Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Please allow me to introduce....

ICYMI, Harley-Davidson released two new bikes into their line-up
2016.5 FXSE CVO Pro Street Breakout
for 2016: the Dyna Low Rider S and the CVO Pro Street Breakout. This is not the first time Harley has released bikes half-way through the model year, but they did not release any 2015.5 bikes last year. Kate & I got a chance to see these bikes up close and personal while we were in Phoenix (these are the pictures I couldn't show you till today!) and now - after seeing the Screamin' Eagle 110 motor in a Dyna frame - I have a problem.

First though, let me go over the CVO Pro Street Breakout FXSE.
2016.5 FXSE in White Gold Pearl & Starfire Black
The Breakout model is in the Softail family which got their name because it has the look of a 'hardtail' (no suspension in the rear = a not so comfortable ride) but it does have rear suspension that's hidden. Also, the motor is counterbalanced, providing an even smoother ride. This bike has a seat height of 25 inches, weighs about 730 running order weight, has a 6 speed transmission, and a 5 gallon tank. Security, ABS braking and cruise control are all standard. According to Harley's specs this bike pulls 112 foot pounds of torque - which is pretty decent - and gets 43 miles to the gallon (but if you're buying a CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations), I'm guessing you're not going to be too worried about that). 
In Phoenix we saw the White Gold Pearl/Starfire Black version, but I much prefer the Black on Black version. Either way, I wouldn't be kicking this bike out of my garage should anyone buy it for me! The price tag on this bike is $25,699 before freight, tax, title & reg.

Now onto the Low Rider S FXDLS. This is not the first outing for
2016.5 FXDLS Dyna Low Rider at Phoenix RRE
the Low Rider - that made it's first appearance in 1977 as the FXS Low Rider (the Dyna family of H-D Motorcycles wouldn't be around till the 1980s - for more on the history, click here if you don't mind babes in bikinis). This bike has long been a favorite - bigger than a Sporster but nearly the same maneuverability. Easy to take for a quick trip or across the country. This version of the Low Rider has 26 inches for the seat height, 4.7 gallon gas tank, running weight is 674 pounds, 6 speed transmission, and is expected to fetch 44 miles to the gallon. And again ABS, security and cruise are all standard. But my favorite number is the 116 foot pounds of torque - yummy!! Plus a very affordable price of $16,699 before freight, tax, title and reg.

[Read even more detail about the bikes here.]

What's my problem?? Last year my 2004 Dyna Super Glide got
My 2004 FXD Dyna Super Glide getting new jugs
new Screamin' Eagle 204 Cams which gives her a nice 'lub/dub' sound to her motor. Now 
Jeff, FXCHD's Master Technician, has begun the process of putting new jugs onto my her and cleaning out the top end for better compression and performance. But Harley has to tempt me with this 110 motor in a Dyna frame!! Do I trade in my baby on the latest and greatest?? Or do I keep my one of a kind bike I love?? Decisions, decisions..... 

...for the new
the old...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Aaaand - we're back

Kate and I had lots to see and do in Phoenix last week - but you'll have to "tune in" after the motor company releases the bikes to the public for some of the photos I took (yes there are bonuses to working for HDMC!!). Harley-Davidson will be releasing two 2016½ Motorcycles later in the week that I'm excited for you all to see. 

The newest in Parts & Accessories
L to R: Ashley, me & Sherri 
The pictures I can show you now are of Harley folk just having fun! First there's the one photo I barely remembered to get because we were having such a great time - it's the one with the 
Harley-Davidson of Atlanta crew. Then there's the Parts & Accessories portion of the floor in Phoenix. Last but not least is the palm trees - this wasn't too far from our hotel. Of course we heard some Harley's rumbling around downtown and that just gets me wanting to ride.... NOW!!

"What's the big deal? You're not riding till April," you might be saying. But THIS is the time of year that most Motorcycle Enthusiasts dream of the upcoming riding season. We plan out where & when we'll be riding to. Heading north, south, east or west - we're currently finding those back roads to that obscure, middle-of-nowhere destination. If you want some inspiration and/or start doing some planning of your own, check out the H-D Ride Planner.

Another big thing us Northern Motorcycle Enthusiasts do is work on our bikes. Performance upgrades or bike maintenance, you'll find the majority of Bikers who will be among the first out once the weather breaks. That's because we didn't hibernate - we worked on (or, as in my case, had FXCHD work on my bike) and took advantage of the 'down-time.' Once Mother Nature gives me two good rains to wash most of the salt & sand off the road, 45°F and a decent sky, I'll be out on my bike! 

After all, we are just about half way through winter, and there's no use in complaining about it.... So why not look forward to Spring??

Friday, January 15, 2016

Up, up and away!!

Kate & Dawn - Summer 2012
Kate, FXCHD's Parts & Accessories Manager, and myself are flying to Phoenix for Harley-Davidson's Retail Readiness Event. I'm excited to take this trip - Kate & I have been co-workers and friends for about 5 years now, and this will be our first real 'road trip' together.

I'll get to see over 625 new styles of clothing & riding gear from Harley - plus countless more from their licensed vendors. There are two types of clothing that come directly from Harley: Core which is clothing we can pretty much get anytime; Seasonal which has been created just for that particular time of year in limited quantities. I'll be ordering now for the stuff FXCHD will get for Winter/Holiday 2016 and Spring 2017.

A pic from the 2015 HDMC Summer Dealer Meeting
Kate will take a look at all the accessories and learn from product experts. At the show she'll be able to review and learn all about LED Lighting, Screamin' Eagle Street Performance Parts, BOOM! Audio and get the New Product Highlights.

Of course the best part of any work convention is meeting up with our friends in the industry. I'm looking forward to seeing (and of course partying with!) my friends from Harley-Davidson of Atlanta, Hellbender Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson of Rochester, and North End Harley-Davidson to name just a few. 

The Mythical Phoenix - rising from the ashes 
Another plus is that while Kate & I are there the weather is expected to be a sunny 70°F - I guess that's how Phoenix got the nickname "Valley Of The Sun" (oh, and I'm looking forward to some great Mexican Food!!).

It's been over 30 years since I've been to Phoenix - my parents took me to see the city, the Painted Desert and (of course) the Grand Canyon. So be on the lookout for my blog post from Arizona - I promise I'll take more pictures than I did at FX Caprara Car Company Christmas Party!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year = New Stuff!!

The year 2016 is officially here (and winter along with it for the time being), and with it all new possibilities as well as new stuff. This year really does feel different - with personal technology (think GoPro Cameras & Fit Bits) gaining by leaps and bounds - I think there's a lot of things that'll be changed by the end of this year. So let's get right into it:

First up is Riding Jackets with brake & turn signal lights built into it. Those of us
who ride are always playing the game "Can You See Me Now?" with cagers, so any technology that helps us be seen is always a good thing. At first glance in order for these jackets to work, it looks as if you have to install something on your bike for the lights to link up. I'm sure as this technology becomes more widespread Harley-Davidson will integrate this into their riding jackets. For now you can check out Speed Society - New Technology, Ryde Bright, and this YouTube video

Next is a 'Reverse Trike' kit. Many of Harley-Davidson's core customers will tell me, "One day I'm going to get a Trike!" Do to time passing and injuries, at some point they may not be able to hold up the 900+ pound touring bikes that we have all become found of. But that's not going to stop us from riding!! Enter trike conversion kits that will take your current Harley from two to three wheels. Then in 2009 Harley came out with their factory Tri-Glide Ultra Classic (FLHTCUTG < that's what we call Harley's alphabet soup) which is built in York, PA. These are traditional trikes with one front wheel and two rear wheels. In 2007 Can-Am introduced it's Spyder - with two front wheels and one rear wheel. A lot of us feel like these are just snowmobiles with wheels since they handle about the same. But the recurring theme between all three is the same: the vehicle does not lean in the curves. When you're riding through the "twisties", leaning your bike one way, then the next, it's just too much fun (this is why bikers LOVE the Tail of the Dragon!). 

Welcome Tilting Motor Works into the picture. They've designed a 'Reverse
Trike Kit' which allows the bike to actually lean through the curves and yet still be a three wheeled trike. The company is based in Washington State, so I only have Charles Fleming's test ride to go from (read his review in the LA Times here) - but still I must say the conversion does look interesting!

Last, but certainly not least, Harley-Davidson is extending their 'Heroes Ride Free' program to all First Responders (law enforcement, EMS & firefighters) as well as to our U.S. Military men and women. This is in effort to thank all those who fight for us and help to protect us, day in & day out. All current and former U.S. Military and First Responders can learn to ride for FREE with Harley-Davidson Riding Academy. 

Now my dad always used to tell me, "There isn't one thing in this life for free. Somewhere, someone has got to pay." But in this case, with the Heroes Ride Free program, I can assure you that it really is free to those who qualify. Harley-Davidson is picking up the tab for you to take the Basic Riders Course which, as long as you pass, will get you that "M" endorsement on your driver's license (and you may even get a discount on your auto insurance - the BRC makes you a better cager too!). Click on Heroes Ride Free for more info, or head on over to your local Harley-Davidson dealership.  

With that I whole-heartedly welcome 2016!! It looks to be an exciting year with lots of good stuff happening.