Just got word from the good folks over at Harley-Davidson that a loaner Forty-Eight, the latest Sportster-based bike in the Dark Customs lineup, will be coming my way next month. If you read this here, it’s pretty obvious that I’m a fan of this growing class of bikes. Low, light and quick. Good stuff all the way around.
Posts Tagged ‘Sportster’
THE NEWEST DARK CUSTOM SPORTSTER COMBINES FORM AND PERFORMANCE FOR A FUN AND NIMBLE RIDE
For me, one of the absolute wonders of riding a motorcycle has always been that minute you crest a hill and start to let gravity influence your ride. Where it’s less of you piloting the bike and more of you just riding it. While I love uphill cornering and sections of twisties — with all the physics they represent as I roll off, brake, lean and accelerate in that sublime danceable rhythm — it’s that moment, when you’re no longer pushing it that grabs me and lets me fly.
As a kid I used to trek up to the higher points of the South Bay area of Los Angeles on my Strand cruiser and then make that bomb run downhill. Free flying. Wind swooping. Sensory overload. The pull of flat land bringing you down to its level. It’s the pure sensation of motion, where movement and rolling forward is the only thing.
While riding pretty much anything with two wheels and a motor is a good time, some motorcycles are just more fun, the kind of fun that hints back to (more…)
Picked up the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 today over at the H-D fleet center. Man, I love that place and today I had the pleasure of talking with Todd Canavan, one of the Super Tech Gurus who helps run the fleet. Canavan’s explanation and overview of the Iron 883 was amazingly thorough and for this I say Thanks Todd. Good stuff. He even brushed through the magic that is the Harley self-canceling turn signal system that was apparently designed by NASA or space aliens.
Still settling into the bike and its extremely low — it is slammed — riding position. But once the cramp in my thigh went away, I was reminded why I (more…)
that rarely ran and often just sat there. This is one of the only surviving pics of my old AMF Sportster that I mentioned in the early post about the Iron 883. I had the top end rebuilt, did the carb and rewired it but I could never iron out all the wrinkles. Ended up trading it for a 1979 Camaro (that ran on seven cylinders) and $500.
In its oh-so clever way, Harley-Davidson today sprung its newest variation on the Sportster theme — the Iron 883. Not one to follow the typical OEM format for releasing new models, H-D likes to quickly (and sometimes quietly) introduce its latest bikes. Take the soft launch of the XR1200 back in December (here, here and here).
So today in my inbox I find the announcement about the Iron 883. This is the latest edition to H-D’s Dark Custom lineup. It is basically a Nightster with Harley’s 883 Sporty motor in it and a price tag (MSRP $7,899) that reflects the smaller power plant (the Nightster carries a $9,899 sticker). It’s got most of the same all-black bits and the fork gaiters. An it uses the same trick turn-signal/brake light/tail light combo used on the Nightster as well as the same side-mounted license plate that folds back. (I’ve often wondered about the purpose of the folding plate and how it might work in going up against a red light camera. Not that I’d ever endorse doing something like that. I’m just saying.) Enough bloviating. Here’s some pics.
Personally, I’m a big fan of H-D’s Dark Customs. Not so much of the marketing campaign behind them, but the bikes themselves are pretty neat. Back when the Nightster was first launched I got a loaner for a few weeks and spent a lot of time blowing around town on that thing. It was a far cry from my AMF-era Ironhead Sporty, which sat more often than it ran, but looked really good sitting.
I really became fond of tearing around on that little hot rod Nightster. It handled and moved and scraped hard parts through just about any turn right or left. And, not that I cared much given it was a press bike, it got thumbs up and attaboys at every stop. Most people really dug the look of it, as did I. Maybe I’m forgetting, but I don’t recall having any real issues with it other than the anemic stock pipes it comes with, but that’s just an aftermarket call away from being fixed. Overall, it is a great bike for zipping around on. With that said, I’m going to see about getting an Iron 883 for review and I’ll let you know what effect (if any) the drop in power has on such a little runabout. And now for some more specs/info.
- Rubber-mounted Evolution 883 cc V-Twin black powder-coated engine
- Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
- Black fuel tank with unique graphics
- Black front forks with gaiters
- Black belt guard and front fender supports
- Black, 13-spoke cast aluminum wheels, 19-inch front / 16-inch rear
- Black low rise drag style handlebar
- Black mid-mount foot controls
- Black low profile front fender
- Black chopped rear fender with combination rear stop/tail/turn lights
- Chrome staggered shorty exhaust with dual mufflers
- Side-mounted license plate holder
- One-piece, solo Sportster classic seat
- 25.3-inch seat height
- Optional Harley-Davidson Smart Security System
- Classic 3.3-gallon fuel tank
- 565 lbs. (wet)
- 55 ft. lbs. @3,500 rpm
- lean angle: right 29 degrees, left 30 degrees
- 5 speed
OK, it’s already been floating around the Internets for a while but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the new Moto Guzzi V7 Classic. Since word first broke about this bike and I got to see the pics, I’ve wanted one. Now that I’ve been able to eye one up and saddle it at the Long Beach IMS stop, I want one even more.
The specs of the V7 aren’t all that impressive — 48 hp at 6,800 rpm/40 lb. ft. at 3,600 rpm — the aesthetics are. This thing thrives on its classic profile that easily recalls the V7s that preceded it. . Much like some people have a type when it comes to their love interests, I have a type when it comes to motorcycles. The V7 is my type, much like my Thruxton is my type and the old stripped- down ironhead Sportster I used to have was my type (when it ran).
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about the profile of all these various machine — oh, and don’t forget Ducati’s Sport Classics — that tweaks my inner design freak. So if everything goes well and the folks over at Brandware Public Relations pull through, I’ll be testing one of these suckers when they hit Piaggio’s West Coast press fleet.
Until then, we’ve got some of the particulars from MG:
The 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is available at U.S. Moto Guzzi retailers for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $8,490. The exclusive body color is Moon White, a lustrous pearl white accented with classic Moto Guzzi tank decals.
Four-stroke V 90 twin
80 x 74 mm
9.6 : 1
35.5 kW (48 HP) at 6,800 rpm
54.7 Nm at 3,600 rpm
Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection
Three-way catalytic converter with lambda probe5 speed
Shaft drive, ratio 16/21=1 : 1.3125
Marzocchi 40 mm telescopic front forks
Light alloy swingarm with two hydraulic shock absorbers, pre-load adjustable
5.1” / 4.65”
Floating 320 mm stainless steel disc
four piston opposed calipers of differing diameters
260 mm stainless steel disc
Spoked steel rims
2.5” x 18” / 3.5” x 17”
Metzeler Lasertec 100/90- 18 56HTL Metzeler Lasertec 130/80 -17 65HTL
86” / 31.5” / 43.9”
4.5 gallons (reserve 0.7 gallon)
*All current Moto Guzzi motorcycles include a 2 year unlimited-mileage warranty, and 24-hour roadside assistance.