Call Kurtis: Harley-Davidson Lawsuit

Four Sacramento-area riders are suing Harley-Davidson, saying their bikes get dangerously hot. One even says his pants caught fire while riding. Now a class action lawsuit has brought against the motorcycle maker.

Matt Weyuker is one of four men suing Harley-Davidson over the way their motorcycles were designed. They say Harley knows the bikes are dangerous, but continues to sell them.

“The first day I rode it, I was on it about 20 minutes. I was shocked at how hot the inside of my leg was getting,” says Matt.

It was so hot, Matt says, he’s burned his right leg and had his pants catch fire three times while riding.

“First I smelled it, then I could see the smoke, then I could feel it,” recalls Matt.

He says the problem is the rear cylinder, which can get extremely hot.

“It’s obviously a design flaw. I’ve had other Harleys and they didn’t do this,” says Matt.

“It’s pretty dangerous,” says Bill Kershaw, who filed a class action lawsuit against Harley-Davidson on behalf of Matt and three other riders, all from our area.

All allege in the lawsuit their engines “… appeared to run excessively hot…” and that they’ve “… suffered physical injuries, including burns…” The complaint also alleges “… since approximately 1999, Harley-Davidson has been aware that the engines run at unreasonably high temperatures.” And the company has “… failed to design cooling systems to cope with the increased heat…”

“We think that the real reason for this is because Harley doesn’t want to change the configuration and the look of its bike,” says Bill.

Matt says Harley has suggested a couple fixes, but he doesn’t feel he should have to pay for extra work on his fairly new bike.

“If they can tell me put an oil cooler on it, or a different air intake or a different tune, then that means those are the things they could be doing before they release them from the factory,” says Matt.

We contacted Harley-Davidson and asked why these bikes are getting dangerously hot. After leaving two messages they never returned our calls.

Matt now wears leather chaps to protect himself, but says those are barely holding up to the heat. He showed us where he says the leather is melting.

After shelling out thousands of dollars on his prized Harley Matt just wants a bike that’s safe.

“Make it work. Harley has always been on the cutting edge of technology, they can figure it out and make it work,” he says.

The motorcycles involved in the lawsuit have Twin Cam 88 and Twin Cam 96 engines. Only people who have bought those types of bikes in California since October of 2006 are eligible for the class. Bill Kershaw says that could be tens of thousands of riders. If the court certifies the class, all owners with the affected Harleys would be notified.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Matt says:

    Tell H-D to “fix it!”

  2. Hog phart says:

    “cutting edge of technology…” Bwwwhhhaaa!!! Yeah, right. Just like a 57 bel-air is the cutting edge of automotive technology.

  3. Matthew Weyuker says:

    Name a motorcycle company that outsold HD in 2010, 2009, 1980, and 1960!

  4. Matthew Weyuker says:

    or, for that matter, any of those years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! here in the USA!

  5. Hog Phart says:

    worldwide…Honda
    USA…Harley
    If you want cutting edge tech, gotta go euro. Aprilia, BMW, ducati, triumph even.
    Just remember, just because something is popular doesn’t mean it is good or the best, just popular.

    1. dc says:

      Spoken like a guy who really doesn’t understand much. BMW has more recalls than Harley. Just because its popular for some fools to slam everything Harley doesn’t make them right.

      “cutting edge tech”…. whatever. Tech has nothing to do with why HD makes most of their decisions. Its also the only manufacturer that has a multi-million dollar aftermarket chasing after their models making all sorts of accessories.

      I have two Hondas and a Harley. The Honda’s both leak oil. The Harley doesn’t.
      Harleys have ABS and fuel injection and a very good cruise control (touring). So maybe you just need to get a little more educated.

  6. dc says:

    I’d tell your CA regulatory people to pound sand and make any HD purchaser in CA sign a contract making them contact the state for clothing suggestions for their overly restrictive policies requiring a leaner running condition (temps go up) and indicate if they want the cooler running conditions they need to source a model elsewhere in the world.

    Or what HD can to do is stop selling bikes in overly restricted CA market.

  7. HondasbeatHarleys says:

    Should have bought a Honda…

  8. Bill says:

    BS What the hell do you expect. Go buy a CamAm or some other girlly bike.

  9. j Godino says:

    Harley needs to comply with safety. I ride an 07 Ultra Classic loaded and it gets unbearable HOT. Ridden 87K miles in 39 months. Glad to hear someone has REAL BALLS to Correct HARLEY’s behavior. Bar Hopper, errand running harley riders don’t ride enough to feel the heat. Thanks for the Lawsuit. Harley exxtended sevice has taken care of my but 4 months down over a 39 month period I’d too much down time. Fix the problem. Tired of patch work.

    1. MATT says:

      I drive it 12-13 k per year. My Harleys are my primary transportation! I’ve never had a windshield or fairing and I ride “year-round!” Thanks for the support!

  10. Mike says:

    Wahhh, my bike’s too hot. Please quit whining, you’re riding a Harley, in California, what do you expect. I average 20K miles a year on my 07 Street Glide, with stock exhaust, and no power commander. Guess when all you do is pull your bike out of the trailer at the next bike event just to sit in traffic all day, yeah it’s going to get hot. I hope Harley quits selling bikes in California, so when the next big earthquake comes and California becomes part of the Pacific, no Harleys will be wasted.

    1. MATT says:

      you are a clueless bitc_! grow up! It figures you ride behind a fairing! Harley rider? A Goldwing is more your style!

  11. Bigdoggy says:

    It is an AIR COOLED MOTOR! It’s an archaic design and that is what is great about it! Harley was not made to be liquid cooled and that is what is great! Look back to history and the flats would actually glow red and cut it off, let it coll and ride on! COME ON! SUE? BUY A HONDA U NUANCE! GOOD LIFE KILLER! Let’s stop rock music while were at it! Suicide solution baby!

  12. Stephan Wagner says:

    This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard in my life!!! This is not a design flaw. You can easily fix the running condition by doing exactly what Harley says to do. Change the intake the exhaust and the fuel mapping and it will run quite a lot differently. Why can’t Harley do that from the factory? Cause of the morons that run CARB. We have 10% ethenol fuel in a small sized engine trying to conform to ridiculous standards YEAH IT RUNS HOT. Do a google search on how hot a Vulcan Nomad or Vulcan Vaquero gets and they’re water cooled!! This is a group of panzy little a$$holes who either want money or just to ruin what’s left of our freedom.

  13. Matthew Weyuker says:

    I can tell how brilliant you two are by reading your posts! “Nuance?” Try , M-O-R-O-N… that is Y-O-U!

    Bigdoggy

    It is an AIR COOLED MOTOR! It’s an archaic design and that is what is great about it! Harley was not made to be liquid cooled and that is what is great! Look back to history and the flats would actually glow red and cut it off, let it coll and ride on! COME ON! SUE? BUY A HONDA U NUANCE! GOOD LIFE KILLER! Let’s stop rock music while were at it! Suicide solution baby!

    September 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Reply | Report comment

    Stephan Wagner

    This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard in my life!!! This is not a design flaw. You can easily fix the running condition by doing exactly what Harley says to do. Change the intake the exhaust and the fuel mapping and it will run quite a lot differently. Why can’t Harley do that from the factory? Cause of the morons that run CARB. We have 10% ethenol fuel in a small sized engine trying to conform to ridiculous standards YEAH IT RUNS HOT. Do a google search on how hot a Vulcan Nomad or Vulcan Vaquero gets and they’re water cooled!! This is a group of panzy little a$$holes who either want money or just to ruin what’s left of our freedom.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Reply | Report comment

  14. Evyl Blayne says:

    Im a rider not brand dedicated, But I heard harley shuts off rear cylynder at long idle, remember this motor designed ? when top speeds where 60 and road conditons allowed 30 to ?

  15. God says:

    Now, back to reality. If your 1-2 month old bike caught your pants on fire…. you would think this is normal?

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