I started ring in 1972 and licensed on the road in 74, Triumph, BSA, Nortons were my favorites own a few of each of them, the 750 Commando and BSA lightning were my favorite twins even more so than the 850 commando.
Over the years I had a few HD bikes both new and used, they were not very good at anything but making noise, heavy lumbering hulks with poor handling and brakes, low power and only average build quality. A total posers machine not a riders bike, the twins would run rings around them and had a wonderful sound to boot.
In 83 I bought what I consider my first real bike, a VF1100C (V65 Magna), over a 100 HP, superior build quality but not the best handling thing ditto the Vmax I got a few years later then I found the right bike for me the CBR1000F over 130 HP sport tourer, an amazing motorcycle, blinding fast in 92 good handling, good protection from the elements and comfortable for long hours, reliable and build quality as any vehicle I ever owned.
From there it was the CBR1100XX, ZX10, GSXR 1300, BMW K1200S and a few others I kept only for a short time. The last bike on my list to even look at would be a HD today. I see the bike for what it is not a cult icon or lifestyle, I don't need to wear a salad bowl on my head running around looking like Paul Sr bar to bar I want to ride in my Rukka Gore-tex Kombi, Daytona boots and Arai or Shoei full face.
I think these millennials are judging the bikes on their merits as bikes and in that light the HD doesn't do well by any benchmark.
Donning flame suit.
Edit: I also like sport bikes the CBR900RR was great, handled like a scared cat but a bit cramped for 8hrs at a time in the stool.