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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First Drive: 2012 Harley Night Rod

Shrines are places so hallowed, so respected, that entering into them sends a chill straight up your spine. They become this way by being attached to events that are legendary and seem almost impossible. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of these places. For over 100 years, people have challenged the laws of physics to extract even more speed out of the vehicles they raced in. To ride here is to ride along with the many legends that have come before. This weekend, I had a chance to ride in this cathedral of speed as a guest of Harley Davidson.

When one thinks of Harley Davidson, racing is not the first thing to come to mind. However, Harley has a proud past and present in various racing leagues across the country, including its own class in AMA racing for the XR1200. Harley is not just chrome and loud pipes, but a significant part of the racing culture in the U.S. For our trip on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they chose a bike that can trace its roots back to racing: the newest Harley V-Rod, the Harley Night Rod.

The original V-Rod is not a racer at first glance. It is by all respects a power cruiser. Back in 2001, it was meant to bring the attitude of Harley cruisers into the new millennium. To do this, they started with a brand new, water-cooled motor. And this is where the racing connection is made. The reason is that the motor of the V-Rod was not made specifically for the bike, it was meant for racing in a bespoke superbike. In fact, the motor was even developed with the help of Porsche. However, the racing bike was shelved, so Harley created the V-Rod instead, and as they say, the rest is history. 10 years later, Harley is celebrating the V-rod with two new versions: the Night Rod and the 10th Anniversary edition.

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2011 Harley-Davidson Ford F-150 first shots

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Bullz-Eye is driving and testing a 2011 Harley-Davidson F-150 and we noticed that this truck gets a lot of attention. There is no mistaking the 2011 Harley-Davidson F-150 with the black and orange custom paint job and Harley-Davidson decals visible from just about every angle of this truck. While we're working on the review check out this gallery of the 2011 Harley-Davidson F-150.

  

Harley Davidson to unveil the new XR1200X tonight


When you think of Harley-Davidson, you probably think of cruisers with custom pipes, black leather and biker bars. Harleys are the classic American bike, and tonight the company will unveil its latest, the XR1200X.

The Harley-Davidson XR1200X breaks from contemporary Harley design and embraces the company’s racing roots. The bike is all black, including a blacked-out powertrain and exhaust and black wheels, leaving nothing to polish after a hard day’s ride. The XR1200X is aggressive enough to attract Bubba Blackwell and Seth Enslow, two extreme riders that both pulled off full flips on an early edition of the new Harley.

The XR1200X is being unveiled tonight at 6:30 PM CT in Harley-Davidson’s hometown, Milwaukee. The bike will be available at dealerships later this summer for $11,799.

  

Support the troops and win a Harley

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Oshkosh Defense will be participating in a jam-packed month of events planned across the country as it continues its support of the Armed Forces Foundation’s Rumble with a Cause sweepstakes. The campaign has a goal of raising $150,000 for AFF while providing the opportunity to win one of two custom-painted motorcycles. The AFF provides a wide range of assistance and services to active and retired military members and their families, including counseling, living expenses, funeral arrangements, housing improvements, and career counseling.

One recipient of the organization’s services is retired U.S. Army Captain Mark Little, who lost both of his legs below the knees following an improvised explosive device attack in Iraq in 2007. While recovering in the U.S., Little and other wounded veterans were taken on a getaway vacation to Las Vegas as part of the AFF’s Morale, Welfare & Recreation Program. The program provides moral support and diversionary programs for service members and their families to help cope with the stress of deployment and injury or loss of a loved one.

With the support of Oshkosh, the AFF launched the Rumble with a Cause sweepstakes in October 2009. AFF employees will be on site at a number of events across the country to collect donations and sweepstakes entries. The sweepstakes, which closes on April 15, will have two winners, each receiving a one-of-a-kind Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, donated to the AFF by Oshkosh Defense. Those not able to attend the events may enter online at the official site. It’s only a $10 donation per entry, and even if you don’t end up walking away with a Harley, you’ll still walk away a winner.

  

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