First of all, I am one of ""those"" that has NEVER had a good experience with ANY Harley Dealerships. I am from Hawaii and was told that I can't sit on a bike in the showroom and the sales staff always seemed disinterested when I asked the ""What is this"" or ""What does that mean"" noobie questions.
My friend had some experiences there and said that I would be okay. Apprehensive as I was, I went.
The first thing that I noticed was that I felt that I had just walked into a museum rather than a dealership! There was bikes on the walls, pictures of Elvis in his Army uniform, and even a vintage WWII combat bike with a Tommy Gun!
The first persons to welcome me to the store was the girls at the checkout stand, which is in front of the store. Second, was a sales guy; ""Big Dave"" Hunter. He's not really that big, so don't let his name fool you. Thinking that I was about to get the same treatment as always (when I tell the that I have never ridden before) I just told Dave that I was just looking.
He said take your time and let me know if you have any questions. Well, indeed, I had MANY questions (still do, actually). That was when I noticed the difference. Dave and I started chatting about the different models, different feel, different set ups, etc. Then, he blew me away with, ""Go ahead and swing a leg over and see what you think"" As simple and easy as that may sound, Dave said something that at least a half dozen other delears NEVER said. Dave even held the bike up for me so I could get my feet up to see what it really felt like to be on a Harley.
He realized that I was a noob and asked if I had heard of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Rider Course. HUH??
He grabbed a brochure and explained it all to me. There was a class going on at the time of my visit so he took me out and showed me what they were doing; that was in February.
Between then and April, I had visited BS-HD at least a dozen times. Each time, Big Dave was there for me. He NEVER made me feel stupid, or belittled my friend for being on his metric bike. He was very friendly and I enjoyed conversation with him.
I signed up for the MSF Class in April and after my first class, laid my deposit down on my very first motorcycle: A 2003 Suzuki! From a Harley Dealer! Guess what? At no time did ANYONE ever make me feel less important, inferior, or anything derogatory about buying a metric bike. Kelly, the sales manager, actually gave me a whopper of a deal (still have the bike because the deal was just to good).
After the MSF class, I paid for the bike and rode it home...that day. BTW-- I HIGHLY recommend the MSF Course AT BAYSIDE! The accommodations alone are worth it!
I rode that bike all summer long and put over 2k miles on the clock. Each of my visits to BS-HD after buying the bike made me feel like Norm from Cheers. Everyone knew my name and they felt like friends to me.
I decided it was time for the real deal American bike... so I went back to Bayside and hooked up with Big Dave again. Seriously...after test riding probably a dozen bikes over the span of a week, I settled on a 2006 Fire Engine Red Street Bob! I love my bike!
Even MORE SO, I feel like friends to everyone there. I get hugs when I visit and everyone is just so helpful!
On my last visit, the same buddy that took me to Bayside the very first time bought his new Harley too! While he was getting the paperwork all set up, I chatted with Don, the Service Tech. Don printed out all the services done on my new bike (because it was always serviced there)!
Seriously, I hear a lot of stuff but my story speaks for itself. If not for Big Dave, Kelly, Joe, Rob, Don, The Ambers, Dolly, and the list goes on... there would not be a Harley in my garage right now! Thanks to these folks, they are the epitome of the quintessential Harley Experience!