Free «Harley Davidson’s Subculture» Essay Sample

Subculture refers to a group within a particular culture that portrays some distinctive features. For illustration, the Harley Davidson bike owners create a subculture in the culture of motorbike owners. The members of any subculture have common behaviors that unite and identify them with the given subculture (Aaker 6).

Ethnography refers to the study of a particular ethnic group or particular group’s behavior with respect to what they do and in what unique manner they carry out their particular traits.

Subcultures of consuming various commodities among harmonized groups of populace who are united by a frequent obligation to certain set of items involving the particular commodity. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners and riders share various features in common. In prolonged rendezvous with members of the subculture, the methods I utilize are applicant observation and detailed interviews to examine the "Harley subculture and its impacts on other sectors such as the Davidson bikes market.

With the study four main aspects of the Harley’s subculture appear. These are: consumer-initiated new commodity creation, mass-marketed charisma, astonishing product classification, and transcendence of state and civilizing boundaries. Through study of the subculture consumption the intriguing social units provide aver rich recourse for market research and segmentation since they have high levels of homogeneity that influence the consumer activities of the individuals (Aaker 87).



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The uniform style and behavior of these subcultures of utilization make them noteworthy to marketers, the well defining market segment that has a propensity to exceed cultural contexts, demographic followers, and ethnicities. Additionally, their commitment and their creative behaviors impact their markets far ahead of the limits of normal consumption. High status members of the various consumption subcultures act as creators of various opinions. Leaders imbue particular products with particular meaning that is shared or is obsessed by the larger market and that is nonessential to the foundation. For example, tough-core punk rockers develop styles which are copied faithfully by their soft-core members in the subculture and by quack members who are not important to the core subculture (Deshpande 124).

An evaluation of the existence of consumption-oriented subcultures brings out the features which according to the rumors are beneficial relationships among various subcultures and promotion institutions supplying products and services supporting the subculture's philosophy of expenditure. The research data reveals four interesting features of affairs sandwiched between marketers and consumption-oriented subcultures (Deshpande 127):

1) Shopper initiates new-product improvement

2) Mass-marketed charisma

3) Astonishing brand detection

4) Transcendence of general and enlightening limitations


In this research I use both primary and secondary data. General hypothetical and procedural guidance are outlined in the review of present ethnography of an assortment of non-ethnic subcultures. Themes suggested in the literature are probed and created in the circumstance of the authors’ ethnographic study of Harley-Davidson dirt bike ownership.

Ethnographic vocation

Used data consists of the field notes developed on observation and interviews, and particular photographs taken at rally but also on road. During that week of the convention around 300,000 motorcyclists, majority of which were Harley-Davidsons riders, passed through the small town of Sturgis (Deshpande 285).

Rallies provide outstanding opportunity to participate and observe various aspects of the subculture of motorcycle enthusiasts. These rallies provide good avenues to study the effects that subcultures have on the consumers of various products. For example during the rally it is possible to view various types of brands used by motorbike enthusiasts. For example, a "Freedom Rally" catered for by ABATE, an organization pushing for the motorbike riders rights , was attended almost entirely by the Harley-Davidson owners, even though a number of European and Japanese bikes were also present (Glaser 24).

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In addition, through the rallies observation, information was also gathered from other related avenues which included close interviews with the riders and studying magazines such as Biker, Easy riders, American iron and Super cycle. In addition to observation and interviews with bike owners, much insight was given to the study thanks to the interview of the Harley corporate offices. In addition to these methods we decided to use the following methods to get more information for study (Glaser 28).


Various parties selected to represent different types of owners of Harley’s brand identified in this ethnographic inquiry. For example, the first meetings attended was HOG chapter which comprised utterly of the elderly bikers with a preference for "dressers” such as Electra Glides. In contrast, the interaction with the rich urban riders who had custom made leather covered bikes showed a feature of the riders as belonging to two groups of riders mainly regal and underground groups of whom they regularly ride together with various aims and purpose to popularize. The Harleys subculture is mainly composed of bike enthusiasts whose aim is to come up with the necessary identity. Purposive sampling proceeds so as to provide exposure of and contact to the varieties of bikers identified in the field work. The Harleys subculture creates a powerful marketing tool through attracting the enthusiasts and encouraging more to join as well as adopt various lifestyles such as dress code and various commodities used to ensure full association with the group and to be fully recognized as a member (Glaser 40).

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Direct analysis of observed and photogenic data was part of  interpreting various symbols, in particular those of pervasive demonstration in dressing code and bike customization. Analysis of the particular meanings of biker representation serves two important roles: first, it was revelatory so as to understand underlying philosophy of the subculture that includes values widespread and deviating among the various subgroups and second, it permits us to trail the association of the embodied meaning through the subculture. The public display of biker symbols necessitated the investigation of the bikers even outside the subculture and how it influences motorbike ownership. Although most symbols permit multiple interpretations, certain meanings make sense than others when analyzed in the context of a holistic pattern or system of symbols utilized together. By taking into consideration such condernstellations of symbols, minimal differences in the usage of personality symbols by different groups can be determined.

Data from various interviews and examination of field notes were veiled, compared, warped to categories, and distracted to yield interpretive themes. For example, the evolving themes of “grass-roots study and advance” were derived as a construct of groupings such as labels like "shade-tree mechanics" and the "armchair design." These categories were developed to cover individual not explicit annotations such as "Chrome-Magnon's custom regulations" and "consumer-commercialized girdle drive." Deviation on this procedure of thought is described by McCracken (67) and Glaser and Yvonne (124). A back and forth procedure of data examination and literature analysis yields the four themes forming the foundation of this paper.

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The existence of a Harley David’s bike ownership subculture in Central America guided by the basic principal of riding a Harley David bike influences the consumption and consumer subculture. The charisma attached to owning the Harleys bike is an irresistible force to any motorbike enthusiast (Yvonne 137). The consequent relationships between the producer company and the subculture compliments the actions of the subculture oriented consumption. This helps to increase sales as well as to increase the improvements required by the clients. The findings show the following features concerning subculture guided consumption (Quinn 246).

Consumer initiated product development

An interesting phenomena pragmatic among Harley owners is the predisposition to create both technological and stylish advancements in motorbike gear and fashion. Such a feature is not only unique to the dispatch rider subculture, but is visible in any subculture or a group that shows evidence of astonishing commitment to a particular product or consumption behavior (Quinn 456). For example, during the creation of numerous technological developments in skydiving equipment has been conceived and fashioned by skydivers in cottage industries. A similar observable fact is highly visible in surfing whose core members are responsible for key advancements in the surfboard and the clothing design. The enthusiasts of the hot rod subculture are also dedicated to the technical and artistic modification of American automobiles which led to an impossible  impression of the Detroit vehicle industry by stimulating creation of hot rods, garnishing, and special magazines demand (Pearson78).

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The cordial relationships maintained by the Harley Davidson Company and its riders have sparked major developments and loyalties. This has been manifested through frequent sponsorships for rallies and other cooperative activities leading to more charisma of the riders and more adoration of people who intend to join the sub cultural activities (Pearson 97). Through these interactions the company and motorbike enthusiasts benefit from sale of consumer considerate products which intern increases sales revenues to the company. Consequently, the blueprint of production motorcycles, trimmings, and garments continues to ricochet styles originating from the core of the dispatch rider subculture. Among the examples are extensive forks, freeway foot pegs, shrink away handlebars, sissy bars, and a large number of chrome and leather; all these are engineered to create the biker's custom look (Pearson 103). Harley-Davidson clothing is redolent of styles fashioned by hard-core bikers. For example, black leather vest in the company of insignias that serves as the identical uniform for members of the Harley Davidson subculture bears a striking semblance in the form and the function to prohibited colors which only tend to inspire some radicalism into the bikers.

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                        Despite the ample range of Harley-Davidson’s representative trimmings, field findings suggest that high levels of consumer-initiated improvement still continue. As an illustration, a photocopy handbill post in Oregon Harley Company advertises a girdle drive which was designed by the old Harley rider for generations of Harley riders that could be retrofitted to old Harleys. These have led to the development of particular custom of  brands exhibiting various cocktail features.

Mass marketing charisma

Although custom alteration to the motorcycles and the clothing may be viewed as a personal, communicative manifestation of various products and involvement may be considered as leisure behavior, the various cultural innovations, such as raked silhouette of a "chop" motorbike, appear to radiate from the particular subculture, and are finally adopted more broadly in the motor bike industry. Certain products or developments can be co-opted by marketing institutions and then promoted to be used by crowds. (Wallendorf 68). For example,  rap music commercialization followed this pattern; used mainly and then fashioned by a hip-hop group of African Americans, rap then became widely used in pop music with advancements in advertising jingles for kids products .The continued endorsement of the HOG (Harley Owners Group) society while distancing themselves from crime in the gangs enables the company and the subculture to enjoy the awe of other motorbike enthusiasts enabling mass recruitment into the subculture so as to benefit from the subculture status( Hunter 34).

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Astonishing brand name identification

Harley Davidson riders associate themselves greatly with the original bikers of the given brand creating some loyalty among all members of the subculture since the Harley Davidson bikes and other products create a false image of the subculture (Reynolds 79).The subculture often portrays the group as a criminal assemblage without getting into real crime. The brands are however widely marketed to the societies through the admiration and charisma of the subculture. The support also offered by the company provides the motivation to promote the subculture resulting to increased sales revenue to the company.

Overriding Cultural Boundaries

Subcultures formed around unique ideologies of consumption have uniformity that may override racial, ethnic, or national differences. This is clearly shown by the Harley Davidson subculture where all people are united by one main aspect of riding the specific bike brand. This uniting factor enables the group to get enthusiasts from all parts of America and small groups in other nations. The aspect of overriding race promotes many countries agendas which enable the acceptability of the bikes in various states (McQuire 86). 


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