My road to becoming a Harley Owner

I would like to share with you the story of my first Harley motorcycle purchase.

About 4 years ago my wife was coming off maternity leave with our son, before this I had been using a motorcycle as my primary form of transport all year round so didn’t have a car to use for commuting or ferrying around a child. We had one car which my wife used and a horse lorry, which wasn’t very good on fuel or particularly nice to drive.

As I was now a “responsible” parent I decided that it was time to switch to a car as my main mode of transport, so I went for something completely sensible and bought a Volvo after selling my commuter bike (a Suzuki GSX600F, which served me well).

My old Suzuki GSX600F
My old Suzuki GSX600F

For a while I told myself “I will get a bike again in a couple of years, something fun, like an R1” haven ridden a friends R1 I loved it, it was great, so easy to ride, all the power you need whenever you need it. The only problem was, that type of out & out sports bike always eggs you on to twist the throttle open and propel yourself into warp speed, and if you’re lucky a field, less lucky a tree.

A few years went by, our second child, my daughter, was born and I came to the realisation that it would be best to get something like a cruiser, something that I can enjoy, but won’t encourage me to harm myself.

At first I test rode the Harley Davidson Dyna Fat Bob, having previously been told that Harleys are uncomfortable, heavy, slow and don’t handle well, I had fairly low expectations, but I decided to take one out & make up my own mind. For the hour test ride I actually came to like it, it wasn’t as bad as I had been led to believe, but I wasn’t ready to get a bike at that time, I was participating in one of their test-ride to win competitions.

Dyna Fat Bob which I test rode
Dyna Fat Bob which I test rode

Early in 2019 I started to think that I ought to do something special for my 40th birthday & spoke to the wife about how we would be so much better off, due to both of our kids going to school, so vastly reduced childcare costs. I mentioned that I could get myself a new bike and she said “yeah, you could”, so that was a green light if there ever was one.

I Immediately started looking at available makes and models, reviews etc. and I found the Harley Davidson Sport Glide which was released for the 2018 model year as part of their Softail range which has slowly been replacing the previous Dyna models, but the Sport Glide was something a bit new, there had been previous attempts at “convertible” bikes which can be used as a cafe hopper or a touring machine, but none had really been that successful, this however was a little different, it seemed to be a lot more popular, with great reviews, I don’t know if that is a reflection of the generation of riders, or if it is because Harley have got the ingredients right this time.

Still unsure of what to get I lined up a few test rides, I looked at:

  • The Indian Scout, a nice bike but I found it a little uncomfortable after an hour of riding
  • The new Fat Bob which I am still not sure how much I like the look of
  • The 1200 Sportsters which are a little lower powered than the Softails and use an older engine
  • The Softail Low Rider, a cheaper option in the Softail range
  • The Fat Boy, a beautiful looking bike, but the price is quite high, especially when adding all of the accessories that you want

But in the end, the bike I wanted the most out of all of them was the Harley Davidson Sport Glide, it is really versatile with quick detach fairing and paniers & is a very good looking bike, to me anyway. When I test rode for an hour (probably a little over) it was really comfy, had lots of torque and handled really well. It’s a bike I feel that I could ride comfortably for hours on end.

The Sport Glide I test rode
The Sport Glide I test rode

In February this year (2020), I popped into my local Harley dealership (Swansea Harley Davidson) to check if I ordered the bike on pay day in March then it would arrive by my birthday in mid-April, as my March pay would have topped my deposit up to what I thought I needed. Pat, the salesman pointed in the direction of the window and said “you can have that one there if you like”, it was a brand new display model being shown off in the window at the front of the store. They gave me a good deal, with monthly payments less than I though with a lower deposit than I thought I would need (the interest rates happened to be good at that time), so I ended up walking away with the paperwork, unable to collect until the 1st of March the earliest, as it was going to be a freshly registered 20 plate bike.

Sporty McGlideface in the shop window
Sporty McGlideface in the shop window

To sweeten the deal, they threw in a Tab Performance slip-on with Zombie muffler, a sissy bar, pad, fitting kit & a phone mount and I collected on the 3rd of March, over a month before my 40th birthday!

Picking up my new Harley
Picking up my new Harley

Unfortunately, coronavirus lockdown struck the UK on the 23rd of March, so I managed to fit one ride with my local HOG chapter in before that & can now only ride to the supermarket for essential shops, or to deliver supplies to shielding relatives. So since then I have added a luggage rack, overnight bag and bought some pannier liners to increase capacity and make shopping easier. I am thinking of getting a tune, even though I only had the slip-on changed, not the filter, I just think that the TAB allows quite a bit more air flow, so it would be beneficial.

I long for the day when the restrictions start to be lifted and I can ride out for pleasure and attend events again, however now is not the time, I am being respectful of the restrictions and make sure that I’m not spreading this virus as we all should, and am thankful that I have such a great bike to ride.

Stay safe, share & I look forward to hearing any comments.

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