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Demo Ride: Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited

May 28th, 2011 No comments

I had the opportunity to ride the Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited at the Harley Mayhem at Simi Valley HD. This bike has all the amenities that one would expect in a luxury tourer. Heated grips, sound system, ABS brakes and a seat like your living room couch. The fit and finish is very good as are most HD motorcycles. The engine is  103 cubic in V-twin. As I saddled up I noticed how low and comfortable the seat is. It is probably the most comfortable seat I have ever experienced on a motorcycle. Getting the bike off the kick stand need a little more effort than i am used to. This bike weighs in at about 900 pounds. I am used to riding bike in the 5 to 6 hundred pound class. Once upright it felt very balanced. I pressed the starter button and the engine came alive. There was that classic Harley vibration in the handle bars. I really could do without the vibration. The demo ride started and once the motor was brought off of idle it smoothed out nicely. The exhaust note was very pleasing. The first turn out of the parking lot was a little wide. I had to get used to the higher center of gravity. Once out on the ride I found the handling to be to very good. I had no trouble leaning this bike over in turns. It really did not feel like a 900+ pound bike at speed. At every stop though I was reminded of the weight. The power was plentiful and right there when you need it. There is a noticeable amount of heat from the engine or pipes that you can feel on the seat. This extra heat  would probably more bothersome in the hot summer months.  All in all a great ride. I could imaging how easy it would be to log many miles a day on this bike. They start at $24,000 suggested retail. A bit more expensive that the competition. If you want a bike a notch above it may just be worth it.

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KTM 990 SMT Test Ride

April 5th, 2011 No comments

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Recently I was able to test ride the KTM 900 SMT and SMR motorcycles at a demo ride held by KTM and Thousand Oaks Power Sports. First a little background about my experience with motorcycles. I have been riding motorcycles for about three years. I only have had experience with cruiser style motorcycles. My current motorcycle is a Kawsaki Vulcan 900. After I filled out all the necessary paper work and waivers the Thousand Oaks Power Sports representative recommended I ride 990 SMT first after asking me what bike I currently ride. First thing I became aware of is this bike is a lot taller than mine. I have a 30 inch inseam and only could reach the ground with the tips of my toes. Still I felt comfortable on this bike. Second thing is how light this bike seemed. It weighs around 450 lbs. compared to my bike that is almost 600 pounds. I put up the kick stand and turned the ignition key to the “ON” position. The instrument panel came to life. The tack was analog. All the other instruments were combined into a LCD panel. I pulled in the clutch lever and pressed the starter button. The engine came to life. I noticed some vibration from the engine. This was some what more than my bike. I twisted the throttle and was surprised at how fast the engine revved. The demo ride leader pulled out onto the street and the test ride began. I lifted my foot to put the bike in 1st gear and noticed how much farther back the shift lever seamed. I let out the clutch slowly as I applied some throttle. The bike started to move forward and put my feet up on the pegs. I noticed how more upright the seating position was compared to my bike. You sit supported mostly by your inner thighs instead of your butt and tail bone. I twisted the throttle slightly and the bike took off instantly. WOW! this bike is way more responsive than I am used to. Then I grabbed the front brake lever. I was thrown forward in the seat. The brakes are far more powerful compared to my bike. As twisted the throttle to catch up with the group and I was amazed at the acceleration. It was so powerful it felt like the bike was trying to get out from under me. Dipping the bike into turns was effortless. The front end rake angle is a lot less than on my cruiser. The suspension is tall and a little too springy. It would spring forward during hard braking and back during hard acceleration. There was plenty of torque available at any RPM. What a blast this bike is to ride. You just think and it does. No delay. Very responsive. After the ride I noticed a few more features. There are clips on the side of the exhaust heat shields to attach included paniers. The gas tank holds 5 gallons. Enough for about a 250 mile range. There was no fuel gauge but instead only a warning light that comes on when you are in reserve. And last the price is about $13K out the door. That seems  a little on the high end. All things considered this would be a great all around bike. Great for commuting during the week and a awesome canyon road brawler on the weekends.

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