Sportsters, Dynas and Softails… Gateway Drugs, To Be Sure!

SDC11246I’ve come to the conclusion that our once “perfect” Harley-Davidson Dyna “Wide Glide” was merely a gateway drug to the bigger and more expensive Harley-Davidson Touring class of motorcycles.

paintsetQuoting from a blog entry that I made back on October 15, 2011, you can see where my head was just three months after we bought our Wide Glide as I was momentarily captivated by a Road King Classic that our local dealer had on the floor displayed without the stodgy-looking windscreen:

…someone was smart enough to leave the QR windscreen off the [Road King Classic], showing off its great lines, the locomotive headlight and just making the bike far-more eye-appealing to my senses.

I’ve tried to convince myself the [Road King Classic] is just too big for my riding tastes and not sporty enough compared to our Dyna Wide Glide (FXDWG). I’m really fond of the knees-in-the-breeze / wind in your face riding experience you get with a motorcycle that doesn’t have a fixed fairing or windscreen… which is one of the reasons our Wide Glide stood out. The second was the chopper-like long forks with short rake and long steering trail, giving the bike a great look and an amazing ride quality.  All of that was tied together by the control-forward design that makes riding feel like sitting in a recliner. Well, that and Debbie really liked everything about the Wide Glide.  Of course, the Road King never even hit my radar as I’d never seen one without the windscreens on, i.e., too stodgy looking for this point in our lives.

The Road King Classic — on the other hand — is about an extra 150 lbs wet, uses longer fork rake / shorter steering trail, and mid-control position for a much more upright seating position. Part of me just doesn’t want to go “there” yet, there being a ‘touring’ bike with ‘touring’ geometry. But there’s another part of me that says the Road King would probably be a pretty cushy-feeling ride, never mind the knock-out classic look.

By the following Spring, I was really getting the bug for a bigger Harley, as noted in this blog entry from March 24, 2012:

2004 Harley-Davidson Touring ROAD GLIDE LGDagnabit!  For some strange reason I’ve been checking out used Harley Road Glide and Road King motorcycles on Craigslist of late, as I’ve got it in my head that I’d really like to have a touring-class Harley at our disposal so that we can take off for a road trip on a whim with a bike that will allow us to ride a few hundred miles at a pop.  Don’t get me wrong, we love our Wide Glide, but it’s better suited for short day rides, bar hopping and one-up riding.

Of course, this is when I “should” have realized a new, bigger Harley would be in our future instead of trying to “sex-up” the Wide Glide, as I went on to pour on about $4000 in bling: Performance Machine wheels, rotors, pulley & Metzler tires, new electronic speedo and other cosmetic upgrades.

They really made the bike look great, but I might as well have taken a match to a big stack $100 bills, as it all becomes sunk cost when you decide to sell or trade: what we think are “essential upgrades” when we’re justifying them end up being worth pennies on the dollar to buyers or dealers.  At left and below is our ’11 Wide Glide the way it arrived back in July 2011. At right and below is how it looks in “two-up” configuration today: just a bit of a difference, and most of the important changes aren’t even obvious.

SDC10360 SDC11265

So, I definitely got the big bike bug big time in 2013, as I began lusting after the 2013 Road King CVO’s as soon as I saw the first one at our local dealer in the fall, and then again at another local dealer’s display during the bike show at the Northeast Atlanta Trade Center where their GM offered to sell the bike at $1k off MSRP at a time when they were still being marked-up $1k – $2k.  Thankfully I was able to put off the inevitable and scored a great deal as Harley-Davidson of Atlanta was clearing out their 2013’s; we couldn’t be happier with the bike and I could have saved myself $20k if I’d have started with a Road King.

dragon_31Aug13As it is now, the Road King CVO has taken the place of the Wide Glide as our primary “ride” for just about any type of outing or trip, making short work out of the 330-mile ride to Panama City Beach but still very nimble and quick enough for a cheap thrill if I need one.  So, there’s really no role for the Wide Glide, other than being something I can use to save wear and tear on the Road King when I ride solo, which isn’t all that often other than my daily commute.  Of course, the Wide Glide is hardly the right bike for commuting as there’s just not much weather protection, the saddlebags won’t hold my backpack or computer, etc.  So, it really can’t take the place of the BMW either.

But, what I got in my head was the idea of picking up a used 2009-2012 Road Glide Ultra as a “utility bike” that would replace the Wide Glide, and perhaps the BMW, as my daily commuter bike, a bike we could use to pull a trailer for our cycling trips and any other trip where we don’t want to take the Road King CVO.

roadglideI should note, even though we aren’t in the market for another new Harley, I thought we may have had a stroke of luck on  timing as one of our local Harley dealers purportedly needs to clear-out their 2013’s by the end of the month to secure their full allocation of 2014s.  However, I’m not sure they’re ready to liquidate the inventory of Sunglow Red Road Glide Ultras just yet: it looks like they have quite a few and they’re all Red; go figure?  I’m not a big fan of Red, but Debbie is.

Anyway, we’ll just sit tight and continue to seek a buyer for our Wide Glide.  If a new number comes in on an 2013 Ultra that’s closer to Invoice than MSRP, then perhaps we’ll do something, but I’ll be darned if I know where we’d put a fourth motorcycle!  however, if no deal comes to pass, that’s fine too; clearly, there’s no real rush or pressing need to do anything.  I did find that they make a trailer hitch for our Road King CVO, so we may be able to “test” the tandem bike trailering concept without jumping into another Harley right away.

Anyway, in closing… buyers beware.  Those “little Harley’s” have a pretty chance of acting just like a gate-way drug that will eventually get you to the ‘hardstuff’.   Learn from those who have come before you and try not to over-improve your Harleys.  It’s all sunk cost.  The days of Harley’s retaining their resale value have come and gone; they just make too many bikes nowadays and the market is saturated with recent model year Harley’s that have just killed resale value.  Even our Road King CVO has taken a pretty good hit, which is really ugly when you consider that we paid way under MSRP for it late in the model year.  I feel for the folks who bought one at MSRP or with a mark-up if they’re trying to sell one today.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
This entry was posted in Bloggishnish, For Sale, Miscellaneous ramblings on Motorcycling, Motorcycle / Equipment. Bookmark the permalink.

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