Crash on the open road?


CONTEXT – This isn’t related to my blog at all, it’s a writing task intended for practice so I thought I’d post it. That is all.

If you’ve got way too much time on your hands or regularly tell yourself you’ll do your work after one more episode, chances are you’ve binge-watched Sons of Anarchy. Charlie Hunnam makes riding a Harley-Davidson look like the coolest thing it’s possible to do (whether that’s because of his flowing golden locks is up for debate). Well, unfortunately for our Charlie, it might not be an image he can cling onto for much longer.

The most recent financial report suggests that they’ve hit a considerable bump in the desert road, with the market share dropping 4% in the last quarter, leading to announcement that they’re going to have to cut jobs and reduce production rates.

Just like Charlie Hunnam’s locks, the reason for their struggle is up for debate.

What’s absolutely not up for debate is how cool the original Harley-Davidson image is. I imagine most people will, at some point, have been drawn in by the idea of riding a Harley into the sunset somewhere in Arizona. But, as with all things, originals get old. It isn’t moving with the times and almost exclusively appeals to old white men with beards and way too many tattoos. Different brands like Ducati are cashing in on the retro idea, while simply building better bikes.

The other idea is that for the amount they charge (around $40,000 for a bike), the option for personalization is massively lacking. Most classic bikes look very similar to the layman, but individuality among bikers is a big issue. Imagine a man dropping half his yearly income on trying to recapture his youth and pulling into a spot at Waitrose only to find Keith from the golf club parked in the next bay with the same model. What a waste.

The famous phrase, recently coined by Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, is “make hay while the sun is shining”. When they were at their strongest, Harley-Davidson even had waiting lists for a bike. Nowadays there is an issue of over production. The aura of exclusivity is slowly dying.


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