Harley-Davidson: The Art of Custom

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Look, sound and feel. These are the defining traits of the Harley-Davidson brand as told by Willie G. Davidson. The look is characterized by simple designs that highlight the mechanics of the bike. The sound is the familiar loping idle of their V-Twin engines. And the feel is contained in the details such as finishes and riding characteristics that make a Harley feel substantial and sure-footed. More importantly, these traits are used as launching pads for owners to put their own spin on the bike. It is in this culture of customization that the bike becomes more than another mass-produced good, but a part of the owner’s life.

Customization has been ingrained in Harley owners since the very start. From small touches on the very earliest bikes – such as headlights – to fully customized examples seen today, a bike’s design process does not stop at the factory, but begins in the hands of the owner. This needing of expression from owners has driven Harley to offer more products that reflect their tastes and preferences. One way to do this is to offer bikes that display classic design cues from the past. Motorcycles such as the ‘72 and the Softail Slim do just that, reinventing them for a generation that wants to feel connected to a history that they were not a part of. “They want that feeling of something both mechanical and natural,” as Willie G. Davidson describes it. These products are machines that grow with you instead of being disposed of within a year or when the contract expires.

But offering more bikes is just the first step in a customer’s relationship with the brand. After the bike is bought, owners have access to an extensive list of parts and accessories (P&A) to customize their bike. A variety of finishes, parts and equipment are available. The part offerings include things from grips to exhausts and everything in between. Also, dealers have the ability to work with you on a personal level in order to get parts that fit the exact look you're going for. Of course, there are enough chrome items to fill the Bible, but there are also a variety of parts that you’d be surprised to find.

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