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OT: Need help with Harley purchase

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  • OT: Need help with Harley purchase

    I don't know of a better place to ask this question but with a bunch of guys who are machine freaks and I know many of you ride a Harley.

    It's now my season to buy one. I'm 63 and don't plan to ride for more then a few years but would like to get more of the dream out of my blood! At first I wanted a touring bike but then the wife developed hip problems so looks like I'll be riding el lobo style. Also noticed the touring bikes are around 900 lbs and the sportster style are around 600 lbs. Most of my riding will be back and forth to the hardware and jaunts to friends houses on nice days.

    I'm thinking on a used machine in the $6,000 range. Are there any motors I need to avoid in the 1200-1450 class? I don't want to drag home a bike that others know has a bad reputation. I was always fond of the LowRider model.

    I'm only interested in a Harley. When I sit on a bike I want to know I got one under me and not a smooth as silk rice burner. Oh, yea, Sir John, I'll have something to protect the driveway from the oil.
    Last edited by Your Old Dog; 03-30-2009, 08:33 AM.
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    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

  • #2
    I've been riding since the late 50's and currently own a Harley Road King. The Sportster is an entry level bike geared toward the younger set. If you are a big man you will be very unhappy with the size and stiffness of this bike.

    The only one I would recommend is a bagger. It will take you to the hardware store or down country roads and it will be a comfortable ride not a hang on at every bump. Just don't want your brief enjoyment to be unpleasant.

    The Harley Evo engine is great.

    Comment


    • #3
      Although there is nothing wrong with the later Sportsers YOD, I know you are a big man and I believe the Spotster models will be just too small for you.
      Look for something in the "big twin" model line. Find a model that you like with the "evolution" engine. They are dead nuts reliable and don't leak oil.
      I have friends that have over 150,000 miles on them and have never had them apart!
      How much fun could that possibly be?
      Like I said find a model that fits what you intend to use the bike for and look for features that appeal to you such as fairing, windscreen, bags, or none of the above.
      Not sure what local prices are in your neighborhood, but I would think you should be able to find something you like for $6,000 or thereabouts.
      Nice thing about shopping for one in that price range is that if you decide to sell later on you probably won't loose your shirt in the process...unless you've bought a real turkey.
      Just don't be in a hurry to get the first one you see. Do a little research, have a good look...shopping for toys should be fun.
      Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
      Bad Decisions Make Good Stories

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a Sportster and I enjoy it. But it is a stiff ride. If I ride all day, I know it.

        At some point as I gain more years...... I mean, ferment to a fine.... I mean.....

        When I get old and grumpy dangit, I thought I might buy a Road King. I took one for a long ride and I enjoyed it. Comfortable yet still rides nice.

        But there is no way I'm adding floor boards. Darn near dropped the thing cause the floor boards made my feet feel as though they were on the ground.

        And If I start saving now, I might be able to afford one in 30 years.

        rock~
        Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

        Comment


        • #5
          Now is probably the best time in recent history to get a decent deal on a Harley. That said, getting a decent one for $6k my be a challenge.
          If you're willing and able to do some work you may find what you're looking for.
          Harley's are dirt simple to work on, and there is a ton of supporting and knowledgeable folks out there to help, so don't let one needing work scare you off.

          I too would stay away from Sporties unless you are small, and your riding will be extremely limited. Your preference towards the Lowrider(FXDL) leads me to my first recommendation of looking at the Dyna models. I too would recommend a touring chassi'd model for anyone dreaming of any kind of distance riding, but for boppin' around town the Dyna's can be had for less money and will serve you well.

          Your budget pretty much rules out the 99-up Twin Cam motor, although other than a couple specific items to watch there's nothing wrong with them and don't be afraid of one if it should pop up cheap.
          Any but the very earliest of the Evo motors are fine. Dirt simple, easy to work on and reliable as the rock in your backyard.

          Don't be afraid of the belt drive. Again, dirt simple, very reliable, nearly maintenance free, and best of all clean. I have learned to hate chain drives and their mess with a passion. The enclosed chain drive primary is fine however.

          Start looking, if you run across something take some pics and run it by us, be glad to steer you around the pitfalls.

          The only thing to watch for is those that have been hacked up with various mods. As close to factory as possible will be the best place to start.

          Comment


          • #6
            Although I don't ride a Harley I would recommend this one
            http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/C...#/model/xr1200

            It seems like a nice solo Harley to me.

            If all your doing is the occasional ride to friends or sunny day jaunts in the country I think this would be a fun bike. I have read that handling is pretty good and comfort is not too bad.

            I think you could get a tail or tank bag to hold those small purchases from the hardware store.

            One negative though, this bike is about twice your price range I think.

            Just my 2c
            Gerry

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm partial to the Evolution style engines. NOW, I have three bad discs in my back, some other wore out parts here and there. I've had them all apart, now they have fixed most the problems they introduced with the twin cam, but..

              The roadking is a rubber mount air ride frame. Motor kinda quivers in the chassis. Reduced the amount of shake getting to you somewhat. Power pulses are still transferred. In the stock trim, the seat is also air mounted on a shock isolating you totally from the road knocks and bumps.

              Bastich is heavy. Don't plan on pushing it more than a few feet at a time. If you want something light and quicker, build a cut down bike stripped to the bare minimum.

              I gave $7500 for mine, 1997 Ex-Georgia state patrol bike, it was painted refrigerator white, never been on it's side. I felt like I was riding a appliance thou. I repainted it. Older brother had a cow, he liked the white. Younger brother is just now painting one a pearl white I guess to show up me and make older brother drool.
              Getting into this bike that cheap, NO mechanical problems at all, wore out brake pads, tires since I have had it. I am pretty amazed myself. Must have been the white paint running off the other buyers? People are shallow and can't see past the shiny.

              Wrong time of year to be shopping, first signs of spring and all the convertibles, motorcycles skyrocket in price.

              Someone here, DP? had a roadking for sale. I think it was pretty pricy since it has a bunch of goodies in the engine.. (hint) while purchasing a bike, subtract for any accessories or hot rod parts inside engine.. do not add value no matter what they tell you as they are trying to sell it to you.

              Buy it cheap, take care of it, sell it reasonable, regain most your money. Build it cheap, ride it a while, sell it for a profit. I had a softail I built for 6k.. rode it a year, sold it for 9500 quick like.. he got totalled out, sold it for $18,500 to State Farm.. I think he still owes me a steak.
              Excuse me, I farted.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Your Old Dog
                Most of my riding will be back and forth to the hardware and jaunts to friends houses on nice days.

                When I sit on a bike I want to know I got one under me and not a smooth as silk rice burner.
                I'm 60, use a bike for the same reasons. I ride a '06 900 Kawasaki Vulcan V twin. Before that I had an '85 1100 Honda shadow. They sit low, nice features, nice low end torque and rumble. New one is fuel injected. Not the best bikes I've ever owned, THE BEST MACHINERY OF ANY KIND I've ever owned. Test drive a couple before you decide.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another note: as I age, lose my strength, I am no egotistical maniac.. I rode a smaller bike around, loved it. A Buell blast is a single cylinder sportster style engine.. they shake like crazy, but around town will keep up with traffic. BRAND NEW around the price you mentioned.

                  Light, quick.. I shopped around and found one for $1200 at a Honda dealer.. I was going to buy it, but sent a lady friend down there, he asked her in her leather mini-skirt $4200 for it. (see how this works?) She was mad at me for two weeks.. I offered to go get it for her.

                  Anyways, a motorcycle is a toy, you have to figure out what you want one to do, climb a hill, pop up over a grassy rise and sling the front wheel skyward? ride down the road and wheelie at 80mph-100? or cruise like a big cadillac long distances? Most days I think I could get by with a buell... I started building a cut-down.. about half way there.
                  I got a buddy with the bottom blowed out of a buell motorcycle.. that thing would wheelie at 100.. I put a video camera mount on my bike to get that.. Rumor is Nitrous blowed the engine. He wanted me to do the labor for free and put a sticker on the tank.. yeah.. right.. Like I could afford that.

                  I'd like a haybusa, and a Honda watercooled dirt bike, and a cut down harley project, and my roadking.. and... the ..... I told the wife I was buying a haybusa while sitting in the bath tub.. the water was cold and that discussion was not over, still is not.. I get smoked by one ever now and then and still want one... My 300lbs would be enough to make traction I think. Each of them bike types satisfies a different part of "THRILLS"

                  As my wife said, sign your donor card first, someone might need your eyes. If they can find them.

                  New production HONDA..

                  http://www.buell.com/en_us/bikes/blast/
                  Last edited by Dawai; 03-30-2009, 10:13 AM.
                  Excuse me, I farted.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GKman
                    I'm 60, use a bike for the same reasons. I ride a '06 900 Kawasaki Vulcan V twin. Before that I had an '85 1100 Honda shadow. They sit low, nice features, nice low end torque and rumble. New one is fuel injected. Not the best bikes I've ever owned, THE BEST MACHINERY OF ANY KIND I've ever owned. Test drive a couple before you decide.
                    The 900 Custom has the 3 features I'm looking for in my next bike:

                    1) liquid cooling
                    2) belt drive
                    3) mag wheels

                    There are other bikes with these features, but Kaw is more affordable. I think it would make a great second bike for me. Carrying a passenger would no doubt be kind of cramped, and I'm totally spoiled by the full fairing on my ST. I commute on the ST once the temps are around 40 F give or take a few degrees, so I need the weather protection.

                    Maybe some day. . . .

                    Jim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I gotta echo what some of the other guys have said. The Sporty is a bit of a stiff ride and might also be a tad small (though I do not know your physical size). It also has a mucho power to weight ratio. If ya wanna go fast, there's yer ticket!

                      I ride an '03 Softail Deuce, but almost all the bikes in the Softail family will give you plenty of riding pleasures along with low rider capability or bag additions and so on. The Fat Boy is a nice choice, with just enough windscreen to keep it comfy. The twin cam 88 engine has been proven now, and fuel injection has only added to the ease of operation. My twinkie is the A model and has the counterbalancing shaft. It's rigidly mounted on the frame. The B twinkie is rubber mounted. It'll make a tad more power, but I think it vibrates more than mine.

                      Either way, with the economy like it is, sometimes a softy can be had for around 6 grand, or just above.

                      Good luck finding a ride.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you're planning on selling in a few years then there's no reason not to spend a bit more (assuming finance arrangements are being made) and get what you really want. The prices hold up well on Harleys so you'll likely get a decent return on your sale and have years of enjoyment from a bike that was not a compromise decision.

                        I think my bike would be perfect for you! http://TheVirtualBarAndGrill.com, click the For Sale link

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For 6K your probably going to be looking at the older evolutions, great motors, the swingarm models ride a bit nicer than the softails so you might want to check out the dynas. Everybody I ever talked to loves the Roadkings, they have lots of convertibilty for options/looks and good storage capacity for packing stuff. Harley used to have demo rides where they'd bring in a semi with all their new models and you could spend a day riding em all to compare. Some of the old models are gone and the twinkies have more power and gears but it should give you an idea......

                          Take a guy that knows em when you go to look, the evos did tend to have cylinder base gasket leaks so look for oil around there but not really a big deal to fix.

                          Maybe try insurance or sherriff sales??????
                          Opportunity knocks once, temptation leans on the doorbell.....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've been riding motorcycles for many years. The one I have now is a 2004 Ultra-Classic. I've owned Sportsters and other Harleys with no frills so the Ultra was a natural progression. It comes with AM-FM-CD-CB, four speakers and upper and lower fairings. It's very comfortable and smooth for even an all day ride.

                            Unfortunately, if you only intend to spend $6,000, you won't be able to buy any new motorcycle that would satisfy you, even a Japanese one.

                            Someone above suggested that you finance one. Why not? It's the American way. I got a 4% loan from my credit union with about half down and paid it off in three years.

                            I would stay away from the Sportsters. The pre-2004 models with rigid mounted engines are difficult to ride due to the vibration about 65-70 mph. Even the rubber-mounted ones built since 2004 are a handfull after about 100 miles. The least expensive of them is still more than $6K as well.

                            The newer Ultras and other Touring models come with 6 speed transmissions, more cubic inches and are a good value. One nice thing is that in 2004 they increased their company warranty to 24 months with unlimited mileage. I guess you could buy a used one but even a 2004 Ultra like mine is still worth 14-15K so its outside of the amount you mentioned.

                            Now is a good time to purchase a new Hartley-Davidson since the dealers are all hurting and laying people off. Harley sales are off 20% in the last year.


                            Good luck.
                            Last edited by gnm109; 03-30-2009, 07:26 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by garagemark
                              I gotta echo what some of the other guys have said. The Sporty is a bit of a stiff ride and might also be a tad small (though I do not know your physical size). It also has a mucho power to weight ratio. If ya wanna go fast, there's yer ticket!

                              I ride an '03 Softail Deuce, but almost all the bikes in the Softail family will give you plenty of riding pleasures along with low rider capability or bag additions and so on. The Fat Boy is a nice choice, with just enough windscreen to keep it comfy. The twin cam 88 engine has been proven now, and fuel injection has only added to the ease of operation. My twinkie is the A model and has the counterbalancing shaft. It's rigidly mounted on the frame. The B twinkie is rubber mounted. It'll make a tad more power, but I think it vibrates more than mine.

                              Either way, with the economy like it is, sometimes a softy can be had for around 6 grand, or just above.

                              Good luck finding a ride.
                              The so-called B model is the softail engine with dual counterbalancing shafts, It was introduced in 2000. Don't mean to contradict...sorry, ahem.


                              .

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