I’m not a Biker...But I am a Harley Owner Posted by: Dale Franks
on Friday, June 22, 2007
I went into the Kearny Mesa store of San Diego Harley this afternoon, and actually signed the papers on my XL 1200C. It's in the Service dept now, so they can put all the extra goodies I bought on it.
What a fantastic dealer experience! Everybody there was as helpful and friendly as can be. They had exactly the Cobalt Blue pearl bike—with Pacific Blue Pearl pinstriping—that I wanted. 45 minutes after I walked in, they were taking my picture with the bike as its new owner! They even waived the $500 for dealer prep. The bike looks pretty much like this:
For the last several years, I've been paying off an old credit card debt. I've been paying $200 a month for a long time. But now, I'm retiring that debt completely, which allows me to afford the bike without increasing my monthly outlays. With the gas savings from riding the bike for my commute, I'll actually end up with more money every month.
I was able to trick out the bike with the big bucket seat, chrome engine guards, sissy bar, touring backrest, triple headlights, chrome luggage rack, etc. I was very happy with the purchase, and I pick up the bike next Monday.
Well, I thought I was done. I was in the accessories store, getting ready to shell out $275 on a new helmet and $50 for gloves, when my salesman, TC walked up to me with a gift card for $2,126.48! Because of all the extra parts I bought with the bike, they comped the price of parts in a gift card.
I have no earthly idea how they can afford to comp me all that gear for the parts, but it was just great. I was like a kid in a candy shop. I bought the deluxe leather chaps, one nylon and one leather jacket—both with body armor—boots, helmet, leather vest, some stuff for my chick, and more. I've never had a shopping spree like that in my life. I burned every cent of that two grand, but I've got just about every piece of riding gear I could possibly want.
I can't wait until 2 July to pick up my Sporty! Until then, I've got all the riding gear...and nothing to ride.
The 1200C already comes stock with pullbacks. Very comfy.
At least, they seem that way sitting in the showroom. The other cool thing about the Custom is that the foot pegs are set way forward on the frame, about 12" forward of the pegs on all the other models.
Now, if I could only get running boards to replace the pegs...
Forward controls: yes. Definitely. I’m 6’2", and they were essential on my 883. I put ’em on myself, and loved ’em. They were great for highway rides. I’d wondered whether they would be a tad inconvenient in town, because it’s a different move in stepping from the street to the pegs, but they were just great all around.
I’m looking at the photograph you’ve posted as well as other 1200C photos around the Web. I certain that the Buckhorns have a slightly higher rise and a longer pullback. (It’s hard to see clearly, but I think what they’ve done is put the regular lower bars on risers.) The thing that I like about them is the wider grip. It’s a very noticeable enhancement in steering.
If you get around to detail custom bits, you might look through the Arlen Ness catalog. I liked his Stealth mirrors a lot.
You’ve got a piece of history there, man. The Sportster is the longest continuous-production bike in Harley history: fifty-five years now, going back to the Model K racer. It was the first of the "superbikes", and dominated Grand National racing for a decade. It’s the only production Harley with right-side final drive, and that frame was revolutionary.
Have to get rid of my 80 Honda CB750 first. But, I’ll be able to afford any of these bikes without taking out much of a loan. And they should all get decent MPG. Just wish you could take them for test rides.
"Because, of course, that’s the most important thing about a Harley..."
There is no way around the sheer mystique, man. I’m telling you. It’s very hard to describe... like the sensation of the guy in the next lane at the stoplight on a Friday evening, sitting behind the wheel of his car and staring with that dreamy look in his eye...
...while his daughter is leering out the back-seat window at you, too.
Note, however, that I referred to the "feel". Well, I’m talking about the machine. Coming off two Japanese bikes — a Suzuki 650 Savage (that’s the single-cylinder thumper) and Yamaha Virago 920 (the seventy-five degree V-twin shafty) — it took me about six weeks to really get the hang of the Harley. I wasn’t sure that I was going to get it at all. Once I did, though, there was no going back.
I’m not entirely sure what’s intended here, but there is not another bike in the whole world that holds its value like a Harley. They’ve been hot & cold here & there over the long run, and one can’t drive one out of the showroom and get all one’s money back in the second-hand market, but they do extremely well.
It would be foolish to call ’em an "investment", but every single Harley counts in ways that other bikes don’t, and people who sell them don’t get killed on the deal like with others.
My bike was destroyed when it bounced off a guardrail and then back out on the highway and under the car of the guy who hit me. It punctured his gas tank and set him on fire.
That wreck brought me a thousand dollars from a guy who put it back together.
I bought the deluxe leather chaps, one nylon and one leather jacket—both with body armor—boots, helmet, leather vest, some stuff for my chick, and more ... Until then, I’ve got all the riding gear...and nothing to ride.