Originally Posted by def
Go hang out at a H-D watering hole sometime...(they call them Ice Houses in Texas)...listen to the banter, watch the babes (especially the ones with all their teeth), notice how the guys talk, observe the tatoos and look at the bikes and riders as they roll into the parking lot. Next, watch quietly as they order beer after beer...get the picture yet?
H-Ds are a means to an end...they carry you from one bar to the next, have lots of real estate on which to hang lots of chrome junk, are fitted with painfully loud pipes (H-D riders love to announce their arrivals with menacing throttle blips and departures with low gear, high RPM assaults on the rev limiter if so equipped) and they are a measure of ones manhood...the louder, chromier, more leather ladden the H-D and the more tatoo riddled the rider, the smaller the package....you get what I mean?
I used to frequent a small local ice house in Texas west of Houston (shortly after I got my GS...I was, of course, an outcast) that was over-run by H-D riders.
One afternoon, a popular H-D rider who frequented the bar rode in on his newly restored pan-head, knuckle-head or some-type-of-head with the exhaust system hinging by wires, the tank leaking fuel and oil and...you get the picture. He rode right into the bar area, blipped the throttle mightily and dismounted. The bike coughed, sputtered and died whereupon, the rider strode up to the bar and ordered beers for all his friends. His friendship soon grew to most of the patrons in the bar. Once of his pals shouted, "Hey Duke, let's hear that beauty run again" whereupon Duke strode over to his still smoking hulk of pan-head (or whatever) and proceeded to begin romping on the kick starter. After many stabs at the kick starter, that poor little H-D wouldn't so much as produce a pop or wheeze. Some of his buddies took turns assaulting that poor Harley with no success. Ten minutes of mashing at the kick starter...not even a pop. I could smell fuel and there was evidence that the ignition was OK. I walked over to Duke and said, "Mind if I try sir?" Duke knew I was a BMW rider...he looked at his buddies and snickered...some snickered in sympathy with Duke..."Well, yeah Mr. BMW fella go ahead and try but she's just a bit overheated...you won't get anything out of her for awhile".
I through a leg over the poor, dribbling little Harley and reached down and made an adjustment to the clutch cable free play which was way overtightened. A single stab at the kickstart pedal produced the roar of internal combustion...the little Harley engine sprang to life. I quickly shut off the engine, dismounted and returned to my beer at a table close by.
Duke sprang to my table demanding, "What was that you did to my bike"?
"Duke, I spoke German to it. It understood perfectly well and you saw the results".
The bar roared in laughter at Duke's total lack of cool. Me? I finished my beer, said goodbye to the little Harley and rode silently into the warm Texas afternoon.
Now as to your question, "Why are these things so popular"?
I have no idea.