Gettysburg Bike Week Demos

I'm a self-confessed demo junkie. See this thread for my testimony:,11571.msg252495.html#msg252495

I had the day off on Friday, and headed out to Gettysburg for Gettysburg Bike Week to ride some Harleys. The Harley demo truck was going to be there, and I like the way they do demo rides. Get in line for the family of bike your want, pick your bike, ride by yourself on their route (usually 10 miles or so), and repeat as necessary. Much better than chaperoned group rides, as most other demos are.

I had ridden a few Harley's in the past. I rented a Road King Custom for a few days in Key West and at Americade I rode a Sportster and a Street Bob. I liked the Road King, but hated the cruiser bars on the Custom. The Street Bob was interesting, but again the bars were an issue as the Bob has basically ape-hangers. So I had the feeling I just haven't found the 'right' Harley yet.

While I consider myself a sport-tourer at heart, I do see the appeal of the stop-and-smell-the-roses cruiser mode. I like the Harley motor, and if I ever did go cruiser I would probably want to go with the Motor company. I don't, however, care at all for the 'lifestyle', the image, the doo-rags, and all that other ancilliary stuff that goes with it. I'm just looking at the product.

Going in, I was figuring I would like the Dynas the most, as they seemed the most straight-forward and stripped down of the big twins. I love the looks of the bigger models (Softails and Touring), but didn't think the handling would be as good on those as on the Dynas. I had pretty much decided the Super Glide was going to be the hot ticket for me.

Got to Gettysburg around 9:15, and the place was pretty empty. Things were set up a little differently than at Americade, most likely because there was much less of a crowd. At Americade there were lines and sign-ups for each family - today there were 2 sign-ups, one for Sporster/Buell/Touring, and one for Dyna/Softail/V-Rod. I started on the Super Glide.

FXD Super Glide
Uh-oh. I had the highest hopes for this bike, but can't say I liked the way it handled. Very slow to turn in, and really didn't feel planted in the turns. Felt like it was moving around a lot.

FXDL Low Rider
Pretty much the same as the Super Glide

I've always thought this was the best looking Harley model (well, perhaps the '93 Moo Glide was THE best), but didn't figure it would handle worth a damn. Seating position was good, I liked the floorboards, and the reach to the bars was perfect for tooling around. Even negotiating the turns to get out of the demo complex I could tell this thing was more planted than the Dynas. My smile got bigger and bigger the more I rode it. In the middle of the demo route there were 2 posted 35mph turns, a 90-degree right-hander followed by a 90-degree left-hander. Where the Dyna was weaving (for lack of a more descriptive word), the Fat Boy was serenely stable and confident. Not much lean angle, to be sure, but more fun using what there was. Hmmm. This Fat Boy had a Street Performance Exhaust on it, so that didn't hurt. Not too loud, just pleasant (through earplugs).

FLSTN Heritage Deluxe
Black and white version, just beautiful. Rode pretty much the same as the Fat Boy, but the seat put me just a bit farther forward so I felt slightly cramped. They make a 'tallboy' seat that puts you up and back a bit, so that's easily fixed I suppose.

FLHRC Road King Classic
About the same as I remembered from Key West, but with much better handlebars. Smoother than the Softails, but perhaps too smooth then? Hated the windscreen - hated it. Terrible buffeting at speed, and I don't like to look at life through plexiglass. Thankfully it's very easily removed.

Buell Ulysses
I was starting to feel bad for the Uly, as it was sitting in the corner of the lot all morning, unridden. I rode it at Americade as well (this exact same bike, as a matter of fact), and was eager to give it a go again. For V-Rod and Buell rides you need to go with a group led by the Harley folk. Unlike the day at Americade where it was 95 degrees, the cooling fan didn't come on while I riding. Good.

VRSCD V-Rod Night Rod
My first V-Rod ride. I picked the Night Rod as it had mid-mount controls. Very stable in turns, power was much more than the Big Twins but certainly not overwhelming. I was expecting more. Sounded great. Didn't like the seat as it locked me into exactly one position with no room to move around at all.

FLRHSE Road King CVO Screamin' Eagle
Bumped out to 110 inches, this Motor certainly had more punch than the stock version. Very torquey, nice push in the back (and into the backrest) with every twist of the grip. Shorter windscreen, but still would prefer none.

FLTR Road Glide
Not much different than riding the Road King. My first time on a bike with speakers, and was suprised to find they work quite well. I guess there's no reason they shouldn't.... This was the worst windscreen of the bunch. The top edge was just in the middle of my line of sight, and the curve at the top gave a wierd perspective. The top of my vision had the curve of the road looking one way, and the bottom half had it looking much different. I was hoping to ride a Street Glide with the very low windscreen but ran out of time.

Conclusions? I find a lot of appeal in the Harley bikes, if not the lifestyle. It took a while to find the best fit for me - kind of like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears (this one's too cold, this one's too hot. etc). I am much more interested in the Fat Boy or Heritage Deluxe than I was before today.