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Old 11-16-2012, 04:35 AM   #21
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Well Im telling you what a parts guy who has worked for them for over 15 years told me face to face. They have had meetings that this has come up in discussion in and its a known fact. Whatever the excuse is. Emissions, lack of R&D, or the falure to make changes that would prevent problems that they know exist . If a change in technology and design is known to fix a problem that exists and it is not implemented in the next newer design, Its designed to fail. Thats a no brainer.
If they were designed to fail they would all fail when they reached whatever mileage they were designed to fail at.

The issue is cheap parts and poor quality control. Some will run 100K miles, while others will score the lifters, scissor the crank, lose the oil pump, and trash the cam bearings at 12,000 miles... it's a crap shoot. You're right, these things would be simple to fix at the maufacturing level and even if the price went up on every bike by $500 people would still buy the bikes.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:30 AM   #22
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I had an 05 883 mostly stock and it was a blast. My 260 lbs made it look like I was riding a mini bike. You are correct in that they have the best sound with just a good set of pipes. But with the EFI they have lost the signature rumble. Most of my issue had to do with the new CEO and the marketing attitude of their parts.

They make a good bike and they have a loyal customer base, but they must keep the same 1903 technology to keep them happy and that is becoming more and more difficult.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:38 AM   #23
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If they were designed to fail they would all fail when they reached whatever mileage they were designed to fail at.

The issue is cheap parts and poor quality control. Some will run 100K miles, while others will score the lifters, scissor the crank, lose the oil pump, and trash the cam bearings at 12,000 miles... it's a crap shoot. You're right, these things would be simple to fix at the maufacturing level and even if the price went up on every bike by $500 people would still buy the bikes.

Since the EVO, they are much more dependable, but when you consider the price you pay they should be on top of everything. Like a lot of companies, the issues like cam bearings on the EVO or the chain tension on the 88s, they refuse to acknowledge any shortcomings. But hey, Honda did the same on my VTX 1800.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:23 AM   #24
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The MoCo long long ago evolved from a motorcycle manufacturer into a product manufacturer. Motorcycles are products, tee shirts are products, jewelry, card tables, teddy bears and of course image are products.
As a general rule planned obsolescence is a common indicator of a manufacturers commitment to product manufacture while manufacturers that model themselves as specific, in our case motorcycle manufacturers, tend to not rely on obsolescence in their business plan. You can argue that by limiting their mission statement to a specific product motorcycle manufacturers, at least American motorcycle manufacturers hastened their demises.
As for intended failure, you can take it as gospel that HD knows to the decimal point the lifespan of the bikes and the failure flowchart that defines which parts fail in what order and for what reason. The benefit of extended duration product runs is the baseline you can assemble. Now, that doesn't mean that parts fail on some pinned date but the factory knows with relative certainty how many will fail by a given time. That's how inventory is controlled.
By analysis the MoCo finagles failure rates as a component of profit. Too much failure, model sales suffer and too few failures service sales suffer. Big players like Harley pay handsomely both internally and to consultants to find the sweet spot. I imagine Polaris does too. The benefit to a Vic rider is that the data set at Polaris is not nearly as robust as Harleys so obsolescence efforts are less reliably implemented.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:56 AM   #25
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My personal theory is that the MoCo has evolved into something nobody ever expected. While most companies were growing aznd trying to change and improved their product, HD grew into more of a lifestyle and then the marketing came along. The other sharpe edge to that sword was it had to remain true to what made it so popular, and that was the antiquaited design behind the drive train. Add to that, that while their fit and finish is one of the highest qualities of any product, the core design is still over a hundred years old. They have a unique challenge of making a 2012 model, but it has to look like a 1980 model. With my 1990 Heritage, it took a trained eye to tell it wasn't a late 2000 model.

So they have to make it better, but not change it. VERY HARD TO DO! So-- Are they an infierior product???? Yes, but by design and not quality.

Compare that with Honda. They have a great design that will last forever. The way they operate is after 10 years they quit selling indivual parts and like to sell assemblies and will not work on your bike if it is 10 years old or older. Hence, if you have a $20 part break on a 1998 bike, you will have to purchase a $2900 assembly to keep your bike on the road and have an INDY do the work for you. But then their bike don't break down, so that is their survival plan. They perfer to sell you a new bike and since you haven't had trouble in 10 years, you will probably consider it.

Just the ramblings of a 57 year old riding Harleys, Yamas, Hondas and now Vic since 1976.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:39 AM   #26
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If they were designed to fail they would all fail when they reached whatever mileage they were designed to fail at.
Oh come on no engineer is that good..to make an engine component fail at a certain mileage ..Its internal wear items that designate the wear out time and that all varies from type of use and maintenace.

which is all in your comment and I will agree that its cheap parts and poor quality..
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:30 PM   #27
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... it had to remain true to what made it so popular, and that was the antiquated design behind the drive train...
... their fit and finish is one of the highest qualities of any product...
... So-- Are they an inferior product???? Yes, but by design and not quality...
Sorry, but I cannot follow you at all on that.
If you by fit and finish mean how nice the paint job is, then yes, they probably have that. But that is not a measure of QUALITY. That is just putting lipstick on a pig [pun intended].

Quality is all of what you cannot see. It has nothing to do with their antiquated design, but that a lot of their riders would be a whole lot happier and have a lot more cash left in their pockets if they would use better quality bearings, move away from the cheap press-fit crank etc.

The key thing here is that it is not an engineering issue.
The solutions are known - heck, they used better components in the past and moved away from them.

It is a business decision. They CHOSE to increase their profit margin by lowering build cost and increasing service/parts business by artificially reducing the lifespan of their engines past what their design would allow for if built with decent quality parts.
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See, this is what happens when a whole nation quits bitchslapping our kids. Stupid people do not even get the chance to learn the importance of keeping their mouths shut.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:41 PM   #28
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well, they do use some nice lipstick. Seriously, the paint and chrome is better than any bike (JMHO). I have a friend that had a 2002 Shadow he bought new. It has 25,000 miles and he has babied it from the day he bought it new. It was not in nearly as good of condition as my UC that had 40,000 miles. In looks, tightness, feel, my chrome had no pitting, ---things like that. He had "plastic chrome".

They are going backwards in the drive train--again, JMHO. The 103 is not as good as the 96CID and the 96 is not as good as the 88, and none of them are as good as the EVO. They insist on sticking with the primary chain while my Vic has gears. Their idea of improving is "self adjusting tensioners" instead of changing to gears. Their customer base likes it that way and don't mind 5,000 service expenses. Yes, they are cutting corners, but who isn't? The V Rod is an example of what they can do, but most of their buyers don't want it. Harleys have good resale compared to most bikes, but the V Rod falls just like a Honda--- and it is their most advanced machine even though that design is over a decade old.

They are having to fight with the EPA and they are having a hard time copeing. I am not defending them, but they have backed themselves into a corner with no way out.

I still like my Vic over Harley.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:09 PM   #29
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Oh come on no engineer is that good..
Even with a perfect engineer it could never happen. There is variability in everything. When engineers design something for the gov't, they often are required to do a reliability estimate based on reliability estimates of the parts its made from. These are statistical calculations, there in no absolute certainty to any of it.

As Pop said, the gov't wants to have an idea of what's likely to fail when as a form of planning/training/inventory etc. It has nothing to do with designing something to intentionally fail however.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:10 PM   #30
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well, they do use some nice lipstick. Seriously, the paint and chrome is better than any bike (JMHO). I have a friend that had a 2002 Shadow he bought new. It has 25,000 miles and he has babied it from the day he bought it new. It was not in nearly as good of condition as my UC that had 40,000 miles. In looks, tightness, feel, my chrome had no pitting
You are comparing a $9,000 motorcycle to a $20,000 motorcycle. It had damned well better have higher quality paint and chrome than a Honda Shadow.
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bodies, RPW Thor pipe, Lloydz ECU, PC-III, Rivera Pro clutch spring, 31 tooth pulley w/Buell belt.
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