Tell me, what motor company this year reported the following: 1. A profit; 2. Returned dividends to its shareholders; 3. Increased sales to the 18 to 34 age group; 4. Meeting its goal of releasing 100 new models in 10 years; 5. Lost over $1.2aud billion; 6. Has been caught in the industry’s diesel cheating scandal to the tune of $2.5aud billon; 7. Spent $1.6aud billion replacing airbags; 8. Won the last nine years in its highest level of racing; 9. Is falling behind in releasing new models; and 10. Its annual sales are down 5 per cent?
The answer to these is either A: Harley-Davidson Motor Company or B: Mercedes-Benz. Don’t worry, The Motor Company is taking care of business like it did in 1953 when its American competition went out of business. Today I just hope Harley is taking care of customers, and more importantly, its dealers! In case you have a bad financial memory, you need to remember like Harley-Davidson does the boom time in 2008; and then the crash. Harley has dramatically cut costs and positioned itself for the tough times ahead. I say to you, have your super retirement dollars invested wisely, and a new run-out-sale Harley in your garage.
This year is the 50th and 66th anniversaries for two of the most iconic movies in history of motorcycling. At least for my Baby Boomer’s generation and all Harley lovers. In 1953 it was Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Then in 1969 it was Easy Rider with recently departed Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and newcomer Jack Nicholson. To me, the biggest stars of the movies were the leather jackets and boots in The Wild One. So I dug back to 2006 and updated my Cyber Cycles article on the Marlon Brando Jacket.
The Brando Motorcycle Jacket
When you think of the traditional Harley jacket, the first thing that comes to mind is the Marlon “Brando Jacket”. But did you know, up to that time, the traditional motorcycle jacket had not been defined? From then on, it was the Brando Jacket. Or more precisely, the Perfecto One Star motorcycle jacket made by Schott. The Motor Company also produced motorcycle jackets from 1910. In the 1940s the “Cycle Champ” and “Cycle Queen” leather jackets were a styling hit. The “Pistol Pocket” on Harley jackets was copied by many other makers. The official Harley website doesn’t give any mention to a “Harley motorcycle jacket” until 1947 when it says that “Harley-Davidson begins selling what will become the classic black leather motorcycle jacket.” Then in 1963 the jacket got another mention with “the explosion of the American “motorcycle culture” with black leather jackets becoming not only a statement of fashion but of a lifestyle.” Going back through many pre-World War II photos, you can see leather jackets but the dominate material in pre-war USA was cloth. Then with the end of WWII you start seeing “bomber jackets” and the classic A-2 flight jackets.
Australian Brando Jackets
Walden Miller is my jacket maker of choice. Even my wife has its Brando jacket. The best part about their Australian-made jacket besides their quality is that Walden Miller will customise it for you –like my summer weight Vented Turin jacket made from skippy skin and with snaps instead of Velcro. And maybe a little extra room for my love handles. For online purchases, The Motor Company is your first stop. Almost anything on its website can be ordered from your corner Harley dealer in Oz. That’s all I know about Brando jackets. Bet you are now wondering about the traditional motorcycle boot. Maybe next time. And how about Easy Rider? One of the best short reads of the making of that movie is by Mark Richardson, editor of Canada Moto Guide.
One last shot for the road is my love affair with Legend Suspensions. A few months ago I put 13in Legend REVO-A’s on the rear of my 2018 Street Glide Special (you know that Harleys stock are slammed, lowered and have hard as nails shocks on all its “Specials”). In contrast, I absolutely love my Legends. The rear ones brought out just how bad the stock front shockers are on all touring bikes. So on my 32,000kms service I had the AXEO front suspension installed. Legend rightfully say the rear suspension is for comfort while the front is for performance. How right they are with the front while also eliminating those clunks from the potholes and manhole covers. In short, Legend Suspensions are magic!