Harley Davidson Motorcycles

Are Harley Davidson Motorcycles Overrated and Overpriced?

Are Harley Davidson Motorcycles Overrated and Overpriced?

There is a common question going around almost every motorcycling-related social platform and forum which says:

“Are Harley Davidson Motorcycles Overrated and Overpriced?”

In the motorcycling world, particularly in the U.S. market from where the Harley Davidson originates, almost every channel and platform that includes the motorcycling community is flooded with arguments on this matter. To answer the question, one must tackle this without being biased. Numerous aspects must be discussed before you reach an answer.

Harley Davidson motorcycles are undoubtedly one of the most luxurious and premium motorcycles on the market today and have a rich history of producing V-Twin cruisers and touring bikes. Harley motorcycles have their inimitable aura and exclusivity in their design and performance. Due to their impeccable vintage styling, perfectly blended tech features, and top-end long-hauling performance, they are referred to as the best modern classics. Continue reading this article to learn whether Harley-Davidson motorcycles are overrated and overpriced or not.

1. Harley Davidson as a Brand

1.1 Rich History

Harley Davidson is undoubtedly the most popular U.S. motorcycle brand and it has taken more than a century of never-ending efforts, massive investments, dedication, research, development, and successful application of business and marketing strategies to make it reach the point where it is today.

1.2 Harley Davidson Vs All

During this time, dozens of motorcycle manufacturers attempted to exactly imitate Harley motorcycles to grab public attention and get hold of a certain portion of the U.S. motorcycle market. These brands didn’t get approved by motorcyclists and therefore, had to shut down after a very brief period except the Indian Motorcycle which after joining hands with Polaris Inc. showed great resilience and competition.

There were several objections raised against Harley Davidson, regarding their reliability, construction, price, and performance; however, every other brand wanted to be like Harley to attract motorcycle buyers in the U.S.

1.3 Going through Ups and Downs

Even after experiencing several ups and downs, Harley Davidson is still at the top of the U.S. motorcycling scene with sales that are considerably higher than others. Harley motorbikes are still the most desirable as the brand has shaped the motorcycling interest of its people. It has always stayed in the same niche and provided riders with exactly what they required.

1.4 Becoming a Household Brand

As the demographics suggest, the most trending activity of most U.S. riders is motorcycle touring and long-haul adventures, and this is the category where Harley Davidson mostly operates. Whether it is cruisers, touring bikes, or baggers, Harley Davidson is ruling the market with motorcycles like the Street Glide, Road Glide, Road King, Softail Deluxe, Sportsters, Fat Boy, Breakout, and many more. Every specific model in the Harley lineup has become a separate brand and identity, making Harley Davidson a household product for many in the U.S.

2. Are Harley Davidson Motorcycles Overpriced?

Harley Davidson motorcycles are expensive and it is not something new to a motorcyclist. The price of a Harley Davidson motorcycle will make you think several times before buying it. Most riders will eventually give up as soon as they visit the Harley Davidson website to find out the prices of new Harley models. There are monthly installment plans as well for so many riders out there in the market who cannot afford to pay it all at once.

Calling Harley Davidson motorcycles overpriced and overrated just because you hate this brand or you do not own one is unjustified. It is true that a majority of motorcyclists start bashing Harley bikes and refer to them as overpriced and overrated motorcycles because they cannot afford one. Also, if they are given a chance to ride a Harley Davidson bike, they would happily avail this opportunity.

Are Harley Davidson Motorcycles Overpriced?
Photo Credit: Your Fates

2.1 Compared to the Japanese Big Four

Since the inception of the Japanese Big Four which includes Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki on the face of this planet, the global motorcycle market dynamics have been revolutionized. Till today, Japanese manufacturers have made sure that everybody gets a motorcycle whether it is for regular transport or recreational activities. Reliability, longevity, and affordability have become synonymous with Japanese motorcycles.

The impact of the successful invasion of Japanese Big Four motorcycle producers around the world has led several motorcycle brands to rethink their production, branding, and marketing strategies. Harley Davidson is no exception when it comes to the list of those affected by the Universal Japanese Motorcycles (UJM) revolution.

Harley Davidson doesn’t even get closer to these Japanese motorcycle producers when it comes to reliability and longevity. On top of it, Harley motorcycles are way overpriced compared to the motorcycles manufactured by the Japanese Big Four.

3. Why Are Harleys So Overpriced?

3.1 More Metal

The most notable reason why Harley Davidson motorcycles are overpriced is because these bikes use the most metal in their construction which is why they are comparatively heavier than other motorcycles. Most motorcycle companies, other than Harley, keep the price range low by using non-metal parts like ABS plastic to build most motorcycle parts. Though the pure metal construction of Harley bikes makes the bike heavy and difficult to operate by beginners, it creates a good impression on riders.

3.2 To Cash the Brand Name and Image

Harley Davidson has created a massive brand name for itself with an enormously rich history. A part of the MSRP assigned to a particular Harley motorcycle is definitely because of the Harley Davidson signature it carries. The H-D emblems, logos, and stickers on Harley motorcycles are worth hundreds and thousands of dollars.

3.3 Huge Stakes in the Market

Harley-Davidson motorcycles are the most common motorcycles seen on U.S. roads. They have to produce a large number of production units to keep up with the demand. Other than that, they are involved in multiple other businesses related to motorcycling, including original H-D parts manufacturing, customization, and research & development. Also, they continue to experiment with certain business models, services, and product ranges which require huge investments. As a result, they have to keep Harley motorcycle prices high to make sure they cover these expenses without getting defunct.

3.4 Stepping into the Electric Motorcycle Industry

Harley Davidson has long been working on the electric energy to be used in powering motorcycles and successfully inaugurated LiveWire, its electric motorcycle platform, in 2021. Later, the company was spun off as Harley Davidson decided to stay dedicated and focused on its original brand and petrol-engine products.

The efforts, research, development, and experimentation in the emerging electric vehicles niche made the company invest a major sum of its funds in this department. Being an underdeveloped and fresh market segment, Harley LiveWire has turned out to be a non-profitable organization so far as the expenses, including the operational costs, are greater than the sales and revenue. This tells us precisely why Harley motorcycles are overpriced.

4. Are Harley Davidson Motorcycles Overrated?

For most riders, Harley Davidson motorcycles are overrated and it is true for several good reasons.

4.1 Common Flaws Became Norms

Apart from their tremendous torque-producing abilities, top-end engine power delivery, gigantic Milwaukee-Eight power plants, authentic metal parts, and desirable looks, Harley Davidson motorcycles have a range of flaws that must be taken care of. Certain H-D motorcycle problems were dealt with and rectified by the company from time to time. However, there were other issues left unattended by the dealership and manufacturer for the owners so they could deal with issues by themselves.

For example, one of the most common problems with Harley-Davidson motorcycles is oil leakage. However, Harley fans seem to see this issue from a different perspective. You must have heard the good old saying:

Common Flaws Became Norms
Photo Credit: Badass Helmets

4.2 Nothing Out of the Box

There are several Harley Davidson motorcycles that do not offer anything exceptional in terms of reliability and performance, yet the price tag doesn’t seem to justify what owners get.

4.3 New and Young Riders Losing Interest in H-D Motorcycles

Harley Davidson has long been used and owned by riders who found no other motorcycle brands to go with at the time they got into motorcycling. They fell in love with the Harley Davidson motorcycle as it became their very own national U.S. motorcycle brand.

However, in the current generation, the love for the Harley Davidson seems to be fading as they expect something more practical, affordable, reliable, sporty, technically advanced, and easy to ride. Considering that riders from the young generation find these qualities missing on Harley Davidson motorcycles, they are valid to consider these bikes as overrated.

4.4 Refused to Transform with Time

Harley Davidson motorcycles were once considered the most plush bikes and pioneers in the market. They laid out the foundation of motorcycling and made trends with their bold designs and superior characteristics. However, as the brand got older, it continued to stick to its roots and stood firm on its stance to not undergo any substantial change in its production and branding strategies.

4.5 Lack of Value Addition

As modern businesses have transformed how they work and the processes have revolutionized, the success factors have also changed. Consumers are looking for added value in products. Users want to know what exceptional and different a brand offers that solves a particular problem. This is where Harley Davidson needs to improve. However, one thing that is still standing firmly to secure and protect Harley Davidson’s interest and market value is its established brand name.

5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

5.1 Are Harleys Holding Their Value?

Regardless of being overrated and overpriced, one thing that goes in support of Harley Davidson motorcycles is its exceptional holding value. H-D motorcycles hold their value perfectly, considering the bike is maintained well and kept properly. You will not experience a loss if you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle, use it for years, and then decide to sell it. You can get an attractive offer if you want to sell your Harley motorbike. Only a Harley Davidson motorcycle fan will understand this:

“An old and classic Harley Davidson motorcycle becomes more prestigious and valuable than a new one.”

5.2 Is Harley-Davidson in Decline?

Though everything seems so hustling from the outside, Harley Davidson is currently in its lowest phase. The sales have dropped considerably and the company is finding it hard to tackle the challenges. The reason why it still looks smooth and like a perfect picture is because the overall sales are still high regardless of the drop in contrast to other brands. This means that Harley Davidson is still doing better than other brands in the U.S. but is not living up to its expectations.

Along with almost every other brand in the world during COVID-19, Harley Davidson suffered a great loss in 2019 and 2020. 2021 gave a bit of hope to the brand with just a slight incline in the sales figures but it dropped again in 2022. From then on, sales have been continuously declining and Harley Davidson is anticipating more loss in 2024.

6. The Bottom Line

Overall, Harley Davidson makes good motorcycles. Whether they are overpriced and overrated, depends solely on your preferences and is subjective. If you are satisfied with what you are getting and if you can afford it, Harley motorbikes are a brilliant ride partner. However, a considerable amount of the money you pay while purchasing a Harley Davidson motorcycle is for the brand name.

You may not be able to find more comfortable cruisers and touring bikes than Harley Davidson. Whether a Harley Davidson motorcycle offers good value for the money, is objectionable. If you are looking for a motorcycle in the market and you find the closest competition in the same price range, a Harley bike will not be overpriced and overrated for you. One thing that you can be sure about Harley Davidson motorcycles is that you can always sell them at a good price thanks to their exceptional holding value.

7. Modification Options at Viking Bags

Another great feature of Harley Davidson motorcycles which makes them more loveable and flexible is their ability to be customized. You can transform your Harley into a more capable machine and align its looks according to your taste. Viking Bags is your perfect partner if you own a Harley Davidson as we offer an array of luggage bag options for almost every Harley model.

Starting with the most in-demand item, Viking Bags made superior-quality, neatly-stitched saddlebags for Sportster, Dyna, Street, Softail, and Touring lineups. To further modify your Harley Davidson for an improved look and better riding stance, you can also find tailor-made sissy bars, backrests, crash bars, fairings, handlebars, and seats on Viking Bags’ online store.

Related Readings

Reading next

What Makes Harley Davidson Motorcycles So Popular
10 Overrated Motorcycle Features

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.