Tag Archives: Harley Davidson

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.

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.

 

I sure hope they don’t f**k this up.

Polaris motorcycle sales of Victories and Indians took a backward slide after the introduction of Harley-Davidson’s brand-new 2014 motorcycles. According to Forbes magazine, Polaris’s motorcycle sales took a 7% slide. Ouch! This is probably not what the Board of Directors at Polaris were expecting. According to what I read in the Wall Street Journal, one of the board members told the CEO of Polaris industries “you better not f**k this up.” I wonder where a slide in sales falls with relationship to f**king this up.

The CEO of Polaris industries said ”that the introduction of the Indian motorcycles is like having a baby you have to nurture it and help it grow for the future.” I got a feeling he’s going to be breast-feeding that “baby” for a long time. I’ve ridden all three Indian models several times and they are very nice motorcycles. I believe they‘re a really competitive products in a very crowded market segment. So, I’m thinking something biblical is going to need to happen to increase Indian motorcycle sales.

To make things worse I had to drive to Indiana and Wisconsin to demo the Indian motorcycles. Not a single Indian dealer in the state of Illinois. Indian has deal on their website that they’ll pay for an airline ticket to get to a dealer. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this? I believe I mentioned this previously in another blog, I’m somewhat confused why Polaris did not put a strong dealer network in place before they released the Indian motorcycles.

I spoke with one of the Victory dealers that is near me. With a big frown on his face he tells me “Polaris wants him to double the floor space that he currently has in order to sell Indian motorcycles.” Then a smile appears on his face while he’s looking around his store and he tells me “if I double the space, I could turn this into a pretty nice restaurant.” Okay, I guess selling motorcycles must not be the greatest gig in the universe.

Harley-Davidson on the other hand has pumped out 71,000 new motorcycles since the introduction of the Project Rushmore in August of 2013. These sold units correlate in to a 9% increase in sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I guess the Project Rushmore was the ticket to sell motorcycles. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Coolcycledude get off your Harley-Davidson soapbox.”

First off I don’t own a soapbox, second I think I would buy an Indian motorcycle if I didn’t have to travel to another state and the wife lets me. I’m just concerned that the Three Stooges are in charge of the destiny of what I consider some really cool motorcycles. I sure hope they don’t f**k this up.

 

Polaris is out for blood!

Well Harley Davidson better pick up the pace because Polaris is out for blood. Polaris now has two contenders to devalue the HOG stock prices. You’ve got the old one-two-punch with Victory motorcycles and now the Indian motorcycles. Harley-Davidson better start bobbing and weaving and get to a neutral corner. Well maybe not to a neutral corner anyhow.

Polaris is going to have a tough epic battle against Harley Davidson. I’m talking Star Wars epic battle! The movie where the evil half robot dude says to Luke Skywalker, “I am your father, Luke.” Got the picture now? Sure, smashing the other manufacturers of snowmobiles and side-by-sides is on Polaris’ resume. But now they’re on a path that has seen other manufacturers fall to the wayside.

Let’s take for instance one of the motorcycles that I own. The Honda VTX 1800 which became available to the public in 2002. This baby has a powerful V-twin and all kinds of other amenities which make it a really nice motorcycle for cruising. Honda sure thought they had a product which was going to pull the air out of Harley Davidson’s sail. Honda tried emulating the aftermarket parts business, customer experience and tried creating a “Honda VTX” tribe. In 2008 Honda stopped manufacturing the VTX 1800, boom there it is, complete and total annihilation. Not even a blip on Harley-Davidson’s radar screen.

2005HondaVTX

Next in the ring was Kawasaki with their Vulcan 2000. Another super-sized V twin making gobs of torque and horsepower. A little bit of a change up from the Honda which had a water-cooled cylinder jackets. The Kawasaki had a head cooling system to remove the unwanted heat from this 2000 cc engine. I guess cooling the heads gave this motorcycle more street cred with the Harley Davidson disenfranchised. I got a chance to ride this motorcycle and it did have one problem maneuvering at low speeds was a definite workout. Kawasaki removed it from the lineup in 2010. Another blip on the radar screen.

Yamaha on the other hand is still producing cruiser motorcycles that try to compete in Harley Davidson’s market segment. They’ve actually started a second company which they referred to as “Star.” Yamaha refuses to give up even though they have lackluster sales numbers in this market segment. Their motorcycles are considerably cheaper than Harley Davidson’s motorcycles, but I guess that’s not enough to distract someone from finding a Harley Davidson dealer.

The only real contender is Victory. That’s right, Victory, sort of a fitting name considering what their objective is. Might even have a subliminal message thing going on. Victory is in second place in the large displacement cruiser market. Every time I read this fact I am utterly amazed that an American motorcycle manufacturer was able to push the Japanese and the British to the curb. I’ve ridden the Victory motorcycles on several occasions and if I didn’t have a Harley brain, I’d own a Victory motorcycle.

Polaris’s latest salvo is in the form of the Indian motorcycle brand name. They’ve purchased the brand name from some holding company. Reviving an old nemesis seems like part of Polaris’s master plan for domination. Twenty-seven months later, they have three motorcycles for sale to the public. No doubt they’ve got all of the Victory trials and tribulations incorporated into design and manufacturing of these new motorcycles. I’ve ridden all three of the Indian motorcycles and I wish I had more garage space.

I especially like the Indian Chieftain which is going to be a game changer. In my mind the chieftain was design to go head-to-head with Harley Davidson’s Street Glide. The Street Glide is a very popular model for those people wishing to own a Harley Davidson in the 40s to 50s age bracket.

The two models are pretty much in the same price range. Each one of them has some sort of advantage over the other. So this should be a very interesting time for Harley Davidson.

Harley Davidson’s brand loyalty has been written about thousands of times in books, articles, journals, white papers, blogs and so forth. Used as lecture material in major business colleges. Studied under an electron microscope by other motorcycle manufacturers. This loyalty is definitely a powerful tool that can be used to hedge the onslaught of any new contender.

What does Las Vegas say about this epic battle. I have no idea. If there was a roulette table that had motorcycle manufacturers names on the wheels instead of numbers, I’m putting my money on Harley Davidson.

More Harley-Davidson Antifreeze Please!

The end of days must be close at hand. Harley-Davidson has introduced two new models for 2014 that have water-cooled engines. I’m not talking about the VRods  with the Porsche engines either. I’m referring to a new 103 engine design. So don’t bother replying and tell me” coolcycledude the VRods have water-cooled engines, you dummy!” Yep, I know that already. Already wrote about the VRod . Checkout my past blog post.  Already rode the VRod a few times. I’m in the loop don’t you worry.

Water cooled engine is a little miss leading. HD is not running water through the cylinder jackets. Only the exhaust area on the cylinder heads has water removing that horse power robbing heat energy from the engine. This isn’t a new idea either. Moto Guzzi does a similar thing using engine oil instead of water. But generally the Moto Guzzi engine holds considerably more oil than the HD’s engine.

But either way this is paradigm shift for Harley Davidson. Harley-Davidson is probably under a lot of pressure from the EPA to meet elevated emission requirements here in the United States. Harley-Davidson also wants to sell their motorcycles in the European countries. The EU in some cases has stricter standards and is not interested in any compromises.

Without a doubt this is a very risky move for HD. This adjustment is almost like tampering with the filling material inside of Twinkies. Lucky for Twinkies somethings don’t have to be changed. But sometime you have to change to remain competitive. Really, Harley Davidson doesn’t have choice!  Without change there’s no opportunity for growth or expansion. I’m going to guess that non-Harley riders / owners will start to take look at these new models with renewed interest because of this modification.

I got a chance to ride a 2014 Ultra Limited a few days ago. The ambiance of motorcycle seemed the same as the previous year. Also, you had to look pretty damn hard to determine if the engine was water-cooled or not. I’m sure HD designed it that way. The new GPS / radio / iPhone control unit is way beyond cool. It’s a milestone for technology incorporated into motorcycle. I think I’m going have to buy one of these motorcycles! Of course, that’s if it’s okay with the wife.

Also,the brakes have a advanced linking system. The reason I use the term advanced, is because under a certain speed the brakes operate independent of each other. From what the salesman told me at the Harley dealer above 25 mph the brakes are linked.I’m a big fan of link brakes I know a lot of people complain about it they say that it’s dangerous on roads that have gravel or other loose materials on them. I’ve been able to manage my link breaks on all surfaces without sliding my Honda Goldwing across the pavement for years now.Harley is also decided to beef up the front forks to increase ride stability.

The only thing that I’m worried about is that Harley Davidson is starting  to “Hondaize”  their motorcycle’s engines. I own a 2012 Softail Deluxe with the 103 B engine. I love the characteristics of air-cooled V-twin with two valves per cylinder. For me it’s not about power or speed. It’s about the journey. But with that said, I can’t be afraid of change. So if HD is going to start water cooling their future engines to stay competitive,  I’m on that bus baby!

I’m sure the Harley-Davidson purists are already mounting a campaign to rectify this tampering with their sacred V twin engines. I know they’re still pissed off about removal of the carburetor. I’m pretty sure some cars are going to be turned over and set on fire in front of Harley-Davidson’s corporate office.

So hopefully next year I’ll be saying “more Harley-Davidson antifreeze please” to the parts person at my local HD dealer.

 

 

 

Mechanical Poetry!

I got the opportunity to ride Harley Davidson’s Softail Deluxe about ten months ago. I know, I know, little slow on writing about it. I might as well spill the beans right now, get it all the way out, this is my favorite Harley Davidson motorcycle.

It just fits me perfectively, like we we’re made for each other. I’ve ridden this motorcycle about ten times in the last few years. I’m very surprised Harley Davidson hasn’t sent me a bill! Or post a picture of me at the dealerships with a caption under it. Saying something like this, “don’t let this dude pictured above ride anything until he buys something.” I got very close to buy one a few years ago, but I bought a 2010 Yamaha VMax instead. I know, why in the hell did I do that? I like to go fast, really fast. Well I finely pulled the trigger in 2012 and bought one.

My 2012 Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe
My 2012 Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe

Okay back on track. Wildfire Harley Davidson was hosting a demo ride on June 3, 2012.  They had the Harley Davidson factory semitrailer park right out in front of their store. The big rig! A really big billboard! Wildfire Harley Davidson is located in Villa Park Illinois, right on route 64 in the state of ILL.  Wildfire is just a few miles from the Lilac Village. The Lilac Village is where I live with my charming and lovely wife. I need at least one person to read this.

I don’t know how long Wildfire Harley Davidson has been there, but it doesn’t seem that long. I can still remember when there was an empty lot there. The store is humongous, you can probably see it from out-space. It seems like all the new Harley Davidson stores are the size of a mini- Walmart.  Harley Davidson is all about branding their products, nothing like a big store to promote a brand.

It was beautiful day to ride a motorcycle, couldn’t been a better day. Well maybe, it could have been better. It could have been free Harley Davidson motorcycle day. That would have been much-more-better day. Has there ever been a free Harley Davidson motorcycle day? Hope I didn’t miss that day.  The temperature was somewhere around 70 degrees with a light wind blowing. A few clouds where floating around to keep the direct energy of that big ball of hydrogen off of me.

I rode the model with the two-tone paint job. It was birch white and midnight pearl, a beautiful color scheme to say the least. This color scheme really highlights all the chrome on the motorcycle.  There’s a lot of chrome on this motorcycle. My second choice color scheme would be the Red Sunglo. Red is a very strong color. The color red can symbolize excitement, energy, speed, strength, danger, passion, and aggression. But with all that said you can’t beat the two-tone paint job. I think Harley-Davidson is putting a lot of effort into painting their motorcycles, their just beautiful look at.

All of the other motorcycles that I already own develop more horse power and torque than the new 103B V-twin engine. After riding this motorcycle I’ve got to say that this engine is really smooth. Smooth for a Harley I mean. The 103B engine clocks in at about 68.1 horsepower @ 5000 rpm and 85.2 foot pounds @3600 rpm. But you don’t buy this motorcycle if your main mission is horsepower and torque. Nope, this isn’t a Suzuki GSXR 1000, Yamaha R1 or a Kawasaki Ninja 1000.

This motorcycle is a cruiser and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else but a cruiser. And to be completely truthful it’s the cruiser that all the other manufacturers are trying to emulate. I’m pretty sure you’ve figured this one out already if you know anything about motorcycles. The idea that the other manufacturers are trying to emulate and duplicate the V twin engine in a Harley Davison motorcycle really shows their limited creativity. The sad part is that most of the other manufacturers have failed to make headway in this market and have given up.

So what what’s the attraction? Every time I get on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. I get transported back in time and space. Bam, there I am in Milwaukee Wisconsin. The date is September 8, 1904. I don’t know what time it is because my iPhone won’t time travel with me. I’m sure Steve Jobs had something to do with that shit. You probably need the time travel app which you can purchase at iTunes.

But anyways, I’m looking at couple guys in 10 by 15 foot wood shed assembling the final pieces of a prototype machine or their very first Harley Davidson motorcycle. What could be cooler? You know this is going to sound odd but I’m going to put this moment right up there with assembling the Pyramids. Okay maybe that comparison was a little bit over the top. But really, what could be cooler? I’m going to give you a few minutes to think about this… okay times up. You got any other ideas? Nope, I didn’t think so!

As I’m standing in the shed I’m listening to their conversations about building a motorcycle. I could almost reach out and touch them. Remember I’m time traveling, not stalking. So I start walking around the shed and looking at the motorcycle from every angle. Also, I’m pretty sure they’ll be drinking a few beers while they put this baby together. Come on its Milwaukee Wisconsin for God”s sakes! I’m sure that one of their conversations is probably a spirited argument about who gets ride it first as they put the finishing touches on the motorcycle. I wish I could stay here for a few years, but the machine uses a lot power. Plus, the wife wants me to mow the lawn.

I wonder if those guys in the shed, had any idea they were creating  “Mechanical Poetry.” Their products have carved out a wide grove in the motorcycle landscape. A Grand Canyon size of grove! Sure they have had a few bumps along the way. Like the AMF years and the Great Depression! I don’t know which was worse for the brand.

But their brand has rich history with represents over 110 years of manufacturing a product. Some of the other manufactures have faded away through time, gone forever. But Harley Davidson keeps chugging along. With over 110 years of momentum, what could stop them?

 

 

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.

 

 

Where in the Hell is my long underwear?

Just found this video on You Tube and I had to write about. Okay, I know that ride riding a motorcycle is a lot of fun. I got that, I really do! But this is some crazy shit. Why don’t they just walk into a walk-in freezer and stand around for a half hour or so. On occasion I’ve got to work in a walk-in freezer to replace evaporator fan motors and such. The air temperature in walk-in freezers is at about -10 °F. It is cold in the walk-in freezer, no cold is the wrong word, its freezing!

I couldn’t imagine riding a motorcycle in temperatures that cold. I can spend about 15 to 20 minutes maximum in the walk-in freezer before I need to get out. It will become painfully cold very fast at those temperatures. Check this out  Move the mouse on “Check this out” a click.

That Vmax is going to get me into trouble one day

I was riding north on a certain road in the state of ILL on my Vmax when some meatball on Harley Davidson blows by me in my lane. We meet up at the next light, he looks over at me and with cigar hanging out of his mouth and says “Japanese piece of shit.”  I thought to myself “Okay MOFO, game on, bitch.”

I turned my head toward him to get a better look at my new best buddy. I could see without doubt he was a product of damaged DNA. Probably a neutrino escaping from the sun collided with the DNA sequence used to make brain cells. Leaving him a few billon short. Looked in my mirrors to see his two chimp friends behind us on their HD’s. This is going to be fun I thought.

He had just about every HD promotional product on his body. He had the boots, shirt, vest, gloves and his scarf helmet. Included in his ensemble was a couple HD tattoos on his arm. I don’t know about you but if I wore all that stuff I would want to be paid for it. I know people buy this stuff to feel a sense of belonging. To me buying all this crap just helps the Chinese economy.

The light changes to green and I crack the throttle wide open. Two things are now in my sight, the tachometer needle flying across tachometer and the stupid look disappearing from his face in my mirror. After that it was just shift light flashes and gear changes. I slowed down so we could meet at the next light.

When he got to light, I looked over at him and told him “nice motorcycle.”  No response for him, kind of hurt my feelings. I tried to communicate with him again “nice paint job” I told him. He didn’t even look at me. His cigar was now missing from his mouth.He just didn’t look the same without it either. I hope he didn’t swallow it. Gave him one more glance to see if the communication path was open. No, not much to say. He was watching the traffic light like his life depended on it.

The light turned green, off he went laying rubber on the pavement. I started counting, one thousand, two thousand and three thousand. I think his HD buddies were confused with my delay. I turned the throttle and held on.  I think my Vmax realized it was behind and got angry. Like some thoroughbred race horses do when they are behind. I didn’t look at the tachometer this time just the shift light. I passed him like he was standing still.

The rush of all of that speed made me forgo the thought of damage to myself or anyone else. I’m pretty sure I would have continued to increase my velocity if it wasn’t for the speedometer. 137 mph, “oh shit, OH SHIT.” 137 mph in 45 mph speed zone! My non-damaged, but slow, brain quickly did the math. 137 divided 45 equals good-bye drivers license for a long long time. Which means the wife would be driving me around for the next 10 years. I know she would be looking forward to that.

Thank you very much for reading my blog post. Please checkout my You Tube channel coolcycledude and follow me on twitter @coolcycledude. Enjoy your life and be safe.

I never got a chance to ride a Buell

I’m a big fan of V-twin motorcycle engines. Owned a version of just about every configuration of motorcycle engine one time or another. The only exception is a BMW with the opposed two cylinders. My legs are too short to ride their motorcycles; always needed a step stool to just to get on one. Not that I’m really that short. It’s just my legs are not that long. I don’t want you to get the idea that I’m some type of mutant. The fact is I won’t make living playing basketball.

Currently three of the four motorcycles that I own are the V-twin engine configurations. The other motorcycle I own has an opposed 6-cylinder engine.

I like motorcycles that have a lot technology in them. I’m not interested in riding motorcycle with a lawnmower engine and gearbox. Been there done that (see my blog about that subject). Although, I’ve always been intrigued by Buell motorcycles. I think the idea of the complete disconnect from the other manufacturer trends appealed to me. Not the new ones with the Rotex engine, but older ones with the air-cooled V-twins.

The Rotex engine was a last ditch effort to inject technology into the Buell motorcycle company. Trying to make it something is wasn’t. Competing with the other manufacturers in very competitive market segment was truly insane. I wonder what they were smoking at the Buell motorcycle company to get that idea. I think it was the same stuff guys at Honda were smoking when they created the DN-01.

There was never much cutting edge technology used to make these motorcycles more competitive in the market place. Compaired to what the other manufacturers were doing. But the creativity that went into these motorcycles is what made them stand out to me.

An air-cooled engine will not make the same HP as a water cooled one. So what did Buell do? He used the swing arm as an oil cooler. Trying to remove as much heat as possible from the air-cooled engine. Also, he had a small fan to blow air on the rear cylinder to help keep it cool. Putting the fuel in the frame allowed him to put the exhaust under the engine. This lowered the center mass point helping the motorcycle to corner better. He worked with what he had and tried to make things workout the best he could.

I see the Buell motorcycle as piece of artwork. A painting that has been intertwined in the American landscape by Eric Buell. A motorcycle “Mona Lisa” if you will let me make that comparison. Really, you don’t have a choice, I’m writing this. A part of motorcycling history that will be forgotten one day. When you have chance you should look up Eric Buell on the Internet and read about him. Not now, you need to finish this blog first.

I realize that Harley-Davidson is trying to survive in these tough economic times. Sadly, cutting Buell was one of the ways to help streamline their operation. But long term they’ve made a mistake by removing some creativity from their business model.

Wear your helmet, we don’t want you to damage the streets!