Okay, I begin this diatribe with a disclaimer. I am not the motorcycle enthusiast that the new Harley Davidson Project RUSHMORE Touring bikes are aimed at.
That out of the way, I can enter into the compliment sandwich that nearly every management training seminar preaches. The best part of this press release is that the power trains of the brand new Touring line have been reworked. They feature a new Twin Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103, or the High Output Twin Cam 103 powertrains. For you, the rider, this means better passing power, and better stopping power with the Linked Brakes and ABS. Add to that, the new Daymaker LED and Dual Halogen lighting, for better visibility, you have the cocktail for better rider confidence while at the handle bars. I like all of these things. More power, for because, better stopping to reign in all that power, and why not better lighting? It all makes absolute sense. Harley Davidson has always been about being muscle bikes. Sportys with 1200cc motors... 103 cubic inch motors in the lead sleds. I get it. Hell, I even like it. Do we really need all that power, no, but why not?
Project Rushmore is billed as the people's Harley Davidson as they are touting that they "listened to the riders out in the real world" to design the new line. To paraphrase, "We are giving the end users what they are asking for." End users being the guys who are buying what bikes? Last year's bike? How about the owners that have been swinging a leg over the same 'ol metal for 15 years? I guess those guys aren't the Harley riders that they are looking to sell bikes to. I don't know about you guys, but I for one cannot afford to go get this year's model and trade the one that I am still making payments on. I intend on making sweet love to my girl for a whole lot of years.
This brings me to where this whole thing falls apart. It can be summed up in a singular, glaring, slap in the face to motorcycling world... "Infotainment." What the hell is any form of "infotainment" system doing on a motorcycle? I get the radio, or iPod connectivity for some speakers on those long rides. So often, oh so often a guy on a Harley with his stereo system cranked to full effing blast, so that I, and everyone else in the whole parking lot can hear that he is listening to Molly Hatchet's "Flirtin' with Disaster." We get it. You are here. I like to listen to music when I drive, absolutely, and when I was younger, I put the big systems in my cars so that every one in the parking lot knew that I was listening to "Gin and Juice." I do not, however think that it has a place on two wheels.
GPS should be triangulated at the rest stop where the group can decide what route we are taking. I thought that was the fun part. Figuring out who, what, when, and where with everyone around cold water bottles while you stretch your legs. If you don't know the area, then you take your time, make a few mistakes, turn around, and get there when you get there. When did motorcycle touring get the point where the Point B pin was the point? I thought it was the blue line in between A and B. Again, I may just be misguided, and miss the point.
I like the integration of the Bluetooth for your helmet com systems. It is nice to talk to those in the group, and the person pressed against your body. This makes sense. But again, a misguided link in the chain is the "text to speech" technology on a motorcycle. I don't get it. We, as a whole country, are trying to get cagers to put the phones down and stop texting. Is constant text communication necessary on a motorcycle ride?!? Really? And in the Promotional video to follow, the screen pops up with "Incoming Call BOSS" and the rider so rebelliously clicks "Ignore." Come on! Phone calls, and text messages can wait for me to not be cruising down the road at highway speeds, in the dark without a seatbelt, or a roll cage. I don't text while driving, so why on EARTH would I do it while riding a motorcycle. The thing that I do to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. You know "Freedom Machine."
And now for the other slice of tasty bread in the compliment sandwich. The new fairing that actually got developed in a wind tunnel and reduces head buffeting by 20%. The ergonomics have been reworked to allow for a few more miles in the saddle, and wider, deeper seats so you can not feel guilty about ordering the chicken fry at dinner. They make the bags more convenient to get in and out of, and the wheels are lighter. I like all of this. Absolutely. By in large, I like what the new touring bikes bring to the table, less the "infotainment." I get enough infotainment in my car, at my desk, and on my couch. I don't need it while I am riding to air out my head. I prefer to keep my eyes on the road, listen to the wind, and watch the miles click by.
I just may be in the wrong consumer group for these bikes. Chime in if you disagree, or agree. I have my flame suit on, so fire away. HA!
Originally Posted by Harley Davidson Press Release