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Contents

Issue Twenty Four 36: LINCOLN GREEN

The Fuengirola winner is a high mileage HOG. Riding through the glen with Martin’s former Fat Boy.

43: 2007 BUELL XB12STT

The Super TT from East Troy: part Streetfighter, part Super Motard, all urban Buell and quite literally a blank canvas for the scrawl of the wild.

51: BUELL 2008

The biggest news from Buell since the launch of the Firebolt ... no make that the original Lightning or maybe even the RR1000. Blurring past a rear view mirror near you soon.

More than just a bike rally, more than just an American car show, more than just a music event, and more than all three of them together.

60: ZEEL’S BOBSTER

Canadian Biker Build-Off winner, and I think I’m right in saying the only trike to have won in any of the national series: you’ll have a barrel organ playing in your head for days.

67: CIDER RALLY 2007

Scrumpin’ with the Bridgewater boys (and girls).

70: XL883R VS XXL883R HEAD-TO-HEAD 4: NEWS & NEW PRODUCTS 12: REVIEWS

A couple of books and the perfect sunglasses for the summer of 2007.

16: 2007 NIGHT ROD SPECIAL

We finally get to play with Harley’s most desirable VR to date, just before they announce it’s getting a bigger engine for 2008 ... still, it makes the conclusion even more relevant.

28: HARLEY-DAVIDSON 2008

An in-depth analysis of the new models, and the evolutionary developments across the existing ranges.

31: LACONIA 2007

When you’re tired of bumping into other Brits at Daytona, when Sturgis seems too far away and you can’t face another day in the desert at Laughlin, there’s always Laconia.

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS APE Harrison Billet 35 Autoworld 15 B & H Motorcycles 35 Chop and Rod Show 29 Custom Chrome 100 CNT Distribution 29 GLF Engineering 92 Hood Jeans 92 Kitech Ltd 30 Krazy Horse 30 Motorcycle Storehouse 29 MTC Motorcycles 30 Nick Gale Customs 42 Preston Harley Davidson 92 S & S Cycles 13 S100 Cyclecare 35 Scorpion Racing 30 The Roadhouse Leeds 92 Three Spires Customs 15 Thundercity 99 Warr’s Harley Davidson 5 Zodiac International 2

Realising the potential within the EFI 883R’s cases with a big bore conversion: living up to expectations.

76: MAKIN’ BACON 2007

Steamed not fried, but without dampening the spirits.

78: BALLISTIC MUSCLE

A 2-litre, six-speed big twin that barely needs four to raise a traffic officer’s blood-pressure to boiling point.

84: FUENGIROLA 2007

The 16th European HOG Rally hits the south coast of Spain, and uses up an entire year’s worth of sunshine in a weekend.

93: SLAMMED SOFTAIL

Simon’s subtle Softail is one of those bikes that The Motor Company could, and really should have built for themselves.

98: RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS

Bee’s got a case of the courtesy bike blues, much to Arr’s delight.

www.american-v.co.uk

54: AMERICANA 2007


American-V American-V # ONE

News & Products

Editor: andy.hornsby@american-v.co.uk Features Editor: rich.king@american-v.co.uk Contributors this issue: Amanda Wright, Nitro, Friar Tuck, Mr MacHenry, Productions GPL, Gary, Paul Davies, Paul Bryant/Kinetic Images. Proofing: Amanda Wright (At last! Someone to blame!) Design: dean.cooper@american-v.co.uk All editorial enquiries to: editorial@american-v.co.uk Advertising Manager: Emma Howl EmmaHowl@warnersgroup.co.uk 01778 392443 Advertising Sales: Andy Fraser 01778 392054 Advertising Production: Joanne Osborn: 01778 391164 joanneo@warnersgroup.co.uk Trade Sales: Natalie Cole: 01778 392404 nataliec@warnersgroup.co.uk Subscriptions: 01778 392484 Annual Subscriptions UK: £24.75 EU: £36.75 RoW Zone 1: £38.55 RoW Zone 2: £42.75 (all include postage) American-V, PO Box 336, Crewe, Cheshire, CW2 7WY. Tel: 0207 993 8002 Fax: 01270 540111 (Ring first) Printed in the UK by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne. Distribution by: Warners Group Publications Plc West Street, Bourne, Lincolnshire, PE10 9PH Tel: 01778 391135 Now in its second year in the newsagents, its fourth year on paper, and its sixth year of continuous publication since launching on the Internet, American-V sets out to be the magazine that its founders actually want to work on ... and mostly succeeds. The full archive will remain on-line at www.american-v.co.uk and might even be brought up to date one day. Don’t hold your breath though.

E&OE

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CLEAR BUELL WATER No point having the pictures if we don’t use them, and use them big! See page 51 for the main details, but for now take the time to remark on just how different this is from the Indian in the same place last issue. American motorcycles haven’t enjoyed such diversity since the great depression, and massive

kudos to Buell’s uncompromising engineering team for the intelligence to design a new motor to work with their established, proven technologies, rather than sticking a VR motor in and finding a way to make it work. www.buell.com

XR1200 GETS THE GO AHEAD FOR SPRING 2008 As if it wouldn’t have done? The preproduction … sorry, the prototype XRs have drummed up the interest in a new Harley platform after twelve months of will we/won’t we preceded by two years of development. There’s nothing like offering people something they might want and then saying they can’t have it to make them want it more, and next year we’ll be able to see how many will put their hands in their pockets and shell out what is expected to be £8k for the not-a-Sportster XR. More, but not very much more yet because they’re not saying much, on page 24. www.harley-davidson.com


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What a difference a set of handlebars makes … and perhaps a change in attitude? It’s hard to tell which was the more influential in my appraisal of the Night Rod Special, but there is no doubt that I’d been looking forward to getting to grips with Harley’s crossover model since first casting eager eyes on it at the back end of last year.

VRSCDX NIGHT ROD SPECIAL 16

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T

Roadtest: VRSCDX Night Rod Special

Even trying desperately hard to be objective, its stunning looks were hard to put out of my mind, but it had a mountain to climb. It would need to be good. I’d ridden the VRSCAW a few short weeks before and had come away singularly unimpressed. In the cold hard light of day, the Special was little more than a ’Rod with a coat of paint and a change in bars … but then so was the Night Train compared to the Softail Standard. Well, nearly. Harley-Davidson’s ability to magic a new model out of thin air and a parts bin is something that never fails to impress me. What could easily be a wheel or handlebar option combines with a different fi nish to become a new bike that is seemingly worlds apart from the bike that spawned it, and is received as such. You haven’t got to look far back to recognise the principle in the allconquering Fat Boy, the aforementioned Night Train and the whole Road King

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Xl1200C Vs Dyna Low Rider An eerie silence from Milwaukee’s marketing machine around June time is invariably a sign that they haven’t got to shout about what’s coming for next season for fear of it going unnoticed, and for the second year running, you could’ve heard a pin drop in the halls of hyperbole. In 2007 we got a bigger engine for all big twins, together with a roll-out of 6-speed boxes and trick pipes, and Fuel Injected Sportsters: how would they follow that?

2008HARLEYDAVIDSONS With an anniversary – well, the number of years since 1903 divisible by five – but more importantly with new models and a couple of significant departures. We’ll get the anniversary stuff out of the way first, which is easy enough when compared to the all model, five colour scheme centenary range: for 2008, there is a single two-tone colour scheme of copper and black – okay, Anniversary Copper and Vivid Black – with copper inserts in the seats and pillions, a new cloisonné 105th anniversary tank badge in copper, a copper trim on the air filter, serialized plate and gloss black wheels. There will be a total production of about 41,000 bikes, comprising fourteen models in the full stable, or twelve for us. The fourteen are the Ultra Glide, Road King Classic, Road Glide, Street Glide, Heritage Softail, Softail Custom, FatBoy, Softail Classic, Dyna Custom, Low Rider, Wide Glide, XL1200 Custom, XL1200L and the VRSCAW. You’ll already know that we don’t get the FLTR Road Glide, so I’ll let you speculate a while as to which other is no longer coming to these shores. Other across-the-range changes are minimal. There’s a side-stand switch to stop people from being able to pull away with their side-stand down, which is now a European requirement. The side or ‘jiffy’ stand will still lock when the weight of the bike is on it, and upright and unlocked would still flick back at first contact with the ground should you attempt to pull away with it down, as it was designed to do. But rules is rules and we will have the same problem that every other modern motorcyclist faces at some point or other, when the switch gets dirty and doesn’t make full contact with the stand retracted and it’ll cut out as though it was down. Progress, eh? I’ve long thought it was far better to teach people to think, than to protect them when they don’t, removing any ability or incentive to learn from mistakes. Sorry, I’ll get back in my pram. A 25mm wheel bearing, the same as currently used on Softail front axles except Springers will be common to everything now, and the axle that it acts on will now be hollow, which will lead to modified torque settings on some models. And we get new rubber shift pegs.

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Not a whole hill of beans: that’s reserved for specific models and a couple of families. Price adjustments are generally up with a few welcome trend-buckers, but we’ll deal with those in the next sections.

XL Sportster. We’re off to a flying start with the first new model, and the least unexpected one. The US has had the new Nightster for a few months now, and they’re settling in nicely but we couldn’t have them over here because Harley fitted their first ever side-mount number plate, and that falls foul of European type approval (and even SVA): single track vehicles have got to have a central or symmetrical tail-light(s) and registration plate(s). Once the bike’s yours you can do what you like, as long as you’re prepared to take the consequences, but Harley had to redesign their


Event: Laconia Bike Week 2007

“Hey look at that!” Busy day down at the Roadhouse.

New Hampshire hills and forests makes for great riding country. Roads were good and wide, and traffic was light: I think I want to move there …

Weir’s Beach is where all the action is.

LACONIA

BIKE WEEK 2007 You’ll have heard of, or even been to Daytona Bike Week, and you’ve certainly heard of Sturgis, but how many people in the UK have heard of Laconia Bike Week? This year I had an opportunity to find out what it was like, when, in the company of a dozen or so Rainy City HDC Members and, of course, my Better Half, I flew into New Jersey and rode a rented 2007 Road King the 350 miles north to this popular event. »

The “Ride to the Sky” toll road takes you to the 6,000 ft high summit of Mount Washington. Monday and Thursday it was “bikes only”. The route is about 40% unmetalled surface.

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Custom: Lincoln Green

Harley-Davidson must be cock-a-hoop. The new generation Fat Boy with its fatter back end, reworked sheet metal and 1584cc motor has revitalized an already successful motorcycle, and it must make their hearts sing when an existing owner, like Martin Dickinson, trades in their older bike for the new model.

LINCOLN

GREEN I don’t suppose they thought for a minute that there would be a hacksaw through the frame before the ink was dry on the receipt though, nor that the registration number wouldn’t see the upright bracket that we all know so well before it was unbolted and cast aside. But that’s exactly what happened when Martin took his bike straight from Sycamore to Nick Gale’s workshop off the North Circular Road. He had a pretty good idea of what he wanted and knew that Nick could put it together having seen his show-winning bikes at the previous three European HOG rallies, especially Remembrance – as you’ll see as soon as you notice the forks. Notice them? You can’t miss ’em! Martin wanted a classic high neck chopper, and he wanted long American Suspension Dragon Springer forks in the front which is precisely what he got, and seven months later, two days before the run to Fuengirola, it was ready. It’s easy when you say it quickly, can I go home now? No? Okay.

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Roadtest: Buell XB12STT

BUELL XB12STT

It’s an obvious step for Harley’s specialist arm and capitalises on a wealth of pre-existing parts without falling into the trap of being ‘just’ a 1200 CityX or an undressed Ulysses. In this anniversary year of the Isle of Man’s prestigious TT races, its model designation could confuse those who aren’t aware that the Manx course provided the inspiration for what was to be called Miniature TT Racing, which found favour both in the US and Australasia. America’s version goes back to the days when racing was either on board tracks or at country fair horse tracks, and differed from the main oval track events by having at least one right hand corner and one jump: it doesn’t sound like a lot of difference, but it required a different sort of machine to one designed to ride in continuous left-hand circuits on compacted dirt – and the TT

There’s another winged horse on the block with the arrival of the Super-TT: a bridgehead between the Lightning Long and the Ulysses, and the first proper stab at a Supermoto from the company whose regular street bikes have long been competitive, unofficially, in that racing class.

event still exists today in a bewildering panoply of AMA-recognised racing classes. How bewildering? Having taken the time to check it out – and it took some digging – you didn’t think you were going to get away without at least a list, did you? Don’t worry I’ll keep it brief. On tarmac you’ve got Road Racing, obviously, and Drag Racing, but then you leave tarmac behind. Deep breath: Motorcross, on natural rough terrain; Arenacross, on specially constructed indoor circuits; Dirt Track, which includes short track, half-mile and mile ovals as well as the aforementioned TT; Enduros, over unmarked off-road trails determined by check points, with riders starting at one minute intervals attempting to maintain a designated average speed; Hare Scrambles, over long, marked forest and rugged American-V.co.uk

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News: 2008 Buell

The uncompromising technician of motorcycle design and development has just dropped a bombshell, and if the 2008 Buell 1125R lives up to expectations, the world of sporting motorcycles might never be the same again.

2008BUELL Having spent longer than I care to remember explaining to people that I didn’t think Buell would fit a VR motor to his bikes, or a TL, Ducati or any other motor they could come up with, I’ve got mixed feeling about the big news for 2008. I like my motors low revving, torquey and simple and love my Buell for that, but I’m delighted that Erik and his team haven’t buckled and taken the ‘easy’ route to gain the approval of bar-room experts by slotting an existing motor into to their extraordinary chassis, but have actually developed the engine that they want to deliver the power they need to be competitive in a very crowded market, and have been as uncompromising in its design as everywhere else. This will be the year when complacent manufacturers who have viewed Harley’s specialist sportbike subsidiary as a sideshow, and dismissed the technology that Buell has been steadily rolling out over the last twenty-five years as being on the fringe, will see how the bike that would show a fat back tyre to their products on challenging roads when powered by an air-cooled, pushrod, 2-valve Harley-based motor will work when equipped with a brand-new, modern engine designed specifically for the purpose. This is going to be fun. Buell have even managed to get away from any accusation of not being an established engine manufacturer – and there will be those who will go to great lengths to rubbish the new

model without ever riding it, just as they’ve done with previous models – by developing the new “Helicon” motor in partnership with BRP-Rotax, whose track record includes engines for Aprilia and BMW, but don’t go getting the impression that this is a reworked Mille motor, it’s very different. We’ll get into the absolute minutiae of the machine when we get to swing a leg across one, but it’s worth putting a bit of flesh on the bones in to give you a taster, and give you the opportunity to enlighten the terminally bigoted. A 72-degree water cooled, DOHC, short stroke motor, it’s compact enough to provide a forward weight bias as well as reduce vibration: a ninety-degree v-twin is the optimum for a balanced motor, but is too big. Residual vibration is countered by three balance shafts: two for cancelling the primary rotating imbalance and a third to counter the rocking couple. Smoothed out, the motor is bolted directly to a frame – the ‘Intuitive Response Chassis, or IRC – that borrows much from the XB series, and acts as a stressed member. The swing-arm pivot is located in the engine cases, as close to the output pulley as possible for optimum anti-squat – which is the battle between the bike’s suspension, weight transfer and drive belt tension under acceleration. With the fuel in the frame, as per XB practice, the down-draft fuel injection draws from an airbox where the tank would be on a conventional bike, and the 72-degree angle

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News: 2008 Xl1200C VsBuell Dyna Low Rider

provides a straight path for the intake system. The airbox itself is pressurised by a ram air system, fed from an intake between the fork legs, beneath the fairing, which gives a peak performance gain of up to 5%. The DOHC motor is a damn clever piece of kit: the inlet cam is driven by a self-adjusting chain, and the exhaust cam is gear driven from the inlet, which reduces the size of the cylinder heads and helps to keep the motor small, and the weight and rotational mass of the valve train low. The valves themselves are actuated by fi ngerfollowers and adjusted by shims – designs from F1 engine technology – and are designed to enable quick shim replacement. Finger followers reduce friction, permit a quicker valve opening – important with a 10,500 redline – and eliminate valve float. The steep valve angle they allow also aids the down-draft fuel system. A classic dry sump motor, it feeds oil to where it’s needed before being returned to a tank, rather than it sloshing around in the sump, where it can lead to windage losses. The tank is no longer in the swingarm, but is in a tank within the lower left side of the crankcase: even lower and more central, and actually helps to keep the engine compact as well as losing the external oil lines. That can’t be too far away from the obliquely stacked six-speed gearbox that is shoe-horned into the compact cases. There is no escaping the additional plumbing of the water-cooling, however, but ever the innovator, Buell has opted for twin radiators, one each side of the motor within aerodynamic cowls which conform

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to his centralised mass principles, lower the centre of gravity and allow the short wheelbase. Designed on a computational fluid dynamic modelling system, the system is said to optimise air flow at all speeds, creating a pressure differential around the radiator to pull air through its core, before exhausting it away from the rider. And it wouldn’t be a Buell without a radical exhaust solution tucked beneath the motor. The large volume muffler is in the right place for weight, contains a Helmholtz chamber to reduce noise, and is tuned to provide a linear horsepower and torque curve without needing an active exhaust system. The twin brushed stainless outlets are more than cosmetic, and produce less exhaust noise. Buell are saying the new motor produces 146hp @ 10,000rpm, with peak torque of 82ftlbs (111nm) at around 8,000rpm, which is a marked improvement over Buell’s Firebolt


sportfighter – almost 50% more power, and the same torque albeit further round the dial – which has been replaced in the UK by the new model. Slowing down this most modern of Buells since the RW750 is the second incarnation of the rimmounted ZTL brake, which uses the XBRR’s 8-piston, 4-pad caliper to grip the 375mm rotor and promises a more even pressure distribution over a greater friction area. A new dash offers much more information than previously – including current and average fuel consumption – on an instrument panel with a huge analogue tacho and digital speedo, to fi nish off an utterly modern motorcycle that should make a few people sit up and take notice. In other news, all 2008 Buells celebrate their 25th Anniversary with badges on the top yoke, or handlebar clamp. 1203cc Thunderstorm-engined Buells have new pistons that have raised the red-line by 300rpm to 6,800rpm, and will be able to sustain 6,800 rather than the 6400rpm as previously. They’ve fitted a larger capacity oil cooler – changing from 6 to 8-rows – with a new bracket and cowling, which could be useful when people learn that the engine was designed to sustain those sorts of speeds.

Everything gets a new twin Gerotor oil pump located in the cam cover, driven directly by flats on extended shafts on the third and fourth camshafts. All four camshafts have now got hollow shafts designed to provide pressurized oil to the camshaft bores, and are now known as K cams: the profi les are unchanged from the previous E cams. There’s a new Crankshaft Position Sensor which talks to a new flywheel calibrated for the purpose, which in turn has a larger crankpin, stronger con-rods and larger drive sprocket splines at the drive side, which obviously means a revised drive sprocket in the primary. There’s a new one-piece induction module that loses the idle speed adjustment cable for good and has a faster throttle action. And the Ulysses gets 47mm USD forks in place of the 43mm originals, and heated grips as standard – an industry fi rst – while all other XB models get an auxiliary plug so they can be easily fitted on them too. Words: Andy Hornsby (e&oe) Pics: Harley-Davidson inc. Prices: XB9SX City-X: XB12S Lightning: XB12Sg Lightning Low: XB12Ss Lightning Long: XB12STT Super TT: XB12X Ulysses: 1125R:

Solid colour n/a £7,445 £7,445 £7,545 £7,295 £8,195 £8,495

Translucid £6,495 £7,745 £7,745 £7,845 n/a n/a n/a

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Xl1200C Vs Dyna Low Rider

With incessant rain, there was only one topic of conversation being asked in advance of every show through the summer of 2007, no matter how well-established, and the umpteenth Americana would be as vulnerable as any other: would the weather affect the attendance. Would it put off those regulars who returned year after year for this four day spectacular?

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Event: Americana International

AMERICANA INTERNATIONAL NEWARK, ENGLAND. 6-9TH JULY 2007

There was only one way to fi nd out, and more in hope than expectation – using the need to carry magazines as an excuse to cop out and use the car – we struck out for Nottinghamshire, where we were greeted with torrential rain in Nottingham itself, and then blue skies beyond. Better than that, arriving on site to see no shortage of people were milling around. In the advertising literature, Americana is billed as being “Europes #1 American Lifestyle Event”, and it is perhaps that status as the premier event in a relatively sparse calendar that meant people would probably have turned out in the snow. It was to be my fi rst experience, however, of a celebration of all things American and I was unprepared for just what to expect, and I found the spectacle

quite awe-inspiring as we crossed the site, blown away by the visual stimulation. What struck me immediately, bizarrely and almost unwitthingly, was that the site seemed to be laid out in a grid format, similar to those of American towns with their city blocks, which was of course just the way the road system in the Newark County Showground had been laid out, but it did fuel my imagination. Were we in America, Milton Keynes or Newark? Is that a concrete cow I see over yonder, or is it the bucking bronco stall? We had opted to take bundles of magazines for our stand (trestle table) in the main hall on the site which is where the custom bike show would be situated, more to the point, the main hall was the custom bike show. More on that later. Our fi rst port of call was the camping area in search of our friends from the Bike Show organising team, comprising key members of Rainy City HDC and a deputation from Bridgwater HOG, who organize and judge the custom bike show that takes over the modern George Stephenson Exhibition Hall. After one wrong turning and a complete second circuit of the site, we eventually found their camp established in one of the grassed cattle pens where livestock is kept during the county shows. The camping facilities were excellent, with many areas to choose from, all of which are well kept, clean and close to the toilets and shower blocks. Oh, by the way, we actually managed to erect our tent between the two of us without too much of a problem. No, wait, there was a problem, it came in the guise of Barry who insisted on laughing at us erecting it – it did make me wonder if he actually knew how to put one up himself having arrived in his ancient motorhome.

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Xl1200C Vs Dyna Low Rider

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Custom: Zeel Bobster

ZEEL BOBSTER

If you’re anywhere between the ages of thirty-five and fifty-five, there is a strong possibility that you won’t be able to look at the trike on these pages without the name “Mr MacHenry” popping into your mind … assuming you had a telly when you were growing up: times were hard back then.

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Event: Cider Rally 2007

CIDER RALLY 2007 What is it you look forward most to in a Harley event? The company? The bikes? Bands? The riding? Or maybe all three. I specially look forward to getting all of these at one of the most popular events in the UK HOG calendar: Bridgewater Chapter’s Cider Rally.

Held on the May Bank Holiday, it is the fi rst big event of the year for us and, now in its sixteenth year, it remains as popular as ever with around a thousand attendees from all over the UK, and indeed northern Europe: there often being some Dutch and Belgian attendees. I’ve been making this annual pilgrimage almost since it started, and one of the things I look forward to most is the ride down to Somerset. Sure, you get to meet up with people you’ve not seen over the winter months and get to plan where else you going to go, and then there’s the beautiful Somerset coast scenery, the fact that you don’t have to take the tent and much more, but the ride has always been the thing for me and Barbara. Rather than slogging all the way down the motorway from Cumbria, battling the dumbest drivers on the planet, we usually peel off at the M56 and pick up the A49, which takes us past Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Leominster and Hereford. From there we take

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Head-to-head: XL883Rs

HEAD TO HEAD

XL883Rs Tweaking an 883 Sportster is a well-trodden path, not least because until 2007 and the advent of fuel injection you really needed to do something with your XL883 just to make it run like an 850cc motorcycle at the turn of the twenty-first century should.

That’s not to say that carbureted 883s aren’t good motorcycles, just that they are, err, lacking, shall we say, in standard trim. If you were patient, you could just ride the wheels off it within its limited parameters, and as it loosened up it just got better and better – smoother and quicker – but we’re not patient these days and that process was often accelerated by fitting a Stage One almost immediately, and then a 1200cc big bore kit. The big difference with the fuel injected models is that you can ride one straight off the showroom floor and enjoy it immediately, almost without having to wait for it to warm up or bed in. We put an 883R through its paces in AmV21 in the company of an XL1200 Custom and were blown away with how useable it was compared to previous models. It revved more

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Event: Makin Xl1200C Vs Bacon Dyna IV Low Rider

MAKIN BACON IV The forecast did not look good: it had rained buckets all week and a host of weather geeks and pundits were telling me that even worse weather was to come over the weekend: two nights under canvas with a hardy few similar idiots seemed to be in prospect.

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TROPHY AWARDS Visitors Choice:

Frenchie - 127 Ci R&R Big V Twin Seven (Film Theme). Best Bike: Frenchie Best Paint: Frenchie Best Harley: Barty - FXR Best Non Harley: BSA Chop (Sorry no name) Best Engineering: Gary Lakes - Softail Chop Best Ladies: Claire - Sporty Furthest Travelled: Jed - 250 Miles Best Club Turnout: Uxonians

The fourth Hogs Bollocks Makin’ Bacon rally was held at Stoke RUFC in North Staffordshire, where in spite of the weather over 160 souls turned up to party, because as regular grass roots rally goers know if you’ve got mates, booze, bikes and music, how the hell can you not have a good time? Many thanks to Northern Harley Club, Uxonions, Team Rejects, All Nations, Cauldren Club and all the others who were not to be put off. The field filled up under the early evening drizzle and most were in time to have a pint in hand and see the first band of the weekend “Back 2 Basics”. They performed a great set, playing all the right stuff to get things going and get people up on to the dance floor, and then kept the vibe buzzing. At the end of their set was something new for me – a fire eater who gave quite a spectacular show to a rock backing

tune while outside on the car park: seemed to be running rich though, looking at the colour of the flame. Drinking continued into the wee hours, as it always seems to, until people wobbled off to bed. The morning came grey but dry and gradually people emerged seeking tea, aspirins, bacon baps etc in preparation for the organised ride-out at midday, which attracted around a dozen participants. The fifty mile circuit took in SHD in town and the unique 300 year old Yew Tree pub/ museum at Cauldon Low, before an exhaust noise check through the tunnel into the Manifold Valley and the ‘pretty way’ back to the rally. With the exception of one shower the whole thing was completed in bright hot sunshine. Back on site, the Audley Archers (Sandra’s team) gave demonstrations throughout the day and let you have a go at the old English national sport of shooting arrows at Frenchmen: nice, might catch on again! And there was an impromptu display of leather craftsmanship from Badger (www.badgertracks.co.uk) who impressed all with the standard of workmanship. Traditional silly games time came at five with beer for all competitors: the bike-based Barrel Push and Slow Ride, and Dizzy Sticks and the Two-Up Sack Race for the athletically inclined or just the plain inebriated, and with the requisite persuasion, coercion – not drawing the line at blackmail – the contestants were assembled. The going was soft, mud was splattered and many contestants fell over – often spectacularly in the case of the Cauldren Club reprobates – to the amusement of all those old rally lags who managed to avoid taking part – it’s traditional! As the evening drew in, the bar and this year’s additional marquee started to fill up with people relaxing and ready to party. Local band, Sumo, and London-based ‘The Hoggz’, despite a horrendous journey, provided the music, both going down well with the crowd, and the drinking and dancing proceeded apace into the blur, haze and laughter that is the end of a rally night. Sunday morning the rain started again and there wasn’t much evidence of people in any rush to leave, further confirmation of a good Saturday night and there were more than a few ashen zombie like figures dragging themselves about seeking salvation tea and sustenance. A great rally weekend: all the right ingredients, prepared to a simple recipe and presented straight forwardly – who wouldn’t enjoy it. The weather’s just seasoning! Pun intended. Words: Gary Pics: Paul and Tina Thanks to the hard working bar team at Stoke RUFC and the food vendors.

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Xl1200C Vs Dyna Low Rider

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Custom/Tech: 124-inch TP Special

BALLISTIC

MUSCLE It’s easy in the publishing game to get accused of cronyism, and when you hear where this innocuousenough looking Softail has come from, it might raise an eyebrow, but the long and short of it that Mark ‘Grubby’ Johnstone has just got some very interesting motorcycles and really knows about them, which give us the chance to understand them.

Happily, there haven’t been two bikes the same and this 1987 FXST, which he’s been running since late 1988, couldn’t be a lot different to the Supercharged Night Rod from last issue except in one regard: it’s built for speed. You might recall my mentioning that Grubby had been underwhelmed by the performance of the blown Night Rod, which he reckoned might have been down to not having put many miles on the original bike before fitting the Magnacharger, and I reassured him that it represented a massive improvement over a regular VR, in terms of torque as much as anything else. But then I rode this immediately afterwards and understood knew why he wasn’t wooed by the water Hog. This isn’t fast, it’s ballistic! It will outstomp even the blown VR through the gears, and when the ’Rod is running out of breath in top, this innocent-looking twenty-year old will change up and pull anew! Fortunately for over-excitable VR riders in the Thames corridor, you’ll spot this ‘old’ Harley reasonably easily, and you’re well-advised to give it a wide berth because Grubby is as good a

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Xl1200C Vs Dyna Low Rider

FUENGIR

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Event: Fuengirola 2007

Little did I realise, when I took up Harley’s invitation to attend their 16th European HOG Rally in Southern Spain, how much it was going to be a long weekend for demolishing pre-conceived notions.

OLA 2007 We’ve not made a lot of noise about the Harley Owners Group in these pages, as much as anything because its membership has been well-catered for by a range of factory supported titles, the most recent re-launch of which is the glossy, high quality HOG Tales produced quarterly. Another reason is perhaps that I’ve lived with an early perception about HOG and its members, taking them to be – and there’s no easy way to put this without digging a deeper hole for myself – weekend warriors, for which I apologise, acknowledging that HOG is maturing nicely. It was an easy assumption to make for those of us who were around when HOG first broke cover in the UK, in 1991: a seismic shift in the socio-economic status of a new generation of riders didn’t sit well with some of the old guard, and the sight of the professional classes strutting around with something close to club colours on their backs was too much for some to take seriously. Something of a ‘them and us’ mentality settled in on both sides, a residue of which exists to this day. Time moves on though, and sixteen years later many traditional Harley riders trading-in for new models, and some lifestyle bikers who have upgraded, have found themselves welcomed into a broaderbased, inclusive club that is shaking off that weekend warrior reputation, and are rubbing shoulders with a generation of people who they once accused of buying a Harley for the wrong reasons but who have since kept it for the right one: to ride! Once pristine, shiny leathers often now exhibit that lived-in look, the stark black and white of the patches has toned down as the miles have taken their toll, and social barriers have come down in a classless, transient community.

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Custom: Slammed Softail

You know how it goes: you hear about a box of bits for ‘the right money’ and you just can’t resist it, and a Softail minus an engine as an unfinished project is one of those opportunities that doesn’t come along all that often, so …

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SLAMMED

SOFTAIL American-V.co.uk

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