Well, I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for months now… as I do every year. You see, my beautiful wife and I celebrate our anniversary on July 20th, and each year it is something I am proud of and excited to celebrate! But, this year was a touch different. You see, this year, instead of having to wait until Sturgis, the announcements of the new Harley line up happened on, you guessed it, my anniversary! Now, that is not to belittle my big day with the ol’ lady; of course I wait with baited breath each year to celebrate that milestone. This year was no different and I could not wait for our Anniversary Date, just as soon as I was able to get to the Harley shop and get the inside scoop from the Dealer’s Meeting.
So here’s the skinny:
2012 really does not have much new. Now, there are some big changes, but not a whole lot new.
The biggest news is that many of the line up have finally received a boost in the ol’ muscle department. The 103 engine that was first introduced in the CVO models a few years back, has trickled down to the standard fleet. For those who think a bit differently about those numbers, a 103 is about a 1688cc engine. More importantly for many is that the HP numbers are approx. 100 from the factory (which will probably change before you leave the parking lot as I am sure you are gonna put on a better breathing system and exhaust, maybe a Power Commander, and possibly even a hotter cam).
So, the 103 is found in all the touring models (including the standard Road King which was left out last year), all the Softails (cause we all know they are the Blvd. hot rods), and many of the Dynas. My guess is that the Dyna line will all get the update in another year or so… keeping some costs down and some entry models more affordable with the 96ci. (The Wide Glide, Fat Bob, and new Switchback got the 103 and the Street Bob and Super Glide Custom were held back with the 96).
The other big change in availability is that you can now get ANY of the big twin models with ABS. Some will like it, some will not. It is an option so you certainly don’t have to get it. I personally am looking forward to it because Harley is one of the few that have an independent system, meaning that the front and rear brakes are NOT integrated. This allows me to use the front or rear brake, as I see fit not a power transfer between the two. I don’t care what you say, I know the importance of each brake and if I want just front or back, then I want just front or back… ‘nuff said.
On to the new models:
The Night Rod® Special is updated with new tapered tail section, lighter-weight wheels, an inverted front fork and improved ergonomics.
NEW Black, split five-spoke cast aluminum wheels are three pounds lighter than previous wheels.
NEW Tapered tail section with flush-mount LED taillight.
NEW Pullback handlebar places controls three inches closer to the rider and optimizes overall feel with a low, wide position.
NEW Reduced reach, forward-mounted rider footpegs.
NEW Inverted front forks.
NEW Two-up seat with custom stitching.
NEW Stylized, black speed screen visor.
NEW Slim design, center-mount license plate.
Harley-Davidson celebrates a decade of power cruising with the V-Rod® 10th Anniversary Edition motorcycle, finished in Brilliant Silver Pearl bodywork that evokes the anodized aluminum bodywork of the original V-Rod model that introduced the liquid-cooled Revolution V-Twin engine in 2002. All V-Rod models will carry V-Rod 10th Anniversary badges.
The new Dyna® Switchback combines hard saddlebags and a windshield with the eager handling and Twin Cam 103 performance of the Dyna chassis. It’s a custom-touring bike ready for a long weekend trip, until the detachable bags and windshield are removed. Then in seconds the Switchback becomes a custom street cruiser with a gleaming headlamp nacelle, five-spoke cast-aluminum wheels and a mini-ape handlebar. This convertible concept makes the versatile Switchback two motorcycles in one.
The new CVO™ Road Glide® Custom is one of four limited-production 2012 models from Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO)™, each turned out with bold paint, gleaming chrome, and the most-powerful V-Twin engines offered in production Harley-Davidson motorcycles. CVO Road Glide Custom is a hot-rod bagger with a frame-mounted fairing topped with a smoked Wind Splitter windshield, a high-output, amplified Harman/Kardon® Advanced Audio system, and a color-matched, low-profile fuel tank console. This model takes the place of last year’s Road Glide Ultra CVO.
Let us pause for a moment to think about being in the wind…
That was nice…
Funny thing is this; I love nothing more than to be on my bike, running down a road (straight, twisty, hot, cold, deserted, crowded, don’t matter), wind in my hair (or on my helmet), smile on my face, and bugs in my teeth.
So what is the funny part? Funny part is I really hate the wind. I know it sounds silly, but the wind you “make” on the bike is totally different than the wind one experiences while walking to the mailbox or sitting at a stoplight. Nah, that kind of wind really ticks me off.
Now, as I said, I don’t mind the wind in my face, but on long trips I sure do like the idea of a small windscreen. I am not a fan of anything so tall that I have to look “through” it. I do, however, like a little something to keep the wind off my upper body, allowing me to put 600+ miles on easily in a day on a bike that was never intended for “touring.”
My Ol’ Lady is the same. I recently got her a Nightster and the first thing she wanted on it was a small fairing or windshield. We were going to go with an FXR style screen, which I think always looks good, but with her mini-apes she wanted something, that would flow a bit better and disappear.
Well, we used the aftermarket shield she had on her old bike as much for convenience as for saving a little cash. However, now there is a new shield out that looks amazing!
The new Gladiator™ Windshield from National Cycle can adjust in any position and will never break or ding. Plus, it looks great on your XL, FX, and even FL. The mounting bracket on this unique windshield provides a clean appearance that impeccably melds into the Harley’s handlebar set-up. National Cycle’s engineers achieved this by attaching the bracket directly to the top clamp, leaving the bike’s handlebars and forks uncluttered. The fully adjustable mounting bracket implements a patented DualPivot™ action for almost infinite positioning options to fit any rider in any condition. It only takes a simple 7/16” wrench to position the shield. The Gladiator windshield removes all mount brackets from the forks and handlebars! Specifically for the XL Nightster the black wrinkle finish makes the mount blend seamlessly with your bike.
The stealth shape of the windscreen looks great on custom or bare bones stock and is constructed from Lexan® polycarbonate, hard coated with FMR for scratch resistance. There is a 3-Year Warranty against breakage and you can order in either a dark or light tint, selling for $219.95 – $249.95 depending on model and clamp finish.
Now, the price may be a touch of a shocker for ya… I know it was for me. However, when I consider that we are still using the old windscreen on my gal’s new sled, I realize how long we would have one of these babies around. When you think of it that way, and consider the longevity of the materials, the price really isn’t all that bad.
Besides, I would pay just about anything to get that damn wind to stop blowing on me.
Final touches going on to the Panhead since it’s refreshing and rebuild by my good friend Steve Garn of BREW Bike fame. When the sled returned to me last month, we discovered a set of faulty gaskets, which required me to pull the fresh engine out of the beautifully painted, and powder coated frame. That done, with a nice set of JIMS gaskets, thankyouverymuch, it was time to take a quick peek at timing and the jetting of the carb. Altitude changes from where the build took place to where she lives now and a timing pin that jumped on us made for a small headache, but it was no biggie and is now all under control.
Now I am working on tooling a custom seat and putting on a few finishing touches… I would like to swap out the grips, put a new mirror on her, and change over to hairpin springs under the seat.
While working on getting everything buttoned up, I came across some really great items that you might want to know about…
1st is Sudco’s 5th Edition Mikuni Carburetor Manual. Sudco International says it’s the world’s leading source for Mikuni carburetors, parts and tuning components for any motorsports application. Just off the press is the company’s 96-page guide featuring the complete line of Mikuni RM, VM, HSR, HS, TM, TMX and BN carburetors and fuel pumps with parts breakdown diagrams, available tuning components, and tuning and setup information for all Mikuni carburetors and fuel pumps for dirt, street and personal watercraft applications. MSRP is .60.
2nd are these badass floorboards by Shadetree Fabrications, the shop of Kyle Shorey. Cast from Aluminum, Brass, Red Brass or a combo, these boards are one-of-a-kind pieces that stray from the norm in the billet age! With their classic appeal, they take you back in time and will stand the test of time.
Sand-cast one at a time the old fashioned way right in Texas, They bolt-on as shakers for a stock Harley Crossbones, or you can order rigid mounted with integral brackets that fit all stock Harley-Davidson footboard applications.
Best part? You can design them with your own logo, picture, phrase, or whatever! Just send a PDF of your own design and Kyle can cast it right onto your boards. All aluminum boards with STF logo; $150. All Brass or combo boards with STF logo; $225. Custom Designed boards with your logo; $425. Contact Shadetree Fabrications. 817-475-1145.
3rd During the last year Bert Baker and crew have been busy conceiving several new “old school” parts. Here are the 4 that are most exciting to those of us with older bikes.
3a- The Tin Type Primary (TTP). Available in starter or kick only applications. BAKER took the classic 1936-64 tin primary design and re-constructed it with aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum to facilitate a 1970-E84 Big Twin alternator motor. BAKER addressed leaks, reduction in chain noise, and has made modern starter integration possible. The Modern internal design of the primary utilizes stock style double row primary chains (428 chains) along a fine tooth and L-bracket chain tensioner. The chain oiler feed and return provisions mimic the original primary setup so you can run your stock Shovelhead dry clutch components or leave it plugged off to run a wet clutch setup.
The starter version is setup for factory 1.4kw 1990-2006 starters. Compatible with traditional tin derby and inspection covers or BAKER TTP Covers (sold separately). The TTP utilizes the 1955-64 non-compensator style motor sprockets in order to keep that tight/sleek appearance. Primary drive configurations are -24 tooth motor sprocket, 37-tooth clutch sprocket, and stock 82-pitch primary chain, for a 1.54 primary reduction. 24-tooth motor sprocket is the maximum size that fits within the TTP envelope. -22 tooth motor sprocket, 35 tooth clutch sprocket, and 80 pitch primary chain (available through BAKER) for a 1.59 primary reduction. -23 tooth motor sprocket, 38 tooth clutch sprocket, and stock 82 pitch primary chain for a 1.65 reduction. Available bead blasted raw or fully show polished.
3b- The BAKER Shovelhead Splined Clutch 1970-E84 is based off of their 9-plate clutch used on 1990-up applications and fits in the stock primary housing and TTP. BAKER offers 8620 gear steel 35, 36, 37, and 38 tooth clutch sprockets with their clutches, to dial in your overall gear ratio. The new splined clutch comes with or without 66T starter ring gear. Baker’s one piece 66T starter ring gear and kick only clutch basket design is made out of 1145 steel, induction hardened T0 45-55 Rockwell C scale for years of wear free use. 9 two-sided Kevlar clutch plates, deliver ample holding power for up to 125 ft-lbs of continuous use. Featuring a 6061-T651 aircraft grade billet aluminum pressure plate that is hard anodized for durability and specially designed diaphragm spring with ergonomic break-over feel during engagement yet having strong holding power when you put the throttle down.
Now if you are thinking, “my Shovelhead has a tapered shaft,” BAKER offers the splined Shovel clutch kit. You know the sad story. The torque on the clutch nut backs off a hair and the key on the transmission main shaft shears off. This usually happens at the most inconvenient time and place. And the probability of this sad story playing out is greater with performance applications. The kit Retrofits and upgrades the stock tapered main shaft and clutch to a modern 18 tooth spline configuration. Kit includes a fully assembled clutch and splined 4-speed main shaft to retrofit stock 1970-E84 Big Twins has an 18 tooth main shaft to install into your stock 4 Speed.
3c- The BAKER Jockey Top Cover is a new product to complete the puzzle BAKER started last year with the release of their 4 Speed for 1936-E84 models. The BAKER Jockey Top like the Ratchet Top comes with a snot-slick linear ball bearing detent for that smooth positive “snick-pop” shift quality you would expect. Made out of aircraft grade 6061-T6 billet aluminum with hidden vent and sealed shift shaft make this cover leak free. Available in FL / FX shift patterns, blasted raw, wrinkle black or show polished finish.
3d- The BAKER Stash Tube made out of aircraft grade 6061-T6-billet aluminum with a screw on top and a .200” thick O-Ring make for a water-tight seal. Internal diameter is 2.5” by 4” deep giving you plenty of room to conceal your items. Stash tubes come in raw or cat black finish with highlighted fins and fit all Knuckle, Pan and Shovelhead generator right side / alternator left side style motors. Call BAKER Drivetrain for any questions on fitment or pricing. 1-877-640-2004.
4th is Flyrite Choppers. Always a leader in style, has a soon to be famous line of custom bars. The bars come raw and ready to be finished to match your bike. All five styles (JailBar, ZBar, CrowBar, TBar, PryBar) feature 1″ steel tubing no recess, no knurling. Introductory price only $69. While I run apes on my Pan, I know a lot of guys and gals out there that are more into some slick and shorter version of “steerin’ handles.”
Give Flyrite Choppers a call at (512) 918-2467or drop by www.flyritechoppers.com for more information.
5th is, of course, the Clymer Manual that has helped me get through some parts of an engine I had never seen before in real life… that and my “life-line” calls to Brew are what finished this little baby up right.
Brew is an amazing fabricator, builder, and visionary. There will be a more extensive release of the bike in the next week or so… will re-run the groundwork articles as well to get you all ready for the big reveal.
I remember my first encounter with a Schott Leather Jacket… the year was 1985 or so and I was skateboarding my life away… I played bass guitar in a local punk band and my best friend was the lead singer. He showed up at my place with a “new” leather jacket. His father had handed it down to him and he proudly displayed the label inside… it read “Schott USA.”
We made quick work of putting dog spikes all over it, painting the back with graphic, punk rock images, and spending the next few years dousing it with beer and filling it with cigarette smoke… what a great jacket.
I have wanted one of my own ever since. Schott has been making jackets since the 20’s and came out with the first “Motorcycle Jacket” in 1928. Perhaps their largest claim to fame is the fact that Schott is responsible for being the first company to put zippers onto motorcycle jackets. A look and function we now take for granted. There are a lot of knock offs out there now, but still only one original.
Unfortunately, like many of us out there in the world, the price was always just a bit out of reach. I am older now with a home of my own and two daughters who take precedence as far as monetary spending is concerned… so, I still don’t own one, but my girls have some fantastic dress up tutus in the closet!
Now back in the day when my buddy got his leather, we were all skating ditches and pools in Albuquerque, NM. And what did we ALL wear?? Converse of course. At the time, you could still get a pair for about $10 to $15 and when they wore out from the grip tape, you could get a new pair. My favorite were a special edition black and tan pair… I think I bought them two at a time so that when they were taken off the market I would have a backup. At least the shoes I could afford on my $3.35/hour job.
So, what could be better than a Schott Jacket and a nice pair of Converse? Well, how about a pair of Converse made/inspired by Schott?? Dream no more little dreamer; dream no more. This Converse Chuck Taylor “Leather Jacket” features the premium Schott Leather on the majority of the upper in black. One of the more interesting features on this shoe is the monochromatic zipper design that appears throughout the midfoot and on the heel giving it a nice makeup attribute. Lastly, this Chuck Taylor is finished with brown Converse branding on the sides and a white, vulcanized rubber sole. These will retail at $200 and release exclusively at Converse First String retailers.
You may still run into a little issue with the price, since you can score about six pair of your run of the mill, canvas Chucks for the same price, but I am pretty sure that these leather babies will last you a lot longer… plus, they will look good on your scoot and, if you have the scratch, will match your sweet leather jacket.
Visit Schott to check out the jackets (a lot more than just motorcycle gear these days), and keep an eye out for those badass shoes!