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Nightfly
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Discussion Starter #1
Seems like a lot of Harley riders these days are keeping their bikes stock, although I am not one of them. I don't know what that is, worried about future problems?

In the past not too many were worried about that, most couldn't wait to get their stage 1 or 2 installed at the dealer. Any thought?
 

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I think there are a lot of reasons. First and foremost, the new motors have pretty good power right out of the factory. 2nd, the EPA now requires the warranty void for any non-compliant motor work. If you flash the ecm or add a piggy back tuner you have no warranty.

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American Legion Rider
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I've always waited until any warranty was gone before doing any upgrades that would void a warranty. Although I didn't on my Indian but I only did so after they had an emergency recall flash of the ECM that made the bike nearly unridable. So I did my own reflash to get the ride-ability back and the heck with warranty. Yep, it was an EPA thing but they claimed certain bikes might catch on fire. Pure BS to comply with the EPA.

So, you have to weigh your options. I took the risk and have been very happy I did. And surprise surprise, they are now reflashing tunes so similar to mine it isn't funny. Or at least it sure looks like it. Must be a tweak here and there different enough to pass EPA but I still wonder what happened to all those bikes that were going to erupt in flames.

One of my friends with a Indian refused every recall to date. He has one of the best running bikes they made. One of the original 2014's. An he is far from alone. So it's up to you in the end when it comes to warranties. The EPA has been a double edge sword.The bad they cause has almost always resulted in good once the factories figure out how to deal with it. And the air we breath is much better then too.
 

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I've always waited until any warranty was gone before doing any upgrades that would void a warranty...
Me too, but then I never rode (or could afford) a Harley that was anywhere near warranty... Now days many of the 1% emulators are solidly in the 99% category and their mods consist of (maybe) windshields and doodads... Used to be that was one of the joys of the breed... was to tear into it... although a lot of us never went into the lower end, everything else was fair game including cam (cams in Sporty). Guess I'm being a cynic -- lots of Harley riders around my neighborhood, but only one that I think really tears into his bike -- and old, but well cared for ironhead that the guy brought back from the grave...

On the otherhand, Harley from about 2000 (the twinkies) has become less and less basic, so perhaps that contributes... in truth, once someone drops $20-30K int a big, there is a huge disincentive to diddle with it (especially if its purchase require a second mortgage or some such). Luved my Evo and it had the usual smattering of cam mods, ignition and carb tweaks, but sort of dropped out of the conversation after than... The one I like the best though was a ironhead years back -- very little left that was box-stock motor company on that rascal...
 

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On my 2009 Ultra Classic, I started out with Stage One down load, pipes, and air cleaner and road it that way for 63k miles. I then did SE255 cams and a power vision tuner, plus a Dyno tune. The bike had a ton more get up and go but my mileage suffered. I road that bike for another 25k. Since then, looking at the money spent and what I really got out of it, I've decided that if the bike doesn't perform up to what I feel is adequate for my needs, I'll just buy a different bike. I'm not screwing around with that crap any longer.

On the flip side: comfort items are a different ball game. I ride long distances and I'm not sacrificing my comfort. On the Harley I did bars and had the seat modded. On my current BMW K1600, I did bar risers and a Russell Day Long seat. I don't regret the comfort mods on either bike.

Regarding the EPA issue: now, even if a bike is out of warranty, a HD dealership will refuse to work on it if it has non-compliant mods. Or at least they're supposed to decline the work.

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Harley-Davidson to pay $12 million fine over motorcycle emissions
David Shepardson, Meredith Davis
5 MIN READ

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N) agreed to pay a $12 million civil fine and stop selling illegal after-market devices that cause its motorcycles to emit too much pollution, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle is pictured at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 31, 2013. REUTERS/Sara Stathas
The settlement resolves government allegations that Harley sold roughly 340,000 “super tuners” enabling motorcycles since 2008 to pollute the air at levels greater than what the Milwaukee-based company certified to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Harley did not admit liability, and said in a statement it disagrees with the government’s position arguing that the devices were designed and sold to be used in “competition only.”

The company said the settlement represents “a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition.”

An EPA spokesman said that the vast majority of these tuners were used on public roads.

According to the government, the sale of such “defeat devices” violates the federal Clean Air Act. Harley was also accused of selling more than 12,600 motorcycles that were not covered by an EPA certification governing clean air compliance.

The settlement calls for Harley to stop selling the super tuners by Aug. 23, and buy back and destroy all such tuners in stock at its dealerships. EPA said the modified settings increase power and performance, but also increase the motorcycles’ emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

Harley must also deny warranty claims if owners continue to use the devices. An EPA spokesman said the company’s dealers are not part of this action, but “if they are tampering or selling defeat devices on their own, then they could be investigated independently in the future.”

Harley will also spend $3 million on an unrelated project to reduce air pollution, the Justice Department said.

“Given Harley-Davidson’s prominence in the industry, this is a very significant step toward our goal of stopping the sale of illegal after-market defeat devices that cause harmful pollution on our roads and in our communities,” John Cruden, head of the Justice Department’s environmental and natural resources division, said in a statement.

The announcement comes amid greater scrutiny on emissions and “defeat devices” by U.S. regulators after Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) admitted to using illegal software to evade U.S. emissions standards in nearly 600,000 U.S. vehicles.

“This settlement immediately stops the sale of illegal after-market defeat devices used on public roads that threaten the air we breathe,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Harley must obtain a certification from the California Air Resources Board for any tuners it sells in the United States in the future. For any super tuners that Harley-Davidson sells outside the United States in the future, it must label them as not for use in the United States.

In a separate statement, the company said it has sold the product for more then 20 years under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts and said it believed it was legal to use in race conditions in the United States.

Harley shares closed down 94 cents at $53.54, or 1.7 percent. They had earlier fallen as much as 8 percent after news of the allegations had surfaced in a U.S. lawsuit filed in Washington, but before the settlement was announced.

Harley said last month that EPA had first sought information about after-market part issues in December 2009.

Pat Sweeney, a Harley-Davidson spokesperson, said the company did not have immediate details on how many units of inventory had to be bought back or destroyed, nor details on the cost.

EPA said it discovered the violations through a routine inspection and information Harley-Davidson submitted. EPA has been investigating after-market part emission issues for more than five years.

In 2012, Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T) paid an $885,000 fine to EPA for selling 25,458 all-terrain vehicles and off-road motorcycles because they were built to allow for the installation of an after-market part to increase horsepower and emissions.

Several other companies have paid fines to EPA in recent years for selling after-market parts to diesel truck owners to remove emission controls and boost horsepower and fuel efficiency.

Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, Sweta Singh in Bengaluru, Nick Carey and Meredith Davis in Chicago; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Alan Crosby

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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Resident of Munchkin Land
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I don't see myself doing any performance upgrades on my 2019 Low Rider. Maybe I'll get a slip-on exhaust for the sound but maybe not...

I am worried about reliability but mostly, I don't need more power and even if I wanted it, I don't have the money.
 

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Things are a lot different than the old days, Harley's parts work very well now, cams , pistons, etc are as good as anyone's. And unless you're a crazy old fart like me there really is no reason to soup up these new motors. I purchased the Harley 5 year extended warranty on this bike and did a stage III upgrade on it, everything is covered for 5 years. I haven't had any issues since the work was done and I couldn't be happier with the bike. I would do it again in a heartbeat. 20181021_111614.jpg
 

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I am a middle aged Harley rider, Gen-X type, and do not modify the engines or pipes. Maybe on an old one I would consider it, but the new Harleys are very good bikes, have plenty of power, and sound great out of the box. Exhaust, too, is a highly engineered thing and not the factory afterthought it used to be. I am skeptical that changing the exhaust would be a positive step without changing cam timing and reprogramming the ignition and whatever. Basicall re-engineering the powerplant from soup to nuts. Which I just paid a lot of money for a well engineered motorcycle precisely to avoid.

It would be interesting to see if there is still enthusiasm on the dealer floor to sell aftermarket exhausts and stuff. The salesman is basically telling you that the product is a peice of junk on the showroom floor. Okay. Time to walk.

It's a culture thing with Harleys, and seems pretty much expected on other brands, as well. BMW and Akrpovic are pretty much wed, and many big-four bikes around my area sport at least fancy cans, if not entire aftermarket exhaust systems.

I find all this baffling. :D

I have to agree with VistaVette: if the bike was unsatisfactory as presented in the show room, I just wouldn't buy it. Also like VistaVette, I will spring for comfort. I am a smaller rider at 5'7" (which would have been huge in medieval days but is now considered not huge) and need to skooch up the seat and lower the bars on the new Harleys in order to reach the controls and keep a good riding position. I also use my bike like it's a Subaru Wagon, which is to say all the time including commuting and shopping. So an add-on trunk is an expensive (because HD) but rewarding upgrade. Also heated grips and engine guards and an ADV-style wind deflector. I can see why every bike doesn't come with one of these, and I don't mind paying a little extra to make the bike my own.

If someone made a bike specifically designed as a long range touring, commuting, all-round in-town, rain or shine, four season grocery hauler for short people, I'd buy that. :)
 

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Not a long time Harley owner (3 months), I purchased the Super Glide used with 6600 miles on the OD. I didn't buy the Harley to haul ass with, I have another bike for that. The original owner had already added the stage 1 air intake & 2 into 1 exhaust. He also installed a few add on's such as a luggage rack & sissy bar, taller touring quick release windshield, grips, pegs, and a few other chrome accessories on the motor.

I don't plan on modifying the motor at all because it runs perfect as it is for me as a cruiser. All I've done was add a few accessories to make it my own. 12v power port, GPS mount, mustache crash bars with footrests, quick release luggage and a shorter windshield. As Vistavette pointed out and based on my two test rides last year, I think the newer Harley motors put out enough to satisfy that unique visceral riding experience that most are looking for. IMHO if you want performance and handling, there are much better bikes out there for that.

For cruising and enjoying the sound & scenery, I don't know that there is much better than a Harley for that, and they're still capable of triple digit speeds. As a fairly new owner of a pre-owned Harley, I can say that I'm thoroughly enjoying it as it is with an unmolested motor. I'd still like to have a Road King, but I'd have to give up one of the other bikes to do it. I don't know that I'm ready to do that just yet.
 

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I've only had my Super Glide since April (I think) and haven't changed anything, but I have added saddle bags, a Mustang touring seat and a luggage rack. Would like mustache bar like Zebraranger's got, but it can wait a little longer. :)
 

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I'm one of those people that have no clue how a two into one exhaust helps. If it helps with gas mileage and lets the engine run a little more smoothly, (but not just more noise) or if there are other benefits, I'd like to hear about them.
 

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American Legion Rider
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I'm not exactly sure what is going on either but I think it has to do with back pressure that results in better low end torque while changing the tone or as some call it noise.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Simple, think of huffing and puffing. With a two into one exhaust the puff of exhaust out the pipe helps pull the next puff from the other cylinder instead having to push the exhaust out all by itself.
 
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