Back in the early 80s, Harley Davidson was on the ropes. Fast forward to the present day, and you’ll see that Harley Davidson is one of the most successful companies in the world, with a brand that has a value north of $7.8 billion. The vast majority of that value doesn’t come from bike sales – it comes from the company’s transformation into a community-based brand, a company that provides its members with what they want, from top quality aftermarket parts to the usual branded clothing…but somewhere in between there’s a hell of a lot of nonsense that made its way to the sales shelves, and we’re here to show you the strangest items on display. Because let’s face it…they’ll stick their logo on anything if they reckon they can turn a profit…
The idea behind this article isn’t about poking fun at the Harley Davidson riding community – in fact, the idea came up after reading a great article which touched upon the success of Harley Davidson, and the failure of other American brands. If you had to choose between a Victory or a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a sensible rider who cares about performance, riding comfort, mileage and general value for money, would be a fool not to have chosen a Victory. But the Victory dream is over, and Harley Davidson remains… And the secret to Harley Davidson’s great success is down to its branding and company image.
Not only do they sell appealing bikes, they also sell a lifestyle, and that’s a core part of the Harley Davidson ethos. I’ve ridden Harleys, but never owned one, but I have used their gear and accessories quite a lot (often received as last-minute gift ideas from unimaginative relatives). Their own-brand rain gear is great value for money and can handle a decent shower, their tools are pretty handy and have got me out of a few binds, and their maintenance and care packages really do the job. That’s what makes the brand successful – but for all of their great gear and accessories…occasionally they’ve gone a step too far. And that’s why we’re going to show you some of the more obscure Harley Davidson products that have surfaced over the years.
So if you’re looking for some great gift ideas or some extra HD-branded goods to adorn your man cave, then look no further. Forget unofficial vendors stamping a logo on any old tat, or enterprising Etsy artisans who hand knit HD willie-warmers, we’re talking about the real deal here. Official products only…
Harley Davidson Wine Coolers
So these were a thing. Just after the company’s near death experience, the big wigs decided to lend their trademark out to Scooter Juice Inc., and the result was a neat pack of wine coolers for the discerning Harley Davidson rider. They didn’t last long. They were discontinued soon after. Harley Davidson riders aren’t generally known for their taste in wine, so the idea was quickly scrapped, and now they’re nothing more than a reference on list articles like these. That being said, the Harley online store is trying to sell engraved wine glasses, so if you’re a Harley-riding wine aficionado, all is not lost… It’s a great gift idea actually.
The Harley Davidson Fragrance
These perfumes and after shaves are considered rare and extremely collectible by those who…need a better hobby. Anyway, Harley Davidson teamed up with L’Oreal in 1994 to create a cologne that defines what a real motorcyclist should smell like. Contrary to popular belief, a real motorcyclist doesn’t smell like two-stroke fumes and sweat, but of a clever concoction of cypress, cedar, patchouli, sandalwood, with top notes of bergamot and mint. Most of these are discontinued these days, but the last iteration “Black Fire” came out in 2005…so the Harley smell enjoyed quite a long time on the shelves. Who bought it? No idea. But someone did, apparently. Every man cave should have a bottle. Or not.
Harley Davidson Barbie and Ken Dolls
Why invest in a G.I Joe or an Action Man, when you could have your own Harley Davidson branded Barbie and Ken? These are very real, and have actually been a part of the Barbie line since 1996 – and as far as we can be bothered to search, still exist (last editions as recent as 2010). Yeah, Barbie and Ken, probably two icons that couldn’t be further removed from the Harley Davidson subculture. Of course, we’re providing a link for the full range. Definitely worth a look. I swear I’ve seen the leather-clad 1996 Barbie’s ad on craigslist… And 2000 Ken’s one too… Anyway, they exist (or existed)…Who’d have thought it? Seriously though, as gifts for women go, these suck.
Harley Davidson Dog Clothes
There are dog clothes and there are dog clothes. Sticking a bandana around your Labrador’s neck is one thing, putting your pug in Harley branded pajamas is another. Available from the House Of Harley dealership’s online store, you can wrap your favorite four legged friend in anything from Bad To The Bone HD mechanic’s gear, to treating him with a tasteful vinyl “Bar & Shield” dog hat. Has our wonton consumerism gone too far? “No,” says the man in charge of Harley Davidson trademark distribution, “not far enough!” The best part about the website is the About Us section, which boldly announces their mission statement: “Helping others achieve the American dream.” Sign me up for the dog clothes.
Harley Davidson Snow Globes
Still very much available on the official online store, you can grab yourself a Harley Davidson Christmas gift snow globe. Sadly, it’s still stamped with the 2016 year on it, but no doubt you’ll be able to spend a further $40 on the 2017 edition in time for next Christmas. If you’re not taken with the snow globe, you could also get yourself some tree decorations… I’m all for a bit of brand loyalty, but Christmas decorations is a bit of a stretch. I don’t think you see many Suzuki riders with an “S” dangling from their Christmas tree…or many “Happy Honda Holidays” banners draped across the front windows. A Yamaha tuning fork by the ol’ piano is perfectly legitimate though. If you’re looking for an odd Christmas gift, you’ve found it.
Bonus: The Harley Davidson Business Tie
No self-respecting H-D merch bashing list would be complete without the very well-referenced range of neck ties that Harley Davidson stuck it’s logo on in the 90s and early 2000s. Nothing screams “I’m a rebellious sort of chap” quite like a machine washable, 100% polyester neck tie emblazoned with the legendary logo. Luckily, the logo sits at the bottom of the tie, so you can hide your rebellious nature to your boss by buttoning up your blazer. Or you could commit the ultimate fashion faux-pas and tuck it in to your pants – that’s probably a step up from having it on display anyway…A great gift for the business outlaw.
But How About Some Unofficial Harley Davidson Gifts Too?
There’s more unofficial Harley Davidson gifts and merchandise out there than you probably thought possible. It seems that slapping the Bar & Shield on anything seems to make that “thing” go up in value, and many an enterprising merchant has reached the very same conclusion. So here are a few gems we’ve seen for sale floating around the internet. If you’re looking for comedy Harley Davidson gifts for men and women then try one of these. Or if you’re looking for a way to market your failing product, just stick a Harley Davidson logo on it. Someone will buy it, if the internet is to be believed.
The HD Shower Curtain
If you’re buying for a rider who likes to keep their bodies as clean and polished as their chrome-work then you’d be foolish not to invest in this beautiful HD-branded shower curtain. Every home should have one, right? 100% polyester, 100% water resistant, a billion percent awesome, and probably not a single percent American made. One Amazon reviewer had this to say: “Love it! Just what I needed to complete the Harley bathroom!” which is a more polite way of saying “God help me, what have I done?! My mid-life crisis has cost me my family and everything I love.” It’s probably a fine shower curtain that does the job, so who are we to judge?
If you’re not content with keeping your bathroom floor dry from escaping water, you could go the whole HOG and invest in one of these sexy little numbers to swan around you man cave in. It’s a fairly standard robe that comes in a white 100% cotton finish, complete with belt and belt loop, with two front pockets for keeping all of your Harley things in. Naturally, it also features a big Bar & Shield logo on the back, with some embroidered features on the front. Nothing encapsulates the spirit of Easy Rider quite like this plush bathrobe. It’s the perfect Christmas gift, surely? Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda would be proud.
The Bar & Shield Snuggie
And once you’re all dried off from your shower and need to snuggle up on the couch, why not do it in style with this Bar & Shield branded Snuggie? Now, there isn’t really much to say about this apart from the fact that it exists. It exists. It is for sale. And presumably, some people buy it. And why wouldn’t they? Just look how comfy the model looks in the picture. The longer you look, the scarier she gets. Like a blonde, Harley Davidson-themed Cruella de Vil. Actually we want one of these. If it comes with free shipping, we might actually invest in one.
The Lunch Box
This one isn’t actually a bad gift idea – and the more we look at it, the more we like it. The only really annoying thing about it is the fact that a very same lunch box-tote thing can be bought for a fraction of the price if it comes without the Harley Davidson logo emblazoned on it. That’s kind of the moral of the story here. The logo seems to be more valuable than the actual motorcycles these days, which is a real shame because it makes Harley Davidson an easy target – and that is totally unfair because their motorcycles do offer such a unique and exciting riding experience, with excellent bang for buck (if you stick to the acceptably-priced models). This lunch box shouldn’t cost over $40. But it does.
The Live To Ride Toilet Seat
Yep, it exists. And rather than write about it here, the good folks at Revzilla have even put together a nice video extolling the qualities of this rather niche Harley Davidson gift idea. We don’t even know if this is a licensed product or whether it’s totally unofficial – but Revzilla are selling it, so it’s probably got genuine links to the company. Is this one of the greatest Harley Davidson gifts of all time? We think it’s the best, and no self-respecting Harley rider from the United States of America should be without one installed in their man cave. Plastic mounting hardware included.
Serious Harley Davidson Gift Ideas
If you’re looking for real gift ideas (and for some reason none of these appeal to you) there are plenty of excellent Harley-Davidson products out there that any HD rider would be proud to own. If you’re torn between gift ideas, we recommend investing in the Harley Davidson gift card. Available in different values, it’s a more practical gift idea, allowing the receiver to actually buy what they want. Plus it comes with free shipping, which you’d hope for a gift card. Give your loved one a Harley-Davidson gift card, and we’ll pray that they spend it on a toilet seat.
However, if you’re looking for a present that will actually be wanted, it seems like you can’t go wrong with a HD Neon Clock. After digging around online, it seems like neon clocks emblazoned with the Harley-Davidson name are perfect gifts for men swept up in Harley-Davidson fandom. eBay is full of them, but the amount of active bidders and watchers is staggeringly high on these items, so there’s obviously a demand. If you’re buying for a Harley rider, or any cruiser rider, a neon clock seems to be one of the surest gift ideas out there