How I spent 09/09/09

In short, I travelled around 200 KMs and didn't burn any of my own gas.

In long form, I headed over to the local Harley dealer to get in on the "Test Our Metal" demo day for the 2010 models.  There is no better way to spend a beautiful sunny day then to ride a bunch of different bikes at no cost to yourself.  It's like a free brothel....whoa...hang on, gotta think about that...

The day started at 9am with registration and perusing of the bikes.  There were nine rides in total, but I was only able to get out on eight of them.  All the good bikes were spoken for by the time I got there for the first run.  That didn't matter much, though.  I got to ride on every bike I wanted to try.

To start with, me and Joey tried the Road King as we wanted to know if this would be the next step for us.

The seat was quite comfortable for both me and Joey, but I didn't like the riding position.  I'm not sure if it was the seat, the handle bar position, the floor boards (hated them) or a combination of all of them.  It felt like I was being push forward the whole time riding and all my weight was on my hands.  I also figured out that I really don't like the "wall" style windows.  Other then those things, the bike itself was great to ride.  Very smooth, very powerful.  I didn't put it through it's paces due to Joey being on the back, but it did track very well in the turns and was way more responsive then I expected.  Throttle and clutch reacted near instantly which really took me off guard.  I quickly found out that all the bikes were like that.  I wonder if that's because they are new or are all H-Ds like that?

Next up was the Dyna Wide Glide.  Joey had to head off to work, so it was time for me to play on anything I could get my ass on.

Aside from having issues with finding the kickstand afterward, WOW...what an amazing ride!  Smooth, powerful, responsive and a reasonably comfortable seat.  The low center of gravity on this ride made it so easy to cut through corners and scrape...things.  I have no idea what I was scrapping, but damn I could get this bike low!  I'm not sure what Joey would think of that passenger seat, but I would definitely love to have one of these in my stable.

The third ride was a Night Rod Special.

Holy crap...there just wasn't enough road for this thing and the speed limits were taunting me!  Before starting off, the ride director came up to me and asked if I ever rode a bike with a wide tire before, which I hadn't.  He suggested taking it easy in the first couple of turns to get used to it.  He also said, "If you really want to enjoy this bike, keep the revs around 4 and 5 thousand."  Then he smiled at me.  So I did both.  The seating position was an exaggerated "flying C" which felt okay until the first pothole.  After that, I was in a fair amount of pain which I relieved by cranking the throttle.  The guy was right.  Between 4 and 5 grand, this bike wakes the hell up!  It would take no time to catch up to whoever was in front of me, but then I'd have to back off again.  I didn't find anything different with a wide back tire, maybe I would have to ride it for a few days before really noticing anything.  I'd never be able to ride one of these consistently though...I have enough back problems.  Oh, and to really enjoy this bike, you need an oval track...seriously.

Next up, the Fat Boy Lo.

I forgot to take a shot of it, so I stole one off the Internet.

The Night Rod wrenched my back, this bike just decided to beat the crap out of me.  Excellent riding position, but damn this thing is rough.  Every bump in the road shocked through the bike and into me.  I'm not sure if that's because of how they set up the shocks or if it's because of how low it actually is.  Come to think of it, there probably isn't a lot of travel room for the suspension.  Aside from that, I could easily go with this one or another Fat Boy.  Damn near perfect riding position.  Very easy to sling into corners and maneuver at low speed.

For the fifth ride, a Street Glide.

I can see why this bike is so popular in my area.  Also, I'm in love with the bat wing fairing.  It's so effective in keeping the wind away from your chest that it has to be experienced.  The wall type windshield on the Road King acted like...well a wall.  The wind hits it, goes around and there's tons of buffeting around you.  The bat wing seems to cut through the wind and keep you in a pocket just behind it.  There was still some minor buffeting around the top of my head, but that was perfectly acceptable.

The ride position was dead on and very comfortable (aside from some back pain...damn you Night Rod).  Unlike the Road King, I barely noticed the floor boards here.  As a matter of fact, it seemed like I was using pegs for the whole ride.  It would seem that the design of the floor boards help a lot as these were swept more forward then the ones on the Road King.  Oh, and once I figured out the stereo (didn't take long) I was in bliss.  Just a really fun bike that's easy to throw into turns.  It's heavy though and I required a bit of help backing it into position once done.

The next ride was taken on the suggestion of several of the riders there.  The Cross Bones.

I'm glad I took this one after all the punishment to my back.  Double the shocks equal double the comfort.  Combine that with the mini apes and you've got a fun cushy ride.  Very comfortable and it literally rolls into turns.  I found myself giggling like a school boy while riding this bike, it's just that fun.  The seat is kind of awkward when you are sitting still, but once you're riding it fits perfectly.  The only drawback is the fact that you are sitting straight up in the wind, so you take it all.

My final "new" ride of the day was the Road Glide.

This bike really surprised me.  It's big and it looks like something you should take it easy on.  The ride director came over to me and with a smile said, "Be aggressive in the turns with this one."  So, like before, I took his advice and I'm glad I did.  This bike handles like a spinning top in turns.  It's balanced extremely well and I found myself swinging it around like the Wide Glide.  Once again, the riding position was dead on and the fairing blocked a fair amount of the wind.  Not quite as much as the bat wing, but it was still a comfortable ride.

Having the stereo at the top of the fairing is great as you don't have to look down very far to see things.  The hand controls for it are identical to the Street Glide and at the flick of a thumb you can change volume with very little distraction.  The fixed fairing for the 2010 model is quite different and almost made for a bit of a disaster on my ride.  When heading out to the street with the pack, my mind thought the bike was going straight even though I was turning.  Minor panic, but nothing bad happened and it didn't take long to get used to.

There was one ride left of the day, so I took the Dyna Wide Glide out for another fun filled spin.

All in all, it was a hell of a day and I left with a renewed appreciation for Harley Davidson motorcycles.  I love the standardized control scheme and how responsive the bikes are.

The drawback of the day?  When I hopped back on my bike, I thought there was something wrong with it.  The throttle was sluggish and the clutch was a hard squeeze.

It will be a while, but my next bike will be a Harley Davidson.  I've got my rides in and my top three bikes, so now I just wait and mull things over in my head.


Mr. Motorcycle said...

Awesome review. I'm really glad you took the time to do the test run on so many different H.D.'s. I really glad you took the time to post this, and I'm glad I took the time to read it.

Not only did you strengthen my belief that HD. is one if the best bikes out there, and made me really grateful that I have one, but you also reinforced my desire for the bike I always thought I wanted. The street Glide.

Thanks for the great review!

Giest said...

Awesome! Glad you enjoyed the read, Mr. Motorcycle. I had a blast that day and hated to see the rides come to an end.

So, does that mean that you are definitely getting the Street Glide? :)

Allen Madding said...

I'm darn glad Harley brought these tpye events back, because I can make up my mind about a model a lot quicker in 5 miles than I can walknig around it on a show room floor :)

Glad you had a good time!


Giest said...

Yeah, only being able to drool on the bike doesn't give you a good idea if it's a good ride or not. I'm glad they have these events too, but hate that it's only once a year.

MeanStreak said...

Great reviews, thanks for taking your time to share! I stopped by our local HD/Kawi dealer yesterday. I spent an equal amount of time drooling over the Street Glide and the CVO Fatbob, beautiful machhines! In all honesty though I did spend time drooling over the Vulcan Voyager as well, lol! Oh well, it'll be several years before I'm in a position for a new bike, but I loved reading your reviews!

Giest said...

Thanks, Meanstreak! Glad you enjoyed the read. I really wanted to get a try on the Fatbob, but on my last ride it was taken. Oh well, at least I got to try the top ones on my list. Man, that Voyager is a big ass bike, ain't it?

Mr. Motorcycle said...

When the money train rolls in. I've got two kids getting closer to college everyday. Maybe someday. Till then I'll have to keep drooling over the Street Glide and have to be happy with what I have, and I know I have no right not to be. I've got a sweet ride the way it is.

Giest said...

I hear ya, Mr. M. I couldn't ask for more then what my Shadow gives me.