Harley-Davidson vs. Vespa.

Ojek for Hire

I’ve always loved riding on the back of bikes and in this car-crazy city of Jakarta the quickest way to travel short distances is to hire an ‘ojek’.  The bike owners zip in and out of traffic like ants on speed – I regularly use one to get to work just for the fun of it (and it avoids arriving at the office dripping with sweat!).


A few years ago, also in Jakarta, I was lucky enough to have a good friend who owned an old 1950’s Vespa.  There are Vespa Clubs all over Indonesia, a lot of young people ride them.  We went to a lot of places on that bike and I loved every second. It was bright yellow, with uncomfortable seats and not that fast, but it was fun.

About Vespa
– There have been 138 different versions of the Vespa
–  Vespa means wasp in Italian
–  On 23 April 1946 the Vespa was officially ‘born’
–  In 1952 Audrey Hepburn rode on a Vespa with Gregory Peck in the film Roman Holiday
– By 1956 Piaggio had sold a million Vespas
– Today, there is thriving vintage Vespa restoration industry all over SE Asia

On a trip to Africa, I had another great bike ride on the back of a Harley Davidson.  Riding along an empty road with nothing but the horizon ahead was fantastic. It was sleek, fast and sexy, and it felt great!


About Harley-Davidson
– In 1901 William Harley and Arthur Davidson started the first prototype
–  About 15,000 Harley-Davidson bikes were issued to the US military forces during WW1
–  Harley-Davidson police motorcycles are used by nearly every large city police department in the USA
–  Easy Rider, the ultimate road movie, featured customised Harley-Davidson bikes
–  Terminator 2 featured Arnie riding a Harley-Davidson ‘Fatboy’

So, to the point of this post.  Both of these bikes are iconic in their own way, so which one would you choose? Harley Davidson or Vespa?  For me, Harley Davidson every time.


Categories: Just Plain Blog

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4 replies

  1. I had two H-D’s, a Road King and an Electra Glide Classic. Liked them both, but loved the Road King. Every ride was enjoyable, especially after changing the stock seat for one made by Mustang. I stopped riding a big bike about three years ago. The rides were great but my wife and I weren’t doing anymore long touring rides. The group I rode with seemed to change over the years.

    I recently bought a 2013 Vespa GTV 300 Touring Scooter. I wanted something smaller to run around the city, but still be able to handle major roads. This Scooter is GREAT! It doesn’t ride as comfortably as a large touring bike but it is still a comfortable ride. It is much more fun. It handles smoothly. It keeps up with traffic without a problem. It can carry plenty of gear or groceries plus a rider. The book says it can go 80 mph. It can go faster. It gets 60+ mpg. It is so easy to just hop on the scooter and go. Even though it’s easy to handle, I would still recommend a person take a Motorcycle Safety Federation course.

    Although a large tourer would be a better choice for a cross country trip, I would truly like to plan a long distance trip on my Vespa. I like it that much.

    My choice: Vespa.

  2. i’d pick the harley! i had one a long time ago:-)

  3. I prefer the Vespa…I am not really a brave rider, so I think the Harley would be something I cannot handle =)

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