Question from the other half

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Krazyjohnny, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. single

    single Been here awhile

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    One thing I like to ask myself when considering a motorcycle is "would I be interested in this bike if it was identical in all ways except it was made by a different country/company". Personally my answer for every Harley is no, although the Harley mythos does appeal, I would never put down money on one, at least none of the models they have released so far.
    #21
  2. davevv

    davevv One more old rider

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    There are also a lot of us on Harleys that buy them simply because we prefer the "feel" of a Harley. Not even considering riding position, there is a big difference in feel from one bike to another. Engine wise, Japanese inline fours, BMW boxers, Triumph triples, parallel twins, Ducati twins, Japanese cruiser twins, etc., etc. each have a different feel and character. Each style of bike, cruiser, sport, ST, ADV, etc. rides differently. I'm not saying any one is better than another, only that they are different. Naturally, riders who have experienced a lot of these different styles are going have a preference in both engine and style of bike depending on what they plan to do with the bike. And those preferences are not all going to be the same from person to person.

    Why one person prefers an I4 when the next person prefers a v-twin, I couldn't say, but I have a good idea why I prefer Harleys. I've been riding over 50 years and when I started, the Japanese bikes were only beginning to show up in the US. Brit bikes were available, but didn't have a great reputation for reliability at the time, so many, maybe even most, of us starting out at that time rode Harleys. Also, my dad was a Harley mechanic, so why would I ride anything else? This meant that the feel of a Harley and it's unique v-twin was what I got used to, and nothing else feels "right" to me. 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.

    It's all just a matter of different strokes, and it's all good.
    #22
  3. marvology

    marvology 2014 F800GS

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    Resale is another reason. Harley's seem to maintain their value. They're also kind of a cultural icon as well for older generations; back to Brando's "whataya got?"

    After I started riding, my dad wanted to get back into it. I talked him out of the Harley and he went with a Goldwing and got more bike for the money according to him.

    Gotta say the Harley crowd actually *rides* though. Around here, even on the most perfect riding days I've gone on 3-4 hour trips and consistently counted the vast majority are Harley's or similar cruisers. Maybe 1-2% are sports bikes and you only see them close to the city.
    #23
  4. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    Not picking on HD , one of my friends owns a shop , but I don't exactly call that RIDING. HD riders just SIT on bikes going down the road a lot. I don't know what kind of riding there is there , but you're probably not riding demanding roads. Sportbikes aren't designed or bought for touring , so that's why you're not seeing them. There's nothing wrong with touring. I'm 50 years old , I ride better than most people , half my age or not , and I'm not near yet ready for a rolling couch.
    #24
  5. dceggert

    dceggert Been here awhile

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    When I first bought my HD Ultra Classic I was appalled by the handling of the "rolling couch." Coming from a long line of BMW bikes at the time I was used to a much tighter feel with deeper lean angles. I was second guessing my purchase.

    Then one day I watched a motor officer do a u-turn in the middle of a street and chase a sport bike rider who was popping wheelies adjacent to a park. The sport bike rider thought about running and left at a high rate of speed; the motor officer on an Electraglide hung with him. The sport bike rider gave up and pulled over.

    I then decided to find out what was wrong with my Ultra as I could not handle mine like that. After asking a lot of questions and hooking up with the right people I found out that is was not the bike; it was me.

    A very kind motor officer then gave me some instruction and I was on my way to doing a much better job of tossing the Ultra around and yes, you can toss it. What you need to do is not 'control it' so to speak but 'point it' and let it go. If it feels unsettled you, the rider, needs to get used to that. The Ultra is not a sport bike by any means but it is not just a rolling couch either.

    There are two types of HD riders out there and one is much more common than the other. I doubt there are many on this site of the most common variety; those that ride 500 miles a year between bars and bike shows. When I mount my BMW or Ultra I have my Aerostich on, Schuberth helmet, waterproof boots, etc. and I am intending to put some dashed lines behind me. With 77,000 miles on the Ultra's clock now I can say it is actually a pretty impressive ride.

    You do not have to participate in the tire kicking, beer drinking, black leather vest crowd with a pirate 'dew rag' if you do not want to!
    #25
  6. 131unlimited

    131unlimited Been here awhile

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    Many of them sit quite low and are easy to ride. They are not like the Panhead choopers from easyriders. Most of them have nuetral ergonomics and are easy to ride around town on. They have decent brakes on them are easy to maintain, relativly cheap to get comon parts for, have a good dealer network and are reliable if they are not highly modified or abused.


    There is really nothing that makes the sport touring bike more popular, cruisers are far more popular in the US as a % of overall bikes that are purchased. True Sport tourers are a niche market in the US.

    If you rode a Goldwing and rode an Electra Glide, you may still buy the Goldwing, but you would also understand what makes ElectrGlides so popular to so many people for eating miles on interstates and fun backroads.
    #26
  7. sargev55

    sargev55 Been here awhile

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    in 2005 i bought a brand new sportster 1200r,

    i was 23 at the time, still have the bike, and its still a fucking awesome do pretty much anything bike. about to turn 23k miles on it, been pretty much bullet proof.


    i lean towards old bikes and 'new,' old bikes, and the sportster R surprisingly was what i was looking for when i test rode one. other bikes being considered and tested at the time were the monster, bonnie t100, thruxton, and sport classic 1000.

    i still want a thruxton in a bad way, although it killed my wrists, and i would definately take a scrambler and use it properly :D
    #27
  8. skyemnt

    skyemnt n00b

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    The Multistrada would be an awesome bike for her if she learns up for a bit on the small bike.

    Harley's are kind of nostalgic to me. They cost a lot more than a similar bike made by another brand. Engines are air-cooled for the most part and get toasty in the summer. They vibrate a LOT and are very heavy for their size (to me) yes I'm a woman. If you want a bike to modify, Harley's have by far the most out there available to them. One of the HD if not their main huge seller is their sound.

    The tourers are a lot smoother and have more modern technology in them. Exhaust can be very quiet, which some people can't stand. They are neither a sport bike or a cruiser at all. Sport Touring bikes also don't need a lot of mods. They are built well equipped from the factory. Some have adjustable seats, digital interfaces, temp gauge, gas gauge, fairing compartments, power window, removable hard-bags, adjustable shocks... A trunk is about the biggest mod for a tourer.

    If I'd compare them to cars they Harley's are the muscle cars and sport tourers are more of a luxury performance car :freaky
    #28
  9. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    Hardleys are the [aircooled] Volkswagon Beetles of the motorcycle world.:lol3
    #29
  10. Rogue_Ryder

    Rogue_Ryder 速 Flat Biller 速

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    :baldy It clearly says TRIUMPH on the gas tank, not sure why so many people think he rides a H-D. Even back in the day it wasn't all Hogs there were Indians (Superior to H-D), Triumphs, BSAs, Vincents (held the record for the fastest bike longer than any other bike in history) etc.
    [​IMG]

    You're right the Harley crowd does ride, but I still think that for every 10 you see out on the road there's at least that many or more that are garage queens that only serve as ass jewelery once or twice a week for a run to the local bike night or bar.

    A lot depends on where you live too, when I was living in the Bay area, I'd say Harleys were out numbered by other bikes that you would seen out riding in the twisties. Here in Colorado it's another story, I'd have to say that Harleys and Cruisers in general make up at least half if not more of the bikes on the road. I live off of a twisty paved mountain road and I rarely see sportbikes :huh I think this has to do with A) The local culture and B) There's a lot of MF'ing speed traps up and down the entire front range.

    To say H-Ds have the lowest seat height and they're the ONLY option is B.S. there's a lot of others with similar seat heights and why you wouldn't buy one as your first bike over a H-D is beyond me.
    http://www.examiner.com/article/comprehensive-list-of-2012-motorcycle-seat-heights
    #30
  11. boatpuller

    boatpuller Been here awhile

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    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.)
    #31
  12. sc00tertrash

    sc00tertrash Adventurer

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    +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
    #32
  13. ShimrMoon

    ShimrMoon Been here awhile

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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.
    #33
  14. sc00tertrash

    sc00tertrash Adventurer

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    +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.
    #34
  15. 2tallnwide

    2tallnwide Long timer

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    #35
  16. grelcar

    grelcar Been here awhile

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    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.
    #36
  17. sloryder

    sloryder Been here awhile

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    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.
    #37
  18. sc00tertrash

    sc00tertrash Adventurer

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    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.
    #38
  19. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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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.
    #39
  20. lockyv7

    lockyv7 Long timer

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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
    #40