One thing that you will first notice about the motorcycle community is that they like to have fun and generally speaking they operate a bit differently than the greater car community. The bond between a man and his bike goes way beyond what you might reasonably expect when it comes to the other items in his garage - with the possible exception of a truck. So when it comes to dealerships, it isn't surprising that these also differ dramatically from what you might find at a typical car dealer.
Fundamentally, car dealers exist to do three things 1) get cars off the lot as quickly as possible 2) buy used cars that can be re-sold for a profit and 3) service vehicles. The business is almost entirely built around maximizing profit, even though the core business exists on very small margins. While a few dealers do offer other events to build more of a relationship with their customers ... cars are commodities. Bikes are NOT!
That's why almost every bike dealership that I've visited - especially Harley Dealers - operates almost as a clubhouse. It's part clubhouse and part dealership offering those same "business things" that all dealers need to do to make money. However, it's the clubhouse part that particularly intrigues me.
Here are some of the unique features you'll probably find at your local Harley dealer ...
Motorcycle Riding Lessons
Most of you probably learned how to drive a car in high school but unless your dad rode a motorcycle, it is unlikely that you learned how to ride at a young age. Luckily, most motorcycle dealership offer riding lessons and many do so in combination with a rental program so you could potentially fly to a legendary touring spot like Coastal British Columbia, Gulf Coast of Florida, Smoky Mountains, or California's Highway 1 and spend a few days learning how to ride before setting off on a larger adventure.
When I first discovered this I thought it was a bit odd that a motorcycle dealership would be offering free beer to their customers. It kinda works well for this audience though and since a dealership is more than just simply a place to buy a bike, chances are you are sticking around for a while as you browse merchandise, hang out with friends, or listen to a concert.
I don't know if I've ever heard of a concert being held at my local Toyota dealer. However, the Harley dealers often present concerts ranging from rock to country to bring their customers together and have fun.
Harley Davidson is about way more than just selling bikes. It is one of the most powerful lifestyle brands on Earth. While you can buy Harley gifts on their corporate website, dealerships are in on the action too. From shirts and hats bearing the dealer's logos and location-specific branding to biker gear, maps, drink holders, and other addons for your bike ... chances are that you can find it here at your local Harley dealer.
Fundraisers To Support The Local Community
Bikers as a community are incredibly generous and supportive of their local communities. As a result, it is unsurprising that Harley dealers as well as Indian, Ducati, and other dealerships regularly hold fundraisers to help the local community. While you might find this occasionally at a car dealership, it is few and far between.