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Ever tried a Harley? I hadn't either until last weekend...

With the exception of the Valkyrie, which is a cruiser that's not a cruiser (if you see what I mean - 100bhp, great handling etc) ) Cruiser type bikes have never interested me much. Too many compromises of form over function leading to mobile art that looks amazing but doesn't behave well as a motorcycle. Then there's the build quality....On these bases my Explorer must be as far away from a Harley as its possible to get..

But I figured that no site about Big Bikes would be complete without a few cruiser tests, so I booked a ride on the least-cruiser like Harley I could find - a brand new 2014 Fat Bob; straight bars, minimal chrome and double disc brakes up front. Didn't like the paint job but the styling was actually pretty cool. Naked urban street fighter rather than sad sanitised custom clone.

I was pleasantly surprised - in fact I was amazed. This wasn't the bad handling, under braked bag of nails I'd been led to expect by the British Motorcycle Press.

You can see how I got on here:


http://bigbikemad.com/harley-davidson-fat-bob---review.html

Did I buy one? Nope, not at £12,000 - for technology that is, frankly still prehistoric. But I am going back next weekend to have a go on a second hand V-Rod... 125 bhp, water cooled engine and Brembo brakes. Should be a laugh if nothing else. Book me a place at Santa Pod...


And no, this has nothing to do with the medication I'm on . Ahem:eek:
 

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The issue isn't the bikes.
It's the morons that are associated with the brand.
 

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I have owned two. They are Ok bikes but you will need the extensive Harley Davidson service network if you own one. They are fun to ride n an old school kind of way but after a while I would get headaches from the noise in 3-4 hours in the saddle. There are many better choices out there IMO.

I kind of miss my Lowrider but I don't miss my mechanic.
 

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I put my 2002 T100 on Craigslist two days ago, and have someone coming over to look at it this afternoon already. If he buys my Bonneville, I'll immediately be buying a pristine, 2600 mile, 2004 XL1200R Sportster Roadster that just came into a local Kaw dealership.

This isn't the bike I'm trying to buy, but, with the exception of the exhaust and license plate arrangement, an exact example of it...I rode the Sportster a couple of days ago, and liked it.



I might be interested in a Road King or Soft tail Deluxe, but I already have a 125 ci pushrod V-twin with my Vulcan 2000, and I don't feel that Harley has anything to compete with that bike, at least in big twin performance, especially at the price I paid for the Vulcan.

I've owned something like 47 or 48 motorcycles over the years, but this would be my first 'real' Harley...my '67 Sprint 250 didn't really count.
 

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They are fun to ride n an old school kind of way but after a while I would get headaches from the noise in 3-4 hours in the saddle. There are many better choices out there IMO.
Harleys are only noisy if the owner makes them noisy. If I am able to buy that 2004 Sportster I want, the FIRST thing I'll do is find a pair of stock mufflers to replace the two 'Screaming Eagle' slip-ons that it now has, that SOB is LOUD. The good part is that I should be able to buy a couple of stock Sportster mufflers for next to nothing, closets and attics across America are filled with new Harley OEM muffler take-offs because a minimum of nine out of ten (at least...seriously) Harley owners don't keep them on their bikes.

We live 20 miles from Sturgis, and each year during the rally in August, we usually ride a lot of test bikes from the manufactures who still come here and offer them. Harley, naturally, makes a big presence at that time with test rides of various models and I almost always take the opportunity to ride a new Road King, which is my favorite HD model overall. IMO, they're very nice motorcycles. I'm not going to buy one however, they just cost too much for me, and I'd rather have three or four other nice bikes rather than one Harley sucking up my entire motorcycle budget.
 

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I dunno. You won't be making a believer out of me any time soon. I teach MSF with a guy who rides a new Road King. One of the most boring bikes I ever rode. I could not wait to get off it. In fact, I pulled over and called him and he came and picked it up, and I drove his car home. Crap, with enormous ponderous weight, a meager amount of power for said weight, and uncomfortable riding position. No thank you. Maybe one of the Sportsters with traditional foot controls would be ok. But wow that Road King sucked.
 

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Not another HD thread! :eek: Everything that could be said about Milwaukee's "finest" has already been said, in every possible way of saying it. So the ONLY point left in these exercises is guessing how many pages the thread will run before it gets locked. My guess is 12.
PS I wish all our HD riding members good riding, & hope they continue to get the pleasure out of their machines that's always eluded me. :p :D
 

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Not another HD thread! :eek:
well, I can't talk for the rest of eternity about my T100 either, and it just so happens that I'm currently right smack in the middle of actually possibly buying one of the damn things (a Harley, that is), so they're on top of the things I'm thinking about at the moment.

I'm not really a Harley fan for the most part, and truly do not like most of their models, but a few manage to creep through to me now and then.

Too bad that I may lose my pretty, old, T100 for a Sportster, but nothing's forever, and I often let good bikes go just for the change.
 

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Mrs Mayday and I are going down to the dealer on Saturday to order a new Street Bob. We're getting it with the mid controls, and a low handlebar in place of the silly 'mini apes' that are standard on that model. The dyna family can acually corner pretty well when not crippled with extra low suspension. Weight is about 650 lbs wet. According to Motorcycle Consumer News, acceleration of the dyna Switchback, (70 lbs heavier than the SB), is only a few 1/10 ths behind the last Thruxton they tested in the 1/4 mile. I agree though that the same engine in one of the touring bikes (850-900 lbs) would be a dog.

We have some tasteful mods in mind for it. No flames, skulls, gold eagles, or earsplitting exhaust will be allowed.

Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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This bike will be a stablemate for the Bonneville, not a replacement. I guess y'all will still be stuck with me for a while yet.

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I learned on a 2011 1200 Harley 48 Sportster. My then step dad won it (showroom fresh) in a contest and preferred drinking rather than riding it. It seemed like a waste to let it rot in the garage, so after some convincing I got him to show me the basics. Before I knew it, I had put a few hundred miles on it just going up and down the same deserted parking lot and residentials. It was allot fun, and there weren't allot of complaints because it was all I knew. Here are my thoughts after riding my Triumph for about 10 months.

The Bad:
The Harley suspension was lop-sided at first, than stiff as a board. I wondered if it wasn't a hard tail at times.
The build quality didn't please me. The blinkers almost fell off, parts didn't line up, and I wasn't a fan of the zip ties the factory scattered around to hold the wires in place to state a few examples.
It rattled and shook like crazy. I thought it was kind of neat, but I also wondered how long it would take until bolts started coming loose.
It had a miniscule range. It got gas mileage in the low to mid 40's and had a 2 gallon tank. The low fuel light went on when the tank was half empty... sometimes.
I think my nearly stock (AI removed) Triumph was just as fast as the stock Harley. The Harley was a 1200, my baby is a 790. I felt more like I was going to fly off the Harley on the few occasions I gave it the beans, but I think that had to do with the riding position and the solo seat. It was obviously louder too, which added to the experience.
The clutch lever felt like it had been lubed with Gorilla Glue and the gears were rough to change. This could of been due to the new condition of the bike though.

The good:
It looked nice. I loved the look of the fat front tire especially, and the lack of chrome was a refreshing change from every Harley I had seen growing up.
The pipes weren't obnoxious, and I could hear the valves at work. I probably liked listening to the engine working more than I liked hearing the exhaust note.
Being a new rider, the low height was comforting to me.
It didn't break down on me. Like I said before, I was just riding it around the immediate vicinity of empty streets/parking lots and was extremely easy on the throttle, but it was nice not having to push it anywhere.
It had sufficient torque to pull away with little to no effort in first or second gear.
It didn't feel bulbous or clumsy in corners. She scrapped pegs to easily for my taste, but she felt nimble overall.
It felt like was I always imagined a vintage Harley to feel like. The shaking, the giant front tire, the ticking of the valves, the effort required to make a gear change, all that and a few other things gave a fun experience. My lifelong fascination with all things vintage might have something to do with my enjoyment of something that seems to have been designed to feel slightly antiquated though :p

This is all from my memory mind you, and this is the first thing I have done resembling a review, and this was the first bike I ever rode, so please keep that in mind.
 

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I think my nearly stock (AI removed) Triumph was just as fast as the stock Harley. The Harley was a 1200, my baby is a 790.
A Stock 1200 Sportster is rated at 70hp, the 790 Triumph is 60-61, but the Sportster weighs probably 75-80 lbs more than a Bonneville, so any hp advantage it has is generally going to be soaked up with it's additional weight. In a balls-out drag race, they should be very close to equal at the end of it. The 1200 Sportster should feel stronger at low revs than a Triumph 790, but after 60 or 70 mph, I doubt there would be much space between them all the way to the top.

I would expect an 865 Bonneville might be a bit quicker than a 1200 Sportster, but that's guesswork, not experience.
 

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My then step dad won it (showroom fresh) in a contest and preferred drinking rather than riding it. It seemed like a waste to let it rot in the garage, so after some convincing I got him to show me the basics.
I like your Sporty review and the "drunk former step dad" story with a positive twist. Both are rare. :cool:
 

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First mod will be 13.5" shocks to get its butt up off the ground.
 

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I put my 2002 T100 on Craigslist two days ago, and have someone coming over to look at it this afternoon already. If he buys my Bonneville, I'll immediately be buying a pristine, 2600 mile, 2004 XL1200R Sportster Roadster that just came into a local Kaw dealership.

This isn't the bike I'm trying to buy, but, with the exception of the exhaust and license plate arrangement, an exact example of it...I rode the Sportster a couple of days ago, and liked it.



I might be interested in a Road King or Soft tail Deluxe, but I already have a 125 ci pushrod V-twin with my Vulcan 2000, and I don't feel that Harley has anything to compete with that bike, at least in big twin performance, especially at the price I paid for the Vulcan.

I've owned something like 47 or 48 motorcycles over the years, but this would be my first 'real' Harley...my '67 Sprint 250 didn't really count.
I really dig the 1200R. If I could find an all stock really clean example, I'd be all over it. All the ones I've seen lately have been "upgraded" with lowering shocks, ape hangers, forward controls, etc.
 

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Our new anti-bikie laws have put an enormous amount of used HDs on our market, & prices are tumbling accordingly. They're falling from an enormous height, compared to US bike prices, so it's probably not worth returning them to the states, yet. But if the govt continues to scare the public away from HDs it can't be long before they are.
 

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After 26,000 trouble free miles riding across America I was sure that this Harley was going to be my "Keeper". I already owned my 08 Speed Triple, so I had a fun bike.


But then I test rode a Yamaha FJR and the Harley was history. If I wasn't so hooked on speed and handling that Harley would still be mine.
 

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Our new anti-bikie laws have put an enormous amount of used HDs on our market, & prices are tumbling accordingly. They're falling from an enormous height, compared to US bike prices, so it's probably not worth returning them to the states, yet. But if the govt continues to scare the public away from HDs it can't be long before they are.
Your gov is legislating against HD?
 

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Your gov is legislating against HD?
They might as well have done. They've outlawed a number of MC gangs, all of which ride HDs. Just wearing club colours & being in groups of 3 or more is an illegal act, & many have been arrested for having a beer with mates. The Cops are starting to settle down a bit now, but when the laws were first passed, last year, they were hassling anyone on a Harley. They even harassed our local MP, which was when they started to pull their heads in. But it's freaked out every corporate yuppie with a Hog, who only had the bike as a badass fashion statement anyway. & they're ditching their Milwaukee Iron faster than shares in the Fukushima Power Co.
 
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