It seems a long time ago but in reality it was only on 20th July 2017 that I took delivery of a new 2017 Harley Davidson FLSS motor cycle.
Here it is in all its glory:
The bike had to be run in, 1,600 klms in all, before the engine’s full potential could be unleashed. As deliverd, this model Harley had been factory fitted with a Screaming Eagle performance motor and a few other bits and pieces to transform it into a genuine weapon.
Over the following two weeks I rode about 350 klms, adhering strictly to the running in procedure and enjoyed every minute, with a some exceptions.
Firstly, this Harley was fitted with an hydraulic clutch. After 25 years riding Harleys with cable operated clutches I felt that it would take forever for me to master this new Harley technology.
Secondly, there was my problem with the ergonomics. The standard seat, although comfortable enough seemed to place my knees in a position that was slightly uncomfortable and my feet felt wrongly positioned on the foot plates.
Thirdly, after I replaced the original seat with an aftermarket one I found the riding position was first class, but, it was like sitting on a pile of broken house bricks. Problem far from solved.
Whilst all of the seating arrangements were being sorted out I decided to add a quick release Harley windscreen to the bike. This is where the forth problem arose.
To match the bikes colour I needed a windscreen with the connecting mechanism in black chrome. When it finally arrived, normal chrome had been supplied, minus the attachment kit.
Back to the supplying dealer, change over no problem. The new screen and all the correct attachments arrived post haste. Problem solved? Unfortunately, no, which led to problem five.
I’d ordered an 18″ screen. Only 21″ was available. On this occasion the problem was solved by a local motor cycle expert modifyer who swiftly reduced the screen from 21″ to 18″ as perfectly as one delivered direct from Harley Davidson.
Now you might think that all of these little issues were over and done with but the seat problem still exixsted.
Finally to solve problem number three I ordered an Harley Davidson Sundowner two up seat.
It fitted the bike like a glove, looked perfect but there was only one problem, let’s call it number five.
The new seat put me too far forward towards the fuel tank, so, back to my friendly motor cycle modifyer where the seat was slightly modified and hey presto, all problems solved.
I took it for a run and after about 60 klms I found the new bike was perfect. It not only looked great, it’s performance, even though not fully run in was subperb. And best of all, it seemed to be very comfortable to ride.
On arriving home after totting up a total of 120 klms I found it extremely difficult to dismount. My neck, lower back, left arm and wrist seemed frozen in place.
Finally I made it inside. I wasn’t cold, even though it was mid July and the outside temperature was hovering around the 8 degree centigrade level.
When I could move unaided, I got the bike back into its shed and secured it to the floor.
Shortly thereafter, another series of events, totally unrelated to motorcycling took place at Cassa Creakingbones, effectively stifling my general activities, including motorcycling.
The months dragged by, my beautiful, yes that’s the correct description, Harley FLSS sat in the shed, chained to the floor and attached to the battery minder. Every time I approached, I imagined the bike begging to be taken out of the shed, ridden, shown off and returned with the oil heated, the tyres warm and the odometer proudly recording more and more kilometres.
Unfortunately the situation at Cassa Creakingbones hadn’t changed and tearing off into the countryside was still out of the question.
The final days of 2017 came and went, PC-99 still sat, unused and alone in the shed.
Then, late in March 2018 I got a call from an old motorcycling mate who told me that he’d been into my favourite Harley Dealership to kick a few tyres and whilst in there, the Dealer Principal told him that there, amongst the new 2018 Harley Davidsons was the perfect motorcycle for me.
I’ve been dealing with that one dealership for over twenty five years and I obviously value their advice and the way they look after me as a customer. Interestingly, on reflection I can recall their advice that although the customer is always right, I was barking up the wrong tree with the FLSS. How right they were.
Anyway, I had a long yarn with a local professional I respect and she advised me that I should place Cassa Creakingbones unfortunate issues on the back burner for at least one day a week, circumstances permitting, for my own good and get out and about, solo.
The very next day SWMBO and I headed down to Sydney and straight to my favourite Hartley Dealer.
There, in gleaming vivid black was the Harley my mate and the Dealer Principal had described as perfect for me.
In true Harley rider style, I threw the leg over the seat, grabbed the bars and stood the bike up. Turning to SWMBO I asked if I passed the, ‘How do I look,’ test.
Her answer was in the positive. Very positive in fact. I immediately felt relieved.
If you don’t look good on the Harley then it’s not the bike for you.
I only looked good on the FLSS because there was no chrome, just all black. Hardly the shop window test.
To cut a long story short, grasping the appropriate Harley Brochure we returned home and I studied everything I could about the 2018 Harley Davidsons and read many, many rider reviews. I was cautiously convinced that my mate and the dealer were correct and began to plot and plan for a future acquisition.
Then to my surprise I read a wonderful piece here on WordPress extolling the virtues of the new Harley Davidson engines and monoshock suspensions on the Softails, not to mention the significant weight savings thanks to the new frame.
Next day I set the wheels in motion and on Friday 13th April, 2018 my brand spanking new vivid black 2018 Harley Davidson Dulxe (FLDE) was delivered my door.
I experienced no feeling of loss when the FLSS was loaded into the back of the dealer’s van and driven away towards Sydney. All I could think of was hopping on the FLDE, tearing down to the motor registry and retreiving my PC-99 registration plates that I’ve had on my Harleys for yonks.
So here is the new pride and joy, resting on a piece of artificial grass outside it’s personal garage:
I’ve clocked up 257 klms now and although I’m adhereing to the running in rules everything I’ve read about the performance of the new Softails is absolutely correct.
On this Deluxe model, the steering is crisp and exact, in fact the bike is far more twitchable than any of the Harleys I’ve previously owned. The front and rear suspensions are absoluterly the ants pants, cornering is enhanced, the brakes leave nothing to be desired and, to my great satisfaction, the clutch has reverted to the cable actuation method. Good on you Harley Davidson engineers.
The standard seat is comfy and places my knees in a comfortable spot with my feet positioned correctly and comfortabley near the foot controls.
In standard form there is a toe only gear selector lever. I’ve always used the heel and toe Harley system and fortunately provision is made for conversion to the old way. Of course I’ve had that carried out. Perfecto.
A quick release windscreen is on the way together with a few other little goodies to increase the shop window impact.
Am I a happy little chappie( usually the term is happy little vegemite) and I reckon this new Harley will fulfill every one of my motorcycle expectations.
Hoo roo for now