THE BIG CALL
I had already submitted the Low Rider S article and pics to Heavy Duty Magazine, but Friday afternoon was warm, mostly sunny and the temptation to leisure-ride over Mt Glorious proved too strong to resist.
I left before the cross-city traffic was too heavy and made my way to Samson west of Brisbane for the more Northerly of the two ascents. After 11 years living in NZ it still mildly amuses me that these weathered hills are 'mountains' but the ranges near of the metropolis do offer some good and twisty motorcycle roads, albeit with ridiculously low speed limits and a prominent police presence. However, they do make for an enjoyable ride and a really good way to really test a bike's road performance.
The elevated sub-tropical rainforest atop the range is a wonder in itself, but the enjoyment factor I got from the Low Rider made it a real special.
I always had a soft spot for the 2002 FXDX - partly because it was one if the first H-Ds I had for a longer term test, and partly because it was such a capable bike. Good suspension and road manners made it more of a 'rider's bike' than anything in the range at the time.
A Road King suits my personal needs better - with the ability to regularly carry a passenger for starters, and I still think a V-Rod is fantastic ... but ... practicality considerations aside ...
This is the 'rider's bike' that the FXDX was - on 'roids.
The 110cube Screaming Eagle engine is superb. a torque monster - smooth for a rubber mounted unit and while the way it launches is no V-Max - or V-Rod, it's still quite potent. The cartridge forks and emulsion shocks fitted as standard make its road manners very pleasant and capable while the twin discs up front are pretty good stoppers.
Just about everyone I've spoken to about the bike has said 'forward controls', but I actually like the mid-mounted units. They obviously don't work as well on the freeway, but this is so much more than a freeway bike. To really appreciate the bike's ergonomics a blast over the mountain is key. Combined with the turned down (slightly dropped) drag bars, the mid mounts let the rider adopt a more sports-like position. You can get a knee 'out' and it's easy to get body off-board, compensating somewhat for its non-sportsbike lean angles, while really hitting the picks on entry and swinging the big torque hammer on exits is pure pleasure. The way the suspension and chassis work in holding a line during such hijinks, even over rippled surfaces, adds to the enjoyment (and safety).
Over the mountain I took the round trip home with open road touring conditions through the Brisbane river valley and then a fair bit of congested Freeway back to base - on some of which I used the cruise control - which also works well.
After three hours aboard I was just starting to feel the solo saddle a bit, but it's surprisingly comfortable for its size and works well for moving around and side to sides in sports mode.
I arrived home beaming.
It's a stunning presentation that reminds me so much of my favourite 'looking' Harley ever - the XLCR, while it actually goes, handles, stops and performs well enough to now call it my favourite new Harley - ever.