Harley Denied This Guy's Warranty For Flying Flags, But It Makes Sense

Illustration for article titled Harley Denied This Guys Warranty For Flying Flags, But It Makes Sense

Dave Zien is a Vietnam vet and former Wisconsin state senator who really likes riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles. So much so that he put over a million miles on one. But now Harley is denying his warranty claim for a new clutch, because he also really, really likes flags.


Really really really likes flags. There's nothing wrong with flying a small flag from your bike, just because you love your country that much. But Zien likes flags to the point that he put seven of them on his Harley, in varying degrees of capital-P Patriotism, including a three-foot-by-five-foot American flag, and in short order put about 15,000 miles on it, promoting conservative causes around the country.

Still don't believe he likes flags? Here he is talking about how much he loves one particular flag:

Dude likes flags.

And that's a problem, because when his clutch broke, Harley refused his warranty claim, thanks to the seven flags dangling off the back of his bike, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Zien is saying that Harley completely voided his warranty after the clutch broke on his trike, because they hate Freedom, or something, but Harley's saying that's not the case:

"The issue isn't that the flags are heavy, but they provide terrific drag on the engine and the transmission, especially when the bike is at highway speeds," said Harley spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim.


See, there you were getting all angry, because Harley-Davidson, a symbol of Americana, hated the American flag, which is a symbol of America, and thus Harley hates America, but it turns out that couldn't be further from the truth.

The fact of the matter is, if you're going to fly seven enormous flags off the back of your motorcycle, you might as well strap a barn door to the top, too, and wait for the clutch to give out from trying to shift gears under all that strain. It's not a question of if the clutch goes out, but when.

But what if you want to ride in a local parade? The Fourth of July is coming up, and surely that's a nice way to declare your love for the United States:

Riding at parade speeds would not likely have the same effect on the engine and transmission, according to Blankenheim.


Oh. Well, then.

But what if you really, really, really want to ride around with your flags, all the time, like Dave does?

Also, the flag mounts on Zien's bike are not Harley-Davidson products, according to the company.

"When you alter a motorcycle with noncompliant products, that does impact your ability to make a warranty claim," Blankenheim said. "We have a right to protect our product. And (Zien) isn't using our product for the purpose for which it was designed."


That's not unusual at all then, really. Don't ride your bike with seven ridiculously enormous flags on them, and if you do, use a manufacturer-approved product. That's pretty much standard warranty-speak on anything you buy. If you buy a blender from KitchenAid, KitchenAid will honor and cherish your warranty forever and ever, or until it expires, whichever comes first. Unless you try to attach a jet engine to it. Simple stuff.

But Dave is undeterred:

"Ain't nobody gonna stop our flags, not even Harley-Davidson corporate," Zien said.


Okay, Dave.

Photo credit: Dave Zien/Facebook

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For bonus points come up with a rational reason that flag mounts on the back of vehicle would have an effect on the clutch.