Outlaw bikers say they’re loyal to Harley-Davidson, even as Trump’s trade policies push the company to look overseas

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Longtime outlaw bikers say they have no plans to abandon Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, even though the company is shifting some production overseas because of U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade policies.

“I’ve been riding them all of my life, even when they were s- bikes in the ’60s and ’70s,” said Lorne Campbell, a former GTA member of the Satan’s Choice and Hells Angels Motorcycle Clubs.

Members of the the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Langley, B.C., in a July 25, 2008, file photo. Unwavering loyalty to the Harley-Davidson brand is the norm in the outlaw biker world.

Members of the the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Langley, B.C., in a July 25, 2008, file photo. Unwavering loyalty to the Harley-Davidson brand is the norm in the outlaw biker world.  (DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

“Harley riders are loyal — even when (the bikes) leaked oil,” Campbell said. “They’re the best, now.”

Harley-Davidson announced this week it would move production of motorcycles bound for Europe overseas, blaming European Union tariffs it said would add an estimated $2,200 cost to the average bike. That move prompted Trump — whose tariffs prompted EU retaliation — to accuse Harley of searching for an excuse for moves it had already planned.

Rick Ciarnello, a Hells Angels spokesperson in B.C., gave no indication his club would be turning away from the iconic motorcycles because it will be transferring some production to Europe.

“Harley-Davidson is making a statement to the Trump Administration,” Ciarnello said in an email. “I don’t think their decision will impact our club in any way. Harley-Davidson motorcycles will still be available, no matter where the parts are made or assembled.”

It’s a long-standing rule that North American outlaw bikers such as the Hells Angels and Outlaws must ride American-made motorcycles — which limits them to Harley-Davidsons and a few smaller brands, like Indian and Victory.

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