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Old 26th March 2014, 13:04   #1
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Default Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Riding, that’s what had been missing for the last couple of years for me. But before I go the whole hog (pun intended) into the story, let me give you guys a precursor!

The Precursor

Most of us on this forum have spent innumerable hours and days researching about cars and bikes on the net as well as bored the wits out of our friends and family about it. I’m pretty sure that most here would agree that people think of us as either mad or having no work at all. By people, my reference is towards our better halves and well thankfully for me, while mine does think I have nothing else to do in life, she has been kind enough to not throw me out of the house and lets me indulge in crazy things.

Having owned three Tata Safaris in the last eight years, my love for these awesome machines had started to diminish with the urge to move to finer engineering, better aesthetics, feel and comfort creeping in. Moving to a sedan, preferably European, seemed the logical thing to do. Have we ever done the logical thing in anything remotely connected to automotive, I ask myself as I type this? I looked at everything under the sun in the sub 15lac bracket (City/ Vento/ Cruze) up to the 30lac bracket (Jetta AT/ Laura/ 320D-E90). After one of those crazy research sessions and umpteen number of test drives across dealers in Delhi, I did the unthinkable (even by my standards) and booked the 320D sometime last year.

Fortunately good sense prevailed (thank God & my better half for it) once I reached home and did some number crunching to realize my emotions had got the better of me. Called the dealership the next day and asked him to cancel my booking, he understood that I was still a couple of years away from affording a Beamer and returned my booking amount cheque.

I know you must be thinking that why is this guy ranting about cars when the thread title is about bikes. Hang on, can’t cut the story short as had promised about the whole hog in the beginning, so please read on!

Another set of test drives for cars within budget but didn’t like anything, how could I, especially when my heart was sent on the 320D. For a brief period seriously considered the Jetta Highline AT, although a brilliant car was still over budget. Thus the car upgrade chapter was closed.

Now the Plot

Coming back to the intended topic of riding and why it had been missing for the last couple of years. Two kids, work, change in priorities and my Standard 350 (Cast Iron) not capable of lugging my weight around the hills would be the excuses that I’d give myself! Having owned 4 Royal Enfield motorcycles at different times in the past, I was (probably still am) a hard-core ‘Bullet’ fan having ridden across North India a few years back. The itch to start riding again was coming back, probably from the weight loss regimen that I had been on for the last three months coupled by a 100 kilometers ride while holidaying in Goa being the trigger that I was waiting for! My multiple visits to the Harley showroom in Goa (it was almost walking distance from where I stayed) didn't help matters either for the head. My heart was set but the head was talking a completely different tune.

The guys at the Harley showroom in Goa suggested I should consider something from the Dyna family as they felt anything from the Sportster range might not be the right choice, given my physique and riding requirements. The problem was that my budget was a stretch even for the Iron. In this case, the guy told me to look at the second hand market for an Iron as he was sure, I would want to upgrade from an Iron to a Dyna/ Fat Boy in about six months to a year of owning it and felt I should save some money by picking up a pre-worshipped bike now. I must admit, excellent advice given by him. A dear friend who happens to own a FatBoy was called immediately and he too seconded the pre-worshiped route. He promptly posted my request for a bike on the HOG Facebook page and within a couple of hours I started getting calls! Having never bought anything second-hand, I was not very sure if that’s what I would want to do and moreover, didn't like the pricing of the bikes that were available.

After days and hours spent researching the subject and talking to don’t know how many people, I realized that Harley was not in budget so decided to compromise and pick up a Kawasaki Ninja 650 which a dear friend’s friend was selling. Saw the bike, it was in pristine condition, pricing was agreed upon however since the owner was traveling outstation for work the next day, I suggested he gives me the bike in exchange for cash & cheque for the agreed amount and once he returns the day after, we could finish the paperwork. Not having known me in the past, he wasn’t very comfortable in doing this and suggested we meet once he returns with all paperwork and do things the right way. In hindsight, good that he was a stickler for rules, else I would have missed being able to tick an item from the bucket list!

Experience at the dealership

Next day while going to office, called a friend and said if you have time, let’s go the Harley showroom at Vasant Kunj to see what I’m missing before I pick up the Ninja the next day. He agreed and in no time we were there. Test rode the Sportster and liked it but knew they weren't meant for me. Sat on the Street Bob and instantly fell in love with it. Did some number crunching but left it mid way, what the hell, you live only once, so came back the next day with wife and the kids to book the Charcoal Pearl Street Bob and haven’t stopped smiling since then!!!!!

The experience at the Capital Harley Dealership, I must say, wasn’t bad but to be honest, it should have been better. I’m not complaining about a misinformed salesman who gave incorrect information, it was an honest mistake. But somehow just didn’t get the WOW factor while booking the bike. Someone spending more money on a bike than an average sedan, should be treated better than the nonchalant attitude of the showroom. Maybe my expectations were high as this is by far the most expensive automotive purchase of mine. Individually the people at the showroom were great but collectively something was missing. The bank took a couple of days to process the loan and finally on 22nd Feb, took the delivery of the bike. Anyhow enough of the complaining and now to some pics of the delivery ceremony at the dealership.

Me cutting the ribbon followed by a group shot and then the first ride. The luminous strip on my Harley sweatshirt in all its glory
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-20140221_180620.jpg
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-20140221_181007.jpg
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-20140221_182052-copy-2.jpg

Now that I have the bike

A few other Harley owners warned me that the customization bug will hit you as soon as the bike is with you and suddenly you will want all things Harley. I dismissed most of them and said, “buddy have been riding for donkeys of years and such things wouldn't cross my mind”.

Boy was I wrong and here's why, this is what all has been done so far:

• The bike comes with a solo seat and there was no way in hell I was going to keep it that way and face the wrath of the Mrs by not giving her occasional rides! So the first thing that was added after the engine guard was a signature series seat with a rider back rest. When she heard the cost of the seat, she fell of her rockers and was completely
I contemplated for a while of keeping the stock seat and add just a small pillion seat but am glad didn't do that, the signature series seat is super comfy and the rider backrest is fantastic for long rides. Here it is,
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_3451.jpg

• Since now there was a rear seat, the bike needed a rear back rest (sissy bar) and foot pegs. Both have been added but then sissy bar needed some bling, so got that as well
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_3441.jpg

• I felt the stock mid-mount controls were slightly uncomfortable and moved them to forward controls by adding a foot board kit

• Horn, the puny stock horn sounds worse than a moped's horn. Wanted to go to Karol Bagh and add an aftermarket dual horn kit, something almost all Bulleteers (or may be almost all bikers) are used to doing but was promptly advised against by the guys at the workshop that any tampering with wiring will lead to Harley Davidson voiding warranty! I was sure that there was absolutely not going to be any wires being cut but didn't want to take any chances regarding the warranty. So got a side mounted horn kit installed from the workshop.
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_3447.jpg

• Higway pegs have also been added on the engine guard

Some future upgrades that should come up along the way
• Lusting to change the exhaust and air intake so that it sounds better and improves on performance as well. Although Vance & Hines sound better on the Dyna, concerned about power train warranty being void by Harley. Anyway there's quite some time to do this so will decide then whether to go in for Screamin Eagle or Vance & Hines
• Alloy Wheels: Unless on an official HOG ride with service backup, chances of being left stranded on account of a flat tyre is a worry some scenario. Stock tryres although tubless have to be fixed with a tube as the Street Bob comes with spoked rims. Harley does have a 24x7 roadside assistance but I guess it will take them a couple of hours to send you a pick up vehicle and that too depending on where you are stranded.
• Some more bling-y components like derby cover, timer cover and air cleaner cover
• Maybe change the stock light to LEDs or add auxilary lamps to the stock headlight

Riding Experience

The immediate and obvious difference that I feel as soon as I get on the bike and especially when compared to the Standard 350 is that the Harley weighs almost twice as much. Manoeuvring it while parking or at traffic light is a bit difficult but as soon as she gains a little speed, she is a completely different animal and handles exquisitely. For the initial couple of days, i was weaving it in and out of traffic as I did with the Bullet only to realize that while it is easy to do and handles well, given it's size, its not the best thing to do. If there is gravel or loose ground, while coming to a stop and putting your foot on the ground, I have slipped once in a while I am still seated. I guess the extra weight pushes you down and one needs to be a bit careful.

For the initial 700-800kms, i was getting quite tired after riding 35-50kms and asked the services guys at the workshop to adjust the preload settings on the rear suspension. From the stock position they moved it to medium and its been a pleasure to ride, no tiredness even after a 150kms ride. Let's see how see behaves and treats me once a longer ride is done.

Have done about 1800kms in just over a month (the ODO on my bullet reads only some 3200kms in over three and a half years) and with first service done, and have just started to open the bike to speeds north of 80km/ hr which I was restricted to during the running in period. So far, it has been an absolute pleasure.

I have now got used to the extra attention other motorists give while you are on the road as well as the constant hand gestures/ verbal inputs reminding me that the light is on.

Fuel efficiency has been between 16-20kmpl however it seems the range feature isn't accurately functioning; the tank capacity is about 17-18 litres however whenever nearing empty (LO RNG indicator) as per the range indicator, I've never managed to fill the tank with more than 12 litres of fuel. Will have it checked when I visit the workshop next.

Met with a very minor accident as well the other day at the C-Hexagon (India gate); an overzealous Skoda driver took a left turn without any indication and nudged me and the bike, thankfully speeds were around 35-40kmph and was able to manage stopping without tipping over. A few scratches on the engine guard/ his car and a minor altercation that diffused quickly, we were back on our separate ways in no time.

What I like about the bike
• Moving up from a Bullet 350cc engine to a 1600cc monster, can really feel the difference in power
• Build quality is super
• Looks are an absolute killer
• Limitless ability to customize the bike, will be an expensive proposition though!
• 2014 model gets ABS and Smart Security System
• Blacked out look of the bike with comparative less use of chrome bits

What I don’t like about the bike
• Harley Tax, one has to spend money on making it sound like a Harley and almost all accessories are way too expensive
• No rear foot pegs, come on Harley, rear foot-pegs should be standard fitment!
• Ground clearance, most Harleys have lower ground clearances than other Indian bikes and one has to really really slow down on speed breakers. Not sure how the bike would take bad highways but a couple of SuperLow riders have been merrily riding across all types of highways, which is confidence inspiring.
• While the bobber look of the bike with it's small fender is nice, riding on slushy and wet roads splashes water around a bit
• Individual left and right had indicator switch on the respective side of the handlebars. Would have preferred them on the left side only, at times switching the right side indicator becomes a tad bit inconvenient. May be will take some getting used to. Also keep hitting the left indicator when I want to honk!

Some pics with the kids & wife
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Just a photoshoot
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_4406.jpg
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_4407.jpg

Back to a few more pics of the bike, love the Harley-Davidson badging on the tank
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_3435.jpg
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_3436.jpg
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_3439-2.jpg
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_3446.jpg
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-img_3444.jpg

Happy to be a part of the HOG brotherhood and back to riding again.

Note from Support - Only two smileys are allowed per post. Excessive smileys have been removed. Please read the forum rules here.

Last edited by n_aditya : 9th April 2014 at 10:01. Reason: excessive smileys deleted
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Old 26th March 2014, 15:11   #2
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Default re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Congratulations ankitwanchoo on an excellent choice. The 1600cc can last you a lifetime but the customisation bug will catch you sooner than later....lolz. My friend just upgraded to a fatter rear tyre kit, sissy bars and custom pegs etc. on his Bob. Hope you have upgraded the exhausts otherwise Vance & Hines Straight Shots are an excellent choice for this engine. I have fitted the same recently on a friend's Fat Bob. You can have a look for the details on my ownership thread - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superb...ml#post3368883 (Harley Davidson Superlow XL883L - The Comprehensive Review) . I was about to make the same mistake of getting a Ninja 650 and Thank God I didn't because that would never have suited my lifestyle and age. Cruiser it is for me too and a reliable one at that.

Wishing you many years of safe and happy riding and welcome to the Harley Brotherhood...

Last edited by dkaile : 26th March 2014 at 15:24.
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Old 26th March 2014, 16:11   #3
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Default re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

@dkaile: Thanks, well the customization bug has already bit me! I have changed the seat from the stock solo seat to a signature series seat with rider backrest, moved the stock position mid-mount foot controls to forward position by adding a foot board kit and changed the puny sounding horn as well. Cost me quite a bomb for these and didn't have any money left for either Screaming Eagles or Vance & Hines upgrade of the exhaust and air-take!

Moreover am not very comfortable losing warranty on the power train by installing Vance & Hines so may have to stick to Screaming Eagles when I decide to rob my bank, although have heard that SE does not sound that sweet on the Dyna as much as it does on the Sportster range of H-D

Also have really enjoyed reading your thread in the last few days, you sure have done quite a bit of tinkering yourself. Look forward to catching up with you sometime soon on the road

Last edited by GTO : 4th April 2014 at 09:20. Reason: Taking Live
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Old 4th April 2014, 09:29   #4
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorcycle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th April 2014, 10:24   #5
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Congrats on your spanking new Harley Ankit!
It looks lovely! the pics with the kids are great!

Nice choice of colour too!

wishing you unlimited happy and safe miles!
cheers,
Kapil
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Old 4th April 2014, 11:21   #6
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Many congratulations Ankit on your spanking new HD Streetbob. The color choice is superb and makes it stand out from regular black Harley's

Iam sure you must be enjoying the immense torque from the 1600cc monster of an engine. As a saying goes, there is no substitute to Torque and BHP

You have a lovely family and your tiny tot is simply adorable. Many hugs from my side to him

Wish you a safe and enjoyable mile munching on your Harley !!!
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Old 4th April 2014, 11:46   #7
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Ankit - Congrats on the new mean machine! Wise choice!

Just my two cents

Go for VnH (Choose the kind you want) along with Air intake upgrade. You will not regret it.

As far as voiding warranty is concerned - I have not known of anyone who has upgraded to VnH and have had issues. Get it done at the dealership itself. At least they will lend you a patient ear in case (god forbid) there is an issue. They will be kind to you and fix it. But if you were to get it done elsewhere - then they will put the "Rule" foot down.

Read through HD forums regarding exhaust upgrade and there are tonnes of options available.

This link gives you tremendous insight into the same HD forums

LED: This is good only from bling perspective. LED's are ineffective in fog and rain. Stock headlamps should be good and you may look for better halogens in the same rating. (if available). Aux lamps are a good option.
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Old 4th April 2014, 11:48   #8
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Quote:
Originally Posted by ankitwanchoo View Post
For the initial 700-800kms, i was getting quite tired after riding 35-50kms and asked the services guys at the workshop to adjust the preload settings on the rear suspension.

Individual left and right had indicator switch on the respective side of the handlebars. Would have preferred them on the left side only, at times switching the right side indicator becomes a tad bit inconvenient. May be will take some getting used to. Also keep hitting the left indicator when I want to honk!
The stock Ape Handlebar on the Bobber is not for everyone. Though it looks good, it will tire your hands on long rides. My friend shifted to the straight one as on the Fat Bob. Also to handle the Harleys you need to build up upper body strength. Gradually over the last 6 months my Harley has got me back in shape. I have lost nearly 5 kgs as it eggs me on to my Tennis rides everyday. Now I handle it like a scooter. No tiring, no extra effort required. In fact after riding this over the last 6 months, I could not ride my old Karizma properly. And I was feeling more tired riding the Karizma than the Superlow. It's a matter of getting used to and nothing else. Now we have done 200~250kms at a stretch without issues.

You will get used to the indicators in no time. I had same issue with the horn too, just a matter of getting used to over time.

You are right in your observation that Screamin Eagles DON'T sound that good on the 96ci engine of the Bobber. My friend sold his installed SE's slipons on his Fat Bob and I installed the Vance & Hines Staggered Straight Shots for him. Man, do they wake up the neighborhood. And with the V&H's VO2 intake and FuelPak that bike is now a monster. Don't worry too much about the warranty part. Take some months, but install only V&H. These Harley Stealers err... Dealers will go to any length to sell you their own products. Join the fraternity, talk to experienced riders and then take a call.

Here's my mates Street BoB after a Fat Rear tyre upgrade. You can also see the flat handlebar -
Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob-amber-anands-street-bob.jpg

26 riders are going from the Capital chapter to Nainital on 18~20th April. 6 of us from Meerut's Mutineers are joining in. Hope to see you join in too. That 5~600km drive will also test our and the bike's metal and capabilities.
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Old 4th April 2014, 12:08   #9
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Nice write up. Hearty Congratulations.
Looks like upgrade bug for Harley owners was a very well thought business strategy from Harley.
Whenever i get time at work place, i search for my dream bike. Currently i have shortlisted Triumph Thunderbird Storm when i come back to India in 2015.
Lovely photo shoot with family specially the youngest member of family.
Enjoy the safe ride.
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Old 4th April 2014, 12:56   #10
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Congratulations Ankit for a beautiful ride in your stable. The colour looks fabulous and different to the regular blacks that you get to see. Wish you happy and safe miles ahead.

I would also like to point out that in one of the pictures you have tied your daughter to yourself and your wife is carrying your little one from under the arms..this is very dangerous. I suggest you get the baby carry jackets. This is worn by the parent and the child is slipped in, somewhat like a harness jacket. Its safe and secure..my friend used to wear this when he would take his toddler for a ride on his bikes.
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Old 4th April 2014, 13:19   #11
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

@wolfy/ mobike008: thanks a lot guys and hope both the kids end up loving biking as they grow up. In fact my daughter said the other day, she would take me around on the bike when she grows up but will buy an Audi for herself :-)

She's a little over three and half years and recognizes almost all the cars from their logos, in fact is an expert on the luxury cars. Makes me wonder, we were quite the duds at that age!

@Shubz: Thanks a ton on the suggestion on VnH and will surely go through the links however this upgrade is still quite sometime away and it seems that I shouldn't worry about the warranty bit. Also might get aux lamps only, someone else also suggested LEDs not being very effective.

@dkaile: I guess you are right on the ape handlebars, it does tire the hands abit but I might not change it at the moment. Haven't gone on a very long ride yet though and am not too sure if I'll be able to join the Nainital ride, an alternate plan with a some friends is on the cards on the same weekend. I might ride while others may travel in cars. In case if that plan get's shelved, I might join the Nainital ride although I doubt if there would be any rooms available by then. Anyhow let's see, if not this one, maybe we'll catch up on some other ride in the future.

The fatter tyre on you friend's Bob looks great. How has the ride been with them.

@Nicky: Thanks and wishing you the very best on your search for your dream bike when you return.

@speedy: Thanks and one of the reasons for picking out this color was to be different from the regular blacks. The ride with both the kids that I did was pretty late in the evening and we were going to a friend's place which is a a tad bit over a stone's throw from where I stay and I got a bit adventurous and took the bike instead of the car. Parents too were also not too amused by this. Your suggestion about the baby carry jacket is a good one for my son. I have taken my daughter tied to my self on one or two other occasions but that too only for short rides. But yes, point taken about it being dangerous and I should have been more careful. Doubt if I'll do it again though.

Last edited by ankitwanchoo : 4th April 2014 at 13:39.
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Old 4th April 2014, 14:57   #12
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Congratulations Ankit and all the best with your new acquisition!

How is the ride quality for the rider and pillion? Is is back friendly for both?
Is the ground clearance the same as in the Superlow/Iron?
Any grounding issues on speed breakers?
How does she behave on bad roads?

Ride safe.

Cheers
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Old 4th April 2014, 17:02   #13
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

@cyborg: Thanks, I'm a bit confused on the GC as the Harley site states it as 120mm while if I remember correctly, the user manual says it's 125mm. Will check the manual once I reach home and confirm. I guess the Iron and Street Bob have the same GC but the SuperLow is lower at 100mm.

Initial couple of days, I did scrape 3-4 speed breakers but since then I've been extra careful while going over them. I guess if ridden with a pillion, a couple of speed breakers that I might be missing by a whisker before bottoming out, might get scraped.

Also haven't experience really bad roads except the ones in Gurgaon near the rapid metro construction sites. Since the rear suspension preload adjustment, the ride quality has improved.

The rider backrest is absolutely fantastic, am glad I got it. I haven't had a pillion on the bike for almost 90% of the time so difficult to say about the backrest/ ride quality for the pillion barring a short ride I did the other night with my wife. Although comfortable for her from the seat area and backrest perspective, she did get tired by the end of it. This could also be from the fact that the last time she went on a slightly long-ish ride was ages back.
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Old 4th April 2014, 18:32   #14
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Congratulations Ankit! Excellent choice.. Lovely family and see that the little ones are already wearing HD apparel
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Old 4th April 2014, 18:41   #15
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Default Re: Bullet? Ninja 650? Finally, Harley Davidson Street Bob

Congrats Ankit on a wonderful beauty from the HD stable and sharing the whole decision process. The color is indeed outstanding and your selection of functional accessories is spot on.

Almost all modern engines are built like a tank and I think its still worthwhile taking the plunge for a V&H exhaust. But as already suggested, have it done at the dealership itself.

Wish you many many enjoyable miles of biking
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