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The use of the word "poor" has me baffled. The hard-working common man built the Harley brand into what it is today. A free-spirited, go by my own rules attitude used to be synonomous with a biker, and a biker rode a Harley out of pride for his country and the work of his hard-working brothers. Now what I'm hearing is that HD is synonomous with success and positive cash-flow. Well, congratulations on your success and corresponding snobbish egotistical attitude. Obviously the wind-in-your-face camraderie is not what you are in this for, you want status. I bet you drive your BMW when there is a strong chance of rain, huh? I've taught MSF for over 7 years and gave private lessons past that, and I can tell you there is no more gratifying feeling than to welcome a new rider into the fold, but I suppose I should mock them if they aren't ready to go out and buy a Harley as their first bike. MSF courses are predominently taught to new riders with little or no ego, just a desire to ride. Private lessons were more well off folks who bought a Harley without even knowing how to ride, and didn't want anyone to know. While I applaud them for getting training, these folks are hardly in a position to go around professing to be the king of the two-wheeled hill because they ride a Harley. Does anyone notice all the customs out there? Why so many? Perhaps HD has been neutered and they have become invisible in a crowd now, so the large cash-flow contingent, in an effort to make an impression at the biker hangout pays 35 large for a phat tired custom. Meanwhile my little old Suzuki that "only" cost $12,400 is still turning a bunch of heads. Oh and BTW, you can bet that if a Jap bike costs that much, it's already got so much technology and high-performance built in that it doesn't require an additional 6K in accessories tacked onto your HD finance contract. Chasing your tail I'd say. Find a bike that strikes you and does what you want it to do and ride the damn thing. And wave back for cryin out loud.
 

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good one ...this sports/cruiser thing is fairly sad all round ....you are not the bike you ride, you are not some easy rider type ..you are not a moto gp star... you are still you ....no matter how good the the manufacturers marketing and pr are... you can dress like them but you are still the same underneath it all ...do japanese outlaw types ride harleys and dis japanese bikes ? i dont ***** get it ..just ride the one you like and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks or more worryingly what you think about yourself....
 

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Re: No, YOU're missing the point

"All manufacturers strive for constant refinement of their products. All manufacturers are slaves to their consumers, and respond to their demands/wants/needs."

No, the Japs have lost touch with their clients 30 years ago. They make products (and market) solely to beat the competition. Nobody needs 200hp to enjoy him(her) self on public roads ... but if a competing manufacturer has a 190hp bike, a 200hp bike will sell. Japs are only interested in selling product.

I know – I owned 4 GSRXRs, a Fireblade and a number of Ninjas, including a 1984 900R which was the last sensible Japanese bike ever produced.

"Harley-Davidson has a good handle on their consumer base, and responds to their demands by constant refinement in all areas that they know their customers will respond to."

Not by making their customers bike obsolete (thanks for your correction). Their biggest upgrade was going 6 speed on the twin cam motor. This can be retrofitted on all motors including evolution and shovelheads.

Can you upgrade a 2002 GSXR into a 2006 model? Erm no?

"As far as Japanese cruisers go, the manufacturers are building what the customer base has demanded of them."

What customer base?

"Sure, the performance is there, but so is the performance in your V-Rod, so I am confused by your comments."

I do not have a V-Rod.

"Are you denying that HD does not respond to customer demand as well?"

Not denying, but they do not make existing customer’s bikes obsolete.

"Priced a good condition H2 lately?"

Honestly no, I have not. I did price a 17 year old Korean prostitute last night and it was quite cheap (but admittedly much nicer ride that the American equivalent)

Note. An H2 (and H1) was a piece of ***** in 1970 and it is a piece of ***** now.

"There are lots of riders out there who were not raised on the HD mantra. I am one of them"

That makes two of us.

"I could afford a Harley if I wanted one, but it would deny me of several bikes that are more suited to my tastes in riding and, yes, performance."

I know of no new Harley for sale that cannot easily exceed any US speed limit by a wide margin. You want more performance? You want to ride faster still? Then get the f*ck off public roads where my wife and children are. Fair request?

"In any case, I suspect you will not answer this in any coherent manner, anyway"

My apologies, as an educated man it is difficult to stoop down to your level or coherence. I do hope you appreciate my attempt.
 

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And by the way, this argument is almost completely out of date anyway. There are only a few remaining snobs out there, and they aren't even real bikers, they are the status riders. The REAL bikers are accepting rice rockets more now because there are so many new riders out there and they are sharing the same great riding roads, hangouts, etc. They are meeting the people and finding out just what the gentleman above said, the guy under the riding gear is a person like the rest, and if he/she is cool, then high five - pop a cold one. Hey, would you mind if I take that thing for a spin? I'm afraid it'll wheelie over though, or I'll flip over the handlebars". Don't worry man, if the throttle hand is connected to a functional brain, you'll be fine. Be careful.
 

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Re: Still a Harley clone.

I have a nice fat boy but I am certainly not staying with Harley. I recognize and cherish the fact it holds up the value better than others, and has also more appreciated brand. But its not enough.

For me the lack of performance has become the killer. Although it has just as much power as it had when I bought it in 2002, the world has moved on. The relative performance has changed gradually from "barely enough" to "painfully inadequate". Its not that I need to drag race VTXs, but every time I twist the throttle I know I am getting it pretty lame. Of course, I could start a project to get 95 hp on the rear wheel. But why to go there with a big struggle, cost and risk if the competition is already there? If someone finds an answer to this I´d be happy to stick to H-D.

- cruiz-euro
 

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From the Author:

Apparently there are some misconceptions out threre about free-lance writers, and this one in particular. Free-lancers are not shills for the motorcycle manufacturers, nor do they pander to them to get invites to press launches. And no manufacturer EVER tries to overtly influence what we write. THey know that if they did, that writer would have a negative attitude to all future test rides and reviews. I've written that the Harley Sportster is an AWFUL motorcycle, and the worst one one the market. Months later, I was one of the first 9 journalists to get to test their 06 Screamin' Eagle Bikes.



I get invited to some press launches, and get shut out of others. They can't invite every journalist they'd like to because of time, expense, and logistics. They'd like to be able to invite 50 rather than 15, as it would get the word out to a wider audience.



I own a Yamaha Virago, and a Kawasaki Ninja 650R, but I'm not a "Yamaha Guy" or a "Kawasaki Guy." I'm a MOTORCYCLE GUY. And while I enjoyed the press launch of the Ninja 650 enough to go buy one, I still really like the Suzuki SV650, and Honda 599 competitive products, and wrote very positive and objective reviews of those bikes for my readers.



The M-109 may have read like ad copy to you, but in my objective opinion, it is an OUTSTANDING motorcycle. And since, unlike you and most other folks, I get to ride dozens of different motorcycles, I can be objective in writing about them. I suspect if I'd written a glowing review of the bike you own, and you saw that I was a free-lancer, you wouldn't have thought it read like a sales brochure, you'd have thought I was a genious.



And MO has a reputation as a first-class website, with a knowlegable staff, and wouldn't have done a disservice to their members by publishing my story if they thought I was in the back pocket of Suzuki or any other manufacturer, rather than a qualified and respected writer.



And by the way, I am the regular motorcycle columnist for the Daily Herald Newspaper, in Chicago, and we are the only newspaper in the country with a separate 6 to 8 page Motorcycling Section running every week during the riding season. So I've earned my stripes.
 

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"A friend was a recent convert to Harley. He likes it but said he has to set a paycheck aside if he wants to get a tune-up on the thing."



That's odd considering Harleys have self-adjusting valves and a belt drive that needs only rarely needs to have its tension adjusted. Two spark plugs and I'm done with my tune up at the cost of $10 or so. Even if I want to jet my FXST, it takes all of 10 minutes to access the single carb and do the swap.
 

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Re: No, YOU're missing the point

What do you mean "If I wanted to ride sh*t, I would have bought sh*t"? Considering that V-Rod is heavier and has less torque and less power than 20 yr old V-Max, you did exactly that.

- cruiz-euro
 

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I with you man. I'm 32 and I've been riding sportbikes for 12 years. I'm getting bored with the inline 4. It has no character. I'm also tiring (pun intended) of the ever increasingly painful ergonomics. The good roads are 2-3 hours from where I live... That's 4-6 hours of riding just to get there and back! I think I'd be better served by something more comfortable and easy to live with riding in my own area. I currently own a Z1000 which does a decent job of being a comfortable sportbike, but it really doesn't want to go slow. To be comfortable you need to ride it 65-85mph. I find that I just want to enjoy the ride and not play boy racer anymore. I am in love with the design of the M109R! VERY sporty! I wish it weighed about 100 lbs less, but if the suspension and the brakes are up to it it could be all good. Can't wait to ride one. This could be the bike I'm looking for... or maybe the Yami Warrior....
 

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Major changes nowadays to the reaction by Harley riders to rice burners versus 20-25 years ago. Back in college, I got reactions ranging from no response to having the bird shot at me when I was riding my Suzuki 550 past a Harley rider. Now, I ride a Honda CBR-1100xx, and almost ALL riders wave as they ride by, as do I.



I think there is more of a "we cycle riders need to stick together" philosophy today. I certainly believe that.
 

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Re: Why a

I too find the M109R to be an intriguing new design -- a cruiser for those who want some degree of sporting performance and more power. However, as I think about it, exactly what is the purpose of this 694 pound beast? The whole idea of a cruiser (to my mind) does not much encompass the performance side of motorcycling. Rather, it's to enjoy the comfortable, spread-out, relaxing experience of riding a bike with a big engine that is not "busy" feeling. It' s to ride a bike that is strong but not particularly fast, in short, a bike that's fun to ride slowly.

For cruising, I have a Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad that excels at this type of riding, and which, for good measure, has been enhanced so that it is also fine for long distance riding (at a relaxed pace). It weighs even more than the M109R (but not much), and it's acceleration is fine for what it's intended for. It doesn't need any more power than it has.

On the other hand, if you want a big-torque V-twin with more performance for the street, why choose a 694 pound behemoth? I also have a Buell M2 Cyclone that has a simple, low maintennance 1200 cc V-twin that is a fine nimble-handling street sportbike. It has substantially less power than the M109R, but it also weighs only 438 pounds! When you add my weight to that of the 109 and to the Cyclone and compare the HP to weight ratios, the Cyclone comes out slightly better.

The M109R looks like a fine machine (and I've seen one in person), but I really wonder what the point of a "performance cruiser" really is.
 

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Does that mean you picked up a M109r already? Our Dealer in Gilroy was clueless about the 109. With the beautiful pipes, where do you put storage for distance cruising, I wonder? I'm happy for the plastic parts, and hope that breeds a little convertibility.
 

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The beautiful Harley exhaust note still rings for me, and the infinite aftermarket sure is attractive, until I add up all the time I spent looking in catalogues and trying to make up my mind ... when I should be out riding!

The comfort of my Suzuki 1500 beats all, but I have been longing for the power to keep that front wheel up a little longer. How would you describe the exhaust note? What kinda mileage? Have you thought about setting the 109 up for a longer tour? I've been waiting for this bike, but wonder if the techno wrappings it has will fit or if there will be a tourer package with a low 2-1 tailpipe to allow big bags.
 

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So how does it sound at low and high RPM? Too heavy to snub the VMax? With the engine build, probably not much aftermarket stuff like the pushrodders ... except nitrous. Is she stingy on gas? Wonder how much weight is in the exhaust system? Would it help to fill that back tire with Helium?
 

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Re: Why a

"The M109R looks like a fine machine (and I've seen one in person), but I really wonder what the point of a "performance cruiser" really is."

No one will probably read this but, I can't believe the above question. Point is avg. cruiser handling sux. These are major improvements in handling, no not true sportbike handling, but handling which might save your rear in an emergency. If you have not had a close call yet you will.
 
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