Cool new Harley arrives…

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The Road King Special  cost about the same as a decent car – despite being two wheels short of a chassis. The latest Harley is worthy of mention on Car Couture because it looks so good and is a vast improvement over the outgoing model.

Designers have given the King a more aggressive look for 2017, as these first pictures show. Find your inner George Clooney with mini ape handlebars, a lowered profile and all-black engine finish.

Harley says new front forks and rear shocks have improved the handling and ride comfort too. The King is fitted the latest Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine with extra grunt and better cruising speed.

Prices start at £19,995, with the choice of four colours.

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Win a holiday ride of a lifetime with Harley-Davidson…

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Perfect week for a Morgan! But what happens when the sun goes out and you need that warm wind in your hair feeling again?

Swap from four wheels to two and head down to you nearest Harley-Davidson dealership. It’s giving riders the chance to escape the impending chill with the chance to win a £5,000 holiday adventure of a lifetime in South Africa.

To enter the ‘Follow The Sun’ competition you just need to book a test ride before the end of November.

The winning name out of the hat in December will take home a stonking holiday that is part of Harley’s Authorized Tours programme.

For more information visit http://www.h-d.com/testride

Why Italians ride scooters not Harley Davidson motorbikes in Rome…

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July 18 I rode a Street Glide across Italy last year. Normally you would associate Rome with scooters but I wanted to see how the big fella would cope in the melee.

I hadn’t taken into account how busy the capital is – how narrow the streets are and the cobble effect! Perhaps not surprisingly, I realised pretty soon that a Street Glide isn’t nimble enough for urban riding.

It can also be a bugger to get into neutral without practise and you need a big space to park up. The Harley is heavy to push about and there are no reverse gears on a motorbike (not this one, anyway).

The Italians loved the bike of course. And having sat nav takes the stress out of trying to locate your city centre hotel. I was even able to Bluetooth the directions  into my helmet system.

Luggage? Well, the Street Glide has two big panniers and with the pillion backrest in place there is a Harley bag that hangs off the back.

The Street Glide is really a grand tourer better suited to A-roads than motorways. But it’s a talking point wherever you ride it – and the Italians love a big motorbike…

 

 

Love riding the Harley but a motorbike isn’t a practical tool

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Age brings responsibility and with it baggage, lots of baggage. Which is why riding a motorcycle these days is more for pleasure rather than practical purpose.

As much as I’d like to jump on the Street Glide and commute to a job, the shops or friends, it’s not the obvious choice. I have a dog, luggage and need to be smart when I interview people for the Times or FT.

And the crap weather in this country means chunky clothing, plus the helmet of course. Where am I going to stash that lot safely in London before I prepare for a meet?

So, I have the utmost respect for ‘real’ bikers who use their machines day in, day out. There’s a guy on a Harley who rides past my house at the same time every morning, whatever the season.

Total respect. But while I live in England, I’m likely to be reaching for the car keys…

Born again bikers – we’ve got the money to buy a Harley now but do we need a bandana?

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July 16 Like most teenagers in the 70s I hankered after a motorbike. Insurance was cheap and cars expensive – it was the first ‘grown up’ decision for a 17-year-old, which motorcycle to buy.

Back then it was a toss up between the Honda 250 Superdream and a Suzuki 185. A few months later, as I picked my Suzuki out of a hedge and was transferred to hospital, my biking days had been cut short before they really got started.

And now I’m back in the saddle again as a born again biker. I passed my test on a ‘crash’ course six years ago and Harley Davidson has provided the machine to take me back to my ‘yoof’.

The difference now is that I’ve been seduced by the comfort of cars for the last 35 years. So even with all my Nevis wet weather kit (www.nevis.uk.com), riding a bike in crap weather is a chore.

This summer hasn’t been great either but the Street Glide has the ‘bat wing’ fairing which does keep a lot of the weather off. Instead of the Sex Pistols pounding from the two-speaker dash I’m listening to Coldplay. How I’ve mellowed…

I still won’t wear the bandana though. Nope, you’ve really got to be a tosser to own one of them.

What happened to the summer? It’s time to ride out on the Harley-Davidson Street Glide

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Would we like to borrow a Harley-Davidson over the summer? It didn’t take long to think up the correct answer. And besides, 2016 looked pretty promising on the weather front according to experts.

However, just like those who predicted a ‘remain’ majority, the weather men got it wrong too. Yep, summer has been a long time coming and my fair weather riding skills have been put on hold waiting for the dry days.

Things have picked up a bit this week, so it seemed like a good time to talk about the Street Glide.

Low, mean and good-looking I think it’s the most stylish bike in the Harley touring range. Any bigger and you might as well buy a car – any smaller and, well, it wouldn’t be a Harley would it?

I’m a late developer when it comes to biking but in my mid-life crisis, I’ve taken to two wheels again. Just for the sunny days, anyway.

I’m not a big bloke but I can still cope with the Street Glide’s heavyweight frame. It’s more manoeuvrable than it looks over 20mph – just bloody heavy to shift yourself, without the aid of the engine when stationary.

Oh, and being a Harley, my feet actually touch the ground – important with a bike this heavy when you are at a standstill.

Finished in matt grey, I don’t feel too conspicuous. Although a few mates suggest the matt paint makes that ‘bat-wing’ fairing look plastic. I kind of agree but still prefer it to the gloss look.

Right, I’m off to work out the infotainment system. Yep, it has one of those too, just like a car. More on the weekend…