I see the Harley Mafia is in full swing. They give thumbs down to anyone not kneeling at the altar of the "Harley Davidson" God.
I find about 10 - 15% of HD riders are real bikers, have been riding for years, rain or shine, and they respect anyone on two wheels. When you wave at these guys, they wave back, regardless of what you're on.
The rest are "Biker Wannabes," as articulated by another poster, ride for 2 or 3 hours on weekends, stick their nose in the air at Japanese bikes, because they fall for the "Harley is superior" hype. These are guys that rode a dirt bike when they were a kid, maybe had a Yamaha XS650 for 3 months before getting the sh!t scared out of them. Now, their kids have moved out, maybe the wife did too, and they want to recall their glory days.
Don't get me wrong, HD certainly has their place in the world of motorcycles. A HUGE place. I love the way they sound, I like how they look, but I also love the variety of bikes out there, from any country, and any size shape, engine configuration. American, Japanese, Italian, German, British, I love 'em all. But if you think a HD is a fire-breathing monster that other bikers are afraid to take on in a race, forget it. Loud does not equal fast or powerful. I had a KLR650 that my Harley buddies made fun of for looking like a dirt bike and sounding like a lawnmower. Until I blew their doors in in a drag race. I paid $4000 for the KLR with 600 miles on it. The HD bikes cost an average of $12,000 and had a variety of performance enhancements, and most of them had more than twice the displacement.
Cue the Harley Mafia to click the "thumbs down" icon.
Bottom line is HD is not a bike for racing. They are very heavily over-engineered cruisers, and that's a good thing, but it makes them expensive. You get what you pay for. They will last for decades with a minimum of normal maintenance, and can be rebuilt easily. They are simple - they use 85-year-old pushrod/rocker arm technology, a proven, reliable method for operating valves. But pushrods and two-valves-per-cylinder are not conducive to high performance.
If I had unlimited money, I'd have a garage full of Harleys and everything else. I consider myself to be a guy that rides motorcycles, not a guy that rides Harleys. There's a difference.
45 years riding, former Kawasaki dealer service manager.