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The "Made in America" Harley-Davidson Culture

Jul 21, 2008
So, you are thinking of getting your first Harley-Davidson motorcycle? Well, there are a few things that you'll want to become knowledgeable about if you want to have any hope of fitting in with the custom Harley Davidson crowd.

Owning a Harley-Davidson motorcycle brings you into a tight knit brotherhood with a culture all its own. But getting a Harley doesn't automatically mean you'll be included into this self-proclaimed elite group of America loving, free spirited souls. The Harley culture is a proud one and, like any organization, they have traditions, expectations, and unwritten rules that each biker is expected to follow.

Right off the bat, you should know that your Harley isn't really a Harley unless it's a custom Harley Davidson. In other words, you don't want to pull up to the local biker bar in an "off the shelf" Harley bike. A man's (or woman's) bike should be a reflection of themselves, and therefore no two Harleys should be alike.

Your bike tells others who you are, what you are like, and may very well be the thing that other bikers judge you by.

Secondly, make sure all your custom parts are made by American companies. You bought a Harley because of the pride, sophistication, and attention to detail that went into its creation. By customizing your bike with non-American parts, you go counter to the made-in-America attitudes of the Harley culture. If your bike has parts that aren't made in America, then the bike itself is no longer a work of American art.

And when it comes to the helmet that you wear, forget the face mask. Those are for wimps!

Sure you can buy a Harley motorcycle and not follow any of the brotherhood's rules, but you can expect to be shunned by every other Harley biker on the road. Think I'm joking? Maybe the following story will change your mind.

One part of the Harley culture, as mentioned earlier, is to buy American. Harley-Davidson is an American company and owners of these American-made bikes are very proud to be riding on a machine put together by American hands. That means your bike should be running parts from American manufacturers right down to the spark plugs.

A biker entered a parts store one day and complained about the rough running of his V-twin engine. The parts manager recommended replacing his spark plugs with the NGK (a Japanese company) brand. The biker did so reluctantly. Turns out he liked the NGK spark plugs much better and chose to run them instead of the OEM plugs that his bike came with originally.

Only problem was that he knew he would be shunned by his fellow bikers for running a Japanese part on his bike, so he manually painted the HD logo onto his NGK spark plugs to prevent any suspicion.

When working with your custom Harley Davidson, remember where your "hog" came from and be sure to honor the culture that you have joined.
About the Author
Demon's Cycle (http://www.demonscycle.com) offers the best pricing on parts for custom Harley Davidson motorcycles. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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