Autumn storms are howling, the season’s drawing to a close. My first motorcycle season, that is. Time to appraise the performance of the motorcycle I spent it on.
Oh, and about the name. Granted, it’s a Harley Davidson Fat Bob, but no bike should have male name. As with boats, things that are exciting, a lot of fun but in the end can kill you deserve a female appellation. “Elke” ist the name of a sturdily built girlfriend in a song by “Die Ärzte”. They modestly designate themselves the best band in the world and this song contains the memorable line: “Im Sommer gibt sie Schatten, im Winter hält sie warm.” (In summer, she provides cooling shadow, in winter, she keeps you warm.) Applies to my bike, too…
Well then, kind of a review to write.
First and foremost, she goes.
The motor has no compensating shaft. On the one hand, this leads to increased vibrations, on the other, it preserves the 103 cubic inch V-Twin’s full power and torque. Of the last, it has 123 Nm at slightly above 3000 rpm, and it shows! On impromptu traffic light drag strip starts, even a Porsche gets left behind. Of course, she is no sports bike, and in the higher rpm zones just cruising the two-lane, you get passed by a lot of these. The soundtrack is a cue, while I am rolling along with a contentedly thudding motor, they make theirs howl to pass me. To each his own!
So, she is a strong cruiser, I think Harley Davidson’s strongest with this motor. The way I have set it up, she is a capable tourer as well. Right from the get-go, I ordered fixed bags, I chose the ones in distressed black-brown leather. Now, they are not roomy, but riding single, they suffice. I have rain gear, a slim backpack with the essentials for riding and repairs and a protective laptop bag in the left pannier, and everything else in the right one. When I need more space, I tie a stuff bag to the sissy bar.
Ah, the sissy bar!
It spoils the whole appearance of the back of the bike, but I don’t care. It was mounted for one of my daughters who felt insecure being repeatedly shifted back onto the fender when I accelerated. Now both of my daughters actually enjoy riding on the pillion seat, and you can’t put a price on that!
Now for something completely different. 😉 Lean angles. There’s not much of them, especially on the right hand side. Accelerating out of a turn, I’ve repeatedly scraped the bottom of the dual end pipes, not that it shows on the chrome. Nasty sound, though! She leans to the left a bit more (just like me!), there’s not much hanging off of the frame down below there. These limitations became more apparent when I switched to Pirelli Night Dragon tires at the end of the season. While the stock Dunlops felt a bit square in the corners, the Pirellis lean fluidly. You’re not having fun unless it scrapes…