Thinking HD

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by fyr, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. fyr

    fyr iRoast Coffee

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    I dont know enough about the models the motor company make. Ive tried a bunch (883, 1200, Dyna Low Bob and full dresser) I liked the 1200 but getting off of that bike and back onto my 77 BMWs was eye opening... The 34 yr old BMW was comfortable where as the 1200 would lay waste to my back in about an hour.

    Wifey wants to ride pillion after some years off a bike. So comfort back there a must.
    I need to comute and endure some pretty harsh dirt roads. Panniers a must.
    I also like to ride the twisties (after 2-3 slab ride to get there)
    So a small fairing would be cool.

    I was thinking Sporty 1200 with a decent seat and panniers with mids. But would a bigger model already laid out with that kit be better (mainly for passenger)?
    Suspension has to able to cope with shit roads as well..

    Any tips...?
    #1
  2. sargev55

    sargev55 Been here awhile

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    would suggest finding a sportster 1200 roadster, change the seat, and get a cafe/quarter fairing. i like taking my 1200r on fire roads and gravel roads, but do you mean harsh as in giant potholes and ruts all over the place or just a shitty surface?

    i also know very little about the stuff harley makes, other than the sportster (which i own), since thats the only bike i like that they make :)
    #2
  3. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    Neither of these are Harley strong points.
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  4. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

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    I think a Harley handles twisty roads just fine as long as the rider remembers the limitations of the vehicle they are riding. But I do agree that harsh roads and dirt conditions are not ideal for the platforms they sell. Again, that's not to say they can't be ridden in that environment - they can. But there are better tools for the job.
    #4
  5. Trooper

    Trooper Been here awhile

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    I agree. I'm thinking Triumph Tiger 800xc, Tiger 1200, Yamaha's 1200 Tenere or maybe a BMW GS would be better suited for the type of riding you have planned. I like the 1200 Sporster and really like the XR1200 but I can't imagine riding two up and loaded down with hard bags down harsh dirt roads. The bike just wasn't designed for that type of riding and really doesn't have the ground clearance for that type of riding.


    Greg
    #5
  6. espacef1fan

    espacef1fan Been here awhile

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    So he wants a seat upgrade and some baggage added to a XR1200?
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  7. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    The wife and I found the 1200 sportster to be very small and uncomfortable, even after many upgrades.
    The worst 2 up bike I ever had.
    550 pounds plus people does not do dirt well, and the stock suspension could not handle 2 up on the street at all.

    Better longer shocks, fork spring and oil upgrade, better seat, bars, backrest and it still sucked.

    The bigger bikes will be better 2 up, not sure about on the dirt roads or carving curves...
    #7
  8. Buellrunner

    Buellrunner Been here awhile

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    Dyna Switchback and some mods?

    Decent suspension stock and some other good traits.
    #8
  9. 0ldhippie

    0ldhippie Been here awhile

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    Belts and rocks are a really bad combination. 3" of suspension travel and harsh dirt roads don't mix too well either. l llike harleys but not for your use.
    #9
  10. Nadgett

    Nadgett Been here awhile

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    I have to admit that riding my XR1200 on gravel roads is not a lot of fun. I think you might be thinking BMW.
    #10
  11. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    Might want to check out the Buell Uly thread as that might meet your needs/wants.
    #11
  12. soldierguy

    soldierguy Been here awhile

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    At first I was thinking Harley Road Glide (I like the Custom better than the Ultra), but then you said dirt.

    Gotta go with the others on this...BMW should be on your shopping list. I'd also take a look at the Moto Guzzi Norge...beautiful bike with great V-twin sound. Or the Guzzi Stelvio...more road oriented than the BMW R1200 GS, but makes up for it with style and that V-twin.

    I may be biased towards the Guzzis though...I just put a deposit on a Stelvio.
    #12
  13. slipknot

    slipknot Been here awhile

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    #13
  14. fyr

    fyr iRoast Coffee

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    Thanks for the replies-

    As for the HD choice, its basically an itch that id like to scratch.... Never owned one and was looking for something that suits my riding.

    As for the bad road example- there is a strech of asphalt that leads to my folks cottage. Probably 30 miles long and is absolutely trashed. Its twisty but years of neglect (and tandem dump trucks, logging trucks, winter salt and frost heaves) have left their mark... Then its 10 miles of dirt roads.. Not much by any standard but those roads have determined some choices in my last couple of bikes...

    Good choices ive had were Wee Strom and KLR's... They soaked the roads up... But were hard bikes to look at. :D
    Bad choice were Hinckley Bonnie and Older Airhead. Great to look at but my back still cringes..

    The other riding issues were commute and really any bike will do that, and an annual ADK ride.. More of a brisk, sporting ride... And two up comfort..

    Ideally having a stable of bikes would be where id like to see myself but that is a financial reality best left to fantasy. So one bike it is..

    I have looked at the others and my personal favorite would have to be a Tiger 800 with panniers.... Or older GS... But still.... theres that persistant itch:rofl (and that Switchback does look fatastic) So I guess it comes down to practicality over hearstrings.... Perhaps the answer is a nice long HD rental to feel this one out..
    #14
  15. Zippydapanhead

    Zippydapanhead Damn kids, get away!

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    "As for the HD choice, its basically an itch that id like to scratch.... Never owned one and was looking for something that suits my riding.

    As for the bad road example- there is a strech of asphalt that leads to my folks cottage. Probably 30 miles long and is absolutely trashed. Its twisty but years of neglect (and tandem dump trucks, logging trucks, winter salt and frost heaves) have left their mark... Then its 10 miles of dirt roads.. Not much by any standard but those roads have determined some choices in my last couple of bikes...
    I have looked at the others and my personal favorite would have to be a Tiger 800 with panniers.... Or older GS... But still.... theres that persistant itch:rofl (and that Switchback does look fatastic) So I guess it comes down to practicality over hearstrings.... Perhaps the answer is a nice long HD rental to feel this one out.."


    You know what you're doing, so papa won't preach. Remember, some itches should be scratched... and others are leprosy. If you keep barking up that tree, the bear just might come back down. Then who is going to be sorry?

    I was taking care of my winter storage and bolt-ons at the HD dealer last week. I thought a Switchback might be interesting, but the never ending HD parts bin bike building, this time they stuck a Fat Boy fork on a Dyna, gets old. The nasty, elongated , American Racing style black five spoke wheels on the Switchback should push you away. The full chrome cover "vintage" shocks aren't the quality they should be. Similar to the Fat Bob chrome covered... I think I would go with the Performance aftermarket shocks and consider playing with length and spring. I dunno.

    The Softtail Slim was interesting... mostly because of the idea of wire wheels on a Fat Boy. But the two-tone fork cover isn't working for me. I like the blacked-out footboards.

    I know they are trying to get younger riders on board and you can see it in the January, 2012 mini book. I see the Rocker is gone... no more super fat rear tires... AND they make a point of pushing a "narrow rear tire" on the Slim (page 24) and the new "72".

    "he took one thick loaf" - Leviticus 8:26 :eek1
    #15
  16. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Kevlar belts and gravel are NOT friendly towards each other.

    You can get an older Sporty with a chain.
    #16
  17. Cakeeater

    Cakeeater Been here awhile

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    Yeah, it might be leprosy, but it also might just be an itch that needs scratching. :D

    Long term rental is a GREAT idea. I did it a couple times, fantastic way to figure out if it's worth paying the $$$.


    I've only ridden the xr1200 aside from touring models, so I can't give any unwanted advice on other HD models.

    But...the back seat on the touring bikes are fantatasic for passengers. My wife likes my Road Glide Ultra passenger seat slightly better than my brother's Gold Wing. (It's got the backrest ont he top case). It's waaaaaayyyyy better than anything else she's ridden on.

    The touring bikes are freaky stable in dirt. They are heavy (duuuh!) and the suspension doesn't give you any ability to go fast, at all, but on washboard dirt or crude roads the bikes are fine. I've traveled on unmaintained dirt roads in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Canada....and I've never dropped it. When I catch up to pickup trucks on a crappy dirt road I figure I'm doing okay. I mean, the bike jumps around a lot when you hit bigger bumps, but I've never had anything break. Never had a belt pick up a rock.

    So I'd say listen to your heart, but definitely rent one first.

    Cakeeater
    #17
  18. scapegoat

    scapegoat Pushin forward back

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    What he said. To bad the FXDXT is no longer available as Id say that would have been your best bet.
    #18
  19. Superzoom

    Superzoom Been here awhile

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    Here are some comments based on actual experience riding a 1200R Sportster with passenger over thousands of kilometres...

    Stock Sportster seats and suspension Suck. Really badly. You WILL replace both for comfort and performance. I put long travel Progressive shocks on mine (13.5") and they were not very good, but better than stock. You'll need to do some research and buy some quality shocks. You'll gain decent handling and better clearance. With stock suspension, I ground the exhaust all the time.

    The Sportster is fine on gravel. Handles surprisingly well. Probably has something to do with the geometry and weight. Just powers through smoothly. Never caught a rock in the belt in hundreds of miles of gravel.

    Girlfriend (5'2") found it comfortable on the back with a Mustang saddle. About ten times more comfortable as a passenger than on my current bike (FZ6R). It's not a spacious bike, but there's enough room for two small to average people (I'm 5'10").

    I found the Sporty really fun on both twisty mountain roads and straight open highways. Something about riding a slow bike fast.

    Both I and my girlfriend really miss the Sportster. Most character of any bike I've owned by a long shot. It sounds dumb, but I instantly understood the Harley mystique after riding it for the first time. I like my FZ6R. I loved my Sportster.
    #19
  20. fyr

    fyr iRoast Coffee

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    I enjoyed my 01 Bonneville on the dirt. I actually went so far as to put DS tires on it. But same thing as a sporty, the suspension needed to be looked at.
    Back in the day I had the Ninjas and CBr's. Not my speed now. I actually took an F2 out last year as a friend had one and man, I forgot you had to wring it's neck to get anything out of it.. But once you were up around 7-8 k rpm then it was neat.... Not "my" real world though...

    I just got some quotes on rentals. Im going to go that route.. Perhaps 4 days on one model and 2 or 4 days on another. I did like that 2008 Dyna Low Bob I tired at Americade. six spd and power everywhere...But getting on to the on ramp and grinding things made me go "whoop- there it is" moment!:eek1
    #20