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Old 04-25-2013, 11:56 PM   #31
boatpuller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davevv View Post
There are also a lot of us on Harleys that buy them simply because we prefer the "feel" of a Harley.... No other bike, and I've owned bikes from all the major manufacturers over the years, provides me the same satisfaction and enjoyment in every day street use or touring.

Sure, the "lifestyle" and status sells a lot of Harleys to Harley "owners". But the feel and sound of a Harley sells a lot of them to Harley "riders" as well. If that's what you like, you can't get it anywhere else. Moto Guzzi is the only marque that comes close, and I've owned three of those over the years also.
1. Have ridden Harley's for years and tens of thousands of miles, but, there are other good motorcycles too. I bought a Strom a couple of years ago for adventure touring, and made a focused effort to ride it most of the time after buying it. It was light and fun to ride in the city compared to the heavy Harley. I did not have to be as deliberate with it as I do with a Harley.

After about three weeks of only riding the Strom, I took the Harley out for an errand, and found myself patting the side of the gas tank like you would pat the side of a good horse's neck while riding. That caused an epiphany: Harley's have soul. I've ridden my current Harley in 44 states, have crossed the Rockies in a snow storm, and seen the sun rise on the Blue Ridge Mountains, have seen the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf, and many many rivers lake and streams, have seen the congestion of LA, NY, all at rush hour, and seen the barren desolateness of the west side of the Dakotas in 70 mph winds, have scraped the frost off it in the morning at 23 degrees, and have stepped inside a gas station freezer to cool off at 103 degrees, have crossed the Delaware Bay on a ferry, and ridden under the Chesapeake Bay in a tunnel, have cruised lonely western highways at 100+, and crawled along beautiful National Parkways at legal limits. And in all those adventures, I never once wished for a different motorcycle to share the experiences with. I could not have asked for a better, more comfortable motorcycle with which to tour the country. And that's not just because it is flat out comfortable, but because it has soul. It's not just a disposable machine, it's a riding partner.

The Strom, a nice motorcycle, was just a machine, a mechanical device useful for a purpose. It was not a living creature that became a partner.

2. Sounds like the OP's wife attended a Harley Rider's Edge class, a factory sponsored training program to bring new riders into the world of motorcycles. Yes, it is basically the MSF's class, but that's okay. The point is, Harley is the only factory making the effort to welcome new riders and interested people into motorcycling. If you were a new want-to-be-rider, would you want to go somewhere you were made to feel welcome, or would you want to go somewhere indifferent to you? That's really a no-brainer.

3. I get a kick out of Harley-haters who feel superior, wondering why the masses don't agree with them. What's it matter?! You either get the Harley, or you don't, and so what? It either speaks to you, or it doesn't. Find something that works well for you, and go enjoy life, and stop worrying about what other's find enjoyable to them. (That does not apply to the OP's wife, whom I assume as a new rider was just having new rider questions.)
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:28 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Gadget Girl View Post
My physical therapist!

When I was getting back into riding years ago, I asked my physical therapist what would be better for my back.

She replied that the recumbent position of a cruiser bike (which I was intending on getting) directs all of the road shock right up the spine. Think of all the old cruiser riders with back problems and kidney belts!

She then said that the more forward position of the sport touring style would actually work my back muscles and strengthen them!

After over a hundred thousand miles of pain free riding I am singing the praises of the sport touring bikes.

In fact, my ex took my advice and got himself a Ninja 650 for his commuter. He reports the same improvement in his back too!
+1 To this. I have mild scoliosis in my back nothing major but certain angles and positions cause it to flare up.

I can ride all day on my BMW r1150r without any discomfort, but if I spend more than an hour or so on my Vuclan 900 cruiser I develop some serious stiffness and pain.

Obviously everyone is different, but for me a slight forward position is much easier on my back.

Cheers
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:23 PM   #33
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As a new rider, she should look elsewhere for a bike. Something in the 250cc range. HD has absolutely nothing suitable for ANY new rider.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:27 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by ShimrMoon View Post
As a new rider, she should look elsewhere for a bike. Something in the 250cc range. HD has absolutely nothing suitable for ANY new rider.
+1 to that!

Many riders (myself included) started out on Ninja 250s. There is really something to be said about spending some time learning to ride a bike to its full potential before upgrading to a new bike. It's great for building confidence and also gives you a much better feel for your own style and what you may want in future bikes.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:04 AM   #35
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Why?

Because they're bad ass....

http://youtu.be/37xHc-XglQA

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Old 05-07-2013, 09:38 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by sc00tertrash View Post
+1 To this. I have mild scoliosis in my back nothing major but certain angles and positions cause it to flare up.

I can ride all day on my BMW r1150r without any discomfort, but if I spend more than an hour or so on my Vuclan 900 cruiser I develop some serious stiffness and pain.

Obviously everyone is different, but for me a slight forward position is much easier on my back.

Cheers
I put a lot of miles on my Road King. I like the fact that I can sit in numerous positions during a long trip. I often slide my feet back to where they overhang the floorboards and ride in a forward leaning "sport touring" position. I can also ride in the "sofa" position sitting upright with my feet on the floorboards or in the "recliner" position leaned back against the riders backrest and put my feet on the forward pegs mounted to the crash bars. I really like not being locked in to a single seating position. I routinely ride 400-500 mile days with no back discomfort.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:13 AM   #37
sloryder
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Why?

Because Harleys have gobs of low end torque. No need to worry about stalling at takeoff. Torque where you NEED it. From a stop light to maximum posted limit.

And the sound. What a majestic sound the Harley makes! I have gone out to the garage, fired it up and sat in a chair just to listen to it.

For many folks, a Harley in not a good first bike choice. Get something small and light that you can flat foot.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:29 AM   #38
sc00tertrash
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grelcar View Post
I put a lot of miles on my Road King. I like the fact that I can sit in numerous positions during a long trip. I often slide my feet back to where they overhang the floorboards and ride in a forward leaning "sport touring" position. I can also ride in the "sofa" position sitting upright with my feet on the floorboards or in the "recliner" position leaned back against the riders backrest and put my feet on the forward pegs mounted to the crash bars. I really like not being locked in to a single seating position. I routinely ride 400-500 mile days with no back discomfort.
Totally, like I said everyone is different. Having the ability to change positions on a bike helps. With my back the default position on my cruiser causes some pain so a standard style bike works best for me for longer days in the saddle.

Cheers.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:58 AM   #39
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I want a HD touring bike myself, but back to the OP's question - 1st bike for new, small rider:

Suzuki TU250
Guzzi V7
Triumph Bonneville Black or SE (lower seat, smaller front wheel, no tubes)
Honda CB500

Sporty or Yamaha Bolt might work too.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:02 PM   #40
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I have owned around 20 Guzzi's and 15 BMW's over the years, still have 4 BMW's 1150GS r100GS and /5's but if you like to do big miles and dont want a sore arse i use the Roadking simple as that, and you really can ride them with the same jacket and helmet as the BMW.
Cheers
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:34 AM   #41
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I see two different questions in the original post.
1. "Her question to me was, "Why do people choose a Harley cruiser type bike over a lighter weight, more manueverable bike?"" I read it with an implied "... as a beginner bike?" at the end.

2. "Can anyone else add any insight as to what makes the HD popular besides being part of the "cool guy" crowd?" Love this question, because it provides one answer already.

Anyway, some internet thoughts on these two that are worth what you pay for them.

1. I can only guess information from peers and successful marketing is the largest contributor in the first choice for new riders. New riders haven't ridden much, so they seek advice from those who have, and many of those folks tell them that they'll have the most fun on a Harley. They get pointed in that direction and the choices narrow down and new rider ends up with a Harley. Having said that, I also think many folks do like the way Harley's look, and style is a factor. It adds together. I tend to think the light weight bikes are easier to learn on myself... it's just one less thing (the heavy weight) to get in the way when you're trying to learn this new skill. Even though I ride a big, fat Road King, I have ample opportunity to ride 250 street bikes, and I enjoy the light weight very much, particularly in city type riding. I hope Suzuki sells the heck out of some TU250s. Love that bike.

2. I can only tell you my own thought process. I wanted wind protection, fuel injection, and a bigger motor on which to do day trips. Originally, I wanted a BMW RT. I still think they are about (for me) the most comfortable seating position out there, they handle just like I like, are light relative to their competitors, and have the best weather protection I've personally sampled. But, I shied away from it because I was less familiar with servicing myself the mechanical/electrical aspects of it and I didn't want to learn it. I knew that if particular things broke, I would not want to pay the dealer service fees and would not feel comfortable doing it myself, so the bike would atrophy before my eyes. I like the look of the Road King and there is a (perhaps unsubstantiated?) vibe out there that every Bubba on the planet can work on a Harley. Not to mention, they have a great reputation for reliability, and my bike is stock. They are a very well-known and supported entity. I have (surprisingly, to me) very much enjoyed having local resources to call on when I need something.

I don't ride it like I rode the SV650 or the Honda RS125 GP bike. I drive it like a 1950 Buick street rod, right at the speed limit with my arm hanging on the window. When the fast guys come up behind, I pull over. It's a nice place to watch the world go by. With the 'Stich and full face, I look like a BMW rider that stole a Road King.

Other bikes I would like: St13, RT, Honda Deauville or NT700 (whatever it's called).

Other thoughts I like:
From Davevv: "There are also a lot of us on Harleys that buy them simply because we prefer the "feel" of a Harley." I like that feel, too.
From Joexr: "HD riders just SIT on bikes going down the road a lot." I do a lot of that. I also want to own a supersingle and do track days again someday.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:34 AM   #42
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I asked my dad this once (He rides an 08 FXDB) *For him anyway* He's always wanted a Harley (He used to have a 73 Sportster he rebuilt) and despite there being better choices, he just likes it.To him the appeal is, It's not the fastest, It's not aerodynamic and it's damn sure not efficient, it doesn't cut through the wind, it shoves through the wind.

That's a summary of what he told me, I wouldn't place him with the average HD rider either--he rides his bike every day to and from work and on the weekends, and doesn't buy into the whole (HD Lifestyle) they sell, He calls the folks who buy into that crap, posers and wanna be's the real bikers are the ones who are just riding, not putting chrome everywhere and buying it for a LIFESTYLE.

So I guess it's a matter of choice and preference really.. While I personally wouldn't own a Harley, I would be a liar if I didn't admit his bike put a smile on my face, the Low end torque was fun.

ALSO, Not to mention modern day Harley's are damn near maintenance free. *Hydraulic valve lifters so you don't need to worry about Adjustments*

His bike has 50K Miles and nothing has broken on the bike..yet

Reduxalicious screwed with this post 05-09-2013 at 06:41 AM
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:39 PM   #43
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I'm a new rider and I can tell you all of the reasons I bought an '03 Low Rider as my first bike.

1. The Harley dealer offered the Riders Edge class over Memorial Day weekend, which fit my busy work schedule. I liked that.
2. I wanted something I could resell easily if a. I didn't really like riding b. I didn't like the bike I had bought (not knowing much about motorcycles).
3. I wanted to learn to do my own maintenance and wrenching. Just about anyone with youtube and a service manual can do engine work on a Harley. I replaced the cams and upgraded to hydraulic tensioners in the first month with no prior motorcycle mechanical experience. Which leads into...
4. Any issues with Harley's are well documented on the interwebs. I bought my bike knowing the cam tensioners had already been addressed or would need it.

There are probably a lot of other reasons that I've forgotten.
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