Just wondering about Harleys.

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Max Buffet, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Max Buffet

    Max Buffet Been here awhile

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    I have a GS and a Tiger. I've had a 1000DL, KLR, Versys, Virago 920, '82 KZ 750, and a Honda S90 back when the earth was still cooling. Started riding eons ago, but with a 31-year break. So, a geezer-newby <BLUSH>.
    Anyway, I've only ridden one HD. It was a Sportster and I wasn't impressed.
    But, I find myself casting furtive looks at HDs and I don't know why. I don't think the forward controls are very comfortable and at 6'3" the short seat seems kinda awkward.
    Asking this august brain-trust, is there a HD that I might like, given those caveats?
    How about similar bikes? Roadliners, Vulcans, Victories, etc... I like the looks of the Speedmaster, but 865 seems a little lite.
    I'm not going to run out and write any checks, I'm mostly curious as to opinions, but positive input will probably lead to test rides. I'm looking for experienced riders to help me sort through the complex number of models.
    I'll always keep the GS, but I'm looking to broaden my experience.
    Thanks!:freaky
    Max
    #1
  2. NuggetHead

    NuggetHead Been here awhile

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    Look at a Triumph Thunderbird if you are interested in a cruiser. Great build and performance.
    #2
  3. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers

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    865 is not too small. A really great motor.
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  4. nbsdave

    nbsdave Been here awhile

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    You will find any Harley cruiser to be very heavy compared to your current ride.
    Prior to a purchase you may want to rent one for a day to get familiar with it. Many dealers have an "open to close" rate that is affordable. I had a Softtail Classic and a Roadking Classic and would never consider another Softtail. The RK handles and rides way better. HD's are more expensive than the others you mention.

    Triumph Tbird is very nice but nearly as heavy as the HD.
    Speedmaster or America are good bikes. 865 is not too small. They perform well and you could buy one of each for the cost of a Roadking.
    #4
  5. Fun Lovin' Criminal

    Fun Lovin' Criminal Adventurer

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    I'll second that. Had a GS last year, bought a Thunderbird Storm this year - great bike with a very addictive power delivery.

    Test rode the equivalent Harley (Fatbob) before deciding - no comparison. Triumph is faster, goes round corners and stops better. And cheaper. And less 'fag-like':evil
    #5
  6. Mikef5000

    Mikef5000 Long timer

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    Every HD dealership around me does demo days once or twice a year. Get out there, and spend half a day riding every single bike they make.

    The last time I went, I found I could drag a peg on every single model, just on the (guided) test ride.
    #6
  7. Snizz

    Snizz two wheel enthusiast

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    Being on the taller side myself, found the sportsters to be cramped and clownish feeling. A brawler solo seat on a newer street glide is about the most comfy and relaxed riding position ive ridden, and the floorboards allow many knee angles once the heel shifter is removed. Here is an example of the sheer size difference between rigs. After owning 40 bikes and riding countless others of all makes and models, have concluded what many others have already found out..there is no feeling like being on a snorting harley..period. The build quality, performance, sound, comfort and ease of maintenance are all icing on the cake.[​IMG]
    #7
  8. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    Sportsters are made to need upgrades. like most Harleys, just more so. They need seat and suspension badly and a bigger tank for most.

    After you do that they make a nice bike. You can buy an 883 cheap used low miles, bore to 1200 and have a fun bike, with the shorter gearing, small port heads it has huge torque. Still 883 insurance rate.

    The touring models are much better out of the box. They still like fork and shock upgrades, but it is not critical.

    Many of the factory demos have a free 4 hour ride program. Be early, they sell out fast.

    Rod
    #8
  9. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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  10. Wayward Sun

    Wayward Sun Adventurer

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    Look at any Victory and you will not be disappointed. Most Victory dealers have bikes you can test ride anytime. Try a Kingpin, Cross Country, Vegas, Hammer, Jackpot, Vision or Judge. All great riders with plenty of power and torque. Most reliable motorcycle I've ever owned. Tires, oil and regular maintenance. That's all I've needed in my 7 years of ownership. I can't say that for most of my Harley riding friends. I'm not a Harley hater, just a Victory Lover. Although I'd own a XR1200, nice bike...
    #10
  11. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    If you compare a lower end Victory to the Sportster, you will be amazed how much better the bike is. Better seat, suspension, and MUCH better power. So much more for your money.


    Rod
    #11
  12. Smopho

    Smopho Been here awhile

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    For those long of limb, the Road Glide is the bike to look at. I've owned a Road King, Wide Glide, Superglide, and now the Road Glide and the comfort and handling blow the others away. IT is a mile sucking machine. I've got a MadStad shield on mine and it has less turbulence than the stock one, but stock is not too bad either. You can get different seat heights if you legs feel cramped. My other bike is a Tiger 800XC I use for back roads blasting. The Road Glide is what I take when I want to do 600-700 mile days. Stay away from the Road Glide custom unless you want to lose an inch of their already limited suspension travel. I have a Mustang seat on mine with a removable pillion, and removable adjustable backrest. That was the single biggest comfort adder that lets you pile on the miles.
    Before the new shield....

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    +1. I'm 6'4" myself and currently ride a Vstrom, DR650, WR250R and have owned many other dual sport or adventure bikes.

    Last year, I volunteered at a buddy's shop to lead the Victory demo rides when they had the victory demo truck there. Before then, I had never rode a Victory, although I had admired some of them. So that day, I pretty much rode everything in their fleet multiple times and came away with a totally different attitude about their bikes. Great motor, great 6 speed gearbox, ABS, smooth and a lot of fun. I think I came away liking the Hard Ball the best, but I had a blast on every single one of them. I actually really liked that wild looking Victory Vision and how it rode, but the Cross Country was a nice bike too for a full on touring bike.

    I have nothing against Harley's either, but I think Victory has quite the bike and just isn't noticed until you spend some time on one.
    #13
  14. sargev55

    sargev55 Been here awhile

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    so the smaller actually fun to ride bikes are lower end?

    thats great thinking!

    man i cant wait till i can afford a $20k+ roadking, goldwing, victory UFO looking son of a bitch so i can have a high end boring as hell road barge.

    btw, all the bikes mentioned are great bikes, thats just stupid thinking.:D
    #14
  15. 0ldhippie

    0ldhippie Been here awhile

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    Harleys are heavy, underpowered with crap suspension and brakes. That is what makes them so fun to ride! Plus they are pretty comfortable with creature features. Riding a sportbike on the street is really boring. The roadglides are the best of the fleet.
    #15
  16. txwanderer

    txwanderer Been here awhile

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    For the guys saying "Try a Victory", I have to agree. Got off a Goldwing and although not as optioned out, (Cross Country Tour), I have to say the ride, room, and storage is much better. How long will it go? Dunno, time will tell. The WIng was bullet proof, and a hoot to ride. The CCT is a great ride after some adjustment.It is lacking a little in giddyup, but no slouch.
    Big question. What are YOU looking for? Nostalgia? The Group thing? The mystique? Then Harley is for you. Comfort, rideability, and storage can be had with HD also. But it has to be for you.
    Ride all you can swing a leg over. Harleys will spin up in their time frame and get on down the road. Some equate that to "performance". Victory will do the same, with a little faster pace, Goldwing will pull out of the hole and leave some folks really wide eyed. How much do you want to shift and how fast do you think you need to get there, and how much do you want to spend on engine upgrades? All are certainly capable of getting you point A to B in stock configuration.
    If you want Sport tour performance none of these are for you. The BMW 1600 or the new Tiger Tour may be more to your liking.
    Bottom line, figure out where you want to go and read all the reviews of reliability. Some think a $300 bill for service and only a few breakdowns a year aren't a problem. Some like to wrench their own and can save a lot as well as get to know your ride.
    Leave your options open, it is your money, time and ride, so what ever you decide you have to ride it and hopefully love it.
    Happy Hunting
    #16
  17. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

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    That isn't what he said. What he said was that the lower end Victory was a lot better than the lower end HD. That's all; he didn't say anything about how either compares with the highend bikes, or with anything else.

    PhilB
    #17
  18. NHADV

    NHADV Been here awhile

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    I have had Harleys for almost twenty years. I am partial to the Road Glide. My boss has a street glide and is switching to a Road Glide because he feels more stretched out. I am sure you can go into any dealer and take whatever you want for a ride but whatever you do keep the Adventure bike too! I am on my third KLR!
    #18
  19. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    +1 to the Thunderbird and FLTRX (Road Glide) The ride of both surpasses that of any Victory I have ridden.

    Where are you? :earFill out your profile. If you are anywhere near me I have bikes available for you to take out and see if they are right for YOU.
    #19
  20. Max Buffet

    Max Buffet Been here awhile

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    Thanks!
    I'll fill it out tonight.
    I'm near Boise.
    #20