Buell Demo Truck at Barb's H-D

I had planned a great kickoff to my Demo Junkie 2008 Season. I was going to take Friday off and head out to Capital Area Triumph for the Triumph truck, then hit Barb's on Saturday for the Buell truck. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating. Friday morning had a forecast for all-day rain in the Harrisburg area (home of CATriumph), so I decided not to ride 3+ hours out there. Instead I took the car to hit some bike shops closer to home. Of course the day got nicer and nicer, and by 2pm it was nearly 70 degrees with the sun shining. Found myself at Hannum's H-D for the first time, and I was surprised to see the H-D demo truck there! Of course I had no gear with me, and I wasn't interested in piloting a new-to-me 800-pound bike around unknown roads in jeans, t-shirt and borrowed shortie helmet. Crap.

Saturday it rained on and off all day, so I didn't make it out to Barb's for the Buell truck. But Sunday dawned overcast but dry, so off I went.

About a 30-minute pleasant ride I arrived at Barb's around 9:10am. They advertised demos from 9a-4pm, but the Buell truck was locked up tight. Turns out they start around 10. OK, plenty of time to check out the H-D stock inside. Met a couple nice folks there for the demos as well.

Jeets from sport-touring.net showed up on his Bandit 1250, and we chatted a bit.

A little before 10 everything was set to go. Buell did not have the new XT with them, but looks like they had most everything else, including 2 new 1125R's. Barb's also supplied a few Harleys to demo.

I first signed up for my old friend the Ulysses. I had demo'd it twice before, at Americade and during Gettysburg Bike Week. I love the torque and the sound of that Firestorm motor. Unfortunately due to Barb's location, the demo route was unavoidably terrible. 168 to I-295 to 130 and back. Other than an exit ramp or two, and a couple of traffic circles, there were no turns to speak of.

The Uly was as good as ever. I don't like the vibes at standstill, and the switchgear is crap, but the rest of the package is very, very appealing. Just the sound of that motor under load could almost get me to buy one. When we returned we got a Buell backpack.

Jeets took out the TT.

They were alternating Buell and Harley groups going out, so I signed up for the Heritage Softail for the next ride. I'm going to be in Colorado during the summer, and will be renting a bike for a few days. I wanted to demo a few to help me decide which I should rent.

Like the seating position (for a H-D), the ride and the motor, didn't like the handlebar position - too high. HATED the windscreen, but that's true of most bike with big screens. I don't want to watch the road through lexan, and the buffeting over, say, 60mph is tremendous.

Jeets took out the Street Bob.

Next Buell was the TT, which I had ridden very briefly last year (in order to score a free Buell dispatch bag). Again, that motor could almost make a sale. On this ride I had a complete yahoo riding behind me. We had noticed this kid earlier in the parking lot, talking about how the marks on his helmet are from throwing it on the ground all the time. He was riding pretty much RIGHT behind me, and a couple of times on turns (including the big I-295-to-42 ramp) he rode up next to me in my lane. Jackass. He was seen later wheelying down the one residential street on the route.

Next up was a Harley ride, took out the Ultra Classic. Nice. Very comfy, great seat, great position, smooth ride, and the windshield didn't buffet as badly as the Heritage.

This turned out to be the most interesting ride of the day. I got split from the group in the early part of the ride due to a red light. The group leader didn't notice, and continued with 3 or 4 bikes out of sight. Light goes green, I head out with 2 bikes behind me. No sign of the front of the group. Merging onto I-295, I see the group leader on the side of the road, so I start slowing down, figuring he'll get everyone to catch up. Instead, he waves me by. Wa-hoo! Now I'm in the front, so I can finally see some speed on the bike. Having done the route 3 times already, I know where we're heading. The 'Glide rides pretty nice into the low 90's. As we got to the final section of I-295 I dropped the pace down to the 40's to see if the rest of the group was ever going to catch up. After the exit they came into sight, and I waved the leader by.

Next up was the Buell XB12S Lightning Low. This bike felt tiny, but pretty much the same overall as the rest of the Buells.

At some point Jeets and I headed out to grab some lunch, and then I headed back for more while he took off for home.

Last Harley ride was the Road King. I had rented a Road King Custom down in Key West, and wanted to try one with regular bars (not the 'beach bars' on the Custom). I actually didn't find the bar position too great. Winner of the day for that category was the Ultra, hands down. I still want to demo the Street Glide and it's low, low windshield.

It started a very light rain before the last ride, but stopped soon enough. I took out the Uly one last time.

Overall it was a good day, I just with the route could have better. It was good to see Jeets again, and there were a bunch of decent folks to talk to during the day. Would have been nice if Barb's put out some food and drink - not enough they let us ride their bikes for free.