Wolfeye wrote:Kradmelder: What bike do you have & what are it's capacities? I'm thinking of getting one after I'm set up in Europe & would like something off-road capable. I was looking at Harley Dual Sports, but don't know much of anything about motorcycles. I know the regular Harley is a balanced bike, you can take it cross-country, and it's more comfortable for a man to ride. If I could get a regular Harley with a suspension that can handle at least some of the stuff a dirt bike can, that would be great.
Contrary to popular belief, a Harley (at least a custom bike) can blow away a rice burner in quick speed. There's a video on Youtube about that.
I have KTMs and BMWs. Don't go for a Harley. They are road bikes, very heavy, poor brakes, no ground clearance, unreleiable and leak oil. They are also very expensive, ecept for the USA, where they high import duties keep all foreign bikes expensive
here is my opinion: KTM 950, 990. Hardy long distance dirt bikes that can do road but not the most comfortable on tar and lacking things like a fuel gauge. I have one. Awesome bike for long dirt trips
KTM 690 dirt bike and worse on raod than the above. Not comfortable for tar or distance. Can do single track and real MX type riding. The above bikes too large for that really
KTM 1190 still dirt capable if you get the R but more like the BMW. 150 hp beast. I have one
BMW 800 kak front supension
BMW 1200 more road oriented than the KTMs but still off road capabale for normal dirt roads. Kak in sand and mud. I have one
Triumphs 800 and 1200 too heavy for dirt really
Yamaha super tenere too heavy
Honda Africa twin. Haven't tried the new one but it is heavier and has less power than the KTMs and BMWs
Harleys all of them are far too heavy, total road bias. here isa good article that somes u Harly. Totally correct
Weight is your enemy off road, especially as a newbie. What you want to be dirt capable for travel not just MX, is a 21 inch front wheel (but it reduces tar cornering capability), reduced weight, ground clearance (if you are not a short shit), sufficient range if you want to travel long distance off road (like 250 km at least), ergonomics that you can stand on the pegs (not sit feet up like a harley), ability to carry luggage and a comfortable seat.
Regarding harleys One has to wonder why a HD V-twin produces far less power than other V-twins, especially when considering the large displacement of HD engines. Why the pathetic power/weight ratio? It's their long stroke to small bore, and the fact that it is a push rod engine. It means HD engines can't rev high without vibrating horribly. They rev at half the speed of similar engines. Where a HD may explode at 6000 rpm, another V twin is just getting into its stride. Vibration is worsened by 45 degree motor, which gives that harley sound. So engine design is a victory of image over substance. Have the harley sound instead of performance, and suffer low power and vibrations.
Harley uses very old engine technology to remain simple, and says 'its tradition'. Why then don't harley riders cage in Model Ts for the sake of tradition? Just call it the Amercian Special Edition classic super fat glide or something like that and put a huge price tag to sell a newly built Model T and weather a leather cap and goggles. It has nothing to do with tradition, its the victory of image over substance. In what other form of machinery are people prepared to accept outdated inefficient design for the sake of 'tradtion'.? Many will accept anything for the sake of image if they buy into the image.
Look at the price of harley. For that price one would expect performance and the product of R&D. . But harley is an expensive fashion statement. Its like saying I'm a rebel and a free spirit and I paid a fortune for a 50 HP motor and 300 kg of chrome to show it.
Harley started to produce a proper bike with the V rod. Its water cooled and has a 60 degree v twin. hence doesnt have the traditional harley sound. And so now a harley can rev like any other bike and produce power without all the vibrations. It But its stll a seriously heavy 300+ kg monster. A fat chick. But it never went anywhere as harley owners want the harley image, not an improved bike. As a compromise the V rod has a long wheel base and low seat height, which i would guess sacrifice cornering ability just for that feet forward harley look. Again image takes precedence over substance. Sex appeal over the ability to do the deed. I fell for this when I dated models, and then found they dont perform in bed. I prefer one that performs now than some made up tart.
Harley has survived by brand image and by lobbying to get high tariffs on foreign bikes in order to justify outrageous HD prices. Through their image, accessories, clothing and social networsk like HOG, they keep a loyal if ageing clientele, and attract ageing wannabes. Cant do HOG parades in pirate costume and HD acessories on a rice burner. That has been the HD success.
Harley sells image with little new technology at a premium price. Image with little substance. Harley has the ability to take a fat slob in a trailer park and assembly line factory job, put him on one of their bikes and make him feel good. A real bad biker type and not just a loser. Ja, a real bad ass. A kid on a 250 jap bike will outperform your sportser. A harley is image on 2 wheels. trying to make a statement by flash, chrome and noise. Americans love performance and technology and are world leaders at it. why settle for less in their bikes?
I dont like the rice burner sports bikes either, not because they are bad bikes but the riding I do has no application for them. They have no suspension for bad roads, no ground clearance to off road are geared wrong, are uncomfortable and cant carry luggage. But at least they have a niche if you enjoy track days. I cant say the same for harley, whose only niche is to make a lot of noise potatoe-potatoe, cluttering roads at slow speeds and dressed up like a pirate. It has no application for a biker who likes to ride and is simply in it for riding pleasure and the most enjoyable way to get around. Yet harley owners are loyal to the brand. I would figure if you like the chrome and image thing, then rather a custom.
It seems to be an american thing. Harley have a small following in europe, and some here, but they dont attain the popularity they do in america, nor the image, except for some poser types. I just don't get it the attraction of it. I guess if I went to the USA and hired a bike it would have to be a harley as simply the most practical way to get around the USA. Your speed limits are low, roads tarred, and the dealer network is there. There wouldn't really be the environment to put my adv bikes through their niche. and a rice burner is nuts due to your low speed limits and traffic enforcement. You also cant lane split, except in CA, so a high seat height and upright sitting on a nimble bike doesn't help.
But if i ever buy a harley it is because I am too old or too fat to get my leg over a proper bike. In that case, someone please shoot me.