Harley Davidson RebrandedTen years ago, while I was living in the UK, I came to visit a pretty blond girl (now known as “the wife”), near Cape Town. I was in the British army, where shiny, polished boots and strict rules were at the order of the day. During my two-week holiday in South Africa, I needed to feel wild and free (well, at least for a day or two). So I decided to rent a Harley Davidson in the city. If I remember correctly, it was a 1350 Low Rider. One of my best memories to this day was when I opened up the throttle on the N2, with the view of Table Mountain (and the wind) in my face. A fresh ocean breeze and the South African sun on my skin made all my senses tingle.
Looking back at that day, I realise that I had a very specific idea of Harley Davidsons then. We also have an idea of their riders. A horseshoe mustache, a couple of tattoos, a torn jean jacket and leather boots. We all have an idea painted of “The Harley Rider”. The picture I painted of who rides Harleys changed when I walked into the shop on Somerset Road. There were a bunch of friendly people that made you feel like family (not just the staff but also Harley owners, just hanging out at the shop on a Saturday).
My change of mind really came when I got onto the 883. I’ve been looking at this bike for some time and finally made some time to go for a test ride, with the encouragement of Harley Africa. Not all Harleys are built with handlebars that are as high as your head, with your legs kicked out wide. Well-rounded finishes, with a contrast between sheer power and clever technology is what really surprised me. I cruised along the coast on a really smooth ride, not realising that the bike weighs close to 250kg (pretty impressive centre of gravity).
So why do I write an article about going for a test ride? It is to encourage you to revisit your ideas about someone or something. I think Harley created a certain image, with the types of bikes they used to have. But they have a large variety of different bikes, suitable for different types of people. Maybe it’s worth visiting them and change the way you think.