Category Archives: Motorcycle Demo Rides

2012 Harley Davidson XL883L Sportster SuperLow

Last summer I got the opportunity to ride a 2012 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883L SuperLow. I definitely wouldn’t normally ride or purchase this size motorcycle. Not that it’s a bad motorcycle, it just seems beneath me. Wow, that makes me sound pretty damn arrogant. I want to make this perfectly clear I’m not dissing this product. It’s just that I prefer bigger and more powerful motorcycles. Well, maybe I’m dissing it just a little, sorry.

So there I was waiting in the demo line to pick out a motorcycle to ride. I’m going to have to get on my little soapbox here for a few seconds. I am somewhat confused why we can’t sign up for these demo rides online before we get to the event. Let’s face reality. Not only is Harley-Davidson letting you ride their motorcycles they’re also farming for information for their database.

Think how fast the flow would go if you actually had the ability to sign up online. I mean, seriously, all the information would be absorbed into Harley-Davidson’s database directly from the web without having to reenter it by hand or whatever other system they use during the demo rides. Hello, Harley-Davidson, anybody out there?

Okay, back on track. So finally it’s my turn as I progressed through the line to sign up for the demo rides I am at position one, staring at the sign-up sheet. Looking at the sign-up sheet, I realize my ability to procrastinate has once again impacted my life choices. Scanning the sheet I notice there’s only one available slot. The lady at the table tells me the only thing that is left is the “Sporty 883.”

So as I bounce “Sporty 883” around in my brain, I came to the realization that that was the only motorcycle left. So now my choice turns into a no-brainer. I watched as she wrote my name down on the sheet and looked up at me with a big smile and said “You’re going to enjoy riding that motorcycle.” I thought to myself “Okay, if you say so.”

Doesn’t that lady know that I am coolcycledude, master of the two wheel transportation systems? The same coolcycledude with 400,000 views on his YouTube channel and over 2 million hits on his blog. I got a feeling she probably doesn’t give a “shit” that I’m coolcycledude master of the two wheel transportation systems. I guess when it’s all said and done coolcycledude is just another lemming waiting in a demo line to ride a motorcycle. Reality is such a cruel realm.

I checked my pride and walked over to the motorcycle. I made a couple laps around the motorcycle looking it over and few things really stood out from the get go. Wow, this baby’s got a lot of chrome on it for the entry level motorcycle. It also appeared that the gas tank seemed extremely large for a sportster gas tank. I came to find out that the gas tank held 4.5 gallons of fuel. I’m not sure but that’s got to be the largest gas tank ever placed on a Harley-Davidson Sportster.

Threw my leg over the motorcycle and plopped my butt down on the seat. The seat felt comfortable right off the bat. Nice reach from the seat to the bars puts me in a neutral position not leaning forward or backwards. The handlebars seem a little high above the tank, but it all works out. The controls on the handgrips are standard Harley-Davidson issue, nothing new here. The speedometer was installed in the center of the handlebars with a few “idiot” lights for good luck.

The ride coordinator signaled that they were going to be starting soon. So I turn the ignition key to the on position and hit the start button. Yep, I’m on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The engine produced a familiar rumble that I have come to love. Okay, she was right, I’m going to like riding this motorcycle. This motorcycle immediately fell into the “not too shabby” classification.

The ride coordinator signaled me to move into the line. Pulled in the clutch and popped this baby into gear and headed out of my parking spot to get in line. The clutch had a really light pull from the lever handle and that familiar “clunk” bellowed from the transmission when I put this baby and gear. Let the clutch out turn the throttle little bit to propel my “Sporty 883” to my designated spot in the demo line. Put this baby back into neutral and cranked the throttle a few times. Nice!

Looking down at the fuel tank with the brilliant red paint job, I realized how cool it looked on this motorcycle. I mean really, the tank provided a really nice design flow for the motorcycle. Again, I started surveying all the chrome bits and pieces on this motorcycle and again I was amazed at the level of detail for what I consider to be an entry-level motorcycle.

The demo ride guide started waving his arm signaling it’s time to go. Pulled clutch and dropped my foot on the gear lever that for that familiar clunk and slowly let the clutch lever out and turned the throttle. Right off the bat, I realized this motorcycle was really easy to handle. I’m going to guess this thing weighs in somewhere around 500 pounds. The seat position and the handle bar configuration should provide a new rider with exceptional feel and feedback when maneuvering this motorcycle.

Okay I’ve got a complaint. In my opinion the foot pegs are too high and maybe too far back. This foot peg configuration is probably designed to help increase ground clearance. But, this really isn’t a big deal because if I owned this motorcycle, I definitely would put forward foot controls on it. I’ve never been a big fan of the foot pegs right below the seat. Well that’s just me and you might see it a different way.

I don’t think I can say this enough, but the motorcycle had a very intuitive and natural feel during my demo ride. No surprises with how it cornered, stopped or throttle response of the engine. I did have a sparring match with the gearbox during my downshifting events. The lever would sometimes bounce back and provided weird feedback to my current gear position. I’m going to attribute this to my lack of feel because it’s a new motorcycle that I’ve never ridden before and the placement of the foot pegs which was relatively uncomfortable for me.

During the demo ride we took a detour to a partial expressway and I ran this baby up to 65 miles an hour to see how it would handle. Sometimes motorcycles with short wheelbase can feel unpredictable at high speeds. The “Sporty 883” was solid as a rock at 65 mph. Also, it had considerably more roll-on power than I thought it would. But I guess you can attribute that to the engine’s V-twin configuration and a relatively flat torque curve.

Speaking of the engine, it is an air cooled V-twin with fuel injection. This is pretty much standard protocol for Harley-Davison engine. As I mentioned earlier, it’s got a five speed gearbox. The final drive is a belt. Belt drive is a wonderful thing that keeps you from cleaning a chain. Trust me you don’t want to clean a chain. The engine also has considerable amount of chrome bits with a very nice chromed exhaust system.

I’m going to guess this motorcycle was designed for one up riding and the ability to carry some gear. I definitely feel this motorcycle wouldn’t be compatible for two up riding for any length of time. But I’m sure there’s somebody out there who can prove me wrong by sending me pictures of a “Sporty 883” carrying a whole family plus their farm animals in some third world country.

Who is this motorcycle for in my opinion? I think Harley-Davidson put a lot of effort in the design of this motorcycle to benefit new or minimal experienced riders. So if this is your MO, this definitely would be a motorcycle that you would demo ride and give it some serious consideration. I also believe that this motorcycle is competitively priced to give someone with a limited budget access to the Harley-Davidson motorcycle riding experience.

2014 Indian Chief Classic

This is the first of a three-part series of reviews on demo rides of the current 2014 Indian motorcycles. Before we get too far along, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that the new Indian motorcycles should be linked with the Indian motorcycles of the past. I know it gives the brand a lot of street cred to link it with a motorcycle that was built in the past. I got that! I know that this street cred is going to be crucial if they plan on going toe to toe with Harley-Davidson. Obviously they do plan on going toe to toe with them. I’m sorry but it just seems like a really weak ploy to try to do what Polaris is doing.

But as far as I’m concerned this is a brand-new product which basically emulates some of the physical characteristics of the Indian motorcycles of the past. And I’m going to have to quote one of the people at one of the demo rides that I attended. He said ”you can paint feathers on anything but that doesn’t make it an Indian motorcycle.” With all of that said, I want to make sure that you, the reader, will understand that these are groundbreaking motorcycles.

I personally would have accepted this motorcycle even though it wasn’t tied to the prior Indian motorcycles. I’m 55 years old which is probably the target age or around the target age for purchasers of these motorcycles. And I have no recollection of Indian motorcycles at all. I have no emotional ties to bridge the two products together.

This review is on the Indian Chief Classic which is the base model of the three. It starts at approximately $19,000 which is in the ballpark of its competition.  It might be on the high-end due to the fact that the motorcycle does not come with a removable windshields or any type of saddlebags. After you install the removable windshields and the saddlebags you could add easily $2000 more to the cost of the motorcycle. Obviously this excludes any labor for the installation.

This motorcycle is a very well-engineered piece of machinery which will make it very competitive in its market segment. The fit and finish plus the little details will set it apart from the other competing motorcycles. The one thing of the many that caught my eye was the oil dipstick handle. It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen on a motorcycle in a long time. You’re going to have to go to a dealer and see what I mean, consider it at homework assignment from coolcycledude.

Well, right off the bat I’m going have to tell you that I’m in love with the engine of this motorcycle. The sound emanating from the exhaust system is a true siren song that signals the subconscious mind to build an emotional pathway of need in the brain. Yep, if you like V twin engines, you’re going to have to have one of these. Aesthetically, the engine is a piece of artwork to look at. This engine is loaded with all kinds of special bits to make sure you know the brand name of this motorcycle.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, it looks good and it sounds good, so what? Well, during one of my little demo rides that I have up on my YouTube channel, I refer to this engine during acceleration as a” tractor on steroids.” So what do I mean by the phase “tractor on steroids?” I mean that it will accelerate with purpose through the entire usable rpm range. I ran it up very close to the red line and it just kept providing me with usable power. I’m going to guess a lot of R&D went into this particular engine. The same engine is used in all three models.

This motorcycle came equipped with ABS and cruise control. Which, if you think about it, are pretty cool features. I’m a big fan of ABS, but to be honest, I rarely use the cruise control on a motorcycle. The Indian Chief Classic was a very comfortable motorcycle to ride, I didn’t feel crowded or cramped. The seat is actually covered with leather as opposed to other materials that are used currently. The clutch had a very light pull. I’m not sure if the clutch is assisted by hydraulic activation. I didn’t see a reservoir on the clutch lever. Turn signals are self-canceling. I’m a big fan of self-canceling turn signals because I’m the guy who always forgets to cancel them.

The seat height is somewhere around 26 inches off the ground. The engine did seem fairly compact between my legs. I had no problems putting my feet flat on the ground when the motorcycle was stopped. There was plenty of room on the floorboards to adjust my boots forward or backwards to get more comfortable. I believe the seat is also a little bit larger than normal, giving you the opportunity to move forward or backward on the seat. One thing that I did miss, which I’ve grown accustomed to, is toe-heal shifters.

This motorcycle is also covered with chrome pieces from front to back. You can definitely notice the quality of the materials used in the construction. The speedometer which is nicely laid out on the center of the fuel tank which will provide you with rpm, gear position, cruise control status and the regular suspects for warning lights. There’s also a gas gauge forward on the tank on the left side of the speedometer. On the right side of the speedometer is the keyless start button.

I don’t know if this confirms that I’m a lazy American, but I’m a big fan of keyless start systems on any vehicle. For instance, on my 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe, I just walk up to the motorcycle, turn the knob on the center of the tank, and hit the start button. You pretty much have the same situation on the Indian Chief Classic. You walk up to the motorcycle with the key in close proximity, press the button on the upper right corner of the fuel tank, and then hit the start button on the right hand grip. This sequence brings the motorcycle’s engine to life.

The frame geometry is such that I felt very comfortable pushing this motorcycle hard in and out of the turns. The only thing I had to watch out for was ground clearance due to the floorboards. Otherwise I felt quite confident pushing this motorcycle through the turns. The Indian Chief Classic tips the scale somewhere around 800 pounds with all the fluids. It didn’t seem particularly top-heavy during the times I had to use my legs to move around.

I do have one concern, the distance from the top of the forks, where the handlebars are connected to the handgrips, which seems a little bit long. I have a feeling that this may cause a problem when you’re trying to make low speed tight turns with the motorcycle. Unfortunately, during the demo ride, I didn’t have the opportunity to make tight turns with the motorcycle. So I can’t confirm whether or not this is going to be a problem. I guess you’ll have to ride the motorcycle for yourself and determine if it’s a problem for you.

This motorcycle is equipped with three disc brakes connected to chromed wheels with spokes. Whitewall tires are included on this motorcycle. Nice oversized fenders cover the whole package front and rear. On the front of the front fender is a small little light which is shaped as the head of a chief Indian. I personally could go without it, it just seems a little bit of an oddity for me. But I guess it’s part of the whole Indian motorcycles of the past Mojo.

If you’re in the market for a large cc V twin cruiser, I would definitely go to the nearest Indian dealer in inquire about a test ride.

If you have any questions or comments please contact me at:

bill@coolcycledude.com

2012 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic

I got a chance to ride the 2012 Harley-Davidson Road King classic. Yep, I know, it’s almost 2014, better late than never to post a blog. Excluding my ability to do things within a timely manner, this blog post is still worth reading. This would be my second favorite Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Obviously my first choice is the Softail Deluxe which I own. I’m a big fan of the classic speedometer which is standard issue on both of these motorcycles. Either way, both models have a nostalgic look and feel to the user.

The 2012 Road King has the 103 engine. The engine is a standard Harley-Davidson V twin with two valves per cylinder. Compression ratio is relatively low to keep engine heat at an acceptable value. The engine is coupled to a six speed gearbox through the primary chain. No big changes here. The sixth gear is actually an overdrive to keep the RPM in the sweet spot when you’re cruising on the highway. Unfortunately when it comes time to pass a vehicle you’re going to have to downshift into a lower gear to send more power to the rear wheel for the anticipated acceleration.

I wouldn’t plan on dragging your knee on the ground as you maneuver the Road King through high-speed sweeper. Nope, this ain’t no Moto GP motorcycle. But the motorcycle does provide the feeling of confidence whether you’re entering or leaving a turn. It’s important to remember that this motorcycle has floorboards which are a strong deterrent from leaning into a turn too hard.

The rims are chrome with chromed spokes. Wrapped around those chrome rims are Dunlop whitewall tires. I think chromed rims and whitewall tires go together like peanut butter and jelly. A lot of manufacturers have moved away from wheels with spokes and are now producing either machined or casted.  Soulless bastards! The whole package looks very appealing under the oversized fenders.

The moment you start the Road King Classic you know you’re on a Harley. The pulsations from the engine at idle are transferred to the rider through the handlebars and the seat. Those vibrations are there to remind you that you’re in control of one of the most prolific engines ever created caged within a motorcycle frame. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you should probably own a Honda.

This motorcycle is equipped with three disc brakes two up front and one in rear. This provides plenty of stopping power to bring this 811 pound beast to a halt. The braking system is not linked so you’re going to have to use the foot brake and the handbrake at the same time. I’m a big fan of linked brakes but I guess Harley-Davidson was not at the time.

A few of the 2014 models have a linked brake system which is activated by the speed of the motorcycle. So I guess Harley-Davidson is getting on board with linked brakes. I read somewhere that that has pissed off a lot of the Shriners who use Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I wonder what happens when a bunch of Shriners gets pissed off.

Cruise control was standard with this model which is really a nice amenity to have. There are two nice soft saddlebags protected by nicely placed chromed saddlebag guard.  I’m a big fan of soft bags as opposed to the plastic ones. Again, it’s all about the nostalgic look of the motorcycle for me. I feel the soft bags continue to keep up the tradition of older motorcycles. I didn’t see any locking device on the saddlebags.

The motorcycles ergonomics produced little if any fatigue in me while I was riding the motorcycle. The handlebars are in a good position to control the motorcycle. The seat is extremely comfortable for those long jaunts. The floorboards seemed roomy enough for my feet. I’m a big fan of toe-heal shifter which is included in this model. The controls on the handgrips for starting, turn signals and so forth are standard Harley-Davidson issue. There is the addition of cruise control switches which occupies both left and right handgrips.

If you’re looking for something to race against Suzuki’s Hayabusa, you’ve picked the wrong motorcycle. I don’t care if the salesperson told you it’s a “done deal” if you upgrade to Scream-Eagle stage 15. But if you want to cruise the streets on an American icon with the nostalgic loo,k you’ve made a wise decision.

 

2014 Yamaha Bolt Demo Ride

I sorry! But, I have to start with the name of this motorcycle. Bolt? Really! That’s the best name Yamaha could come up with? I might name my dog “Bolt”, you know what that shit isn’t happen either. Bolt quit drinking out of the toilet! Bolt quit humping the other dog! Bolt quit tearing up the backyard! Bolt is that one of the wife’s shoes in your mouth? Good doggie, Bolt.

I think I know how this happened. One of dudes or dudettes in a marketing meeting at Yamaha’s think tank in California says “Hey I’ve got to BOLT, I’ve got a yoga class in a few minutes.” The other dudes or dudettes in the meeting looking at each other wide eyed and yell out “Cool! Way Cool! Bolt it is, let’s go surfing.” So they pass it up to Yamaha’s lawyers, where there’s a big sigh of relief. The one lawyer says to the other “I thought they would end up calling it Sportster 2.” The other lawyer responds back” Nope, were cool.”

Okay, enough of the unfounded chit -chat above. First and foremost, the Bolt is a very nice entry level small cruiser motorcycle. It has an air-cooled V-Twin engine. The displacement is just a little south of 1000 cc or around 58 cubic inches.  I’m pretty sure Yamaha was also going for the bobber look too. Also, it’s got a slick five speed gearbox. The gearbox is nicely matched with the power curve of the engine.

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The V-twin engine is the most important component of any cruiser motorcycle. Yamaha knows that so they bolted one in the Bolt. I’m so funny “bolted one in the Bolt.” The V-twin engine used to power the bolt isn’t brand new either.  It’s also being used in the V Star 950 Tourer and the V Star 950 models.  The V Star engines are all chromed up and the Bolt’s engine is blacked out. I’m going to guess that most of the other specifications are the same.

The engine has four valves per cylinder with some type of specially designed cylinder head to increase available power. Adjustments to the maps used to control fuel delivery and ignition have been modified to make the engine produce more torque at lower RPMs. Cruiser riders love that torque stuff. There’s also a different style air-box to facilitate keeping the engine fully aspirated.

Of course the engine is fuel injected. No traction control or that other fancy stuff on this baby. The motorcycle weighs in at 540 pounds excluding fluids. This probably would make it easier to handle for someone who is just learning how to ride a motorcycle. The seat height is somewhere around 27 inches which is right in the ballpark for a cruiser motorcycle.

I’m not completely sure, but I think you could get one of these babies out the door for around $9,000.00. Nine grand out-the-door, very nice deal! It appears that is a whole lot stuff that you can purchase to make Bolt to your liking. Yamaha is taking a page of Harley Davidson’s playbook with all of the customizing parts.

The Bolt is Yamaha’s tool to try to take away market share from Harley Davidson. I’m going to guess the main focus is to slow down Harley Davidson’s Sportster 883 production line. This is definitely going to be a tough road to travel. Harley-Davidson has a well-oiled marketing machine and a very loyal customer base buying their products.

But this is a pretty good strategy for Yamaha to use. Use some of the parts that are already in play in their other motorcycles. No sense making everything from scratch that usually costs a lot of money. Make less money on their entry-level vehicles to get the framework for a loyal customer base. Pick up the money on the backend through all the gizmos used to customize the motorcycle. Hopefully Yamaha can get the Bolt users to upgrade to the larger cruisers in Yamaha’s lineup. Either way, I guess it’s a crapshoot.

Riding the Bolt was a pretty good experience except I felt cramped on the motorcycle. I may be used to larger motorcycles. It’s been a long time that I’ve been on a motorcycle under or around 1000 cc. About a year ago I rode Harley-Davidson’s Sportster 883 and I got the same vibe. The Bolt had plenty of power for acceleration during my demo ride. I did a few 0 to 60 miles an hour in my demo videos just to see what the motorcycle would do. During my little drag race sessions the transmission worked like a charm never missed a shift. Also when I came to a stop I had no problems finding neutral.

The wheelbase is approximately 61 inches which was probably a major factor in how stable the motorcycle was at 65 miles an hour. Yamaha is indicating on their spec sheet that the motorcycle gets approximately 51 miles per gallon. This is probably a good asset for the motorcycle because of the current price of fuel. The rear tail light is filled with LEDs and I still have made my mind up whether it belongs on the motorcycle or not. I guess that’s a decision a potential buyer would make.

There was no extensive vibration or heat migration to me during the demo rides.  Although, my hands did fall asleep on several occasions due to what I considered abnormal vibration in the handlebars. This problem can be easily rectified with several different approaches. I believe Yamaha spent a lot of time making this motorcycle compact and centering the mass so the engine is right between your legs closer than what I’ve experienced on other motorcycles.

The seat which is stock was definitely not designed to be comfortable for me. So if I owned this motorcycle, the first thing I would throw in the trash would be the seat. Also I would definitely invest in forward controls and possibly higher handlebars. The brakes worked fine with no ABS and only one disk in the front. I felt the speedometer was hard to read because of the smoked lens. I definitely wish the speedometer would have incorporated some type of tachometer.

All in all, I thought this was a quality product for someone who wants an entry-level motorcycle in the cruiser segment. This was definitely not a motorcycle for me, but I really see it making an impact on a younger person who is looking to create a motorcycle of his liking.

2013 Victory Boardwalk

I got a chance to ride the Victory’s 2013 Boardwalk motorcycle. First things first I have a “Harley-Davidson Brain” but you can’t beat the quality of Victory motorcycles. So I am a fan of most of the Victory motorcycles that are manufactured. I have said this many times if they didn’t make Harley-Davidson motorcycles my ass would be sitting on a Victory motorcycle. I think that the Freedom 106 engine is pretty much bulletproof. But I do have some reservations about their big touring motorcycle. I think I’ll stop here.

Okay, not a big fan of a solid white paint job on a motorcycle. I’m sure the color is not called white it’s probably got some weird name like “Desert White” or “Midnight White.” It sure looked like regular old white to me. I have a Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe with a white and dark blue paint job, although I have on several occasions thought about the logic behind the paint scheme for this motorcycle. Oh, now I remember, I like to wash it a lot.

So it’s not that I don’t like white, it’s I just don’t see an application for solid white paint on a motorcycle. Maybe, the paint was on sale from the manufacturer. From a psychology point of view, the color white projects purity, cleanliness, and neutrality. Are these the traits you want your motorcycle to project?  I didn’t think so!

Nice powerful engine on this motorcycle. The Boardwalk is equipped with Victory’s Freedom 106 engine.  I don’t know much about the Polaris Corporation, but I do know that when they put together an engine, you can’t beat it. The 106 is a 50 degree V-twin with four valves per cylinder. So it’s not going to have any problems breathing. The engine has a wet sump configuration.  Not a big fan of a wet sump without water cooled cylinders. But the upside is this baby holds 5 quarts of oil. That should be enough so the oil can do its primary job. Plus there’s a big oil cooler in the front of the engine near the bottom of the frame. Engine cooling relies on air and oil. A very nice six speed gearbox is incorporated into the engine to make use of the available torque.

Like the adjustable brake lever on the throttle side of the handle bars. Not something that you readily see on cruiser motorcycles. Really a nice touch if you’re one of those people who makes use of the adjustment on the levers. Otherwise, pretty much the same old standard controls on the handlebars. The mirrors are placed nicely and provide a good size picture of what’s going on behind you.

During my demo ride I did encounter some sort of weird feedback on the clutch lever when the motorcycle is in the fifth or sixth gears. During the last bit travel on the clutch lever it would bounce in your hand. I’m pretty sure that that’s not a manufacturer’s defect, probably some sort of a wear problem due to the beatings these demo bikes take.

This motorcycle has tons of chrome. The lower casings on the engine and the frame are not chrome, but pretty much everything else is. I don’t know if I like the Art Deco style turn signals. I prefer a larger turn signal that would leave a larger impression in someone’s brain so they don’t run me over. The handlebars seemed very comfortable to me. I heard other people at the demo ride complaining about them. Victory refers to them as ”beach bars” referencing a trend in older motorcycles.

All of the tactical information such as speed, rpm, gear position and all the other stuff that I can’t remember right now are displayed on the unit. Yep, this is what’s called “real-time” writing. All of this info is being displayed on a single gauge mounted near the center of the handlebars. In the beginning I wasn’t feeling this display set up. But the information is delivered in a format which has grown on me, so I guess I’m feeling it now.

This motorcycle gets up and goes! That’s really the best way to describe it. I think the maximum horsepower and torque occur somewhere around 3200 RPMs. The motorcycle’s gravitational pull on the earth is right around 700 pounds with all the necessary fluids to operate it. So that’s pretty much in the ballpark of its competitors. I’m not completely sure since I don’t have any factual or hard data, but I think it can out run the majority of its competitors.

My favorite personality trait of this motorcycle is the chromed laced wheels. I’m starting to see a trend which causes me a lot of pain. Manufacturers are moving more and more towards either casted or machined rims. Call me old-fashioned, out of date and one foot in the grave, but I like those chrome laced wheels. I feel that the laced wheels are part of the DNA of a true cruiser motorcycle.

If you’re interested in purchasing a cruiser motorcycle I definitely would stop off at a Victory dealer and ask for a test ride. With that said I would also check out the Harley-Davidson, Honda, Triumph, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Indian, BMW, Ducati and Moto Guzzi dealers. It’s important to find out what really moves as opposed to what you have been programmed to think will move you.

 

 

2013 Harley Davidson VRod Demo Ride

I got the chance to go to a Harley-Davidson demo ride at Chi-Town Harley-Davidson in Tinley Park Illinois. (About 50 miles from the Lilac Vilage, what can I say, I love riding other peoples motorcycles.) It was during the summer, yeah I know, I’m on top of things. It was a beautiful day, a little bit on the warm side. But otherwise, it was a really beautiful day. One of the motorcycles I got to ride was the 10th anniversary edition of the VRod. Talk about a motorcycle that was loaded with chrome and a lot of shiny stuff, this baby just about blinded me. I really thought about getting one of these and bring it home but I knew this would be the motorcycle that would end my marriage. I’ve got four motorcycles already, I really don’t have a good argument for a fifth motorcycle yet. If you do, please email it to me. I know all you guys out there run your homes and you should probably keep telling yourself that too. Because living in an imaginary-land is a lot better than living in reality-land.

The first thing I noticed about the motorcycle is that it reminded me of a piece of art. I’m talking about hanging on the wall art. Even though I’ve taken very few art classes I know a piece of art when I see it. Looking at the way all of the parts fit together and the way they were installed on this motorcycle just gave it an unbelievable look. After thinking about it, kind of reminds me of a Rolex watch. Even though I’ve never owned a Rolex watch, I’ve seen enough of them in magazines ads. A Rolex watch was the first thing that came to my mind while I was looking at the VRod. I can’t figure out why I made the correlation between a Rolex watch and the Harley-Davidson V Rod. It just happened!

This is the second time I’ve ridden the V Rod. The first time I rode it I didn’t like it. The second time I rode it I sort of fell in love with it. This is probably going to sounds odd but the seat, yes the seat, was a big factor for me. I guess it’s kind of funny how my rear end pretty much dictates whether or not I like a motorcycle. I’m pretty sure this thought process is age related.

It has been said that the brain is the biggest sex organ. So with that said, I guess my ass is the biggest motorcycle loving organ. I can’t believe I just wrote “motorcycle loving organ.” Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about either. I’m sure at one time or another you have sat on a motorcycle and thought to yourself “this seat blows.” How was the “Dip-Shit” who designed this thing? Personal note, that was a first for me, I put “Dip-Shit” in a complete sentence. It is a very vulgar phrase, but it has impact.

The seat on the other models had a piece that protruded from the rear of the seat that pressed on my lower back. This piece made it really uncomfortable for me to ride the VRod. Now that I think about it why would you want to put something on the back of the seat that hits you when you accelerate? What were they thinking at the Harley factory when they put the seat on? You know, they’re doing wacky weed.

Okay it was time to bring this baby to life. The switch to turn it on is not on the center of the tank like the other Harleys, but on the side. So I reached over turned the switch and then turned the key. Hit the start button and it came to life. But it was not what I had expected or remembered, I detected very little vibration. Was the engine running? I looked at the tachometer, yes this motorcycle has a tachometer. The needle was hovering right around 1000 RPM. I turned the throttle expecting some form of increased vibration, or noise of some type. Nothing! I leaned over the right side of the motorcycle tank and turned the throttle again and I was hoping to hear some internal engine noises such as the valve train lash, gears clicking away, clutch chatter or anything. All I heard was the rumble from the exhaust system. I guess it sounds like a Rolex watch too!

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs you know that I have a thing for analog gauges. I don’t know if a “thing” describes my relationship with analog gauges or clocks as they are called in the UK. I’m still fishing for that UK audience. I don’t know about you but when I see digital gauges it reminds me of the cheapest Timex watch that you can buy at Walmart. It just looks like crap to me. I seem to have some sort of watched thing going on here. I really think that analog gauges give a motorcycle class.

Then there was a call from the guy running these rides that he needed to talk to us. He barks “front and center!” What the hell, am I in the USMC again? I turned off the engine walked over to hear his presentation. This was probably one of the weirdest presentations I have ever heard in my life. The guy that was running the demo rides turned to the other guy next him and said and I quote “don’t do like this asshole did and crash the motorcycle you’re riding.” I guess there’s something to be said about going right to the point of an idea or concept. Also, after hearing this speech you now have some incentive not to crash the motorcycle you’re riding. You sure as hell don’t want to be labeled as the other asshole during the next presentation. That was pretty much it, went back to our motorcycles started them up and waited for the signal to go.

Pulled in the clutch, knocked into gear with my foot, let the clutch out and turned the throttle and off I went. The steering was a little weird at low speed which probably was from the rake of the forks. Somewhat touchy and I was constantly correcting the steering. But once I got this baby rolling the problem went away.

As always I would like to thank you for reading my blog. It means a lot to me and my dogs. My dogs continually tell me that I have a career in writing a blog. I guess that’s much better than them telling me who to kill. (Now go look at the videos!) Hurry before my dogs change their minds.