of 50 mph crosswinds, thunder, lightning and buckets of rain.

I’d left Bergen County Harley-Davidson in Rochelle NJ a couple hours earlier on a 2012 Harley-Davidson Switchback, with flight delays and a last minute rear tire replacement having shredded my carefully planned schedule. The storm was so close now I could actually smell the rain. For once, I had prepared for this inevitability by starting the ride with my textile jacket, Darien overpants from Aerostitch and full face flip helmet from Nolan.

Just as I’d made the decision to soldier on through the approaching wall of water, a mental flashback of a 3 minute sphincter tightening ride over the Potomac River during one of the aforementioned test rides jarred me to my senses and I ducked off I-78 in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, coincidentally on the same exit where Sam Adams has a satellite brewery. Sadly it wasn’t offering tours, because I would have as soon spent the next hour and a half sampling Boston’s finest home-brews than leaning on an ATM machine in the local BP convenience store while I charged my cell phone (the only unused plug in the store) and searched weather.com to plan my next move.

I knew I’d made the right decision to wait out the storm as soon as I’d finished filling up the Switchback. Even before the full force of the rain arrived, the wind started whipping and twisting the street signs violently to and fro. I’d planned to hang out under the awning, but then the lightning started popping so close that the hair on my arm stood up and screamed at me, GET INSIDE YOU IDIOT!” As I waited for Mother Nature to exhaust her fury on the inhabitants of this Pennsylvania hamlet, I ran down a mental checklist of what I’d learned about the Switchback over the last couple hours ride.

New for Harley-Davidson in 2012, and designed for the rider who wants a “convertible” bike the Switchback can easily and quickly go from mid range tourer to sexy boulevard cruiser (ditching the “road sofa” stigma as well) in under 2 minutes. Thumb a few levers and the backrest is off. Open the hard saddlebags, turn a beefy plastic dial, and pull to the rear and the bags are off. The windshield is even easier. Pull the retaining clip from each side, grab it from the front and pull up and out, and it’s off. (This is basically the same windshield configuration that’s been used since the first generation Road King.)IMG_8984IMG_8517 You’ll spend more time storing the components, than removing them.

As easy as they are to remove, I wondered more than once over the course of the 30 day test ride, why HD didn’t incorporate some type of simple locking system to deter thieves but, more on that later.

The Switchback is built on the Dyna frame, and features the Motor Company’s 103 v-twin powerplant and six speed transmission. Power is delivered to the 5 spoke cast rear wheel via a belt drive from the air-cooled fuel injected 103 inch v-twin engine. Spent gases are evacuated through the two-into one chrome exhaust on the right side of the bike.

Speaking of chrome, the primary drive cover on the left side of the bike stands out, and not in a good way, as it’s one of the few parts not chromed from the factory. It would look better with flat black denim paint than polished aluminum, but most owners will probably opt for a chrome upgrade from the dealer. The seat is firm and pretty standard as factory seats come. I would eventually log over 9,000 miles on this test ride, with 3000 of those being two up and I learned the seat isn’t adequate for long distance riding. To be fair, the manufacturer never intended the Switchback be used as a serious touring bike. It’s more for weekend tours and short overnight hops.

Of course, I’m stubborn and prone to want to do things I’m not supposed to do, which gets me in trouble often. Watching the weather radar on my Android, it became obvious I wasn’t going any farther this night. I’d hoped to make Gettysburg and take in the haunted battlefield tours but sadly the ghosts would have to wait for another trip. But, not all was lost as it gave me time the next day to stop in Hershey PA for a few photos and still tour Gettysburg and even spend an hour or so farther south in Antietam Maryland, the site of the bloodiest one day battle in the history of American warfare. (yes, even bloodier than D-Day in WWII because EVERY soldier killed was an American.)

Check another line on my bucket list.

Leaving Antietam I headed south to pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway in Waynesboro Virginia. It’s at this juncture where the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway connect. The Parkway heads south and Skyline Drive heads north. I would ride the Skyline on the return trip.IMG_8988

The Parkway would be the first test of the Switchback’s cornering manners. I’d read other reviewers who said the Switchback didn’t have the clearance of the Road King or Electraglide, and on paper they might be right, but it’s a non-issue because try as I might, I was only able to scrub the floorboards a couple of times.

A few weeks later, riding two along the twisty black ribbons in the Black Hills, I did grind a few more times, but I still disagree with the other reviewers. Despite having less suspension than its big brothers, the Switchback has more than adequate cornering clearance.

Fast forward two weeks, and it’s me and my bride on the Switchback heading to Sturgis. This is all interstate riding. The saddlebags are stuffed full, with a big Kuryakyn bag strapped on the luggage rack. Storage capacity has been sacrificed at the altar of style, as the saddlebags have less capacity than its big brothers. The bags latching system is a bit buggy and will require careful attention to properly secure before riding, as I discovered when I thought I’d latched the bag, only to have it pop open at highway speed. That and the backrest rattles when you’re riding solo (without a bag) so you’ll probably want to take it off for short hops around town.

We leave late (after 5:30pm) and we’re busting our hump to make it as far as we can before stopping for the night. After a couple hundred miles, I notice the rear suspension needs adjusting. We’re hitting bottom at every change in road elevation. With 3.8 inches of travel in the front and 2.1 inches in the rear, suspension setup on the Switchback is adequate but slightly less comfy than HD’s tourers. (The Road King has almost an inch more on both the front and rear.)

IMG_8984The next day we stopped at Four Rivers Harley-Davidson in Paducah Kentucky and despite the service department being busier than a one arm piano player, Robert , one of the service techs took a few minutes with a hook spanner to dial up the setting on each shock a couple of notches.

The retro looking chrome cigar rear shocks are easy to adjust as long as you have the proper tool. Harley claims the nitrogen charged, 5 setting pre-load emulsion shocks perform better than traditional coil over shocks and compliment the redesigned front end suspension.

Compared against the other Dyna models, I’d have to agree with them. Out front, both front 41mm fork tubes use the triple rate springs, but the left features a cartridge assembly instead of a dampening rod which gave HD engineers a way to upgrade the front suspension without the increased weight of dual cartridges.

Thanks to the quick service this stop didn’t eat into our schedule and we were back on the road heading towards the great plains. The difference in ride was immediately noticeable for both me and my passenger. Having stiffer rear shocks lessened the overall comfort for her, but it made the bike less prone to hitting bottom at the overpasses. It was an acceptable trade-off for safety sake.

For us, Sturgis is roughly 1500 miles from home. We factor in two and a half days to make the trip. We soon developed a pattern of stopping every 150 miles for fuel. With a 4.7 gallon fuel tank, and averaging between 30 and 35 mpg, the low fuel light consistently appeared at 120-130 miles, giving us another 30-50 miles before we’d be walking.

Iron Butt riders may be laughing up their sleeves at our candy-arses, but the stock seat and stiff suspension had us both ready for a short 15 minute break every couple of hours. Combine that with the 98 degree temperatures we encountered from St. Louis all the way through Sioux Falls SD, and the frequent breaks were necessary to stave off heat exhaustion.

Speaking of fuel, a frequent complaint in the HD forums is the fuel gauge HD uses in the Dyna’s and Softail models. Located in the left side faux fuel cap, the gauge is almost impossible to read unless you lean up and sight directly over it. A simple (but probably not cheap) solution for HD would be to flip the gauge so the arch is an inverted U. I doubt that will happen as electronics has all but replaced mechanical gaugesIMG_8982.

On the Switchback the mechanical fuel gauge is actually unnecessary as HD’s engineers included an electronic information / diagnostic module built into the big round speedo on the tank. This electronic gauge can be cycled through current time, current gear and RPM, two different trip odometers, overall odometer, and estimated miles remaining of fuel at current rate of consumption. It’s large numbers easy to read for this 50 year old without reading glasses.

One of the big concerns I’d had when planning this trip was excessive engine heat. It’s no secret that the Twin Cam engine has gotten its fair share of negative press about the heat coming from the rear cylinder. Thankfully, HD didn’t incorporate its Rear Cylinder Cutout function used in other models to this one, as I never liked it on the other models I tested. In the little bit of stop and go riding I did during this test, I never felt the rear cylinder heat was an issue, although it was noticeable (and uncomfortable) during a mile or so duck walk wait to pass through the “Needle” on the Needles Highway in Sturgis, but I’m sure any air cooled V-Twin would have had the same issue.

Up front the headlamp assembly is all new. At first glance you might be mistaken to think that such a large lamp would affect the Switchback’s center of gravity. You’d be mistaken. Milwaukee’s designers went with an all aluminum chrome plated nacelle style housing, instead of heavier steel and it works. The low speed handling of the SB proved flawless with no drag from the headlamp.

The light itself, however, could use a bit of improvement. I don’t know if my test mule just wasn’t adjusted right, but the dim setting was as bright (at night) as the high-beams. In fact the way the high beams “split” the road, I was more comfortable using the low beams at night.

Switches on the SB use the new CAN, (controller area network) hardware upgrade. CAN reduces the complexity of the wiring harness and provides improved support for real time data transfer for critical applications such as the ABS. On the left handlebar are the trip, horn, lights and left turn signals. On the right are the flasher activation, engine kill switch, start button and right turn signal. There’s no radio or cruise control to complicate the switches. In lieu of an electronic cruise control, I’m happy to report the standard Harley throttle lock (one of my favorite features) remains located under the right switch housing, where its easily engaged with the right thumb.

A nice feature that isn’t obvious is the addition of ABS, standard on all Dynas for 2012. It’s a simple but effective system utilizing a single 300mm rotor/4-piston front caliper combo, and a 292mm rotor with IMG_8988single 2-piston caliper for the rear. I had the unfortunate opportunity to test it’s ability when a cellphone to ear driver, passing me on the left, suddenly swerved and occupied my lane on the interstate near Council Bluff Iowa. Without time to think, I grabbed a handful of front and a full foot of the rear and gave it all I had, hoping for enough inches to save our arse.  The front end dived a little, and I felt the ABS kick in and pulse for what seemed like a full minute, but could only have been a second or two. I still don’t know how we missed her but we did. Without the ABS, that panic stop would have locked up the rear, and more than likely caused me to go down at 80mph on a busy interstate. You can picture the rest.

The remainder of the trip proved uneventful but extremely enjoyable. In every other way the SB proved a capable steed with enough power at highway speed to blow by big rigs when desired and a low center of gravity that kept me from feeling overbalanced at stop signs with a passenger and fully loaded.

At $15,999 the Switchback is an affordable entry level sporty cruiser tour package which should appeal to the “boomerang” re entry motorcycle owner looking for an alternative to jumping out on a bigger (and heavier) Road King, Street Glide or Electraglide. It’s also an obvious choice for the svelte female rider who wants to tour with her husband but also doesn’t want the heavier full dressers. The aging baby boomers (whom I fit into) might also decide this is the bike that fits their mid-tourer aspirations.

One thing is for sure, the Switchback, while built for short hops and long weekend tours, isn’t afraid of the “epic” rides. After 9000 miles in 30 days, I can attest to it’s adaptability and dependability on any adventure, however long you want it.

Man Risks His Life To Save Bike Containing His Brothers’s Ashes

Monson MA  March 20, 2013:  (excerpted from The Republican)    Billy Fountain told the local newspaper there was no way he was letting his brother’s 1992 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy burn up in the fire that broke out near the barn where it was being stored. “Hell or highwater, I was getting the bike out of there,” Fountain said.

The reason? Encased inside the handlebars of the turquoise and blue bike were cremated remains of his brother, Harold E. Fountain II, who died in an accident on the bike in Orlando Florida in 2004.  Besides his brother’s ashes,  his likeness is painted on the tank and Billy said the bike means everything to him.

“Things like this, it doesn’t matter to me as long as I got a place to sleep,” Fountain said of the fire – and, as long as his brother’s bike was OK. “I had to get that bike,” he said, swiping a tear from his cheek.

 

 

HARLEY-DAVIDSON® BREAKOUT® BELONGS TO THE STREET

Press Release –  The 2013 Harley-Davidson® Breakout® motorcycle is an urban prowler, a bike ready for a midnight ramble to the roadhouse or a rib joint rendezvous with the crew. Green light? Crack the throttle to deliver a muscular dose of American V-Twin torque and etch the asphalt with a fat rear tire. The Breakout will be long gone, along with its rider’s inhibitions.

 With authentic swagger that turns heads in traffic and a proud stance certain to draw a curb-side crowd on bike night, the Breakout is presented as a premium model in its segment with distinctive finishes and specific components not breakout low resavailable on other Harley-Davidson bikes. Long and low-slung, the Breakout features a 240mm rear tire visually balanced with thick forks and chopped fenders, while a shaved tank console and a drag handlebar keep the profile low. A Twin Cam 103Bpowertrain and other components are trimmed in gleaming chrome and gloss-black paint.

 Like the acclaimed 2013 Custom Vehicle Operations™ (CVO™) Breakout® model that precedes it, the Breakout features styling that’s smooth, tight, and intended to showcase the engine and the tires.

 “With Breakout we got down to motorcycle essentials, which means emphasizing the powertrain and the wheels,” says Harley-Davidson Styling Manager Kirk Rasmussen. “The black and chrome engine visually pops out of the center the bike, and then to maximize the impact of the tires, the fenders are chopped. We wanted a lot of rubber showing to give the Breakout a tough, muscular look.”

 The Gasser wheels are new and specific to the Breakout, according to Rasmussen.

 “We’ve always loved the gasser-style drag racing wheels from the 1960s and ‘70s,” says Rasmussen. “Our wheels are loosely inspired by those classics. Each wheel has 10 half-round spokes. The gloss-black powdercoat is machined away on alternating spokes and the rim edge to expose the aluminum under the paint.”

 A gloss-black finish is also applied to the new cast aluminum oil tank, as well as fork lowers, brake rotors, muffler shields and the handlebar.

 “To lower Breakout’s overall profile, we placed the speedometer on the handlebar riser,” says Rasmussen, “and topped the fuel tank with a black leather strip that covers the seam, and a chrome-plated pod that’s just high enough to conceal necessary wiring and vent lines. The handlebar is a new curved drag bend that which I think feels aggressive when you ride.”

 The Softail® chassis mimics the clean lines of a vintage hardtail frame, but utilizes rear suspension control provided by coil-over shock absorbers mounted horizontally and out of sight within the frame rails. The Breakout is available with ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) and the Harley-Davidson security system as a factory-installed option.

 Key Breakout Features

 • The Twin Cam 103B™ engine with 103-cid (1690cc), counter-balanced and rigid-mounted within the frame, is rated at 95.5 ft. lbs. of torque at 3000 rpm. The engine is equipped with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), and Automatic Compression Release    (ACR), and is mated to a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission.

 • The powertrain is finished in black powdercoat with chrome covers and gloss-black shields over chrome dual-staggered mufflers.

 • Gasser-style 10-spoke cast aluminum wheels are finished in gloss-black powdercoat with machined highlights; 8 by 18-inch rear and 3.5 by 21-inch front.

 • Floating front and rear brake rotors have gloss-black carriers.

 • Front and rear fenders are chopped. The front fender location and bracket are specific to the Breakout. The rear fender is shaped and positioned to fit close to the 240mm tire. One-piece forged aluminum rear fender supports are highly polished.

 • The front end spreads 49mm forks approximately 1.75-inches wider than previous FX Softail models to allow fitment of a 130mm front tire. The fork lowers and headlight bucket are finished in gloss black.

 • New Single-Rib Cast Aluminum Oil Tank is finished in gloss black.

 • A five-gallon fuel tank is topped with a black molded-leather strip and a low-profile chrome cover.

 • The two-piece seat features a passenger pillion that may be removed without tools for solo   riding and to fully expose the rear fender. Laden seat height is 24.7 inches.

 • An all-new wide drag-style handlebar is finished in gloss black. The speedometer is mounted on the chrome pull-back handlebar riser.

 • The side-mounted license plate and combination stop/turn/tail lights leave the wide rear fender uncluttered.

 • The glass-filled fuel tank medallions and graphics are exclusive to the Breakout.

 • Available solid colors include Vivid Black, Big Blue Pearl and Ember Red Sunglo.

 Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s website at www.harley-davidson.com.

Ravens Donate Pair of HD’s to New Orleans PD

HD-pOLICE-4First it was a full page ad in the Times-Picayune,thanking the residents of New Orleans for their hospitality.  Then the Baltimore Ravens owner, Steve Bisicotti, purchased a pair of Harley-Davidson FLHP police bikes and donated them to NOPD for the assistance that was given to the team during its stay in the Big Easy.

Typically the police departments in cities that host the Super Bowl provide the visiting teams 24 hour security and police escorts to and from the stadium for team buses.

“We wanted to do something to show our appreciation for how well our team, our families and our fans were treated by everyone representing New Orleans,” Bisciotti said in a statement released by the team.

The bikes were  presented by Ravens Super Bowl star Jacoby Jones, a New Orleans native, during a press conference Wednesday. Mayor Mitch Landrieu and police superintendent Ronal Serpes accepted the gift on behalf of the NOLA PD’s traffic division.

NOPD

PUT FREEDOM TO THE TEST WITH HARLEY-DAVIDSON RENTALS

_hd_rentalHarley-Davidson Authorized Rentals Help Riders Answer Adventure’s Call

MILWAUKEE (Feb. 18, 2013) – Every one of  the approximately 18.4 million miles[1] of paved roads around the world mile represents an adventure that’s waiting to happen, and as the largest provider of motorcycle rentals in the world, Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals can provide the ride for those inspired to answer the call.

With 224 Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals locations in the United States and Canada, 121 international locations in 18 countries, and the largest fleet of late-model Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals last year alone helped fulfill 80,000 dreams over the course of more than 220,000 days and more than 50 million miles traveled.

“Whether it’s a business trip, a vacation, or just a chance to ride a new Harley, Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals is the best way to do it. With over 300 locations around the world, nobody fulfills those dreams better than Harley-Davidson,” said Steve Piehl, Harley-Davidson Director of Customer Experience – North America.

Popular Authorized Rentals destinations include Hawaii and Florida, locations throughout the German, Italian and Swiss Alps, the US and Canadian Rockies, the fiords of Scandinavia, and near many of the best known motorcycle roads in the United States, including California’s US Highway1, Tennessee’s Tail of the Dragon, and of course, Route 66.

Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals dealers offer a variety of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles to those that are over 21 years old, have a valid motorcycle endorsement and the skills to handle a heavy-weight motorcycle.  Every Harley-Davidson Authorized Rental includes a Harley-Davidson helmet and rain gear, short term luggage storage, and 24-hour roadside assistance. Online reservations at any participating dealer can be made 24 hours a day at h-d.com/rentals.

KID ROCK AND HARLEY-DAVIDSON LAUNCH FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND COLLABORATION DURING 110TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR

Learning from previous mistakes (Elton John headlining the 100th anniversary celebration)  Harley-Davidson has announced an exclusive partnership with legendary musician and ‘American Badass’ Kid Rock, including a Saturday night performance for the company’s 110th Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee over this year’s Labor Day weekend.

The first-of-its-kind partnership brings together two legendary American rebels and names Harley-Davidson as a title sponsor of Kid Rock’s Rebel Soul tour, which kicks off this weekend, Feb. 2, 2013, in Kansas City. Harley-Davidson plans to offer fans unique experiences at each of the 60 planned stops during the Rebel Soul tour. The tour sponsorship is just one aspect of the overarching relationship, which will extend from concerts to retail promotions.

The final stop on the tour is Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, when Kid Rock rolls into Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson’s hometown, to party with thousands of his fellow riders. Kid Rock will play a ticketed show at the Marcus Amphitheater, which is located on the south end of Milwaukee’s Henry Maier Festival Park (Summerfest Grounds). Fans who purchase 110th Anniversary ticket packages – currently available at www.ticketmaster.com – will have an opportunity to purchase tickets for Kid Rock’s 110th Anniversary performance before they go on public sale later this spring.  Kid Rock is one of three headliners Harley-Davidson plans to announce for the 110th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee – the other entertainment will be announced later this spring.

“What’s not to love about Harley?” said Kid Rock. “They are the backbone of American culture, the flagship American brand. I am honored and excited to partner with this legendary icon that has helped to define American freedom at home and abroad. In 110 years no one has done a better job of representing America – there is NOTHING that screams America like Harley-Davidson.”

A unique element of the partnership is an exclusive line of limited-edition, co-branded Rebel Soul merchandise featuring a line coined by Kid Rock: “I can’t hear you over the rumble of my freedom.” Fans will be able to purchase concert-specific merchandise at each show, as well as an exclusive line of merchandise at participating Harley-Davidson dealerships across the U.S. This is the first time either brand has offered such an extensive line of co-branded merchandise.

Also, at every Rebel Soul tour stop this year, Harley-Davidson will offer one winner the chance to join Kid Rock’s Rebel Soul band and rock on stage for one song during that night’s performance. Fans simply have to find the Harley-Davidson Display Area at each venue to register. ( more after this video of Kid Rock Born Free  riding what looks like an HD Road King sans helmet)

Harley-Davidson is also raising the stakes with a national promotion where one fan will win a once-in-a-lifetime experience including a factory-customized Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the opportunity to rock alongside Kid Rock on stage during the 110thAnniversary show in Milwaukee. Fans can enter to win the national promotion at www.h-d.com/kidrock beginning Feb. 2. The winner’s VIP trip to the 110th Anniversary will also include a meet-and-greet and photo shoot with Kid Rock.

“Kid Rock puts on a great show and embodies a lot of what Harley-Davidson and our fans stand for – freedom, independence, self-expression and the rebel spirit,” said Harley-Davidson Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer. “We’re excited to take an unprecedented ride with him during the Rebel Soul tour.”

Harley-Davidson plans to announce ticket sales information for the Kid Rock performance in Milwaukee in the coming weeks, along with additional details related to the 110th Anniversary.  Event dates and tickets for Kid Rock’s Rebel Soul concert tour are available at www.ticketmaster.com.

About the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary

The Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary is a year-long, global celebration connecting millions of Harley-Davidson fans across the globe united by a common bond and shared passion for freedom, self-expression and epic adventure. Included in the official 110thAnniversary calendar are 12 different 110th Anniversary experiences that Harley-Davidson will bring to existing motorcycle events in global markets throughout September 2013. The events span 11 countries on six continents and will be capped by two main celebration events in Rome, Italy, in June 2013 and Milwaukee during Labor Day weekend.

 

Harley-Davidson fans are invited to learn more about the 110th Anniversary and join the celebration online where they can share videos, images and experiences on Facebook, Twitter with the hashtag #HD110, and at www.h-d.com/110.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON FREEDOM JACKET JOURNEYS THOUSANDS OF MILES IN ONE YEAR TO UNITE INDEPENDENTS AROUND THE WORLD

Fans Near and Far Tell Incredible Stories of Freedom and Adventure through a Single Leather Jacket as it Travels the Globe for Harley’s 110th Anniversary Celebration

MILWAUKEE (Jan. 15, 2013) – In August 2012, Harley-Davidson fans around the world kicked off a year-long celebration of the company’s 110th Anniversary. Over the course of an entire year, millions of fans across 11 countries and six continents are celebrating their shared passion for freedom, self-expression, epic adventure, and the stories that unite them.

s part of the year-long celebration, Harley-Davidson has enlisted individuals from all over the world to take a single black leather jacket – the ‘Freedom Jacket’ – on an adventure and to share their stories online. The Freedom Jacket will pass from rider to rider and visit dozens of iconic destinations in all corners of the globe, collecting their stories before coming home to Milwaukee for the final celebration, Aug. 29 – Sept. 1, and for display at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

“The Freedom Jacket represents one of the most elemental, yet powerful truths of what it means to be a Harley-Davidson rider,” said Harley-Davidson’s Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer. “A leather jacket is like a rider’s soul – every pin, scratch, scrape and patch is a visual marker of your journey and becomes part of your identity and the stories you tell.”

The Freedom Jacket was born last August when Richer wore a simple Harley leather jacket during an epic ride across the Tibetan Plateau in China to help kick-off the 110th Anniversary. At a stop along the ride, Richer asked a local Chinese man, who was working painting road markers, to paint something on the jacket to symbolize what he thought about Harley-Davidson. The man painted the Chinese character for “freedom.”

Since then, the Freedom Jacket has been worn by passionate enthusiasts who’ve traveled to destinations around the world, including the foothills of the Alps in Faaker See, Austria for European Bike Week; the highways of Mexico; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and even the starting line of the NHRA Pro Stock finals in Pomona, CA.  In the coming months, the Freedom Jacket will journey to destinations both on and off the beaten path, including official Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary events planned in India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Rome.

Fans can explore the inspiring videos, photos and stories of those who have worn the Freedom Jacket by visiting www.h-d.com/110jacket, the company’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/Harley-Davidson), Twitter handle (@harley-davidson) or via the hashtag #FreedomJacket.

Harley-Davidson is also inviting fans to share stories about their own journeys via the 110th Anniversary website.  On January 22, the company will launch a unique online app that allows fans to create a personalized version of the 110thAnniversary “110 Years of Freedom” graphic with photos of their own epic adventures which will be featured on Harley-Davidson’s Facebook page and other online channels.  The company is also allowing fans the opportunity to create their own 110th Anniversary pages within the site to share their experiences with the world.

“The 110th Anniversary is, first and foremost, a celebration of our fans, so it’s only natural that user-generated content would be at the forefront of our efforts,” added Richer.

Harley-Davidson is planning to reveal several other exciting details related to the 110th Anniversary in the coming weeks, including announcing headlining talent for the Rome and Milwaukee celebration events, as well as sharing upcoming Freedom Jacket adventures.  Tickets for the 110th Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee are currently on sale atwww.ticketmaster.com.

Apple Buys Lightning Trademark From Harley-Davidson

Back in September 2012, Apple debuted it’s new “Lightning” dock connector port for the iPad and iPhone.  The company said the new port would be used extensively in future devices.   All well and good, except, surprise surprise, Apple didn’t own the European trademark for the term “Lightning.”

Oops!  Well, not to worry, Apple is a pretty big company and has more money than God, so they can do whatever they want right?

Sure, except the company that owned the trademark term “Lightning” was the same company that has it’s logo tattooed on more bad-ass bodies than any other company.

Yep, that company.  Harley-Davidson.

Patently Apple is reporting that Apple recently purchased the European trademark, originally claimed by the infamous motorcycle company in 2005.

“The EU Patent & Trademark Office officially published two Apple trademark applications for ‘Lightning’ under numbers 011399821/862,” according to Patently Apple. The site also notes this negotiation seems to be a “partial transfer,” allowing Harley-Davidson to “use certain aspects of the trademark” after the transfer is complete.

Here’s how we fantasize the conversation unfolded.

Apple:  Hey Harley-Davidson, you guys own the Lightning trademark in Europe, we’d like to buy it.  How about we send you $250 and ten new iPads?  To sweeten the pot, we’ll throw in the 4G versions.

Harley-Davidson:  hmm….how bout you kick in some credits in the Itunes Store…?

Apple:  Why you greedy sons of b#$ches…!!

 

HARLEY-DAVIDSON ANNOUNCES ON-SALE DATE FOR MILWAUKEE 110TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION EVENT TICKETS

Milwaukee Event to Culminate Year-Long, Global Celebration

MILWAUKEE (Nov. 27, 2012) –  For the past three months, Harley-Davidson has been on the road sharing epic experiences with fans from all corners of the globe — from the Tibetan Plateau in China to Sturgis to Faaker See, Austria – to celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary: 110 Years of Freedom.  These events are just the beginning of a year-long, global celebration that will take place across 11 countries on six continents and culminate over Labor Day weekend in 2013, in Milwaukee, Wis. – home of Harley-Davidson.

Tickets for Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee next year will go on sale to the general public on Dec. 17, 2012, at www.H-D.com/110tickets. Members of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), the Motor Company’s official riding club, will have an opportunity to purchase tickets beginning Dec. 10, 2012.

The Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Celebration event in Milwaukee is Thursday, Aug. 29, through Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013. Events will include fan-organized rides to Milwaukee, a massive parade, three headlining concerts, parties at Milwaukee’s Henry Maier Festival Park (Summerfest Grounds) and activities at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Talent, as well as ticket details for the three headlining concerts that will be hosted at Marcus Amphitheater on the Summerfest Grounds, will be announced in early 2013.

For H.O.G. members, the event tickets include access to the global H.O.G. 30th Anniversary Celebration on Aug. 29 at the Summerfest Grounds, as well as access to members-only areas throughout the weekend’s events. Additional free public activities include parties at participating Harley-Davidson dealerships and street parties around the city.

Two ticket options for the Milwaukee 110th Anniversary Celebration are available:

Celebration Ticket – Print at Home ($95.00 USD; convenience fees not included) Available for purchases made within the continental U.S.; includes access to the Summerfest Grounds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, an opportunity to purchase tickets for the headlining concerts at Marcus Amphitheater before they go on sale to the general public in spring 2013, a link to download the official event app on a mobile device or smartphone, map of historic Harley-Davidson sites in Milwaukee, and automatic entry to win a parade pass.

Commemorative Celebration Ticket Package ($102.50 USD; convenience fees not included)Includes the above admission package plus a photo frame holder, commemorative laminated ticket and lanyard, Milwaukee 110th Anniversary pocket guide, limited edition poker chip, guitar pick keepsake and drink koozie with corresponding drink discounts.

Join the Celebration Online

Harley-Davidson fans are invited to join the celebration online where they can share videos, images and experiences on Facebook, Twitter with the hashtag #HD110, and at www.h-d.com/110.  To date, the Motor Company has shared four epic 110th Anniversary experiences via the site, as well as Harley-Davidson social pages, driving thousands of engagements from fans around the world.

The Web site, which will be updated in the coming months with new features and content, also includes details about all of the Motor Company’s 110th Anniversary events.