Harley Davidson motorcycles are quintessential Americana. An instrument of freedom to the outsiders.
They look mean, they sound angry, and they go fast. They also cost $12-$30k...for a motorcycle.
I understand that many motorcycle riders are out to make a statement, but with the current cost of Harley, the main statement is "I can afford to spend more on a motorcycle that I ride like 1000 miles a year than most people spend on the car they use for daily transportation." And that isn't exactly a renegade message to get behind. I like Harleys, and I like motorcycles, and once I get settled into my house, I will be getting a motorcycle...but not a Harley.
A motorcycle is, at most, half a car. Smaller engine, simpler transmission, two wheels/brakes, and near zero body work or safety features. They are ideal commuters: great gas mileage, easy to find parking for. While the safety issue is overblown by many, it is also real. Of course it is exacerbated by an overabundance of overlarge vehicles operated by overly-distracted drivers (who are likely content in their distraction because of the safety of their vehicles, which are actually the most dangerous on the road...to everyone else).
The new Harley Sportster comes in at a reasonable price and with a look to appeal to younger riders. At over $8k, however, it is still an expensive motorcycle.