The iconic Harley Davidson is the quintessential image of freedom, the open road, and the opportunity of the American dream. So how did the Harley achieve its cult status, and how will it continue to be a symbol of freedom in a world increasingly aware of global warming?
The rise of its popularity has undoubtedly been helped by how it has been portrayed in many Hollywood movies. Sociologist Kai-Uwe Hellman says that after World War II and the Vietnam War, the chosen means of transport for men who felt marginalized from society was the motorbike. It is almost as if the bike replaced the horse with its closeness to lawlessness. Hellman says that the Harley symbolizes a mixture of typically American values, including a sense of self-determination.
The bike is not just a symbol of personal sovereignty, however, but also of solidarity amongst biker gangs and being part of a group. The irony is that many of these men who pull on their leathers are some of the most respectable members of society. The maintenance alone on a Harley puts them out of reach of your average Joe. They are so expensive that most bikes are bought by wealthy older men, judges, and surgeons alike.
With its trademark rumble, these respectable men can feel like desperados on their iron horses as they ride towards the sunset. They give themselves the illusion of a bit of rough in their normally glossy lives. So in one sense, an EV version of the iconic bike seems to be a contradiction in terms. The image is all about noise and muck, but, as
we can see that is possibly only a fantasy.
What Harley-Davidson aims to do with its EV Livewire is to continue the emotional relationship the brand has with its owner. They talk about a soulful connection between humans and technology. These are being marketed as more of an urban bike with a city range of 146 miles between charges. It is hardly the obvious replacement for the infamous Fat Boy, but all businesses must move with the times.
Presumably, the older, wealthier men in the future will also have a green conscience. They will still want the association of the open road but without the belching smoke and fumes. If they cannot afford the $27,000 price tag, the Harley Davidson Freedom Tour slot can be played on the best slots online, letting players get the ride’s thrill without burning through the gas.
There are other ways to get a Harley fix by catching up on some great cult movies that feature the bikes. Movies like the 1969 Easy Rider have done a good deal to secure the bike’s status. The road movie is fuelled with biker romance, desperate tough guys, and lawlessness. However, that is not the only movie where the bikes have a starring role. It is debatable whether the following films would have the same effect if the protagonists were on an EV.
In Terminator 2, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator says to a biker in a honky-tonk bar, “I need your clothes, your boots, and your bike.” Of course, in an EV world, he would have to have hoped that the Harley Davidson Fat Boy was fully charged. Although given the traditional bike’s fuel consumption, he probably would not have gotten far without finding a gas station.
In Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, Bruce Willis plays hardman Butch. Would the immortal line “It’s not a motorcycle baby. It’s a Chopper” have the same resonance if he was referring to a Harley Live Wire when he was in an extreme hurry to rescue his girlfriend?
The 1991 movie Harley-Davidson and The Marlboro Man starring Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson, could be revived to show off the Live Wire’s performance. In the film, they need $2.5 million to bail out a friend. Having stolen a shed load of drugs, they are always a bit faster than their angry pursuers, primarily because of the performance of the Harleys they are riding. Could the EVs outrun those in hot pursuit?