Sunday, May 31, 2009

Harley-Davidson product of Globalization

It's a bit paradoxical. To a good percentage of motorcycle enthusiasts Harley-Davidson is the ultimate symbol of the American bike. To people who aren't into motorcycles (and to some people who are), the passion that some express towards Harley-Davidson motorcycles to the exclusion of other brands (and especially to the exclusion of Japanese brands) is puzzling, I mean, I might prefer Coke to Pepsi but I don't look down on Pepsi drinkers and I *surely* would not tattoo the Coke logo on my arm, but such are the extremes to which some people feel.
The paradox of the 'American-ness' of the Harley brand vs. what it is in 'cold steel (and aluminum and plastic) reality' shows itself most readily when one has to service the brakes of, say, the popular Softail model.

To remove the front brakes and brake pads for servicing requires that one use a metric (re: foreign) 10 mm wrench AND an American 1/4 inch wrench. The need for using 2 sets of tools working in 2 different measurement standards is because the brake body is from an American company whereas the fork leg that the brake body is mounted on is from a Japanese company (and for all we know the fork leg could have been manufactured in Thailand or something).

If that isn't symbolic of globalization, I don't know what is !