View Full Version : OT...Question for the Harley guys

08-06-2005, 12:45 AM
The wife and I have been thinking about buying a bike again. been a lot of years since we had one.
The previous bikes where 750 cc Jap bikes.
We're thinking of buying a Harley (same as everyone else these days) but the new ones are $30,000 Cnd and even a decent used one is $20,000.
Sooo, I'm wondering...what exactly is wrong with a "Sportster" like an 883 or 1200?
Haven't these been around for years?
We live in high mountain country with lots of real narrow windy roads that favour a lighter, nimble bike. (I'd think anyway)
Educate me about Harleys please!
There's a couple of really good deals on these around here right now and I'm not having any luck finding a deal on a "real" Harley....they sell for really high! Thanks!

08-06-2005, 12:59 AM
I just saw an 883 sportster in the papaer for 8400an '04.
The harley problem is that the seller thinks they go up in value instead of down with use. Harley chrome is cheap,parts are expensive and The harley guys I know don't do maintenence.
The sportster is ok but I would look for one that isn't modified, Alot of guys buy the sportster and then try to keep up with 1100 riceburners and let the buyer know you aren't interested in his "harley
classic motorcycle BS"
In high mountain country be ready to change the exhaust and play with/replace the fuel system.

08-06-2005, 07:42 AM
I'm not a Harley Guy one way or the other but I'll keep this simple - the Harley crowd considers Sportsters to be chick bikes.

Maybe try a Triumph, they're pretty cheap, and a little different. I'm sure one would outhandle a Harley and be more what you say you want. Or a Ducati.

08-06-2005, 08:32 AM
Norton MK2A 850 !

08-06-2005, 08:33 AM
The chicks 'round here ride everything from duces to full dressers and sportsters are what guys race. So, it don't matter what you ride, just go ride man. You'll remember how much fun it was.

As for the flavor of what you ride, I can't see dumping all that money into a brand new bike. But that's just my opinion.

I like my Sportster, its small enough to get in and out of areas without a lot of work. But I would not want to ride it for days on end trying to get somewhere. i.e. riding to California from Ohio.

I had the chance to ride about every Harley at a test ride event at the Mid Ohio race track. They let you take the bike out on the roads for a test ride and you could ride as many as you wanted during the day. That was a fun day.

They also had Triumph (the line was moving so slow for this, I didnt sign up) and Honda test rides as well (they wouldnt let your take the out of the event). It is a big bike event that is held here every year. A big swap meet and races also go on.

I tryed out a few Hondas outside of the event, they were nice, and the price was about right. But I have always wanted a Harley so I bought one. Now my uncle thinks that I need antoher and he is trying to sell me his.

You should try and test ride what you think you want. Rent one for the day. But personally, I wouldn't buy a bike on recomendations alone.


08-06-2005, 08:35 AM
Thanks guys! The MAIN reason I'm considering a Harley of any kind is because we have a dealer here. He also sells Hondas. Had a Yamaha dealer for awhile but he went out of business.
I've looked at the newer Triumphs and they look pretty good. The owners seem to really like them also. As for a Ducati...I see a lot of them come through town. Nice bikes for sure but a little too road racy for me.
I'm not looking at any really fast riding here....gettin too old for that anymore.
That's another plus for a Harley...it seems like you're almost expected to putt along at the speed limit...not like the crotch rockets you see.

08-06-2005, 08:41 AM
rock...we have a dealer day here in the early spring where you can do the same thing. They have all the Harleys and Hondas out on the lot and you can ride around behind the Sales reps and try one out. We where going to do it this year but it rained so hard for the time they had it, that they may as well have cancelled it.
Good to hear you think the Sportster is ok!
After owning a few multi cylinder engines I'm looking forward to another twin again. I'm going to see the dealer today and see if they have any bikes that you can test ride. Thanks!

08-06-2005, 08:46 AM
You can build a cheap one from parts, know how to fix it when you get there.

I built one in 2001 for $6,000. It took a year to get the parts together. Sold it for $9500 a year later, The guy that bought it wrecked it, State farm insurance gave him 18500 for it.

He has not bought me a steak dinner.

You can buy a KIT bike, oil , spark plugs, every nut and bolt is in the kit. Approx, (been a year) $14000, it is considered a $30,000 bike when you are done. Lots of billet aluminum. Problems, well billet scars, scratches and you have to be careful assembling and not use air tools.

www.krooners.com (http://www.krooners.com) ask for Harry Tinsley (owner) the women on the phone like money and don't like making new friends.

08-06-2005, 08:49 AM
Nice thing about assembling one? you invest the money, ride it a year, sell it, make a profit, buy another one when you get bored.

I have spent my investment money. Boo hoo. Have to start all over with the piggy bank.

Basically if you are mechanically inclined you ride for free and draw a interest on your money.

Michael Az
08-06-2005, 08:50 AM
Check out the Road King and see what you think.

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-06-2005, 08:55 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by torker:
it seems like you're almost expected to putt along at the speed limit.. not like the crotch rockets you see.</font>

People riding superbikes like to ride at the "speed limit" too. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


08-06-2005, 08:57 AM
The main problem with people selling used harley's is that they tend to think they appreciate in value. Not so. The market for them is slowly becoming saturated. Also they tend to think that all the chrome aftermarket junk they hang on them adds to the value. In fact most of it devalues the bike when they decide to sell it, because not too many people have the same tastes in this type of stuff, so if you HAVE to have a Harley, look around for a bone stock low mileage one would be my advice.
I've ridden a lot of harley's over the years, and they all have a few things in common. They vibrate. Evolution schmevolution, they vibrate, bad. For the size engine they have, they're gutless. They all cost too much,and they are downright unreliable compared to a Jap bike.The same size jap bike will run rings around a harley, speedwise and maintenance free longevity wise. I had a 2003 heritage softail for awhile, nice to look at, but a PITA to keep running properly.
My current ride is a 2004 Honda shadow 1100. Bought it used with low miles like all my previous bikes. Yes it's a V twin,albeit liquid cooled with overhead cams, 3 valves per cylinder, and minus the Harley vibration, and with gobs of power my softail didn't have. Plus it's quite a bit lighter and more nimble.
One thing I thought was funny and have to pass on about Harley's. I am friends with a mechanic at the local Harley shop, and they have a chassis dyno there. He tells me that pulling the baffles out of the stock exhaust to make it louder results in an immediate 20 hp decrease on the dyno.

[This message has been edited by pete913 (edited 08-06-2005).]

Your Old Dog
08-06-2005, 09:16 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by pete913:
He tells me that pulling the baffles out of the stock exhaust to make it louder results in an immediate 20 hp decrease on the dyno.[/B]</font>

Why is that? Does the loss of backpressure cause the valves to float?

When you drop your 20K you're buying a lifestyle not a bike! Just interviewed the fed gov's top transportation guy last week in Buffalo(Rungi?)and he says us boomers are buying big displacement bikes like crazy. Also said the death toll was going up because of it (that's expected I suppose) For $20,000 us boomers can declare ourselves "in the moment" and look for new horizons. My wife and I are also considering it. (we're crowding 60) We all want to be part of something bigger then ourselves, the knarley Harley thing looks like fun. Can just see SWMBO in a one size fits all harley halter. The nicest restaurant in Strykersville has better than 40 Harleys everynight of the summer. Attorneys sitting in there with their fresh leathers on! It's a real stitch http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif It's the thing to do for baby boomers who got their financial obligations all taken care of. I like the big Hondas but there is no place to park them at the Strykersville Pub! If we do it, it'll likely be a overpriced Harley. (what do they get for the intercom?)

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-06-2005, 09:17 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by pete913:
One thing I thought was funny and have to pass on about Harley's. I am friends with a mechanic at the local Harley shop, and they have a chassis dyno there. He tells me that pulling the baffles out of the stock exhaust to make it louder results in an immediate 20 hp decrease on the dyno.</font>

This happens alot.. Even to Jap bikes but not as bad. If you change your exhaust (reduce backpressure) you're allowing your engine to breath a little better. This is good, but ONLY if you also re-jet your carb because you'll be sucking in air at a raster rate now and the old jets won't atomize enough fuel for the new airflow so you'll be running too lean and loose power. Same with swapping out the old restrictive air-box for inline free-flow air filters. You'll need to rejet to take advantage of them.

My 2004 GSXR750 is fuel injected and also has sensors along with a 32-bit CPU thats constantly making small adjustments to the air/fuel mixture for best performance. Whatever I bolt onto my bike, the computer adjusts for it.


08-06-2005, 09:22 AM


H-D Electra Glide, same as the one my wife and I ride. Your wife will love you for buying this model.


H-D Road King, a much lighter machine, back seat isn't nearly as nice.

Try these two, plus some of the others suggested. Take your wife with you when you do. You'll find which one fits best.

08-06-2005, 09:33 AM
Roadking has a stretched neck and deraked front end.. Strange at slow speeds. Highway speeds it is really comfortable. I guess that is why cops love them.

The new harleys have a torque band in a whole new place. Not exactly a tractor motor anymore. Kinda different. Sound like crap, but pass a old harley..


08-06-2005, 10:09 AM
ok i have read some dont know how much is from people that ride or not. i started out on a harley in 1980 it was a sportster 1000. it was in pices when i got it and i put it together what mistake from the price of parts i could have bought a new one. yes i heard the old it is only half a bike or when you going to get a real harley. but then i found out it was comming from the ones who did not even have a bike or at best it was in pices in the celler.
then i bought a new fxrs in 85 with the evo motor. all i did was take care of it. change the oil and ride it. over 40,000 miles and not a hint of trouble. now i did not change any thing on it not even the mufflers. i bought a new 2000 fxd superglide. same thing just do the maintance and ride it no problems 25,000 miles.
the new sporsters are a real improvement rubber mount motors and belt drive. 1200 cc. good road bikes i see a lot of them and every one likes them.
advice: buy a new one you get a warenity not so with a used one. dont mess with it just ride it. if it is not broke dont fix it. chrome does not make it anybetter riding or mantince free. only makes more work to keep clean. do get the mag wheels less mantince and easier to keep clean.also if you have a flat you can plug them like a car tire.

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-06-2005, 10:33 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Your Old Dog:
When you drop your 20K you're buying a lifestyle not a bike! </font>

Your Old Dog has a good point too... The bike you choose does affect your lifestyle and it will determin what kind of people you will be riding with..

Are you going to want to ride with these folks?


Or these folks? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


08-06-2005, 10:53 AM
going back to the original post... you say you live in the high country with twisty roads. You might consider a BMW; I've never ridden anything that handled better in the twisties. Mines the cheaper R850, but it still has the electronic ignition and fuel injection. Never a problem, even at altitude as the computer keeps track of that stuff. I've also got a couple HOndas, but the 850 runs better. Our local Harley/Honda shop is a pain in the butt; if you ain't shopping for clothes they ain't much help.

08-06-2005, 02:42 PM
Russ, finally a subject that I can comment on. You mention your wife wants to ride with you. A sporster is really to small for two up riding, also not much room for luggage.
I have two Electra-glides and will sell the 89 Ultra for 13,000 cdn.
I am keeping my 84. close to 100,00 miles on her and still running strong.
There are days when the arthritis is bad, that the only bike I can get comfortable on is the Harley. The floorboads and or the highway pegs give me a choice of where to rest my legs.
I also ride a BMW,1000GS. Smooth and reliable, but there are days when I cannot get my knee to bend enough to get my foot on the peg.
I have a choice of about a dozen bikes I could ride, but first choice for any long ride is the Harley. Its just so relaxing. Some very good advice given by others,was to keep it stock.Loud pipes or radical cams, carburators, just make for a noisy fuel hog that still wont keep up with any inline four. Best of luck in your hunt. Doug

08-06-2005, 04:00 PM

I've been ridding for 35 years. I'd suggest looking at the new Buell XB12X. This puppy will soon be added to my stable of bikes. Don't knock it until you've ridden one.



[This message has been edited by Smokedaddy (edited 08-06-2005).]

08-06-2005, 05:42 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by pete913:
so if you HAVE to have a Harley, look around for a bone stock low mileage one would be my advice.
[This message has been edited by pete913 (edited 08-06-2005).]</font>

Sound advice, but given the average Harley owner's proclivity for tacking aftermarket stuff on their machines, such a bike would be a rare bird indeed! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

08-06-2005, 10:13 PM
I don't see anything wrong at all with the sportster. I loved 'em...especially the old "ironheads". (never been much of an evolution (post '84) guy). Not even sure what this new V-rod thing is all about...don't really care anymore. Got rid of my homebuilt "big twin" and my BSA chopper and now have a relatively stock BMW R80 (you might consider an older BMW as well...reliable & easy to work on). Don't let anyone tell you there's anything wrong with the sportsters though...alot of people think its an "entry level harley"...in my opinion its as good as any other...take care


08-07-2005, 12:46 AM
Thanks for the knowledge sharing here guys!
I spent a couple of hours looking at bikes this morning. Found a 2001 Sportster 1200 with 18,000k on it. Was owned by an old guy who quit riding and it is spotless for $8900Cnd.
The sales guy was showing me several V-rods. Has one new one reduced to $21,000 Cnd. He also just got a dresser(not sure what model) in on trade. Nice bike but $23,000 for used???
I looked at some Jap bikes also. Pretty nice bikes but there's just something too oriental about them...lol! The V-rod looks sort of oriental also.
I also agree about the BMW's. They also are a simple bike but nobody here stocks any kind of parts.
I talked to three guys at the shop that had 883 and (one) 1200 Sportsters. They liked them but did say to forget it if you are going to load it down with wimmins and luggage!
I guess I'm going to wait til the wife gets back from holidays and we can try the two up riding on a couple and see what we think. She's only 100 pounds soakin wet so she doesn't take up a lot of space http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

08-07-2005, 08:37 AM
First thing that my wife made me do on my Sporty was change the seat. She said her - got numb after about an hour. I laughed and made a few obvious jokes, she hit me and I then went out and bought a different seat. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
As you can imagine, 2up on an 883 is fine but that little extra umph in a 1200 makes it a nicer ride.

As for loading, I think that the bolt on saddle bags that harely sells are rated for something like 7lbs each (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!). I dont know what they expect one to carry that is only 7lbs. A 6pack?

I have had more in them but the ride is bumpy enough that I would fear doing damage to the attachment points on a long ride.

I did strap on a 3 jaw lathe chuck to the passenger seat once and deliver it 70 miles from my place. It rode perfect, it was a nice day and my uncle was happy when he got it.

All of this new bike talk reminds me of the day I brought mine home. One of the best days of my life. Pushed it off of the truck and into the drive. Fired it up and didn't come back for about 8 hours. Then it rained for 2 weeks solid! You would have thought that I bought a nice new big telescope!

08-07-2005, 10:36 AM
Now if you want a bike that you and the wife can ride two up, go buy a Gold Wing and love life. Nothing else comes close.

You want a cruiser looking bike that handles great, stops on a dime, and takes off like a rocket? A bike that you can ride all day without your legs going numb from the damn vibration? All for half the money of a ratle trap?


One of these is next on my "must have list". I have ridden several different year models and they are all fantastic bikes. They are basically a Yamaha R1 sport bike dressed up like a cruiser. Tons of power and you can actually bend it into a corner without dragging $15,000 worth of worthless chrome crap on the ground.

08-07-2005, 01:24 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">the Harley crowd considers Sportsters to be chick bikes.</font>

The current "Harley Crowd" doesn't know s**t from shinola. A bunch of wanna bees. I can't help but bust out laughing at a bunch of fat, bald,9 to 5 pencil pushers trying to look good in leather chaps. Sonny Barger, founding father of the Hells Angels, preferred Sportsters back in the early days because they were lighter, faster, and sounded better(engine had more radical valve timing and higher compression than the big twin)Go tell him that his Sportster was a "chick's bike" and see how you fare. The aforementioned "Harley Crowd" thinks your not manly if you don't own a Bagger that weighs about what a gross of boat anchors would weigh. The manly part is actually getting the thing off the kickstand with just a few grunts and a red face to match the sunburn on top off their bald heads.

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-07-2005, 07:40 PM
Just got back from a 150 mile ride. The wife and I rode our bikes down to our summer house on the Cape, did some fishing, went for a swim, got Fish-n-Chips at Barnical Bill's Seafood, took a nap, then rode home. What a day.


08-07-2005, 09:16 PM
well carl you sure sound like a guy that dont know s from shineola. the chic bike thing was in the mid 80's. most of the new riders i meet around here are on sportsters. and they ride more.as far as riding two up i have done that on every bike i have owned from my frist 750 norton 500 triumph 1000 sportster, 1340 fxrs. and 88in. superglide. yes the bigger bigs do it better but it was no real problem on the smaller bikes.

08-07-2005, 10:17 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rockrat:
I dont know what they expect one to carry that is only 7lbs. A 6pack?</font>
What more does a man need? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

Michael Moore
08-07-2005, 10:44 PM
Buy whatever you like and tell everyone else to F off if they don't like it.

I've never owned an H-D. The closest I've come to it was a friend offering me a KR750 to vintage roadrace on, but I couldn't afford to maintain one of those, and I definitely can't afford to fix it if I were to crash it.

So much of the "brand loyalty" is just crap nonsense. You've probably got to look really hard to find a bad new motorcycle to buy these days, no matter what the brand (and that goes for automobiles too).

Generally, with many bikes I find the more stock parts I get rid of, the better I like them. And right now I've got Laverdas, Moto Guzzis, Motobis, Hodakas, Hondas, Kawasakis, Yamahas, Suzukis, Greeves, Can Ams, Matchless, Triumphs and BSAs.

Crap parts are crap parts, no matter where they originated. I'm as happy to get rid of junk Italian parts as I am junk Japanese or British parts. And I don't have much time for overpriced American stuff that doesn't stop OR go.

If you really want a Sportster, get it. If the wannabe's give you a hard time, tell them that your sweetie doesn't has any problems with your machinery, but she's got serious doubts about their's.

Maybe I'm just getting to be an old fart, but the "my bike's cool, your bike sucks" attitude is really tiresome. If you like something I don't, more power to you. It saves me having to buy it.


08-08-2005, 12:26 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">well carl you sure sound like a guy that dont know s from shineola.</font>


08-08-2005, 12:46 AM

Ian B
08-08-2005, 02:20 AM
A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop.

The surgeon was there waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the garage. "Hey Doc, can I ask you a question?"

The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working on the motorcycle.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, repair any damage, and then put them back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So, how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic...."Try doing it with the engine running.."


08-08-2005, 10:15 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Michael Moore:
the "my bike's cool, your bike sucks" attitude is really tiresome. </font>

08-08-2005, 10:27 PM
BMW RULES! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//tongue.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Running from flames http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

If I wanted a bike,this would be it-


And $14,250,new,ain't bad.

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 08-08-2005).]