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Harley Davidson Observations

This is a discussion on Harley Davidson Observations within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; After three weeks at a dealership and briefly riding every bike in stock, I've come up with a few observations, some of which a few ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Acemon's Avatar
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    Harley Davidson Observations

    After three weeks at a dealership and briefly riding every bike in stock, I've come up with a few observations, some of which a few of you might already know.

    1) The fuel injection works great. Bikes start right up and can be ridden away without coughs or hesitation.

    2) Putting one into first gear feels like you're crushing gravel with a large hammer. Neutral can be very difficult to find.

    3) The smallest bike, the 883 Sportster, is far slower than any 700cc metric bike, possibly due to power efficiency loses from the heavily vibrating engine.

    4) The XR1200, based on their flat track racers, is the [u]only</u> bike I would own. The engine is actually pretty smooth and the brakes are great.

    5) Harleys are the absolutely heaviest bikes I've ever ridden. Yesterday I pushed around a Gold Wing (trade-in) and it was lighter than most Harley mid-sized models.

    6) Aside from the fuel injection, Harleys are the most primitive motorcycles on the planet. Maybe the Ural knockoffs are worse, but I doubt it.

    7) If automobiles had evolved as slowly as Harleys, we would still be driving a Model T.

    There you go.

  2. #2
    FR
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    I can't wait for your observations on the clientele...
    FR


    http://sidewaysnortheast.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    FR
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    I can't wait for your observations on the clientele...
    FR


    http://sidewaysnortheast.blogspot.com/

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  5. #4
    Official Site Vendor ukTony's Avatar
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    totally agree with everything acemom says, absolutely useless nunb fucker of a motorcycle, to get them to move and stop you need to spend more money , a stock harley is something that shouldve been in the line up of wacky races cartoon.
    'old hooligan...

  6. #5
    Official Site Vendor ukTony's Avatar
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    totally agree with everything acemom says, absolutely useless nunb fucker of a motorcycle, to get them to move and stop you need to spend more money , a stock harley is something that shouldve been in the line up of wacky races cartoon.
    'old hooligan...

  7. #6
    Senior Member OC Steve's Avatar
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    Ace, have they showed you the back room where they sell the accessories for big twins? The disk plow, thresher and combine are big sellers.

  8. #7
    Senior Member OC Steve's Avatar
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    Ace, have they showed you the back room where they sell the accessories for big twins? The disk plow, thresher and combine are big sellers.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    I am just going to tag up with a few of my own observations.

    1) fuel injection works great now. Back in the 1990s the old closed loop FI without an O2 sensor was terrible. Even though terrible it still started and idled fine and pulled away without issue. What made it really bad was you couldn't mod the bike with anything (not even an aircleaner) because there was no way to retune the computer. None of the brand new stock carb ones worked badly either. I took an 2002 screaming eagle carb out of the box and put it on my ironhead and that bike starts and runs perfectly fine. The only time you get hard starting Harleys is when you get owners who fuck with them that have no idea what they are doing, which is 85 percent of the owners.

    2) I remember a while back reading that that gear shift feel is by design. There are some year Harley's that shift better than others but part of the "experience" of riding a Harley is this feeling that you are operating a substantial and heavy machine. A shift like a new R1 would take away from that. I have to say, some of the old jap bikes feel the same way, you can't be pussy footed with a SOHC 750 unless you like the sound of gears crashing.

    3) the 883 isn't slower than the Honda RS750. It may be slower than the v7 classic but not by much. Still faster than a Honda fit. It is also HD's most bullet proof bike since they started with a 1200 sporty and detuned it. The cylinder liners alone are like an inch thick. The problem with an 883 is they didn't make it lighter.

    4) the XR1200 is an amazing bike. Meant to be a stop gap, it is as close as HD can get to building a buell without Erik Buell. It was designed for the euro market and was never intended to be sold here.....which oddly makes it better.

    5) the feeling of heft is a function of a lot of things. They aren't actually heavier than other comparable motorcycles but very little attention is paid to balance. I have no idea why this is, my best guess is that it is a function of rake, trail, and wheelbase and is that way because HD has a longer stretched out look. My Ironhead feels lighter than new 1200 sportsters, it isn't, but it feels that way.

    6) primitive is not necessarily a bad thing. How primitive do you think other bikes are? What if I told you the Ducati 2 valve air cooled motor was actually older in design than the current HD? How primitive is an R series airhead Beemer? The modern Guzzi small block has its roots in the small block of the mid 1970s to the point there are interchangeable parts between a v50 Monza and a v7 classic. The nice part about primitive is that you aren't trying to keep ahead of the engineers when you want to modify one. You can still make reliable power in a home workshop with one, something that is a lot harder with a modern CBR. I'll go one further, I think you can reverse the cylinder head on a Harley at home and the only thing you would need to farm out or machine is the cam (and there are work arounds for that as well. The biggest bitch motorcycle people have about HD is this prevailing notion that the premium pad should translate to R and D and high tech engine workings, but as the v-rod has proven HD's core customers are both morons and don't value high tech in their bikes.

    7) some automobiles do evolve as slow as Harleys. The VW beetle was made from the late 1950s to 2002 without significant change. Porsche 911 had a good 30 year run. What about the panther platform fords? 20 years? Chevy k series pickups? 17 years? What about the K car platform? Designed in the late 70s and was still underpinning minivans into the 2000s. When something works the corp ideal is not to fuck with it. The thing that pisses me off about the motor company is they will go out of their way to keep a bad train rolling through bandaid fixes rather than just redesign and fix the problem. Also they don't revise the sportster nearly as much as they need to.

    We are all performance bike people, so the HD market is always going to look weird to us. But let's not forget every once in a while HD shots out a diamond like the XR750, the v rod based destroyer, any buell ever made (yes even the s2 cyclone).
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  10. #9
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    I am just going to tag up with a few of my own observations.

    1) fuel injection works great now. Back in the 1990s the old closed loop FI without an O2 sensor was terrible. Even though terrible it still started and idled fine and pulled away without issue. What made it really bad was you couldn't mod the bike with anything (not even an aircleaner) because there was no way to retune the computer. None of the brand new stock carb ones worked badly either. I took an 2002 screaming eagle carb out of the box and put it on my ironhead and that bike starts and runs perfectly fine. The only time you get hard starting Harleys is when you get owners who fuck with them that have no idea what they are doing, which is 85 percent of the owners.

    2) I remember a while back reading that that gear shift feel is by design. There are some year Harley's that shift better than others but part of the "experience" of riding a Harley is this feeling that you are operating a substantial and heavy machine. A shift like a new R1 would take away from that. I have to say, some of the old jap bikes feel the same way, you can't be pussy footed with a SOHC 750 unless you like the sound of gears crashing.

    3) the 883 isn't slower than the Honda RS750. It may be slower than the v7 classic but not by much. Still faster than a Honda fit. It is also HD's most bullet proof bike since they started with a 1200 sporty and detuned it. The cylinder liners alone are like an inch thick. The problem with an 883 is they didn't make it lighter.

    4) the XR1200 is an amazing bike. Meant to be a stop gap, it is as close as HD can get to building a buell without Erik Buell. It was designed for the euro market and was never intended to be sold here.....which oddly makes it better.

    5) the feeling of heft is a function of a lot of things. They aren't actually heavier than other comparable motorcycles but very little attention is paid to balance. I have no idea why this is, my best guess is that it is a function of rake, trail, and wheelbase and is that way because HD has a longer stretched out look. My Ironhead feels lighter than new 1200 sportsters, it isn't, but it feels that way.

    6) primitive is not necessarily a bad thing. How primitive do you think other bikes are? What if I told you the Ducati 2 valve air cooled motor was actually older in design than the current HD? How primitive is an R series airhead Beemer? The modern Guzzi small block has its roots in the small block of the mid 1970s to the point there are interchangeable parts between a v50 Monza and a v7 classic. The nice part about primitive is that you aren't trying to keep ahead of the engineers when you want to modify one. You can still make reliable power in a home workshop with one, something that is a lot harder with a modern CBR. I'll go one further, I think you can reverse the cylinder head on a Harley at home and the only thing you would need to farm out or machine is the cam (and there are work arounds for that as well. The biggest bitch motorcycle people have about HD is this prevailing notion that the premium pad should translate to R and D and high tech engine workings, but as the v-rod has proven HD's core customers are both morons and don't value high tech in their bikes.

    7) some automobiles do evolve as slow as Harleys. The VW beetle was made from the late 1950s to 2002 without significant change. Porsche 911 had a good 30 year run. What about the panther platform fords? 20 years? Chevy k series pickups? 17 years? What about the K car platform? Designed in the late 70s and was still underpinning minivans into the 2000s. When something works the corp ideal is not to fuck with it. The thing that pisses me off about the motor company is they will go out of their way to keep a bad train rolling through bandaid fixes rather than just redesign and fix the problem. Also they don't revise the sportster nearly as much as they need to.

    We are all performance bike people, so the HD market is always going to look weird to us. But let's not forget every once in a while HD shots out a diamond like the XR750, the v rod based destroyer, any buell ever made (yes even the s2 cyclone).
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  11. #10
    Senior Member kerosene's Avatar
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    Buel Blast is a total piece of shit. Just wanted to get that out there and thus discredit your argument...
    -

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