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    • I've tested several electric bikes now and I'm looking forward to the Electric age. A lot. I'd buy a Zero Electric motard right now if I fitted on it.

      100% torque and straight line linear power is quite intoxicating (if the motor is big enough).

      All that 'it's about the sound' bull disappears when you screw the throttle on. For me anyway.

      And FWIW adv rider is the LAST place you should go for opinions on a Harley-Davidson. It's mostly a font of blinkered disinformation from guys in Goretex safari suits whose biggest issue seems to be Harley owner's fashion sense.

      But then even on Harley's own pages you read the comments and you'd think that the Livewire is going to completely replace the Fat Boy next year, rather than being an alternative choice.

      But the MotorCo has to change. All the rusted on Heritage buyers are starting to get too old to throw their leg over and a new generation has to be found to come in to replace them. I hope the livewire goes gangbusters all on its own.

    • You might be right, DangerDave, and I hope you are. I'm pulling for them.

      When Harley came out with the V-Rod, I wrote very positive things about it on ADVrider and I think most people — on ADV and off — had a ton of respect for the bike. It's beautiful, the engine is rock solid. Harley stuck by it for a decade and a half, trying to get it to sell before discontinuing it.

      I think most people thought it was just the wrong bike for Harley's customer base, no? In my opinion it didn't have the look or sound Harley riders want. That's what I fear for their new bike.

    • In my opinion it didn't have the look or sound Harley riders want. That's what I fear for their new bike.

      Yep - but it was still quite easily the best bike they ever made. Especially the Street Rod variant. (The one I crashed at the Australian Press launch.)

      Yes - It's not what the current Harley rider wants is correct. But the current Harley Rider is not what they are aiming for. They still make Heritage Softails and Ultra Classics for them - but as noted - that market is getting smaller as it gets older and will eventually drop off the twig.

      The Gen-next is what too many of the Safari Suiters and the 'Pirates' dismiss as Hipsters.

      I have no problem with the bearded stove pipe brigade - they ride bikes and buy bike magazines - but they aren't interested in 300kg lounge chairs on wheels - ADV, cruiser or otherwise.

      But they are the market that H-D and other manufacturers are starting to recognise as needing to be catered too.

      Change is coming. Soon it will be self-aware.

    • This goes along with my feelings about the LiveWire and I got to ride one of their prototypes a few years back. It was an interesting bike but it felt more like a standard with some cruiser feeling parts thrown on so it could be a "Harley".

      That being said it was a lot of fun to ride, and while those parts felt off to me as a sportbike/ADV rider overall I liked it. The biggest issue I see is the price/range when compared to Zero's bikes.

    • I pretty much fit that demographic, well minus the style. And Harley has mostly gone off my radar and really was only on there before because of Buell (I loved the City X). There have been one or 2 Sportster variants which looked kinda cool but still weren't bikes that I'd buy myself. I also read up a bit on the "H-D Street" line and I'm happy at least that they're trying, but it will likely take awhile to change their image. My real hope is that electric bikes give them the ability to experiment more and push some innovations which could get younger people more excited about their bikes.

      I was just writing about how it would be interesting to see how they could blend the Harley aesthetic into a modern city bike and then it hit me that they might be the best company to be able to pull it off. Retro is obviously in right now, people want to go back to the past but with a modern twist. And their name, style, everything is that retro motorcycle look for most Americans. It would be a real challenge design wise to make it all work and seem "right" but if they could get it to work that would grab my attention.

    • That's actually a fascinating question I hadn't thought about. It appears that 75% of accidents are with cars and the most common cause is the driver didn't notice a motorcyclist:

      I've always heard in safety classes that human drivers don't perceive motorcyclists. You would think that with all the advanced sensors on self-driving cars and them being programmed to pay attention to motorcyclists, that maybe things get much better for us. We can hope.

      I also think some car drivers don't like us, an emotion hopefully self-driving cars don't have.

    • Yep - I had an XB12X and it were grand.

      I also got to hang out with Erik a few times on model launches. The best gig I have had in my 18 year career working for bike magazines was the XB12X launch where we rode from Cairns to the tip of Cape Melville in Queensland - with full factory support.

      And Yep - I don't think they've got it all completely together as far as appealing to the next generation goes - yet, although the Street 500 was the top selling model here in Aus a few years ago. It qualified as a learner bike under the local size and power restrictions scheme for noobs.

      The gossip I'm hearing is the next 2 iterations of the Sportster will be the last of the platform too - but that's only rumour.

    • Me, slouching closest to camera at the launch.

      Robert Dennert, Platform Director VRSC Motorcycles is giving the introduction to the Street Rod prior to the assembled Australasian magazine writers test riding them over the Snowy Mountains.
      I bonded with Robert because we both crashed on the ride. He just dropped his doing a U turn.

      I was being held up through the twisty bits by one of the Journos and got impatient, went around the outside and into a right hander waaay too hot. The bike dropped into the roadside culvert with me still on it and went around the corner upright like a slot car. When it came to the drainage cover it stopped dead and threw me over the bars into a vertical sandstone wall at about 25mph - exactly like one of those velcro 'Bar Fly' suits.

      I was entirely uninjured except for one tiny drop of blood from a split lip where I'd hit the inside of my Shoei.

      The bike had some scratches on the exhaust and radiators but after they got the mud off it I rode it for the rest of the launch.

      Once the H-D crew had established I was all OK all they basically did was laugh at me.

    • Yeah - the shot is by Lou Martin - the doyen of the Aus bike press. I've got a heap of me riding by the Kiwi equivalent, Mr Geoff Osborne too. This is my fave from Geoff. I've got more 'spectacular' shots by him. But this one is about my favourite bike I've ever tested too.

    • Another great shot. So you get paid to ride the newest motorcycles? When I was a teen, that was my dream job. I bought every motorcycle mag and dreamed of being the guy on the bike.

      I actually prefer Lou Martin's shot because of the motion blur on the wheels. And I feel the bike pops more on the darker background.

      Somebody shot some stylin' photos of the LiveWire, but parked (source):

    • I have alot of the friends-experience opinion the HD Bagger is the best long mileage road bike out there. I seriously considered one except I really have such a distaste for the Harley chrome culture that comes with it. So, then, the Honda Goldwing also satisfies the long mileage best bike category but again, I could not live with myself being GW rider. I would say I don't care what people think of me and what I would ride but I must. LOL

    • Harley PR shots. coincidentally the owner of that site is the one that was holding me up on the street rod.

      Yeah the street rod is a much better photograph, but I dig the megamoto more.

    • Ahhh Gwasshopper. You will have truly reached the point of not caring what others think when you buy a KLR 650.

      As for best long distance tourer? BMW R1600GT gets my vote. That's not to say I don't dig a Road Glide too.

    • Mr Osborne has been producing killa images for Kiwi Rider since its early days. It's quite an oeuvre.
      And yep - I've been contributing words and photography to bike magazines in Australia and New Zealand for 18 years. I have tested about around 300 bikes in that time.

    • I was a 1st gen weestrom rider in Alaska the have more street cred than a klr but back then we always ate with the ugly step

    • OK. Some of mine.

      It was too loud for my tastes but the build quality and paint was real craftsman.

      I did test a 100th Anniversary Chrome V-rod but the images are crud. This is the first one I have a decent shot of. Image quality has come a ways since '05 hey.

      These looked pretty good on a monitor back then. Today ... 2006 Street Rod

      2014 Night Rod.

      And now for something completely different. 2018 Street Rod 750. Waaay too big for it but I actually quite enjoyed this bike. Gave it a good thrash. All it needed was the big red shoes and nose to complete the look though.

      One from a ride coverage gig. You do realise that if I posted this on ADV it might break :-)