Speed / May 2017

Harley Davidson’s New Wave

The ‘Motor Company’ is enjoying a renaissance as of late, highlighted by a new trio of exceptional motorcycles that have transcended the brand’s somewhat colloquial roots.

The 2017 Harley Davidson Roadster

I used to view Harley ownership with a mixture of circumspection and elation. The latter because, unless you’ve thrown a leg over an American-made, air-cooled Milwaukee V-Twin and experienced the epiphany of the deep sonic bass pounding through your soul like John Bonham decimating a timpano, you’re missing something seminal in your finite time on earth. At the same time I’ve always been more than a little embarrassed by the culture, grooming habits and in particular the aggregate body mass index belonging to the typical Harley Davison rider. I’ll put it this way, I have no desire to force-feed myself 5,000 calories of chicken wings and processed cheese spread until my midsection so balloons to Kasbah melon-like proportions that it protrudes from my fringed leather vest. I’ve no desire to pack my undoubtedly hirsute and rotunoid “old lady” on the back of my Easter egg-coloured bagger and ride in circles as she tries to eat a hot dog from a string. And I have no desire to festoon my body with hackneyed and clichéd mottos such as “these colours don’t run” or “kill them all; let God sort them out,” or anything else smacking of the mindless drivel that seems to gush perennially forth from Donald Trump’s mouth.

My passions run toward gentility, full canvassed double-breasted jackets with handmade shoulders, and hand-lasted boots crafted from 200-year-old Russian reindeer hide. So if you, like me, value oral hygiene, enjoy the Burgundies from obscure climates like Petit Monts, and are slightly obsessed with washed rind unpasteurised cheeses, yet somehow find yourself inexplicably compelled to Harley Davidson ownership, fear not. Because the ‘Motor Company’ and the culture surrounding it is undergoing a seismic transformation and emerging with some of the most dynamic, genuinely fun and damnably stunning motorcycles on the planet. And even better, the new generation of Harley owners - as evinced by the staggering proliferation of Harley-related Instagram feeds featuring both impressively attractive women and stylish men - means ownership is no longer characterised by the provincial vestiges of the brand’s past.

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Wei Koh

The Rake's Founder & Editorial Director.