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Thread: Need good counsel

  1. #1

    Need good counsel

    Fellow members, I would appreciate your learned opinion and hope it'll help me make a sane decision. I'm on the verge of obtaining a new-to-me 08 Harley Davidson Fat Bob;
    not to replace my beloved R1200R but as a teammate for it. Are H-Ds money pits? Has anyone had experience with this particular model? I've looked at the H-D forums but, unlike us, those guys never critique or critisize their bikes. They're in rah rah lockstep and not very informative. Anyhow, I'm asking for your advice so that I may avert a possible pitfall. Or do you think it's a good idea? Thank you all in advance for your assistance.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Reno, NV
    OK, I am not a Harley guy. But I know a BMW guy who also has a Harley - does his own wrenching, etc. Also, my taxi driver (who actually comes all the way out here) is an old school HD fan - no logo clothing, does his own work, rides every ice free day, etc. They both say the best Harleys are the late 90's Evo ones - easiest to work on, don't break parts, no fancy electronics, perfected design, reliable etc. These people are definitely not posers, so I personally would take their word on this.

  3. #3
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Oakville, Ontario, Canada


    I used to ride a Dyna Glide and then an Ultra before my RT 4 years ago. I will submit that HD builds "old-fashioned" bikes less as a product of their Engineering Dept than their Marketing Dept.
    They have created as we all well know a very good Brand, and the product supports the Brand
    To suggest they are techically inferior is in my view, incorrect, they are simpler machines than ours on purpose. They are generally quite reliable, and the stories of them marking their territory (oil spills) etc are not fair for the current generation.
    Go ahead and buy one, it will add a different dimension to your riding experience.
    I no longer own one, because my main interest in riding is travel and for that, the RT is far superior than the Ultra, and also a far sight easier on the ears and the aging bones. For an afternoon ride around town, the Fat Bob will be a lot of fun.
    PS - please do not put straight pipes on it....

  4. #4
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Marion VA-In the middle of some of the best riding in the country.
    I think the bike with stock pipes would be great for local riding on straight roads. My cousin has one of similar vintage and it has been dependable.

    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  5. #5
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Twin Cities - MN
    Air cooled, belt-driven, no valve adjustments, dealers everywhere.

    Harley cleaned up their act from their AMF days and now make a very good motorcycle.
    Brad D. - Member #105766
    '77 R100RS - Black Beauty (big pipe, baby!)
    '94 R1100RS - Sylvia

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Not a money pit unless you want to make it one with chrome add ons and engine mods
    MOA #46783

  7. #7
    Harley cleaned up their act from their AMF days and now make a very good motorcycle.
    My Dad said one of his better Harley's was an AMF.

    He rides his Ultra Classic long distance a number of times a years and has done Iron Butt runs. He's thought he may go to a BMW tour bike when the Ultra Classic is done, but said he'll stick with Harley. He has a /6 among a few other makes of bikes.

    He does have a story he loves to tell about a cam bearing issue on in New England and a rental truck. They are machines and sh*t happens.

  8. #8
    In my experience, the late-model (twin-cam) H-D bikes have been rock-solid reliable.

  9. #9
    FUKENGRUVEN SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Never rode a Harley, but I hang out with several Harley riders. I do not care for them.... the bike, not the riders. It has as more to do with riding position and the look of the bikes than with mechanical reliability and functionality. If you like the look and ride of the bike then why not?
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  10. #10
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    Quote Originally Posted by XTrooper View Post
    In my experience, the late-model (twin-cam) H-D bikes have been rock-solid reliable.
    Porsche-designed engines, after all.
    Kent Christensen
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Porsche-designed engines, after all.
    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Only the water-cooled Revolution V-Twin engine used exclusively in the V-Rod line was designed in collaboration with Porsche.

    All the other Harley-Davidson engines including their current air-cooled "twin cam" are strictly in-house designs.

  12. #12
    Life Member SCJACK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Upstate South Carolina
    I had a 90 Soft-tail Springer and a 91 Ultra (Full Dresser). The Springer was my wife's and we put a Motorvation sidecar on it. We rode both for over 25k miles before we sold them and never had a problem with either one. I performed all of the maintenance and they were easy to work on. I haven't owned a Harley since then because I think they're severely overpriced but my experience with Harley was excellent.

  13. #13
    Boxer Rebellion! TexasT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Second Base

    Somethin' different

    My buddy loves his Harley, and he was a sport bike guy for decades before he bought it. I also have a Triumph America cruiser, obviously not a Harley, but it is fun to ride something a bit different from my beloved R1200R. And after taking the Roadster to my first ride with the Patriot Guard, I think I'll stick to the Triumph so I fit in better with all the black Harleys and Hondas!

    My wife also prefers the ride on the America, so it is certainly worth while to have it around, even though I do most of my riding on the Roadster these days! Whatever makes you happy!

    '07 R1200R - She has 174,550 miles and counting, though I only did the last 24k!
    Still lookin' for my dream bike, a beautiful R1200C...

    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it!" Dizzy Dean, '34 Gas House Gang

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    In the state of Misery for now.
    There were some cam bearing problems on some in the mid 90's. But lots of kits to fix in the aftermarket, not that hard to do.

    Most are rock solid as long as you only put a pipe and intake on them and do not hop them way up. A good pipe and intake, and rejet or remap, will add a good 15, 20 horsepower. Maintenance is cheap, easy and only every 5K miles.

    The nice thing about Harley opposed to BMW is the aftermarket. If Harley were to make a fragile final drive like BMW did (or still does?) the aftermarket would have at least one stronger final drive design out there, probably 3 or 4 at a nice price and chrome plated to boot. Want a reverse, aftermarket has one. 6 or now 7 speed, aftermarket has it.

    So no matter what the weak link might be on one you buy, there is a solution.

    For short trips, dating, socializing, tooling around on a Sunday afternoon, you can not beat a Harley. Great fuel mileage too.

    Now to ride twisties, there are better choices.

    If you can only have 1 bike, I would not pick HD. But if you can have 2 or 3, well HD would be one of them. I have yet to ride a bike that did not make me smile.

    My $.02


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Lethbridge Alberta
    I don't think the bike itself is the concern, just wheither you'll like the cruiser style of riding. I find that style of bike very heavy at low speed and not that well handling at anything but going in a straight line.

    That being said for just crusing around the city it might be OK.
    1995 R100Rt with Kenna Sidecar, 1998 VT1100T

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