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Observations From Behind Bars

Going The Entire Hog

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I read, “Going the whole hog”, an article concerning Harley-Davidson that originated on an Indian business website. The author quoted the director of marketing for India as if he were an objective source and got  the same old “it’s a state of mind” smoke blown at him.

The author winds up his article with  speculation that despite the whopping 250 units sold, the Indian market is not quite ready for the full-sized Harleys and thinks it clear that H-D will introduce an “India specific” model with an engine smaller than 883cc that will certainly have unadulterated Harley genes”.

That made me wonder if Aermacchi is getting back into the motorcycle business.  I guess that’s not realistic, though, Aermacchi designs and produces trainer aircraft for military pilots; do the math.

Being as Harley’s Italian genes are no longer available, I’d guess the the “unadulterated genes” are what some other pitch men might think of as a campaign promise, a come-on, not really meant to be taken seriously.  After all, the sole purpose of the  Indian plant will be to assemble bikes whose parts are made in the good old U.S. of A. and other places, and H-D doesn’t manufacture an engine smaller than 883cc.

Where will the smaller and less expensive than the 883 motorcycle come from?

I guess the Lifan could re-badge their Honda 350 knock-off ; the engine style is similar to that of the Italian Harley 350, or maybe Roketa could sell their “Road Warrior” MC56 Chopper to replace the H-D M-50.

Who knows, the Chinese might even reproduce the original for them, after all, heritage is important to both The Motor Company and it’s customers .

“The difference with Harley is that while everyone has the machinery to sell, Harley-Davidson will go further and sell you a lifestyle as well“. Sanjay Tripathi, director-marketing, Harley-Davidson India, says: “We are not a motorcycle company. We are a culture on two wheels.

American motorcycle culture sells, that’s a fact. Fifteen years ago, I read a short article that highlighted the Japanese biker scene. 600cc was the largest motorcycle civilians could own so those bikers did some awesome customizing of the 600cc Honda Shadow VLX
( a really snazzy V-twin),  going so far, in one case, as  to marry  Harley-Davidson’s distinctive primary cover to the Shadow’s original.  If that wasn’t bizarre enough, their take on the American “biker lifestyle” fashion was, right down to their fringed white leather motorcycle jackets. They had “the look”, though, you know, the dead-pan,  ‘I am a ticking time-bomb’, look.

The Japanese (at that time, at least) had to cobble together a “lifestyle” for themselves; Indians, can zip right down to the dealership and buy one.  So, now I have this mental image of young Ragahnishi and his homies going the whole hog,  hanging out at a Sonic Drive-In somewhere in Mumbai,  leaning against their smaller and cheaper than an 883 Harleys with the towering apes and get-back whips.  They got the look,  they’re decked out in their vinyls (not leathers) but still wear their  printed black Tshirts that say, “Live to Ride, Ride to Live Many Incarnations”, or “Sons of Anarchy”.

It’s a state of mind.

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Written by fiddle mike

February 9, 2011 at 2:43 am

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