Tag Archives: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson: The G.I. Enthusiast Collection (2022)

Harley-Davidson is celebrating our country’s vets with a new edition for the Pan America™ 1250 Special and Tri Glide® Ultra models – and they’re not keeping the models to the general community. 

According to Harley’s press release, two special vets will be awarded a unit from the The G.I. Enthusiast Collection: 

Gary Wetzel, an honoured vet and recipient of a unit of Harley's G.I. Enthusiast Collection. Media sourced from Harley's Facebook page.
Gary Wetzel, an honoured vet and recipient of a unit of Harley’s G.I. Enthusiast Collection. Media sourced from Harley’s Facebook page.

Gary Wetzel

“A Medal of Honor recipient for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War after his U.S. Army helicopter was shot down and came under heavy enemy fire.”

“Severely wounded, he continued to fight back and help other injured soldiers. He is an avid Harley-Davidson rider and veteran issues activist.”

Harley-Davidson's Enthusiast Collection, featuring units inspired to honour vets. Media sourced from Harley's website.
Harley-Davidson’s Enthusiast Collection, featuring units inspired to honour vets. Media sourced from Harley’s website.

Brian “Amarok” Critton

“Critton served for a decade in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Iraq, and now is active with veterans service organizations like Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).”

Critton’s actions included a trip to a Muay Thai meeting (on a Harley, of course), when the man saw smoke from a 3-vehicle accident and “pulled a woman from the accident.” 

So what does the The G.I. Enthusiast Collection entail?

CAKE's electric motorcycles, in the bid to present new paper-based fairings as a result of a partnership with PaperShell AB. Media sourced from Papershell.
Harley-Davidson's Enthusiast Collection, featuring units inspired to honour vets. Media sourced from Harley's website.
Harley-Davidson’s Enthusiast Collection, featuring units inspired to honour vets. Media sourced from Harley’s website.

Both the Pan America™ 1250 Special and Tri Glide® Ultra models feature a Mineral Green Denim Deluxe paint job, alongside service-inspired graphics, with the scheme “available only as factory-installed for the Pan America™ 1250 Special and Tri Glide® Ultra models, in limited quantities primarily for the U.S. market.”

Harley-Davidson's Enthusiast Collection, featuring units inspired to honour vets. Media sourced from Harley's website.
Harley-Davidson’s Enthusiast Collection, featuring units inspired to honour vets. Media sourced from Harley’s website.

The Pan America 1250 Special G.I. model will have a U.S. MSRP of $20,799, with the G.I. Enthusiast Collection Tri Glide Ultra model showing off a U.S. MSRP of $38,099.

Stay tuned for updates, drop a comment below letting us know what you think, and as ever – stay safe on the twisties. 

*Media sourced from Harley-Dvaidson, Blog Motorcycle.com, Harley’s Facebook page and Ultimate Motorcycling*

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson’s Two-Week Shutdown Lifts June 6th

Back on May 24th, we received news that Harley-Davidson was shutting down their five global plant locations due to a mysterious “regulatory compliance matter.”

Now, a report from BizJournals tells us that they’ve finally given the date they will be starting up again – and despite June 6th being nearly upon us, we can’t help but wonder how badly this latest issue has cost the American motorcycle manufacturer

A lineup of Harley bikes at a production plant waiting for the next step in the process. Photo courtesy of Motorcycle.com.
A lineup of Harley bikes at a production plant waiting for the next step in the process. Photo courtesy of Motorcycle.com.

“The company has not filed any updates or specifics with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,” comments the report. 

“The plant shutdowns add to new-motorcycle inventory shortages at Harley-Davidson dealerships that started during the Covid-19 pandemic and the supply-chain crisis.”

A worker in a Harley-Davidson production plant putting together a motorcycle engine. Photo courtesy of MBJ.
A worker in a Harley-Davidson production plant putting together a motorcycle engine. Photo courtesy of MBJ.

Todd Berlin, the general manager of Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson in Thiensville, has added his own coping mechanism to the situation, positing the all-too-common solution that “Suburban Motors continues taking orders for new Harleys but the dealership doesn’t know when the new bikes will arrive.”

The lack of communications from the American motorcycle company to Harley dealerships on the reason for the shortage has, by all appearances, been the elephant in the proverbial room for everybody; BizJournal even adds that the Milwaukee Business Journal’s queries on what went wrong were purportedly dropped.

This leaves us with one question left:

How much is H-D out due to the freeze?

workers in assembly at a Harley-Davidson factory. Photo courtesy of USA Today.
workers in assembly at a Harley-Davidson factory. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Baird, a financial services firm, currently has the services of an analyst named Kennison, who has purportedly estimated that Harley has likely lost ground on the production of around 9,000 bikes

Energica's new electric adventure tourer motorcycle, the Experia. Photo Courtesy of .

That equates to roughly $170 million of shipment revenue, according to Baird estimates,” emphasizes the report. 

“The situation could precipitate a recall…[and] the timing ahead of the summer riding season is particularly tough,” Kennison finishes. 

A Harley-Davidson plant. Photo courtesy of FOX43.
A Harley-Davidson plant. Photo courtesy of FOX43.

With the complexities of semiconductor shortages still affecting production availability, we will be curious to see how this particular production wrinkle pans out. 

Stay tuned via our shiny new webpage (and subscribe to our newsletter if you’d rather we send the best of the latest to you), and as ever – stay safe on the twisties. 

*Media sourced from Motorcycle.com, MBJ, USA Today, FOX43, and Fortune*

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Why the LiveWire Del Mar Sold Out in Under 18 Minutes

Back in mid-March, Harley’s new LiveWire brainchild – a middleweight Street Tracker going by the name ‘Del Mar’ – was debuted in a 100-unit batch of ‘Launch Edition’ machines. A scant 18 minutes later and the entire batch sold out, blowing the minds of anybody (me) watching the antics in real-time – which begs the following question.

Did Harley just capitalize on a niche market with a pent-up demand for accessible, affordable, quality, zero-emission scoots? 

Let’s look at the details.

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire Del Mar.

The Del Mar is currently available on Harley’s official LiveWire webpage for an MSRP of $17,699 USD. This is adjacent to LiveWire’s original electric machine, ‘The One,’ which is up for grabs “Starting at $22,799 USD,” and for which Top Speed details the sales figures of the year it debuted; a measly 371 units. 

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire Del Mar.

Based on this information alone (and the speed with which the Launch Edition fleet left the building), the price must have been just right for the value of the Del Mar (that is, of course, without talking about the specs of the Del Mar: A rather lacklustre 100 miles of range, punted forward by the website’s guarantee of torque carrying the 400-lb bike to ‘0-60 in 3.5 Seconds or Better’).

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire Del Mar.

A Yamaha XSR900 in the bid to bring awareness of an upcoming A2-compliant variant for Q4 of this year.

This goes in tandem with the words of H-D’s CEO Jochen Zeitz, whose current efforts are “grounded in enhancing the desirability of our brand and protecting the value of [H-D’s] iconic products.” 

Bottom line, a machine that’s nimbler about leaving the factory floor will be better about advertising for the company – especially if it is an adrenaline-saturated Flat Track history representative, inspired by the past and gunning for a zero-emission future. 

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire Del Mar.

Stay tuned here for updates, drop a comment letting us know what you think, and as ever – stay safe on the twisties. 

*Media sourced from H-D’s official LiveWire webpage, as well as Game News 24, AutoEvolution, CycleWorld, The Verge and Rider Magazine*

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Fight to save Davidson ancestral home

“They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom … or the Davidson family cottage!”

That’s the battle cry of a group of Scots fighting to protect the ancestors cottage of the Davidson see of the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson.

The Davidson Legacy Preservation group is a non-profit making group working to preserve, retain and enhance the accessibility of the Davidson Cottage in Netherton, Angus, Scotland UK. 

Group chair Nyree Aitken says they hope to promote the family home and its historical importance to the biker community.

Davidson Legacy Preservation group (from left): Seth Wing (vice chair), Nyree Aitken (chair), Jasper Watson, behind her Kevin Webster, Andy Harper (secretary), Mike Sinclair (founder), David Fraser, Maggie Sherrit (founder) and front is Ian Wallace (treasurer)

“The cottage was put up for sale as the current owners wish to retire but the only offers they have had have been from developers to knock it down and build new houses,” Nyree says. 

“We as a community of bikers, do not want such a significant part of history to be lost.”

The group is hoping to secure charity status before launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise £500,000 to buy the Davidson cottage and employ a project worker to run and maintain the Davidson Legacy for future generations.

Harley-Davidson executive Bill Davidson and boss Jochen Zeitz visited the cottage last summer when filming the Sporter S promotional video. 

Bill comments in the video below of the “awe-inspiring and emotional experience” of visiting his ancestral home. 

“The fact that they have preserved it for riders around the world to come and enjoy and spend time here, pretty awesome,” All says.

“Heritage is so powerful and is really unique to our company which I’m so proud of.”

Nyree says Bill’s comments help to keep them motivated andpgoves their campaign is “truly worthwhile”.

In 2008, Harley-Davidson enthusiasts Mike Sinclair, Maggie Sherrit and Keith Mackintosh found the cottage, by then a crumbling ruin. 

The property was earmarked for demolition to make way for a new housing development. Luckily, those three decided not to let that happen. 

They bought the cottage and set up the Davidson Legacy to save the site as a tribute to the pioneering Davidsons. 

For four years the Davidson Legacy team has worked tirelessly to restore the little house to how it would have looked when Sandy and Margaret left it in 1858 to make the gruelling trip to America.

“The restoration of The Davidson Cottage was a big undertaking and an arduous task even with all the help from local bikers but, in the end, it was all worth it,” Nyree says. 

“Maybe it reflects the long, difficult journey that Sandy and Margaret made with their children, including little William C, who went on to become father to the founders of the world’s best-known motorcycles.”

2022 BMW K1600 Grand America 719 Midnight Edition

Sandy and Margaret Davidson settled in Milwaukee where Sandy found work for himself as a carpenter in a local railroad company.

Their surviving three sons and two daughters also adjusted well to their new lives, and each prospered in their own way. 

His middle son, William C. Davidson (1846-1923) was born in Scotland and grew up in Angus, but he became a man in America. 

“He is pivotal to the story of the Davidson Legacy because he had the attributes of technical skill, an analytical mind and an aptitude for problem solving,“ Nyree says.

“These qualities are often considered typically Scottish as a nation of inventors and innovators. 

“More importantly, they are key to understanding the spirit of enterprise in America at the dawning of the twentieth century.”

William C. Davidson, a Scot and a naturalised American, set about building the very first Harley-Davidson workshop for his sons and now is famously known simply as The Shed. 

“He didn’t know it then, but he had laid the foundations for an iconic, internationally recognised, motorcycle-engineering phenomenon,” Nyree says.

You can find out more on the Davidson Legacy website, including a video of ‘Our Story’ which even includes Jean Davidsons visit and many more by clicking here.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Win a trip to Harley-Davidson global HQ

Aussie Harley riders are being invited to ride their bikes and win the ultimate prize of a trip for two to Harley’s Homecoming event later this year in its hometown of Milwaukee.

The competition is running until September and riders and non-riders can participate in chances to earn virtual badges to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win the grand prize.

Official Rules, program and prize details and more information regarding The Road to Harley-Davidson Homecoming Challenge, download the Harley-Davidson App, or visit H-D.com/ride.

You can compete and earn patches by taking riding challenges such as retracing your first ride, or riding various set distances or routes.

women's gear female riders

Share them on social media and you earn extra patches to go in the prize draw.

The competition is also open to non-riders who can take part by participating in various polls and surveys, quizzes about Harley product, or simply by calling in to a Harley dealer.

Harley-Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson Sportster S and old Sportser

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster | First Look Review

The 2022 Nightster is Harley-Davidson’s latest offering, resurrecting an old Sportster model name for a new liquid-cooled Sportster variant using a Revolution Max 975T powertrain. It’s similar to the Sportster 1250 S, but it’s dressed in more traditional garb with several classic Sportster styling cues, like the walnut fuel tank shape, round air intake cover, and a side cover that looks like the previous Sportster’s oil tank. The Nightster also uses twin shocks rather than the S’s rear monoshock. What looks like a fuel tank is an airbox cover to ensure adequate breathing for the 90-hp variable-valve-timing V-Twin, while a 3.1-gallon fuel tank resides below the seat. Pricing starts at $13,499 for the Vivid Black version, while color options retail for $13,899. More information can be found in the press release below.


2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

The 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster model starts a new chapter in the Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle story – a leap forward in performance and design while remaining an accessible entry point to motorcycling and the brand. This all-new motorcycle combines a classic Sportster model silhouette with the on-demand performance of the new Revolution Max 975T powertrain and a host of contemporary electronic rider aids and features. The 2022 Nightster model redefines the Sportster motorcycle experience for a new generation of riders.

Check out Rider’s 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide

“The Nightster is an instrument of expression and exploration, underpinned by performance,” said Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President, and CEO of Harley-Davidson. “By building on the 65-year Sportster legacy, the Nightster provides a canvas for creativity and personalization, offering the ultimate platform for customization and expression for new and existing riders.”

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

New Revolution Max 975T Powertrain

At the heart of the 2022 Nightster model is the new Revolution Max 975T powertrain. It is a liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-Twin with a torque curve that stays flat through the broad powerband – and engine performance designed to deliver strong acceleration and robust power through the mid-range. The length and shape of the intake velocity stacks, combined with the airbox volume, are tuned to maximize performance across the engine speed range. The profiles of dual overhead camshafts and Variable Valve Timing phasing on the intake valves are designed to match the performance of this engine.

Revolution Max 975T Engine Specs

  • Displacement 975cc
  • 90 hp (67 kW) @ 7,500 RPM
  • 70 lb-ft (95 Nm) peak torque @ 5,000 RPM
  • 97mm bore x 66mm stroke
  • Compression Ratio 12:1

Hydraulic valve lash adjustment ensures quiet operation and eliminates the need for costly, complicated service procedures. Internal balancers help reduce engine vibration to enhance rider comfort and improve vehicle durability. The balancers are tuned to retain just enough vibration to make the motorcycle feel alive.

Powerful Agility

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

The Nightster model pairs a nimble, lightweight chassis with a powerful engine tuned for strong mid-range performance, an ideal combination for navigating urban traffic and charging along curving backroads. Mid foot controls and a low-rise handlebar put the rider in a centered, comfortable posture on the bike. Unladen seat height is 27.8 inches. The low seat height combined with a narrow profile makes it possible for most riders to confidently place feet down flat at a stop.

The Revolution Max 975T powertrain is the central, structural component of the Nightster motorcycle chassis, which significantly reduces motorcycle weight and results in a very stiff chassis. The tail section structure is lightweight aluminum. The swingarm is formed of welded rectangular steel tubing and is an attachment point for the dual rear shock absorbers.

Front suspension is 41mm SHOWA Dual Bending Valve conventional forks designed to provide improved handling performance by keeping the tire in contact with the road surface. The rear suspension features dual outboard emulsion-technology shock absorbers with coil springs and a threaded collar for pre-load adjustment.

Rider Safety Enhancements

The Nightster model is equipped with Rider Safety Enhancements* by Harley-Davidson, a collection of technologies designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration, and braking. The systems are electronic and utilize the latest chassis control, electronic brake control, and powertrain technology. Its three elements are:

  • Antilock Braking System (ABS) is designed to prevent the wheels from locking under braking and helps the rider maintain control when braking in a straight-line, urgent situation. ABS operates independently on front and rear brakes to keep the wheels rolling and prevent uncontrolled wheel lock.
  • Traction Control System (TCS) is designed to prevent the rear wheel from excessive spinning under acceleration. TCS can improve rider confidence when available traction is compromised by wet weather, an unanticipated change in the surface, or when riding on an unpaved road. The rider can deactivate TCS in any Ride Mode when the motorcycle is stopped and the engine is running.
  • Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) is designed to adjust engine torque delivery and reduce excessive rear-wheel slip under powertrain-induced deceleration, which typically occurs when the rider makes an abrupt down-shift gear change or quickly reduces the throttle while on wet or slippery road surfaces.

Selectable Ride Modes

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

The Nightster model offers selectable Ride Modes that electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle, and the level of technology intervention. Each Ride Mode consists of a specific combination of power delivery, engine braking, ABS, and TCS settings. The rider may use the MODE button on the right-hand controller to change the active ride mode while riding the motorcycle or when stopped, with some exceptions. A unique icon for each mode appears on the instrument display when that mode has been selected.

  • Road Mode is intended for daily use and delivers balanced performance. This mode offers less-aggressive throttle response and less mid-range engine power than Sport Mode, with a higher level of ABS and TCS intervention.
  • Sport Mode delivers the full performance potential of the motorcycle in a direct and precise manner, with full power and the quickest throttle response. TCS is set to its lowest level of intervention, and engine braking is increased.
  • Rain Mode is designed to give the rider greater confidence when riding in the rain or when traction is otherwise limited. Throttle response and power output are programmed to significantly restrain the rate of acceleration, engine braking is limited, and the highest levels of ABS and TCS intervention are selected.

The 3.1-gallon lightweight plastic fuel cell is located below the seat – what appears to be a traditional fuel tank forward of the seat is a steel cover for the airbox. The fuel fill is reached by lifting the hinged locking seat. Locating the fuel cell below the seat optimizes the capacity of the engine intake airbox and moves the weight of fuel lower in the chassis compared to a traditional fuel tank location, which results in a lower center of gravity for improved handling and easier lift off the sidestand.

The Nightster model features a round 4.0-inch-diameter analog speedometer with an inset multi-function LCD display mounted on the handlebar riser. All-LED lighting is designed to deliver style and outstanding performance while also making the motorcycle conspicuous to other motorists. The Daymaker LED headlamp has been designed to produce a homogenous spread of light, eliminating distracting hot spots. Combination rear brake/tail/signal LED lighting is located on the rear fender (U.S. market only).

Fresh Design Based on Classic Form

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

All-new from the wheels up with a look that is lean, low, and powerful, the Nightster model conveys classic Sportster model styling cues, most obviously in the exposed rear shock absorbers and the shape of an airbox cover that evokes the iconic Sportster walnut fuel tank. The round air intake cover, solo seat, chopped fenders, and speed screen recall elements of recent Sportster models, while a side cover that conceals the under-seat fuel tank has a shape similar to the previous Sportster oil tank. The Revolution Max powertrain is the centerpiece of the design, framed by snaking exhaust headers and finished in textured Metallic Charcoal powder coat with Gloss Black inserts. A cover below the radiator conceals the battery and helps the radiator appear less prominent. The wheel finish is Satin Black. Paint color options include Vivid Black, Gunship Grey, and Redline Red. Gunship Grey and Redline Red color options will be applied only to the airbox cover; the front and rear fenders and speed screen are always finished in Vivid Black.

Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories has created a range of accessories for the Nightster motorcycle, designed to enhance fit, comfort and style.

The Nightster model arrives at authorized Harley-Davidson dealerships globally beginning in April 2022. U.S. Base MSRP is $13,499 (Vivid Black) and $13,899 (color options).

2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster

Harley-Davidson stands for the timeless pursuit of adventure and freedom for the soul. Go to H-D.com to learn more about the complete line of 2022 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, gear, accessories and more.

The post 2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster | First Look Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Harley-Davidson brings back the Night

Harley-Davidson is replacing the old-favourite 883 Sportster with a new liquid-cooled 975cc Nightster.

It is arriving now in Australian and New Zealand showrooms at $A23,995 in black ($NZ25,495) and $A24,300 in grey or red ($26,330).

This is the first of the 975cc versions of the liquid-cooled Revolution 1250cc engines which have been fitted to the new Pan America adventure bike and the Sportster S which replaced the 1200cc Sportsters.

Consequently we can soon expect a 975cc Pan America version in the showrooms.

Meanwhile, the “Night” moniker which is familiar from the old Night Train and Night Rod is returning with the entry level 975 Nightster.

It is powered by a 975cc version of the Revolution V-twin with 67kW of power, which is a massive set down in power from the Pan America with 112kW of power and the downtuned Sportster S at 90kW.

However, the interesting thing is that Harley even nominates a power rating which they had rarely done before the advent of these new motors.

More importantly, the new motor packs 95Nm of usable torque at just 5000 revs.

Harley says it has less mechanical noise thanks to hydraulic valve lash adjustment which also reduces service costs, although I see service intervals are still at 8000km.

The balanced engine also now runs smoother than the juddering 883 Sportsters.

Other features of the bike are mid-foot controls, low-rise bars and a low 705mm seat which means the rider sits “in” the bike rather than “on” it like with new Sportster S.

Compared with its bigger Sportster S brother, there are no bronze accents, the pipes are lower and leaner, and there is a more conventional round headlight set into a mini cowl.

Harley says the engine is a structural component of the chassis and the tail section is aluminium which both help to reduce weight, yet it still weighs in at 218kg with a full 11.7-litre tank.

Actually the “tank” is an airbox and the fuel is stored in a plastic tank under the seat for a lower centre of gravity. There is no fuel cap as such with the filler hidden under the hinged solo seat.

The company has again employed the tried and trusted 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve conventional forks and twin emulsion-technology shock absorbers with coil springs.

Lean angle is now 32 degrees which is similar to the Softail models.

Company boss Jochen Zeitz describes the Nightster as “a canvas for creativity and personalisation”, which usually is code for “basic”.

However, Nightster comes with a suite of electronic rider aids including traction control, a torque-slip control to prevent rear wheel lockups under downshifts and three engine modes.

All can be controlled via buttons on the handlebars.

The 4.0-inch round analogue speedometer is augmented by an inset multi-function LCD display on the handlebar riser. 

It comes with LED lighting including their literally brilliant Daymaker headlight.

Harley-Davidson Nightster with accessories

As expected, there is a host of dedicated accessories including higher bars and a pillion seat.

Harley-Davidson Nightster tech specs

Price $A23,995 in black ($NZ25,495), $A24,300 in grey or red ($26,330).
Warranty  2 years, unlimited km
Service  1600/8000km
Engine 975cc Revolution Max
Power 67kW @ 7500rpm
Torque 95Nm @ 5000rpm
Economy 4.5L/100km
Transmission 6-speed,belt drive
Suspension  41mm Show forks; twin shocks
Brakes 320mm disc, 4-piston caliper; 260mm disc, single-piston calliper
Length 2206mm
Width 836mm
Height 1108mm
Seat 705mm
Wheelbase 1556mm
Tyres 100/90-19;150/80-16 Dunlop HD Series
Fuel 11.7L
Wet weight 218kg

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Review: Harley-Davidson Fat Bob S

Harley fans thought the world was coming to an end in 2017 when Harley-Davidson axed the popular Dyna family and married those models with the new Softail family.

They loved the handling of the twin-shock models and enjoyed the comical shaking character character of the unbalanced engine that vibrated madly on its rubber mounts. 

Some may miss that. I certainly don’t.

Not since the new-era Fat Bob with its slick 107 and 114 Milwaukee engines, stiffer frame, lighter weight, plus single shock and upside fork suspension.

It is now smoother, more sophisticated, more powerful and better handling with more cornering clearance.

Quite simply the world did not come to an end!

For 2022 the only change to the Fat Bob is a “waterslide” fuel tank graphic in an oval shape with “H-D” on the lower edge and the absence of the 107 model, leaving just the Fat Bob S with the whopping 114 torque monster drivetrain.

However, improved factory settings and fine-tuning seems to have made the bike even better.

The suspension feels a little better suited to our conditions and the drivetrain is slightly slicker with less mechanical noise and neutral easier to find.

The new-era FXFBS Softail Fat Bob S cost $A30,250 when it was launched and dropped to $29,995 last year. For 2022 it’s up to $31,750.

It’s my pick of the new Softails for its menacing looks and performance.

Dyna fans may bemoan the loss of the unbalanced engine, but they will love the fact that the Fat Bob S is now a much improved performer and handler.

In fact, I have taken a previous Fat Bob to Lakeside Raceway in Brisbane’s north and startled many track-day riders as I passed them thundering out of corners on the massive 160Nm of torque that had that 180mm rear Dunlop leaving thick black lines on the track.

Harley-Davidson Fat Bob and Low Rider S at Champions Race Day Lakeside Park track day
Fat Bob at Lakeside

I sheepishly retired the bike by lunchtime as I had simply run out of rubber!

Somehow the upside-down 43mm forks, slanted single hand-adjustable shock and high-profile rubber works just fine on this bike while a similar configuration on the new Sportster S doesn’t.

Of course, cornering clearance is an issue on all cruisers, but this is a little better with upswept single-sided dual exhaust pipes and lean angles of 31 degrees on the right and 32 on the left.

Upswept pipes

You can tip in with confidence, too, because the stiffer frame means there is no wallowing in corners, even when you hit corrugations.

It also changes direction more nimbly than the tyre specs would suggest thanks to sharper steering geometry.

And the Fat Bob S rides the crusty back roads of Australia better with only a shudder rather than an earthquake shock.

I find it a comfortable riding position with a firm but well-shaped saddle although the reach to the drag bears might be a bit far for shorter riders.

Apart from being slicker, the powerful 114 engine is also more economical and cooler which is handy in slow-moving commuter traffic on a hot summer’s day.

Interestingly, Harley never used to provide power figures, only torque. But now that they have water-cooled engines on their new Revolution models, they are providing power figures for all their models.

It might be a relatively modest 71kW, but it comes in at 4750 revs and tears at your arm sockets under hard acceleration.

The hard-mounted engine also feels smoother thanks to it being 100% balanced with a secondary balancer.

The most confronting element in the Fat Bob’s styling over the past few years has been the move from twin circular headlights to a horizontal rectangular shape with rounded edges.

I’m now starting to warm to the unique LED headlight tucked inside a neat, gloss-black pillar-box nacelle.

However, I’m not such a fan of the bronzed header pipe covers and the silver “rattle-can” painted mufflers.

Like all new Softails, it comes with new keyless ignition, more comfortable seats and new wheel designs.

2022 Harley-Davidson FXFBS Fat Bob S 114 tech specs

Price $A31,750
Warranty 2 years/unlimited km
Service 1600/8000km
Engine Milwaukee-Eight 114 (1868cc)
Power 71kW @ 4750rpm
Torque 160Nm @ 3500rpm
Transmission 6-speed, belt drive
Length 2340mm
Height 1110mm
Seat 710mm
Wheelbase 1615mm
Tyres 150/80-16,71H,BW; 180/70B16,77H,BW Dunlops
Fuel 13.21L
Wet weight 306kg
Suspension USD 43mm forks; single shock
Brakes 300mm dual front discs; 292mm rear disc

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley recalls new Revolution models

Harley-Davidson Australia has recalled its new Revolution-engined Pan America adventure bike and Sportster S over an issue that only affects the bikes in zero temperatures.

Interestingly, Harley’s new additions to their range sold 515 bikes in the past year, 515 of which were the Pan America Special.

The sales results are revealed in the official recall notice, not in the official FCAI sales figures which these days don’t reveal such data. 

It’s a good indication that the new bikes have been well received, especially the company’s first adventure bike.

Harley-Davidson Pan America Special
Harley-Davidson Pan America Special

Anyway, back to the recall.

The issues is related to a software fault, according to the official recall notice.

It says that if the temperature of the instrument cluster is below 0 degrees Celsius, “the speedometer and neutral indicator may not display as intended” and an error warning message may display.

If the speedometer or neutral indicator is not displayed as intended the rider will be unable to correctly determine the operating speed,” the notice says. 

“This may increase the risk of an accident, causing injury or death to the rider, passenger or other road users.”

Harley-Davidson Sportster S
Harley-Davidson Sportster S

Owners should contact their nearest Harley-Davidson dealer “immediately” to schedule an appointment to have the software updated in the instrument cluster module at no charge.

Surely there’s no rush, though, as temperatures are not likely to plummet that much in the next few months.

The recall is the first for Harley this year after last year having only two recalls in a year where there were official 46 recalls, the highest number monitored since 2009 and significantly more than the previous high of 37 in 2018.

Here are the VINs (Vehicle identification number) of the affected bikes:

Pan America Special Sportster S
5HD1ZC46XMB310121 5HD1CLP104K406566
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YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS ON RECALLS

Even though manufacturers and importers usually contact owners when a recall is issued, the bike may have been sold privately to a rider unknown to the company.

Therefore, Motorbike Writer publishes all motorcycle and scooter recalls as a service to all riders.

If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Favorite Ride: Los Angeles Aqueduct

Trails and service roads on the aqueduct
Near the desert town of Mojave, trails and service roads lie on top of the underground aqueduct. (Photos by Rob Day & Rob Glass)

The Los Angeles Aqueduct is an engineering marvel, a 233-mile channel that carries Sierra snow melt from California’s Owens Valley into the San Fernando Valley. Its five-year construction, completed in 1913, changed the face of Southern California. Without it, there would be no Los Angeles.

But because of it, there was tragedy. Draining the Owens Valley destroyed an entire farming region and turned to dust a lake once grand enough that steamboats crossed it. Building a dam to hold the stolen waters resulted in the second deadliest disaster ever to strike California when the dam collapsed.

Los Angeles Aqueduct
Los Angeles Aqueduct ride route from Pearsonville to Santa Paula, California

Click here to view the route above on the REVER app/website

Much of the aqueduct is open waterway, but the rest is a covered concrete channel. And most of that channel functions as a public road. We took a trio of Harley-Davidson Pan Americas and tried to see how much of it we could ride.

It was a hot May morning when we set out from Zakar, a compound that serves as base camp for RawHyde’s adventure motorcycle training school in the Mojave Desert. We wanted to beat the worst of the heat, so shortly after dawn we dashed up State Route 14 to U.S. Route 395 and exited at 9 Mile Canyon Road to catch our first leg of the aqueduct.

Aqueduct pipes
German-made steel plates were fashioned into massive pipes for this section of the aqueduct.

On maps, it’s called “Los Angeles Aqueduct.” Under our tires, it was a crunchy, crusty roadway, often covered entirely in sand and gravel, that followed the contours of the lowest reaches of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. We had to leave the hills after a few miles as the aqueduct went underground, running in tunnels through the foothills. (The aqueduct includes 142 such tunnels, comprising 52 miles of its total length.)

Back on the slab, we stopped for cold drinks at Robber’s Roost Ranch, and again at Jawbone Canyon Store, the “Mad Max” meets “Motocross Zombies from Hell” waystation popular with the off-road bike and buggy crowd. Further south, we were able to pick up the aqueduct again from Pine Tree Canyon Road. From there, we had a spirited 13-mile run of sand and concrete climbing high above the flat desert floor before dropping us down into the town of Mojave.

This store, located on Route 14 near the Jawbone Canyon OHV area, is a favorite of desert off-roaders.

The aqueduct left the mountains, taking us with it for a higher-speed run across the Antelope Valley. From Oak Creek Road we accessed the aqueduct again, then barnstormed our way through wind farms, skirted past Willow Springs International Raceway, crossed Tehachapi Willow Springs Road, and ran across the desert for 30 miles of flat-out fun.

It was a good chance to test the new Harley-Davidson off-roader in a desert setting. I had been impressed on previous rides by the bike’s behavior, but in the sandy sections I came to admire it even more (especially with the optional knobby tires). So did my colleagues. By the end of this stretch, even those of us who own GS or GSA machines agreed the Pan America handled the sand better than our beloved BMWs.

Aqueduct concrete roadway
Portions of the aqueduct, which originally had a rounded top, now function as concrete roadways – where the sand hasn’t buried them.

Along here we also got to see several different types of aqueducts. There were sections with a flat concrete top, older sections covered in curved concrete ribs –the standard before someone figured out you could use the top of the aqueduct as an access road if you flattened it –and even a mile-long section of above-ground pipe, built from massive 12-foot-diameter rounds brought in by mule teams.

At State Route 138, we stopped at the Neenach Cafe and Market for a cold drink. From there, we rode tarmac into the foothills, through the towns of Lake Hughes and Elizabeth Lake, past the legendary motorcycle stop The Rock Inn and into Green Valley and San Francisquito Canyon.

San Francisquito Canyon pumping station
Water ran through the aqueduct to a huge pumping station in San Francisquito Canyon. Hundreds of lives were lost when the dam broke, but some of its 100-year-old turbines still operate today.

It was in this canyon that William Mulholland and the brain trust behind the mighty aqueduct decreed that Los Angeles’ water should be stored. A concrete gravity dam –virtually identical to the Mulholland Dam that still holds up Lake Hollywood –was constructed in a narrow section of the canyon. The St. Francis Dam was completed in 1926. Two years later, and only hours after Mulholland had inspected the dam and deemed it safe and stable, the structure gave way.

Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, a wall of water 180 feet high surged down the canyon. More than 12 billion gallons of water left the dam within the next hour. Entire communities were engulfed and swept away. At least 431 lives, and perhaps many more, were lost.

Aqueduct pipes in the mountains
Emerging from the hillsides, the huge aqueduct pipes carry water overhead as it traverses mountains.

We rode our Pan Americas along a dirt path toward the original dam site. Beside the trail were massive chunks of concrete, some as big as a Winnebago, remnants of the fallen structure. Returning to the road, we continued down the canyon to Power Plant 2, where aqueduct water runs through turbines to create electricity. We’d only intended to admire the exterior of the building. But a building superintendent, noticing our bikes in the parking lot, let us in for an impromptu tour of the remarkable facility, which still uses the same turbines that were installed more than a hundred years ago –some of them recovered after the disaster from miles down the canyon.

Our interest wasn’t only in the disaster. There was a motorcycling purpose to our visit, too. The last person to see the dam before it blew was a motorcyclist named Ace Hopewell, who heard rumblings above the noise of his engine and stopped to listen before riding on.

There were motorcycle heroes, too. State Motorcycle Officer Thornton Edwards and Santa Paula Police Officer Stanley Baker were notified of the dam’s collapse, and at great risk to themselves raced from street to street in Santa Paula sounding the alarm. The two riders are credited with saving hundreds of lives, as the people they woke from sleep were able to escape being swept away by the rushing waters.

Statue in Santa Paula
This statue in Santa Paula honors the two police officers who rode through the night to warn residents after the dam had collapsed.

To pay tribute to these men, we rode south from Power Plant 2, across Castaic, past Magic Mountain, along the part of State Route 126 that was once home to the motocross track known as Indian Dunes, and into the town of Santa Paula. To fortify ourselves we stopped at Rabalais’ Bistro for strong coffee, hot beignets, and plates of gumbo, red beans and rice with andouille sausage, and shrimp and grits.

At sunset, we stood near the old Santa Paula train station and admired local artist Eric Richards’ metalwork statue entitled “The Warning.” It depicts the two valiant motorcycle officers, one astride an Indian and the other a Harley, as they made their rounds that deadly night. As dark began to suggest itself in Santa Paula, we headed back, making as quick a trip as possible on pavement to return to our starting point. We’d ridden 180 miles to get to the statue of the two heroes, 50 of that on sandy aqueduct. It took us 100 miles of high-speed pavement to get back to Zakar.

Wind turbines in the Antelope Valley
Water pumped through the aqueduct powers electrical generators, which now get assistance from wind turbines in the Antelope Valley.

The post Favorite Ride: Los Angeles Aqueduct first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com