I’m the King of the…Road?
This post isn’t about writing. It isn’t about editing. It isn’t about my books in any fashion. No, it’s about another one of my passions. Not my family or lifting weights either. No, this is about my motorcycle. For those of you playing along at home that guessed my bike as a Harley Davidson Road King (thus the title), you earned a point!
Speaking of said bike, I’ve made two payments on it now. I’ve had some issues and I’ve spotted some design changes I think should have been made to it. More so, I’ve got a list of customizations I hope to make to it as time (and funds) come my way. This is my first Harley and there are two reason for that. The first is due to their high cost and the second is because of the many quality issues Harley’s have had. Speaking of the first issue, the cost is still up there but to add to it if you want to get work done at a Harley Davidson shop, the rates are outrageous. Incentive to do the work on my own!
To elaborate on the second issue, Harleys have gotten a lot better over the years. The oil leaks are gone and the sticky cables seem to be stick free. They even have fuel injected engines these days and finding a hardtail is virtually impossible. So yeah, they’ve done a lot with their quality and selection. These days there’s a flavor of Harley for every style. Mine happens to be the Road King.
But some bugs and quirks persist. Take the keyless remote security system. It’s a device that allows the bike to start and work when it’s within 3′ – 6′ of the bike. That means you never put the key in the bike. That also means if you use the handlebar kill switch to kill the engine, you damn well better remember to flip the ignition switch on the gas tank to off or you’ll leave your lights on. Not that I’ve done that a few times, it’s just a flaw I noticed. Compounded by the difficult of having to remove one of the saddlebags, then the seat, then the battery cover in order to jump start the battery. And charging the battery back will take approximately a half hour ride – doing it for less than that might leave it unwilling or unable to turn over and start again. That’s what this friend of mine who’s got one just like mine told me…
Having successfully changed my shutdown procedure – in light of the report from my “friend” – I was disturbed to see my check engine light come on during a ride in to work one morning. The ambient temperature was in the mid 60s and everything else was perfectly normal. My cruise control also refused to work – all the more odd since it worked fine the night before. Two days later on my way home from work (outside temp in the upper 90s) the check engine and low battery lights came on. Then they went off. Then they came on. I was looking for a pattern but couldn’t find one. Rather than going to the gym I took it to the dealership to get it resolved.
Their resolution was that it had a bad regulator. Fifteen minutes later and at no charge to me (warranties rock), it was running smooth again.
So disaster averted, right? I hope so. I’ve put a few miles on it since then without any more hiccups. My only remaining complaint is the heat. This is my fourth cruiser I’ve owned but the first one that was strictly air cooled. My next bike, I have to say, is definitely going to be liquid + air cooled. I’ve never been on a bike before that was downright miserable to ride at times because of the heat coming off the engine. Now this is only when stuck in traffic or riding slowly in 80+ degree weather, but there’s enough of that to go around to make it a serious factor for consideration.
Bikes I’ve owned and my thoughts on them:
Honda Shadow 1200cc (nice looking cruiser, okay power, didn’t like the stock seats or handlebars)
Kawasaki Nomad 1500cc (great looking cruiser / tourer, not so great seats, decent power with proper aftermarket parts, rode like a tank (aka didn’t turn all that well))
Honda VTX 1800cc (really great looking cruiser, needs aftermarket seats, great power before and after aftermarket pipes / fuel chip, a great ride)
Harley Davidson Road King Classic (really great looking cruiser, decent seat, good power with stock parts, too damn hot)
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