One of the biggest symptoms of mid-life crisis is a guy who buys a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to change his image.


Many of these new Hog owners are also new to motorcycles and feel a Harley would be a way to cultivate a new identity as a wild child-long after their actual non-wild childhood.


The new Harley owners may be chartered accountants or dentists during the week but the weekend is a different program.




They may not actually have been born to be wild, or even interesting for that matter, but a new Harley will change them into two-wheeled weekend warriors who get down to their bad self aboard a Hog.


There are many problems associated with a decision to straddle a Harley and hit the open road at a late stage in life. The first is a safety factor because the big bikes are not designed for a novice rider and the risk of an accident is much higher for a rookie rider.


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The second is the futility of a bike purchase later in life. A new Harley is no guarantee that its new owner will become cool in middle age because there are so many other older novice riders who have gone down that same road to Fonzie World, so the novelty has worn off in a big way.




The lion’s share of them travel on their bikes wearing new leather gear, cool black helmets, signature shades, and standard issue skull scarves over their faces. There is little to identify one rider from another and the unchecked, loud exhaust on every bike delivers that loopy tractor engine cadence whenever they aren’t blipping the throttle at every stop light.




If you are a guy who decided to buy a Harley so you can stand out in a crowd of other middle-aged guys, then you will be sadly disappointed with the results because you are definitely not alone in the pursuit of coolness.




There are many among us who will attempt to channel their inner Peter Fonda with a Harley and they will fail miserably at the task.


There is a better way to go in the earnest pursuit of coolness and it comes with four wheels: an old car or truck. Harley Davidson produced about 300,000 bikes last year and there were no 1956 Fords built in 2016.




There were no 1950s-era fin cars produced last year and no 1960s-era muscle cars left the Big Three factories in 2016.




The simple fact is no cars or trucks from a bygone era can be bought from a dealership in 2016. They represent a different era in style and they will make their owners much cooler than a brand new Harley in a cookie cutter world filled with brand new Harleys.




Most old vehicles are long gone from the road and the ones that have survived are essentially a natural attention-getting device for their owners. The coolness factor is off the charts in an old ride because they are rock star cool on a planet overrun with new Hogs ridden by middle-aged owners in a desperate search for coolness.




The solution is very simple: sell the new Harley and buy an old car. The added bonus is most of the old rides also have roofs and heaters.       


Jim Sutherland


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