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Discussion Starter #1
Images such as these are what is destroying the Cruiser Lifestyle.

I'm sure we all remember the Waco shooting along with the public eye. Three years later we are blessed with images like this one. Portraying bikers as Gangland killers. Many will argue that the bikers involved in this incident are gang members and do not represent bikers in general. However, I would ask anyone to look at this photo and tell me what they see.

I see bikers...cruisers. And that's what the general public sees. So that when they see me riding my bike they associate what I am doing with what they see posted all over the internet; dirty bikers drinking, riding and shooting each other!

This 'bad boy' image is what fueled the biker lifestyle decades ago. Promoting drinking, fighting and lawlessness.

And yet...you won't find a Kawasaki Cruiser in that photo.

Some months back there was discussion about how we need to change how the public perceives the Cruiser lifestyle. About how we need to promote the 'Cruiser' before it dies out.

Personally, I don't see how it's possible to change that perception.

I would like to do my part. Anyone have any suggestions how to counter this perception? How do we begin to change the public perception?
 

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Nope no clue.
And that is why I believe that HD is having problems.
No young rider wants to be that image of a bike rider.

I guess you could NOT call them cruisers any longer, that might be the first step.
BUT it will take a long time to get removed from the image that has been around for a long time!
 

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Unfortunately why somebody will get on a motorcycle when they can play Grand Theft Auto. Braising the elements is uncomfortable and meeting people just awkward. Much easier staying at home having a pizza rather than riding 100 miles for a bier. :) :) :)
 

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I wear a hi-viz graphics Arai helmet, a bright yellow Joe Rocket jacket, and gloves. No one would look at me and think 'dirty biker'. Don't dress the part and no one will think it.
 

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1. Stop riding a Harley clone and get a bike that looks like a BMW or adventure bike or sport bike.

2. Dress like the ATGATT poster child.

3. Go to Sturgis bike rally this year and hand out flyers asking those nasty Harley riders to clean up their act so that people will smile and wave at you while putting down the street.

4. If all the above fails, get a scooter. Nobody will ever accuse you of being a biker ever again.
 

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Hmmm...my guess is...once Generation X, which is most likely the last generation to have the "Classic Biker Look" -defined as leather, patches, black t-shirts, and do-rags (all of which are portrayed in the pic)- die off...the new "Look" will take its place.

The next generation of "Bikers", if they decide to even call themselves that, will have established their own "look" and persona.

The result? People will still be uncomfortable around them...except now, they just look different than what we, Gen X'r and older, remember.


My parting thought?...Regardless of how you decide to style yourself while you are on your bike...treat people, both fellow rider as well as driver...with respect.
 

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I wear a First Gear cold weather/all weather riding suit and my helmets are multicolored and adorned with Japanese script characters and graphics and ride conservatively. So far no problems with anyone suggesting that I'm a gang rider or dirty biker, and with my VN900 bike doesn't look those parts, either. Seems that any public negative concept of bikers is reinforced by bikers who fit the stereotype - noisy Harley, black leathers and riding gear, drink beer, etc. in public, and who ride more aggressively and even irresponsibly. I don't fit in with that stereotype.
 

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If you can't change the world, just work on your little piece of it...

I live in a neighborhood of ranch houses and empty nesters... Lots of 60+ cruiser riders here (for the same reason that I recently switched to a cruiser -- the ergos are easier on my aging knees... We're in Georgia, w/ helmet laws, and most are full face.
I think lined leather is the ultimate in wind-stop and warmth in the winter, not to mention the ultimate in protection, so that's what I'll continue to wear (the jackets I like happen to only come in black, so no choice there). Once we're into the 70's I switch to Tourmaster mesh -- which the outlaws wouldn't be caught dead in...

My behavior on the road is *always* restrained (outside of the twisties), attentive, and considerate of other riders/cagers, so regardless of the leather, boots, and cruiser, my demeanor, riding style (and possibly the Drift cam and Sena hanging off a full face helmet) don't scream outlaw...

We're not going to flip 70 years of entrenched stereotypes... however, everyone in my neighborhood, and a few outside smile and wave back... It's a start...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I love all the responses so far. But to be honest, I expected no less on this forum. What does that mean? It means that we are the type of biker that, IMHO, is a purist. We love the ride. It comes down to the love of the bike and the thrill of riding! A Kawasaki rider isn't interested in some niche lifestyle.

The clothing suggestion is probably the best option we can employ to detract from that bad boy biker image. It doesn't mean we have to give up leather. I dress in full leathers when I ride, but I don't portray the bad biker look.

I've always worn a full face helmet. Not just because of the protection it provides, but because they look cool! There is a guy here in my small town that rides a HD. He wears a Nazi helmet. Not kidding.

As for the 'ride a Sport bike' advice...nope. Don't get me wrong. I love Sport bikes. But they just aren't designed for long comfort rides like a Cruiser. Besides, it's the rider that can be a total ass, not the bike. People aren't turned off by the bike. It's the rider that sends all of the message. It's sorta like a gun. Guns don't shoot people, people shoot people.

I have tried the different bike clubs for the rides. But they all have an underlying common theme; bar hopping. Which is a real image tarnishing practice. Bikes parked in front of a bar. No matter what the good cause is that the ride is supporting, it still comes down to promoting drinking and riding. Most of these folks are HD enthusiasts. And there are a lot of them in my area. Unfortunately, the closest Kawasaki Vulcan club is hours away.

I love bikes. All bikes. I've owned many of them during my lifetime (even a few HD's). I feel that riding is wonderful therapy. And although I love riding with others, I cherish the solo ride most of all.

I start my mornings early with a cup of coffee browsing the internet for current news and events. I didn't much care for that 3/4 page pic of those Waco bikers. I just get so tired of that image being portrayed as the 'typical' biker. But it's like @bkp said, "We're not going to flip 70 years of stereotype."
 

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P.S. I was thinking about this last night... and I want to give some "credit" to Hollywood for perpetuating the bad-boy Harley (cruiser) rider image... Marlon Brando helped kick it off with "The Wild One," and most recently, "Sons of Anarchy" built on the stereotype... In 2014, Hollywood claimed credit for "saving Harley-Davidson," with SoA, which is ironic since HD sales are now deeply trending into the recesses of a huge crapper, and the Japanese cruiser market, while not spectacular, is doing much better...

'Scuse the rant, but I'm *really* sick of those Beverly Hills asshats glorifying everything they purport is wrong with society, from guns, to cruiser 'gangs,' to political elitism, while launching themselves into 1% fiscal heaven by embellishing and embracing the very role models and stereotypes they publicly rail against...

Rant over...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
'Scuse the rant, but I'm *really* sick of those Beverly Hills asshats glorifying everything they purport is wrong with society, from guns, to cruiser 'gangs,' to political elitism, while launching themselves into 1% fiscal heaven by embellishing and embracing the very role models and stereotypes they publicly rail against...
Second that!
 

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Hey,
Just to give my 2 cents It doesn't mater what your thing is ridding motorcycles or playing golf you have a lot of good people enjoying themselves and then you will have the few a**holes the give everything they do a bad name and unfortunately these are the people that stand out. I don't see this the end of Cruisers because if you are a rider then your a rider if your not then your not and you will always have plenty of good people that enjoy ridding motorcycles and the events that go along with it. Unfortunately you will also have the fewer A**holes that do too.
 

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The custom chopper craze a few years ago probably didn't help perceptions either. It was either d'bags on tv building them or d'bags with too much disposable income riding them.
 

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I wear a First Gear cold weather/all weather riding suit and my helmets are multicolored and adorned with Japanese script characters and graphics and ride conservatively. So far no problems with anyone suggesting that I'm a gang rider or dirty biker, and with my VN900 bike doesn't look those parts, either. Seems that any public negative concept of bikers is reinforced by bikers who fit the stereotype - noisy Harley, black leathers and riding gear, drink beer, etc. in public, and who ride more aggressively and even irresponsibly. I don't fit in with that stereotype.
Define "noisy". First thing many of us do is to upgrade to an aftermarket exhaust. I sat at a stop light once wondering if my bike was too loud. An everyday diesel truck pulled up beside me and I could no longer hear my own bike. That is when I decided my bike was not too loud. If it's legal; it's not too loud. Noisy is in the ear of the beholder.

What is a 'Harley'? To 95% of John Q Public, all 'noisy' motorcycles are Harleys. Sometimes, I have trouble telling the brand of a bike as it goes down the road. Thank God for emblems, right? And John Q doesn't know a cruiser from a tourer from an adventure bike. They're all just motorcycles.

As far as riding aggressively, when I see a bike tearing up the road, it seems it's usually the sport bike, or adventure bike, tearing up the road or interstate weaving in and out, going 100+ mph, not the 'noisy Harley'. Rarely do I see a group of cruisers tearing up the road like the sport bikes do.

I have only been riding about 10 years, leisurely, and I live in an area where I see 100's a bikes a day from all over the nation. On weekends, I see thousands. They come here from all walks of life to enjoy the Texas Hill Country's views, roads, culture, and food. . . and yes, sometimes beer. LOL It's up to the person to define who they are by how they act and how they ride, not how they dress or what they ride. Norman Reedus is doing a great thing for us bikers/riders with his new show! He's a perfect example of perceptions . . . yet he conveys to viewers the love of just riding and enjoying his surroundings.

Enjoying the discussions here. I leave us with a rhetorical question: What is the difference between 20 cars parked outside a sports bar, or 20 motorcycles parked outside a sports bar?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Enjoying the discussions here. I leave us with a rhetorical question: What is the difference between 20 cars parked outside a sports bar, or 20 motorcycles parked outside a sports bar?
None...except John Q Public will 'see' a 'Gang' when looking at the MC's.

A friend of mine once said, "I never go to that bar."

"Why?", I asked.

"Because that's a biker Gang bar. I see 'em parked in front all the time."

And yet, there has never been any Gang that visited that Bar...ever.
 

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Define "noisy" ??
Just as posted the average John Q sees the leather and hears the "noisy" exhaust and says that is a biker, I dont like them!
Its NOT the crotch rockets that are loud, its the HD cruisers!

You dont need to be a Honda PCH rider, quite as a mouse, but the ear hurting noise is bad and ONLY adds on to those that have the bad view of bike riders.
Quieting down your exhaust will go along way to smoothing out that problem.
And yes noise is all subjective to each person.
 

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Define "noisy" ??
Just as posted the average John Q sees the leather and hears the "noisy" exhaust and says that is a biker, I dont like them!
Its NOT the crotch rockets that are loud, its the HD cruisers!
It's both. Don't even try to pretend you've not seen squids with Kerker fart-cans on their 600s. And there's a guy in my hood, rides a Stateline with the most ungodly loud straights I've ever heard, loves to rev the piss out of it. Everyone hates him and compliments my bike for being quiet.
 

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maybe I'm different than y'all.

I bought the biggest baddest production bike for a reason.




I love going down busy streets and making car alarms go off from the vibration of my bike.

I love getting together with friends and going "bar hopping".

It's REALLY more a social thing instead of a drinking thing. We are on bikes.. we don't over indulge.

What people don't realize, when we stop for lunch, most of us are drinking waters and soda. Not even a beer.

I bought my bike to have fun. That's what I do with it.
 

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..........

The difference is, 20 cars take up more room.

20 bikes, will not "ding" anyone's door getting on or off.

If you find a set of bike keys on the floor, they will more likely be turned in rather than someone going into the parking lot and clicking the remote to burglarize or steal the car or truck the keys belong to.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
maybe I'm different than y'all.
Nope...we're not different at all! I have Cobra Slashdown pipes on my bike. I love the deep throaty sound they give my bike. I get a lot of compliments on the sound of my bike. I have yet to hear a single complaint from anyone concerning the sound of my bike.

Do I stop at a bar for lunch? HELL yes I do! If I have a beer I never go past one. It's the idiots out there that make us all look bad. Most especially Hollywood!

I don't want anyone to think this thread is about judging anyone or wanting us to all be the same.

The point is this; The public perception attaches negative connotations to all MC's. The percentage of bikers that actually fit into the 'Bad Boy Biker' genre is small. But they reflect that rep onto all of us.
 
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