Hey Hipsters, Harley-Davidson is Calling You

11/19/2012 @ 3:27 pm, by Jensen Beeler29 COMMENTS

Slap on your skinny jeans, and get on a hog, because Harley-Davidson is pitching motorcycles to America’s favorite disgruntled demographic: the hipster. For pursuing today’s young and ironically image-oriented subculture, you can’t really fault a company like Harley-Davidson for this move, seeing as it markets its brand around this notion of conformity through non-conformity.

Copying the vintage art house film style of that we see so often on Vimeo (frame borders, sepia tones, and all), I will steal a line from AutoBlog‘s Jonathon Ramsey and say that Harley-Davidson has nailed the Instagram style on its head with this one…right down to its guitar-string audio track and percolating coffee pot cameo appearance.

In many ways though, Harley-Davidson is the ideal hipster brand…if it wasn’t already so mainstream and inundated with boomers. However in a motorcycling demographic where cafe racers, bobbers, choppers, and anything else that is considered vintage reigns supreme, there is a broad overlap of ideals between Harley-Davidson and hipsters, and it would seem the Milwaukee brand is keen to explore that possibility with the Sportster Seventy-Two.

A bike that was built to appeal to the younger demographic that Harley-Davidson so desperately needs right now, the company has bounced around from the bandanna-clad bad boy skateboarders now to the ironically mustached and well-caffeinated urbanites. Time will tell how this new path pans out, but you have to admit two things: 1) It’s not the worst idea to come from Harley-Davidson, and 2) It’s been executed perfectly.

Source: YouTube via AutoBlog

  • Isn’t this almost a year old? It’s OK for what it is, but wtf, really? The bars and tank are perfectly matched since you’ll need to rest every hour anyway, in that human-air-brake riding position.

  • Paul McM

    Like the video — it was intelligently conceived and crafted even if the rider is just too much in love with his own coolness. Could almost like the bike, ’til I noticed the seat is too far forward for an adult male, and Mr. Cool rider guy spends most of his time nearly sliding off the back. But who cares if the bike is ergonomically awful –the video conveys “I’m lone wolf, Ray-Ban wearin’ Badass” so that’s all that really matters. I guess.

  • Richard Gozinya

    I thought hipsters were more into slapping rearsets and clipons onto beat up UJMs that can barely handle highway speeds than buying new bikes.

  • lance

    Well they went hard for years after the dentists and CPA’s who don’t shave on Saturday’s and sport the perfect do -rags on the way to Starbucks. So now why not go after the next most sought after segment; PBR drinkin Hipsters
    Until Harley makes a fixed gear Harley this bike won’t be for them.

  • Motoguy247

    When you’re the undisputed market leader, with the highest market share in your 110-year history, you must grow the market. Hipsters, and all…

  • I have to admit I liked the humor in this post and the comments lol.
    Having had a Sportster with mini apes I will vouch that it is every bit as terrible as it sounds. Most of the hipsters I know are struggling to pay rent, I can’t see them buying the 1200. But who’s to say some midlife crisis fellow won’t get inspired?
    Just what Harley needs… One more old fart.

    Those Sportster are fun bikes. When they finally liquid cool them I might have to buy another, but for now no way.

  • JW

    In all fairness I like this video, the metal flake paint, air cooled, white walls and mini apes. HD has all but ruined themselves with dumb ideas, especially with the pope visit a few months ago. As an American I want to see them stay in business and stop the cheesy crap that we on this blog laugh at. If they could start new with this kind of smart marketing they will be once again be a great respected brand. Now stop making made in china wall clocks sold at sears.

  • Mother all ways said if you don’t have any thing good to say don’t say any thing at all! so I’ll just move on… reading the comments are fun tho.

  • Alasdair

    Harley have always confused me with their lower-order bikes. They just appear to be a bunch of unlikely components bolted together with a massive price tag, that look unrideable. 100% pose, if your definition of being cool is kissing your hungover girlfriend, then uncomfortably and barely controllably riding wobbily up some coastal road so you can look at yourself.

    I did sort of understand the 48, and the pose value is frequent as you have to fill up the tiny tank everday giving you time to look a bit badass compared to the fellow 9-5ers at the pumps, but this one just makes me angry.

  • MajorDisappointment

    Not to worry. I have yet to see a hipster with the upper body strength to hold a Harley upright.

  • Crashmanjay

    Good timing as Hell For Leather (the ultimate hipster bike site) recently sold out as money trumped skinny jeans once again by actually being worth…… well, money. But the whole Born Free ‘we aren’t old enough to remember real bikers in the 70’s and 80’s so we have no idea how badly they would kick out poser asses’ crowd has taken the Hell For Leather love of all things skinny, hairy an hardtailed to the next level; camping. No freedom of the road stop anywhere I want camping, but freak out the squares at the local Jellystone knock off camping. Of course there is no freaking out of any squares as these tough guys are all about peace and love….. you know, just like the bikers of the 70’s were man. They were all about inclusion weren’t they man?
    And they have the nads to talk shit about HD Pirates………

  • pooch

    another skirtster, but with higher bars… meh

  • I like my dad’s ’83 (I think) Wide Glide, which he let me take for a spin one day. It was a radical shift from my RD400 Daytona Special and I liked it. When the 883 came out, I thought that was a bike that I could own with some mild pipes and a screen to cut the breeze a bit.

    Alas, I guess I’m just not badass enough to own a hog.

  • David

    If Harley would have mounted and iPad between the monkey bars as a windscreen and also a mount for the iPhone and a Starbucks coffee mug, then ended the video at a OWS protest………

    Then they just might have had sumtin….

  • Gutterslob

    I thought they spend all their money on the latest iWhatevers and ride bicycles. They hide behind the “green” card to look cool, but everyone knows they can’t afford transportation.

    It’s like a local (mandarin) comedy I saw here recently. A teenage girl and two of her guy friends ran into her dad (or uncle, can’t recall) and had coffee together. The brats were making fun of the middle-aged dude still using a dumbphone, until he took out the keys to his Porsche and laid it on the table, at which point the 2 teenage dudes promptly shut-up in embarassment.

    It doesn’t sound as funny when I type it out, but trust me, it was.

  • ive seen more people just like this guy at Sturgis who drooped there bike and cant even pick it up by them selfs. long live the literes bikes

  • smiler

    It makes me wonder why they sold Buell. If thay had let Erik Buell loose on some of their stately leather and metalwork. They couls have brought a completely new brand to market, seperate from the flinstones tech lumps of cast iron that thr yuppies ride about on.
    Buell is about the most useful tool that Harley had except the road bridge to use to generate more sales. Instead they killed him and hs company then spat him out.
    MV was never going to work. But I think Buell could have done some real good there. He would have done well to attract “Hipsters”.

  • Heat Soak

    I have to admit that i’m impressed with H-D’s adaptive marketing.

    It’s just a shame that they still make shit bikes. I’d love to buy an American motorcycle. When somebody builds one as good as what comes from Japan, Britain, Thailand or Italy, i’ll be the first in line.

  • Crashmanjay

    Hipsters don’t care about Buell. Because their dads or uncles or some guy in an old Easyrider’s photo spread didn’t care about Buell. Hipsters care about what sites they deem cool tell them to care about. They dress in the uniform of their peers while pretending to be rebels and rugged individuals. Vest, Biltwell helmet (or some 30 year old foam lined thing with a $2000 paint job), the exactly oerfect pair or work boots without so much as a scuff in the leather, a huge “F you world! I’m a man!” beard, swastikas….. always swastikas…..
    I’ll give some hipsters credit for keeping some cool old choppers alive or even building some front brake-less but cool looking rides and their adoption of the Sportster is a good thing to me as it is the better of HD’s aircooled engines and their most versatile platform, but that isn’t enough to make up for the total lack of acceptance of the stigma that was associated with being a biker in the 70’s/80’s before every yuppie bought into the HD weekend pirate thing. Those dudes rode around literally not giving a F***, not pretending to not give one. They aren’t old enough to even remember when California didn’t have a helmet law let alone cops who would pull guys over just to measure how high their ape hangers were. They mock pirates but pirates grew out of the biker scene of the 80’s as HD became more mainstream and shows like Renegade made every guy on a chopper out to have a heart of gold…. he just had to kick some ass now and then.
    Hipsters, wear what you want, ride what you want but please stop making Vimeo movies about what you wear and ride and your ‘escapes’ from society. It’s nice to see that you own a Harbor Freight welder and are learning, but c’mon, the swastikas on your designer made (although ‘for us by us’ made) denim vest are a sign of douchieness, not rebellion. The Biltwell helmets are nice I’ll give you that but the workboots? Do you really need a certain brand of work boots to show that you’re a working man? Just buy whatever workboots are comfortable for F**** sake, every Sears has them.
    You aren’t tough, you’re more like the Black Widows.

  • Eddie

    They should make new bikes instead of new commercials.

  • Mikeg81

    That ad is nothing, look up the Forty-Eight ad on Youtube.

  • kdomino

    Every generation has its style and everyone tries separate themselves from their parents and tries to fit in and feel like they belong with their peers Each culture that arises has all of its defining interaction characteristics – music, language, clothing (costumes/uniforms), behaviors – defined by their differences from the ones that came before. The irony is that the more one tries to be an individualist by fighting against the status quo, the more one is inevitably defined by it.

    That said, pushing the extremes of style where an activity is blatantly unsafe strike me as foolish. Ape hangars, no front brake, and pants so low you can’t even walk, God forbid run, in them are too much for me.

    Regardless of your riding style, I will however wave to you when I see you on the road. And pull up your f***ing pants!

  • Gary

    A generation largely unemployed.

  • Cj

    I laugh at any idiot dumb enough to buy any product with Harley on it. They would be over priced junk if they gave everyone 50% off MSRP. This is just yet another instance of marketing China crap for the Ducati price tag to people who can’t afford their groceries at Wal-Mart and look to the rest of us to support them via food stamps and 3 year long unemployment.

  • Sid

    How many of the haters above have ever ridden a Harley big twin or sportster or Victory?

    If you’re hatin’ on the chassis that’s fine because HD does need to make use of the torquey motor in a sporting package among the slew of cruisers; but if you’ve never experienced the motor & you continue to rant, then you don’t know the complete potential.

    BTR Moto understands the missed opportunities surrounding the big twin motor and is doing something about it by putting the HD Twin Cam engine in their own sport chassis that has the geometry of a race replica (R1, GSXR, 1000RR, etc.). It doesn’t take a lot of money to wake up these motors & achieve 100+ HP & 100 + ft lbs of torque


  • Crashmanjay

    I’m on my 2nd Victory. I took my other one across the US 3 times. I wish Victory would come out with a Sportster knock off so that there would be more multi use customization available. I think the SPortster and Triumph Bonnies are great bikes, but I don’t think either one needs a ‘look’ for the rider. Sell them as basic, fun bikes that can become anything you want, no as part of your Thursday night steppin out outfit or the gateway to a lifestyle.

  • PD

    Please provide some info on the pic (with the man-trap installation). Is that a Banksy? TIA.

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