By James “Hollywood” Macecari
Everyone who’s ever got into the biker scene wanted to own a Harley-Davidson. Harley-Davidson was the standard for the best motorcycle you could own. Over the years I’ve owned over a dozen of them. Sadly, I bought into all the hype. Of all the Harley-Davidson motorcycles I’ve owned, my current one is the best. 2001 Fatboy with 18 inch Apes and styled the way I like it. The Fatboy will also be my last Harley-Davidson I ever owned. My back up bike is a 05 Suzuki Boulevard C90, one I believe is much better built than even my Fatboy. I’m more of a fan of the Suzuki and Triumphs. I just believe they are better bikes and most important, the companies care about those who support them.
Harley-Davidson has made billions off the outlaw image of the biker scene, while at the same time snubbing them every chance they get. They also made billions off the working man, ones that were buying their bikes when they were complete mechanical shit. Again, Harley-Davidson didn’t care, they just want that money. Fast forward a little bit, Harley-Davidson sales have been in the dumps for over six years now. They are overpriced non quality motorcycles which I believe cannot stand up to the competition. The only reason Harley-Davidson is relevant is because a blind loyalty to their company. People are still buying into the bullshit Idea that you have to have a Harley-Davidson to be a legit biker, something many on the street know is bullshit.
Harley-Davidson has benefited from free advertising for decades now. Especially when it comes to people actually tattooing their logo on their bodies, something I always thought was freaking stupid because no company deserves that. Anyways, you would think Harley-Davidson would appreciate this kind of loyalty and advertising, especially with their year after year sales slump. Do they? Nope, instead they threaten to sue those who wish to show their pride in the company. I want to bring up this article, one that solidified my feelings towards Harley-Davidson..
An online petition has quickly racked up more than 1,000 signatures in support of Miss Worcester Diner, which faces a cease-and-desist letter from Harley-Davidson for the iconic hand-painted logo atop the building’s side wall, the Milford Daily News reported.
“Harley-Davidson, while highly respected, is being incredibly short sighted in this matter recently sending Miss (Kim) Kniskern a ‘cease and desist’ letter with regard to removing the sign instead of seeing the true value and reverence of the sign that is actually in historical honor and reverence to the Harley-Davidson Co on this historical diner,” the petition, created by the Worcester Heritage Society, reads.
With the mural, hand-painted by local artist Tony Freitas, the business is showing love and support for the Harley-Davidson brand, the Heritage Society said.
“Please let the Miss Worcester diner keep this great, newly iconic and revered, sign for years, decades and GENERATIONS of Miss Worcester Harley Lovers to come! Thank you!” the petition reads.
By noon Thursday, the petition had reached more than 500 signatures and that number grew throughout the day.
Miss Worcester Diner owner Kim Kniskern said she received the cease-and-desist Thursday. According to the letter, someone emailed a picture to the company.
The diner owner said she was more upset at the person who took the photo and emailed it to the corporate office.
“I mean, who does that?” she said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon.
The sign has been there for at least three years, she said, and it’s an homage to the riding culture deeply ingrained in the Miss Worcester family.
“We all ride. There’s always bikes in front of the diner. We’re one big riding family,” she said.
In the letter, a corporate officer said that the Harley-Davidson brand on a public facing wall of the business may mislead people into believing the diner is affiliated with Harley-Davidson.
“While I do not believe that any wrongdoing was purposeful, if we were to allow this type of use to continue, we would risk losing the value of our trademarks,” the letter reads.
Kniskern hopes that the corporate office will come around to seeing the mural in a positive way. If not, though, she’s going down swinging.
“If they make me take it down, something even more sick is going to be up there, it’s going to look even more insane, and they’re going to be sorry they made me get rid of it,” she said.
In a conversation later in the afternoon Thursday outside the diner, neither Kniskern nor Freitas held back how they felt about the situation.
“I just think they’re being kind of petty,” said Freitas. “I can understand if I was printing stickers, making T-shirts and selling them. But this is a tribute to them. They love Harley. They’re Harley enthusiasts. They’ve spent millions of dollars on Harley, on their clothes, on their bikes,” he said. “Kniskern is in the Hundred Mile An Hour Club. There’s got to be a hundred of them and they all have 20,000 bikes and they all eat here. Because they love Harley so much. It’s a tribute.”
And as for the person who reported them to Harley corporate, Freitas said, “that’s the person we laugh at the most.”
In a defiant move, Kniskern threw a Harley-Davidson varsity jacket for a photo shoot with local media. She said that since the news broke earlier that day, she’s heard from hundreds of people, including copyright lawyers offering pro-bono work to help out.
As of late Thursday afternoon, the online petition had climbed from 500 to more than 1,000 signatures, and the story had gotten the attention of statewide media outlets, as well as a motorcycle trade magazine.
“I’m just overwhelmed with all the love and support everyone’s given,” she said.
What are these people thinking at the company headquarters? WTF is their problem?
What are these people thinking at the company headquarters? WTF is their problem? Here is a popular diner showing their pride in the company and Harley-Davidson threatens to sue them? This is the company most of you give your loyalty? I say you’re freaking insane. Loyalty is something that is earned, not given. Loyalty is also a two week streak, meaning if you’re loyal to something, they better damn well be loyal to you. Newsflash! Harley-Davidson doesn’t give a crap about you, they just want your damn money! Harley-Davidson is only loyal to their shareholders. Its long ago that they gave up giving a shit about the blue collar working man.
I believe everyone should be outraged about this article and the actions of Harley-Davidson. Think about it, is Harley-Davidson that petty where they have to go after a small diner? For those who say, “it’s Harley-Davidson brand and have a right to go after others for using it.” Here’s my argument, free advertising is a company’s dream. Harley-Davidson isn’t worried about the thousands walking around with their logo tattooed on people’s bodies. That argument doesn’t hold water for me.
You reap what you sow
Harley-Davidson got away from its core customer. That was their first mistake. The second mistake was their arrogance. Harley-Davidson is now reaping what they sow. Sales and brand loyalty from the younger generation has dropped off the cliff. Last quarter their sales were terrible compared to the year before. Indian (Polaris) had I believe a 20% gain over the year before. Indian Motorcycles is competitive thanks to the powerhouse that is Polaris. Harley-Davidson has met its match when it comes to Polaris. Not only does Polaris have the Indian Brand, it also has a line of 4×4 and snowmobiles. This means it has a diverse business model that doesn’t have to depend on just Indians brand.
Harley-Davidson is actually playing catch up. Since Harley-Davidson beginnings, their model selection was limited year after year. It has taken them the last three years to finally begin to offer an assortment of different choices, especially after their huge mistake getting rid of the Buell and Dyna. I think Harley-Davidson by not targeting the next generation of riders have shot themselves in the foot. When you talk to the 25-35 age demographic, they consider Harleys a bike that their grandpas ride. Ouch! That isn’t good at all for any company looking to secure their future.
I don’t believe Harley-Davidson has much of a future, unless of course they get an advantage of technology. Technology and the use of it might save the day for them, but I don’t see it happening. Look at what they did with the Livewire. Instead of a debut with a price that was inline with other electric motorcycle makers, Harley-Davidson stayed true to its greed and jacked the price where it was un-affordable. This mistake didn’t help their earnings at all. Again, they deserve everything they have coming to them.
I would hope that all the bikers who are reading this will think about the other brands when buying a motorcycle. There are plenty of motorcycle manufacturers who are not all about the green. There are companies who actually care about their core base, unlike Harley-Davidson.