What is Harley doing?

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

  1. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,778
    Location:
    Begin Op Zoom

    In a perfect world they would have been riding since the age of 3. :deal

    The XL883N a.k.a. Iron 883 IS the bike I would want my Daughter/grand-daughter to start on.

    What exactly (in your mind) are "safety features" ?:ear

    Also. Have you even ridden an Iron 883?
  2. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,778
    Location:
    Begin Op Zoom
    5" in front. :deal Sure there is some style involved in design. EVERY make and model does the same. But the fact remains that a 21" wheel rolls over potholes better than a 16"

    As to the 2.1 gal. Again It is plenty. This bike is NOT a touring bike. It is an Urban bike. As set up new it is NEVER meant to leave town. This is very easy and actually easy to change.

    Go ride one. No... really... just go ride one then get back to us as to how bad they suck. I honestly believe after riding one you will better understand what the bike is about and you will appreciate it for what it is.

    It is what it is and it ain't no is'r :lol3
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,933
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I'm not a Harley hater, but I wouldn't start most women ( or men ) on ANY 550 lb motorcycle. My wife started on a Twinstar 200. It was a perfect bike to start on. Then she outgrew it so we got her a 550 Seca (450LBS)which she never got comfortable on. We decided she needed something between the twinstar and Seca sooooo.....she ended up on a Virago 700 (500+LBS). She kept that bike for around 10 years. There is something to be said for low seat height and low center of gravity.

    BTW, the Virago had a great motor, handled well, had good brakes, and even decent cornering clearance. I enjoyed riding it although at 6-2 I didn't really fit on it that well.

    As for women on Harleys, there are a lot of women out there riding Harleys and riding them well, but there are also plenty of women, and men, out there who can't handle the weight. I have lost track of the number of Harleys I have seen dropped in parking lots.

    If you ride a Harley and enjoy it, that's great:thumb If you are a good rider on your Harley, that's even better. There is no hiding the fact however that Harleys are heavy bikes and not everyone can handle them.

    And yes, I have ridden a number of Harleys and enjoyed riding every one of them.
  4. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,667
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Not knocking the V-Strom but since it's inception in 05 I think HD has sold a few more Sportsters.

    Getting back to female riders....a shameless cut a paste from Women Riders Now review of the V-Strom.......

    The first thing I noticed, the first thing most women notice when they approach a motorcycle, is the seat height. Could I handle the high-ish 32.3-inch seat height (an inch lower than the 1000 version) of this smaller V-Strom. Seat height is mostly irrelevant if you're a seasoned rider--and that I am--but I still needed to take extra care when backing into and out of parking spots.



    [​IMG]
    I spend a lot of time discussing seat height because for a woman it's so important she has confidence when riding a motorcycle and so much of that confidence is derived from control of the bike. Flat footedness and even bent knees provide maximum control of the machine.


    My 5-foot 6.5-inch frame (plus 2-inch rubber heels) allowed me to reach only my toes to the ground. I few times on my test ride I had to ask someone push me into and out of parking spots, because when your legs were as stretched as mine, you have no bend in your knees to muscle the bike forward or backward. Short riders I know who ride taller bikes make a habit of dismounting the bike and then walking it into and out of parking spots.


    Now she says she is 5' 6.5" and wears boots with 2" heels and yet can only touch with her toes and occasionally needed help getting out of parking spots and she IS a seasoned rider.

    Not to mention the V-Strom weighs almost 500 lbs wet, not that much lighter than a Sporty.

    For women riders, seat height trumps lean angle and much more so with new women riders.
  5. BadKarma

    BadKarma Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5,010
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    I agree with you on nearly every point Blk-Betty but this one I don't get.

    "Also not having a lot of upper body strength she didn't want a bike that felt top heavy and that really ruled the Sportster out. Contrary to what is often stated, a Sportster is not a girls bike and takes more upper body strength to ride than a Big Twin."

    The thing I like most about my Sportster is how light it feels after I get off the FXRS. The actual weight difference is only about a hundred pounds but the Sport feels much lighter, much less top heavy. My sportster has 15" rear shocks and the standard Sport front suspension and I suspect a lowered version would feel (to me at least) even lighter.

    BTW, is Black Betty the name of your old FLH? There was a guy on HD Forums went by that handle.. :freaky
  6. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,667
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    In my experience, sportsters although lighter carry more of their weight up just a little higher than the Big Twins and they "feel" more top heavy when sitting still and you get them into a little lean like while turning when backing out of a parking spot. Once rolling they are definatley lighter feeling and I assume most drops occur when not moving or at crawl speeds where top heavy weight plays a big role. Caveat being that my last experience with Sportys was on the pre-rubber engine mounted bikes so possbily the rubber mount frames and lowered setup of the newer bikes feel differently.

    DAKEZ is the better judge as he sells them now and if he says the 883N is his choice I'm not going to argue and will defer to his expertise.

    No the same guy, Black Betty was the name of my FXST.
  7. BadKarma

    BadKarma Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5,010
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    It's all about perception I guess, my Sportster is a '97 I haven't even sat on a rubber mounted bike except the XR1200... I liked that bike, the motor runs great but damn, can't they get the weight down under 500#? :deal
  8. AZbiker

    AZbiker Crunkin' with crackers

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,954
    Location:
    Phoenix, in the Arcadia area
    Just so you know, it's still possible to buy a new 2009 V-Strom 650, and there's plenty of leftover '11s too.

    H-D very rarely has ANY leftovers and when they do, they are the models that people on this forum love--the V-Rod with mids, Roadsters, etc. I wouldn't be shocked if there were even a few leftover XR1200s.
  9. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    16,463
    Location:
    The Trans-Mississippi
    That's exactly what I did with my last Sportster.

    First mod was adding the (then) 3.25 gallon tank.

    An 883 will return fuel economy in the 50-55 range, so three gallons of gas will get you on down the road.
  10. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,268
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    :nod

    It's hard to get a deal on a Sportster around here. They either have a slim margin or every one they can get is sold because you get a ticket to the party for a fair price.
  11. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,085
    Location:
    Kent, Washington State
    My first street bike was an 883, I will say it was the least favorite of the 20 + bikes I have owned, yet the fact is it actually made a reasonably good first bike.

    No it's handling wasn't that good, but it was more than adequate for a new riders skill level, or a experienced rider who rides within the limits of the law for that matter. Cruisers may not handle well in relative terms, but are far from the constant disaster waiting to happen as some would lead you to believe.

    Yes it is heavy for a bike it's size/power, but actually feels like a much lighter bike.

    It delivers its power in a way that is very forgiving to errors in clutch, gear, and throttle input.

    Chances are a noob low speed drop will result in minor damage than will be very inexpensive to fix, what good is a beginner bike that is totaled by the first minor low speed drop?

    Thinking a few safety features will make a bike safe?
    That just denial. All those "safety" features do is provide a minor increase in the margin of error, they do not make riding safe or make up for a lack of judgment or skill.

    So yes, I agree, the Sportster does have too many compromises to form over function as offered these days, but it is far from being a "bad" bike.
  12. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,268
    Location:
    Asheville NC
    I also think that with so many submodels of varying form, it's hard to say "the sporster" in reference to form:function ratio.

    Certainly an iron isn't as capable in the curves as an XR1200. Both have a different take on the ratio of form:function.

    And there are a lot of customers that want something shiny because that's just what they want.
  13. pmelby

    pmelby Home Brew Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    787
    Location:
    West Central MN
    I would think that a small/midsize sporting 'standard' would be the best to learn on:
    1. Active riding position to promote actually riding the bike instead of sitting on it.
    2. Enough suspension travel to feel the weight shift as the front brakes are applied. I would want the beginner to instinctively feel and know that the rear wheel unweights when the bike is stopped using the front.
    3. Sufficient lean angle reserve to be able to lean the bike more than 'normal'. I would want the bike to have reserve capability in case the new rider gets into a decreasing radius corner or enters a corner too hot. It would be hard to teach a new rider to trust the bike if extra lean angle wasn't available.
    4. ABS would be a good thing. ABS would help keep the bike upright in certain panic situations, also might be useful in learning how to modulate the rear brake.
    5. Low cg and curb weight.
    6. Tire press monitoring would be a good thing. A flat tire is a bit rare, but I would prefer the new rider to get some warning of a tire issue rather than have one go down while riding. I've had two rear flats while riding in 30+ years. Neither were much of an event but were somewhat disconcerting.

    No, I haven't ridden any Sportsters other than the XR.

    cheers,
    melby
  14. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,085
    Location:
    Kent, Washington State
    It seems a big part of why many folks ride a Harley has little to do with riding.
  15. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,786
    Location:
    SE PA

    I've ridden several, as I've said before. My conclusion? A potentially great bike ruined by the lack of suspension and lean angle.
  16. BadKarma

    BadKarma Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5,010
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    It seems like a big part of why many folks ride ADV bikes has little to do with adventure. Hey cool! What a fun game! :lol3
  17. BgDadddy

    BgDadddy Big Dufus

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,829
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    :rofl:clap Love it!
  18. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,085
    Location:
    Kent, Washington State
    Yeah, it is kinda ironic how many "adventure" bikes never leave the pavement, or that most RR sportbikes have never been on a track. It seems a lot of people who own bikes are more focused on a certain image than what they actually do. Like they say, most stereotypes are based on fact, just not universally true.

    The fact is, the dedicated year round riders here in the PNW can be seen on just about any type or brand of bike.

    The vast majority of my riding is commuting and basic transportation on a Ural, kinda hard to get pretentious about that. :lol3
  19. RxZ

    RxZ Legal Drug Dealer

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,965
    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    A dealer kinda near to me has TWO 2009 XR1200s! If they had the suspension upgrades the 1200x has, I might have bought one, student loans can wait!

    RxZ (likes that his student loans are lower now)
  20. p0diabl0

    p0diabl0 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    591
    Location:
    San Diego
    All very true. I know 3 female riders through work - 2 attorneys and a sheriff's deputy. They all own at least 1 Harley, and the only reason is the seat.height.