15 Weird Things Only Harley Riders Do (2023)

Harley Davidson Motorcycle riders are a unique lot. They have their own culture, language, and habits. They dress differently than most riders, as well as stand out in a crowd. Many of them area throwback to another time.

Their bikes are more likely to be modified in a manner that someone else would wince at, but they love it and feel special about it. There are entire magazines dedicated to Harley Culture by itself, as well as multiple riding clubs and classes of racing dedicated to Harley-Davidson.

Most people involved with Harleys as a business, usually don't bother with other brands. It's a big thing for their riders and owners.



15 Wearing A Pudding Bowl Helmet Or Even No Helmet, Sometimes With Do-Rags

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Harley Riders usually will buy the smallest and oftentimes least protective helmet they can get their hands on.Many do it as a form of protest.Some of those helmets aren't even certified legal by the testing certification agency within the countries they are sold in.

It's odd that their riders will wear all kinds of bandanas and coverings to protect themselves from the wind, cold, rain and sun along with those tiny helmets rather than wearing a full-face helmet with a flip-up visor which would protect them and would feel much more comfortable especially with a neck roll.

14 Installing An Obnoxiously Loud Exhaust

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Many Harley Riders will ruin their riding experience by removing their stock exhaust system and installing an aftermarket exhaust that has little or no muffling, which also requires remapping the fuel injection system or re-jetting the carburetor to return to functional operation to prevent the bike from running lean.

There is a small increase in performance, but it's laughingly low. Usually, the boost in power output is from around 58HP to around 61HP, and often times it is so small as to be negligible.

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13 Installing Ape Hanger Handle Bars

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Not only do these bars require extensive modification to the hydraulic lines and cabling for the controls, which is expensive, but these bars are unsafe and ugly to look at. Even the people who insist on doing this have no idea as to who the first person to do it was, or whyhe or shethought it was a good idea.

Anything taller than the half (as tall) ape hangers are so awkward to ride as to make the bike a challenge to operate and severely diminish the safety and comfort of the bike.

12 Build A Bike Without A Rear Suspension And Little-To-No Front Dampening

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Over half of the custom Harley (styled or replica bikes) have a rigid frame without a swing arm, and may also use a primitive springer or girder front fork that severely limits the comfort and safety of the bike on anything but smooth pavement.

Most builders claim it is to smooth out the looks or harken back to an era where bikes didn't have dampening. Really that is a denial of truth because except for the era in the teens and '20s, almost all motorcycles had suspensions that functioned better than that because driving above speeds of a bicyclist required it.

11 Build A Chopper

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Many choppers not only have severely modified frames with extreme rise with exaggerated tank angles, but most have an unusually long front fork assembly mounted at an extreme rake and trail which limits the ability of the bike to turn and maneuver in tight areas.

The question is why? Why install a fork assembly that will wobble and flex more? Why limit your ability to steer and build a bike that has a tendency to flop over when turning? It's an odd style that is about building something that is extreme in proportions and execution.

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10 Install Forward Controls

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Haven't we all seen that rider who has mounted footrests and controls so far forward that he now looks as if he is sitting on a birthing table? Every rider who has done this will claim it makes the bike more comfortable, but the question is how?

Yes, it allows the rider to stretch his or her legs a bit, but it forces him/her to put an abnormal load on their lower spine above the buttocks. It also looks really weird. If you were to do this on a rigid-framed motorcycle, you've really built a bike that can't be used comfortably.

9 Wear Ugly Torn Denim Sleeveless Denim Jackets

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Ok, everyone who has ever seen this wonders why a riding club or biker gang would want to hang their patch on the back of something that looks like a shop rag between two fat sunburned arms. Style is in the eye of the beholder, and we agree with that concept.

However, we question as to why someone wouldn't want to best represent their organization in a positive light. Even if you are anti-social, you are in a club, there for you have become part of a social order. So why not look good doing that?

8 Always Deny They Made A Mistake Modifying A Motorcycle That Has A Diminished Function

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Denial is not a giant river in Egypt; ever hear that phrase? It holds true in this case. Why make a bike awkward or uncomfortable to use? It just doesn't make sense. Common sensesaysyou would want a vehicle that is comfortable, efficient, and robust.

Yet some riders will make their modifications or custom build a challenge to actually ride the bike. Why do that? Whom are they trying to impress? Certainly, the motor company itself never did that.

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7 Keep At least One Tow Company Franchise On Prepaid Or Retainer Status

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Motorcycles are always less reliable than a car or truck. That is mainly due to the fact that cars and trucks are tested thousands of hours in various reliability tests before they go into production. Motorcycles are tested several hundred hours, because that is all the manufacturers can afford because, whereas cars and trucks can be sold in hundreds of thousands during a model run, motorcycles are sold in a fraction of that.

Harley-Davidsons have always been at the lower portion of the reliability scale, it's just a sad fact of their design. Their products have improved their fit and finish, but their reliability hasn't improved significantly in the last 40 years. There are at least two franchises that cater to Harley Owners as a group.

6 Competition In Harley Only Racing Classes

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Harley Davidson has always limited the scope of its motorsports competition. They do not like to compete in racing against other makes. The design of Harley Davidson as a make of cruisers and road-couches prevents a performance-oriented riding style.

Even a full-race competition Harley is still roughly equal to a full-race lawnmower! Yes, both things exist, and there is a reason the term "fast for a Harley exists." There is even an organization called "All Harley Drag-Racing Association." It has in its name, the actual scope of what it is about.

5 Build A Modern Motorcycle With A Kickstarter

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The motor company phased out the Kickstarter at the end of the 1970s. Even then it was an ancillary method on all but the Aramachi built line subcontracted under the brand. Today, however, there are many manufacturers of Harley Davidson clone transmissions that include bicycle pedal and open spring style auxiliary starters.

It's an unusual feature for a motorcycle above 350cc to have a Kickstarter, but many builders love the looks of one. It's an unusual trait of the builder that doesn't exist among other riders/builders.

4 Build A Retro-Chopper With A Giant Sissy Bar

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This trend started in the late '60s and mostly ended in the early '80s, but many retro-choppers still do this. Usually, the seat is a long skinny pillion that expects the female passenger to lean way back on the sissy bar for support because the seat has a rearward slope built into it.

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Again, this is a strange trend in an odd style which forces the rider to contour to the bike, instead of the bike be formed to fit the riders. We don't understand why someone would want to do this.

3 Install An Aftermarket Open Primary Belt Drive

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Many owners eliminate the factory enclosed primary chain system and install a primary belt drive open to the elements with little to no guard to protect the rider's pant leg from getting caught in the mechanism. There is no practical advantage in doing this.

The belts are normally used in commercial drive systems for electric motor operation or in limited applications for automotive supercharging. Most cogged-tooth belt drives are called "Gilmer Drivers" and are up to 3" wide thus limiting ground clearance as well. The rpm range of the factory chains do not develop speeds or harmonics that make belt-drives a better option.

2 Build A Cycle With An Omitted Front Brake

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This is another style over function mistake! Remember, weight shifts forward during braking which is why all modern vehicles make the front braking assembly the largest of the front and rear axle assembly.

Why would you want to eliminate the brake that does 60-70% of all the braking? That severely limits your vehicle's effectiveness on less than ideal stopping conditions. If you eliminate a separate braking system, then if you have a failure in the one system you have, you have no ability to stop.

1 Omit The Turn Signals And Move The License Plate To The Lower Right Or Left

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Why would you want to lower the visibility of your bike to the car or truck around you that could harm you if there is an unplanned interaction between both vehicles? Nobody wants to get injured in an accident, why increase the chances of that?

Doesn't it make sense to leave the turn signals and license plate where they have the highest visibility? Neither the signals or license plate is large enough to diminish style.

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