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Old 6th February 2012, 20:28   #16
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

@jay,

After having ridden a Nightster for over 20k over last three years in South India, let me give my 2 paisa.

Whatever you might hear or read about HD reliability, one thing is certain, you must devote time, money and some elbow grease to keep it running good. It is not your Honda City that you can buy, forget about and will work everytime.

Since you have mentioned you are not interested in Big Twins, I will not harp on about its drawbacks including weight, weight, lousy brakes, and did I mention weight?

Among the sportsters, of the 883 I would recommend the Iron over the Superlow because the quality of the Chrome is not top notch, and that's the only thing going for the Superlow. The Iron has better clearance/taller shocks, better tires (think about replacement market as well. Superlow replacement is HD only!), newer generation LED tail/park/indicator lamps, etc. etc.

Among the 1200s, my choice would be (biased) the Nightster. The 48, although a great looker, would be harder to steer with that fat front.

Tank size should not be too much of a concern for any of them given the fact that Indian HD's are EFI'd for any grade fuel and so it just means more stops, which is not a bad idea considering the stress riding in India.

If you are looking for a "good" motorcycle, i.e, reliable, low maintenance (all SBKs require a minimum amount), etc., look past HD.

If you are looking for a good motorcycle "owning experience", i.e, easy customization options, events, etc, consider HD. But be prepared for rattling away parts, battery charging issues, switchgear failure, etc, etc. Means more time hanging out at the Stealers talking about bikes, if that appeals to you.

Hope it is clear as mud now.

Cheers.
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Old 6th February 2012, 20:54   #17
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

Jay: the Fatboy to Leh story was not to tell you to take your bike to leh. It was to demonstrate what can be done on this bike. It is reliable and it is comfortable. So if it can be taken there, it should be able to tackle the rest of the indian roads.
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Old 6th February 2012, 21:23   #18
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
The super low is too low to ride anywhere in India, if you really want to tour. And whats the point in buying a bike to tour and then spending a small bomb to customize it to tour. I dont want to spend anything extra to make the bike "truly mine"


Hahaha.. are you serious. Goldwing!!!! I would rather buy a Fortuner for that price. Besides, with its size and proportions, I feel its just 2 wheels short of being call a car.
True that! I rode Gold Wing on one occasion and nearly lost control from laughing at how outrageously large it was. But for the moto-cyclist who want the feel of an RV, it's the ultimate. It has everything except two extra wheels, so you're right!!

Let say one more thing on HD in India. They've been planning their India launch for a long time. They are masters of marketing and customer service bar none. And they know that their bikes are as much an emotional investment as a monetary one. (Particularly for how much they charge for them here!) That said, I'd take a page from the US consumer playbook..."the squeaky wheel gets the grease." I bet if you go to the HD dealership, test drive the bike and say you ready to buy it but you want to know what they could do to make the ride suitable to your liking, they will do it, @ no cost. And if the fellas at the Bombay store don't offer that kind of service, you can bet they will if you call HD U.S. and tell them how long you've been waiting for HD to come to India and you're 'dis-satisfied and disappointed.' India is a big step and a big market for HD, they WILL bend over backwards to win over consumer base.
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Old 6th February 2012, 21:27   #19
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

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Originally Posted by gthang View Post
@jay,

Whatever you might hear or read about HD reliability, one thing is certain, you must devote time, money and some elbow grease to keep it running good.
Gthang,
Am pretty sure you will be spending the same time on your Honda CB as well. Agree the switches in a JAP bike are better built compared to that of HD.
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Old 6th February 2012, 22:32   #20
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

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Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
Gthang,
Am pretty sure you will be spending the same time on your Honda CB as well. Agree the switches in a JAP bike are better built compared to that of HD.
Not quite. Apart from the time spent working on the bike, "down time" for the Nightster has been more. As evidenced by the 20k reading on the CB in 2 years. And I dont discriminate. I try to ride both equally. Only the HD has gone through more brake pads, has had switch failure, constant warping of the brake disc causing squeaky brakes (a good hammer and some patience can fix that), waiting for non standard tires (before I found a good reliable source at Motorcycle Parts & Gear ? Dirt Bike/MX, ATV, Street Bike & Motorcycle Accessories | MotoSport for all tyres), etc, etc. Currently riding with no rear brake light activation and am waiting on rear hydraulic brake switch, and a rectifier regulator.
Then there are the hidden facts like you can only use HD battery, and usage of equivalent Yuasa will not be possible unless you rewire the terminal wires to fit the reversed polarity of the HD battery.. Try calling your local dealer and see availability of battery, brake pads, etc, etc.

The CB just chugs along, and has only regularly scheduled maintenance. The rest of the time I spend on it is because I WANT to, not NEED to.

Cheers

Ride Safe.
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Old 7th February 2012, 10:54   #21
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

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Originally Posted by gthang View Post
Then there are the hidden facts like you can only use HD battery, and usage of equivalent Yuasa will not be possible unless you rewire the terminal wires to fit the reversed polarity of the HD battery.. Try calling your local dealer and see availability of battery, brake pads, etc, etc.

The CB just chugs along, and has only regularly scheduled maintenance. The rest of the time I spend on it is because I WANT to, not NEED to.

Cheers

Ride Safe.
Wow that's quite a can of worms, never knew that HD has its batteries custom made. I see what you are saying, why dont you create a thread for both bikes? Also would you be over at the Kari track this weekend? Will be a pleasure to catch up with you.
(Sorry Jay for hijacking your thread)
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Old 7th February 2012, 13:38   #22
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

Jay since you mentioned bike primarily for long distance touring, few more points that you may want to consider:

Wind protection. Although its subjective, if its the 300-400km ride I would not bother but if your long distance entails 1000kms & more, a windshield (or fairing- with a higher screen), will make a lot of difference to your fatigue levels. When I had my Z1000 (as a comparison to the FZ1), the windblast to the chest was a serious issue for me on long rides, and although I am a relatively sober rider, for those 'occasional' 170kph plus blasts, I had to hold very tight to my handle grips or else....

Similarly, there are bumper stickers that say "Loud pipes saves lives", but for many riders that also can be annoying over a long ride. Yes, sound levels do have a good impact on your fatigue levels.

Also, when you have a heavy bike, the occasional get off on dirt, loose gravel is fine, and with some experience you can manage things. BUT, when these are after a nice unexpected rain and if you happen to have a pillion, luggage etc, then the slippery slush, zero traction with street tires etc could be a real handful with more than 400-500kgs of weight between your legs and unlike a mid-foot control bike, the forward foot-controls are not going to make things any easier.

So you may factor in those when selecting a touring bike.
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Old 8th February 2012, 14:37   #23
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

My thoughts on the Superlow Test Drive

1. Ground Clearance: It "hit" (and not just scraped over) every yellow black plastic speedbreaker I encountered at the mall. There is none. The Iron is 120mm clearance (20mm above Superlow)

2. Turning was a pain but not too much of an issue. Ihe Iron has higher handles so not a deal-breaker.

Rest of the stuff is already covered above.
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Old 8th February 2012, 19:50   #24
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

Man dont get an Iron for that price get a Bob priced under 10L and do a PY regn so you're walking out lesser than 11L for a 1600CC mean machine
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Old 8th February 2012, 20:12   #25
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
...
If you are looking for a "good" motorcycle, i.e, reliable, low maintenance (all SBKs require a minimum amount), etc., look past HD.
....
Hope it is clear as mud now.

Cheers.
Well that post is as clear as mud. Thanks for then insiders view.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Haroon View Post
Jay since you mentioned bike primarily for long distance touring, few more points that you may want to consider:

Wind protection. Although its subjective, if its the 300-400km ride I would not bother but if your long distance entails 1000kms & more, a windshield (or fairing- with a higher screen), will make a lot of difference to your fatigue levels. When I had my Z1000 (as a comparison to the FZ1), the windblast to the chest was a serious issue for me on long rides, and although I am a relatively sober rider, for those 'occasional' 170kph plus blasts, I had to hold very tight to my handle grips or else....

Similarly, there are bumper stickers that say "Loud pipes saves lives", but for many riders that also can be annoying over a long ride. Yes, sound levels do have a good impact on your fatigue levels.

Also, when you have a heavy bike, the occasional get off on dirt, loose gravel is fine, and with some experience you can manage things. BUT, when these are after a nice unexpected rain and if you happen to have a pillion, luggage etc, then the slippery slush, zero traction with street tires etc could be a real handful with more than 400-500kgs of weight between your legs and unlike a mid-foot control bike, the forward foot-controls are not going to make things any easier.

So you may factor in those when selecting a touring bike.
Very good points to remember during selection. Thanks for sharing.
In which case, do you feel a 600cc will be slightly lighter, easier to handle that the bigger fatter bikes, with respect to the points uve put up??

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjun.r View Post
My thoughts on the Superlow Test Drive

1. Ground Clearance: It "hit" (and not just scraped over) every yellow black plastic speedbreaker I encountered at the mall. There is none. The Iron is 120mm clearance (20mm above Superlow)

2. Turning was a pain but not too much of an issue. Ihe Iron has higher handles so not a deal-breaker.

Rest of the stuff is already covered above.
From what ive read elsewhere and in this thread, the ground clearance sucks. And yes, i dont want a bone jarring ride.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shrini78 View Post
Man dont get an Iron for that price get a Bob priced under 10L and do a PY regn so you're walking out lesser than 11L for a 1600CC mean machine
Bob is a fat goat. A good poser for the cafe around the corner, but I dont think i will be too comfortable handling twisties on it. And i dont have a Py address and wouldnt want a forged one either.
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Old 8th February 2012, 20:57   #26
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

Jay, I have done around 12K on my Iron in around 6 months. Also done a SS1600 if that can qualify for a long ride ;-)

There are some minimum mods when need to be done before starting to use for touring. I can tell you from Iron perspective. First thing would be seat and engine guard. These are must before taking her for long ride. Next would be to get windshield and highway footpegs. I like the mid-controls for city rides and like to stretch once in a while during highway rides. Windshield helps you to avoid fatigue and also protect your gear from bugs.

I have faced some issues too. Main one was leakage of brake oil from master cylinder. Once this was brought to the dealer notice, it was fixed free of cost. But remember that it is not a immediate fix and takes time due to time lag in importing the parts. I heard that the majority of time goes in customs clearance. Another issue was also related to extra sound from brakes, where the dealer fixed it. I believe that it was done for the entire batch. The BLR Harley group frequently goes out for long rides. It was 20+ harleys from Bangalore to Goa and back in one of the occasion. 500+ km group rides keep happening almost every month. Except for an odd issue here and there, reliability is not a major concern. And, the official HOG rides would have service backup too.

Having said the above, I am not sure how bike would be after say 2 years, as mine is less than an year old...

And lastly, don't think too much about ground clearance. You would love the lower CG and we also have superlows lifted to 125mm with some customization.

Last edited by sridhar_setty : 8th February 2012 at 21:00.
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Old 8th February 2012, 21:04   #27
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
Very good points to remember during selection. Thanks for sharing.
In which case, do you feel a 600cc will be slightly lighter, easier to handle thatnthe bigger fatter bikes, with respect to the points uve put up??

Again depends on the bike. On dirt/bad/slushy roads the handling difference between an FZ1 and FZ6 or a Sportster 883 or Sportster 1200 will not be that significant as compared to the bigger built HD Fatboy or Fat bob etc......those could be real pigs in slushy conditions.

Therefore, your decision on cc will depend upon whether you will be doing lots of 2-up touring or solo-touring. Definitely more horsepower is always welcome on a touring machine if you have to enjoy climbing ghats etc with a pillion or even for relaxed highway cruising with luggage etc. Lastly, I only mentioned the dirt/bad roads as one of things to consider coz realistically if you are an all tarmac rider, then bad/dirt/slushy roads may probably comprise only about +/- 10% of your total ride...
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Old 8th February 2012, 22:07   #28
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
Bob is a fat goat. A good poser for the cafe around the corner, but I dont think i will be too comfortable handling twisties on it. And i dont have a Py address and wouldnt want a forged one either.
Have to disagree on this.I ride a FXDC dyna and love the diff when you ride on a highway coz u need the extra gear and more horses helps you.
Yes definitely sporty is so easy to handle in our city traffic.
Go for a 120mm clearance and always you can get a aftermarket suspension like progressive where you can increase your GC
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Old 9th February 2012, 11:49   #29
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

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Originally Posted by gthang View Post
@jay,

After having ridden a Nightster for over 20k over last three years in South India, let me give my 2 paisa.

If you are looking for a "good" motorcycle, i.e, reliable, low maintenance (all SBKs require a minimum amount), etc., look past HD.
+ 1 to that. Coming from a HD owner - gthang - hats off to you being brutally hinest.

I had the (mis ?)fortune of looking after a HD foar about a year in the late 1990s in Dubai. Even allowing that the newer bikes of 'now' are comparitievly trouble free a HD ownership is something I will ever aspire for, even in a relatively sterile atmosphere of Dubai/UAE. Elbow grese and time I had to spend on that HD is even now vivid as a life time experience.

Compared to that owning a Bonnie (last 3 years) has been a real pleasure.

Best Regards & Drive/Ride Safe

Ram

I have now had Bonnie for
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Old 21st March 2012, 07:57   #30
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Default Re: Want to buy a Harley-Davidson. Which one?

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...those could be real pigs in slushy conditions.
Often times I wonder how many people who comment on these bike have actually ridden them. On a dirt and slush road you will not be able to ride the Sportster family due to their abysmal GC. At 100 and 130mm GC, slush and dirt? I wonder why one would ride a Harly through that in the first place.
If you review threads on the net you will find no specifics to what most writers say they have done.
For those who want the Sportster family bike- the SuperLow- this is what you need-
Progressive Springs 13" Heavy Duty Shocks - 412-4051 b/c for black or chrome- for twin seat riding, and weights in exess of 200-300Lbs on the bike.
Progressive Springs - Progressive Rate Springs for Forks 11-1527.

Both are available thru Amazon.com, or another favorite of Indian Harley owners (so it seems by their replies) mandmcycles.com

Total shipped price to India is about $383, plus worst case Customs @26% of $280...

When people write 'put uprated shocks' put better springs' without specifics, it just annoys the daylights out of me. I took the trouble of finding this out by calling and writing to the US and Harley Forums, and then by luck finding a few Hyderabad and Bangalore-based riders to vouch for the above combinations.

I am just glad to share this.

The above combination raises the SuperLow to the Iron 883 levels (it cannot get better or higher) than that.

Also the Iron 883, if you want a bigger fuel tank, I believe you can upgrade to the SuperLow's 17L tank... then it costs you a pretty buck--- ??INR 50K?? I think something like that...

If you dont like the GC on teh SuperLow, then the Street Bob at about 1.1" more and 50% more of the price... or is it 100% more...

But they dont go any higher than that.

KD.
Newest Stable Addition: 2012 XL883L

Last edited by Hammer & Anvil : 21st March 2012 at 08:00. Reason: number error.
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