To Be or Not To Be: BMWOA & HOG Membership in 2012

So, I voluntarily signed-up as a member of the BMW Owner’s Association (BMWOA) when I bought our first BMW a few years back and have stayed a member.  I became a member of the Harley-Davidson Owner’s Group (HOG) automatically when we bought our ’11 Wide Glide (FXDWG): it’s one of the perqs of being an original owner.

When I first signed-up for the BMWOA I found the BMW Owners News (ON) to be a pretty neat and professionally done magazine with lots of interesting articles.  Between the monthly magazine,  forum membership, access to classified ads, and other discounts/benefits I thought it was a fair value for the $40 annual membership dues.

However, during the past two years the Owners News has seemingly become focused primarily on promoting the annual rally, either in arrears with stories from the previous rally or providing information regarding the upcoming rally.  Then there are “the usual suspects” who have become permanent contributors or permanent featured members that show up in every issue.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it gives the Owner’s News a clique-y feel as you read it month-after-month.  Another more recent phenomena has been articles by folks who have commercial interests.

I thought about signing-up for the mileage “contest”, but BMWOA assumes or would like to believe that it’s members ride only a single BMW motorcycle all the time as their “contest” isn’t structured to capture total miles you ride each year if you ride multiple motorcycles (Of course, to be fair, neither does HOG’s).

So, with my membership set to expire in December, BMWOA’s ~37,000 member list will probably be closer to ~36,999.  I really enjoy riding my BMW and my local dealership is filled with great folks, but I’m just not an “all in” guy when it comes to what I ride. Heck, we still ride more miles on our tandem bicycles each year than a lot of folks who participate in the BMWOA’s annual mileage contest!

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And then there’s the Harley-Davidson Owner’s Group or HOG.  HOG membership is $45 a year and includes quite a few benefits, some similar to BMWOA, while others are a bit more valuable, e.g., the roadside assistance program.

HOG also has a publication but it only comes out every other month.  However, it’s really not something that I eagerly await, as it seems more like a glossy “ad mag” from the MoCo, with totally non-objective copy hyping H-D products and services.  There are also some member contributions, but even they seem to come across as heavily edited copy that lack some of the grammatical errors and writing style issues that make them feel a bit more “real”.  Again, HOG has quite a robust membership benefits list that ‘could’ make it well worth the $45/year if we start to take advantage of them:

So, time will tell if we decide to re-up when our complimentary one-year HOG membership expires.  Right now it’s probably a 50/50 proposition, which is a bit better odds than I’m giving BMWOA.

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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