Many baby boomers are buying Harley-Davidson motorcycles and trading in their golf clubs and polo shirts for leather chaps and steel toed boots. The reasons for this trend are numerous and often hotly debated among interested parties. To understand this phenomenon, we must first discuss the perception of what a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is.
Most people think that any large, V-Twin motorcycle that makes a lot of noise is a Harley. On the contrary, there are literally hundreds of motorcycle manufacturers that are building and marketing Harley type motorcycles. For every intention, they look and sound like a Harley-Davidson. This is intentional. With the cost of new Harleys averaging approximately $19,000 - $21,000, it isn't hard to understand why companies marketing a look alike for $10,000 - $12,000, are making money. Most people can't afford a new Harley. .
There are also many custom motorcycle companies that are building what used to be termed "choppers". These motorcycles often incorporate Harley-Davidson motors but everything else, the frame, gas tank, fenders, wheels, etc. are "aftermarket", meaning they are parts manufactured to augment Harley-Davidson motorcycles, or to be used in conjunction with Harley motors to create outlandish looking motorcycles that are more art than machine. To the layman, all of these different motorcycles fall into the Harley classification. Even with the disparity in terms of what a Harley-Davidson is the basic idea that baby boomers are the ones buying them is still true. .
Understanding this, it becomes a question not of why boomers are buying Harleys, but instead why boomers are buying motorcycles that resemble the machines that the "biker" crowds of the sixties were famous for riding? With this being the question, it becomes easier to analyze. Many young men were attracted to choppers sporting small front wheels, extended forks, and flamboyant paint schemes that included flames, skulls, and the likes.