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Author Topic: H-D Owners  (Read 7052 times)
ChrisandKristin
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« on: June 19, 2015, 02:26:29 AM »

We just got a Harley Ultra and we love it.  No maintenance issues with the bike yet, but wanted to thank Maggie for putting this section on the forum for the H-D riders!
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2015, 04:01:26 AM »

thanks maggie. we can keep the hijacking to a minimum now.
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2015, 01:34:02 PM »

Welcome... like we've always said this board is more about the people than what we ride. 

I want to say something to other users... I generally know we tease about HD bikes etc.  But in this section unless you have something constructive to say just keep it to yourself, please.
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2015, 01:58:32 PM »

well said.
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2015, 02:17:42 PM »

We just got a Harley Ultra and we love it.  No maintenance issues with the bike yet, but wanted to thank Maggie for putting this section on the forum for the H-D riders!

I've had two modern Harleys - 2008 Streetglide and a 2008 Sportster 883 that I made into something of a sport-tourer.

100% trouble free ownership experience, 100% enjoyment experience.

One was... well, the imminently-ex-wife had it repossessed right out from under me, then I had to sell the other one due to financial woes from this gawd-awful divorce.

(Side note: if you're planning on getting divorced and you live in Pennsylvania, move somewhere else. ANYWHERE else. And make sure she's not crazy!)

Digressions aside, seriously, Harley makes a wonderful bike. You don't have to like that style of bike, but you can't reasonably say they aren't good bikes. They are.
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2015, 02:49:28 PM »

My two questions concerning Harleys are, why the loud pipes? and why are they a lot more expensive than comparable bikes that are more reliable?  Being American made, shouldn't they be more affordable?
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2015, 03:32:23 PM »

The loud pipes are generally added. Stock HD are not that loud.
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ChrisandKristin
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2015, 03:34:58 PM »

My two questions concerning Harleys are, why the loud pipes? and why are they a lot more expensive than comparable bikes that are more reliable?  Being American made, shouldn't they be more affordable?

The Harley Big Twin responds very well to improvements in breathing.  They are pretty much choked off from the factory.  They have two big pistons that move up and down 4" and they fire both of those in quick succession, in 45 degrees of crank rotation.  Then they huff and puff and suck and blow for the next (almost two) revolutions of the crankshaft to scavenge and recharge those big cylinders to do it again.  The power impulse is so intense when they fire that they have to have a compensator on the crank driving the primary to absorb it.  And they run fairly radical cam timing compared to metric V-twins.

It is actually a proven design that develops incredible torque for the displacement and physical size and width of the engine.  But the very nature of the beast is that opening up the exhaust is one of the biggest bang for the buck (pardon the pun) performance improvements over stock that there is.

The price of a new Ultra vs a Goldwing is not that much difference - about $500.  If you order a CVO Harley the sky is the limit, depending on what you want to order it with, from custom paint to a 120 cube S & S stroker in the engine room.
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EZMark
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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2015, 01:56:34 AM »

My two questions concerning Harleys are, why the loud pipes? and why are they a lot more expensive than comparable bikes that are more reliable?  Being American made, shouldn't they be more affordable?

1) So more people will look at them.
2) Because people are willing to pay the money.
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2015, 02:28:47 AM »

2) Because people are willing to pay the money.

(sigh)

It's always nice to poke fun, but...

the fit-n-finish on pretty much any harley blows away pretty much anything and everything Japan pumps out, and most of what Europe pumps out. We in the US also have unionized labor costs are several hundreds of percentage points more than most of Asia. Also, most of Japan's premiere quality cruiser analogs to Harleys are pretty much right in line, price wise. The Star Stratoliner is one of the best running, most powerful, and beautiful bikes on the road... and it weighs in at $17,240 to start, and the Harley Road King starts at $18,440. The Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero starts at 16,700, but it's down on power and it's just [expletive deleted] fugly. So, there's that.

It's really got nothing to do with anything you're saying. Not so much.
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ChrisandKristin
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2015, 05:31:51 AM »

the fit-n-finish on pretty much any harley blows away pretty much anything and everything Japan pumps out, and most of what Europe pumps out.

Harley's are built for a different market than the folks who would be attracted to metric bikes.  And yes, the fit and finish on a Harley is superb.

When it comes to the noise issue, stock sportbikes like the CBR1000RR are louder than a Harley Big Twin with aftermarket pipes on it.  The sportbike can pass the SAE J2825 test procedure because it's done with the meter pickup at 20" from the exhaust outlet at idle and 5,000 rpm, no load.  3 and 4 cylinder engines are allowed 100 dDA.  Twin cylinder engines are tested at idle and 2,000 rpm and are allowed 96 dBA.

But on the test under maximum acceleration at 50 feet, most Harley's are around 105 dBa with aftermarket pipes and I've measured bone stock CBR's and GSXR's on track day at 115+

Being that there's more Harley's on the road than all the other brands combined, if they make noise they are the ones that will get the attention of the folks that don't like them.
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2015, 05:54:51 AM »

2) Because people are willing to pay the money.

(sigh)

It's always nice to poke fun, but...

It's really got nothing to do with anything you're saying. Not so much.

Supply and Demand. If people stop lining up to buy Harley's, the price will come down.
Economics 101.
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ChrisandKristin
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2015, 07:44:32 AM »

Supply and Demand. If people stop lining up to buy Harley's, the price will come down.
Economics 101.

Harley sold 38,797 Big Twin bikes in the first quarter of 2015, ending March 29.  23,396 CVO Customs.  17,396 Sportsters/Street.

According to the Polk US analysis, in 2014 Harley-Davidson was the number-one seller of new on-road motorcycles to U.S. young adults ages 18-34, women, African-Americans, Hispanics and Caucasian men ages 35-plus for the seventh straight year.  In the 601cc-plus U.S. on-road market, Harley-Davidson sold more than three times as many new motorcycles to young adults ages 18-34, more than seven times as many to women, more than five times as many to Hispanics, more than five times as many to African Americans and more than nine times as many to Caucasian men ages 35-plus as the nearest competitor.

Business 101 is that if you build what people want you can sell it.  Economics 101 is that if you pay attention to Business 101 they are going to line up in droves to get it.  No other company in the history of business has gone from bankruptcy to owning market share the way they do, for as long as they have, with a following that dominates any other product in the world.

As far as dropping prices?  The base MSRP on a 2015 Ultra is $23,249.  The 2015 GL1800 has a base MSRP of $23,999.  So the lesson there could be, build what they want, sell it for a few bucks cheaper than the competition, and they'll line up in even bigger droves to get it.

The lesson for Honda maybe should be, since they ain't got anybody exactly breaking down the doors to get Goldwings and currently selling less than 1,000 of them per year in the entire US market, maybe they should drop THEIR prices.  When Honda moved production of the Goldwing from the Marysville plant to offshore it sounded the death knell for it.  It's a long-in-the-tooth design that no longer appeals to many people in its primary market.  I mean, what are they going to do to it to revive it?  Increase it to a 2.0L flat-eight and put a cab on it with air-conditioning or something?  Honda misses the mark yet once again, while Harley-Davidson hits it dead-on.  It could just be that people don't want plastic motorcycles.  And Willie G. Davidson knew that 35 years ago when he and Vaughn Beals bought it from AMF.  Unless Harley starts building plastic motorcycles, don't expect 'em to stop lining up any time soon.
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2015, 01:03:36 PM »

Harley is selling image based on them being around for a long time. Honda can't recreate that since they have only been in the USA since the 60's. Why do you think Polaris spent so much time and money acquiring the Indian brand? Even though Victory is a superior product, they never put a dent in Harley's sales numbers.
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2015, 02:05:20 PM »

There is certain value in the USA image, longevity, and the culture but Harley also makes much better bikes than Indian. Anecdotally, every single Indian motorcycle of which I'm aware in my circle of people, every single one, had been in the shop. A lot and for serious things.

Also, Indian had no longevity in ownership, it's closed at least three times, one of which lasted something like 50 years, and is always revived based on the hopes of "America's brand". We already have one of those. So, how does it set itself apart?

Quality. Building something that's not redundant. Well, they're not doing either. What's their next play? With Polaris in the mix, they should end up with much better engines... The Victory mills are wonderful... So what else can they do? Victory builds a new design ideas into the cruiser and touring cruiser market... And they sell tiny numbers comparatively.

No one likes to say this, but Harley has won the cruiser war. At least for a while, yet. They did it 50 years ago. And they just keep getting better and better at giving people what they want, keep it looking like what they want, yet still refining and adding the right stuff in a conservative way, and holding onto their lead.

The lesson, IMO, is that they're doing EXACTLY what their customers expect of them, and maybe some other marques are, or should be, OK subsisting on the few who don't actually want a HD branded machine for wherever reason.

Every dynasty ends. But it's not Harleys time yet.

Forgive any typos: phone screen typing is not my forte.
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ChrisandKristin
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2015, 03:29:43 PM »

Harley is selling image based on them being around for a long time. Honda can't recreate that since they have only been in the USA since the 60's. Why do you think Polaris spent so much time and money acquiring the Indian brand? Even though Victory is a superior product, they never put a dent in Harley's sales numbers.

Specs on paper don't make a superior product and that's why Victory hasn't been that successful.  The timeline for Harley went something like in the early 80's they're dang near broke due to gross mismanagement of the company.  They're done.  Vaughn Beals and Willie G. Davidson didn't think so, so they bought it.  The image is there but the quality isn't under AMF.  Harley-Davidson gets a bad reputation.

By the early '90's they had achieved greater than 50% market share in big displacement bikes.  Oh well, they're selling image, after all.

By the turn of the century they had achieved 88% market share of big displacement bikes over 600cc.  All the motorcycle rags that do nothing but laud praises on the metrics are going, dang - these bikes are actually pretty good quality, after all.  But it can't last.

By 2010 the recession had hit everybody and Harley-Davidson continues to outpace the industry in growth.  Well ok, must be that image thing yet.  And despite the recession and slump in sales, Harley's CVO Factory Custom division is booming.  But it can't last - we're still gonna hang on to the AMF years and proclaim that Harleys are technologically inferior and poor quality.

Which brings us to the present where virtually every manufacturer in existence has tried to copy Harley's style and beat them with perceived high-technology.  All have failed because as every Harley owner knows, the Motor Company builds motorcycles that have stuck with a proven design with attention to detail, quality and the Right Stuff that none other have matched.  Whether it be a base model, or a CVO Factory Custom, even if you don't like Harley-Davidson or their designs,  but appreciate machinery, you have to admire the workmanship in one.

It is way more than image.  There is no company that can have a success run like that on just image.  Harley-Davidson sums it up very well on their website where it says about their top-of-the-line Ultra, "When you set out to improve the most respected touring machine on earth, you don't take shortcuts and you sure as hell don't accept any limits."

Harley's success is because they build motorcycles.  Really dang good ones that have far out-lived most of their metric counterparts.  And while they may not appeal to you, that simply means that you are not representative of what the market wants in a motorcycle.
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sirkitrider-2
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2015, 04:08:49 PM »

Hey, I don't care what you ride .... But "we the people" NEVER had to bailout any metric manufacturers.... At least to my knowledge.  See links below.

http://www.csmonitor.com/1982/0909/090933.html

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2010/12/article/harley-davidson-loaned-2-3-billion-from-fed/

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+many+times+has+harley+davidson+been+bailed+out

Just saying....

Sirkitrider




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John 3:16
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2015, 04:38:46 PM »

Something doesn't add up for me?  If Harleys are so "bulletproof" and built so well, then why are they at the bottom of the reliability ratings?  They do sell and market a large image, that I admit the Japanese brands haven't touched.  Have you ever seen Honda or Suzuki pajamas, I haven't??  I also will admit that a ton of people own them.  One of the large charity rides I do each year, consisting of over 700 bikes, I'm willing to bet over half are Harleys and they all look the same, if you talk to them, they will declare they will never buy anything else, because they want to stay in the elite group they're a part of.  I  truly believe if another motorcycle brand came out with something twice as good, at half the price, they would still buy Harleys.
They do have the cult following that no other motorcycle brand has or probably never will and that does equal success.  It doesn't matter how good a product is, if you can market it well, it will sell.  This is true for any product.  I'm not knocking Harleys, I just think if you stripped the image away, the sales would follow.
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ChrisandKristin
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2015, 06:49:32 PM »

Hey, I don't care what you ride .... But "we the people" NEVER had to bailout any metric manufacturers.... At least to my knowledge.  See links below.

The US government did nothing more for Harley than foreign governments don't do for their domestic manufacturers.

We the people, helping Harley-Davidson out during the hard times being owned by AMF, turned into one of the greatest Fortune 500 success stories in the history of business.  We the people, no matter what you ride, all benefit from it because it is a true American brand, American owned and operated, and eventually became the largest and most respected manufacturer of big-displacement motorcycles on earth.  With every last dime of any help provided, paid back to we the people, with interest and stock earnings.

We've wanted a Harley for the longest time because we've test rode them and always likes the big Ultra for two-up touring.  I am primarily a metric rider and enjoy and own those too.  But they don't put a grin on face like riding the Harley does.  The Harley has a soul.  Something that grabbed my heart and won't let go because I got the only authentic real American Iron under me and I like that.  And that's why they sell.
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2015, 07:18:44 PM »

Hey, I don't care what you ride .... But "we the people" NEVER had to bailout any metric manufacturers.... At least to my knowledge.  See links below.

http://www.csmonitor.com/1982/0909/090933.html

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2010/12/article/harley-davidson-loaned-2-3-billion-from-fed/

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+many+times+has+harley+davidson+been+bailed+out

Just saying....

Sirkitrider







i could be mistaken but i'm pretty sure the US taxpayers rebuilt the japanese economy after they started the trouble 75 or so years ago.
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« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2015, 02:18:01 AM »

Something doesn't add up for me?  If Harleys are so "bulletproof" and built so well, then why are they at the bottom of the reliability ratings?  They do sell and market a large image, that I admit the Japanese brands haven't touched.  Have you ever seen Honda or Suzuki pajamas, I haven't??  I also will admit that a ton of people own them.  One of the large charity rides I do each year, consisting of over 700 bikes, I'm willing to bet over half are Harleys and they all look the same, if you talk to them, they will declare they will never buy anything else, because they want to stay in the elite group they're a part of.  I  truly believe if another motorcycle brand came out with something twice as good, at half the price, they would still buy Harleys.
They do have the cult following that no other motorcycle brand has or probably never will and that does equal success.  It doesn't matter how good a product is, if you can market it well, it will sell.  This is true for any product.  I'm not knocking Harleys, I just think if you stripped the image away, the sales would follow.

I can't speak to the ratings - anecdotally, my two Harleys were 100% reliable, every single time I turned the key. Never had a break-down, etc. Of course, unlike many of the people who buy them, I didn't drive them both into the shop with 9 miles on the odometer and drop $8k on engine upgrades that 99.9999999% riders can't possibly and efficiently use, I didn't log the engine at 1500 RPM shifts, I didn't replace every piece on the bikes with chrome and useless geegaws, I didn't let my bikes sit in the garage 9 months out of the year.

We all buy and ride for different reasons. Again, anecdotally, every Harley that is ridden like a bike should be ridden, in my sphere of familiarity, doesn't break down and need lots of work, while the garage queens that might get 2000 miles a year on them end up with all sorts of issues.

Sitting is the worst possible thing for a gas-powerer motor vehicle with a wet-cell battery. Harleys are no exception.

:shrug:
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ChrisandKristin
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« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2015, 04:24:01 AM »

One thing you notice is that it's pretty hard to find a Harley owner that's unhappy with their bike.  It's primarily the people that have never owned one that are unhappy with them.  

Our bike came with this secondary emergency belt kit that can evidently be installed without removing the clutch and primary and swingarm.  It's still in the package and never been opened, and I hesitate to open it and have it floating around in the Tour-Pak or bags and lose something from it if I'd need it someday.  Just curious if any actual Harley owners have ever used one of these?  And how it works?


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sirkitrider-2
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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2015, 04:47:40 AM »


[/quote]With every last dime of any help provided, paid back to we the people, with interest and stock earnings.
[/quote]

Please provide link to article stating that "we the people" got our 2.3 BILLON back....
And I'm not agin HD ... I am however agin bailouts.  I'm just askin if HD is SO successful, huge market share, yada yada, then why in the heck do they need a bail out twice in the last 30 years?  Especially the most recent one in circa 2010... 2.3 billion to company that is already the big dog, king of the hill, número uno, vtwin Mac daddy....

BTW, I ride a Suzuki Burgman 650, the Goldwing of scooters.   Never heard  one called the Ultra of the scooters:)

Sirkitrider
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« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2015, 05:02:39 AM »


[/quote]i could be mistaken but i'm pretty sure the US taxpayers rebuilt the japanese economy after they started the trouble 75 or so years ago.[/quote]

You are not mistaken, but that was after we nuked them:).  We did, and I reckon rightfully so, help them rebuild.  AND that was aid to a nation NOT a bail out to a private company/manufacter.  Ironically,  the "metric" motorcycle played a major role in rebuilding their economy post WWII. 
Japan is now a major ally. Not sure if the HD militia is gonna suit up if need be?
Sirkitrider
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ChrisandKristin
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« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2015, 05:24:35 AM »

Please provide link to article stating that "we the people" got our 2.3 BILLON back....
And I'm not agin HD ... I am however agin bailouts.


Well, it's obvious you have some sort of agenda, but you obviously do not understand business and there was no "bailouts".

First of all, what the government did was purchase commercial paper, which, in and of itself, is not an unusual thing. The increase in the amount of commercial paper being purchased in 2008 and 2009 was unique, but Harley was but one of the corporations aided with short-term financing this way.  Their HDFS arm was hit by the same fiasco that almost took out a bunch of other banks.

Second, the last of the commercial paper matured on May 12, 2009 - it was paid back with interest as of that date.

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/568/8613/Motorcycle-Article/Harley-Davidson-Loaned--2-3-Billion-from-Fed.aspx
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« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2015, 01:15:47 PM »

One thing you notice is that it's pretty hard to find a Harley owner that's unhappy with their bike.  It's primarily the people that have never owned one that are unhappy with them.   

Our bike came with this secondary emergency belt kit that can evidently be installed without removing the clutch and primary and swingarm.  It's still in the package and never been opened, and I hesitate to open it and have it floating around in the Tour-Pak or bags and lose something from it if I'd need it someday.  Just curious if any actual Harley owners have ever used one of these?  And how it works?





i never saw one in person but the 2 ends are V shape, one end female the other male. i would think the male V would go over the top of the front pulley. there's some sort of screws that screw the 2 ends together. you have to feed it through, where the front pulley is in the primary. i guess you would need to loosen the rear axel and adjusters to get enough slack to screw the 2 ends together. the belt that broke on mine happened in the garage so i got lucky.
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« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2015, 01:21:37 PM »




here's another trick for you, chris. drill a small hole on the lower saddle bag tab, get a small hair pin and stick it in there for extra saddle bag safety. i attached the pin with a rawhide shoe string from fleet farm.
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« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2015, 02:27:10 PM »

One thing you notice is that it's pretty hard to find a Harley owner that's unhappy with their bike.  It's primarily the people that have never owned one that are unhappy with them.   

Our bike came with this secondary emergency belt kit that can evidently be installed without removing the clutch and primary and swingarm.  It's still in the package and never been opened, and I hesitate to open it and have it floating around in the Tour-Pak or bags and lose something from it if I'd need it someday.  Just curious if any actual Harley owners have ever used one of these?  And how it works?





Never did, nor did mine come with one. I did in excess of 50,000 on both my harleys (combined) in two years of ownership (owned the 'Glide and Sportster, mostly at the same time, the sportster a little longer) and the belts looked good as new when they left my garage. In fact, in thinking about it, I think they both only needed one adjustment in all that time.
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ChrisandKristin
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« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2015, 05:11:29 PM »

I should probably open that belt kit and look in it to make sure I know how it works.  Then re-seal it in a zip lock bag or something.  It would be nice to know how to use it if the belt would break to be able to get to a Harley dealership to get a new one.  The time the rear end went out of our Goldwing we were pretty much screwed and there was nothing we could do but call a towing company and get it hauled in.  It went out when we going up a hill and that was it.  I knew something was stripped out but even taking it very easy and trying to "baby it" into a dealership didn't work.  The slightest load on it would just make grinding sounds and metal shavings and the bike wouldn't move.  It is a pretty helpless feeling when you're 1,800 miles from home, not enough tools along to do a major repair, and no parts to fix it even if you did have tools.

I should verify that it actually fits too.  After the engine work was done on our bike they changed the final ratio so the Big Twin is only spinning 2,300 at 60 mph, and there is absolutely no reason to turn it over 3,000 because it has torque up to wahzoo.  Both the front and rear sprockets were changed and I think it has a standard 136 tooth belt yet, but should verify that.

Thanks for the tip on the bag lids.  I like that idea.  We keep the bag and Tour-Pak lids locked going down the road too.

Having come from the Honda GL's for two-up touring, I like the Tour-Pak better than the GL's trunk.  The bags I'm still undecided about.  They are nice from the standpoint that they can be easily removed, and nice from the standpoint that the removable lids make it nicer to stuff things in there.  But they're narrower than the GL's bags, and while we haven't tried packing for a long trip yet, I don't think they'll hold as much "stuff" as the GL.

The other thing is the lowers.  We got the factory ones and the bike had aftermarket lowers on it when we got it.  We have since taken the aftermarket ones off too and actually like it better for warm weather.  I put some nice billet H-D highway pegs on inside the crash bar.  Put your feet up on those cruising down the road and stretch your legs out and that big Ultra is so damn comfortable it'll put you to sleep.  I'm really enjoying having a bike made of solid iron again where you can do something like that to stretch your legs out without feeling like you're straddling a 55 gallon drum:


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bagga
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« Reply #29 on: June 21, 2015, 05:48:55 PM »

my 85 has a 136 belt. stock gearing through out the drive train.
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