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How Harley-Davidson Works

The Harley Product Line

Over the years there have been hundreds of Harley-Davidson models and variations, but if you are going to speak Harley-ese, there are certain model names in the current lineup that you need to be able to recognize. Here are the biggies:
  • The Sportster - Harley's entry-level bike. It is lighter and sportier than most Harleys, hence the name. The 2003 Sportster comes in seven different variations. It is 88 inches long, weighs about 500 pounds and prices start around $7,000 or so.

    the 2003 FLSTF Fat Boy
    Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson Motor Company
    This "Terminator-Worthy" 2003 FLSTF Fat Boy® is equipped with a rigid mount, 1450cc Twin Cam 88B™ balanced engine.

  • The Softail - A general-purpose bike. It is about 95 inches long and weighs about 650 pounds. Prices fall between $14,000 and $19,000. Recognizable names in this line are the "Deuce," the "Fat Boy" (made famous in the movie "Terminator 2"), and the "Springer Softail," so named because of the sprung front fork (rather than a hydraulic fork).

  • The VRSC - This is currently the only production Harley-Davidson motorcycle using the Revolution engine. It is 94 inches long and weighs about 600 pounds and is priced at about $19,000.

    the 2002 VRSC
    Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson Motor Company
    This 2002 VRSC is equipped with the new Revolution™ engine.

  • The Dyna Glide - This classic Harley chopper is 94 inches long and about 630 pounds, with prices ranging from $13,000 to $18,000.

  • The touring bikes - The touring bikes include the "Road King," the "Electra Glide" and the "Ultra Classic." These bikes are all 94 inches long and weigh between 700 and 800 pounds. These bikes all have saddlebags and other touring trim. Prices start at about $15,000 and head toward $22,000.

    The 2003 FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide
    Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson Motor Company
    This 2003 FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide® is equipped with a vibration-isolated, Twin Cam 88® engine.

The Harley-Davidson Web site has full descriptions, spec sheets, pricing and payment calculators, etc. to let you learn all about the different models.

Customizing and Aftermarket

Charitable Choppers!
The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has raised more than $50 million since 1980 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). As part of the company's 100th anniversary celebration in 2003, Harley-Davidson raised $7.3 million in that year alone.
Source: Harley-Davidson Web site
A strange thing has happened in the Harley marketplace.

Just like people enjoy customizing their cars, people enjoy customizing their Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The customizations can be simple, like putting on a different exhaust system, or they can be radical, like putting on chopper-style forks.

The supply of parts for customization is called the aftermarket. There are thousands of companies producing aftermarket Harley-Davidson parts.

Over time, the Harley aftermarket has grown. Harley-Davidson has helped this process by being slow to change. The aftermarket now produces every single part on a Harley motorcycle in multiple forms: engines, transmissions, frames, forks, brakes, wheels, gas tanks and so on can all be purchased in the aftermarket.

Harley 2003 FLHRSEI2 Screamin' Eagle Road King
Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Who needs aftermarket add-ons? You don't if you've got the 2003 FLHRSEI2 Screamin' Eagle Road King® parked in your garage!

What this means is that you can now go to suppliers, buy all the parts you need and assemble, completely from scratch, your own custom Harley-like machine using off-the-shelf parts. You buy an aftermarket frame, an aftermarket engine, an aftermarket transmission, and so on. Once you have it all together, you have a something that looks a lot like a "Harley," but it does not include a single Harley-Davidson part.

An aftermarket supplier like Cyborg Cycles is typical of the kind of company that can sell you all the parts. Cyborg caters to the build-your-own marketplace. You can also buy complete motorcycle kits including every part you need to assemble a Harley-like clone yourself. If you have never built a custom motorcycle before, a kit can take a lot of the guesswork out of the process and improve your chances of success.

You can literally do anything you want in the Harley aftermarket. You can spend anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 on a bike that has the exact features and "look" that you want.

To learn more about Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the Harley aftermarket, see the links on the next page.

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