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Issue: 30 £4.95


 0'9  <1&+#% RIDE-HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE REAR AIR SUSPENSION for Softails with built in compressor. Comfort and style in one self containing unit. Price £ 1,234.ZODIAC’S “TOP” FUEL INJECTION is a load based fuel injection tuner. Great for bikes with a performance exhaust and/or air cleaner installed. Just plug in and roll. Starts at £ 172.-

GOT A NOISY 6 SPEED TRANSMISSION? More and more people complain about the noise of the 2006 and later 6 speed transmission. Spectro Oils developed a special transmission oil that reduces the noise drastically. Our advise “When your tranny starts to make noise, it is time for an oil change”. £ 25.RSD’S NOSTALGIA STYLE VELOCITY STACKS are available in chrome and black for most Big Twin models 1993 to present. Price £ 248.-

UNIVERSAL BATES STYLE SOLO SEAT with adjustable front mounting bracket. Nice price at your Zodiac dealer £ 37.-

Dyna’s are notorious for high speed instability THE POSI-TRACK CHASSIS STABILIZING KIT is a proven and bolt on solution available from your Zodiac dealer for £ 401.-

MANY NEW “50TH ANNIVERSARY” T-SHIRTS available from S&S Cycle. Starts at £ 13.- at your Zodiac dealer.

RSD’S VENTURI AIR CLEANERS are great looking High Performance parts. Available in black or chrome for most 1993 to present Big Twin models. Price £ 252.-

SUPERTRAPP FAT SHOT MUFFLERS for Night Rod and Street Rod are available in black or chrome plated, starting at £ 476.-

“ZUSPENZION PRO SHOCK ABSORBERS” are exclusively available from your Zodiac dealer for Sportster, FXR and Shovelheads. Starts at £ 267.-

ORDER YOUR OWN COPY OF THE LATEST ZODIAC CATALOG and find the latest, hottest and the coolest parts. The Bikers Book is available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish: with over 25.000 parts & accessories for Harley-Davidson. Price £ 9.95 incl. postage.

PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS FOR HARLEY-DAVIDSON

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YOUR GUARANTEE FOR: Perfect Fitment s Wide Product Range s Fast Delivery Quality & Excellence s No Nonsense Warranty

ZODIAC INTERNATIONAL UK, P.O. BOX 21, STROUD GL5 4YD. PHONE 01453 758 451, FAX 01453 752 939. ZODIAC INTERNATIONAL B.V., INDUSTRIEWEG 44, 3641 RM MIJDRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS. PHONE +31 297 288 621, FAX +31 297 288 226. SALES OFFICES IN: THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, ENGLAND, FRANCE, SPAIN, ITALY, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, HUNGARY.

Internet: www.zodiac.nl E-mail: sales@zodiac.nl Original Zodiac parts and accessories are only available through a Zodiac retailer (not directly from Zodiac by mail-order)

For all Harley’s and American V-Twins we recommend


Contents

Issue Thirty 38: BARTGJEST

Think that’s how you spell it, but opinions vary. No-one can accuse any of this lot of being fair-weather riders: the snows settles in Settle.

40: THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTNING Okay so no Thunderbolts, and the Lightning was only on the track: The Buell Experience even works in the rain!

44: HERITAGE TO HERITAGE 50: MAKIN’ BACON

The Hogs Bollocks settle into a new home for their annual affair, and it was such a nice day that someone brought a wind machine along.

54: RAINY DAZE V

Only a Manchester-based club could run water-based silly games on a soaked rugby pitch: loads of fun.

58: 2008 BUELL XB12X ULYSSES

Tall in the saddle, tight in the bends, soft on the rough stuff, hard to keep up with: it’s got to be Buell’s intrepid adventurer.

4: NEWS & NEW PRODUCTS 14: HARLEY 2009 MODEL NEWS

A new VR, revamped Street Bob, made-over Heritage Softail and a brand new Touring chassis top the bill

14: VICTORY 2009 MODEL NEWS

The 106/6 Freedom gets wider useage, the KingPin gets lower and Ness messes with a Vision.

20: BUELL 2009 MODEL NEWS

The 1125R spawns the 1125CR: Buell’s take on the modern Café Racer.

22: 2008 FLHX STREET GLIDE

Slammed bagger, and a the Touring range’s king of cool ... at least that’s what it should be. Is it?

30: MINEHEAD REVISTED

Haven’t we used that headline before? Yes, but it was five years ago, no one will notice ... you did switch that microphone off, didn’t you?

34: WIN A PANHEAD PHOTO COMPETITION ROUND 4 Get those cameras out and get creative.

37: SUCKIN’ EGGS SERVICING TIPS

Right place, right time, right camera: this probably should be an entry in the photo comp, but it’s a very valuable reminder.

Editor: andy.hornsby@american-v.co.uk Features Editor: rich.king@american-v.co.uk Contributors this issue: Nitro, Martin Wyatt, Dionysus, Harley-Davidson, Victory, Buell and S&S Proofing: Amanda Wright (At last! Someone to blame!) Design: design@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) Published by American-V, PO Box 336, Crewe, Cheshire, CW2 7WY. Tel: 0207 993 8002 Printed in the UK by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne. Distribution by: Warners Group Publications Plc West Street, Bourne, Lincolnshire, PE10 9PH Tel: 01778 391135 Copyright 2008 American-V.

66: AMERICANA ’09

A horizon-shifting, mind-broadening way to spend a long weekend that invariably finishes before you’re ready to go home.

74: ADONIS

Fat Boy to Greek God is a hell of a makeover – thankfully this isn’t a TV listing magazine, so it’s infinitely more tasteful in reality than ‘Lard-arse to Lothario’.

80: S&S AT 50

Half a century of performance parts for Harley-Davidsons is something worth celebrating; 50 bikes by 50 builders at a massive party is a hell of a way to do it.

84: CLOSED LOOP INJECTION FIX

The quickest, simplest way to stop your ‘08-on big twin from overheating: form an orderly queue.

86: HEAD-TO-HEAD: ROCKER-C VS CROSS BONES Tradition versus the unavoidable march of progress, his and hers, or just two very different bikes demonstrating the diversity of the Softail?

94: AMERICAN-V EVENTS CALENDAR 2008 It’s that time of year to plan what you’ll be doing for the rest of it, and an invitation to contribute to next year’s round up.

98: RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS

R and B offer a little milk of human kindness, only to be told their charity should stay at home.

www.american-v.co.uk

On the eve of Indian’s relaunch, a retrospective look at 2003 when the Heritage Softail Classic had a rival: the Indian Spirit Roadmaster.


American-V American-V # ONE

News & Products

2009 MODELS We can’t possibly lead an August edition on anything but the new model news out of the US, and here it is in brief – if you want the extended versions go to pages 14 (Harley), 18 (Victory) and 20 (Buell) – but there seems to be a consistent theme: power. As a taster however, Harley have launched a new V-Rod called the Muscle that inexplicably carries a model designation – VRSCF – that suggests Fat; have revamped the Street Bob using some Nightster and Cross Bones styling cues and it’s stunning; have given the Heritage Softail Classic a more subtle makeover; and they’ve completely revamped the Touring chassis without changing the fundamental look of their heavyweights. New CVOs include a Road Glide, a Fat Bob and a Springer with a 4-pot front caliper!

Victory have slotted the 106-inch motors from their Vision tourers into the Hammers and the Jackpot, to give them a three stage street fleet in terms of engines: 100/5 8-Balls, 100/6 Vegas and King Pin models and 106/6 muscle bikes (can’t call them “Muscle” any more, with a capital “M”, because Harley has trademarked it for the Fat Rod … see, it’s started already). Buell have done what they did with the XBs, and launched a streetfighting version of the 1125R in the same way as they did with the XB12S Firebolt. The new version of what could eventually replace the Lightning isn’t being heralded as a Streetfighter any more than the 1125R inherited the Sportfighter tag, but is Buell’s interpretation of a modern Café Racer, hence the 1125CR, so maybe the Lightning will continue?

STOP PRESS … STOP PRESS …

HARLEY-DAVIDSON INTRODUCE A NEW TRIKE If it was April, you’d swear it was a wind-up, but it’s official: Harley have introduced their first three wheeler since they finally killed off the 45-inch sidevalve Servicar in 1973, but it’s a long way removed from the meter maid’s favourite, being based on the top of the shop Ultra Classic. Launched in the US market for now, and with no guarantee of it seeing these shores, it is said to be a wheels-up build with a wholly new chassis capable of withstanding the cornering forces of a three-wheeled vehicle – which is lightly veiled code for ‘better than an axle bolted to our regular frame’ – and also has a different rake to the regular dresser, but there’s no clear idea of whether that’s true rake or a revised set of yokes. It’s driven by a 101ftlb 103-inch Twin Cam – the big bore version of the 96 – and continues to drive through a cruise-drive 6-speed gearbox

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and belt final drive to their own rear axle assembly. Electric reverse is available for an extra $1,200 in top of the $30k asking price. Luggage comprises a TourPak, as much as anything because it contributes to the pillion comfort, and a cavernous boot – 4.5 cubic feet – in place of the two slantbags: guess who’ll be carrying the camping gear? Mind you, it’ll need a hell of a bootlid to fit the “FLHTCUTG Tri Glide Ultra Classic” model designation on. How long it takes Victory and Lehman to come up with an extended strategic partnership will depend on how popular a model the Tri Glide proves to be, but the trike will represent a significant investment for The Motor Company, and they’re not known for taking huge risks.

www.harley-davidson.com

(US site, when it finally breaks cover fully)


STONEBRIDGE MOTORCYCLES ACE CAFÉ RACER Built as part of the S&S 50th Anniversary Celebrations, Little Miss Dynamite is the collaboration of Nick Gale and his near neighbour Mark Wilsmore to create a quintessentially British expression that neatly sums up what was starting to happen here fifty years ago, when S&S first started making go-faster parts for HarleyDavidsons. It also happens to celebrate another anniversary: the Ace Café’s 70th.

You don’t need to be a genius to know that you don’t form a company to create one motorcycle, but you’d have to be an idiot to not see the potential in an Ace Café branded Café Racer, and with a few people now having demonstrated the potential within the Sportster basics, it only needed someone who’s handy with the spanners to take it to the next level. Which is a long way of saying that this might a one-off for a specific competition, but it is also the prototype for a limited production run of Café Racers that will bear the Ace’s name. The chassis of the 21st century British Café Racer is very much based on the legendary featherbed but has been built specifically to accommodate the S&S SB-series motor, and with heavier gauge tubing that is in scale with the upside down forks, oversized spoked wheels and even the motor – which is a piece bigger than a Norton or Triumph vertical twin ever managed to be. But for all that – especially on the timing side – it comes across as successful blend of old and new … with the trick being to work out which is which: certainly it isn’t often you find a Sportster motor looking like the modern partner in such a relationship, but its clean, squared-off lines contrast with the flowing aluminium of the traditional bodywork giving it the appearance of a bike designed to campaign on the classic race circuit – emphasised by the oversized instrument, and the ludicrously high foot controls for maximum cornering clearance. www.stonebridgemotorcompany.com

KRAZY HORSE’S CAFÉ RACER

Krazy Horse’s S&S Racer represents the other end of the scale in terms of the British Café Racer, and is a fully evolved modern interpretation of the genre from the custom shop frequently best known as the kings of retro, but with the detail touches that they’re renowned for which take it right back into the sixties. Using a one-off chassis inspired by the trailer built to haul the Zero bike around behind their ’Rod, the Krazy Racer is a massive structure in aluminium but as we’ve come to expect from Paul Beamish and crew it carries it off beautifully, and having been privileged enough to see the early drawings, exceeds all expectations. Mixing and matching styling cues from Buell in terms of the exhaust, sixties circuit racers with the classic four leading shoe, double-sided drum brake, modern custom engineering with a neat double-sided K-Tech drum rear, and state of the art performance courtesy of its trick

shocks front and back, it looks no less purposeful than the bikes that represented the birth of custom motorcycling in this country, and stands out as a design original, and practical motorcycle. And that’s handy really, because this too is the prototype for a limited production run, and one that should find a ready market. www.krazyhorse.co.uk

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FLHX STREET GLIDE Glide: heavyweight touring motorcycle. Street: lightweight everyday urban motorcycle. Street Glide: ... errr, neither, and yet both. Neat trick Harley.

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Roadtest: FLHX Street Glide

With the notable exceptions of the Super Glide and the Wide Glide, which probably only ended up with the original heavyweight’s tag through a lack of imagination or else a failure to realise just how popular and successful the FX series would prove to be, if a mate dropped by and said they’d just picked up a Glide you wouldn’t conjure up any FX in your mind’s eye, you’d know they meant an Electra.

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Event: Minehead

You know how it is to be invited to a birthday party; youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got these thoughts going through your head before you get there: Who will be there? Will you get on with them? Will there be cake and a goody bag? What will the entertainment be like, DJ or a clown? Elton John? And what memories will you bring away: being sick in the garden, having a riot, meeting some great new people, or just chilling out?

Âť

H-D UK 105th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION:

MINEHEAD

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Of course it helps if you’ve been to one of their parties before, and as it was Harley celebrating we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. The last HOG UK event at Minehead for the 100th anniversary was pretty good, so we were expecting something worth visiting when the 105th anniversary event at the same venue was announced. And while 105 years isn’t usually held as a classic landmark celebration, this time Harley had a second reason to let their hair down: it was also HOG’s 25th Anniversary. The mainstream UK motorcycling public has viewed the Harley Owners Group (HOG) with some cynicism, but is that attitude justified? Formed by the factory in 1983, the year of its post AMF relaunch, its aim was always to promote riding Harley-Davidson’s motorcycless which it did, and continues to do so by encouraging a counter to the “bad-ass biker” image that prevailed at the time for Harley riders across the world, and while there are some – usually the kind of guy who buys a Harley just because of that bad-ass image – who would say this was a bad thing, but no-one could deny that it was successful policy, and has been a key factor in the constant growth in sales of the Motor Company since. It wasn’t until 1991, however, that HOG had a real presence in the UK, marked with the coming of the fi rst UK HOG rally at Cheltenham, which still counts as one of the best organised rallies that I have ever been to, and explains why it is unusual to see a UK HOG member with a year patch before ’91. Since then though the

HOG presence has grown and grown, and there are now thousands of UK members in, at last count, thirty chapters, while worldwide membership hit one million in 2006. And over those years the nature of the membership has changed. Initially many members were long-time Harley riders looking for something different; then in the mid-nineties, at a time of rapidly expanding sales, a large influx of new, many of them born-again riders, joined the scene. These rebels without a clue gave HOG a somewhat poorer image in the eyes of the minority hardcore Harley riders that they outnumbered, but as the years wore on the less committed RUBs dropped away and the rest became more experienced until today when HOG UK membership has a more serious, hard-riding image than it ever had before: you’ve only to count the event pins and patches on people’s jackets to get some idea of how hard-riding, and many rally-going HOG members clock up some serious mileages for their passion. HOG UK itself has seen some changes, and it is a long time since there has been an actual national HOG rally – in the style of those held other European countries. In fact, the 1995 Shepton Mallet event was the last one if you don’t count the 100th anniversary event held in association with Motorcycle News, at Minehead, or the multi-chapter sponsored events like SOFER, so it was going to be interesting to see how the 105th event turned out. Once again at the vast Butlins complex at Minehead, this time the organisers had taken over the whole site with high hopes of a good turn-out. As it happened attendance didn’t quite make the 4,000 they were hoping for, but approximately 3,500 made the site look very busy with bikes parked everywhere you looked. Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate and the weekend of the 5/6th of July was pretty damn wet, but with everyone in pretty nice little apartments we could at least get dry after venturing outside. Everyone was able to park their bikes close to the accommodation, in our case in a small gazebo away from marauding seagulls. For the fi rst time ever at a HOG-organised event there was no security

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American-V # ONE

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American-V: Photo Competition

Photo competition 4

Wendy Guile

A tie for 3rd and 4th gives us 3 runners-up from a field of 34 entries, 8 of which were placed in their top 5 by our panel of 3: it’s all a numbers game. Full details of all entries to date are on http:// picasaweb.google.co.uk/AmV.Photocompetition – which is easily accessed from our website from the “Win a Panhead” link. You will be invited to join Picasa, which is part of Google, but as a free service that allows you to store photos you want to mshare, as well as private ones – viewable by invitation only – I’ve got no qualms abut making that recommendation.

1st Wendy Guile

t Joienr-up runn

Helen Fowler American-V.co.uk

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Event: Bartgjest 2008

BARTGJEST

2008 There is a tendency in modern life to measure success by size: whether engine capacity, number of gears or the people at a rally. It is, however fashionable an idea, wrong.

A well-sorted 1340 Evo can deliver anything that a 1450 Twin Cam offers, five gears were good enough for twenty years (and before that, four sufficed for even longer), and you don’t need 20,000 people in a field to have a good time. Sure, the spectacle of something the size of the Milwaukee bash. Minehead or the Bulldog has got to be experienced to be appreciated, but for many of us, a weekend away doesn’t need to be a sensory overload, sometimes it’s cool just to be in the company of far-flung friends – most of who you know better than your next door neighbours. These are the smaller rallies that make up the majority of most bikers’ calendar, and Harley riders are no exception. Indeed the Riders Club host more than their fair share of them, and a number of them are as big

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Event: Mallory Park Buell Experience II

MALLORY PARK EXPERIENCE II So much did I enjoy myself at the end of last year, at the Buell Experience at Mallory, that when the opportunity presented itself to go again – and with the possibility of a ride on the new 1125R into the bargain – wild horses couldn’t have kept me away. And so with the tired, embarrassing charity-shop race leathers and the full camera kit, we bundled into Amanda’s van and headed east with talk of testing on-bike video, track-side timelapse and all manner of creative stuff, all the while with one eye on the sky wondering whether the weather would break, and whether it would hold if it did. There was a gap in the clouds as we arrived on site, which was encouraging, and we crossed everything in the hope that the weather forecast was going to be proved right, signing on and getting our photography passes before heading to the main hospitality for a very decent lunch and the common-sense briefi ng. It can’t be stressed enough that the whole premise of the day is to have fun, and that means exercising a little self-discipline and understanding the rules of the track. This isn’t your normal kind of track day and there isn’t any pressure to be the quickest rider on the circuit: quite the contrary. With the constant threat of liquid sunshine

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Xl1200C Vs Dyna Low Rider

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Heritage-to-heritage: 2003 Heritage Softail v. 2003 Indian Spirit Roadmaster

INDIAN SPIRIT

ON THE HERITAGE TRAIL A very long time ago, when the earth was flat, god’s dog was a puppy and gay meant happy, Harley-Davidson was a small enthusiastic company peering out from the shadows cast by the American motorcycle industry’s unassailable market leader’s wigwam.

Well, that’s how it would have appeared at the time with pre-WW1 production from Indian Motocycle’s Springfield factory topping 20,000 bikes a year – about a third higher than Harley-Davidsons. In truth – or as close to the truth as it is possible to deduce from the remaining historical record – Walter Harley and the three Davidson boys were starting to enjoy the same meteoric success as Hedstrom and Hendee’s motorcycle business as personal transport became popular and before Henry Ford’s production line swept all before it, and you could easily attribute the difference in production numbers to a slower and later start in Milwaukee: in 1903 when Harley are officially said to have produced three motorcycles, it is reckoned that Indian produced 375. Unquestionably the market leader in those pioneering days, Indian beat Harley-Davidson to the v-twin by twelve months – and to a reliable v-twin by three years – and had a three year jump on electric lights, but all that was under the watchful gaze if its founders. Having scaled the dizzy heights and production runs of 32,000 motorcycles and a profit of $1.3 million Oscar and George might just have seen the writing on the wall in 1913 with the arrival of the Model T: 43 year old chief designer Oscar Hedstrom, who is accredited with the success of Indian’s F-heads, retired to a country estate in 1913, while organization genius, George Hendee resigned his position as general manager to take the job of president, and retired from that in 1916, aged just 50. The pace of technology didn’t slow down with their departure, with the Charles Gustafson-designed Powerplus motor – a side-valve motor inspired by one Gustafson worked on when at Reading Standard – but the new management regime suffered for the lack of the founders’ industry knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment; and that, when combined with the rise of the affordable motor car, took a big chunk out of the once-dominant motorcycle manufacturer. The changing face of the motor industry didn’t do the smaller motorcycle manufacturers a lot of good either with 80% of them going out of business: Harley-Davidson and the combined strengths of Excelsior and Henderson were the right size to roll with the changes – Harley indeed were said to have made a 2% sales growth while Indian production shrunk by 15% and profits fell by 41%.

In spite of a very strong engineering department and a ferociously loyal customer base, Indian stumbled from one poor management decision to another while Harley-Davidson went from strength to strength, and a combination of an over commitment to the 1914-18 war effort (1917-18 for the Americans) and a failure to revert to civilian models quickly enough at the end of hostilities saw Harley-Davidson emerge as the market leader – a position it held thereafter, unless there are some 1920 to ’31 figures tucked away somewhere that tell a different story. Indian ‘finally’ closed the doors more times than one of those machines designed to test door panel fit on a luxury car, but as far as the majority of enthusiasts are concerned it ended in real terms with the last Chiefs in 1953. You need to fast-forward forty years to get to the next chapter in Indian’s heritage, although that was received even less well than sticking Indian badges on the sides of Royal Enfields – predating sticking Royal Enfield badges on the side of Indian-made Enfield, which has a certain beauty. In the early nineties, Philip S Zanghi sold the dream of a new start for Indian in its spiritual home of Springfield, producing plenty of shares in the company but not actually a motorcycle, and his contemporary Wayne Baughman from New Mexico promised a new Scout, and even showed the (in)famous Century Chief prototype but ultimately failed to deliver: Zanghi landed in prison and there was a trail of angry investors in Baughman’s trail. The next attempt, backed by Eller Industries – who were initially awarded the rights to the name after the Zanghi/Baughman fiascos – and with, for the first time, investment from native Americans in the form of the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians (you couldn’t make it up), didn’t make it beyond prototype form either, getting wrapped up in a massively complicated legal battle over the Indian name when they were said to have defaulted on the agreement. That finally culminated in the brave (sic) attempt by the California Motorcycle Company – at the time, the largest manufacturer of ‘Harley Clones’ – and a consortium of American businesses together with the owner of a

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Event: Makinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Bacon

MAKINâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; BACON Many things make a rally work well: it could be the ride there, the people, the venue, the bands, the roads around the site for the rideout, the weather undoubtedly plays a part, and occasionally there will be a great feat of engineering that captures your attention.

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Event: Rainy V Low Rider Xl1200C Vs Daze Dyna

RAINY DAZEV It was always meant to be ironic, was the name of Rainy City HDCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rally, but for the second year running, grey skies threatened to fulfill the prophecy.

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BUELL XB12X ULYSSES 58

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Roadtest: Buell XB12X Ulysses

Big trail bikes aren’t a new phenomenon, in fact the original road-going BMW R80G/S first appeared on our streets in 1980, but while they had their fan-base until Ewan and Charley headed east to America they were little more than a niche. It took the UK market a long time to appreciate the potential within the giant traillies but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of available models. Just about every manufacturer had a stab at capturing a portion of the market, which was always significantly bigger on the continent than in the UK – and especially in France, home of the SuperMotard, which is where the impetus for Meriden Triumph’s TR7T Tiger came from: a torch that Hinckley Triumph picked up. It wasn’t necessarily a natural direction for Buell, whose prowess on road and track is well known, but as folk started entering stock XB12S Lightnings in Super Moto races – and winning – someone, somewhere must have seen the potential of fitting taller, softer shocks to the front and back of a Lightning and the Ulysses was the result … well, in essence. It came by way of the City-X, which used trail-bike styling cues like a grill over its twin headlamps, Pirelli Scorpion Sync tyres and a pair of hand-guards, but that’s as far as the ‘urban assault vehicle’ went. The Ulysses, however, went further. Quite a lot further in fact. Taller in the saddle, with 50% more ground clearance and about 30% more suspension travel than a Lightning, it got a new version of the fuel-bearing beam frame which made it feel more spacious all round, helped by lower footrests, and which carried an extra 2.2litres of fuel. Stylistically, it got the duckbill front mudguard treatment with a tighter,

lower section behind the fork legs to keep the front of the motor clean; and it got a colour-matched wind deflector with a pop-on screen to raise it further without necessarily overpowering the front end with a massive expanse of plastic. As if to demonstrate that it was an Adventure Sport bike – there has never been a serious attempt to pitch the Ulysses as a proper off-roader – it got a well-proportioned seat with a very tricky little rack system, which Buell calls their ‘Triple Tail’. With a choice of three positions, the Triple Tail can provide a rack that sits over the pillion seat for carrying loads when running solo, a backrest for the pillion rider should they feel they need it and a horizontal rack that overhangs the rear of the bike, allowing luggage and a pillion. The seat itself goes beyond well proportioned and with the pillion resting on the backrest and the rider hard up against the ‘tank’, there’ll be about enough space between them to fit a CityX … and a rucksack. Incidentally, with the optional full luggage system, make that a doubletail because the top box – and the rack it’s mounted on in the top box’s absence – stops the Triple Tail from folding all the way back, and even upright it can be a pain because you need to fold it forwards to open the top box lid fully, over the pillion seat. Not that that’s an issue here because this is the first naked Ulysses we’ve had chance to put through its paces properly, having last had a fully-loaded launch model two and half years ago in winter snow. I did

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Xl1200C Vs Dyna Low Rider

AMERICANA2008 With apologies to Rupert Brooke, there is some corner of an English field that is for ever America for one weekend in July, as more tons of American steel than occupied the airfields of East Anglia during the Cold War descend upon the sleepy, historic town of Newarkon-Trent.

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Event: Americana 2008

What can I say about Americana that hasn’t already been said? Except perhaps to congratulate Chris and Bev Jackson on such a mammoth achievement. We’ve done the visual spectacular, the bike and car shows, touched on the RVs and trucks and acknowledged that there are more bands than it is physically possible to see, split out across five stages

scattered over the Newark Showground. We’ve covered the fact that the weather – when bad, and they have been unlucky for the last couple of years – really doesn’t spoil it, because the atmosphere is so enthusiastic without being irritating. in the way that you can sometimes get with special interest groups. Actually, there are still countless stories to tell, because even having been for the last four years, I’ve still not seen a fraction of it. I didn’t even know there were homesteaders recreating the frontier experience until I saw the official pics from this years event on-line – although it did explain why there were folk dressed up as though they’d just stepped off a stagecoach. I didn’t think much of it at the time; it’s one of those things you come to expect at Americana. I’ve always ended up having way too much fun with friends new and old, with the result that any attempt to wander off to explore a different direction inevitably ends up with meeting someone and being shepherded to wherever they’re going, getting lost and just going with the flow. It was great to see a large bike presence there this year, and good to see that Victory have adopted the event as a means of putting their name around. This year they brought out the full hospitality unit and dragged their dealer network from the four corners of the country to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of motorcycle production at Polaris, and celebrated in style by making a nuisance of themselves at the funfair opposite – well, the Bumper Cars (and please note, that is “Bumper” not “Dodgem”). All suggestions are that they’ll be making it an annual event, building up the dealer involvement and welcoming their customers through the Victory Riders Association and informal dealer ride-ins.

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BACK ISSUES & Catch up on what you missed: These are just the roadtests: for full content listings see www.american-v.co.uk

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FXST Softail Standard • XL1200C vs FXDL • Victory V92C FLHRCI Road King Classic • H-D History: 1955-1978 • VRSCA vs XB9S • XL883R Sportster

Issue 3 Victory Vegas • H-D History: ’79-’02 • FLSTF vs FLSTC • FXDX-T

Issue 4 Buell Tube Frames • XLH883 vs FXD • FXDL

Issue 5

2003 XL1200S • Stage 1 Deuce vs Stage 1 Vegas • Buell’s evolution • John Reed’s V.

Issue 6

XB9R Vs XB12R Firebolts • XL1200R

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Issue 7 Road King 10 years • Excelsior Henderson vs Victory • FLHRSI Road King Custom • Tuned XL1200R vs XB12S Lightning • FLHRI Road King.

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Running-in a King Pin • FXSTB Night Train • New Sportsters head-to-head • FXDI Super Glide.

Issue 9 FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide • VRSCB V-Rod

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2005 FLSTNI Softail Deluxe • Harley tourers

Issue 12 ’05 XL883R • SE V-Rod vs VRSCA • Buell S1 Lightning • Confederate F113 Hellcat

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Buell XB12X Ulysses • Low Rider vs Low Rider: ’04 v ’06 • ’06 Heritage Softail

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’06 VRSCD Night Rod • ’06 XL1200L Sportster Low.

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’07 Hammer-S • ’07 VRSCAW V-Rod

Issue 24 ’07 VRSCX Night Rod Special • XL883R Vs XXL883R • Fuengirola 2007

Issue 25 ’08 Nightster • Heritage Softail vs Kingpin Tour • QS: American Ironhorse Texas Chopper

Issue 26 ’07 Victory 8-Ball • ’08 VRSCAW V-Rod

Issue 27 ’08 FXDF Fat Bob • ’08 FLHTCU Ultra

Issue 28 ’08 VRSCDX 1250cc Night Rod Special • Quick Spin: ’08 FLSTSB Cross Bones • ’08 XB12Ss Buell Lightning Long

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’08 Harley-Davidson XR1200 • Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic Vs Victory Vision • 2008 Flyrite Bobber


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Xl1200C Vs Dyna Low Rider

74

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Custom: Polar Customs Nightster

Cast your mind back, if you will, to issue 28 and a fat tyred Nightster sitting outside a Harley dealership. There was talk then of the Nightster having been build up from a lot of the bits from another project that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d missed: a big twin.

Âť

ADONIS

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Event: S&S’ Century Xl1200C VsHalf Dyna Low Rider

S&S’HALF CENTURY 80

American-V.co.uk

Everyone’s having a birthday this year, which isn’t a major surprise, but the sheer number of landmark anniversaries is remarkable:


No one comes close to the grand-daddy of the American motorcycle at 105 years – unless you can forgive Indian its fifty-five years in the wilderness and hang out the bunting for its 110th in three years time – but Victory is ten years old, as is Harley’s Yorkbased CVO programme and HOG is twenty-five: even we are five! Which make it all the more notable that S&S, the longest established supplier of performance parts for Harleys – established by founder George Smith “to make motorcycles go faster” – are celebrating a golden 50 years this year, and if that’s not a damn good excuse to have a party, I don’t know what is! More than a year in the planning, S&S President, Brett Smith, invited an international field of world class builders to pitch to build one of fi fty unique bikes using special limited production anniversary engines, with a prize of $50,000 for the Champion – the fi nal whittling down of the hundreds to just fifty taking a week by itself. S&S already work with five builders a year, typically, with the most visible results of that collaboration being the X-Wedge one-

offs eighteen months ago, and the 45th Anniversary celebrations in 1983 – but they ramped it up for the fi ftieth celebrations to make it something of an occasion. And it paid off big-time, with builder support heralded as a key contributor to the success of the event, together with the support from volunteers from the staff at S&S, friends and family and the local community. Held in La Crosse’s festival grounds, which played host to 28,000 people over the three days, and with the full support of the city from the Mayor down the event was adjudged to have been a roaring success in many ways – not least when the Anniversary bikes were unveiled to an eager crowd, announcing their presence by firing up their motors; a spectacle that had a surprise punch-line when Ron Hutchinson, Senior VP, Product Development at Harley-Davidson, presented father and son team, George and Brett Smith, with a plaque to commemorate S&S’ 50th. Current chairman of S&S’ board, George Smith gave Brett and the employees of S&S credit for the success of the show, singling out communications manager, Howard Kelly for organizing and coordinating a complicated schedule, before going on to thank the local and business communities for their ongoing support for the company, and the visitors for their presence and continuing support, ending by stating he would “forever be grateful I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of such a fun and exciting business.”. Fellow second generation Smith, Ken, told the massive crowd, “When I came to work with my mother and father at S&S in 1971 I never dreamed that someday I would witness the company’s 50th anniversary. I was overwhelmed by the support of the builders and riders of the motorcycle community, the media and the general public who came to La Crosse from all over to help the Smith Family celebrate the event. I had the chance to remember and revisit many fond memories that I hadn’t thought of for a long time. It was a great tribute to my parents, the founders of S&S, and all of the employees who helped build the company. Everyone should be proud of their accomplishments. I know I am.”

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American-V.co.uk

81


SOLO SADDLETRAMPS:

ROCKER-C Vs CROSS BONES

86

American-V.co.uk


Head-to-head: Rocker-C vs Cross Bones

With a bold stroke of the draftsman’s pen, HarleyDavidson revealed a new kind of Softail to an unsuspecting world in the 2008 model year catalogue: the Rocker. A true custom derivative of the Softail, it combined a radically raked-out front end with a hardtail-like tyre-hugging rear mudguard, and trimmed it in an all-new set of clothes: it almost isn’t a Softail at all and indeed if you start trying to swap Softail and Rocker bits around, you’ll quickly come to realise that it’s a Softail in name only. The differences start with the chassis because the Softail-like frame is modified beyond its V-Rodesque 36.5-degree rake: the back of the frame is wider at the swing-arm pivot so you won’t sneak a Rocker swing-arm into a Softail without an awful lot of engineering work – and that also means you won’t easily switch back to a normal horseshoe oil tank, or indeed nick a Rocker’s for use on a Softail. It does share the Softail’s balanced TC96B powertrain with its 6-speed Cruise Drive gearbox, but that’s about all that they have in common, and even that has an all-new fi nish on the base model that transforms the appearance of the whole bike. It is a bold statement. Only the original V-Rod out-raked it in terms of a standard model and that was courtesy of an extra 4-degrees of trail-adjusting rake in the yokes, which stopped the forks from slamming into their stops, and that’s been reigned in these days to two degrees on top of its 34-degrees at

American-V.co.uk

87

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American-V 30 Preview  

A taster of American-V magazine, issue 30, packed with road tests, custom builds, classics and events related to Harley-Davidson, Buell and...

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