A tough question to be sure and one that can be surprisingly difficult to answer. For a lot of people it is actually a real choice they make when they buy a motorcycle as the average person can only afford to own one or the other. Both bikes offer something special the other doesn't and it is often agonizingly difficult to choose.
The last decade has heralded a meteoric rise to mainstream credibility among the biking public for the Harley Davidson Motor Group on the back of their constantly evolving products. The new Harleys are bikes of strong contrast, combining a design steeped in history with the convenience and reliability of modern materials and manufacturing techniques, offering the public their unique blend of soulful motorcycling experience.
Japanese sportsbikes are about as far removed from American cruisers in the motorcycling spectrum as it is possible to be. Their constant, intensive development programs that keep their bike's technology level on the ragged bleeding edge has led to the production of a vast array of tarmac weapons over the last thirty years. They are always characterized by traits like razor sharp handling, impeccable road manners and a "Dude, I just saw God" style blinding acceleration.
Harley Davidson Motorcycles are still proudly made in America just like they have been since the company was founded in 1903. The bikes being produced today hold true to their tradition of comfortable bikes with awesome large displacement V-twin engines that positively ooze low down grunt.
Harleys look good, sound good and feel good.
Their resale value is better than almost any other vehicle you could care to name as well which firms them as a favorite with dealers and owners alike. The average Harley Davidson owner is additionally bombarded with the single biggest array of aftermarket custom componentry available for any make of motorcycle, anywhere in the world and the number of accessories is simply mind boggling.
Throw in attributes like reliability, prestige and individualism that abound in the modern Evolution and Twin-Cam engined bikes and its not hard to see why the Harley Davidson factory often cannot keep up with a demand that continues to grow daily.
Because they offer something that Harley Davidson does not....
Excitement. Good old fashioned balls-to-the-wall excitement.
Modern Japanese sportsbikes are cheaper to buy outright, offer way faster acceleration, vastly superior handling, awesome braking, a light vehicle weight and are full of race bred technology. Their entire bikes are the culmination of decades of intensive research and development on the race track and on the engine dyno. The end result is a spectacular display that showcases the pinnacle of modern automotive engineering in a package that screams out blinding speed at the passerby even when it is standing still.
These bikes are hard core.
The riders they attract don't care about the distinct lack of comfort for either themselves or their pillion passengers and the racers crouch they fold themselves into is a badge they wear with pride. Make no mistake, these bikes are single purpose weapons that turn their owners into adrenaline junkies.
The two styles of bike offer two completely differing riding experiences for the rider as well. A typical day on a Harley endows the owner with a pleasant afterglow that lasts for days and a head full of memories of sights seen, places visited and the buzz that is remembering the trip itself. In strong contrast a day on a sportsbike often leaves the rider in a state of adrenaline overload, a buzz where their memories of where they went and what they did a blur of horizon busting excitement punctuated by brief stops.
Funnily enough, both kinds of experience leave you on a high for days and you will catch yourself grinning like an idiot days later.
Harley Davidson Cruiser or Japanese Sportsbike ?
That my friend is a damn tough call and really only one the individual can make. I would however suggest to anyone in this very same quandary that they get themselves down to their local HD and Jap dealerships to test ride a few models and see what all the hype is about.
An informed decision is a good decision.
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