Author Archive

100 Things to Spend Your Tax Refund On

Posted: March 5, 2011 by kegelharley in Uncategorized

After you have finished pulling your hair out, screaming at your tax person and accountant, spend weeks of sleepless nights, and go through about $200 in coffee in just a week…. you are rewarded with your annual tax refund. At last! It’s here!….

…Now what?

Now it’s time to treat yourself for the past year of hard work! Here are 100 things you could treat yourself or a friend/family member to:

1. New motorcycle (models start at just $7,999!)
2. Big bore kit to up your performance
3. FXRG Leather Jacket to keep you safe
4. Rain gear to keep you dry
5. Lightweight nylon jacket
6. Mesh Hydration jacket
7. Hydration packs for your jacket
8. Fingerless gloves
9. Full-finger gloves
10.  Waterproof hoodie
11. Modular helmet
12. Full-face helmet to keep you safe
13. 3/4 helmet
14. 1/2 helmet
15. Jeans to look and feel good in
16. 3-in-1 jacket
17. Travel mug for your commute coffee
18. Photo album
19. Wine glasses
20. Shot glasses for those rough days
21. Photo frames to display your friends and family in
22. Tin signs
23. Neon clock that will look cool in your Harley room
24. Wall mount bottle opener
25. Desk accessories
26. Cooler
27.Travel clock
28. Coasters to keep your table nice
29. Knit hat
30. Balaclava
31. Neck warmer
32. Ear warmer
33. Heated vest
34. Heated jacket for those cold nights
35. Heated gloves
36. Heated pants
37. Short sleeve button down shirt to look good after the ride
38. Long sleeve button down shirt
39. Pullover hoodie
40. Zip-up hoodie
41. Day/night lens eyewear to protect your eyes at all times
42. Baseball cap
43. Tri-fold wallet
44. Bi-fold wallet
45. Wallet chain to keep your money close
46. Money clip
47. Belt
48. Belt buckle
49. Luggage for your road trips
50. Road Tech GPS Navigator to keep you going in the right direction
51. Boom! Audio music & intercom kit
52. Boom! Audio XM Radio kit
53. HD Smart Security System to keep your bike safe
54. Remote control garage door opener
55. Tour-pak rack lid
56. Sissy bar backpack
57. Square saddlebag cooler to quench your thirst on those long rides
58. Two-pocket fairing pouch
59. Tw0-pocket windshield pouch
60. Rider cup holder to keep your drink close at hand
61. Magnetic tank tote
62. Tribal collection mirrors
63. Mirrors with auxiliary running lights
64. Willie G. Skull collection mirrors
65. Silencer collection hand grips
66. Edge cut collection hand grips
67. Tribal collection hand grips
68. Willie G. Skull collection hand grips
69. Flame collection hand grips
70. Black Flame hand control lever kit
71. Mini footboard kit
72. Edge cut collection footpegs
73. Silencer collection footpegs
74. Tribal collection footpegs
75. Flame collection footpegs
76. Edge cut collection shifter peg
77. Screamin’ Eagle Street Performance Slip-on Mufflers
78. Diamond Ice Collection air cleaner trim
79. Oasis day cover
80. Harley bubble cover
81. Circulator seat pads
82. Premium cotton indoor storage cover
83. Breathable indoor storage cover
84. Skull collection LED fuel gauge
85. Screamin’ Eagle medallion
86. Digital oil pressure gauge in chrome
87. Solo spring saddle in brown leather
88. Electra-glo light pod kit
89. Billet analog clock
90. All-in-one folding tool
91. Fill-n-go fuel tank funnel to avoid messes
92. Snap-On tool kit
93. Digital tire pressure gauge
94. Compact first aid kit
95. Compact tire gauge and tread depth indicator
96. HOG Blaster motorcycle dryer to avoid water spots
97. Detailing kit to keep your bike looking its best
98. Wash mitt
99. Disposable oil absorbent work station mat
100. SuperSmart battery tender

Make The Most Of 2011

Posted: January 11, 2011 by kegelharley in Uncategorized
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What kind of memories stand out the most when you think back over the past year? Did live 2010 to its fullest potential?

Some may think it sounds a little intimidating, but I think that having a Bucket List for each year helps keep you in line and living life to the max. Some items on the list may be a bit extreme (like say, skydiving?) and some a little more tame (making time to have dinner with your parents every month). I like to think that when it comes to adding things having to do with Harley-Davidson to your list, they can be easily achieved! There are tons of things that you can do for little to no cost, or with just a little bit of saving. I guess that’s one of the advantages of living in Northern Illinois… we have at least 4 months to save our money so we can have fun during the warmer months!

Here are a couple of things that should be on everyone’s Bucket List in 2011…

1. Learn to Ride…. and ride safely. When was the last time you rode on a bicycle? Riding a motorcycle is pretty similar, when it comes down to it! Harley-Davidson has classes to help you get on a motorcycle and learn to ride it as safely as possible. Classes are less than $350, we provide the bike, and take just a single weekend with our award winning instructors.

2. Rent a bike you’ve never ridden before. It’s a lot cheaper than renting a car, and a whole lot more fun! Bring in your license showing your M class, then pick out the bike that you would like to rent. Never been on a V-Rod before but always wanted to? Here’s your chance for a day-trip with one! Or how about the big touring bike you’ve been hesitant about getting, but would be convenient for that trip to Daytona in March or Sturgis in August? Rental rates start at just $65.

3. Buy a new motorcycle. Big step, I know… but we can’t make excuses forever! 2011 models have some incredible features… the CVO models even come with iPods! Can you imagine what the 2012 models will have come this August? Best yet is that models start at just $7,999. That’s less than a lot of people pay for a used car. Factor in the gas savings and the priceless feeling of freedom…. do I really need to continue?

4. Start (or continue) customizing your bike. Chrome or black? Performance or style? Or maybe a mixture of everything? Did you know that there are thousands of options to customize your bike with? Mirrors, grips, brake and clutch lines, turn signals, speedometer and tachometers, headlamps, foot controls, covers, hardware, oil lines, gauges, stereos, footpegs, seats, wheels, tires, paint… and the list continues! It doesn’t cost an arm, leg and your first born child to make your bike match your personality. With the help of our salesmen and parts professionals, we can make sure your bike fits YOU the way that you want it to!

5. Be in style, both on and off the bike. Fashions are constantly changing. Thankfully, we are able to keep up with the trends, keep you looking the way you want and provide safety all at the same time. From performance leathers and boots to fashionable heels and dress shirts, we have price points to match nearly every budget. Leathers start at just $199, and come with a 5-year warranty (except for the FXRG, which has a limited lifetime warranty).

6. Go on at least one group ride. Not only are group rides a ton of fun, but they give you a chance to meet other riders that have the same interests as you! Besides… why do you need more than one reason to go for a ride?

7. Join the National HOG Club. At just $45 for a year,  you get money saving programs as well as chances to go on trips of a lifetime with other riders. AT&T and Best Western discounts, reimbursement for safe rider courses, roadside assistance, Fly & Ride program, HD Insurance, motorcycle shipping, ABCs of Touring, touring handbook, patches and pins, theft reward program, and soooo much more.

8. Join your Local HOG Club. Membership for Rock River HOG is just $10 a year. This close-knit group of riders go on tons of dinner rides, chili cook-offs, camping trips, parties, and just ride in general! Meet some new friends close to home, and gain memories to last a lifetime.

9. Attend at least one seminar. You may think you know everything and sometimes be able to prove it, but I bet you will learn at least one new thing when you attend one of our seminars. Throughout the year we have seminars teaching about group riding, road trips, helmets, leather, boots, bike storage, and many more. The times range from 10 minutes to an hour, and are always free.

10. Attend the Illinois State HOG Rally. While the Rally is just for HOG members, the festivities continue at the dealership all weekend long. This will be the first year that Rockford will host the State Rally, and we are SO excited for the opportunity! Hopefully you will take the chance and come out to this memorable event in June.

So will you make the most of 2011? What kind of things are on your Bucket List this year?

Return Policies

Posted: January 5, 2011 by kegelharley in Uncategorized
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Whether we like it or not, every year we give or receive gifts that will ultimately be returned.

Consumer Reports estimate that 20% of Americans will return at least one gift from this holiday season. The National Retail Federation estimates that the value of holiday returns will be up more than $1 billion this year, to $43.82 billion. Even scarier for the retailers is that the industry will lose about $3.68 billion in return fraud. What happened to the holiday spirit? Does it vanish after the last gift is opened?

Our advice to you this time of year, when you’re returning or exchanging your holiday gifts: Make sure you have your receipts and tags on hand, read the return policies on the receipts, and go in with a smile! If in doubt, give the store a call and explain what you want to return. We’ll walk you through the rest.

2010 – Year in Review

Posted: December 29, 2010 by kegelharley in Uncategorized
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Every year right after Christmas, it’s amazing to think back about everything that has happened throughout the year .

Where did the year go? What in the world happened to make the summer fly by so quickly? What do you mean, Christmas already came and went?! I didn’t get to ride nearly as much as I wanted to!

Let’s take a trip to remember some of the things that happened during 2010…

International Motorcycle Show Bus Trip.

February 2010.

As always the bus was packed full of people and there was a lot to be seen at the show! New bikes, old bikes, merchandise, and lots of people from all over.




New Bike Buyers of 2009 Appreciation Party.

February 2010.

This year’s theme was “South of the Border”. We had a ton of prizes donated from local businesses available, a wild fashion show, a photo booth, discounts, and entertainment to rock the night away. Every year these parties are a blast with the different themes! Sorry, no hints as to what this year’s theme will be for the new bike buyers of 2010!


Press Conference for 2011 State HOG Rally.

March 2010.

You got it… the 2011 Illinois State HOG Rally will be in ROCKFORD this year!! We are SO excited to have our city host it this year, and have a lot of stuff lined up for that weekend. We’ll be talking about it more as the event gets closer!


Women’s Garage Party IX.

March 2010.

As always the Garage Party was a huge hit! We love seeing the look of accomplishment spread across the womens’ faces when they realize that they just picked up a big motorcycle off of the ground, or the excitement of learning the ways that they can add accessories to a motorcycle.


Rumble at the Temple 2010.

April 2010.

Kegels was a proud sponsor of Rumble at the Temple, which took place at Tebala Shrine and gave those who attended a chance to win a new 2010 Sportster 883. Will you be there this year for your chance to win??


Karl’s Spring Ride.

April 2010.

These guys were anxious to get their bikes back on the road (totally understandable!) and there was a great turnout for this chilly April ride led by Karl Kegel. This was the first of many free rides that we had throughout the year, purely for the enjoyment of riding.


Bike Blessing and Pet Adoption.

May 2010.

The day was absolutely beautiful for the bike blessing and pet adoption! Many people came out to have their bike blessed by the Christian Motorcycle Association and check out the adorable dogs and cats that were up for adoption from Noah’s Ark.


Blood Drive and Product Seminars. 

May 2010.

The Rock River Blood Center had their big green bus parked out front for the day for dozens of people to donate their blood. While they waited, we had four different product seminars to educate them about helmets, leathers, eyewear, and rain gear.


Annual Executive Ride to Milwaukee.

May 2010.

This annual ride gives riders a chance to explore all that Wisconsin has to offer, including a trip through Milwaukee, the home of Harley-Davidson. Because of our close proximity to Milwaukee and title of world’s oldest family owned dealership, the ride makes a stop over the border to Rockford to grab a bite to eat and browse the dealership.


Mel’s Ride to Milwaukee.

May 2010.

May is known as Women Rider’s Month, and Harley-Davidson holds a big party to celebrate women riders in downtown Milwaukee. Mel Kegel led a ride of both men and women up to the party to join in on the festivities, which included a band, food, drink, bike demos, and more.


Biker Jam 2010.

June 2010.

This year’s Biker Jam started with a torrential downpour of rain along with lightning and thunder… what a nightmare!! However, the sun broke through and turned the day into a scorcher, allowing everyone to ride their bike in and take part in one of our biggest events of the year.


Dogs for Dads.

Father’s Day, June 2010.

Kegel’s staff brought out the grill and cooked hot dogs for fathers and their families for father’s day.




Bruce’s Ride. 

July 2010.

Another one of our free rides led by the sales manager Bruce. The turnout for the free rides is always great… who wouldn’t want a good excuse to go riding on a beautiful day?!




Karl & Rich’s Ride to the Harley-Davidson Museum.

July 2010.

Karl Kegel and service manager Rich led a group of people up to Milwaukee for a tour through the Harley-Davidson Museum. Everyone had a wonderful time, and say that the trip is definitely worth it if you get a chance to go up there!


Ladies Night.

August 2010.

We closed the store to all men and only allowed women to come in and shop, eat, drink, and socialize for a couple of hours. The deals were great and the women even greater! Everyone had such a good time, that another Ladies Night is being planned for this year.



Garage Party X.

August 2010.

This Garage Party was a little more intimate than others, allowing more one-on-one time and more questions than usual.



Hot Bikes & Hot Rods Show.

August 2010.

This year’s show brought out a ton of people on a blazing hot day. There were so many amazing looking bikes and cars, it was hard to pick a winner!



Mark & Allen’s Chicago Style Ride.

August 2010.

Mark Kegel & Rentals/Rider’s Edge director Allen did a free group ride to Sycamore, Illinois to visit the infamous Portillos Hot Dogs. The ride, as always, had a great turnout and everyone loved treating themselves to some wonderful italian beef.



Harley’s Heroes Tour.

August 2010.

The Harley’s Heroes Tour rolled through the dealership to help veterans get all of the benefits that they are entitled to. There were vendors and veterans out to show their support, and a raffle benefiting  disabled veterans.



2011 MY Open House and 9/11 Remembrance Ride.

September 2010.

This year’s Open House introduced some pretty awesome new bike models for 2011 and brought out a lot of people who braved the rain to be able to remember 9/11. There was a chance to buy a brick for the 9/11 Memorial that will be built in downtown Rockford.



1st Annual Swap Meet, Bike Show, and Rock River HOG Chili Cook Off.

September 2010.

The day after the Open House kept festivities going with a swap meet, bike show, and chili cook off for the members of Rock River HOG. For our first swap meet ever, the turnout was better than expected and there are plans for another one this spring!



Fall Color Ride.

October 2010.

Cold weather didn’t stop these guys from coming out to enjoy another ride! Beautiful fall colors welcomed the riders in the beginning, and warm food and treats of the season welcomed them back when they reached the end of the ride.


Champagne Party.

November 2010.

The 21st annual Champagne Party was our best one yet!! Everyone had fun be it a customer or an employee. The champagne was flowing, the food was great, the band and DJ kept the good times going, and the holiday spirit was in the air. Thank you to all of the employees, the vendors, and most importantly thank you to the customers who came out to spend the evening with us!!


Breakfast/Lunch with Santa.

December 2010.

The big man in red joined everyone in the diner as they ate their breakfast and lunch. There was an opportunity to have your photo taken and kids got to let him know what was on their wish list.




This year was full of  good times and good people!! Thank you everyone who joined us in the fun throughout the year, we couldn’t have done it without all of you. We have a lot in store for 2011 to keep the good times going, so be sure to watch out for us on here, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, the radio and TV! Have a safe and happy new year!

Black Friday

Posted: November 24, 2010 by kegelharley in Uncategorized

It’s coming…. the day that really does last 24 hours or more for some people, leaves many injured, earns stores enough money to get out of the red, and gives a LOT of good deals. You got it, that day is Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving first became known as Black Friday as far back as 1869, but gained exposure in the sense that we know it today as early as 1966. Every since the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the day after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to the holiday season.

This Friday we have some sales and specials of our own for the frantic shoppers. 20% off licensed children’s clothing and select licensed home accessories are just the beginning! We will have free cider, coffee and cookies for the early shoppers from 9-11 or until sold out. Throw in some free gift wrapping with your purchases (with tips being donated to support the troops), and you have one big day of shopping! Give us a call at 815-332-7125 for more details. Harley-Davidson has a ton of gift ideas to fit every type of budget and personality.

Here in the dealership, we have some ideas for you to get while you’re here over the Black Friday weekend or during the final shopping days until Christmas. Some items may need to be ordered, so make sure you do so before December 7th to ensure holiday delivery!

Most wished for parts & accessories (as of October 2010):

Service Manuals
Willie G. Skull Collection Items
Chrome Switch Housing Kits
Boom! Audio Tank Pouch
Black Hand Control Lever Kits
Dark Custom Logo Collection Items
Lighted LCD Dipstick
Diamond Black Collection Items
Owner’s Manuals
Breathable Indoor Storage Cover

Most wished for motorclothes (as of October 2010):

Women’s Pink Label Leather Jacket
Women’s Pink Label Activewear Hoodie
Women’s Embellished Zip-Front Hoodie
Women’s Alexa Boots
Men’s Reflective Skull Leather Jacket
Women’s Pink Label Activewear Pants
Rain Gaitors
Women’s Reflective Skull Leather Jacket
Women’s Colorblock Hoodie
Men’s Illumination 360 Jacket
Men’s Stamped Lounge Pant
Men’s Heated Jacket Liner

Some statistics and trivia about Black Friday:

45 — Percent of consumers who shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday

2008 was the only year that saw a plunge in the sales of electronics in the Black Friday history.

Sales in 2009 were $10.66 billion on Black Friday, up .5% from 2008.

66 – Percent of Black Friday shoppers who say they shop for themselves the day after Thanksgiving

The holiday shopping season accounts for $500 billion in sales to year and Black Friday generates about $10 billion of that

About one in five adults are going to purchase Flat panel TVs during or after the holiday shopping season. More adults are going to buy a flat screen TV after the holiday season.

Electronics were the most favorite items in Black Friday 2009

Sweetest Day

Posted: October 13, 2010 by kegelharley in Uncategorized
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You know about birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day…. but do you know about Sweetest Day? A lot of people think that Sweetest Day is just a big “Hallmark Holiday” to sell cards and candy. Wikipedia says:

Sweetest Day is an observance celebrated primarily in the Great Lakes region, and parts of the Northeast United States on the third Saturday in October. Once known as a day to spread love and cheer to the unfortunate, this popular holiday in the northern U.S. is now known as a day to show affection to the loved ones in your life. It is described by Retail Confectioners International as an “occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember not only the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed.”

The first Sweetest Day was on October 8th, 1921 in Cleveland, Ohio. A committee of 12 candy makers distributed over 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor” throughout Cleveland. Today the holiday is celebrated in various parts of the US by giving small gifts, cards and candy to loved ones. It is a widely accepted holiday in Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo but slow to catch on in other parts of the country because of being seen as a “Hallmark Holiday”.

Pink Label Shirt

Pink Label Shirt


If you aren’t really sure what to give for Sweetest Day, we have a few ideas for you! While we don’t have Sweetest Day cards or candy to give, we do have plenty of little items that won’t break the bank but still have a lot of meaning. Take for instance items from the Pink Label line. October is breast cancer awareness month, so in honor of that we are giving away a free pink ribbon bandana with every Pink Label purchase (not to mention a portion of every purchase will be donated to a breast cancer survivor support network).

Not a fan of pink? Around Harley, there is always plenty of black to be found! A men’s t-shirt averages to be about $23 dollars… have us put it in a nice box and a gift bag done up with

Skull Leather Jacket

Skull Leather Jacket

tissue, and you have a nice gift under $25! Or if you have a little bit of cash burning a hole in your pocket, our leathers are top quality and will last forever just like your love for your sweetheart (everyone say “awwwwww” with me now!).

Maybe something for both of you is more your kind of thing… We have a ton of items ranging from barware to billiard equipment to camping supplies that you can use to decorate your house or entertain with style.


Sweetest Day is October 16th this year… that’s just 3 days away! So stop by and see one of our awesome sales associates as soon as you can.

Heated Gear 101

Posted: September 27, 2010 by kegelharley in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

The weather these past couple weeks has been pretty unpredictable, and a little bit chilly to say the least. It isn’t quite October yet, but it feels like it might turn to winter at any second and we might see a little bit of (GASP!) snow! I know that dreaded ‘s’ word shouldn’t be allowed when it comes to talking about motorcycles… but let’s face it. We live in Northern Illinois, and we have 4 seasons to the extreme. Thankfully, we can delay the icky weather making us put the bikes away.

How is that, you ask? The wonderful, wonderful world of heated gear. You can get heated gloves, jackets, vests, pants, hand grips, seats…. and I’m telling you that they are awesome. Imagine going out to start your bike, and it is about 55 degrees out. Yikes! Now what? Have no fear… plug in the heated gear, hop on and go! You are nice and toasty from your fingertips down to your ankles with the help of heated gloves, jacket, and pants. Don’t feel like adding extra layers? Install some heated grips and a heated seat. Those combined with your normal cold-weather gear will keep you warm for your ride to work or wherever you may be going.

Some may be a little intimidated by all of the wires and connections for heated gear. Don’t worry, it can definitely look that way at first. That is where your friendly MotorClothes and P&A staff here at Kegels come in! We have been trained on how to use this complicated looking stuff so all you have to do is plug in and go. Before I get into how to connect everything, let’s take a look at what the heated gear is made out of.

Heated gear as seen through an infrared camera

Harley-Davidson® heated jacket liner and glove as seen through an infrared camera.

Harley-Davidson®’s heated gear is made using Microwire® Heat Technology. Microwire® is lighter, thinner, and more durable that any other heating technology to date. It heats up very fast and is pliable even in subfreezing temperatures. These advantages will keep you warmer, more comfortable, and won’t fail when you need it most.

Harley® now sells two types of heated gear: plug-in (using your motorcycle battery) and battery-powered (using a 7-volt lithium battery). How do you know which one to use? It will all depend on the type of riding you plan on doing. The plug-in style (all heated gear) is ideal for longer trips. It provides intense and uniform heat coverage, requires less amperage for less drain on the bike battery, and has color coded plugs for easy connections. The battery-powered style (gloves) provides greater ease of use and mobility especially for shorter-distance trips. Once again it provides all over heat coverage, and there is NO drain on your bike battery. The battery lasts about 2-6 hours, depending on the heat settings. If you aren’t sure which type of riding you will be doing or you do a bit of both, the dual-source heated gear (vests and gloves) can be either plugged-in or run on battery power! It is by far the most veratile heated gear option.

So how do you connect all of this stuff? It’s pretty simple, just remember these few things:

If you are using just one piece of heated gear, plug in the provided battery harness & power switch and you are good to go!

If you are using a jacket and gloves, connect the provided battery harness as usual. Connect the end of the harness to either a dual source thermostat or a Y-Plug splitter. Connect the two wires from the inside of the jacket (labeled gloves and jacket) to the Y-Plug splitter. Connect your gloves to the wires in the sleeves, turn it on and go!

Dual Control Thermostat

Dual Control Thermostat

If you are using a combination of any other two (or three) pieces of heated gear, do the same thing as stated above. The pants will plug into the Accessory wire in the jacket. See? That’s not so bad! If you still have some trouble getting everything sorted out, come in and ask one of us for help.

A few tips for your heated gear:

  • Use only the connecting harness supplied with Harley-Davidson® heated gear. DO NOT use the batter tender harness that may already be installed on a motorcycle.
  • Heated gear must be used with the provided power switch or with an available thermostat (single and dual control thermostats available)
  • If heated gear will be worn by both rider and passenger, install TWO connecting harnesses to the battery terminals
  • Do not switch on the heated gear if the motorcycle engine is turned off or is running below the indicated engine speed.
  • The battery life of your battery-powered gear will be reduced the longer it is used and if stored below -4 degrees F or above 100 degrees F. The batteries typically have a shelf life of 14 months before it will begin to lose charge.
  • If you are using more than one piece of heated gear, you will need a Y-Plug splitter or a dual control thermostat
  • Don’t worry about getting wet. All of the wiring is coated so there is no risk of shock from getting wet. The liners are not waterproof, however so don’t forget your rain gear or FXRG gear.
  • All items except for the gloves are washable. Hand wash in mild soap, rinse thoroughly and hang to dry. Do NOT dry clean.

Last but not least, remember that there will be 20% off heated gear, heated grips and heated seats during the month of October! Plus get 10% off the installation of heated grips and seats.

Have a great day and ride safe!

Diagrams of heated gear installation:

Heated Gear with Dual Thermostat

Heated Gear with Single Thermostat

Hi-Visibility with Kim

Posted: September 4, 2010 by kegelharley in Uncategorized

Denim 101

Posted: September 2, 2010 by kegelharley in Uncategorized
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If you’re anything like me, shopping for jeans is one of the most irritating, depressing, wallet-breaking things you will ever do.  I couldn’t begin to count how many times I have gone jean shopping and came home empty handed feeling like I need a drink or two because of all of the frustration. However, working in retail has some major benefits such as access to a whole bunch of jeans to try on, plus the knowledge of how to help other people know what type of benefits that Harley jeans have… thus the reason why I’m writing this post!

Before I get into why Harley jeans are just as awesome as can be, I want to share a couple bits of denim trivia with you!

Did you know….

  • 215  pairs of jeans can be made with just one bale of cotton
  • YKK Zippers (the kind found on the majority of denims and also our Wolverine boots!) were developed in 1935 by a man named Tadao Yoshida. YKK stands for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha (which translates to Yoshida Comany Limited)
  • Americans own on average 7 pairs of wearable jeans (and by wearable, I mean they are in one solid piece without any holes and they actually fit)
  • Women are typically willing to pay up to $200 for each pair of jeans
  • 50% of women have “aspirational” jeans… meaning they have at least one pair of jeans that they hope to fit in some day.

Technical stuff tends to be a little intimidating, but hopefully after I finish explaining you will feel empowered the next time you go jean shopping (and Harley tries to keep out all of the mumbo-jumbo of denim jargon, so it’s easy to understand). First up, just a few terms that you should probably know (definitions came from Find the link at the bottom):

Denim: A cotton fabric. Cotton shrinks and stretches and fades. If you like the fit and color of your jeans, don’t put them in the dryer, hang them. Matters are worse if there’s any bit of elastic in your jeans (check tag), because those strands of elastic will snap in high heat.

Hue: A color.

Shade: Adding black to that color (aka a darkened version of it).

Tint: Adding white to that color (aka a lightened version of it).

Saturation:  How dark a hue is.

Contrast: Try to imagine this in terms of grayscale (everything in black/white & shades of). If the color of your shirt looks almost identical to your jeans, it’s no good (called color blocking). Try to encompass as much of the grayscale spectrum as possible to make your outfit look dynamic.

Got it all? I hope so, because there’s going to be a quiz! Just kidding… I hate pop quizzes. Anyway, on to the washes! I think washes are the most fun part of jeans because they make every pair look unique.

Acid Wash

Acid Wash Jeans... remember the '80s much?

Acid Wash: The best way I can think to describe acid wash is tie-dye. Seriously. It looks like the jeans have been crumpled up and thrown into a tub of dye, then left crumpled up while it dries. Or maybe like someone splattered paint all over them, dyed the rest, then remembered about the paint and removed it leaving a ton of denim that is the wrong color.

Dirty Wash

Dirty Wash... go take a bath, seriously!

Dirty Wash: This type of wash makes you look like you just had a free-for-all in a big pile of dirt, scooted around on a rusty bleacher, then threw your jeans back in the dresser drawer.  This extreme wash can be pretty attractive and make you look like a rockstar when matched with the right shirt. Just don’t wear anything with a lot of detailing or loud colors.

Vintage Wash

Vintage Wash... not too destroyed but definitely worn in

Vintage Wash: My personal favorite wash of jeans. If you like to wear in jeans yourself and don’t want anyone making it look like it’s already been done, then this wash may not be for you. Areas of the denim have been washed to make them look like you have loved them lots, but not to the point of wearing them out.

Classic Wash

Classic Wash... you can almost never go wrong with this one

Classic Wash: This is the wash that is the most popular, especially with the designers at Harley. No worn out spots, a nice even wash, and it comes in some pretty nice looking shades too. The darker shades are a bit more popular as they match pretty much everything.

There are loads more types of washes, but so as not to confuse you I’ll stick with the basics for now. Are you still with me? Ready to move onto fit? Alright!

Skinny: A fit that Harley does not make yet, it is tight through thigh and leg opening. Leg openings range from 10-inches to 14-inches around.

Straight-leg: Width remains consistent from knee to leg opening.

Boot-cut: Flares gently at the leg opening in comparison to the knee.

Flared/Wide-leg: Fitted at the knee, opening to a more dramatic flare at the leg opening.

Boyfriend: Roomier fit worn slightly baggy at the waist and thigh.

Here’s a slightly confusing part… stick with me now… it’ll be okay! Harley has a slightly different definitions for the fits:

Classic Relaxed Straight-leg: Sits just below the natural waist, loose fit through the seat and thighs, straight leg opening.

Classic Traditional: Sits at natural waist, slimmer fit through seat and thighs, slight taper to the ankle.

Classic Boot-cut: Sits just below the natural waist, slimmer through seat and thighs, boot cut leg opening.

Traditional: Slimmer fit through seat and thighs.

Boot-cut: Fits straighter through the hip and relaxed through the thigh with a slight boot cut.

Countoured Boot-cut: Countours around the hips, across the seat, and perfectly fitted through the thigh with a boot-cut opening and a slight flair.

Low-rise Boot-cut: Slimmer fit to create a thinning look, low-rise with a straighter fit through the hips and thighs, slight boot cut.

Okay… the hard part is done, and you are all denim experts now! Alright alright maybe not really, but you are on your way and it’ll be a little easier next time you go shopping for jeans. Last thing before I end this massive rambling on denim… you HAVE to see the Harley-Davidson jeans! A lot of people don’t typically think of Harley when they think of jeans. In the past few years they have completely redone their entire denim line, and there are some really nice looking jeans now! Not only do they look good, but they were designed for RIDERS like us.

The guys have 7 styles to choose from, with 1 pair of black in traditional fit. The coolest thing about all of these jeans available for men: Not a single pair is priced higher than $39. Yay for not breaking the bank anymore!! There is the classic blue that has been around for jeans for… well, forever. Then there are 4 newer washes that include more of a vintage and slightly dirty wash.

Women, we get 5 styles and a whole bunch of different washes (but no black, sorry!). The stretch and non-stretch boot-cut have the classic wash and are easily matched with basically every shirt & accessory that we sell. The other washes are definitely more vintage and dirty (I’m wearing a pair of Harley vintage wash jeans right now, and they are my FAVORITE… I own 3 pairs!) The neat thing about the women’s jeans is that every season you can get a pair that is a bit more fashion-y to match the rest of the line for the season. There is also a wide variety in price, so if you can’t afford to shell out $70 for our priciest jean, you can opt for the $29 pair and get the exact same quality. Nice, huh?

I’ll leave you with some photos of the Harley jeans in action…. once you are done perusing, stop by and try a few pairs on. I bet you will love them.

Every time the store has had a Group Riding seminar or anything remotely similar, I have never actually sat and listened to the speaker give their helpful tips and words of caution. I would go in and take some photos, but completely tune out what they were saying. This past weekend I got to experience a group ride for the very first time as a rider. Sure, I have ridden with 2-3 people before, but never more than that. I guess I wasn’t really sure what to expect when it came to riding in a group but now that I have experienced it for myself, I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences with you guys. Besides, if there should be some readers out there who have never ridden in a group before, this may be helpful to you!

Waiting to head out on our first group ride

Mark & Allen’s Chicago Style Run was on the 21st and I used to work every time there was a ride like this. By some miracle, I happened to have the day off so my husband & I rode down to the shop and signed up for the ride. At first I figured there might be 10 people or so going… boy was I wrong. It turned out to be a big turnout! We pulled into the parking lot about 10 minutes before the kickstands went up, and there were probably 20 bikes lined up already. A few more even showed up after us, so by the time we left I swear there had to be 30 bikes leaving the parking lot! I rode right up front, the 3rd bike in line… and if you have never been in the front of a line of bikes (or in the very back) I’m telling you that you NEED to do it sometime so that you can check out the view in the mirrors. Seeing that big line of bikes is one of the coolest things ever, besides for knowing that you are a part of that line.

As we headed out of the parking lot, it sunk in that I wasn’t just riding along side my husband or parents… I was in the midst of 30 other bikes that I had to watch out for. I immediately started trying to think back to what I learned in Rider’s Edge 3 years ago or the written test at the DMV that I had to take in order to get my M class. Do I stagger the line of bikes on my own? How far back should I be? What were all of those hand signals again? Needless to say, I felt a little panicked. Thankfully I started to remember some of the signals as I watched other riders do them (check out the links at the end to learn about the hand signals), and all I had to do about the staggering was stay on the opposite side of the lane as the person in front of me. As much as I am ashamed to admit it, I tend to follow a little too closely be it in my car or on the bike. This time, I tried to consciously keep track of the seconds behind the person in front of me.  There were no close encounters, so I guess that worked pretty well! It might have helped that every 10-15 seconds throughout the hour long ride, I was checking my mirrors to make sure I wasn’t lagging too much or getting too far ahead.

I also felt like I was all over the lane on the way to our destination, making me very self-conscious that people behind me were thinking “what is she doing?!” We went down a couple of roads that didn’t have the painted dividing lines between the lanes, which threw me off quite a bit. The way I got around this was to try and stay aligned with the bike in front of me (I was riding on the left, so I lined up with the next left bike ahead, not the guy on my right… that would be a little difficult!). I was asking people once we stopped if they saw me swerving or riding funny, and the unanimous response was “no”, so the whole lining up thing was the way to go for me.

My other problem spot was when we went down a gravel road. I immediately tensed up and once again tried to remember what I learned in Rider’s Edge about how to handle the bike when riding over gravel. Unfortunately, nothing came to me so I just slowed down and kept as straight as possible, giving myself plenty of room between me and the other bikes. The gravel came to an end pretty quickly (whew!).

About one hour, lots of big curves, lots of smelly farms, and 50 miles later we got to our destination…. Portillos!! Absolutely delicious food was had by all who came with, and I think we might have to do that ride again soon. The ride back was much less nerve-wracking, so I got to enjoy the scenery a little bit more (not to mention we didn’t go down any more gravel roads).

If you have never been on a group ride before be it because you just haven’t had the chance or you are afraid you will mess something up, I encourage you to build up your riding skills a bit… glance back over your MSF pamphlet (or check out the links below) again… attend our group riding seminars… and get out there to experience it. Don’t be ashamed to feel nervous about going out there… I was too! Just make sure you are surrounded by other helpful, experienced riders like I was and you will be okay : )

Here are a few links that have some helpful tips on group riding:

Group Riding Guidelines

MSF Group Guidelines

Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine: Group Motorcycle Riding

Riding Etiquette