Riding Harleys is as much fun when you do it alone as when you do it in a group. This video explains some commonsense techniques for riding in a group.
Riding Harleys is as much fun when you do it alone as when you do it in a group. This video explains some commonsense techniques for riding in a group.
Whether you own a Harley, or just want to look like you do, the clothes you wear can make or break you. The true Harley-Davidson experience requires a little preparation besides the bike. Most dealerships also sell clothes, or purchase them online.
The Black leather jacket is the first clothes item that comes to mind. Harley-Davidson has a trademark black leather jacket. This jacket is worn not only for attitude, but to protect the rider from the elements. It is important to get a jacket that fits. Leather sizing is not always the same as regular street clothes sizing. Also remember that leather will stretch a little and mould to your body shape with frequent wearing. This does not mean that you should buy a size smaller as leather only gives in areas that it needs to. If you can’t afford a leather jacket, a vest made of leather or denim with a Harley-Davidson logo may be a good substitute.
Black leather pants are important for the rugged rider clothes look. Buying leather pants at the same time as the jacket will ensure that the color of the dyes matches if that is important to you. There are several different styles available ranging from classic leather pants, to black leather motorcycle chaps that are worn over jeans or other pants.
Black leather boots are classic Harley-Davidson attire. They scream the word “tough”. They are available in several styles for both men and women. Women may also choose clogs and sandals, however these are not recommended for serious riding.
Should motorcycle riders wear helmets or not? In some US States and some countries, this is a question that has been left up to the rider to answer. In Australia there’s a saying:
“If you don’t need a head, you don’t need a helmet”.
If safety is as important as the clothes you wear, a Harley-Davidson open-face helmet may be just what you are looking for. Several other styles are available if you can’t pull off this classic look.
Whether you choose a helmet or not, sunnies are valuable eye protection that keeps out dust and bugs, as well as adding to “the look”. No one looks cool with a dead bug in his or her eye.
Gloves are also popular with riders. They are of course made of black leather too, and may be open tipped, full fingers and even heated. Gauntlets with fringe look especially cool.
These are the basic pieces of a Harley rider’s clothes wardrobe. Other options include t-shirts, jeans, FXRG rain gear, bandanas, watches and sunglasses. Leather saddlebags are also a good investment.
There are several articles of clothes available for your special little rider as well. Everything from diaper covers and micro-sized leather jackets to teeny leather boots. It’s never too early to love a Harley.
Having bought almost every brand of wet-weather gear available for our Australian riding conditions, I found one brand to rise above all others: BMW. The BMW pants covers are in my opinion the only impenetrable pants. How do you tell if the rain gear will work? Usually poor rain gear lets water in through the crotch area, from the stitching. When browsing for rain pants on the rack, hold the crotch up to the light. If you can see light through the stitching, it will let water in!
My other recommendation from my experience is to invest in a good pair of Gortex riding boots. I use Dainese and they have a big Gortex sock that you put your foot in so even if water gets through the stitching, it can’t get into the ‘sock’ so your foot always stays dry. These are much better than gaiters. You don’t have to worry about carrying an extra pair of gear and they are always readying case of rain.
I once had a pair of gaiters get stuck on my foot peg as I pulled in to a gas station. I was riding my Fatbob at the time. The foot that was caught was near the bowser, so as I went over the bowser stopped my fall!
Motorcycle riding gear is a significant investment. Proper care should be taken to preserve and protect these articles, especially if the wearer is a dedicated rider who rides in any weather. Waterproofing and cleaning properly will help keep leather clothes supple and looking good, as well as promoting longevity of wear.
Last week, 43 of us headed out to Saddleback Mountain. Just over an hour down the south coast from my home in Sydney, Australia. It is my favourite lookout and one of the most scenic rides you can do here.
Of course, we didn’t get there that quick, as we always try and find the most twisty and long way to get anywhere. After all, isn’t that what riding a Harley is all about?
Leaving Sydney we travelled south through the standard hour of traffic just to get out of town. Then we snaked our way through a beautiful place full of rolling green hills all year round called Jamberoo. This town is at the foothills of Saddleback Mountain. There is also another fantastic ride you can do from there up another mountain called Macquarie Pass to visit the best pie shop in the area called Robertson’s Pie Shop. This place is a favourite hang-out for motorcyclists of all persuasions! But I digress…
From Jamberoo, it’s a very steep climb up to the very little known and hardly visited Saddleback Mountain. The view always takes people’s breath away and every time I take people there is the first time for most of them.
Down the other side you are greeted with views of the ocean on one side and the land on the other. Sometimes some horses will follow us down from behind the safety of the white fences.
Just when you thought it was the best day out, we end it by returning to Sydney through Kangaroo Valley. This has even more twists, turns and vistas than the ride down. The final stretch home was up the Hume Highway, which is an expressway. We needed to use that because we ran out of time to keep twisting our way home.
Its a truly spectacular ride! One well worth doing if you ever get the chance to visit Sydney and hire a bike.
There are several manufacturers of motorcycles around the world. BMW, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Ducati are all popular motorcycle brands. So why a Harley-Davidson?
Why are Harley-Davidson motorcycles so popular around the world? It’s that unmistakable sound, the sense of freedom and exploring whats over the next hill.
The sound of a Harley-Davidson is synonymous with the bike. It’s what sets it apart from every other brand. Infact, the sound of a Harley is trademarked! However, it doesn’t sound that good on the showroom floor and this is because of EPA restrictions. A quick upgrade to a set of Vance and Hines pipes, and your Harley will be rumbling in no time.
Even if you’re still pulling 6 day weeks just trying to get ahead in life, a short ride on a Sunday gives you an incredible sense of freedom and relaxation. It’s actually quite mediative. Now who said bikers don’t meditate?? Well they do, even of they don’t know it yet.
Owning a Harley-Davidson and being a member of H.O.G. (the Harley Owners Group) gives you so many opportunities to explore your local region or venture to the other side of the country and even world! Where-as in a car you generally are just using it to get to point B, on a Harley it’s all about the ride, not the destination. Ever since I started riding a Harley and going H.O.G. I’ve discovered countless roads and areas I didn’t know existed in the city I’ve lived in all my life.
In the never ending quest to find out what’s over the next hill, your Harley experience will continue to excite and thrill you and be very rewarding. You’ll wish you’d done it sooner, but just be glad you did it at all.
Harley sell you half a bike, the other half you have to finish off yourself, or ‘customise’ it. There is a whole bible (catalogue) of accessories available, from rims to bling and windshields to footboards, the list is endless. The limit is your own imagination and like anything, you can take it to the extreme if you want. Without further ado, here are our top 10 picks of accessories:
These chrome “eyebrows” attach to your headlight nacelle and give your Harley a great look up the front. I have these on my Road King and love them.
Until you add a set of Vance n Hines exhausts to your Harley, it will just sound like a Honda. Now you don’t want that do you? You will also need a race tuner and hi-flow air filter.
My preference is the hard panniers because they have more room, they’re lockable and they’re waterproof.
Installed at the back seat of the motorcycle, the sissy bar bag will provide an extra storage that is easy to access.
Your pillion will be so much more comfortable and have more fun with a backrest.
These come as standard on touring models, but I highly recommend them on other bikes. It helps reduce fatigue on all-day rides.
Great for storing your bike and keeping it clean. A soft cloth one will reduce the risk of fine scratches.
Harley sells a wide variety of seats with more room and extra cushioning.
Harley have an impressive range of Motor Clothes. You got the bike, now you’ve got to look and feel the part!
After you’ve been riding in the rain, the bike wash is the most important thing you can do. Don’t let it sit for days on end. Road grime full of chemicals eats in to the spokes, the front end and the engine, so best bet is even just to hose the bike down as soon as you get home.
Washing is an important discipline to maintain the bike. After a long trip or riding in the rain, the bike must be washed first, after it has cooled down. After every ride, I blow off the brake dust with a compressor, from the calipers, discs and more importantly, the wheels. Brake dust is corrosive if left on surfaces so it must be fully removed, then I wipe the wheels clean using a damp towel.
Road and rain grime has a cumulative effect. The longer you leave it, the more intractable it gets. That simply means it gets more difficult to remove with time. If you stay on top of it, then you can literally remove most daily grime with glass cleaner and a cloth.
Remove rings, jewellery, watches and anything else that might scratch your bike as you clean. Motorcycle jackets with metal buckles, zippers and studs can be especially hazardous to your paint during the bike wash.
If your bike is caked with mud or heavy soil, rinse it off first. Sponging over crusted dirt can scratch your paint. Beware the old sponge — it may have dirt trapped inside that will scratch your finish.
Buy cleaning products made for cleaning motorcycles. Just because something makes your bathtub or toaster shine, doesn’t mean it will do the same for your Harley. Hose your bike down using a trickle flow. High water pressure causes damage.
All bugs must be removed while they are still ‘fresh’, as they only need a damp towel and a bit of water to easily remove them. After it’s wet, spray the engine, wheels, underside and any high-soil areas with a gentle (non-acid) wheel cleaner. I use Armor-All brand because I trust the result, but there are many others. Then, using a very gentle car detergent in a bucket of warm water (I use Meguiar’s), wash your bike from top to bottom with a lambswool mitt or soft sponge. To dry the bike I use a dedicated blower/dryer thats warms the air as it blows. You can also do a first-run dry with a professional chamois and a secondrun with a microfibre cloth to remove the tiny dried water streaks.
Use two buckets and sponges: one for your wheels and brakes with Harley Wheel & Tire Cleaner for spokes, rims and whitewalls and the other bucket with Harley Sunwash for the rest of your bike. Beware not to mix the two as brake dust particles are corrosive to the rest of your bike. Wash from the top down.
You’re riding solo. You’ve bought a nice new chrome luggage rack and a new bag that has pockets in all the right places and will fit everything you need. Well, almost anyway. Remember, you don’t need to bring your whole wardrobe with you. You’ll no doubt buy some souvenir T-shirts along the way and you’ll be able to wash the rest. Who cares if you wear the same outfit a few days in a row?? This is a road trip!
After riding all over Australia with luggage, my suggestion to you would be to keep the brand new chrome luggage rack, as you can always tie a small item to it and it adds the the style of the bike. But I wouldn’t put my heaviest luggage on there.
Here’s the secret. If you’re riding solo, get a passenger backrest and place your luggage on your pillion seat and secure it to the backrest, like in the picture above. This will have two very positive benefits:
If you have panniers like the Road King in the picture above has, I would put all my heaviest stuff in there and save the lighter stuff like clothes for the top luggage. This will provide an ever better centre of gravity and give you a smoother ride.
Consider also getting a windshield bag if you have a windshield. This is a great spot to place your sunnies and some easy-access sunscreen you can apply each time you stop.
Those of you who own a tourer with alloy wheels know how hard it is to put air in your tyres using the standard valve stems, right? Especially the rear wheel.
The standard H-D valve stems are housed in the rim in such a way that no petrol station air hose can physically connect to them, unless you bend the valve slightly with your fingers.
There’s only one problem with that: if you’ve been riding the rear brake disc will be bloody hot and you’ll likely burn your fingers.
As the name suggests, these stems are 90 degrees and point away from the wheel to allow easy access. There are two types of stem:
These are easy to use and carry around with you. Just keep one in your pocket and next time you need to top up the air in
your tyres, or just check your air pressure, screw one of these puppies on and attach the hose to it.
Be careful not to burn your hand on the brake disc and remember to remove the valve stem when you’re done.
I once rode with a friend who left his screw-on 90 degree valve stem attached. Not only does this put your wheel out of balance, the valve stem in this instance was hitting something on the way round and at high speed on the highway the stem snapped off and he blew his rear tyre! Luckily he was a good rider and controlled the bike to a safe stop.
These are the type you want to go for. They are fitted to your rim, so I suggest getting this done when you go in for a tyre change. The technician will then also balance your wheel for the 90 degree stem.
Thank me later.
Move over 103 and 110, the 107 and 114 are here in the all-new Milwaukee Eight!
With Harley’s all new line up for 2017, the old donk is gone for the Touring models.
The new engines are called the Milwaukee Eight. You get 4 valves per head, 50% more flow and for the first time: dual spark plugs for each cylinder.
The engine is completely brand new, top to bottom, with new cases, new flywheel and new charging system.
Acceleration has been improved with a two to three bike length difference from 0-60. From 60-80 there is a roll-on acceleration improvement of about two bike lengths, so alot more usable power right throughout the range.
There’s an all-new front and rear suspension for improved comfort and response. The rear suspension is a new tool-less adjustable set-up. Located just behind the saddlebags or panniers, there’s a turn-dial adjustment with 30% more pre-load range.
With a new ‘double-bending’ valve at the front, it keeps the front tyre positively grounded on the road. Now if you hit a bump, you’ll have increased confidence and stability. With 117mm of travel on standard models, and 98mm of travel on low models.
A best-in-class suspension, with an awesome powertrain, Harley are constantly improving and refining the ride for all road conditions. Now isn’t that what you want in a Tourer?
The 107ci is the new standard size with CVO’s getting a massive 114ci! There are 3 new CVO’s in the 2017 line up:
If you’re in the market for a new Harley, you can pick up some great deals on 2016 run-out models, or if you have the coin, order your 2017 H-D Milwaukee Eight now!