What is Harley doing?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by btcn, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. HammerMacGreed

    HammerMacGreed Long timer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,446
    Location:
    San Jose
    just think if they had put the 1125 engine in a sporty, or made a touring bike with that engine and at say 600lbs...:deal
    #81
  2. HolyCannoli

    HolyCannoli Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Harpers Ferry, WV
    #82
  3. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,747
    Location:
    OR
    #83
  4. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,963
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    The V-Rod motor was a joint effort between HD/Buell and Porsche- It never got into a Buell because HD wonks said they had to make it usable in a HD, too, and by the time they got done "suggesting" changes it was unsuitable for anything Erik wanted to do.

    For the 1125 he got HD to admit they couldn't supply an engine that met his requirements, so he had permission to go buy one. Which he did, from Rotax.

    Rotax != Porsche.

    I wanted a Buell 1125ST (Sport Touring). Take an 1125R, raise the bars just a couple inches, add factory hard bags (talked to a Buell engineer who said a mounting kit from a Uly should fit with minor tweaks), and you'd have a nice SPORT touring bike at 500 pounds that would put FJR1300s and Concours14s to shame.
    #84
  5. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,464
    Location:
    West is the Best
    #85
  6. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,747
    Location:
    OR
    I like the way you think dwoodward. :beer
    #86
  7. btcn

    btcn Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,880
    Location:
    Morgan Hill CA


    Is the Sportster really that uncomfortable and bad handling? I am buying a Sportster 1200 this year, and want to know.

    I know they aren't touring bike stock, so I plan on lots of upgrades, including a seat, highway pegs, bags, truck/other storage, windscreen, etc to make it a reasonable bike to tour on.

    As for handling, I DO NOT expect good handling, just like any other Harley, just a "little" bit better. I don't care much as I plan on using it as a highway bike, but like the idea of it being a little bit more numble than your average Ultra Classic.

    And yes, I KNOW for a FACT that Harley is not even anywhere CLOSE to going out of business, and NEVER will. But I was basically having a good laugh at the Dark custom idea and wandering if they will come up with anything better.

    BTW, I guess the 1125 DOES basically have a souped up V-Rod motor. It was a damn cool bike, to bad they dropped them.
    #87
  8. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,747
    Location:
    OR

    Do yourself a favor and go rent one for a weekend. You may well find that you DO NOT want to buy one. :deal

    Or, You might like the bloated feel, uninspiring power and that thing they do when accelerating out of a turn with the ill advised motor mounts.

    Be careful.
    #88
  9. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    19,750
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    harley's well is dry. the did not deversify the harley line when times were good and now they are stuck with old & overpriced technology and buyers who are tapped out finacially. the rest of the motorcycle industry has rapidly moved ahead and buyers are buying these types of bikes. as gas prices continue to go back up with no end in sight, harley has nothing smaller for the commuter or the rest of the emerging world markets.

    you know inovate or die...seems more the later is going on.
    #89
  10. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    19,750
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    good point. after 20yrs of using japanese technology most would look at harley and laugh.

    bmw continually moved into that market and it's working for them. bmw is also realizing the scooter market. i think the problem is harley's old and in the way management. they haven't realized the glory days of the pirate is over.
    #90
  11. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    19,750
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    i would indeed, but harley is not doing anything for the type of riding i like to do...along with ALOT of others and noobs coming into the adv market.
    highland is floundering. atk is going no where. motus might have a cool sport tourer one day but it will be unreall $$$. the reality is there is not much in the way of american motorcycle mfg. except for the 1950s bikes harley makes. kinda sad to the state of our homegrown industry.

    #91
  12. btcn

    btcn Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,880
    Location:
    Morgan Hill CA

    Maybe I will. I am not looking for much power, or I wouldn't be considering a Harley! Handling, whatever its a highway bike. But they make what, 40-60 HP right? Not THAT bad, a lot of guys are riding these huge 650 cc scooters all over on barley 40 HP, that those things weigh far more or as much as than the Sportsters do! And most people say a Sportster will beat them.
    #92
  13. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,747
    Location:
    OR
    Yes, Sportsters are rated at about 53 hp+/- and those Burgman things are heavy pigs tipping the scales around 35 lbs more than a Sporty.

    I have always liked the Sportster. I would recommend that you also try out a Triumph Speed Triple.... You know, just to compare the two. :D
    #93
  14. Kamloopsrider

    Kamloopsrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    491
    Location:
    Rainshadow of the Coast mountains
    Well, thats it then. I'm putting the Road King up for sale tomorrow. I wish I had consulted with the experts here before I wasted all that time and money.
    If I'd only known what a piece of crap it was before I bought it and put 60,000 k on it. My luck must be about to run out. It's either going to explode or my poor riding skills combined with the bikes crappy handling will surely kill me.
    If none of that happens at some point one of those robber baron dealers will screw me out of all my money and leave me homeless.
    Failing all that, it's only a matter of time before I end up in a drunken 50 pirate pile up on the freeway during a poker run.
    It's only a matter of time until Willie G burns Wisconsin down and collects the insurance so he can pay for the contract he put out on Erik Buell. Sure it will look like an accident but we'll all know the truth.


    Or... maybe I'll just keep riding my overpriced underpowered ill handling piece of shit because I'm not as hardcore as you Marlboro men. I'm the guy on the Harley with the big shit eating grin. Now that I know how much that pisses off the righteous I may just buy another one.:freaky
    #94
  15. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    13,147
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    I don't think anybody would argue with you that H-D makes a good bike for its intended purpose. At least I wouldn't. They are great bikes for rolling up highway miles and cruising. My buddy rolls up thousands of miles a year on his E-Glide commuting back and forth from here to SC to visit his grand kids. The bike is comfortable and reliable and looks damned good. And another friend rides a Rocker just for kicks and rides a KLR650 for his DD.

    But the OP was lamenting that H-D has nothing to offer somebody looking for a bike that is a bit more sporting and/or youth oriented. And that is absolutely true. H-D at least used to have that pathetic Buell Blast for n00bs. And Buell did offer some fun sporting alternatives using the H-D Sportster motor. I was interested in a Uly. But all that is ancient history now. H-D now has nothing for riders like me and all they offer new riders is a couple of iterations of the Sportster.
    #95
  16. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8,405
    Location:
    Nippon
    Sportsters weigh a LOT for what they are.

    Now Drakez's power wobble isn't a problem with the sportsters, as they have a unit construction.

    My ex's 1996 Ultra HOLY SHIT, I helped her rebuild this thing, and the first time I rode it I brought it straight home and immediately ordered new shocks, new springs front and back and motor/tranny brace that kept the motor and tranny (roughly) in line with the rest of the damn bike.

    Before that it was a big unwieldy wobbling whale bastard. After that it rode fine.

    Sportsters aren't ill handling bikes....IF you avoid hugger/low yada yada variants......and find one with mid controls (I HATE forewards) Add 2" to the rear shock and put decent springs all around and a cartridge emulator/heavier fluid up front and you can outride the chassis and surprise the shit out of a few people that think "just a sportster LOL"
    #96
  17. Teaksmith

    Teaksmith Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I just bought a used 1200 Custom Sportster a few weeks ago and I can tell you it's not uncomfortable or bad handling at all. I absolutely love it and like you plan to use it for touring, as many people do (just drop by the XL forum or read Cavebiker's threads here).
    #97
  18. ChainSaw

    ChainSaw Ironbutt Wannbe

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    495
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    Thanks for saving me from making that correction. :D

    I was starting to think some of these guys have never actually seen a VROD motor...although the 1125 Rotax is a rare sight in the wild.
    #98
  19. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,969
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    I think its more then 125 pounds.
    And it FEELS like at least 200 pounds...





    #99
  20. ChainSaw

    ChainSaw Ironbutt Wannbe

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    495
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    Comfort: Highly dependent on the individual, easy to tailor. Change bars for better reach, you can get mid-controls or forward controls, plenty of seat options.

    Touring: The fuel range could be better, that aside in my experience they'll do fine for touring. I've seen 49 states, Canada, and Mexico on mine. Longest trip has been 5,000+ miles in 7 days, and did one Iron Butt 1000 on it too. Get saddlebags, a windscreen, and point it in the direction of your choice. Some maps from AAA come in handy too.

    Handling: With the addition of Progressive fork springs on the front, and Progressive shocks on the back, I think mine is surprisingly nimble in the twisties. Raised my clearance about 1"-1.5" overall, which keeps me from scraping pegs just about anywhere except Deal's Gap.

    I think 'rider ability' and lean-angle are the most limiting factors in HD handling. Google 'police motorcycle video', you'll see what some guys can do on the Ultra Classics.

    BTW: When the salesman tries to sell you a bigger bike, remember this formula: HP = Torque x RPM รท 5252. The 1200 Sportster has 60hp, the 103 Cu. In. Road King has 68hp, and it's 200+ lbs. heavier and $10,000 more. There is a reason HD doesn't publish HP numbers on anything except the VROD, but the do publish torque and RPM data.