Harley-Davidson World Ride Tops 10 Million Miles; Record Mileage Eclipses 2012 Total by 28 Percent

E8Milwaukee (June 28, 2013) – Motorcycle riders from around the world enthusiastically joined members of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) on June 23 and 24 to shatter last year’s record mileage total for the Harley-Davidson World Ride by collectively logging more than 10 million miles, a 28 percent increase over the 2012 total. 

Launched in 2008 as H.O.G.’s Million Mile Monday, the annual event was expanded into the two-day Harley-Davidson World Ride in 2012 to give more riders worldwide an opportunity to participate. In 2012, participants logged 7,799,140 miles, but this year as riders celebrated the 110th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and the 30th Anniversary of H.O.G. that culminates this Labor Day weekend in Milwaukee, they blitzed that record by more than 25 percent, tallying an official total of 10,018,231 miles. Riders logged their miles solo, in groups large and small, and through a variety of dealer-led events around the world.

“Harley-Davidson riders are universally united by a special bond that celebrates freedom, independence and self-expression, and the incredible participation in the World Ride this year proves that there is no better way to experience those themes than by riding a motorcycle,” said Ken Knuteson, Director of the Harley Owners Group. “Riding 10 million miles in two days is an impressive statistic, but this accomplishment truly represents the passion we share as a global family of riders.”

Riders from 65 countries participated in this year’s World Ride, with these five countries posting the highest totals:

United States: 4,507,025

Brazil: 1,409,098

Mexico: 1,022,319

India: 983,431

Spain: 352,815

Every mile ridden by participants in this year’s Harley-Davidson World Ride was logged by the online mileage accumulator at h-d.com/worldride, where a rolling odometer recorded the collective distance traveled by all participants in the World Ride in real time as entries were added. Each participant was able to download a commemorative certificate of participation with his or her mileage total for the day.

For more information about the Harley Owners Group, visit hog.com.

 

The HOGs Are Coming To The Strip

vegas HDThe principals of Las Vegas Harley-Davidson have announced plans to construct an $18 million dollar flagship dealership on the south end of the Vegas Strip, close to the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, according to the Vegas Review Journal.  The planned 50,000 square ft tw0-level building will replace the current 70,000 sq. ft store located about 2.5 miles from the strip.

Don Andress President, and Tim Cashman, Las Vegas Harley-Davidson vice president, said they have been looking for a Strip site for six or seven years but noted the per-acre cost of $30 million to $40 million was too costly.

The pair said they purchased this 5.25 acre lot for $8 million dollars.

Andress and Cashman project the move will boost revenue 20 percent over the current location with increased sales of new motorcycles, rentals, accessories and clothing.

Andress said 2012 total annual sales were about $60 million, which were 10 percent to 15 percent more than in 2009 when the economy suffered. Annual sales peaked at $80 million in 2005, a huge spike from sales of $3.7 million in their inaugural year in 1995, Andress said.

 

“Going Fishing” on a Harley-Davidson

It’s not quite viral, but this video, titled Raul Echeverz Harley-Davidson (no such dealer exists) has been viewed over 100,000 times.  It’s not quite commercial production quality, but someone went to a lot of time and effort to put out the message that to pick up attractive strange women in the city, all you need is a spare helmet and a Harley-Davidson.

 

THIEVES STEAL BIKE DECEASED OWNER BEQUEATHED TO 9 YEAR OLD SON

harley-stolenFresno CA Eric Reyes dying wish was to bequeath his 2000 HD Road King to his 9 year old son.  Unfortunately, thieves broke into the Pancho Villa Riders clubhouse the day after Reyes funeral and stole the bike.  Eric’s wife, Irene Reyes made an impassioned plea on local television station KMPH “Please bring it back, it’s not for the money. It’s the only thing Eric wanted for his son.”   watch the video KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

AEROSMITH AND TOBY KEITH JOIN STAR-STUDDED LINEUP FOR CELEBRATION IN MILWAUKEE

Fans Who Purchase a 110th Anniversary Ticket Package Before April 19 Eligible for Pre-Sale

toby_keith2MILWAUKEE (April 11, 2013) – Rock n’ Roll Hall-of-Famer Aerosmith and superstar Toby Keith will join Kid Rock as headline performers for Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee over Labor Day weekend.

Keith will perform Thursday, Aug. 29; Aerosmith will take the stage Friday, Aug. 30; and Kid Rock will round out the epic weekend of music Saturday, Aug. 31. Each headline concert is at the Marcus Amphitheater, located on the south end of Milwaukee’s Henry Maier Festival Park (Summerfest Grounds).

“The variety of entertainment we’re bringing to Milwaukee for the 110th Anniversary Celebration reflects the broad appeal of the Harley-Davidson brand,” said Mark-Hans Richer, Chief Marketing Officer at Harley-Davidson. “With three legendary headliners and 60 bands at the Summerfest Grounds, there’s something for everyone. We’re expecting a rockin’ party throughout the weekend.”

Tickets for the three headlining performances go on sale to the public at 8 am CST Monday, May 6, at www.h-d.com/110tickets. A special pre-sale begins Monday, April 29, and is open to all those who purchase a 110th Anniversary Celebration ticket pack before the April 19 deadline. There are two 110th Anniversary ticket packages for sale on the website.

Here’s What Your 110th Anniversary Celebration Ticket Pack Gets You·         The opportunity to participate in the pre-sale for all three headline performances which require a separate ticket (if purchased by April 19).

·         Access to the Summerfest Grounds Thursday, Friday and Saturday including all 60 musical performers such as ZZ Top, Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers, Dropkick Murphys, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Brantley Gilbert, Doobie Brothers, Buckcherry, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Gaslight Anthem, Sublime with Rome, Halestorm and more to be announced.

 

  • ·         A free download of the official 110th Anniversary event app on your mobile device or smartphone and a map of historic Harley-Davidson sites in Milwaukee.

 

Additional 110th Anniversary Celebration activities in Milwaukee include fan-organized rides, a massive parade, activities at the Harley-Davidson Museum, parties at participating Harley-Davidson dealerships and street parties around the city.

Plan Your Visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum:

Timed ticketing reservations for the Harley-Davidson Museum are required during the 110th Anniversary Celebration and are available exclusively at www.H-DMuseum.com beginning April 29 for Museum members and May 6 for the general public.

There are many activities planned at the Museum including the AMD Invitational Custom Bike Show, H-D Museum Custom Bike Show, Museum Members-Only Lounge, new product displays, a JUMPSTART® Rider Experience featuring 2014 motorcycles, a limited number of small wedding ceremony packages, custom culture artisans, outdoor concessions and live music. All outdoor activities are free.

About the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Celebration

The Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary is a year-long, global celebration connecting millions of Harley-Davidson fans united by a common bond and shared passion for freedom, self-expression and epic adventure. Included in the official 110th Anniversary calendar are 12 different 110th Anniversary experiences that Harley-Davidson will bring to existing motorcycle events in global markets through September 2013. The events span 11 countries on six continents and are capped by two main celebration events in Rome, Italy, in June 2013 and Milwaukee during Labor Day weekend.

 

Harley-Davidson fans are invited to learn more about the 110th Anniversary and join the celebration online where they can share videos, images and experiences on Facebook, Twitter with the hashtag #HD110, and at www.h-d.com/110.

Harley announces band list for 110th

Rock To Rap And Everything In Between: Harley-Davidson Unveils Preliminary Lineup For 110th Anniversary Celebration

ZZ Top, Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers, Dropkick Murphys, Lupe Fiasco, Common and Brantley Gilbert Among First of 60-plus Bands Scheduled to Rock Milwaukee’s Lakefront Labor Day Weekend

MILWAUKEE, April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – An eclectic mix of talent ranging from emerging stars to legendary bands will rock the Milwaukee Lakefront with Harley-Davidson during the culmination of the company’s year-long, global 110th Anniversary Celebration.

More than 60 bands will take to the stages of Milwaukee’s Henry Maier Festival Park (Summerfest Grounds) Thursday, Aug. 29, through Sunday, Sept.1, 2013. The first round of confirmed performers includes ZZ Top, Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers, Dropkick Murphys, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Brantley Gilbert, Doobie Brothers, Buckcherry, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Gaslight Anthem, Sublime with Rome and Halestorm.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg of the talent we’re bringing to town for the 110th Anniversary Celebration,” said Mark-Hans Richer, Chief Marketing Officer at Harley-Davidson.  “Stay tuned for the unveiling of even more bands, including two additional headlining acts.”

All of the concerts featured on the Summerfest Grounds stages are included in the cost of a 110th Anniversary Celebration ticket. Two ticket options are now on sale at www.h-d.com/110tickets.

Celebration Ticket – Print at Home ($95 USD; convenience fees not included) Available for purchases made within the continental U.S.; includes access to the Summerfest Grounds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, an opportunity to purchase tickets for the headlining concerts at Marcus Amphitheater before they go on sale to the public, a link to download the official event app on a mobile device or smartphone, and a map of historic Harley-Davidson sites in Milwaukee.

Commemorative Celebration Ticket Package ($102.50 USD; convenience fees not included) Includes the above admission package plus a photo frame holder, commemorative laminated ticket and lanyard, Milwaukee 110th Anniversary pocket guide, limited edition poker chip, guitar pick keepsake and drink koozie with corresponding drink discounts.

Those who purchase a Celebration Ticket before April 19 will have the opportunity to buy tickets for the three headlining concerts at the Marcus Amphitheater starting April 29, one full week before they go on sale to the public May 6. Harley-Davidson recently announced Kid Rock will perform Saturday, August 31, as one of the featured acts and will announce two additional headliners in April.

For Harley Owners Group® members, the ticket and ticket packages also include the H.O.G.® 30th Anniversary celebration with members-only access to the Summerfest Grounds on Thursday, August 29, from noon to 5:00 p.m., including a headline performance by Lynyrd Skynyrd, along with other members-only activities throughout the weekend. There is no additional charge to H.O.G.® members to join in the celebration of the H.O.G.®  30th Anniversary. H.O.G.® membership card must be shown with a Milwaukee 110th Anniversary Celebration ticket for entry.

Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Concerts Currently Announced:
(Listed in order of appearance)

Thursday, August 29
Whiskey of the Damned
Lynyrd Skynyrd (H.O.G. Members only)
Elvin Bishop
Blue Oyster Cult
Dropkick Murphys
The Doobie Brothers
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Lupe Fiasco

Friday, August 30
Gabriel Sanchez & The Prince Experience
MAD MEX
Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights
ZZ Ward
Shooter Jennings
The Dirty Heads
Foxy Shazam
ZZ Top
Gaslight Anthem
Sublime with Rome
Buckcherry

Saturday, August 31
D.B. Bryant Band
Moderatto
The White Buffalo
Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown
The Whigs
Halestorm
Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers
Common
Brantley Gilbert

Additional 110th Anniversary Celebration activities in Milwaukee include fan-organized rides, a massive parade, activities at the Harley-Davidson Museum, parties at participating Harley-Davidson dealerships and street parties around the city.

About the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary
The Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary is a year-long, global celebration connecting millions of Harley-Davidson fans united by a common bond and shared passion for freedom, self-expression and epic adventure. Included in the official 110th Anniversary calendar are 12 different 110th Anniversary experiences that Harley-Davidson will bring to existing motorcycle events in global markets throughout September 2013. The events span 11 countries on six continents and will be capped by two main celebration events in Rome, Italy, in June 2013 and Milwaukee during Labor Day weekend.

Harley-Davidson fans are invited to learn more about the 110th Anniversary and join the celebration online where they can share videos, images and experiences on Facebook, Twitter with the hashtag #HD110, and at www.h-d.com/110.

About Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s website at www.harley-davidson.com.

 

CONTACT: Amanda Lee, +1-414-343-4105, amanda.lee@harley-davidson.com

 

Burglars Break In Dealership On The Day Founder Is Buried

thief breaks into the dealership the day the founder is buried.

thief breaks into the dealership the day the founder is buried.

Thieves took advantage of a death to burglarize Mathews Harley-Davidson in Fresno California.  On Thursday march 28th, someone heaved a large stone through the plate glass door and in less than 4 minutes stole $6,000 worth of leather jackets.  The theft occurred the same day employees and customers were burying 90 year old Eva Mathews.  Eva and her late husband Harold worked in the dealership since 1953 and moved from Merced to Fresno in 1961.

“The video of our security shows he didn’t look around when he came in, like, ‘which way do I go,’ “ Cara Mathews told KFSN. “He was there on a mission. Walked right past the motorcycles and straight to the jackets so I feel that he had been in here before and kinda scoped it out.”

Police say the video shows the thief spreading a sheet on the floor and filling it with leather jackets, hooking it up and fleeing the store.   Jackets fell out all along the way up to and beside the freeway where the trail ended and police assume he got into a car and fled the scene.  (Edited 4/5/13 to correct misspellings)

The Nickle Rocker

Built by Thunderbike Customs Harley-Davidson Niederrhein Germany the Nickle Rocker was voted 3rd place in the “Modified Harley”-Class of the European Championship at the 2013 Custom Chrome dealer show.  

_1 tat tuesday

 

IMG_5911

 

Harley and BMW Owners Say Their Brands Are Less Reliable, but More Satisfying

moto mechanicConsumer Reports magazine has conducted their first ever motorcycle reliability survey and they say that a quarter of all Harley-Davidson owners reported experiencing a major problem with their motorcycle in the previous four years.  BMW owners reported their motorcycles are even less reliable, with 33% of owners reporting problems in the previous four years.  Japanese import owners reported fewer problems,.(10% or less)

The full report will be released tomorrow, March 28th.  In the advance release of the report, no mention was made of responses from Triumph, Ducati,  Victory or Indian owners.

Interestingly despite the higher percentage of owners reporting problems with their motorcycles,  BMW and HD owners reported being the most satisfied with their motorcycles.  An overwhelming number of Harley-Davidson owners, 75% told interviewers they would buy their bike again.   BMW and Honda owners also reaffirmed their purchase at 74 and 72 percent respectively.

“Reliability is one of many factors consumers might consider when purchasing a motorcycle. However, other factors like sculpted lines and rumbling engines also strike the right note among motorcyclists,” said Rik Paul, Auto Editor, Consumer Reports.

Among the bikes that needed repairs, survey respondents reporting having the most trouble with accessories, such as lights, instruments, switches, and radios (21%), brakes (20%), the electrical system (16%), and the fuel system (15%). Fortunately, most repairs were fairly inexpensive. Three quarters cost less than $200 out-of-pocket.

What about you?  Are you happy with your bike?  Take our poll below and tell us!

2012 Harley-Davidson Switch Back

IMG_8502 Passing through the rust belt near Allentown Pa, I can see the black wall of angry storm clouds racing towards me from the southwest. It seems “thunderstorms and test bikes” are my constant theme in 2012.

First it was tropical storm Earl and the Victory Cross County Tour, then it was an unnamed but equally drenching early summer downpour on the Triumph Explorer, and now this dark ominous mass of 50 mph crosswinds, thunder, lightning and buckets of rain.

I’d left Bergen County Harley-Davidson in Rochelle NJ a couple hours earlier on a 2012 Harley-Davidson Switchback, with flight delays and a last minute rear tire replacement having shredded my carefully planned schedule. The storm was so close now I could actually smell the rain. For once, I had prepared for this inevitability by starting the ride with my textile jacket, Darien overpants from Aerostitch and full face flip helmet from Nolan.

Just as I’d made the decision to soldier on through the approaching wall of water, a mental flashback of a 3 minute sphincter tightening ride over the Potomac River during one of the aforementioned test rides jarred me to my senses and I ducked off I-78 in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, coincidentally on the same exit where Sam Adams has a satellite brewery. Sadly it wasn’t offering tours, because I would have as soon spent the next hour and a half sampling Boston’s finest home-brews than leaning on an ATM machine in the local BP convenience store while I charged my cell phone (the only unused plug in the store) and searched weather.com to plan my next move.

I knew I’d made the right decision to wait out the storm as soon as I’d finished filling up the Switchback. Even before the full force of the rain arrived, the wind started whipping and twisting the street signs violently to and fro. I’d planned to hang out under the awning, but then the lightning started popping so close that the hair on my arm stood up and screamed at me, GET INSIDE YOU IDIOT!” As I waited for Mother Nature to exhaust her fury on the inhabitants of this Pennsylvania hamlet, I ran down a mental checklist of what I’d learned about the Switchback over the last couple hours ride.

New for Harley-Davidson in 2012, and designed for the rider who wants a “convertible” bike the Switchback can easily and quickly go from mid range tourer to sexy boulevard cruiser (ditching the “road sofa” stigma as well) in under 2 minutes. Thumb a few levers and the backrest is off. Open the hard saddlebags, turn a beefy plastic dial, and pull to the rear and the bags are off. The windshield is even easier. Pull the retaining clip from each side, grab it from the front and pull up and out, and it’s off. (This is basically the same windshield configuration that’s been used since the first generation Road King.)IMG_8984IMG_8517 You’ll spend more time storing the components, than removing them.

As easy as they are to remove, I wondered more than once over the course of the 30 day test ride, why HD didn’t incorporate some type of simple locking system to deter thieves but, more on that later.

The Switchback is built on the Dyna frame, and features the Motor Company’s 103 v-twin powerplant and six speed transmission. Power is delivered to the 5 spoke cast rear wheel via a belt drive from the air-cooled fuel injected 103 inch v-twin engine. Spent gases are evacuated through the two-into one chrome exhaust on the right side of the bike.

Speaking of chrome, the primary drive cover on the left side of the bike stands out, and not in a good way, as it’s one of the few parts not chromed from the factory. It would look better with flat black denim paint than polished aluminum, but most owners will probably opt for a chrome upgrade from the dealer. The seat is firm and pretty standard as factory seats come. I would eventually log over 9,000 miles on this test ride, with 3000 of those being two up and I learned the seat isn’t adequate for long distance riding. To be fair, the manufacturer never intended the Switchback be used as a serious touring bike. It’s more for weekend tours and short overnight hops.

Of course, I’m stubborn and prone to want to do things I’m not supposed to do, which gets me in trouble often. Watching the weather radar on my Android, it became obvious I wasn’t going any farther this night. I’d hoped to make Gettysburg and take in the haunted battlefield tours but sadly the ghosts would have to wait for another trip. But, not all was lost as it gave me time the next day to stop in Hershey PA for a few photos and still tour Gettysburg and even spend an hour or so farther south in Antietam Maryland, the site of the bloodiest one day battle in the history of American warfare. (yes, even bloodier than D-Day in WWII because EVERY soldier killed was an American.)

Check another line on my bucket list.

Leaving Antietam I headed south to pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway in Waynesboro Virginia. It’s at this juncture where the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway connect. The Parkway heads south and Skyline Drive heads north. I would ride the Skyline on the return trip.IMG_8988

The Parkway would be the first test of the Switchback’s cornering manners. I’d read other reviewers who said the Switchback didn’t have the clearance of the Road King or Electraglide, and on paper they might be right, but it’s a non-issue because try as I might, I was only able to scrub the floorboards a couple of times.

A few weeks later, riding two along the twisty black ribbons in the Black Hills, I did grind a few more times, but I still disagree with the other reviewers. Despite having less suspension than its big brothers, the Switchback has more than adequate cornering clearance.

Fast forward two weeks, and it’s me and my bride on the Switchback heading to Sturgis. This is all interstate riding. The saddlebags are stuffed full, with a big Kuryakyn bag strapped on the luggage rack. Storage capacity has been sacrificed at the altar of style, as the saddlebags have less capacity than its big brothers. The bags latching system is a bit buggy and will require careful attention to properly secure before riding, as I discovered when I thought I’d latched the bag, only to have it pop open at highway speed. That and the backrest rattles when you’re riding solo (without a bag) so you’ll probably want to take it off for short hops around town.

We leave late (after 5:30pm) and we’re busting our hump to make it as far as we can before stopping for the night. After a couple hundred miles, I notice the rear suspension needs adjusting. We’re hitting bottom at every change in road elevation. With 3.8 inches of travel in the front and 2.1 inches in the rear, suspension setup on the Switchback is adequate but slightly less comfy than HD’s tourers. (The Road King has almost an inch more on both the front and rear.)

IMG_8984The next day we stopped at Four Rivers Harley-Davidson in Paducah Kentucky and despite the service department being busier than a one arm piano player, Robert , one of the service techs took a few minutes with a hook spanner to dial up the setting on each shock a couple of notches.

The retro looking chrome cigar rear shocks are easy to adjust as long as you have the proper tool. Harley claims the nitrogen charged, 5 setting pre-load emulsion shocks perform better than traditional coil over shocks and compliment the redesigned front end suspension.

Compared against the other Dyna models, I’d have to agree with them. Out front, both front 41mm fork tubes use the triple rate springs, but the left features a cartridge assembly instead of a dampening rod which gave HD engineers a way to upgrade the front suspension without the increased weight of dual cartridges.

Thanks to the quick service this stop didn’t eat into our schedule and we were back on the road heading towards the great plains. The difference in ride was immediately noticeable for both me and my passenger. Having stiffer rear shocks lessened the overall comfort for her, but it made the bike less prone to hitting bottom at the overpasses. It was an acceptable trade-off for safety sake.

For us, Sturgis is roughly 1500 miles from home. We factor in two and a half days to make the trip. We soon developed a pattern of stopping every 150 miles for fuel. With a 4.7 gallon fuel tank, and averaging between 30 and 35 mpg, the low fuel light consistently appeared at 120-130 miles, giving us another 30-50 miles before we’d be walking.

Iron Butt riders may be laughing up their sleeves at our candy-arses, but the stock seat and stiff suspension had us both ready for a short 15 minute break every couple of hours. Combine that with the 98 degree temperatures we encountered from St. Louis all the way through Sioux Falls SD, and the frequent breaks were necessary to stave off heat exhaustion.

Speaking of fuel, a frequent complaint in the HD forums is the fuel gauge HD uses in the Dyna’s and Softail models. Located in the left side faux fuel cap, the gauge is almost impossible to read unless you lean up and sight directly over it. A simple (but probably not cheap) solution for HD would be to flip the gauge so the arch is an inverted U. I doubt that will happen as electronics has all but replaced mechanical gaugesIMG_8982.

On the Switchback the mechanical fuel gauge is actually unnecessary as HD’s engineers included an electronic information / diagnostic module built into the big round speedo on the tank. This electronic gauge can be cycled through current time, current gear and RPM, two different trip odometers, overall odometer, and estimated miles remaining of fuel at current rate of consumption. It’s large numbers easy to read for this 50 year old without reading glasses.

One of the big concerns I’d had when planning this trip was excessive engine heat. It’s no secret that the Twin Cam engine has gotten its fair share of negative press about the heat coming from the rear cylinder. Thankfully, HD didn’t incorporate its Rear Cylinder Cutout function used in other models to this one, as I never liked it on the other models I tested. In the little bit of stop and go riding I did during this test, I never felt the rear cylinder heat was an issue, although it was noticeable (and uncomfortable) during a mile or so duck walk wait to pass through the “Needle” on the Needles Highway in Sturgis, but I’m sure any air cooled V-Twin would have had the same issue.

Up front the headlamp assembly is all new. At first glance you might be mistaken to think that such a large lamp would affect the Switchback’s center of gravity. You’d be mistaken. Milwaukee’s designers went with an all aluminum chrome plated nacelle style housing, instead of heavier steel and it works. The low speed handling of the SB proved flawless with no drag from the headlamp.

The light itself, however, could use a bit of improvement. I don’t know if my test mule just wasn’t adjusted right, but the dim setting was as bright (at night) as the high-beams. In fact the way the high beams “split” the road, I was more comfortable using the low beams at night.

Switches on the SB use the new CAN, (controller area network) hardware upgrade. CAN reduces the complexity of the wiring harness and provides improved support for real time data transfer for critical applications such as the ABS. On the left handlebar are the trip, horn, lights and left turn signals. On the right are the flasher activation, engine kill switch, start button and right turn signal. There’s no radio or cruise control to complicate the switches. In lieu of an electronic cruise control, I’m happy to report the standard Harley throttle lock (one of my favorite features) remains located under the right switch housing, where its easily engaged with the right thumb.

A nice feature that isn’t obvious is the addition of ABS, standard on all Dynas for 2012. It’s a simple but effective system utilizing a single 300mm rotor/4-piston front caliper combo, and a 292mm rotor with IMG_8988single 2-piston caliper for the rear. I had the unfortunate opportunity to test it’s ability when a cellphone to ear driver, passing me on the left, suddenly swerved and occupied my lane on the interstate near Council Bluff Iowa. Without time to think, I grabbed a handful of front and a full foot of the rear and gave it all I had, hoping for enough inches to save our arse.  The front end dived a little, and I felt the ABS kick in and pulse for what seemed like a full minute, but could only have been a second or two. I still don’t know how we missed her but we did. Without the ABS, that panic stop would have locked up the rear, and more than likely caused me to go down at 80mph on a busy interstate. You can picture the rest.

The remainder of the trip proved uneventful but extremely enjoyable. In every other way the SB proved a capable steed with enough power at highway speed to blow by big rigs when desired and a low center of gravity that kept me from feeling overbalanced at stop signs with a passenger and fully loaded.

At $15,999 the Switchback is an affordable entry level sporty cruiser tour package which should appeal to the “boomerang” re entry motorcycle owner looking for an alternative to jumping out on a bigger (and heavier) Road King, Street Glide or Electraglide. It’s also an obvious choice for the svelte female rider who wants to tour with her husband but also doesn’t want the heavier full dressers. The aging baby boomers (whom I fit into) might also decide this is the bike that fits their mid-tourer aspirations.

One thing is for sure, the Switchback, while built for short hops and long weekend tours, isn’t afraid of the “epic” rides. After 9000 miles in 30 days, I can attest to it’s adaptability and dependability on any adventure, however long you want it.