CLEARFIELD — Golden Spike Harley-Davidson of Ogden has noticed that its customer base is aging, so it’s looking for ways to attract the younger generation.
The parent company, Harley-Davidson Corporation, has come out with specialized motorbikes to attract the younger crowd, but Golden Spike is taking it one step further by sending its expertise into the classroom. The first students getting to bask in its knowledge were the advanced automotive technology students at Clearfield High School.
“We’re trying to help them see that Harley-Davidson’s isn’t scary,” said Tony Tucker, the parts manager and certified technician at Golden Spike Harley-Davidson. “There is a myth that Harley-Davidson bikers are bad, and that’s not the case. Hopefully, they’ll see that these bikes are for the younger generation too.”
Senior Cristian Melero has always liked motorbikes, and plans to buy one soon, but he had been leaning toward a sports bike. After getting some hands-on experience with the Harley-Davidson’s this week, he has changed his mind.
“I thought Harley-Davidsons were old-school bikes, but they showed us the difference …” Melero said.
Tucker wasn’t sure what to expect hosting the clinic for the high school students.
“Our initial thoughts were not to sell bikes, but to introduce these guys to the motorcycle world, educate them on proper maintenance and let them know we’re here to help them with their bikes,” Tucker said.
During the three-day course, held during regular class time, students were introduced to different styles of motorcycles and learned about the history of Harley-Davidson, which began in 1903.
The also got hands-on experience servicing and repairing two motorcycles the technicians brought with them. For automotive technology instructor Ed Schirner, the clinic fits right in with his curriculum, and shows the students what career opportunities are available to them.
“The kids weren’t sure what to expect, working on an American icon, but they’ve become very excited about it,” Schirner said.
Senior Ashtin Beus enjoyed the experience, especially as she already enjoys working on motorbikes.
“I’ve learned how to pay attention to details from the clinic, but it’s intimidating because I didn’t want to mess it up,” she said.
During the clinic, some of the parts were broken in the process of learning how to fix the bikes. Golden Spike Harley-Davidson technician Richard Helmcke took it in stride. “It was good, because they got to experience a real-world situation fixing broken parts,” Helmcke said.
As far as the Harley-Davidson technicians were aware, Clearfield High School is the only school in the state participating in the course. School officials hope to continue the clinic in coming years.
A motorcycle display will be at an open house between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Clearfield High School automotive department. A dozen Harley-Davidsons will be on display, and visitors will have the opportunity to sit on a motorbike, start it up and run through the gears.