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Harley Davidson University – Back to School 2.0: The Fine Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Harley Davidson has existed in India for more than 10 years and in this time, the American brand has made quite some progress, not only in terms of kind of motorcycles they sell but also in successfully creating the brand's image in India. Harley Davidson has also laid emphasis on providing an experience to its customers. Previously, we had been invited by Harley Davidson India to dismantle and rebuild the legendary Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. We were lucky enough to be invited once again but this time the task at hand was a little different. This time, we got a chance to experience what a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle has to go through before it is delivered to its owner. Apart from this, we also experienced the kind of servicing Harley bikes go through. Now, most of you may be a little sceptical about the depth of both these activities since its more experiential in nature, but, trust us when we say this, this was more than just an oil change.

(Image: Harley Davidson)

(Image: Harley Davidson)

We first began with a briefing from Vijay Thomas, Lead Marketing, Harley-Davidson India, who gave us a little background on what exactly we will be doing. During this meeting, we met Pankaj Paul, Lead Trainer, Harley-Davidson University, who was our mentor and guide through this whole process. To put it the words of the great Walt Whitman, O Captain! My Captain. To make things very interesting, we were divided into teams and there was to be a little competition between all the journalists attending the event. Harley Davidson India provided us with a checklist, which showed us all the things we had to with the Harley Davidson Street 750, which was the bike our team would be working on. Before we got the servicing part of the activity, we had to first 'unbox' a brand-new Harley Davidson, which had just made it's way to the Harley Davidson University in Gurugram.

Pankaj Paul, Lead Trainer, Harley-Davidson University. (Image: Harley Davidson)

Pankaj Paul, Lead Trainer, Harley-Davidson University. (Image: Harley Davidson)

During the unboxing process, we had to first unscrew the box itself and take a lot at the gleaming new Harley on the inside. After that, we had to perform tasks like connecting the batteries, adjusting the rear suspension, checking the handlebar, adjusting the headlight according to the customer, which was a member of the Harley Davidson Capital Showroom and Service Centre in Gurugram. We also had to check the entire body for any scratches, undulations or blemishes. All this had to be noted down in the checklist we had received, which we would later be rated on. It goes without saying, that most of us forget exactly what a motorcycle goes through before it is delivered to us. It goes without saying that Harley Davidson, being the global brand that it is, takes special care of their motorcycles.

(Image: Harley Davidson)

(Image: Harley Davidson)

We then moved on to the main event, performing a service on the Harley Davison Street 750. Also, the bikes varied from group to group but most of the groups had the Street 750 to service. Now to be completely honest, I did struggle a little because of the sheer science involved in some of the tasks we had to perform and I have to thank other members of the team I was part of for giving me slightly more menial tasks. One thing was clear from the start though, we will have to make all the changes by ourselves. Yes, we had help but the actual physical task had to be performed by us, which added to the challenge.

(Image: Harley Davidson)

(Image: Harley Davidson)

Although the checklist for this particular task was enormous, given the high standard of Harley Davidson bikes; we only had to a select few. Some of the tasks included wheel balancing, changing the air filter, bleeding the front brakes, checking the tyre tread, changing the oil, cleaning the bike, lubricating all wires with a special grade oil and much more. And most importantly, all of this had to be done in a stipulated time limit. After all the excitement of servicing the bike, our team, which was Team Avengers, completed all the tasks just in time. And guess what? Like in the movie, Team Avengers came out on top!

(Image: Harley Davidson)

(Image: Harley Davidson)

When the day came to close and we received certificates for participating in the event, something dawned on me. There is a strange satisfaction in fixing things, mending them. The art of motorcycle maintenance is one that will always be around, I just wish more people learn about it, for that feeling of satisfaction. Harley Davidson's initiative gave all the journalists present at the event a glance into what goes into making a Harley, a Harley.

(Image: Harley Davidson)

(Image: Harley Davidson)

The company makes sure the highest standards of service are maintained and we're glad we got to be a part of it. Harley Davidson India also deserves praise for providing such an experience, as events like this give an insight into what the brand strives for. As is the case with almost all Harley Davidson motorcycles, the Back to School 2.0 experience, was one to remember.