Is Harley Davidson Really Dead?
We Rode A Few Harleys Through Florida to Find Out
Is Harley Davidson really dead? This debate has been the topic of massive buzz and controversy in the motorcycle scene, and as a New York production company, we found the sentiment oddly familiar — what New Yorker hasn’t rolled their eyes at the notion that “New York is dead?” On both counts, we decided to leave the city for a long weekend and see for ourselves.
After all, living in NYC does present a few unique challenges for motorcyclists — space is expensive, and most of us can’t afford to pay upwards of $250 for parking in a community garage that might be miles from where you live. For motorcyclists, proximity and accessibility are part of the appeal — we want our bikes close by. We also want them to stay our bikes; motorcycle theft is a huge problem in New York, with bikes getting stolen on a daily basis. There are even Instagram accounts like @stolenmotoryclesinnyc reporting daily on new stolen bikes! We love New York, but these logistical issues can sometimes interfere with the pure unfiltered joy of riding. Sometimes, you want the freedom to just jump on and go without having to trek to your storage garage, uncover the bike, or remove multiple locks.
So how are riders responding? More and more, we’re seeing people buy older, less flashy bikes that won’t catch the eye of roaming thieves. Unfortunately, johnnypuetz founder JP wasn’t one of these people — after his Ducati got stolen for a second time, he found himself in need of a new bike and a weekend away. On Memorial Day Weekend, the team decided to rent a few Harleys (thanks to Twisted Road) and take them on a trip.
Think of this fantastic company as the Airbnb of motorcycles. No matter where you are, you can list your bike, rent out a bike, and even filter by your preferred style. They offer resolution support, liability insurance, and damage and theft coverage to keep things simple and trustworthy for people who list and people who rent. In our experience, Twisted Road made the whole process surprisingly easy — we just chose our motorcycles, booked our days, and hit the road! We flew to Miami, picked up our bikes, and off we went.
On the road, we had plenty of time to ponder whether Harley Davidson is “dead.” The bike ran nicely and was very comfortable on the straights, although it was difficult to move at low speed and maneuver around parking spots. Perhaps the most charming part of the Harley experience was the friendly waves we got from other HD riders! On our first day, we rode halfway to Key West and stopped for a little R&R on the beach.
On day two, we began to feel more at home on our bikes. Cruise control was a big plus on the straight shot down to Key West, and it felt great to be able to rest our wrists. We all agreed that the Sportsters are the best-looking bikes, although JP found them a bit on the small side. By the time we hit Key West, we’d come to the conclusion that Harley Davidson was decidedly very much alive — in fact, we actually fell a little bit in love with the bikes. It was bittersweet returning them to their owners, and JP is even considering buying a Harley Davidson as his next bike!
As for New York? We’re convinced it will never die. It may be nice to spend a few days on the open road, but we’ll always feel at home in the tight streets and bright lights of New York City. Florida offered us some much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, but if Twisted Roads taught us anything, it’s that a quick getaway is never too far out of reach.
- pictures by JP Kathoefer