10 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Sucks Now

Harley-Davidson has been an iconic name in the motorcycle world for decades, but it’s not all sunshine and open roads for every rider. Some feel that there are significant drawbacks that can’t be overlooked anymore. Ready for a bumpy ride? Let’s go!

1) Too Heavy for Real Fun

harley dude sitting

Harley Davidson motorcycles are known for their hefty build. While this makes them sturdy, it also means they’re not the best for riders looking to have quick, nimble fun on the road.

These bikes can weigh up to 800 pounds or more. That’s quite a load to handle, especially in tight corners or during quick maneuvers.

For comparison, many sport bikes weigh around 400 pounds or less. Riders who enjoy swift, agile riding might find Harley’s weight a bit cumbersome and less responsive.

Heavy bikes also mean more effort during riding. Moving a Harley in and out of parking spots or managing it at low speeds can be a workout.

Motorcycle enthusiasts often mention that the heavy build reduces the overall fun factor. This is especially true when comparing it to lighter, more performance-oriented bikes.

The weight can also affect fuel efficiency. Lugging around all that extra mass means the engine has to work harder, leading to higher fuel consumption.

2) Crazy Expensive Parts

Harley Davidson is known for having pricey parts. Many riders complain about the cost of components. For example, a backrest can cost over $300.

Lockable bags go for more than $700. Even small parts like a fender rack may set you back $100.

These high costs make maintaining and upgrading a Harley expensive. Riders often compare these prices to other brands. For instance, a new Yamaha model may offer more for less money.

The prices can seem unfair, especially when basic items cost so much. Many feel that Harley is banking on their brand name to charge these rates.

Some riders feel forced to consider different brands due to these high prices. Not everyone sees the value in spending so much on parts alone.

This sentiment is common among Harley owners. They feel their loyalty is being taken advantage of.

3) Fuel Efficiency is a Joke

A Harley Davidson motorcycle sits next to a gas pump, with a trail of exhaust fumes behind it. The fuel gauge shows empty, while a smaller, more efficient vehicle passes by

When it comes to fuel efficiency, Harley Davidson bikes really drop the ball. Riders often find that their bikes gulp down gas much faster than they expected.

Many Harley customers have shared their frustration on forums. Some mention seeing their fuel economy drop from around 40-42 mpg to a disappointing 34-36 mpg after making modifications.

Others have it even worse. Users complain about getting only around 28 mpg, which is way below what they hoped for. These numbers can be pretty shocking, especially for those new to the Harley scene.

For those who love long rides, this low fuel efficiency means more frequent stops at gas stations. It takes away from the fun of the open road and adds an extra hassle.

4) Outdated Tech Features

harley chain

Harley Davidson motorcycles have been criticized for their outdated tech features compared to other brands. This includes things like the engine design and cooling systems. While other manufacturers have embraced modern innovations, Harley is often seen as lagging behind.

An example is the outdated cooling systems. Many Harley bikes are still air-cooled, while other brands adopted water cooling decades ago. Water cooling helps engines run more efficiently and stay cooler. Japanese bikes started using water cooling as early as the 1980s, giving them a performance edge.

Additionally, Harley motorcycles tend to have lower power-to-weight ratios. This means they might feel slower and less responsive compared to other bikes with similar engine sizes. Enthusiasts often point out that Japanese engines, for example, offer about 20% better power-to-weight ratios.

Lastly, many of Harley’s tech updates tend to be slow. For instance, some new features get rolled out to select models and take years before appearing in the broader lineup. This slow adoption makes them feel antiquated next to more technologically advanced competitors.

These outdated features are a key reason many riders feel Harley Davidson is not keeping pace with other brands.

5) Shaky at High Speeds

Harley Davidson motorcycles are popular for their style and sound. Yet, riders often report that these bikes shake a lot at high speeds.

One common complaint is that a Harley starts to vibrate heavily when it reaches around 70 to 90 mph. This can make long rides uncomfortable.

Sometimes this issue is called the “Harley wobble” or “Death wobble.” It happens when the bike becomes unstable at high speeds. Riders have noted this especially on models like the Road Glide since its debut in 1998. Some have linked it to fuel system problems in models from 2000-2001.

Even basic rides feel shaky if things like idle speed and ignition timing aren’t set correctly. Harley bikes need regular checks to avoid these issues. Find more about these common problems here and here.

Some Harley owners feel nervous about riding over 100 mph. The forums are full of stories about riders avoiding these speeds due to intense shaking. This problem makes Harley Davidson less favorable for high-speed cruising, which is disappointing for thrill-seekers.

6) Maintenance Costs a Fortune

A pile of money being poured into a motorcycle with "Harley Davidson sucks" written on it

Maintaining a Harley-Davidson can drain your wallet quickly. Regular servicing isn’t cheap. Owners should expect to pay around $320 to $400 for a Touring model’s 1k service. Even the smaller Sportster model costs about $260 to $320 for the same service.

These costs don’t include taxes and shop supplies. When you add those, the total can get even higher. And that’s just for basic maintenance.

Repairs can cost even more. Harley parts and accessories are often pricey. Unlike other brands, finding affordable, high-quality aftermarket options for Harleys can be pretty challenging.

Harley enthusiasts often note that their bikes need specialized care. That means you might have to find a specific workshop and that can further bump up the cost. It’s clear that if you want to keep a Harley in top shape, it will cost you.

7) Overhyped for What You Get


Harley Davidson motorcycles are often seen as the ultimate ride. They have a strong brand and a loyal following. However, some people feel that they don’t live up to their hype.

Many riders believe that the quality and features of a Harley don’t justify the high price tag.

A lot of Harley models come with engines that are not as powerful as other bikes in the same price range. This leaves riders asking why they should pay more for less performance.

Another issue is the frequent reports of overheating problems. Riders often complain about their bikes getting too hot, especially on longer trips. This can make the ride less enjoyable.

The bikes are also known for requiring a lot of maintenance. Owners find themselves spending extra time and money just to keep their Harley in good condition.

8) Limited Customization Options

harley issues

One downside of Harley-Davidson motorcycles is their limited customization options compared to other brands.

While Harleys are known for allowing a lot of personalization, the reality is that some parts can be hard to find or very expensive.

Harleys can be restrictive compared to other bike manufacturers. Riders may find that some aftermarket parts are not compatible with their specific model. This can be frustrating for those looking to make unique modifications.

Additionally, customizing a Harley can quickly become a costly endeavor. Custom paint jobs alone can range from $1,500 to $4,000. Performance upgrades, such as exhaust systems and engine mods, can also add up.

Harley users often mention the struggle of finding the right parts for older models. Although the bikes are popular, the specific components might be rare or only available through specialized dealers. This can make the whole process time-consuming and complicated.

While Harley-Davidson offers its own array of accessories, these options may not be enough for some riders. This can lead to a less personalized riding experience, limiting the bike’s potential to fully reflect the owner’s style.

9) Not Beginner-Friendly

harley accident

Harley Davidson bikes can be heavy and hard to handle, making them tough for beginners. Many models weigh over 500 pounds, which can be overwhelming for someone new to riding.

New riders often need a bike that’s easy to control. Harley’s bikes have a high seat height and a wide frame, which can make balancing tricky. A Motorcycle Forum user even called it a “hillbilly fairy tale” because of the unrealistic expectations.

Harleys are also known for having complex mechanics. Beginners might struggle with maintenance or fixing issues without professional help. This can lead to expensive repair bills.

The cost is another factor. Harleys are usually overpriced, which might not be worth it for a first-time rider. Investing in such an expensive bike isn’t practical if you’re just learning the ropes.

Starting out with something smaller and lighter is often recommended. More affordable and manageable bikes can help build confidence and skill before moving up to a larger, more powerful Harley.

Many bikers suggest avoiding a new Harley until you gain more experience. It’s easier to grow into a powerful bike than to start with one and feel overwhelmed.

10) Clunky Front Brakes

Harley Davidson bikes often have issues with clunky front brakes. Many owners report that their bikes make a loud clunking noise when they use the front brakes. This noise can be really annoying and even alarming for new riders.

Sometimes, this clunking comes from loose wheel bearings. When wheel bearings are not tight enough, they can allow movement. This movement can cause a clunking sound when the brakes are applied. Regular maintenance helps but may not totally resolve the issue.

In some cases, the clunking noise is due to free play in the floating disk. This happens when the brake pads shift slightly each time the brake is used. Over time, this can make the clunking noise more noticeable and persistent.

Even with new brake hardware, the clunking might return after a while. This makes it hard to fix the problem permanently. Some riders try thicker fork oil or stiffer springs to stop the clunking, but these are temporary solutions.

Many Harley owners feel frustrated by this recurring issue. It takes away from the riding experience. For some, it becomes a reason to consider a different brand of motorcycle.

Check out more details about clunking brakes on Harley Davidson bikes here and here.

Harley’s decision to focus on retro aesthetics has left them behind in this tech race. This choice might appeal to purists, but it alienates younger riders who demand the latest innovations on their bikes.