Motorcycle dealerships have an allure I can’t resist, nor do I try to. I tell Lora it’s “research,” but that excuse fools neither of us. I don’t discriminate; I visit all brands and never fail to find something I’d like to own. Recently, Indian and Harley dealers have been on my list.

Harley’s revamped lineup has produced some visually stunning motorcycles that need to be seen in person to be truly appreciated – in particular, the new CVO Road Glide with its new 121ci motor. The revised sharknose fairing gives it a very contemporary look, an update long needed. Then there’s the limited-edition Fast Johnny Road Glide with blue and white paint – love it! As a Road Glide fan, I’d also be happy with the FLTRXS, especially with the Industrial Yellow/Black livery pictured below. 

Unrepentant Curmudgeon Sticker Shock FLTRXS Road Glide
Reg thinks this FLTRXS Road Glide would look great in his garage, but its out-the-door price of nearly $50K is too expensive for our curmudgeon.

On the Indian side, the Chieftain Dark Horse in its Sagebrush Smoke color would fit comfortably in my life.

That I might own one of these beauties is becoming increasingly doubtful due to price creep. The Chieftain has a starting price of $28,999. The new CVO Road Glide starts at $42,999, and the FLTRXS has an MSRP of $31,799. Those are the base prices. Let’s look at what it would take to actually purchase a Road Glide FLTRXS. 

The recent rise in transportation costs has caused Harley to implement a freight surcharge of $850. Also add $1,000 for the “H-D Factory Surcharge,” which I’m told is to compensate for increased manufacturing costs. 

Another interesting factoid is that the labor rate at the Indian dealership is $200 an hour; the local H-D dealer charges $184. This is reflected in the “Setup” costs, which for the Harley is $940. That gets us up to $34,589. 

Oh, and that’s without the $6,717 fee for “added accessories and labor charges.” I don’t know what makes up that number, but it pushes the price to $41,306. And let’s not forget about sales tax, which is 9.375% where I live. That’s another $3,872. The license fee? That will be $639, please. 

Unrepentant Curmudgeon Sticker Shock
The FLTRXS Road Glide’s list price of $31,799 is just the starting point.

“Thank you, sir, please pay the cashier $45,817 on your way out.” That had me thinking of the marital consequences were I to buy it. Bummer, but I have to pass. 

I’ve long advocated that motorcycles at dealers should carry a Monroney sticker – the large window sticker that you find on new and used automobiles. They display, among other things, all the installed accessories and show exactly what all the charges are before you sit down with a salesperson.

Being old and remembering what things formerly cost (“Get over it!” Lora tells me), I choke a bit over these prices. However, in talking with salespeople at the dealerships, the expensive models move off the floor quite quickly. I guess $50,000 isn’t what it used to be.

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  1. It’s getting ridiculous at the dealerships with all the charges! Add a few thousand for insurance and your tapped right out. That’s why I only buy used. There are plenty of Harleys a year or two old with less than 1000 miles on them for substantial cash savings! Screw the dealerships. I. Done with them personally.

  2. Yep, too much. Wait for a 5-year-old one that a weekend warrior purchased at the high price with low miles. Also wait 5 years after a new model introduction for the co to figure out and maybe re-engineer the diffinciencies.

  3. The sad (strange) thing is, even though the dealerships are flooded with inventory, prices don’t budge. Or if they do cut the price, they make it back though big $$ add-ons the buyer doesn’t want or need. I blame it on the “mega-dealership” trend of all the Harley dealers being bought up by large car dealership corporations. They have very deep pockets and are seemingly invulnerable and indifferent to economic headwinds. I too, am through with it.


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