Special Report: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Revived the Motorcycle Business & Saved Harley


The Hollywood Reporter – In a time before the economic meltdown, motorcycle sales, especially for Harley-Davidson, were booming. After the collapse, sales have only started to pick up again within the past two years (at nowhere near pre-2008 levels, however). Sons of Anarchy co-star Mark Boone Jr. (Bobby) seems to think he and his fellow cast members are the reason.

Robert "Bobby" Munson, is a fictional character on the FX television series Sons of Anarchy, played by Mark Boone Junior.
Robert “Bobby” Munson

At a remote industrial shipyard deep in Los Angeles’ underbelly, Jax, Bobby, Chibs and Tig of the fictional motorcycle club SAMCRO hunch over the handlebars of their Harleys and skid across the dirt after a shady business deal goes awry in the hit FX series Sons of Anarchy.

Pull back the cameras and there are two sets of motorcycles on the scene: The hogs the actors ride in character as they torch, beat and generally brutalize rival gang members; and the bikes the actors ride in real life, which are, like the souls of the characters they play, entirely black.


The long-running popularity of Sons of Anarchy, which commences its seventh season in September, has been a godsend for the motorcycle industry, which was hard-hit by the financial crisis. U.S. sales, which topped 1 million units in 2007, clawed back to 465,783 units in 2013, which nevertheless reflected a 1.4 percent increase over 2012.

(California accounts for 10 percent of the market.) Sons of Anarchy has been especially beneficial for Harley; the show has helped make the brand hip with younger riders to the point that Harley now leads the 18-to-34 market. (The maker provides the motorcycles to the show and has a deal with Marvel that has placed bikes in films including Iron Man 3.) Last year, Harley’s U.S. sales were up more than 6 percent over 2012.

“We basically saved Harley,”

says Sons of Anarchy co-star Mark Boone Jr. (Bobby)

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