View Full Version : One year on

04-21-2005, 01:10 AM
I seem to recall that many on this site got their bikes around the same time I did, that is to say the beginning of 04.

Here are some of my thoughts for a potential new buyer.

Reason for buying
Get this sorted out in your old decrepit brain first. This purchase has the ability to take control of your life so make sure you want it in your life first.
Can you afford it (and the replacement parts, petrol, tyres, insurance, tax, time etc etc etc)?
Will your significant other be supportive? If answer is no, rethink purchase.
Will you be able to ride the bike? Harleys are surprisingly easy to ride. They are heavy though so you need to get used to handling that weight, especially at very low speeds.
Will you need it? No use getting a bike if you don’t want to go anywhere.
Will the noise upset my neighbours? Yes if it is at 6.30 in the morning. Otherwise they will love it. Trust me.

Don't go out and buy loads of chrome! Make the bike comfortable for yourself instead. I figure that if I customise my bike, I am the only one who can't see the finished product as it is going down the road. Far better to have the bars/seat etc you need for your riding style instead of making heads turn. Think: Do you want to pose or do you want to ride?

Get rid of the stock tyres and get some different ones that actually work. Do this BEFORE you ride the bike for the first time. This will be the best money you will ever spend. Don’t argue, just do it, OK!

Buy some Torx and Allen sockets and a good socket wrench. These will be your main tools.
Buy a big Allen key (not necessarily a set) that fits the transmission dipstick.
A 3/8” spanner fits the brake nipples.
Buy some WD40 (lots). Cover the bike in it on wet days.
Buy a digital pressure gauge for the tyres. Use a bicycle pump or foot pump to keep up pressure.
Buy a manual!

Whenever possible, replace parts with stainless steel. Nuff said!
Change the brake fluid regularly. Water seems to get in somehow.
Flying goggles are good for wet weather riding if you wear an open face helmet.

Don’t get the bike souped up or made bigger in CC just for the sake of it. Ride the bike for a year first and get used to it. The chances are you will just be giving yourself power that you don’t really need. Save your money for a while and spend your hard earned beer vouchers on the parts you really need.

Get the regular services done by Harley for as long as you can afford (or up to the end of the warranty). Then do it all yourself. The satisfaction of being your own mechanic will be well worth it.

Whenever you undo any connector (whatever type), clean and copper slip it before putting it back on. It’s amazing how quickly everything becomes corroded due to salt/water etc.

Get used to undoing parts of your bike. Take it to bits if you can. Get to know it. And keep everything greased and maintained while you are doing it. Some parts of your bike may not get touched by human hand for ages (even during a thorough clean or service). As such, they can get corroded and worn. Taking parts off regularly and checking will help to avoid this.

Don’t get too caught up in the “lifestyle”. You are either the seedy biker type already, or you are not. Either way, that’s fine. Ride the way that makes you feel good, wearing the clothes that you are comfortable in and do it as often as you can. Look after your bike and maintain it to how you want it to be. That’s what’s important! Not looking like Marlon Brando or the Terminator.

I have some shocking news to tell you….You will never beat a Jap bike at anything. Face up to it. Take a deep breath now. Relax…Feeling better yet? Good. As long as we've got that settled we can go onto the next item…….
IT IS NOT A RACE!! If you go faster, you get there quicker. So relax, take pleasure in the fact that you have a huge touring bike that is set up for your comfort and satisfaction. Let the Jelly-Babies go flying past on their Nagasakis. They are nearly all weekend racers who will be finished with biking in 6 months when the thrill has worn off or they are dead/paralysed. Remember, you are in it for the long haul and want to relish a lifetime of riding without any horror or pain. So chill.
There will be times when you think to yourself “What am I doing here, 2 feet off the ground going 75mph with very little protection”? This is normal. Do not panic. Breathe deeply again. Say to yourself “I am riding because it the best feeling in the world and I love it.”

RAIN. Just go out and ride in it anyway. It will make you appreciate the dry days as well as making you a better rider.
COLD. Sometimes it just bloody hurts. Not always, but sometimes. So what do you want me to do? Kiss it better?
SUN. One word. Suncream.

After 24,000 miles I have had zero problems with my bike. Ok, so the petrol gauge and the warning lights fog up whenever I wash it, but they all do that. There is a ticking noise coming from the top of the front pot, but they all do that. The wheels on my Fatboy are getting corroded from the brake dust, but what are you gonna do? (I have found a new wheel cleaner from the Turtle Wax people that is really good).
I have had to replace one part so far and that cost 45 pence.
I also use cheap 20/50 grade oil to top up the engine and automatic transmission fluid in the primary. I covered the whole bike in S100 corrosion protectant over the winter and it performed well. There is corrosion on my bike, mostly bolt heads, nuts and other connectors. These I had planned on replacing with stainless steel ones anyway.

Anyone got anything to add?

04-21-2005, 01:24 AM
dr bob very good reading , nothing to add but thank you

04-21-2005, 01:31 AM
Oustanding post Dr. Bob. I will print this and keep it with my manual. Great advice here. I wish I would have read this prior to buying my bike one year ago. Not dissapointed in my purchase, but I certainly would have done things differently given the advice (of course, I would not have appreciated this advice one year ago until I had the opportunity to experience some of the issues addressed here).

I would have definitely focused more on comfort as opposed to chrome. Lesson learned for me.

One question for you: Why did you recommend changing the tires first? This is the first I have heard this advice. Would a different (not stock) set of tires make that much difference? If so, how? What would be the added benefit?

Thanks for the great post.

04-21-2005, 01:43 AM
Lots on this site about tyres. Do a search. Basically Dunlops do not measure up to other tyres.

04-21-2005, 01:52 AM
All I can say is well put....Other Info., you just have to find out by
living it...ENJOY the RIDE... ;)

04-21-2005, 03:06 AM
Hey Dr. Bob!

Good to see you posting again. If I remember correctly, you got your bike right before I did. Lots of good points that you have posted. I am doing more and more of my own work on my bikes. Glad that I have the members on this forum and a good friend with an indy shop to rely on when I have questions or get stumped though.

Ride safe my friend!

04-21-2005, 03:08 PM
Dr. Bob,

Great read!

Thanks for taking the time to post that.

04-21-2005, 03:22 PM
Great advice! If I added anything, since a lot of people do something to their lighting, is if you take apart anything electric, connectors, bulbs, etc..., is use dielectric grease on the connections.

04-21-2005, 03:52 PM
Will your significant other be supportive? If answer is no, rethink purchase.

Or, rethink commitment to significant other.

Great post Dr. Bob, all very sage advice.

04-22-2005, 03:47 PM
Will your significant other be supportive? If answer is no, rethink purchase.

Or, rethink commitment to significant other.

:lol: :lol: Amen!