Nothing says America like a big fat dude on a big fat Harley Davidson motorcycle. This brand actually has a pretty big following in Japan. Out on the road I've come across quite a few rider's, American muscle the only thing between them and the road. It's a dream thing. Harley has been embedded in our minds as the ultimate freedom machine. Modern advertising pushes this to the limit, but I think it goes back to Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, and those sweet, sweet machines.
I'll admit it, I've never ridden a Harley, but have this secret desire to drop a huge sum of cash on one and ride from California to New York, hitting all 48 states in the process.
But, Harley's have a bad reputation. You pay a lot more for that Harley charm, and they have a tendency to be fickle machines. Hardly Able-sons is a common moniker.
Really damn expensive. The whole process of buying a Harley involves buying the bike, which is a 20 to 30 (or 40 in the above shot) thousand dollar ordeal. Then comes the customization. Chrome ain't cheap. Performance parts ain't cheap.
$2000 for some shocks. Yeah, every brand is pricey to customize, but somehow Harley comes out on top... way on top.
Anyways, I heard about this Harley event and had to go. Selling points:
- Free entrance and gifts
- Only about 15km from my door
- Test ride some bikes
- Country line dancing
The free present was these sweet rain ponchos. Rock on... in style.
As for the test rides, I went straight for the V-ROD. I've been in love with this bike since they introduced it back around 2003. It's all kinds of cool, and I think the styling is so bad ass. I sat down, wiped the childish grin off my face, and started the engine.
We all know a simple fact in life. Harley's are seriously loud. Like deafening loudness. So when I started the V-ROD and my first comment was, "Is it on?"... that's not good.
That's the reaction you want from a Toyota Prius.
Revving the engine elicited similar ennui. The test drive as well. Oh well. I think all the bikes here were severely limited. There can't be any other explanation.
The food was more hard core than the bikes. That's rice with taco meat loaded on top... and a hot dog. The word メガ, mega... makes it good.
There were some games to play. In this one, you have to shoot the 酔っぱライダー. A play on words meaning drunk riders. バンバン! Bang Bang!
The "gun" is the exhaust from the back of a bike. It's like you're in front of the bar, doing a burnout, and shit is flying out of the exhaust and killing all the drunk bastards inside.
I won some stickers for my murderous efforts.
License in Japan... you're doing it wrong!
Mild mannered English teacher at a girl's High School by day, bad ass who wears clothes like this at night.
This was the first time in my life that I have heard live country music. In Japan. And for someone who has only listened to this genre when driving in the countryside of California, I seemed to know all the words to the songs. (Achey Breaky Heart, Country Road, Rodeo)
Kid's Heaven? Isn't that were little boys and girls go when they die?
Ladies Beauty Square? Isn't there where perverted Japanese business men who like groping girls on the train go when they die?
I should also mention that I test drove a Buell Lightning. Buell is an offshoot of Harley. Pretty much a sport bike built with a Harley engine. I was Kick Ass. I capitalize to make a point. The bike almost made me numb from the shaking. No way I could handle a long haul, but I really really want.
This event changed my life. I had dreams of driving a Yamaha R1 sports bike, but this has been replaced with a Buell Lightning sports bike. I also had dreams of driving a Harley cruiser, but this has been replaced with a "anything not Harley" cruiser.
But Harley will always hold a special place... on funny Youtube clips!
Harleys in Japan need to have adjustments on the exausts because of noise regulations... that's why the sound.. or the lack of it anyway...
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