Tandem Riding: Yes. Not much, but definitely starting to ride again and looking forward to cooler weather and an upcoming weekend visit to the Smokey Mountains in early September for the Dancing Bear Inn’s Bicycle Bash. Not sure we’ll be ‘hanging’ with anyone on the rides, but that’s OK. We’re targeting that weekend for R&R, with heavy emphasis on the second “R”: Recuperation.
Georgia’s Three Foot Rule: I wrote about Georgia’s new Better Bicycling Bill and the 3 Foot Rule back in late May and from what I’ve seen, like most new laws it has gone virtually unnoticed. I came to realize this last Tuesday when I decided to knock off from work early and get in an afternoon ride and was “buzzed” by the back-end of a school bus and a local road construction company’s service truck. I’m guessing most cars that passed me gave up about 2-feet with a handful giving wider birth. Notes have been sent to the school district’s transportation office and the construction company suggesting they share news of the new law with their drivers.
That Darn Motorcycle Habit: We continue to make new friends at every turn in the “biker” community and just about have our Harley Wide Glide sorted-out. We had dinner at one of the local biker bars late this afternoon and it was a great time, so we may now have a Sunday “hot spot” to go along with Friday’s “On the Border” night and Saturday’s “Olde Towne Tavern & Grill” night.
The cruiser styles Harley is definitely a different riding experience from the sport bikes, but I still can’t see myself commuting on the Harley: it’s definitely the weekend machine vs. the work bike. Speaking of weekends, I think we’ll be heading to the mountains in early September for an overnight with the Earl Small crew and we may also be heading to the 2011 Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally at Panama City Beach.
As noted last week, we had some additional exhaust baffles and a set of leather saddlebags inbound for the Harley. The “extra” set of baffles arrived on Tuesday and the saddlebags arrived Saturday. Baffles went in and out several times with both the stock Vance & Hines “cheese grater” baffles and the V&H Quiet Baffles with different fiberglass sound wrapping materials. The only combination that yielded a ‘quiet enough’ exhaust note was the V&H Quiet Baffles wrapped with 10 ounce Fiberglass cloth and then capped by the Hard Kore end baffles. It still sounds like a Harley and barks when you get into the throttle, but is noticeably more quiet at idle and lower RPMs.
As for a summary of the changes I’ve made to the bike since it was new in June, the transformation from a boulevard cruiser to a light touring machine for two is just about done and included the following:
- Suspension: Progressive front springs & 440 HD rear shocks
- Exhaust: V&H Big Shot Staggered w/Quiet Baffles + Hard Kore Baffles. Still sounds like a Harley, but doesn’t rattle the neighbor’s windows or my brain. Note: Hard Kore take above average wrenching skills to use with Quiet Baffles.
- Controls: 6″ pull-back chrome risers, ‘Get-a-Grip’ hand controls, ‘Tribal’ chrome Mirrors, and ‘Chrome & Rubber’ foot controls w/Heel Raiser. Note: Heel Raiser is a troublesome piece of kit.
- Rider Comfort: H-D Touring saddle, rigid side plates w/Med Low chrome sissy bar, back rest & sport luggage rack. Note: Still not happy with any of this stuff and looking for better options. Saddle comfort for pillion is good, but saddle looks too massive for bike.
- Luggage: Great Gear signal/tag relocation kit, Easy Brackets & Leatherworks 128 saddlebags.
- Bling: “Live to Ride” Derby cover, 5 3/5″ chrome H-D headlight, bullet turn signal trim rings. Kinda like the original black risers, the OEM parts just didn’t look right.
There are still a few things that I need to address over the next few weeks that include:
- Induction: TBD. Probably a retro breather w/K&N filter
- Tuning: Needs the ‘Engine Idle Temperature Management System’ (EITMS) programmed and some other tweaks to enrich the mixture and lower the engine temp.
- Rider Comfort: Custom saddle, different sissy bar & rear rack. Have ordered a Rallyrunner saddle & some different rear sideplates that will allow me to quickly reconfigure the bike for shorter trips vs. longer trips that may provide the compromise I’m looking for.
Interestingly enough, as I look at the list of changes I felt compelled to make to the Harley I’m reminded that most of my other motorcycles have all ended up with similar changes, e.g., the BMW R1100S has aftermarket shocks, exhaust, induction, chip, saddle, signal controls, BMW City Case luggage & some bling.