Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) bankers go with Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) riders like ... well, considering the size of Goldman bonuses and the gold-plated sticker prices on Harley bikes, they probably go together a whole lot better than you might think. But not this week.

No ribbons for Harley
On Thursday, Goldman got down on the Hog, revealing an uber-bearish sentiment as it added the stock to its "Conviction Sell" list. Citing channel checks, Goldman warned that Harley's gotten a cold reception this Christmas selling season. Hog sales look to be down 35% to 40% in October and November, and future "demand remains uncertain." If correct, this would be truly disastrous. Last quarter, as you may recall, Harley's sales decline was barely half this big – despite its contending then with Cash for Clunkers-inspired sales competition from the likes of Ford (NYSE:F), Honda (NYSE:HMC), Toyota (NYSE:TM), and their Big Brother backers. How could that be? How could this quarter be worse than last?

Gazing into its crystal ball, Goldman sees "a still-worsening demand environment" as the fourth quarter winds down. And while Citigroup (NYSE:C) saw some sales strength a few months ago, Goldman contends that: "sales will hit their lows within the next year." If they're right, then not only is the turnaround not yet in Harley's rearview mirror, we could be as much as 12 months away from a true turnaround.

Goldman adds that Harley's recent recall of 110,000 touring and custom bikes is going to further depress sales. But if you ask me (and not just me), this is where Goldman may be getting it wrong.

Get 'em through the door
In response to my column on the recall last week, more than one reader pointed out how Harley dealers will likely use this as  an opportunity to upsell. Once a Hog owner wheels his ride into the shop to brace its faulty fuel tank, Fool argues that's a chance to pitch 'em a more expensive bike. And maybe a jacket and t-shirt. And as edhans adds (tongue planted firmly in cheek): "if any part of the brace is visible externally, HD will sell 'Screaming Eagle' braces to consumers for upgrades and turn this into a profit." (Yes, Fools. If you post a pithy comment on our site, you can bet we're going to call you out and compliment you for it.)

Seems to me, there's logic in our readers' reasoning -- and that Goldman has got this part of its analysis, at least, 180 degrees backward.

Now, Goldman's got a reputation as an ace investment banker, but what do you think?