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Harley Davidson X440: Unbiased observations post a short test ride

Felt quite comfortable on the bike from the get go. Most of the test ride was in traffic and did not face any issue maneuvering through the traffic.

BHPian Rajeevraj recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So was finally able to do a Test Ride of the Harley X440. Short summary below:

The 'Fastest Finger First' Test Ride Slot booking.:

As it is known, Harley-Hero are following an approach of having to book a test ride slot. Fortunately, I was online on WhatsApp when the message came up with the link to the booking form. I immediately attempted to book and first tried for a slot this weekend which already showed full. Was able to book for a slot today. Was not sure if I would be able to go, but booked it anyway and fortunately was able to make it.

The Good:

  • Having a booking system helps obviously helps streamline the test rides. I had to go 15-20km to Tusker Harley, so knowing I would get the test ride was a plus
  • Got a message from Tusker reminding about the test ride the previous day. My slot was between 2pm and 4pm, told that I would be there only by 5 and that was ok.
  • No crowd at the showroom, not much waiting for the test ride.

The Bad:

  • Obviously the whole system is flawed. Only one dealer offering test rides in spite of the Hero Network being ready hence limited slots.
  • Being slot based, I expected a longer test ride. No such luck, it was a regular 3-4km test ride.
  • Test Rides only for those who have booked till 25th September. Probably against the basic ethos of a test ride. Also Dealer has no way to offer walk in test rides if you have not booked.

Overall, while Hero Harley started well with the launch and publishing the Hero Dealer network for the X440 and even the booking process, post that it has been a lot of mis-steps. Ideally by now, like Triumph, all the Hero Dealers should have got multiple test ride bikes and the delivery schedules should also have been published. Looks like this will take some time to settle down and become streamlined. Expected better here considering that Hero churns out and sells 10-15 Lakh motorcycles a month.

The Test Ride:

  • 2 Bikes available for the test ride. Both were the mid variant. Typically test ride vehicles are always the top variant. So this was a little strange
  • SA was welcoming and completed the formalities quickly, he was the same person I spoke to when I went to see the bike. A friendly patient person and was continuously talking to customer and clarifying the questions.
  • The SA rides pillion on one of the bikes and leads the way, again pretty strange, luckily when I was riding, he was pillion on the other bike.
  • I had not liked the color scheme of the mid variants. So this put me off a little.
  • The bike definitely looks large out on the road. Fairly long and you feel you are sitting on a substantial bike unlike the Triumph which is more compact.
  • Seeing the top end variant inside the showroom, the quality and finish looked ok to me. Outside the showroom, some of those finishing issues seem more obvious. The cables are more neatly managed in the test ride bikes, but overall the Triumph 400 is way better.
  • Nice sounding exhaust. Last time it was within the confines of the showroom, out on the open road also it sounds nice. Not loud for the sake of it like some of the other bikes.
  • The bike is definitely heavy, coming from a fairly heavy bike myself, did not find it difficult to manage and once you get going, you do not feel the weight. But again, I don't think it is as beginner friendly as the Triumph 400.
  • The seating position is more upright than I am used to on my Pulsar NS. So initially felt a little uncomfortable but got used to it soon.
  • Felt quite comfortable on the bike from the get go. Most of the test ride was in traffic and did not face any issue maneuvering through the traffic.
  • Due to the short test ride and heavy traffic , got very little chance to open the throttle. While it felt good in the small chances I got, could not ride enough to reach a conclusion about it.
  • Clutch felt light and easy to manage, gear shifts were also precise and sharp. All of the ride was on smooth roads and hence no chance to test the ride quality also.
  • Display looks good and lays out all the info neatly. Along with all the connected features, definitely scores over the Triumph here. Being the first ride, the gear change indicators were useful.
  • Did not feel much of a heating issue although the bikes had been running back to back in heavy traffic. In the Triumph 400 the heat was very obvious.
  • The SA was promoting the mid variant to the customers who were asking, saying that the top just has some cosmetic additions and the additional connected features and mid variant is more than enough. I get a feeling that there maybe further delays in supply of the top variant.

Overall, I would say that the Test Ride was inconclusive for me. Primarily because it was a very short one in heavy traffic and was not possible to get a real feel of the bike one way or the other. The Triumph ride was much better as it was in the Whitefield area with more open roads. All folks going to do the Test Ride in Bangalore at Tusker Harley are going to face this issue, there is no day or time when that area has less traffic. It is the same issue with Keerthi Triumph also, but Triumph at least has few other dealers now.

Now the challenge is that if I need another test ride, I need to find a slot, book it and go again. Hoping the Hero dealers start test rides soon.

Some pictures that I took of the Test Ride Bikes:

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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