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Discussion Starter #1
I am not (admittedly) the brightest light bulb on the shelf in some categories of discussion. Nobody would ever accuse me of it anyway! (lol).

Some things I am fairly swift on, but when it comes to motorcycles well......I'm still learning every day.

Sure, I've ridden for a number of years, and yes, I have a strong mechanical background and fairly good common sense but..........

When I go into a motorcycle Dealership (mostly HD Dealerships) with my background in Honda bikes, I feel stupid. I can't tell one model from another at first glance. I don't have the acronyms memorized, and I can't tell the size of the motors (in "cc's") just by looking at em.

If I was to Test Drive one at some point, (and I see myself doing that someday), I'd be nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof! Sure, I know where the clutch, brake and throttle are, and would understand the feel of a bike underneath me, but that's about it.

Even recently, standing there with Gator looking at used the "Used" bikes, he could call out things about the various bikes that I had no clue about.

I study up, I read, I ask questions, but I'm wondering just how different the "new" bikes ARE these days. I've been living in the "Used" pre-2000 market for so long, I realize I need to study up more.

Has that ever happened to you? Do you go into Dealerships of ANY bike and feel as though you "don't know what you're looking at" on some level?

It's intimidating. It's uncomfortable. It makes me realize just how ignorant I am on some level.

Worst thing I could imagine, is to go in and buy a bike (I have a dream one day, of a new HD or Indian sitting in my garage) that I really don't know about; that I would have to say "I don't know a lot about this bike."

I'm sure the fundamentals that I have learned about bikes these many years of riding, will be there for me, but I don't want to choose the WRONG bike for "me."

Did you ever buy a motorcycle and realize after the fact that it WAS the WRONG bike for YOU? What was it, (other than size, let's say) that you realized was your mistake in your purchase? Was it not taking the time to choose the right options, or the changes you wish you MADE before you rode it off the Dealership Lot? (Pipes, add ons).

-Soupy
 

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Did you ever buy a motorcycle and realize after the fact that it WAS the WRONG bike for YOU?
Yup. After being away from riding for 20+ years I bought a Honda Shadow last September and within a couple of weeks realized it just didn't feel right - I preferred the Harley FLH that I had last.

What was it, (other than size, let's say) that you realized was your mistake in your purchase? Was it not taking the time to choose the right options, or the changes you wish you MADE before you rode it off the Dealership Lot? (Pipes, add ons).
Nope, it was just the feel of the bike; it felt like I was sitting on top of the bike, like the bike was top heavy. In October I sat on a HD FXD and it felt like I was sitting "into the bike" and that's the feeling I wanted so I sold the Shadow and bought the FXD.

There are a few things I KNEW I wanted after the Shadow - a windshield so I don't feel the wind is trying to rip me off the bike and saddle bags so I have a place to stow my purse - so I had them installed at the dealership before I picked up the bike.

I am not one for add-ons, except for a few little feminizing touches, so I bought the bike I wanted.

I don't know squat about this model and that model, about how an FXD is similar or different from an FXDWG and it doesn't matter to me. I learn about MY bike (from the Owner's Manual and the Service Manual) and that's all I need. Leave the details to someone who loves that kind of thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
...........it was just the feel of the bike.................There are a few things I KNEW I wanted .................. I learn about MY bike (from the Owner's Manual and the Service Manual).........
Sitting on the bike in the Dealership......picking her up to the balance point.....that is enough to tell me if I feel as if I am riding "in" the bike, (becoming "one" with it) or "on" it, and understand what you mean about that part of it.

Options are in my head (the crash bars, the highway pegs, the foot pads rather than pegs, after-market pipes that accentuate the sound, Cruise Control, Windshield, passenger Back Rest, etc) and I will get all of them done before I take the bike off the Lot.

You're right of course, that the Owners Manual and Service Manual will get you intimately acquainted with your bike as you go along with it.

I remember reading someone's comment in here in another Thread, that spoke to the standardization of the controls and so forth, across breed lines.
I think it was in a discussion about the fact that some older bike models had the shifter on the other side (Triumph?) and stuff like that.

It must be a bit of a shock to the "muscle memory" or whatever you call it, to go from one "breed" to another. I get to a point with the bikes I've owned, where everything I do on it, is pretty much without thinking about it. Getting on a beast of a different breed must be quite a learning curve, eh?

I would venture to guess that more motorcycle accidents occur with folks who get on bikes they are NOT familiar with, and attempt to drive off like the KNOW the bike. (Wonder what the statistics would show about that?).

When Gator and his wife, and Mike and my wife and I met up the other day at the HD Dealership, there was a young (pretty, too) gal who showed up in the parking lot, on a rice rocket that was too big (imho) for her. She had to "toe-walk" the bike into the parking space she chose, because the couldn't flat-foot it. "Big mistake" I thought, "there's a person who didn't get the right bike for her!"

Of course that deals only with the issue of size, but I'm going deeper in this Thread.

-Soupy
 

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You walk into a dealership, grab a salesman, and say, "Hey! I don't know a lot about these bikes. Educate me!" What's the problem with that? Sure, you do your homework ahead of time and you try to read up on what's available and what features are on the bikes you'll be looking at, but you can't know everything. Only a fool would think he could do that.

As for getting the right right fit before you ride off the lot, there's always a learning curve where you get to know your bike and bond with it. You sat on it, and maybe rode one like it, so you know there's no major differences that you won't like, but you still have to get used to little things. Maybe you'll get lucky and everything about your bike will fit like a glove from day one, but realistically you'll have to take some time and learn your machine.

And as for options and personalization? If you don't like something you change it, or you make the bike even more your own by adding to it or "customizing" it, if you will. People that have been familiar with Harley's are more used to this idea and realize the enormous amount of aftermarket parts and accessories that are out there. The concept is a little newer to some people that ride other brands, but they're learning. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
....................If you don't like something you change it, or you make the bike even more your own by adding to it or "customizing" it, if you will.............
Thanks for chiming in, Eye. Most of the purchases I've made in the automobile market when buying new, I made sure I covered all the "wants" or "changes" before I drove it off the lot, because money being as tight as it is for all of us, makes it easier to do it that way, than after the buy.

Get it the way you want it when you are working with the Dealer, if possible, is the mantra I use; and I guess I believe that it is true with motorcycles that are bought "new" as well. Having never done that, I'm not entirely sure however. Neglecting to see something that I SHOULD change, is my worry.
Not being prepared for any significant changes in how the bike works, is another. It's GOT to be a bit of a shock to a bike rider who rides older bikes (pre-2000) to move up to a 2015!!

That said........you commented on the availability of optional parts being quite vast in the HD market, and I would agree. I DON'T know if "Honda" (for example) would offer as MANY optional change outs or not, but there IS some flexibility in the "after market" world even for them.

Is it just "me" or are Salesmen a little less than enthusiastic at Motorcycle Dealerships?

-Soupy
 

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It's GOT to be a bit of a shock to a bike rider who rides older bikes (pre-2000) to move up to a 2015!!

That said........you commented on the availability of optional parts being quite vast in the HD market, and I would agree. I DON'T know if "Honda" (for example) would offer as MANY optional change outs or not, but there IS some flexibility in the "after market" world even for them.

-Soupy
Not really. The major controls are all on the same sides and most everything works the same. Yeah, a few switches and such are going to be in different locations, and if you switch brands the position and balance and what not are going to be different, but I wouldn't say there's any shock. Hey, when I worked in a shop I'd get on different bikes every day and seldom had a problem. (Except one time with a 71 Sportster that had the gear shift on the right side.) Now as to comfort and performance? Yeah, there can be quite a pleasant surprise.

Did you happen to go into JP while you were at Destination? If you did you saw, conservatively, less then 1/1,000th of the aftermarket parts that company alone has available. Did you see the custom built Hog right there in the middle of the showroom? (They switch them around every so often, so I don't know which one is in there right now.) Not a single part on any of those bikes was produced by HD. Every single piece of those custom builds from the ground up is an off-the-shelf aftermarket part. If you saw the customized Gold Wing they also sometimes have in there, that's a Honda made bike with some very sharp aftermarket parts on it.

There is aftermarket flexibility available for many bikes, and it's getting better and better for many other brands, but it's almost unfathomable for HD's.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
.........Did you happen to go into JP while you were at Destination?......

Yeah we did. Gator's sweetheart needed a new helmet. Those parts in J&P are not all HD alone though. Rider was looking for Valve Covers (if I remember rightly) and HE was on a Triumph.

-Soupy
 

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We love going to motorcycle shows, where almost every brand/model bike sold is being displayed in a huge indoor playpen - 'oops' I mean display ;) Last weekend we attended the Motorcycle SuperShow here in Ontario. Awesome fun & a great way to get a biking itch scratched during our long cold winter season.

I really enjoy waundering into every manufacturers display area. Sit on the new bikes, grab the 2015 brochure, & only occasionally talk to a rep if I'm really interested in something specific. If I'm not 'buying' anything then I try to leave the reps alone to talk to potential new buyers instead, just to be polite.

I'm a Star/Yamaha guy, and know the Yamaha lineup pretty good. And I try to stay informed about the other brands too. Most brands have a certain vagueness to me because I don't know the models well enough, but that doesn't stop me from popping my butt onto any seat I want to check out :D

Maybe it's just me, but I do feel a bit of "smugness" at the HD booth as compared to other(jap) brands. Rightly so perhaps. But that's nothing compared to the "pompous-ness" I get at the BMW/Ducati/euro booths. I'm intrigued by the bikes, but can't get comfortable with the 'air' there. I'd LOVE to attend a BMW demo drive event but would likely feel too uneasy...

.. however I can't wait for the next HD demo drive event :D I really REALLY want to experience what all the HD hype is about! I've never yet ridden a HD.

Eye, which HD model should I try out? I have a Star Raider now & really like that format. I've also test rode a Victory Vision & a Indian Roadmaster amongst other bikes. I see me getting a bigger 'bagger' bike someday, but it maybe not my next one. The one after that :)
 

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It's one thing when buying a new bike and getting what you want, but you should always remember, most of the time, after market is cheaper than dealer....when I bought my '08 Suzuki C50 brand new it was $7099, the C50T was $7999....the T had a windshield, backrest and saddlebags, the C had "custom" paint and cast wheels....I put a windshield and backrest on my C cheaper than the dealer cost....

what I'm saying here is, before buying, price out the after market things you want added....
 

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I have never been on a H-D and truly think I would enjoy trying a couple out. I know their fan base is large, strong and enthusiastic.

When our local H-D has a ride day I intend to go and try them out.
 

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Did you ever buy a motorcycle and realize after the fact that it WAS the WRONG bike for YOU? What was it, (other than size, let's say) that you realized was your mistake in your purchase? Was it not taking the time to choose the right options, or the changes you wish you MADE before you rode it off the Dealership Lot? (Pipes, add ons).

-Soupy
Yup, and it looked kinda like a Harley.




Problem was the power delivery was wrong, the fit and finish was mediocre at best compared to a Harley, the passenger pillion was a thing of torture according to my wife and the bars vibrated at speed worse than my Harley.
I spent a lot more money, but I ended up with something I would ride.

 

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That is a good looking bike ODE, the alphabet soup one in the garage.

Road king?
 

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...
If I was to Test Drive one at some point, (and I see myself doing that someday), I'd be nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof! Sure, I know where the clutch, brake and throttle are, and would understand the feel of a bike underneath me, but that's about it.
...
Soupy, an easy way to get familiar with the Harley line-up is to take advantage of their rental program. A rental costs less than a daily ski lift ticket. Check out the dealers near you. Here's a link to my local dealer's rental page showing models in their rental fleet. http://www.rayprice-hd.com/default.asp?page=rent

You may find a rental less intimidating. They don't care how many miles you put on it and no salesman is going to high pressure you.
 

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That is a good looking bike ODE, the alphabet soup one in the garage.

Road king?
I've got a friend with your bikes twin, almost 80k last i talked to him, he claims it rides "smooth as glass". One of these days I'll have to talk him into taking it for a spin.
 

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You will never know what it feels like to ride a Harley until you ride a Harley, its that simple, nothing else feels like a Harley..........of course nothing else feels like a Kawasaki or Yamaha or Suzuki......they're all different

You can make any of them loud, but if they ain't a Harley they won't sound like a Harley. You could probably blindfold Eye and run a bunch of loud bikes by him and he could tell you which were Harley and which weren't.

I've been around Harleys all my life, Uncles, cousins, brothers ride Harley, but I've never had the "I want a Harley" syndrome, I've known people that have had it and buy something else that looks good(so naturally it looks like a Harley) and then they start trying to justify, to themselves and others, buying it instead of a Harley was the right choice, and they are never really happy until they get a Harley.

I've ridden many and owned a Harley, nothing about any of my bikes is "like a Harley", I like my bikes for what they are.

Once you've had a Harley you may be stuck on Harley and never ever consider anything else........or maybe not, but you'll never know until you've had one.

Now is the time to buy used, even an 883 will blow you mind compared to a 750.....but so will any other 900. Ride it for a year and determine if the things about Harley are what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You will never know what it feels like to ride a Harley until you ride a Harley, its that simple, nothing else feels like a Harley..........
I'll joke here and say, "yeah, they shake like a roller coaster!" (lol)

Seriously though, what makes the "feel" different than other bikes? Is it definable?

-Soupy
 

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soupy, a HD salesman told me one way to tell the bikes apart is the cover on the side (where Honda would put the tool kit). It helps. Sorry I cannot remember the name of the part :(
 

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I can't define it, however it is something that is not important to me, I'd rather have a 900 Kawasaki than an 883.

and from the quote you left off "of course nothing else feels like a Kawasaki or Yamaha or Suzuki......they're all different" which is very important to what I'm saying.

btw the "joke" is something someone would say trying to convince themselves they made the right choice.
 
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