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Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Max Buffet, Oct 18, 2012.
Bvcamp, got any more pics of your Sporty? And some details...
Nobody wants them, at least not in enough numbers to make a profit.
First of all, If you actually want a Harley, there is nothing else to compare it to. There are certainly a lot of other nice bikes out there, but nothing that compares to a Harley. You either love them or you don't. I do. I have never owned one, but plan to change that soon, since the prices have come so far down. I have put quite a few miles on a couple of Sportsters, and I was impressed. The sound and feel are awesome. There is nothing else like it. Unfortunately the Sportster, even the 1200, is simply too small for me, at 6' 240 with a 34" inseam. You can put forward controls on them to help with that, and you can also get better seats and a rider backrest, which would be major improvements. But it still looks and feels like a tiny bike, mostly because it is. It is a small frame wrapped around a big engine.
I have sat on, but never ridden a big twin. But that was enough. I want one. Bad. Probably something in the Dyna series. I loved the old Dyna Wide Glide, don't care for the looks of the newer one. I would also be perfectly happy with a Dyna SuperGlide, the cheapest of the big twins.
The Victory and Triumph are also really nice, but they are not Harleys. Harleys have a sound and feel far removed from anything else, which is probably why they sell so well. They remind me of an American V8 with a hot cam and an open exhaust. They are not that fast for their displacement, but they sure sound like it, and you will have no doubt that you are sitting atop a very large internal combustion engine.
Then there is the Harley aftermarket, which is second to none. Anything you might want for a Harley you can find at least 10 companies making it. Aftermarket oem parts are also available all the way back to 1903. So you can buy a Harley and keep it forever. It can be rebuilt over and over again. You can even buy complete replicas of the early engines, Knuckleheads, Panheads, Shovelheads, etc, only built to modern standards. Harleys are not disposable bikes.
But please, whatever you do, don't buy a Japanese copy of a Harley. I would be too embarrassed to be seen on one. There is nothing wrong with Japanese bikes, I've owned a boatload of them. But I have never owned a Harley copy. A Harley is a 100% American design (yes it has some foreign parts on it, everything does these days) that has a heritage and history behind it. It is the real thing, warts and all. The Japanese copies are just fake lookalikes.
The good thing about Harleys is that it's easy to find places that rent them. I would suggest that you take one out for for a day or three, and see what you think. Get one with road bars, so you can stretch your legs out.
I'm not really into cruisers, but I had a lot of fun on the Harley I rented a while back.
That is exactly why I always considered a Harley. Especially the aftermarket. You can make a Harley anything you want it to be. Allows you to make, remake, and remake again as your mood changes. When I bought my Road King I had no idea I would be spending so much....but, it now fits me better than anything I have ever owned. A word of warning: IT IS VERY ADDICTIVE, BE VERY CAREFUL. So far: new seat, backrests, luggage rack, removed heel shifter (with nipple to cover shaft), dongle to keep passing lamps always on, new handlebars, new grips, and windshield on order. Most of this is genuine Harley stuff...it is often cheaper and well made. My local dealer goes out of its way to make you happy with your purchases and gives rewards. If you are so inclined a place to kick back as well. It has been an amazing experience...even though I bought a used bike they still treat me as well as anyone. I don't fit the "normal" Harley mode: ATGATT, Hi-Viz, and full face helmeted I am as welcome as any pirate. This is the only bike I have taken on an over night trip. I have ridden in four states. I have put over 5k on it in less than 6 months, with most of that being my 14 mile (round trip) commute each day. I am constantly amazed at how really good this bike is.
I have ridden many different bikes....owned a few. I have owned Suzukis, Kawasakis, Yamahas, and Triumphs. Before I bought the Harley I rode Ducatis, Suzukis, Kawasakis, Hondas, Triumphs, and BMWs. For the way that I ride nothing really compares. I really wanted a Suzuki M90/C90, but this is better. Better aftermarket, better dealers, better workmanship. And, it isn't a throw away......I really hate buying orphans (you know models that are no longer supported). I wondered for years why so many people absolutely love their Harleys...beginning to understand. I guess I am bathing in the Kool-aid now, aren't I. But, like my Apple computers, there really is a reason why the fans are such fanatics.
If you still love your Harley after 5,000 miles and 6 months, you always will. Many people get a Harley because they like the look, the image, and want to be part of the "scene" But right after they get it, they wind up hating it, because it makes noise, and vibrates, and gets warm. That to me is a big part of what a Harley is all about. It is a very visceral experience. Good and rough. You are not insulated from it like you are with so many other modern things. But that is what many people actually want. Smooth, quiet, no character, just a nice 2 wheeled transportation appliance. Honda makes exactly what they need. It's called a Goldwing. I know, I have one. But things are going to change.
Harleys are like genital warts, they just grow on you. I have owned 5 Harleys and one Buell over the years. They really do grow on you like old jeans, old jackets, and old trucks. I love the classic lines of certain old motorcycles like the sportster, Japanese UJM's, old Beemers, and Guzzis. I guess that is why my daily ride is the F800GS but I found an old sportster recently for a play bike.
HHKIWI I would love to get some info about your seat. I am 6'0" and my back is destroyed. Since my Sportster I have owned a VStrom and a F800GS and I find the riding position very comfortable. When I picked up an old Sporster a month ago I could not figure out why it hurt my back so. I finally did some measurements and figured out that the seat to peg ratio is what is off for me. I was considering trying to mount an older buddy style seat or trying to modify my own seat. I like the look of your seat and the extra height. What is the story on that seat?
I get asked about the seat on a regular basis. Here's a link to a previous post on it: http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=18358553&postcount=1705. I really don't know why something similar is not readily available for late model Sportsters.
The closest seat to mine is the Biltwell Banana: http://www.biltwellinc.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=36. It would fit your 96 Sportster but it's not available for rubber mounts.
If I owned a Sportster, this is probably the type of seat I would want for it:
along with forward controls and a riders backrest. I would definitely prefer an '03 or older, not crazy about the rubber mounted engine. It would not be a touring bike, it isn't big enough. So since it would be limited to shorter trips, I would want to feel that engine.
People have ridden cross country on Sportsters, they have ridden cross country on Honda Rebels. But they were probably smaller than me.
This is my third Harley and I came very close to buying a Moto Guzzi California 1400. I was concerned about the first model and all...you know, all the bugs have yet to be ironed out. I still would consider one down the track. Anyhow, after much argy bargy, the dealer did a reasonable deal on trading my 2005 Deluxe on a 2011 Road King. The King although a tad underpowered (for now), certainly handles better, and stops better than any Softail I've ever ridden. On a negative though, be prepared for the beast shaking like a paint mixer at idle, but smooths out once underway.
Also, I rode a Triumph Thunderbird Storm last weekend...THAT is a beast. Loved it, and I recommend a test ride.
If you can afford a Harley, get one. There are other cruisers out there, some functionally superior to a Harley. But nothing else is a Harley, and IMO, nothing any other bike has makes up for that. If I could afford one I'd be looking for something in the Dyna series. A Superglide would be just fine. Sportsters are just to small for me to ride any distance on.
Seems like everybody on here has a GS. You couldn't give me one of those unless I could sell it. There are FAR better road bikes, and if you want to go off road, or adventure touring, a KLR650 will do that for 1/3 the price, and do a better job because it is so much smaller and lighter. I have watched a LOT of videos of people riding a GS off road, and they don't seem to do well at all.
I have about 2k on a new 2012 Dyna SuperGlide Custom. I am coming off an 05 tiger, put about 30 k on it. Great bike, plenty of power and great for the back roads, but it was top heavy, with a full tank, gear and my 30 " inseam it did take a few road naps and it was a MF to pick up. Loved the bike and went a lot of places on it but it wasn't a bike that I would jump on to just to go to the store.
My new Dyna is awesome and a blast to ride, this thing has all the power and torque i need (not necessarily want), it has a low center of gravity and with the 29' rake it handles the curves with no problem, especially for an almost 700lb bike. The fit and finish is superb, it is all metal and solid, I feel like I could pull tree stumps with this thing. This bike is meat and potatoes, at this point I love the bike and couldn't be happier.
I rode up to Laconia the other weekend with some friends, had some fun visiting the pirate attractions (on my Warrior, wearing my mesh jacket and full face, but nobody cares), but I had the most fun at the Harley demo rides out at the speedway, spent half the day there riding all of the touring bikes.
They are all great riding bikes. After the first ride or two the paint shaker thing at idle starts to feel normal (but i did have an FXR years ago, so I guess that helps), but once you start moving they just feel amazingly smooth and, dare I say, nimble. My favorites were the Ultra Limited and the CVO Roadglide custom. Damn, if I could justify spending $34k on a bike that would be my new ride. The 110" engine had power everywhere, the 400 watt stereo is just amazing, the fit and finish of all of the nicely designed accessories is outstanding, the paint is incredible....I want one so bad I can taste it. Local dealer website says they have one.....damn that's a lot of money...but damn it's a hell of a lot of bike, too. I hate not being rich.
Oh yeah, I didn't want to push it too hard, but the ground clearance thing should just not be an issue for most people. I had all of them leaned pretty far over, plenty of clearance on even the lower models. And they hold a line when leaned over with no problem at all. Very good handling for what it is.
I see a Harley touring bike in my future. But I haven't ridden the Cross Country or Vision yet. One or the other.
It's only money and life is short !
and have them put 3 or so inches of stiff foam UNDER the existing seat foam then tack the cover back on. Sure it doesn't look low-slung anymore but now the bike fits me with my 34" inseam using mid-controls. Raising this seat solved a real problem for me. I love this bike and can ride it all day now.
My rubber mounted Sportster is not to small for me. 6', 34 inch inseam. I switched the forward controls out for mid-mounts, got different handlebars, and had a seat custom made and it is very comfortable. YMMV. What I have noticed is the attitude I get about it, fellow Harley riders give me the "oh, it's a Sportster" attitude, which is fine, I think most of them are insecure about "things" and pay them no never mind. What I do like is the gearing and handling across the board. It's a 1200 with a jet kit and it has torque across the board that is smile plastering fun. I haven't tested to see how fast it is on the top end, but it feels strong at 80-90 mph range which is plenty fast enough for me. Yeah I know 1200 Bandit's and the ilk are faster, but I'm not interested in splicing my internal organs with Venison again so I try to keep it at more moderate rates.
I do plan on fabricating a set of floorboards or going to go look at Led Sled's design in Dayton Ohio.
My FXRP was the perfect bike for me. Great hardbags, great fairing and the most comfortable bike I had ever ridden, (though I also like the KZP1000's for comfort.)
When I test rode my Sportster, I also test rode a 2011 Dyna Glide which someone had added floorboards, factory hard bags, and a Hoppe aftermarket fairing that resembled the Tour glide fairings, it was very similar feeling to my FXRP except with gobs of power, which was the booger in the mayo problem for me, someone had added the stage 3 kit to it and it had 79,000 miles on it, and I wondered f it hadn't been ridden at high speeds for 79,000 miles. (that and it had a gawd awful rainbow color changing paint jobs on it which further tipped me off that I didn't want such a late model bike that had been messed with too much.
My neighbor has a Dyna Glide police bike with the factory hardbags and floorboards and he loves it.
I'm satisfied with my Sportster though, and while if my wife ever decides to ride again, I may have to rethink my bike choice, as a do everything solo bike, it is perfect in my book.
On some Friday mornings, I usually catch a fellow moto-commuter on a recent model Road Glide. I'm guessing he only commutes on a bike on Friday.
I may blow past him, but hot-damn, everytime I look over at it, makes me pause a bit and ALMOST wish I had one myself.
Not ready for a Harley, but I do find a Gloss Black Road Glide awfully nice to look at.
You want an awesome big bad ass cruiser that's superior to the other brand.
Get a Valkyrie.
Thats the key. LOOK at. Its all downhill from there