Culture – For professionals – Used HARLEY-DAVIDSON

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On the professional side

Meeting with two professionals from the Harley-Davidson sphere: Michel Borie, dealer, and Fabrice Roux, editor, as part of our Special Harley-Davidson file.

Meeting with two professionals from the Harley-Davidson sphere: Michel Borie, dealer, and Fabrice Roux, editor.

SPECIAL FILE HARLEY

With its 60 years of existence, the Michel Borie concession is the oldest of the brand in France. Since 1946 to be exact, because Michel Borie has followed in his father’s footsteps, himself a "Harley" enthusiast. Michel knows his motorcycles perfectly and analyzes the evolution of the brand very well.

Michel Borie, a very "family" concession

"It is true that in the range, there are some Europeanized models such as VRods or Buells. But that still cannot be said to have erased the American dream. Coming to Europe, they still changed their minds, but without wanting to impose an American vehicle at all costs. They decided to establish themselves permanently on our continent by saying to themselves: OK, first we will see what the European biker wants. This goes for the Dyna which is a Harley but for Europe. Also for Sportsters. And of course the VRods. But all this is historical. You have to remember that originally, the Sportsters were a way to counter British motorcycles in the 1950s, even before the Japanese. So a pure motorcycle spirit".

Driving Harley, a matter of generations? "We have quite a few people who had stopped riding for family reasons and who come back to us because it was a childhood dream. The luck of Harley is that the super sportswoman is showcased because it is always cool as a machine", says Michel smiling.

The concession exudes conviviality with, in particular, the "chapter" permanence on Saturday afternoon. "I know that the people who come to me don’t want to go to a cathedral. Here, we play the human and friendly card"stresses Michel again.

The fact that Harley is, in the eyes of some, an expensive or even luxurious brand does not scare this dealer known as the white wolf in the Harley universe. "It’s like BMW or Ducati! Going to Harley is buying an expensive motorcycle. Moreover, the brand made this choice. At the same displacement, we are on average 20% more expensive, even if with the recent efforts on roadsters, this difference has decreased by 10%. But on the interview, Harley is in the lead".

Regarding the – essential – accessories, the Ivry man also claims a "natural" position: "coming to us necessarily means taking options and the customer often makes this choice. I don’t mean to say that it’s a lifestyle in Europe, but in America it’s like that. There is the national motorcycle !"

Fabrice Roux, editor of specialized magazines

Fabrice Roux is the publication director of 6Pack Publishing, which has existed since 1991 and declares himself "leader" of the Harley-Davidson and custom press in France. This publishing house also manufactures the HOG newsletter (see below), which is sent every two months to all new owners of American machines. If his opinion is necessarily a little "oriented", Fabrice is nevertheless a true connoisseur..

Moto-Net: What is Harley’s recipe for renewal? ?
Fabrice Roux: Whether with Buell or with V-Rods, Harley-Davidson wishes to change its image and rejuvenate its customers. Many new models are directly inspired by models customized by professionals or individuals. Moreover, this is nothing new: since its inception, the brand has always been inspired by "customizations" made by its customers to develop its own models..

Moto-Net: Where is the current custom trend? ?
FR. : In the United States, where this phenomenon has been relaunched by a whole new generation of preparers. The best known is Jesse James. He’s a real star in the USA, with his TV show Monster garage, which is broadcast in France on AB Motors. His branded products, such as West Coast Choppers t-shirts, sell in thousands of copies in all supermarkets. In fact, he brings a new look and a new spirit to the biker movement. He listens to rap, dresses gangsta, and young people completely identify with him. The newspapers even lend him an affair with Sandra Bullock !

Moto-Net: We are no longer in the motorbike but in the people !
FR. : Sure, but it’s crisp for the media and it appeals to the general public! For example, Brad Pitt is passionate about Harley preparations. He buys the motorcycles that win contests in the United States and television is now featured on the biggest HD gatherings! This is where we have to wait for the second wind of the old American brand, once again boosted by its customers !

Moto-Net: By the way, what is it to you, a real Harley: a VRod, a Buell, an ElectraGlide, a Softail or an 883 ?
FR. : A little of all that … For some, this is not a Buell. For others, it’s not a V-Rod! Purists swear by cast iron engines. Especially not twin-cam engines, nor evolution. Everyone finds their pleasure where they want! It’s true that Buell is apart, so by really Harley. With this brand, it can make sports cars, roadsters, trails … but not Harleys! But all other HD stamped models, in my opinion, keep the spirit alive. From there to what they make bikes, scooters or other related products … why not! After all, this is all business! I don’t think so, but you never know !

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Interview by Pierre SYLVESTRE – Photos DR

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