My uncle Johnny would say. “AMF bought them and now they are shit. You can ride them for more than 10 minutes and they are spewing oil everywhere.” He’d say. He’d tell me about his buddy who wasn’t allowed to park his bike in the garage because it leaked oil all over the place. No body wanted a Harley anymore. The letters and numbers Japanese bikes zipped by. I got my drivers license in October of 1975 but I wasn’t permitted by my parents to get a motorcycle endorsement. I graduated High School in 1976 and got a 65 Thunderbird. But I still wanted a Harley. In 1977 I joined the US Navy and was shipped off to Guantanamo Naval Air Station, yes Guantanamo, back when it was actually a functioning military installation. About 6 months into my deployment in GTMO, one of my fellow sailors at AIROPS bought a Harley Davidson Low Rider and had it shipped to the base. We’re in Cuba, it was nice 99% of the time, he rode it every day. Although it was AMF, he must have gotten one of the good ones because he had no trouble with it. I wanted one.
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I remember it was Silver and had this bad-ass rumble to it.One of my mates in the barracks was selling his Suzuki 125 so I bought it. It needed work badly and it was junk. I knew nothing of motorcycles and repairing them, but I fiddled with it, it ran, it moved but it sounded like crap, rode like crap and felt horrible under me. I sold it 6 months later for half of what I paid. It wasn’t a Harley. The 80’s came, Willie G and some others bought Harley back and the bikes got better. The import bikes got better too and there were a lot more of them now on American roads. Honda this and Kawasaki that, BMW this and Triumph that, Yamaha this and Suzuki that. The word on the street was that Harley’s were crap but that wasn’t the case anymore.