Is a Harley-Davidson Worth It? Helpful Pros and Cons list


There are a lot of great reasons to own a motorcycle, and you cannot talk about motorcycles without at least thinking about Harley-Davidson. Harley-Davidson motorcycles are some of the most iconic bikes on the road, and they are easy to identify, but are they worth buying?

Whether a Harley-Davidson is worth it for you will depend on your preferences. Many people say they are worth it because they are a nice mix of old-school and modern technology. Others say they are overpriced.

Join us as we explore this question a bit more and discover if a Harley-Davidson motorcycle would be worth it for you.

Harley-Davidson-parked-by-the-beach

What Is a Harley-Davidson?

Harley-Davidson is one of the most recognized names in the world of motorcycles. The company was founded in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is one of the oldest surviving manufacturers of motorcycles. The name, Harley-Davidson, comes from the original founders and creators—William Harley, and brothers Authur and Walter Davidson.

The first bike they ever built was a regular pedal bike with a small bike motor, and by 1906, the company moved into its very first factory. Over the years the company has grown and expanded, becoming one of the most recognized and sought-after types of the motorcycle on the market today.

But Are Harley-Davidsons Worth It?

There are two groups of people who have an answer to this question—one side that says Harleys are overpriced and not worth the money, and another side that consists of die-hard Harley fans. Both sides have reasons to justify their opinion, and we will look at both sides of the debate below.

Reasons to Buy a Harley-Davidson

  1. Rich American History: Harley-Davidson is one of two motorcycle manufacturers to have made it through the great depression. Additionally, they made bikes for both WWI and WWII, and they received two Army-Navy Awards for Excellence. Many diehard fans see the name Harley-Davidson to be synonymous with patriotism.
  2. They Last Forever: Another common argument among Harley fans is that they last forever, and if something breaks, finding parts is easy. Additionally, you can often send your motor in for repair, where the manufacturer will over-haul it to OEM specifications.
  3. There are Tons of Accessories: This might not be a reason to buy one in itself, but it sure helps. Harleys are highly customizable, meaning that anyone can build a bike to match their unique personality and needs.
  4. Large Community of Riders: Harleys have a large following and when you own one, you become part of the Harley family. Riders often plan special trips, meet up to socialize, and engage in several charities. There is always something happening in the Harley community.
  5. Good Cruising Bike: Harley’s are heavy. This is often a downside when it comes to speed, but it makes for a great cruising bike. Additionally, they are often made with added comforts that aid riders on long trips.
  6. Minimal Maintenance: Some bikes need a ton of maintenance (especially superbikes), but Harley owners will find their bikes need very minimal maintenance and the service fees are often inexpensive.
  7. There are Tons of Dealerships: You do not have to look to find a Harley-Davidson dealership. There are more than 700 dealerships in the United States alone, and another 700 are scattered throughout the world.
  8. The Sound: Although not everyone likes a loud bike, most people can respect the sound of a Harley. There is something special about the sharp explosion when the bike starts and the growl of the engine as you cruise down the road.

Reasons Not to Buy a Harley Davidson

  1. They Are Overpriced: It is certainly true that Harley-Davidson bikes cost more than the average bike. In fact, the average price is around $20,000, with many bikes starting over $15,000. It is possible to find them used for a bit cheaper, but since Harley fans often take good care of their bikes, they know what their ride is worth in the open market. However, in comparison to other competitors, the price difference is not always huge, with some comparable bikes costing only $1,000 more than their competitors.
  2. They are Junk: Many non-fans will say that the bikes are not only overpriced but that they are not as well-crafted as other bikes. However, this is likely more to do with personal preference than fact, as most Harleys are very well built, reliable, and durable.
  3. Specialized Knowledge: Another sticking point for many non-fans is that you must be well versed in a Harley-Davidson to repair them. This means that you will have to take your machine to a Harley-Davidson shop for repairs, which you will pay more for than you would if you made the repair yourself. However, there are many DIY videos on YouTube that walk users through various repairs.
  4. Reduced Durability: Some non-fans were once die-hard fans who were simply disappointed when they traded their durable older model bike in for a newer model bike only to find that the newer model bike was nowhere near as durable or reliable as the older model. 
  5. All In the Name: There are those who refuse to spend money on a Harley-Davidson, or any of their accessories, simply because they think they are paying for the name rather than for quality. They claim they would prefer to spend their money with a company that values quality instead of relying on their brand name. There might be a bit of truth to this claim, as the Harley-Davidson company has struggled in recent years due to bad decisions and a failure to keep up with modern trends.

Conclusion

So, is a Harley-Davidson worth it? It depends on your personal preference. If you want to buy a bike that has a rich American history, a large community of riders, and is built to be durable and reliable, you might not mind spending a bit more on a Harley-Davidson.

However, if you believe they are overpriced and that you are simply paying for the name, you might want to look for a cheaper alternative. At the end of the day, it all comes down to this—you are either a Harley lover, or you’re not.

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John Cunningham

John is a writer, classic car and whiskey lover, men's shopping enthusiast and self appointed DIY expert. His greatest passion is repairing in the workshop, making old classics look and run like new again!

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