It was a kickass journey on these two smooth-riding machines. We rode through sunny Miami, where I had the chance to meet the man of the hour: Willie G. Davidson. He is a great grandson of one of the founding members of Harley-Davidson and heir to the throne—a cool cat with a particular presence. He’s not an arrogant man or a tattoo-riddled hell-raiser, as some would think, but more of a thoughtful, caring father figure, who you can quickly tell has spent the better part of his life bleeding his heart and soul into the brand. Listening to him speak, I began to understand how he was partially responsible for bringing his family's company from the brink of extinction in the early ’80s to a preeminent global player and the most recognizable motorcycle brand the world over. As Chief Styling Officer, he is also the man behind the greatest bikes ever produced by Harley-Davidson.
Willie G. is not an arrogant man or a tattoo-riddled hell-raiser, as some would think, but more of a thoughtful, caring father figure.
This attention to detail is what Willie G. brought to Harley Davidson, and that remains the key to the company’s ongoing success for the next 100 years. Cool as ice, Willie G. was in Miami to kick off an international press event for the launch of the two factory custom bikes—two new ballers and welcome additions to the Harley family of rides. Per usual, these models go the extra distance beyond form and function to tickle that sixth motorcycle sense and ignite that thing lives within true bikers. From seven-layer custom candy apple fleck paint jobs, to little touches that hearken back to the rat rod culture, they tip their hats to styling cues of days gone by. These are the things that made Elvis's pelvis swing and are what forced millions to ride thousands of miles to find.
It’s crazy to see Willie G. stepping down from his thrown and announcing retirement. The kid that once loved to draw the day away and ride in his dad's sidecar year-round along the back roads of Wisconsin, now having realized his dreams, is taking a rest after 49 years of service.
Click through for an ode to the bikes that Willie G. brought to market over the last five decades. In doing so, he captured the hearts and minds of millions of diehards like me.
Follow @ComplesRides for more news and commentary.