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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If It Is Not a Harley, It Is Metric. So If It Is Not Metric, Is It A Harley?

I don't know much, in general. But this seemingly handicap is a blessing in disguise. Everyday I have the opportunity to learn something new. The other day I stumbled over an interesting topic, and while some provided some insight, I must confess I am even more confused.

Apparently motorcycles are divided into Harley and Metric. I have nothing against random divisions and groupings. Had the two groups been labeled Harley and Others, I wouldn't be starting this tread today.

But it's not HD and Others, it's HD and Metric. And the more I dig into this topic, the more confusing it gets.

Some say it's the type of tools required to work on the bike that make it a Metric. So as long as your nuts and bolts are non-metric, then you're working on a Harley? But even then, what kind of tool would you need to attack a set of Brembo's on a Harley?

Others point out that a Metric is a non-American made motorcycle. So where do the likes of Indian and Victory fit?

Even the naming of a bike, or its advertisement seems to be considered a factor by some. If it's engine size is listed in the cubic centimeters, it's a metric. By that rule, an HD Sportster is Metric, and a Victory is a Harley!

Look, I'm not trying to create a topic here just for the sake of typing. I need to figure this out, because sooner or later someone will ask me this, and I don't look forward to shrugging as an answer.
 

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I have heard many folks comment about my bike and all most all say
"Yea-- but it aen't a harley"

My response is always the same

"You got that right"
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have heard many folks comment about my bike and all most all say
"Yea-- but it aen't a harley"

My response is always the same

"You got that right"
Well, I have no problem whatsoever with my bike not being a Harley. However, my problem is on understanding why my bike is a Metric, and a Sportster or a V-Rod isn't.
 

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I agree with the confusion. Even large vendor sites like Memphis Shades and JP Cycles divide everything into Harley and Metrics. Maybe they should start rethinking their categories.
 

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Harley Metric

The way it started out that harley was made here in America and then came the bikes from over seas and they were referred to metric cause that's what they measure every thing by and they have metric bolts.
We as a American made bikes have no category other then were American made. Yes are bikes have metric nuts and bolts cause victory decided that all cars use metric nut and bolts and so should they. Harley has way more metric bolts then one thinks. There drain plugs are metric but its the same size as ASE. Like are link and shock bolts are 17mm but you can use a 11/16 on them just fine. Even the trunk mounting bolt you can use a ASE wrench on it.
None of the after market company's know what to do with use cause no one is really making parts for our bike. With victory's new cross roads and cross county. The world will see that victory is here to stay and the vendors want our money.
So in time we will more parts for our bikes.
But we will always be the other guy.
 

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Yes and you can answer with Pride...Yup your right...its American made.... and it doesn't leak oil....
 

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Not real complicated. Back in the late eighties/early nineties. There was a total of ONE manufacturer of American motorcycles[two if you count Beull], and a bunch of clones based on HD drives. When people started marketing aftermarket parts they had to call them something, and Jap crap just sounded bad. So they started calling them Metrics. After 10-15 years of that it was to late for any newcomer to overcome the metric name. The use of a heritage name like Indian gets them a Mulligan, but again they are essentially another HD clone.
The whole thing was muddled by companies like Confederate, Diablo, and Victory. All mass producing bikes with their own clean sheet drive trains, but the whole if you ain't a HD[or clone] You are Metric
 

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Discussion Starter #8
While doing my research, I snooped around some HD forums, where some HD riders debate that Metrics are only the bikes coming from Asia, while others insist that European bikes are also Metric. None of them seem to think Victory is a Metric.

It seems the term "Metric" has long lost its meaning in the motorcycle world, as there are more definitions than riders alive.
 

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My gut feeling tells me when HD pilots start feeling a bit put out by Victory pilots; they are getting the same doubts about the HD brand as I did.

I could have easily gone to one of the Star bikes or a bunch of others for something with more reliability and power but I chose to go to a competing, if not new(ish) Victory brand.

After getting my first Vic, an 09 Jackpot, it was simply a matter of months before the realization of what brand was going to be right for me.

You see; HD kinda shot itself in the foot many times over the last 12 years. Subpar parts, then subpar assembly methods, and finally, subpar design which would prevent a rider from beefing up the motor a little without risking blowing out the lower end because of the first two mistakes.

I stopped paying attention 6 months ago and decided to cut my losses by finding a machine I could not only depend on for hundreds of thousands of miles but would also be American made so I could haul the bike a reasonable distance to be fixed or left so I could return later to pick up. HD has thousands of such places but they were part of the problem since they were breaking down far too often.

I lost trust in my 99 which had been rebuilt and ran solidly but from time to time would not turn over because of some kind electrolysis happening at the battery leads causing a connection not good enough to spin the motor.

The last time this happened was when I was on a PGR run and everyone was waiting on me to fix my old '99. I would normally chock this up to poor maintenance on my part but I had been trying all kinds of different ways to rectify this nuisance problem for the last 2 years. I guess that was the last straw. No matter how well built the rest of the bike was; it was all for nothing if I couldn't depend on it to simply start.

The next week I traded in my other HD for a Jackpot. Three months later I traded in that Jackpot and my '99 for an '11 XC.

So far so good and it's good to feel confident in my bike again.

I spent a long time figuring out what car to buy since I knew it would probably be my last and I wanted it to be the most reliable one I could get at a reasonable price. I ended up with a Honda CRV and it has been everything I expected it to be. With any luck and me doing the right maintenance to both; the Victory will be the same way, eh.

I expect to get 200,000 miles out of my Cross Country (or more). Howabout you?
 

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I lost trust in my 99 which had been rebuilt and ran solidly but from time to time would not turn over because of some kind electrolysis happening at the battery leads causing a connection not good enough to spin the motor.
Come on BBob, you can't ding HD because of this. Granted, they definitely have their flaws, but corroded battery connections on older bikes is a maintenance issue, unless you're using an old lead-acid that's being over charged.

I too switched over for many of the same reasons you mentioned. Mine had quite a few major problems, but I contribute a lot of that to the fact that I tinker way too much, always striving for more power, etc. My friends who've left theirs stock haven't enjoyed near the amount of fun I have fixing mine, but I ride hard and put in a lot of miles too. My wife's '01 Softail has close to 100,000 kilometers (German specifications) on it without a hitch, but all I've done to her's engine wise were pipes, air cleaner, and carb mod.

The beauty of the XC is that I don't feel compelled to tinker with it. I don't have to worry about personalizing it, especially since Victorys are so rare over here. With my Harley, there was always some do-dad to add on, modification to make, or whatever to try and make it different from all the other ones out there. I certainly don't have to do that now. Hell, when I pulled into one of the Victory dealers over here (there are only 12 in all of Germany) the sales folks went gaga over the bike because they hadn't seen one in person yet. It was a BMW car dealer with a little side room for the bikes, and they only had 3 Hammers on the floor.

As for the "metric" issue, I love it! You have no idea how hard it is to get non-metric hardware over here. Besides, I've always been a strong advocate of the metric system, makes thinkning and calculating so much easier...
 

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It's true I can't ding HD for the battery issue but I rarely had that trouble with my other bikes. I still lost faith in it though.

I still like HD's. They have an unbeatable sound and a great history. If I get a windfall; I'd like to find an 01 or 02 Superglide with a 95" kit. I would just fix up the suspension and ride the wheels off it. Suspension is another area HD dropped the ball. I had to put nearly $1k in each HD to make it feel right. No need for that on either Vic.
 

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Been riding 47 years and I can remember when the word Jap bike was used as a form of description. It is now commonly used as a metric bike. Some of us who has graduated and moved away from the way we describe bikes in a more respecting manner call metric bikes made over seas but some us continue to learn form our past. The Honda Goldwing and VTX's are made in America. I am not getting into a debate about them moving their plant. But most still refer them as metrics. Harley has very few metric fasteners, my 07 Ultra needs 1 metric wrench, a 10 mm everything else is SAE that I have found.
So, now to your question.
American made (SAE) or Metric
While working on my XC I have found that the SAE allen's fit better than the metric allens do.
My dealer says Victory is a American made metric.

Does it really matter as long as we get to ride and have the tools to do what we need to do.

Look at John Deere Lawnmowers. They use metric and SAE on the same mower, very confusing to work on mine at times.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Personally, I agree with those of you who think everything should be metric. The SI system stands for System International for a reason. Why be backwards from the rest of the world? However, that's a whole different topic.

I was just wondering what was up with the two categories: HD & Metric. We might as well divide bikes into "odds & evens" or "loud & quiet" or "dark & light" as we'd have just as unfitting categories as we do now. Categories are good for being able to classify stuff, but when you divide stuff into categories that grossly overlap, you're just wasting your time. In conclusion, HD & Metric = B.S. in my opinion.
 
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