Some new wheels...


Picked-up a new set of wheels today.


That's a 2004 Harley Davidson Road King Classic. And it's mine.

1450cc's of good 'ole V-Twin American muscle, with a smooth-as-butter ride and a great, deep sound. Gloss black on gloss black with chrome, leather soft bags, and tons of accessories...

(For comparison, the Prius has a 1497cc motor - 47cc's more than the motorcycle - that's a Honda Spree moped's difference between the two vehicles)


I've been itching to get another motorcycle for over a year - I started looking at Ducati touring bikes, then considered sport bikes, but something kept drawing me back to a V-Twin. They're torquey, smooth, and they just ooze cool. I wanted something really comfortable, yet not so "single-minded" that I couldn't cruise it down a boulevard every now and again...

I started to read the reports/reviews/magazines/web sites/message boards - you know how I am... I get into something and I go "binary" - from "off" to "on" - no real middle ground. I compiled "short lists" of bikes, complete with pros and cons.

And eventually I decided a Harley Davidson FLHRCI Road King was exactly what my OCD-driven research had prescribed.

I searched Craigslist, eBay, and the dealer websites from Minneapolis to Chicago. And, as fate would have it, I stumbled across this bike in Verona, WI. "Well, that's close enough," I thought. I sent off an e-mail, and within a day had began a dialogue with the owner.

Turns out he was trying to buy a dual-purpose on-road/off-road bike and had to sell the Harley to finance the new interest. We chatted for a week or so; and I eventually made my way over to look at the bike. It was immaculate, complete with service records, and more than $2k worth of extras (seats, backrests, windscreens, etc).

We haggled over the price for a few days, and struck a deal at around 2am. He offered me a test ride the following morning at 8am, and I arrived promptly at 8am, having only slept a total of about 23 minutes that night...

During the test drive, the bike felt great, until the shifter completely collapsed on my foot. I was stuck in 2nd gear, with no way to up- or down-shift... hmmm. Thanks to the Harley's massive torque curve, I was able to easily start-and-stop, even with only 2nd gear at my ready.

Once back at his house, we quickly discovered the issue - the shifter linkage rod that connects the shifter assembly to the transmission actuator had snapped at the heim joint. Of all the freaky things to have happen during a test ride...

A quick search of the internet revealed it was a common problem, and that it would cost around $20 to repair. The internet also suggested that a temporary fix could be applied through the use of zip-ties. Easy enough. We tied the linkage back-on; hit the bank to complete the sales transaction, and viola - I was officially a Harley Davidson owner.

Here's the broken linkage, as it sat on my garage floor (after I removed it from the bike):


I called the local Harley Dealer, and they had plenty of linkage rods in stock, so I loaded the Flea into the Prius and we hit the road for Sauk Prairie. Here's a contradictory photo of my garage:


The Flea and I hit the dealership, grabbed some parts (replacement linkage, a dress-up cover for the linkage, tune-up parts, fluids, a jacket, some gloves, a helmet, and a t-shirt), and then drove back to the house. 15 minutes later, the shift linkage was repaired, and looking better than ever, compliments of this chromed cover:


I donned some riding gear and took the bike out for a jaunt to help warm the fluids prior to replacing them. It rode like a dream and I received more than my fair share of "thumbs-ups" and nods of approval from folks while out-and-about.

Back in the garage, I replaced the transmission fluid and did a light tune-up. I'll do an oil change and will drain-and-fill the primary gear drive fluid later in the week.

So... I now have some wheels that I'm not ashamed to drive nor am I worn-out after riding. I'm looking forward to some light day trips and the occasional ride to-and-from work. I'll have to find a side-car or something similar for the Flea to ride in. Can you see her with a leather motorcycle "helmet" complete with a traditional German spike on top?

Here are a few parting pictures, taken from the garage at around 9:30pm...




And here it is with one of the windshields in place - this makes for a super comfortable highway ride.


...and a final detail shot of the badging on the windscreen on the photo from above:


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on June 12, 2012 9:57 PM.

Still here. was the previous entry in this blog.

...and with that, I think I'm done. is the next entry in this blog.

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