Unhappy Reader

Well, it seems my posts about the Rocket aren’t making some people happy. I got the following email from a reader.

HD knows their target market and guys like you and I are the bullseye.

Its not about riding a perfectly built bike, it never has been.

Its about riding something special that few people ever get to own. Riding a legend.

A Triumph has no cachet, no status. And for an extra 1400.00, I’d get the Harley.

Hmmm. Well, if we’re talking about bikes that few people get to own, I’d think the Triumph fits the bill a lot better than the Harley. I see a lot of Harley’s driving around. Triumphs…not so much. Indeed, I think there are less than 20 people in all of San Diego who own a Rocket.

But putting that aside, I’m not someone who’s really all that into riding something for the status. I don’t like the Japanese bikes because I think I’d look less cool riding one, I just don’t like the styling. Don’t like the sporty look of the BMW either, although they make great bikes. And I think the Victory bikes are…too much…over the top. Especially the Vision. it looks like an escape pod from the Starship Enterprise.

I want the bike to be reliable, which from all indications, the Triumph are, now. And I want to like the way the bike looks, which makes thr art-deco styling of the Rocket attractive to me. Whether anyone else approves of my choice is a matter of complete indifference to me.

Apparently, that answer didn’t satisfy the reader, though, who responded:

If you are not concerned about anyone’s opinion, why do you have a blog about your bike ? Why do you solicit other people’s thoughts and opinions?

I have a blog about my bike because I like to write, and past experience indicates that people enjoy my writing. I don’t actually solicit opinions, although I certainly allow their expression. But even if I did solicit opinions, I’m not sure what your point would be. The fact that I may be interested in other opinions doesn’t imply that I seek the approval of the commenters.

When you own a HD big twin, you are just perceived differently, that’s all. I was teased like crazy when I had my sporty, and I hated it. And I grew to dislike the bike. I made the same mistake you did, and bought too small a bike to start.

There’s nothing like a Harley. Anything else just isn’t one. You won’t be happy with a Triumph bud.

Hmmm. Two things.

First, this assumes I care how I’m perceived by others. Look, I’m 44 years old. It’s a little late to be concerned about peer pressure. If you’re my age, and you’re still concerned about how all the other kids in the playground respond to your choices, or you are one of the other kids in the playground making fun of somebody else’s ride choice, then you just need to grow up.

I’m not thinking about replacing the Sporty because I dislike it, or because the other kids think it’s stupid. I’m doing it because it just isn’t as well suited to the things I do with it regularly as other bikes would be. If I could keep it, and get another bike, I would. But, I can’t afford two bikes, so I gotta go with a bike that does more, if I can get it.

Second, If I’d bought a Road King to begin with, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. I’d be pickled tink with it. But that’s not what I did, and now that I’m thinking about a switch, the RK just isn’t my first choice anymore, now that I know about other options.

I’m really drawn to the Rocket. It has the power to ride two-up effortlessly, it has much more power than any Harley–or any other cruiser, for that matter–and it’s signifigantly cheaper than the RK, especially the particular Rocket I’m looking at.

I think I’ll be very happy with it. But, if I’m wrong, you can tell me “I told you so,” to your heart’s content.

Author: Dale Franks

Dale Franks is the former host of The Business Day, ”a daily, four-hour business and financial news program on KMNY Radio in Los Angeles. From 2002-2004, he was a contributor on military and international affairs for TechCentralStation.com. Currently, he a publisher and editor of the monthly political journal The New Libertarian, as well as an editor of the popular web log, Q and O. Dale served as a military police officer in the United States Air Force from 1984 to 1993, in variety of assignments both in the United States and Europe, where he also was assigned to the staff of the Headquarters of Allied Forces Central Europe. In addition to broadcasting, writing, and speaking on various topics, Dale has also been a long-time technical training instructor on a variety of computer software and technology subjects. Dale has also long been involved with information technology as an accomplished web designer, programmer, and technologist, serving as the corporate knowledge specialist for Microsoft Outlook at SAIC, the nation's largest employee-owned corporation. Additionally, he is the author of a number of software user guides used for classroom training by one of Southern California’'s premier computer training and consulting firms. His book, SLACKERNOMICS: Basic Economics for People Who Find Economics Boring, is available from Barnes & Noble.

2 thoughts on “Unhappy Reader”

  1. The attitude you got from this/these persons is part of the reason why Harley is able to compete against the other brands. Blind loyalty.

    I hope you do get the bike you’re wanting, that’s what riding is about, enjoying the moment.

  2. I agree with Steve, though at almost 4 months later I wonder if you’ll even read this!

    I personally would never own any other bike than a Harley, and I have my reasons. I’m 42 and I could not agree more with you about not giving a rat’s ass about what other people think at this stage of the game. Even though the Bar and Shield will always be my choice, I would NEVER, ever diss anyone else’s ride, simply because I wouldn’t choose it myself.

    My loyalty is not blind however. If HD should ever regress to the low standard of quality it had in the ‘puddle of oil under the bike’ AMF days, I wouldn’t buy another one. I love Harleys because I like how they look and how they ride. More importantly, the benefit of being a member of HOG only comes with owning an HD motorcycle. Why is that a big deal? Well, it’s like that old biker’s saying, “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.”

    Ride Safe.

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