Riding a Hog

It’s been a year since I made the switch. I mean, switching from a metric adventure bike to a Harley-Davidson. It’s quite the switch, so how did I get here?

For several years I owned a Suzuki V-Strom 650. I rode the bike all over the place, visiting several states, and even Canada. I rode from sunny coastlines, to snowy mountain passes. But, after several years, I felt the need for more power, and a bit of change. For one thing, I wanted something a bit lower to the ground, a bit more relaxing for those times stuck in traffic.

Shopping for a new bike, is a bit like shopping for a car. There are a ton of choices, all with their own pros and cons. I visited several dealers, and looked at bikes from BMW, Honda, Ducati, etc. Some bikes, you can tell right away, it’s just not going to be comfortable. Others, you’ve got to feel them out. It’s more than just the seat, overall position of all the controls will impact rider comfort.

After all that, I found myself wanting to try out a Harley-Davidson Low Rider. This is a bike with a low seat height, mid mounted controls, and a bit of old school style. Admittedly, at first I wasn’t 100% comfortable. The bike needed a bit more meat in the seat, and a windshield for those long rides. Since I was planning to ditch the saddle bags approach to luggage, I added a luggage rack. Finally, I rounded things out with a mustache bar to give some leg stretching room, and a bit of protection for the bike, should I manage to drop it.

During this past year, the bike has done great. As with all the previous bikes I’ve owned, I did all my own maintenance. Big twin Harleys are a bit different than most bikes, since they have separate primary, transmission, and engine lubrication. But, it’s only a bit more work, since the primary and transmission oil are changed infrequently. From a riding standpoint, I’m pretty pleased. The limited suspension travel does mean a bit more road feel, but it’s not harsh like some older cruiser style bikes. And, being an air cooled twin, it does get a bit warm on hot days. But, the oil cooler seems to do the job, and the engine hasn’t had to turn off the rear cylinder when stuck at a stop.

Due to the current pandemic, I haven’t been able to do a multi-state motorcycle trip this year. However, I’m hoping to do one next year, and visit some places I’ve never been. Perhaps ride across BC, drop back down into the Dakotas, and go from there.