Scott's Motorcycle Page
Basic Rider Course 5/28/2004-5/30/2004
A 1993 Suzuki GS500E.
Harley Davidson Sportster 1200
Over the weekend of 5/21/2005 I was in San Diego visiting my friend James. While there we decided to go riding, so I ended up renting a Harley Davidson Sportser 1200 motorcycle. I had never riden a Harley (although I did spent some time on a Buell which is a subsidiary of HD), so I wasn't sure what to expect. Rather liked the experience. May just have to pick me up one of these. As they say in Ferris Bueller "Plus, and I must be honest here, I love driving it. I highly recommend picking one up."
The bike of my dreams
While in vacation in Ft Lauderdale, I ended up riding around on the back of Jim's Honda CBR600F3. Nice bike. And I like being passenger, but I also like driving. So I ended up renting a Buell XB12R Firebolt from the Pompano Harley Davidson. $99+LDW later I was on the road on this sweet sweet piece of machinery.
If you go to rent a bike from a Harley dealer - be prepared. I was offended by their offering of a beanie (not even a skull cap) to wear for protection while riding. Being the full-face kinda guy I am, I ended up having to purchase a nice HJC Symax helmet to wear. Moral of the story - take your helmet with you on vacation.
So I had heard all the descriptions of what the buell's sound like (a 30 year old maytag washing mashine, a 5hp briggs and stratton engine with half it's bolts out...) but i wasn't prepared for how ugly and beautiful it sounded. At idle the firebolt sounds like it's about to die a horrible death. If my GS500E made those noises on startup I'd take it out behind the barn and shoot it. In fact - I had a guy in a Porsche pull up to me and tell me my bike "sounded like sh*t". What he didn't know what that beneath those thumping "potatoe-potatoe" sounds was an engine that can kick ass.
In retrospect I treated this bike like my GS500E - which means that the throttle actions i used to scoot across intersections just ahead of cars on my bike - ended up putting me to the next intersection before anyone else had even moved 5 feet.
So what's to like about this bike?
- Torque - And enough of it to rip your arms off. I was afraid I would accidentally pull a wheelie while on the bike - and from some reviews i've read that's quiet possible. It's the torque that makes the bike fun to ride.
- Looks - This bike looks mean and sexy. I think they call the look street fighter. Whatever you call it - everybody wanted to come take a look at the bike. It also looks a little strange because it's got a small wheelbase of 50 inches.
- Sound - Admit it - you want people to look at you when you're riding. Well, except cops. And when you're sitting at an intersection and rev the engine on this puppy - people look. After a while the sound ends up being kinda soothing.
- It's a Buell - Which means you get respect from sport bike riders, and Harley riders. I don't think there are many bikes that can fit in with both crowds.
What's to not like?
- Itsy Bitsy Gas Tank - 3.7 gallons. Without fail the low fuel light(which is love) will come on somewhere aroun 120 miles. And i wouldn't ride on reserver for more than 15-20 miles.
- Heat - The engine puts off an amazing amount of heat. Mostly on your thights. I'm fairly sure that you could wear short on this baby in the winter. Now I'll admit - if you don't keep it quite-so-redlined most of the time, it stays a little cooler. And freeway driving keeps it cooler. But sitting at a stoplight? Or racing around? Be prepared to have your legs baked. Oh - and when it gets hot a little fan comes on. A LOUD fan. I've never even heard of a bike with a cooling fan on it before.
So would I buy one? Oh yeah. Actually I almost had to ride one back from Florida. The HD dealer had an 03 XB9R with race kit and was going to give me a great price on it. Unfortunately my insurance rate is currently a little high on it - so I'll be waiting til I turn 25 to buy a Firebolt.