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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is my 2009 Ultra Classic that I just purchased. Other than my old 65 Sportser I have never owned anything HD. I sold my GL1800 awhile back in anticipation of purchasing a new big touring bike. My wife wanted me to purchase an HD for some time so I was ready to purchase the new Limited Milwaukee 8 when Honda released the news of their new Goldwing. It was then that I decided to purchase an older HD and use the funds for the potential Honda when the new Wing hits dealer showrooms in spring of 2018. I don't know if I'm going to be all in on the new wing but time will tell......plus since HD baggers kinda look all the same I figured it would make my wife happy at a 1/4 of the price of a new one.

I know it doesn't have clubmans or bar ends or tail loops or skateboard deck seats and it may be of little interest to some.......but to me I am pleasantly suprised at its performance....fit and finish.... and it's real nice slow speed manners. Since I am "ridin dirty" (no plates or tags yet) I am limited to my neighborhood ....... familiarizing myself with it at lower speeds. Braking is nice and predictable. The low end grunt feels better to me than the 1800......and the belt drive is pleasantly smooth and quiet.

Some of the things that are different to me is the gear shift lever and the brake........too far forward and awkward to someone not use to it. Neutral is hard to find. The blinkers are on both sides and both switches which seems more natural and easy but hard to get use to after 35 years of "not that". The vibration is something else. Having smooth touring bikes and just smooth bikes in general it will take some getting use to.......the vibration. The funny thing is that when your above 2200 rpm it feels nearly Goldwing smooth. I'm anxious to get it on the highway.

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For now I'm really trying to get use to the rear brake location and response.

As you can see in the photo I am melting my show trying to find the rear brake that is not in the location I have been use to all my life. And that rear peddle is as large as the one on my 1972 El Camino.

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So for now the 1200 has another touring stable mate.....until next year when or if I pull the trigger on the new wing. I haven't ruled out the BMW 1600 either......which seems to be getting nice reviews....at least from the owners I talk to.

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Discussion Starter #3
so when are you making it a rigid and stripping off half the weight ;)
My hemorrhoids would explode if I went rigid.

And taking off half the weight would still make it nearly 500 pounds!

It's not quite what I thought it would be. Nice power and a nice ride and it handles better than i thought. It's still hard to get use to that vibration....especially off throttle.........and those forward controls.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You should know, so many flywheel assys (Cranks) were over the factory spec of .003" as far as being true, Harley upped the spec to .015"! The Twin cam motor never worked as expected and H-D reverted back to a single cam in the Mil 8. Cam and bearing and tensioner issues have plagued the TC motor since it's inception as well. They keep throwing different fixes at it but there never has been a 100% fix. That's why there is such a big aftermarket redesign using a gear drive to fix the problem once and for all. H-D engineers could have saved themselves lots of grief early on if only they had looked how Honda addressed the same problem in '85-'86 with the Interceptor 1000. They shit canned the cam chains and went with gear drive. The problem with Harley is where the spent tensioner plastic from the tensioners go. It falls right into the open ended cam bearings or drops further into the oil pump scavenge
area. The "right" scenario results in a catastrophic motor failure. There's more to discuss mechanically and a lot electrically but it's simpler to just say "Extended Warranty". If you have it, you won't need it.
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On the real tho......... thank you for the information.

Someone told me about the chain tensioner problems and the catastrophic result a friend of his experienced. The Mil 8 also vibrates but not as bad.......and from my understanding they engineered a little vibration into it for the faithful.

I'm hoping this will be a good experience for me......and so far it is.
 

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how hard/expensive would it be to pull the motor and do some preventative maintenance/modifications?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
how hard/expensive would it be to pull the motor and do some preventative maintenance/modifications?
You know I entertained that thought for about 3 seconds.......after I was informed about the cam chain tensioner problems for my model and the like.

The previous owner took it in for all the recalls but none of them were to address the tensioner......rather they were BS stuff like wiring, frame brace, etc....I believe 3 items in total.
 

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Meh - they're not hand grenades from stock. My buddy rode his 06 SoftTail for 120K klms before he had it rebuilt. New aftermarket 95ci kit, later model cam chain tensioner, heads re-valved (I think) and it's good to go for another however long. I think he's got 150K on it now and he's pretty much spent nothing else on it apart from consumables and farkles. He's still on the original drive belt.

From what I recall the 06 had the real dodgy CCT's - later model ones were more durable. Cam gears are a mixed bag due to the crank flex / run-out. If they run out too much things go bang. Chains are much more forgiving.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Meh - they're not hand grenades from stock. My buddy rode his 06 SoftTail for 120K klms before he had it rebuilt. New aftermarket 95ci kit, later model cam chain tensioner, heads re-valved (I think) and it's good to go for another however long. I think he's got 150K on it now and he's pretty much spent nothing else on it apart from consumables and farkles.
It sounds solid....no funny noises to my ear or no leaks or signs of leaking. Stock exhaust so it's not overpowering the neighbor hood when I leave.

6th gear is tall.....way tall and a nice highway gear.

And it probably has to try and stop about the same weight. Good looker.
What's interesting is that at around 900 lbs......it really doesn't feel like it. It can be maneuvered easy and it's low center of gravity makes slow speeds easy........much easier than the GL1200. Sometimes I think it's lowered. Maybe it isnt and it's just stock but it feels lower.

It's really not what I thought it would be.......much more pleasant and modern feeling ....compared to that old ironhead
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Since my back situation limits my riding to certain types, I've been racking up some miles on this bike and I'm very pleased with it.

Long hauls on this bike make 400 mile days not as taxing on the body as I thought it would be. On highway manners are excellent with it being very stable and predictable. Low speed manners are superb. Still having a difficult time with the turn signal locations but the forward controls I'm used to already.....and are comfortable at highway speeds. The last couple of days in the desert were hot. I've noticed going uphill on steeper grades...in the heat.... it looses power riding 2 up. It never overheats but you can feel the heats affect on the motor.

I guess I'm just getting used to it now that I surrendered to touring type motorcycles. It's not a bad deal

This old girl still has real good power left in her . Not like the Milwaukee 8 or anything CVO but she can ride 80-90 mph all day long.


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Discussion Starter #12
Update

So next month would be a year since I've owned this bike. So far to date I've logged more than 21000 miles on this bike....all leisure. On the clock it has 68500 miles. It runs still flawless with us just returning from a 1200 mile San Francisco trip. I did have to replace the stator and rectifier, fuel pump and a set of tires front and back since I bought it. Overall I'm pleased with this bike.

Even after all this time I still can't get use to the blinker setup. I've hit the starter switch and kill switch many times while on the freeway by accident. Also a complaint is that when it gets hot and the weathers warm if you trail/use too much the back brake it will completely fade. The rear master cylinder is way too close to the front exhaust pipe....like an inch or so away. I've looked for a solution to this but really haven't found one. I may fabricate something to shield the rear master from the heat. But when it's hot and your in stop and go traffic and it's slow...and you trail the rear brake..be prepared for some fading.

So the only improvements/accessories I did to the bike was a front helmet lock....radio and phone holders...a Fusion Bluetooth setup and I installed Lovejugs. Over the summer....along with some rear brake fade....the bike would go into "parade mode" in that it got so hot it would shut off the rear cylinder. I purchased the smaller mighty mite Love Jugs...which are small fans that blow air from the side into the head. Ever since the installation it never over heated or went into parade mode again. The best modification ever for my year and model.

So for now I keep riding.

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I really like the Bluetooth option. It only cost me $35 and was easy to install in that I wired it to the accessory/cigarette lighter...which is powered when the ignition switch is on.

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Maybe DOT 5.1 in the rear m/c? What is in there now?
I really don't know what type it has....I've never replaced it. But I will now as when brake fluid gets hot/boils it's less effective.

I may have used the rear too much due to 30 miles of lane splitting through L.A. on a warm day. I'm sure HD engineers have gone through the design but to me it just seems way to close to a massive exhaust pipe.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Having starter problems with the HD so I purchased a new starter and going to install

At 71500 miles on the bike I feel it's normal wear on the clutch basket starter gear. Any thoughts?

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
This bike is just shy of hitting 80,000 miles. Since I purchased it at around 47,000 miles I have racked up nearly 33,000 miles. I needed to put a new compensator in a couple of weeks ago but she still rolls along easily and effortlessly.......chewing up Monarch butterflies outside of Yuma AZ.

It's funny......even after all those miles I still sometimes have a problem with the turn signal locations....often times using the PTT/stereo adjustment switch as the signal switch. But when I get back on my Goldwing I never confuse the switches on it for the HD switches. At this point I may never get use to it.


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Discussion Starter #18
I want to invent a decent chain tensioner for those things and then use the profits to buy a small island somewhere warm.
I reinstalled the original one back on. It was around half way out.

I have a new one but I figure I'll install a new chain, clutch plates and maybe a new drive belt..... everything's got to come off to do that including the swingarm. Hoping I can get another 10K to 15K on everything before I have to do it. Actually the belt still got some real good tension in it so it may go farther than that.... Maybe farther than the clutch

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I want to invent a decent chain tensioner for those things and then use the profits to buy a small island somewhere warm.
the stock tensioner/slack controller sure looks like a welll designed unit
what would vdo to improve it
are there complaints about the oem units functionality
 

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I reinstalled the original one back on. It was around half way out.

I have a new one but I figure I'll install a new chain, clutch plates and maybe a new drive belt..... everything's got to come off to do that including the swingarm. Hoping I can get another 10K to 15K on everything before I have to do it. Actually the belt still got some real good tension in it so it may go farther than that.... Maybe farther than the clutch

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so the tensioner is a manually adjusted ? by the wedges inkervals ?
how often is it needed ? there must be anmispection port in primary cover eh?
if you want to observe the actual wear in the chain just grap the top and bottom runs to take out slack and get maximum wrap on the sprockets
then check how much you can lift the chain up out of the sprockets in a few places like halfway between the wrap
a new chain and a new or minimally worn sprocket will be still almost ffully seated in the teeth
a worn chain can be alarmiongly loose back in the wrap
 
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