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Old 10-12-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
Cakeeater OP
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Location: Where it snows a lot
Oddometer: 814
HD Road Glide: 15 months, 22,000 miles

In late July of 2011 I bought myself a big hunk of Milwaukee touring metal.... a new Road Glide Ultra. Now I'm just about to pass the 22,000 mile mark and thought I'd pass along a few observations.

First off, I'm the guy who posted this comparision last year:

http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...ight=smackdown

I have racked up a lot of miles by taking several long trips, and by using the Harley as a "work" vehicle when I have to travel. I don't do any commuting on it, and the bike will stay in the garage for several days at a time when I'm busy. And, living in Minnesota, the bike sat in storage for months last winter.


Three years ago if you asked me what I thought of Harleys I would have said: They suck, big time. They're loud, they're slow, they're stupid, their riders are stupid, etc.

Then I rode one, had fun, rented a few, and finally bought one. When I bought one I wondered if it would fall apart, take a lot of repairs, wobble into the ditch, give me a pot-belly or all those things that HD is supposed to do to....

Well, 22 thousand later, and just back from a quick trip from Minnesota to Los Angeles via No. California and Wyoming and back home I can say here's the verdict:

The bike is just a damn joy to ride..and the quality has been very good.

Here's what I've done for repairs:
I tightened a loose bolt that connects the passenger seat strap.
I had the dealer tighten the steering head bearings at 14,000. It eliminated a much-written about Road Glide no-hands steering wobble that had developed at about 10,000 miles.

Maintenance:
I gave it three oil changes (I run with Amsoil). Gonna give it another soon.
I replaced the paper air filter.

That's it. It's still running original tires...(!) The back tire needs replacing, asap. The front can go another 10,000 it looks like.

Bike looks new. Paint and chrome are flawless. One tiny chip on the front fairing. I've been pegged by rocks, hit a pretty big bird in wyoming at 90 mph...and the paint looks great.

I replaced or added: A windvest 16 inch windshield. Waaaay better than the stocker for turbulence. I added a HD backrest and hiway pegs (Both fantastic quality and adds greatly to long distance comfort). I put in PIAA lighbulbs. The stock HD bulbs were crap of the first order. I've had flashlights that put out more power. And I added a supposedly super loud horn, which isnt that much louder than the stocker.

The engine is completely stock. No pipes, air intake, tuner, etc. Just bought it and rode it. Runs just fine, gets on average about 42 mpg. More when I slow down.

When I ride, I like to cruise at 80 to 85 unless I'm in an area swarming with cops. I'll sometimes run faster, but the bike has a sweet spot from 70 to 85 that really makes me smile. Almost no vibrations, smooth as butter. Above 90 and it gets a little growly, and the cruise control will only hold at 90 or below.

From San Fran heading east this week I put in a 1077 mile day, and felt pretty fresh when I was done. It was cold tho...in the 30s when I stopped for the night, and I don't ride with heated gear, and it was time for some bourbon and a shower when I got off. But, my arse wasn't hurting. This bike allows me to move all over. I stretch out, stand up, lean back, lean forward, rest my shins on the passenger footrests...I constantly move around.

With the tank I can can pretty much always go about 200 miles between fillups. Less if I'm really on the gas or pushing a headwind.

I've ridden the bike from 25 degrees to 110, and engine heat is a non-issue WHEN I"M MOVING. If I'm in stop and go traffic, and it's really hot, I notice it. Last week I was paddling around in L.A. in 90 degree weather and I thought, "yeah, this is getting warm on my thighs). It wasn't a deal breaker, but it wasn't like riding a scooter. Normally I wear aerostich riding pants, and those deflect the heat really well.

Granted, when I'm riding at night and it's 35 out, it's nice to put a hand on the motor to warm up my gloves.

The bike has always started, first time, but it always...always...sounds as excited to get going as an old and tired Labrador when I fire it up. It turns over and goes chuff.chuff..wheeeze...chuff... and then fires up. It never fails to amuse me.

The engine likes high octane juice, esp. at higher altitude. And while it's no rocket, at all, the motor has enough grunt to stay away from semis and texting commuters. I would like more power (who wouldn't?)...but it's not an issue that has caused me to pay the Harley Tax.

The handling of the bike is really superb. It loves to cruise all day, rock steady, in bad winds, through bad rain, on bad roads. I ride one handed much of the time...it's just very steady. The hands-down biggest surprise is that the big lady can really move along nicely on the twisty stuff. Yeah yeah yeah...it's a 900 lb chunk with 32 degrees of max lean angle....but, it just surprises me every time I get on it. Very predictable....a great deal of fun.

Now, I did once take a corner too fast at an intersection and planted the frame into the ground and got myself a nice powerslide out of the deal...but the bike corrected itself and I kept going...and promised myself to lay off the gas the next time.

And the frame will do a little wobble on fast sweepers above 80 mph. It's never gotten nasty...but the bike just starts moving around and tells you, That's Good for Today.


This is getting long, and I gotta run soon, but a couple other notes:

The bike is really good in the dirt, much better than other big touring bikes/sport tourinng bikes I've ridden. Somewhere in Nebraska a few days ago I was heading down a little road to a gas station and I spaced out and rode onto the shoulder. But, the shoulder had a couple inch drop off the pavement, and the shoulder was rough gravel. I didn't want to do anything drastic, so I cruised along the loose gravel for a while until I found a spot to drive back up on the pavement. When I got to the station I found a semi blocking the entrance, and several cars lined up behind it...so I thought, "oh hell, I''ll just keep off-roading it." So I drove down the ditch and down a hill and across a small field to the pumps. I never felt the bike was going to fold its front end into the dirt. I'll take this bike on very rough trails. I've never dropped it, and I go slow, but it will plonk along with steady feet in pretty rough ground.


HD dealers in my experience have been fantastic. Other retailers should take a page out of their book. When I replaced my windshield I messed up a couple tiny little rubber grommets that attach the sheild to the fairing. I went to my dealer, and he said they were out. But he had some delivered the next day, called me, and gave me a couple extra. All for a buck or two.

And, this: I now make certain that my bike is spotless when I leave on a trip. I am THAT HARLEY GUY who polishes his chrome on a Sunday night. Chrome indeed does get you home


Over and out....

Cakeeater
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:59 PM   #2
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H-d

.........
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakeeater View Post
In late July of 2011 I bought myself a big hunk of Milwaukee touring metal.... a new Road Glide Ultra.
96 inch, or 103?
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
EricD10563
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Well written and couldn't agree with you more; including how the bike will let you know when you're pushing it. I'm a first time Harley owner and my Road King puts a smile on my face everytime, might sound stupid but it's just cool riding it and it's damn pretty to look at. I've owned two bikes that have made me smile even though there were so many better bikes available my 1976 CB750F and the Road King, both just provided a visceral feeling that other bikes don't do for me.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by EricD10563 View Post
Well written and couldn't agree with you more; including how the bike will let you know when you're pushing it. I'm a first time Harley owner and my Road King puts a smile on my face everytime, might sound stupid but it's just cool riding it and it's damn pretty to look at. I've owned two bikes that have made me smile even though there were so many better bikes available my 1976 CB750F and the Road King, both just provided a visceral feeling that other bikes don't do for me.
Thanks...and I agree with you. There's something about this bike that makes me grin every time I approach it. I have to say, I REALLY like that the engines of HD are right there in the open. Not covered in plastic.

And one of the bikes I owned in the past was an 82 cb750f...a bike I had lusted after in high school.


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Old 10-12-2012, 05:50 PM   #6
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It's the 103. I've ridden a couple of rental 96s, and I think the 103 is a big improvement.

Oh, one other thing: I'm on 8,000 miles since my last oil change and I've burned 1/2 quart of amsoil.

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Old 10-12-2012, 07:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cakeeater View Post
Oh, one other thing: I'm on 8,000 miles since my last oil change and I've burned 1/2 quart of amsoil.

Cakeeater
Why don't you change your oil?
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:31 PM   #8
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Why don't you change your oil?
Cuz I'm lazy. And the last trip came up on short notice...and I believe that Amzoil hype.

I'm changing it tomorrow.

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Old 10-12-2012, 08:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakeeater View Post
It's the 103. I've ridden a couple of rental 96s, and I think the 103 is a big improvement.


Cakeeater
Same for me, which is why I'm getting the HD itch; I found the 96 to be insufficient...can't beat the dealer network either.
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:56 PM   #10
motoracer51
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Nice report. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us.

I've been a life long sport bike owner. Been thinking about either a HD or maybe a BMW sport tourer.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by motoracer51 View Post
Nice report. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us.

I've been a life long sport bike owner. Been thinking about either a HD or maybe a BMW sport tourer.
I, to ride a 2012 roadglide ultra, Nice balance having the ultra, and GSA. my recomendations is if you don't want the hassel of BMW services . lean toward milwakee iron. you won't be dissapointed. and well be excited to join the family. I've owned many from 883R's to V rods, to my first touring. I, have no regrets. Goodluck, be safe.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:40 PM   #12
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Another HD thread.....

I've currently got a BMW 1200RT, I keep going back to HD and test riding the RK's(not a RG, but still touring frame). I come home, I ride the RT, and love the performance. Love the light weight, lack of heat, and electric wind screen. But, I still keep testing the HD's, and really like them. Don't care for the costume party as most on this site, but really like the bikes as they stand on there own. Also, even with risers just recently added, the RT just isn't as comfortable for me as I'd like. I may be headed for HD as well. Thanks for the report.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:46 PM   #13
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I've currently got a BMW 1200RT, I keep going back to HD and test riding the RK's(not a RG, but still touring frame). I come home, I ride the RT, and love the performance. Love the light weight, lack of heat, and electric wind screen. But, I still keep testing the HD's, and really like them. Don't care for the costume party as most on this site, but really like the bikes as they stand on there own. Also, even with risers just recently added, the RT just isn't as comfortable for me as I'd like. I may be headed for HD as well. Thanks for the report.
Just fyi, I ride in full gear: hi viz aerostich, boots, ...and switch between open face and fullface helmets (I travel with both, really nice luxury...and plenty of space on the bike for that).

Harley guys never ever give me shit about my gear. I get asked a lot of questions and get favorable comments about my aerostich gear. I think they are amused by me.

And the BMW guys look at me funny too.

But...on my last blast across the country in really cold weather I counted about a dozen harley long-distance guys, a trio of Gold wingers, a pair of victories...and only one BMW! We all waved like long-lost cousins. Serious Harley guys are out there amongst the pirates.

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Old 10-13-2012, 11:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cakeeater View Post

But...on my last blast across the country in really cold weather I counted about a dozen harley long-distance guys, a trio of Gold wingers, a pair of victories...and only one BMW! We all waved like long-lost cousins. Serious Harley guys are out there amongst the pirates.

Cakeeater
This seems to be a well kept secret. Everybody makes jokes about HD riders do not actually ride. On my road trips by far the majority of bikes loaded for traveling are Harleys. Makes me wonder how many poeple riding the other brand of touring bikes really spend time on the road when they spout off about Harleys not being ridden.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:49 PM   #15
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This seems to be a well kept secret. Everybody makes jokes about HD riders do not actually ride. On my road trips by far the majority of bikes loaded for traveling are Harleys. Makes me wonder how many poeple riding the other brand of touring bikes really spend time on the road when they spout off about Harleys not being ridden.
This makes me wonder. What overall % market share does HD have in the US?

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