Harley Denies Million-Mile Rider Clutch Warranty for Flying Flags

Ain’t it funny when all the hype and advertising hides behind corporate BS and legal subterfuges when it comes to avoiding paying for warranty? Of course it is, if you’re the one not paying, but if you’re the customer, things may look a bit different. Long story short, Harley-Davidson refuses to replace the dead clutch of a 2014 trike because… the owner used to fly flags on it. AND they’re not even H-D flags or mounts.
Dave Zien 1 photo
Dave Zien is no usual Harley rider, as he has been riding these bikes all his life. With more than 2.5 million miles (4 million km) logged, Zien, who is also a former state senator, is definitely one guy who loves to ride. One of his former bikes is now displayed in the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame in South Dakota after being ridden for more than 1 million miles (1.6 mil km). So you see, Zien is really NOT the Average Joe when it comes to H-D machines, but still…

On a recent ride to Dallas, the clutch of Zien’s 2014 trike gave up, and since both this defect and the rest of the bike were covered by the warranty, he naturally asked Harley to repair his bike for free. The big surprise came in the shape of a very polite refusal, motivated by the fact that Dave Zien in flying several (in fact, seven) flags on his bike, among which a 3x5 ft (90cm x 150cm) one.

Harley officials say that Zien adding flags to his bike create supplemental drag, and they’re totally right. But claiming that by doing this, he “was not using the product for the purpose for which it was designed” is a bit off. Frankly, it’s hard to believe that Zien, a former marine with an amputated right leg rode the living hell out of his trike all the time, at full speed so that the drag would be such a clutch-killer.

Still, it looks like all the responses he got from Harley revolve around the same idea: the flags Zien used are “noncompliant products” with which he “altered the motorcycle, impacting his ability to make a warranty claim”. Harley also adds that the flag mounts Zien used are non H-D products, for what’s worth. Now, with Dave Zien having flown multiple flags on all his bikes for quite a long time, and this is the first time the clutch fails, let alone the fact that we’re dealing with a new bike, some might start asking questions on the reliability of the new machines…

While it’s obvious that the position of both parts make sense up to a point, the big question is a purely physics problem. Would H-D deny a warranty claim for a dead clutch for a tall, heavy guy, riding with a tall heavy passenger in the back, with some extra luggage and with their knees out?

Via motorbiker


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