EVERY PERSON HAS a given taste and style. Some of it you are born with, others are acquired through time. Within these tastes lies brand loyalty. Whether it be Coke or Pepsi, Bud or Coors, we all have our favorite brands. Hell, I won’t be seen in anything but Redwings, Carhartt, or Pendeltons. When I belly up to the bar, its always PBR and yes, I even have a brand of socks and underwear that I chose over any other, so I understand completely.
In the market of touring motorcycles there are many ways one’s brand loyalty can go. Gold Wings, Boulevards, Beemers can all rule somebody’s roost, but when it comes to baggers, Harley-Davidson is the resounding choice. Is it the style? The aftermartket parts selection? The exclusively? I am not sure if it’s such an easy thing to pin down, but we all know it’s not lack of style that H-D bikes possess.
While walking the hall of this year’s V-Twin Expo I saw just about every part imaginable to make any brand bagger a complete custom. Yes, some parts were dumb, and some bikes were so hideous that I could barely look at them, but they still had people clamoring to buy those components and crowds of photographers around those bikes nonetheless. Just like P.T. Barnum said, there’s an ass for every seat and no truer words have ever been spoken.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not being elitist in any way. Yes it’s my job to report to you the whole of the bagger scene and I do that diligently. But some things going on right now are just over the top and are such a flash in the touring bike pan that I try and steer clear of them. Let’s just say for style’s sake.
Do I care if somebody else doesn’t want to wear or ride what I do? No way dudes and dudettes. It’s what separates me from them and makes all of us our own independent entities. Just as all colors and creeds should be allowed to practice what religions they wish freely, so should our personal tastes be flaunted as individuals. How boring would this lifestyle of ours be if we all dressed and looked the same and all rode around on the same bikes? It would be horrible! There would be only one style of bike being produced and one model at that. Talk about being trapped in a box.
If you think about it this magazine would not even exist if it were not for individuals wanting to customize their bikes to their personal preference and brand loyalty. Different length bags, bars, windshields, and suspension are the beginning of what makes your bike yours. Then you slap on some custom lettering, pinstripes, or paint and really kick your own individuality into high gear.
Sure you wear white shoes and have a metric cruiser all kitted out. Do I look at you differently than a guy with engineer boots and an aped-up Road King sitting on a 26-inch wheel? No, because at the very least we have motorcycling as the tie that binds. Welcome to the brotherhood.
JEFF G. HOLT