Harley Softail Slim

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Zanotti, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Zanotti

    Zanotti Been here awhile

    Apr 8, 2004
    Took a brand new Slim out today for a test ride. They took one off the floor with zero miles on it and gave it to me. Salesman says, have fun.

    Pro's and Cons:


    Motor. Very nice. The counterbalanced 103 motor is smooth, has pleanty of power, and is almost vibration free. Best part of the bike.

    Handling: Surprisingly good, until you hit the floorboards. I went in some slow twisties and drug each floorboard fairly quickly. If you stay away from the extremes, it handles well.

    Seat: Nice. Enjoyed being low.

    Fit and finish: Nice. the BMW guys always say 1950's technology at 2012 prices, but I didnt see that. Fit and finish were quite nice.

    Speedo: Funny I saw it say 7 and I couldnt figure out why. Ahh, 7 is 70MPH!

    Handling 2: Low speed handling was very in control. Must be from being so low. I did a couple slow speed u turns without issue. Maybe that is why its a parade bike, but anyone should be able to pass any test on this thing.


    Fulll pirate fest in parking lot. Being sold more on the lifestyle than the bike.

    Brakes: Not much stopping power and rear very easy to lock up. I would buy ABS so no worry on lock. Perhaps a new bike thing?

    Ergo's: After 30 years of riding with my feel below me, will I ever get used to feet in front?

    Ergos: Heel and toe shifter - man that thing really gets in the way! I would remove the heel part immediately.

    Ergos: Florboards. Both a pro and a con. Just felt too far forward.

    Handling: Previously mentioned handling. Scraped the floorboards pretty quickly! Funny, scraped the left more than the right, why?

    Sales process: I thought I was getting backroomed, but after talking to the hipster salesmanager I learned he was new (2 weeks on job) and couldn't figure out the price. Nice guy once you got past that. Once he learned I was cool with any process, he lightened up consideraby. Sounds like a little off MRSP for a 2013 is possible.

    Accessories book: Really, a telephone book of extra stuff! I just want a bike to ride!


    I must admit, if my feet were below me, I would have bought today on sight. My primary issue is will I ultimately get used to that?

    There is also a bit of a sail effect above 70mph. Its a cruiser, not a tourer, so this is ok with me.

    I dont care for the lifestyle, but as a lone rider I dont have to participate.

    This is a difficult decision for me. I am ready for a new bike, my 2002 BMW 1150R is ready for a trade, and I will get something new between now and Spring. I drove the Ducati Diavel and didnt like sitting right on top of the motor.

    Does anyone else ride both a sport tourer and a Harely crusier? Can you swap between them without issue?


  2. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

    Dec 2, 2008
    Kensington, NH USA
    Don't say we didn't warn you..... :freaky
  3. davevv

    davevv One more old rider

    Aug 17, 2006
    Just north of Dallas
    Swapping between bikes has never been much of an issue for me personally. I usually have three or four bikes in the garage and have owned sport tourers and cruisers simultaneously. I trade bikes fairly often and it's rare that I keep one for more than two years. It's never been a big deal to change from one to the other.

    As far as touring on a Softail goes, let me tell you about Henry. I met him in Alaska in '07. He was riding a Softail Heritage. We were stopped together at a construction zone waiting for the guide car. When he retired in '03 at 60 years of age, he had never ridden a motorcycle. He took the MSF course, got his license, and bought a new Softail Heritage as his first bike. When he headed out on his first trip, he told his wife he would be gone two weeks, but didn't get back home for three months because he was having too much fun to quit. Two years later, he traded that Softail in with 60k miles on it for the one he was riding when I met him. It already had 40k miles on it. He'd been in 49 states, all the Canadian provinces, Nova Scotia, and Mexico in a little less than four years. Now, the Softail wouldn't be my choice of touring bikes (Electra Glides are more comfortable), but obviously it worked pretty well for Henry. So when people say you can't tour comfortably on a Softail, just remember there are others out there who find them acceptable for 25k miles a year.

    My recommendation would be to buy the bike you want. That seems to be the Slim. If that doesn't work out, you can always change.
  4. BCC

    BCC I know better

    Jul 22, 2004
    Central Florida
    We went to the local dealer today because i needed something and SO sat on a few bikes. She's used to riding a BMW r12r and before that a Low Rider. She liked the Slim and that would be her choice in a Softtail. She loved the ergos of the Street Bob. Mid pegs.

    We'll see.
  5. Hot Dog Stu

    Hot Dog Stu I like pig anus.

    Jun 6, 2007


    It's a fatboy with spoked rims, flat black paint and motorcross bars. (Don't tell the factory I told you)
  6. Zanotti

    Zanotti Been here awhile

    Apr 8, 2004

    Sure it is, but its a way to black the thing out without all the spare parts at home!

    Funny thing about Harley's, for as different as they all look, almost all have the same motor and there are 3 chassis. After that, its all chrome, bars and shocks.
  7. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

    Nov 1, 2006
    God's country, Western North Carolina
    +1 on davevv comments. I've too have had a bunch of bikes over the years and ride 20K+/- a year. There are some differences in each bike, but with a little mileage you soon imprint the new addition into your responses and that applies to everything from BMWs with wizzy brakes to ultra soft suspension and low clearance issues on a bagger, etc, etc. I can remember having bikes in the garage with left and right side shifting and they were no problem if you paid attention while riding.

    Test ride or rent a Dyna and a Touring chassis HD and then make the call. I recently rented a 2012 Road King for a four day camping trip and had an absolute ball on it. If I had taken only a 20-30 minute road test I likely would have just handed the keys back with a thanks, but no thanks final impression and instead I really came to appreciate what a good motorcycle it is (heavy, but competent, shame on those that never learn to ride them instead of just own them).. Anyway, I ended up getting another Beemer, but only after a couple missed deals on a HD and then I found my current rt. BTW, the last 2 years of cross country, camping trips were done on my Stelvio and Futura and that included plenty of freeways and many miles of gravel and dirt that I would take anything from a Softail to GoldWing on, Buy what makes you smile and roll out, they are all great and they all do something better or worse than another offering so don't let others subjective opinions limit your enjoyment.

    The FatBoy has those lovely tubeless radial tires, big + in my subjective pro/con list., other than that I really like the look of the Slim!
  8. NHADV

    NHADV Been here awhile

    Oct 1, 2010
    Gilford N.H.
    One thing to get used to when riding a Harley with floor boards is your gonna scrape just don't go to low first few times. After you get used to scraping you will giggle like a school girl every time you do. Keep in mind you don't want to go to far like any bike or you will be on your butt.
  9. ka5ysy

    ka5ysy Doug

    Oct 30, 2005
    Prairieville LA

    You forgot "Paint" . Most important part... :lol3

    Oh... and don't forget the CVO 50% surcharge ...

  10. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Mar 18, 2007
    Begin Op Zoom
    The word is "too"