Turn-about is fair play…
A few years back we were introduced to Harley’s by our best friends David & Deb. By introduced, it’s fair to say they finally gave me the excuse I needed to confirm that my sweet Miss Debbie was, in fact, a biker chick just dying to come out of the closet! Well, she was and that led to the purchase of our first Harley back in late June 2011.
I toyed around with getting a Road King, just because I thought it would be nice to have for longer trips. I thought I found “the perfect bike” in Alabama and made the 2 hour drive over to snag it, only to find it wasn’t exactly up to par. However, after putting about 8,000 miles on our Wide Glide and making our first two-up 335-mile trip to Panama City Beach this past May I got it in my head that we “needed” a Road King, no longer was it just a want.
Now, to be fair, our Wide Glide did a great job as a light touring bike. However, it was clearly not designed for that type of duty and we could definitely see ourselves doing longer trips in the future. So, I resumed my search in June and found yet another “perfect bike”; however, the owner just couldn’t make time to meet and do a deal: go figure. It kinda ticked me off and, in response, I went off the deep-end and decided to start looking at new bikes.
So, as regular readers are now well-aware of, we followed-through on that thought and picked up a pretty nice Road King this past August… or about 3,500 miles ago! Yeah, we like the Road King… A LOT!
After doing a long weekend trip up to Knoxville, Tennessee with David & Deb I was now of a mind that they would probably be better off on a Road King vs. their beautiful Deuce. No doubt, just like our Wide Glide their Deuce was a great bike: good-looking, very comfortable and paid-for! But, having done some road trips on both the Wide Glide and the Road King, there was no doubt in my mind that the Road King was the way to go for two-up riding — or at least a touring-class / size Harley of some type, e.g., Road Glide, Electra Glide, Ultra Limited, etc. — and suggested that to David & Deb.
I think it was perhaps one or two weeks later that David put his Deuce up for sale on Craigslist. On Saturday — and after an interesting turn of events during the past month — a buyer with a pocket full of cash finally emerged and bought their beloved Deuce.
In the mean time David had found a couple of used Road Kings that caught his interest. One of those was a 2003 100th Anniversary FLHR (hard bags) in Gunmetal Pearl down in Savannah, Georgia, a good 4-hour drive away. We’ll, guess which one he asked me to go and see? Yup, the Gunmetal Grey FLHR. Serves me right for planting the seeds!
We left the house around 9:30 on Sunday and rolled into Sydney’s driveway near Savannah, Georgia’s city limits about 4 hours later. Sydney was a great guy… really, one of the best! He had the bike sitting out back by his garage and it looked pretty good. Definitely not a trailer queen: it had been ridden and put up wet a few times and Sydney was definitely more into riding than polishing so all kinds of upside potential. After looking it over and getting some of the history I coaxed David into giving it the first test ride. He wanted me to ride it first; but, I wanted him to ride it, take a break and then ride it a second time so that he might get a better feel for it on the subsequent ride: I always do.
David agreed, put on his helmet and headed-on down the road. Sydney and I spent some time chatting about bikes and life in general: did I mention he was a great guy? Once David returned I went ahead and took it out for a ride to see how it ran. Being 10 years older than our 2013 Road King, about 60lbs lighter, a few inches lower, carburetted vs. fuel injected, no ABS and a bit down on power (88 cu in @ 81 ft lbs of torque vs. 110 cu in @ 118 ft lbs of torque) is was definitely a different machine. However, I gotta tell you… it was a VERY comfortable fitting bike: excellent ergo’s and much better balance than our 2013. The exhaust note was a bit tinny, but old school cool. It definitely needed new front brake pads as I was using 80% of the lever travel on normal stops and 100% on hard stops. It also felt like it needed a tune up, as it just seemed to have more oomph than it was giving, i.e., perhaps a new air cleaner, new plugs or just a slight carb adjustment as it was also running a little rich.
After getting back to the house I gave it another good-looking over and also suggested David give it another ride so he could have a chance to really appreciate how it felt. The first ride is always like a first date, i.e., not always a reliable indication of how the second date might go, never mind a long-term relationship! Sydney volunteered to lead David out on a nice loop ride from the house on his BMW R1200RT and that was definitely the right way to go. Again, you couldn’t have asked for a nicer and more considerate seller. David and I talked about the bike and “the deal” while Sydney got his R1200RT out of the garage and, ultimately… it all came down to how well David enjoyed riding the bike, so off they went.
While they were gone I finally got my head wrapped around the economics and also made a call to my sweetie to let her know what we were up to and when we might be home… well, and to commiserate about the Falcons horrible play against the Buccaneers. My take and recommendation to David was, at the price they had agreed-on the bike was a very good value. In fact, a good detailing would easily add $1k to the street value if he got it home and either he or his Deb decided it wasn’t the right bike for them. So, I saw it as a win-win, but suggested he nibble at the deal to secure some of the accessories that Sydney had talked about keeping and/or selling separately.
Once they were back I think David was comfortable with the bike so it was all about the deal. Sydney had already agreed to include the original take-offs in the selling price, i.e., bars, saddles, exhaust header & pipes, front & rear spring/shocks so that was all goodness. David pressed on the quick release luggage rack and back rest and Sydney agreed to include it. Done deal! David handed over the cash, Sydney worked up a bill of sale, signed-off the title and we got the bike and parts loaded into David’s truck for the 4 hour drive back to Atlanta.
Before we left Sydney treated me to a tour of his gun cabinet, as somewhere along the line hunting and firearms came up in our discussions. Being something of a firearms aficionado I was pretty stoked by his collection: very, very nice stuff to be sure.
The trip home was uneventful. The bike stayed upright, but got wet and about 45 minutes out we realized that Sydney hadn’t handed David the ignition and bag keys. We decided he could just mail the keys as the bike would run without them, so no worries there. It was about 7:00pm when we rolled into David’s driveway and after unloading we headed off with his Deb for dinner at Loco Willy’s. My Debbie met us there and we had a pretty good time closing out what was a very long day… at least for me. I have a hard time being a passenger to begin with!
I think the bike is pretty awesome: great color and a FLHR with the hardbags. A little elbow grease + sorting out the saddles, racks and a few other things and it should be a great machine that will more than meet David & Deb’s needs. Fingers crossed that Deb will get comfortable on the bike! I’m thinking the better ergonomics with the more upright riding position, etc. will all be goodness, but time will tell.