View RSS Feed

Selected ponderings from my life

Test ride of Harley 2009 Rocker Custom

Rate this Entry
Firstly I need to tell you that I like Panheads and Shovels. Anything after that and I loose the ability to focus. It is now a few years since I sold my last Shovel and I have since been riding speedway and some jappas. Main reason is financial, 7 years ago I became single parent with 4 small boys, so anything that was not needed was sold. Sadly. But reality...

It has been a while since I had a ride on a HD. So when the offer of a 1/2 hour testride on a 2009 came along I grabbed it. Thanks ANZA Motorcycles in Palmerston North!

I looked at the 10 bikes that was up to be tested and I liked to have a go at the Rocker. But sadly it was all booked up. So I managed to book a Classic. All well I thought.

When I turned up and signed in I overheard that the guy who had the Rocker booked was not coming. Quickly I changed my booking. Sweet!

The first thing you notice is that she has a single seat, but there was rear footpegs. I realised that there was a "pull out" small seat at the back. For a skinny/small pillion. Nice!

I was standing and waiting for instructions, but none came, and when all riders started to get the motors running I figured better get my helmet on and join up.

There was a "leader" and a "rear sweeper" from ANZA and 8 bikers with varying capabilities inbetween. This caused some headaches, as suddenly you had someone passing you when you least expected it. And the braking and placing on the road also left something to desire...

As mentioned, I had no idea what changes HD had done to their bikes since 76. But a bike is a bike. And really, so she is. Could not find the kickstart, so I had to settle for a button that had "START" on it. And start she did and settled in to a nice HD thump a thump.

The first thing I noticed was that the footpegs were high up and wide apart. The pegs had small steel pins sticking out (approx 1 1/2" long) towards ground. This soon became annoying as they would scrape in turns. The single seat was very comfy, the controls were good (and I liked the self-cancelling indicators, if they did not, then just press the same one again and done), the handlebars suited me well. And the motor was very nice. Missed some sound thou...

As I was sitting at 140k/h (no rev counter) somewhere in back of my head I remembered that these new HD's have 6 gears (all mine had 4...) and I decided to check if there was one more. And yep, the 6'th gear came in and suddenly I was idling at 140k/h! I took her up to 170k/h for a short stint and she had no problems with that. Felt like 200+ was easily there.

I had been very interested to find out if I had to man handle her in to corners (as some of the rigid long forks I have owned), as she had a long wheel base thanks to the slightly extended forks and added rake (36 degrees). And yes, there was a fraction of that. But if it is a payoff between looks and snappy racing handling, the looks win every time for me.

Her brakes were fine for me. Best I have ever had on a HD.

As we turned back in to where we started I realised that my 30 min was over. Sadly so, I have to admit. I would happily have done a few more hours on her.

So my overall impression?

- Nice feel to her. Brakes and motor is more then I need. And that 6'th gear...
- She looks the part. The extra wide 240 backwheel sets her apart.
- Pullback handlebars are comfy.
- Paint and finish is top class. But you expect that from HD.
- I like the indicator controls. Auto off...
- A dedicated solo bike, but has that added little pullout seat just in case...

- Footpegs to far out and too high up. I am 6'2". But I suppose they are high up to get some clearance. Then again if they had been 2" inwards on each side that problem would have been solved! (more then enough space for that) Those pins in the footpegs really annoyed me (and I am sure I made them about 1/2" shorter...)
- Not able to hear motor and no idea what gear I was in. And I could not see anything indicating the gear. More noise would solve that...
- The price has to be one. $33K. Ish...

- I would like her with spoked wheels and a 21" front one. Add to that a wideglide front and about 5" longer and I would love her. And somehow get rid of that gap between the solo seat and the rear guard...
- I have to admit that the riding experience was far better then what I had expected. I am just scared now that when I finally sort myself out so I get a Pan or Shovel I will always compare them to her...

Submit "Test ride of Harley 2009 Rocker Custom" to Digg Submit "Test ride of Harley 2009 Rocker Custom" to Submit "Test ride of Harley 2009 Rocker Custom" to StumbleUpon Submit "Test ride of Harley 2009 Rocker Custom" to Google Submit "Test ride of Harley 2009 Rocker Custom" to reddit Submit "Test ride of Harley 2009 Rocker Custom" to Facebook