'11 Softail Deluxe
Knowing that more experienced/hard-cornering riders like to have a bike that can be easily adjusted to suit their needs and riding style, H-D set up the XR1200X with a fully tunable front and rear suspension. Up front the 43mm inverted Showa Big Piston Fork's (BPF) rebound and compression damping can be fine-tuned with adjuster screws on the top of the fork bolts. Down below at the axle holders, the spring preload can be dialed in via an M5 hex screw. At the rear of the bike, a pair of Showa rear shocks with 36mm pistons and piggy-backed by nitrogen-charged reservoirs allow the compression damping to be adjusted with the knob on top of the reservoir. Rebound can be adjusted by a thumb wheel on the lower clevis and the rear spring preload can be adjusted at the main coil-over spring.
When you're running at high speeds and pressing into corners, sometimes things come up unexpectedly and you'll need to slow down or stop in a hurry. For those instances, the XR1200X has been upgraded with Nissin dual front brakes with 292mm full-floating rotors and four-piston calipers with a single-piston caliper and fixed rotor at the rear.
Hitting the road for the first time, it's hard not to just hammer the throttle and look for the first corner you can find. With its rear set foot controls and low handlebars you immediately get the feeling that this is not your average Harley. Slightly leaning into the bike, you're in position to scan the road ahead and occasionally catch a glimpse at your increasing speed as you sneak a peek at the speedo mounted just in front of the top clamp. With the continuous power put out by the 1200cc high-compression engine, within a few turns the XR1200X will have you grinning ear to ear as you push yourself to get over further and further in each turn.
In a short period of time the XR1200 has already developed a cult following. And with the AMA XR1200 race series and the improvements found on the XR1200X, we wouldn't be surprised if this model continues to gain popularity and we see more aftermarket companies stepping up and getting in on the XR action with parts and accessories.
Road Glide Ultra
FLTRU/Road Glide Ultra
Baggers are a big deal, literally and figuratively. They can be loaded with just about every creature comfort you'd ever need and nowadays everyone seems to have one. With this knowledge in mind, Harley took its sharpest looking Touring model and decked it out with a King Tour-Pak, vented lower fairings, and an 80-watt Harman/Kardon Advanced Audio system with CD/MP3 player and CB/intercom with two headsets. But that's not all, at the heart of the Road Glide Ultra is one of the PowerPak components, the 103ci engine-yes it's got ABS and the Security System too.
($22,499 vivid black)
Having spent many a mile aboard an '05 Road Glide with a 103ci engine, we were thinking we knew what to expect from this bike, but we were a little surprised. The redesigned frame that was incorporated into the Touring line in 2009 really makes a difference in handling and managing the power coming from the 103. Harley claims the PowerPak 103 puts out 102 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm, which is almost a 10 percent increase in peak torque over the TC96. We didn't have access to a dyno, but all we know is even at a running weight of 888 pounds with our fat ass on top, the bike had plenty of power through all six gears with more to give while cruising in Sixth. The '05 we ride has lowered suspension and a low-profile seat, and while the Ultra sits a little higher, we definitely benefitted from the redesigned seat. At 5 feet 10 inches tall, we weren't completely flat-footed all the time at stops, but we also never felt unsure of our footing.
We've said it several times before and we'll say it again here, we love the look of the shark-nose faring, and we love the handling afforded by the fairing being mounted to the frame rather than the frontend. If you haven't tried a Road Glide, do it. It might feel/look weird at first but if you spend enough time on it, you'll convert. What we're not too keen on is the overall Ultra treatment. While the vented fairing lowers are nice because you can adjust them for hot or cold weather and the King Tour-Pak is great for locking up your bulky stuff, we prefer the stripped-down look of the Road Glide Custom. All we'd need is a passenger backrest with a rack so we could load up the wife, a big travel bag, and hit the road. That way when we got to our destination, we could just pull the bag and backrest/rack and cruise the streets in style. Huh, we think we just convinced ourselves to buy an '11 Road Glide Custom.