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Discussion Starter #1
Hope im posting in the right spot for this. Please move it if not. As the title says, My wife and I have a Goldwing and we like it for the long trips. Iv always wanted a Harley but could not afford one. Still cant but am in better shape now to try. Iv heard alot of negative things about Harley over the years and Id like some input from those who ride them to help me decide if I really want to get one. I wont ask about image because I dont really care what people think and I personnally have no issue at all with it. Im sure Ill think of more things for this list as time and discussion go on but heres a list to start off with.
Im currently going to school for Auto mechanics so dont shy away from getting technical :) Also, I know anything that has an engine has to be maintained properly or you are going to have issues regardsless so lets assume maintainance is taken care of.

1) Reliability. Heard alot about HD's having to be trailered and Iv seen my fair share of them trailered. Any particualar reasons why this is?
2) Comfort. I know things can be done to help with this such as seats, forward controls, HW pegs etc. But the number one reason I have heard for NOT owning a Harley was comfort related.
3) Not really a question but a concern. IMO you just can't have an engine shake like that without having some serious issues over a period of time. Can anyone share some thought on this?
4) Performance. What is the average milage expectancy? Do HD's require alot more maintenance then other brands? Is it true that they have to be torn down and rebuilt every 30k or less? Iv heard it but Im not buying it.
5)Cost. We all know its true that HD's cost alot more then other bikes comparably equipped. What justifys the serious increase in cost? And dont say "Because its a Harley" Iv heard that to many times lol. I wanna know details on why :)
6) 2-up. This is a dual edged sword because Id like to have something old school in looks. Rugged if you will. But my wife loves to ride with me as well. We already have a Goldwing to handle that but Id like to edge her towards a HD if possible. Anyway, Id like to hear thoughts on 2-up HD's also.

That should be more then enough to get this started. I look forward to your replies, opinions and discussion.
:drunk
 

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SNAFU organizer
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man that's alot a questions, you should throw them out one at a time and fool me, I'm A.D.D. I'll try number six,, Take a look at the Cross bones softail. Heavy ass springer front end but you wont notice at highway speed. or have a look at the road kings no particular model in mind, you wont need a ultra classic you already got the Honda. Siomebody might could thow out a dyna they have in mind I dont right now.
 

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1) Reliability. Heard alot about HD's having to be trailered and Iv seen my fair share of them trailered. Any particualar reasons why this is?
Harleys don't have to be trailered anywhere. Some people forget it's not the destination that matters, it's the journey, and thus trailer their bikes to their destination. <shrug>

2) Comfort. I know things can be done to help with this such as seats, forward controls, HW pegs etc. But the number one reason I have heard for NOT owning a Harley was comfort related.
<shrug> I still run the stock seat on my bike. I think the best configuration as far as controls go is mid controls and highway pegs. I had this setup on my Evo, and it was much easier to cover long distances than on my current bike that has only forward controls and no mid pegs.

3) Not really a question but a concern. IMO you just can't have an engine shake like that without having some serious issues over a period of time. Can anyone share some thought on this?
I have a TC-B motor, and my motor does not shake.

4) Performance. What is the average milage expectancy? Do HD's require alot more maintenance then other brands? Is it true that they have to be torn down and rebuilt every 30k or less? Iv heard it but Im not buying it.
Bunk. Many people just follow the regular maintenance schedule and get 100k + miles before rebuilds. Then there are others that can't seem to leave well enough alone and tear down their stock motor at 300 miles. :cupcake

5)Cost. We all know its true that HD's cost alot more then other bikes comparably equipped. What justifys the serious increase in cost? And dont say "Because its a Harley" Iv heard that to many times lol. I wanna know details on why :)
Supply and demand. I rode my first Harley for 17 years and had no intention of selling it when I got my current bike, but I had a brother that expressed interest in buying it who did not have a Harley... So I sold it to him on the condition that if he ever feels like selling it, I get first shot at buying it back from him.... Otherwise I would now have 2 Harleys.

6) 2-up. This is a dual edged sword because Id like to have something old school in looks. Rugged if you will. But my wife loves to ride with me as well. We already have a Goldwing to handle that but Id like to edge her towards a HD if possible. Anyway, Id like to hear thoughts on 2-up HD's also.
Can't help you here. I've never bought a bike (Harley or otherwise) for somebody else. I buy them for me.
 

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What?
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1) Reliability. Heard alot about HD's having to be trailered and Iv seen my fair share of them trailered. Any particualar reasons why this is?

That's the people who buy their bikes and then sell them three years later with 200 miles on them. You know, they ride for twenty minutes on the three major summer holidays and have to buy a new battery each time. The ones who also ride only if it's bright sunshine and 85 degrees out.
 

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STAND AND FIGHT!
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I bought 2 HDs, LowRider and V-Rod, new in 2005. I'd bet the LowRider might meet your oldschool looks requirement, it does mine, add a Sundowner seat for the missus. Depends on your taste for long and lean vs dresser.

The LowRider has 20,000 miles the V-Rod about 14,000
Neither bike has ever been in the shop, zero problems, except for replacing an ignition switch myself in 5 minutes. It had not failed, it was physically broken. It had to be custom ordered to match my key, cost $125.

Neither bike has used or leaked a drop of oil.
I last rode an 85 shovelhead, and the jump from 74" to 88" was so invigorating, and Harley offered the kit to go to 95" for $600, so I couldn't pass it up, and it still gets nearly 45 mpg every tank.

All of my riding, almost all, is commuting to work, I haven't taken any trips, partly because of farm chores that eat my weekend, partly because of my wife's worry I'll get hurt and she won't know about it. I ride 90 miles almost every day that I ride, maybe 100 if I take the meandering road home. If I ride 4 or 5 days a week, I'm lee desperate to find a day trip on the weekends, and wouldn't have time for it anyway.

I never knew it was possible to have a Harley that did not shake at low speed. Then I sat on a friends TC-88B (balanced) engine while he revved the engine. It was so smooth, the typical great Harley engine sound could have been from a sound track. There was no shake. None of the TC engines have any noticeable vibration at speed. For myself, I would not choose the balanced engine. It just doesn't seem right to me.

One thing I thing you would find different about owning the kind of bike you are considering, from the kind of bike you have been riding, and I may be full of shit, of course, as I have never owned a Gold Wing, but I guesstimate you would find the Harley more.... visceral, .. I think is the right word. More stimulating of all of your senses.

Another aside, like Kainam said, what the wife thinks is not likely to be why you would buy one brand or style over another. However, while I claim that I cannot say that the LowRider is closer to my heart than the V-Rod, because of the feel and the torque and the sound, my wife is not at all reserved about that. She rode with me when we were younger, but has not ridden with me even once since my rebirth in motorcycling, but she overwhelmingly prefers the LowRider, based almost entirely on the sound, the rumble and lope of the engine. I wake her up when I leave at 0530 and without even opening her eyes, she'll say which bike are you taking, when I say the LowRider she'll smile and say good, I love listening to it as you ride away. In April I laid the V-Rod down and broke my hand and ankle, her first comment was I'm so glad it wasn't the LowRider.
 

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One thing I thing you would find different about owning the kind of bike you are considering, from the kind of bike you have been riding, and I may be full of shit, of course, as I have never owned a Gold Wing, but I guesstimate you would find the Harley more.... visceral, .. I think is the right word. More stimulating of all of your senses.
I think thats about right. My dad also owned a GoldWing ('83?), and it was a sterile experience to ride that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input !!

Very usefull info you guys have posted up. I could quote alot of parts of the replies but I wont to save space. I can honestly relate to and see your points. And as for the HD being a more "stimulating ride" I can see that. Yes I certainly can. The sound of the pipes rumbling, the "look" of HD's and those who ride them. (you should see the looks I get because of the way Im dressed and the bike I ride. Pretty funny) And most importantly, the community of HD riders, It cant be beat by any means.Although I can see your point of a Goldwing being "steril" I agree and disagree. Although my disagreement could be simply the factor that Im riding and it doesnt matter what as long as I am. But I do feel as though I am "missing" something.
I guess the only thing I can do is take the plunge and buy one. Although Im likely going to be a dreamer for awhile. I cant afford the cost right now. It seems the ones Iv looked at and liked are in the 15k+ range. But who knows. And the bad part is that of the ones I have seen, I dont know what they are called lol. Maybe Ill browse the picture gallery here and post a link of some examples. At least that way I can be told what type they are and can do some better research on availability and priceing.
And it is reassuring to hear that the "horror" stories I have heard about HD's in general are non fact based. Most of what I have heard has been in forum talk and it was a Goldwing forum so of course I took it all with a grain of salt.

Heres a few links to pics of bikes that I find appealing to me.

http://www.harley-davidsonforums.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=793&c=2
http://www.harley-davidsonforums.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=763&c=2
http://www.harley-davidsonforums.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=759&c=2
http://www.harley-davidsonforums.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=671&c=2
http://www.harley-davidsonforums.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=601&c=2

That last link is most likely my favorite out of them all.
 

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To learn all the models Harley sells you have to go to Harley school. :)

There are 5 basic "families" of Harleys.

Sportsters

Dyna's

Softtails

VROD's

Touring

There are several different models within each family.

Here is a link to the HD website. Click here. Enjoy!
 

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Heres a few links to pics of bikes that I find appealing to me.


TwinCam (TC-B) Softail Springer



Shovelhead Softail



Ironhead Sportster rigid custom



TwinCam (TC-A) Dyna SuperGlide



Shovelhead Superglide FXE


That last link is most likely my favorite out of them all.
 

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To learn all the models Harley sells you have to go to Harley school. :)

There are 5 basic "families" of Harleys.

Sportsters

Dyna's

Softtails

VROD's

Touring

There are several different models within each family.

Here is a link to the HD website. Click here. Enjoy!
Ed is quite right. The differences within each family is basically what is bolted on the bike.... tank, fenders, seat, bags/no bags, instrument cluster etc....
 

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I have a Sportster and Dyna FXDL, and have ridden both on long trips. The Dyna more recently to the 105th, from Kansas. I got the Dyna for longer trips, and I usually ride single, but love the bike. I looked at a fatboy, and went with the dyna, for handling. It was closer to the sportster in handling, which I liked. I haven't had any service problems with either, about 10,000 miles on both.

I am looking at a heritage or ultra classic, in the future, for longer, more frequent trips,,, I think you will enjoy whatever HD you purchase..

It's like someone said about trailering, it is the journey, not the destination. I found that to be true on my recent trip for the 105th, stopping at the various dealers, along the way, and the hospitality and other riders all hanging out at each stop..Maybe Honda is the same way, but HD is something special, and it is worth a little extra bucks, for the intangibles...

Good luck,
 

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I've owned several bikes over the years and heard many of the same stories that you listed. We finally took the plunge and bought a brand new Road King Classic in 2004. Love the fuel injection! Anyway, since I am NOT mechanically inclined in the least, I wanted a bike that was reliable and comfortable. A ride on my buddy's Street Glide convinced me that Harley Davidson had come a LONG way from the days of putting the drip pan under the bike every time you park it. My wife and I find the King to have more than enough power and is extremely comfortable on long rides. Granted, I put a custom pillow top seat on the bike and then had Butt Buffer pads put in the seats, but what a difference over the stock seat. I've also swapped out the handlebars and added highway pegs. It's now like sitting in my easy chair as we tour down the highway. We've added a BUNCH of other stuff to the bike over the years (far too much to list), but we're extremely happy with it. Purchasing the extended warranty (7 yr coverage) was a great buy and gave us peace of mind, but as of now, the end of the 2008 riding season, I have yet had to have any repairs done on the bike. Just regularily scheduled maintenance, and it runs like a charm. We also bought the "beer box" as an option so we have additional room for travel goodies, but we haven't had a single moment of regret since purchasing the bike. We've truly made it "ours" and wouldn't consider anything else. I'm definitely a reformed biker and Harley has earned my respect. Hopefully these comments will help in your choice. Ride safe and enjoy.
 

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I am you!

I also own a Goldwing and just recently purchased a 2009 Heritage soft tail classic. The 2 bikes couldn't be more different. I love them both! The Heritage felt so small the first time I rode it in comparison to the GW. It does vibrate alot more. I have added the Screaming Eagle air filter and the Vance and Hines bigshot pipes and had it remapped. I love the sound. My friends have all made a wager that I will sell the GW within a year because I will love the Harley so much more, but I don't Think so. I am keeping them both!

As for 2 up the wife prefers the GW hands down. I bought the heritage for more of my town bike or on road trips alone. (with the boys) When we go on our week long summer trip 2 up we will be riding the wing. In my opinion there is no perfect bike for all situations. It's funny how people defend whatever they ride as the best and only way to go.

Some days I feel like riding the wing, others the harley.

It all depends on what you are looking for in your riding and the type of riding you will be doing. It sounds like you are keeping the wing and looking for a 2nd bike as I have done. If so look at the softtails, or dyna's for more of a town bike. If you are selling the wing then the ultra classic would be the way to go. (to keep the wife happy on the back)

Go rent a harley for the weekend if you don't have a buddy's you can ride so you can see and feel the differences. They are totally different.

As for reliability, it is really 2 soon to tell, I have only 2700 miles on my 2008 wing and only about 300 on the heritage, but I have to give my harley buddies crap. In those 2700 miles on the wing not 1 drop of oil on the garage floor, but on the harley only 11 miles and I have 2 puddles. The first was one of those cheap clamps on the hose coming out of the oil tank. I put my pliers on it and got it to quit leaking, the 2nd is down in front of the rear tire and appears to be the same problem, but I can't get to it without tearing the bike down to parade rest, so since it is under warranty I will be having the shop fix it during the 1000 mile service.

The Harley community has banded together alot more than any of the metric brands and that is 1 thing I really like about having one. Everyone treats you as their brother.

Good luck in your endeavor, I have rambled on long enough.

Like someone above said earlier, It's all about the journey!
 

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All god replies, I was going to suggest a Heritage Softail. For some reason the Heritage seems to fit everyone from 5' 4" to 6'6", I'm 6'4" and did several 500+ mile days on my Heritage. They are comfortable two up and have bags and a detachable screen too. The only fault I found was it could do with twin discs up front.
As for how long it will last ,I have two friends with baggers with over 130000 miles on them.
 

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I have a Dyna and it is used mostly on the highway. I have had several 1000 mile days. Ohio to relatives in Florida. My butt is still fine. But have to admit the brain is wanting some rest. I travel at night on the way down. Sunrise on a bike can't be beat. Make sure you walk around some when you gas up, to keep your mind and body flexible. Bottom line, get what you want. Everyone thinks their bike is the best choice.
 

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My first road bike was a Honda Shadow... I used it to commute back and fourth to work, but rarely had any desire to ride it... just to ride it. I sold it a few years back and didn't miss it... then my dad went out and bought a Electra Glide... Had me come over and take a look and listen which got me thinking I need a bike again. I looked at Honda, Triumph, Victory... but kept finding myself back at Harley... So I bought a 2009 Dyna Street Bob at the end of September and figure to have about 8000 miles on it by the end of December and wish I had the time to put more on it... hell I gave my truck to my wifes sister because she needed a vehicle and I could care less if I ever have to drive a car again... There is just something about a Harley that screams "RIDE ME NOW!!!" I am always trying to find an excuse to go someplace... it doesn't matter if its hot, cold, raining.... I just don't care... I just want to ride.
 

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My stepdad has a 'Wing - it's like riding the sofa and the handling is superb.

Harleys are infinitely more reliable than they were in the 70's and 80's - although it seems like quality slipped a little when they started really pushing production around the 100th Anniv. (mind you, that is perception, not based on any statistical data other than my roomie's observations as a tech and hearing others' complaints). I've had way more problems with the used Harleys I've owned than all of the ones I've bought new. As with anything mechanical, the more you mess with the original package, the greater the potential for issues.

I personally don't get the trailer "thing" either, unless you're heading to Daytona from Chicago in early March or have particularly old bones.

As for something smaller that would be good for two-up, I've heard great things about Sundowner seats. I'd recommend something from the Dyna series before a Softail, just because the suspension is better.

In any event, be sure to share pics with us of what you do end up going with!
 

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I will try to paraphrase a comprehensive response to all those questions.. My first bike was a Yamaha V-Star, my second bike was a 2003 HD Heritage Softail, and now I own a 2008 Ultra. The ride difference in the first two bikes was night and day in my opinion. A lot of the negative things you hear about Harley's can best be described as the difference between the two dominant political parties in the U.S. The truth tends to be somewhere in the middle. Folks that dont like Harley's for whatever reason will read something and adopt it as their own opinion. With that said, of course there are HD bikes out there that have given problems to their owners, just like with any car. You know where I'm going with this. But, in my humble opinion, I own a Harley for several reasons, most of which, the history, fit/finish and yes, reliability. I put over 7000 miles on my Heritage in 3 months. I rode it to work (80 miles round trip) and every place else I could. It was VERY comfortable and I had no issues, leaks, or problems. I followed the scheduled maintenance. Now I own the Ultra and I have no problems with riding 300-500 miles a day on a long road trip. My wife does ride with me and she is very complimentary of how comfortable she is in the back. She has speakers for the radio/XM and the windshield helps cut down on the wind. Now, I have never rode a Goldwing so I cant speak from experience regarding the ride on one, so take the above for what its worth. I think if you research all the models Harley offers and test drive a couple, you'll be happy regardless. One last thing I will say is that the camaraderie' with other Harley owners is pretty awesome. It never ceases to amaze me how other HD owners treat each other as friends no matter if they are just coming up to compliment your bike. So in a nutshell, reliability, comfort, engine quality, performance, cost and passenger ride, if you pick the right Harley, test drive it and make an educated decision, you should be good to go.
 

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I kinda like the shaking. Bet your wife will too. Then - you will too. Why they are trailored - I do not know. It isn't because they are broke down. People headed to Sturgis or Florida - and - just don't want that huge trip - they will trailor them. I would make the ride - but that is me. The Ultra in my opinion is the closest thing to a Goldwing you will find. Lots of the same comfort stuff as on your Goldwing. Good luck with your choice.
 
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