Harley's '08s - Between The Lines - First Look

Consider Our Interest Piqued

By the time you read this, your 2007 calendar will be limping toward its last pages and the OEMs will have revealed most of their new machines for 2008. The biggest splash so far came last month, with the unveiling of Harley's additions for '08.

The new Dyna Fat Bob, the Rocker and the Rocker C represent the Motor Company's latest eye candy, with both Rockers slotting in as part of a seven-model Softail line. Innovation is showcased via the FXCWC Rocker and FXCWC Rocker C's Rockertail rear end, a setup that mounts a form-fitting fender directly to the swingarm over a 240mm tire. The Rocker comes with a solo seat and a monochrome, satin metallic paint scheme, while the swankier Rocker C adds some bling as well as a trick saddle that stashes a passenger pad underneath. A First Ride report follows on page 26.

The chunky new Dyna Fat Bob can be ID'd via a pair of distinctive headlights bugging out from between polished triple clamps. A chrome 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust snakes around the side of the black powdercoated-and-polished Twin Cam 96 engine. A new seat shape and flat drag bars offer varied seating positions. Distinct tread patterns on the 180mm rear and 130mm front hoops reinforce the 'Bob's aggressive stance. A First Ride is on page 24.

The other big news is the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) that'll be available as a factory-installed option on Touring and VRSC models (it's standard on the 2008 Ultra Classic 105th Anniversary Edition, the CVO Screamin' Eagle Ultra and the Screamin' Eagle Road King) as well as the new Brembo brakes that'll appear on all FLs. A new six-gallon fuel tank and an Isolated Drive System (said to reduce vibration) also get fitted to those FL models, and cruise control becomes an option on all Touring bikes not already so equipped.

VRSC model upgrades take the form of a hot-rodded, 1250cc version of the liquid-cooled Revolution V-twin engine, claimed to churn out up to 125 horsepower and 85 lbs.-ft. of torque. A new slipper-style clutch with lighter lever action will modulate that newfound grunt, and ABS is offered as a factory-installed option on all 2008 VRSC models.

The 14 models with the limited-edition 105th Anniversary package will be adorned in copper and black paint, with a copper-colored insert in the seat, a special copper air cleaner cover and exclusive badging. Production will be limited and serialized.

Of course, there'll be the requisite new color combinations for 2008 (15 in all), plus three custom color options.

For more info and images on these and the rest of the '08 Harleys, check out: www.motorcyclecruiser.com.-Andrew Cherney

Star Turn
The New Raider Invades the Custom Scene
First Look
Star Motorcycles has given us a sneak peak at its new "modern performance custom" bike, the Raider. Featuring the same 1854cc air-cooled V-twin found in the Roadliner and Stratoliner, the pushrod-activated, fuel-injected engine should provide plenty of get-up-and-go. That powerplant is nestled in an aluminum frame and control-filled die-cast aluminum swingarm, part of Star's goal for the Raider to exhibit "unsurpassed handling character." To that end, the front tire, though a 21-incher, is a wider 120mm, while the rear tire is a not-overly-fat, low-profile 210-40 rolling on an 18-inch rim. The rims, cast and machined, give the appearance of billet wheels. Other styling touches abound, from calipers that echo the holes in the brake rotors, to the line arcing from the end of the exhaust system all the way up through the headlight. The bike will be available in both chromed and blacked-out versions.-Evan Kay

Road-Tripping
One Day Out Rockford, Il
Yep, the Land of Lincoln and the Fightin' Illini is also home to Kegel Harley- Davidson, America's oldest Harley dealership. Kegel is based in Illinois' second largest city, Rockford, and stocks a deep selection of bikes and accessories, as well as a Harley diner and motorcycle rental services within.

Rockford will also serve as a major hub during Harley's 105th anniversary rides; a good number of the routes go right through town. That's all well and good, say a few locals we spoke with recently, but for epic scenery and a unique destination, they recommend heading west to Galena, near the Mississippi River. U.S. 20 west from Rockford shunts you through Freeport, site of the famous second Lincoln-Douglas debate, and if you continue west to Rte. 73 into the town of Lena, you'll want to reward yourself with the best soft-serve ice cream west of the Rockies at the Lena Drive Inn.

West again, out of Lena, is the historic Stagecoach Trail, one of the most scenic 40 miles of road in the state. The normally flat topography of Illinois morphs into green hills, with farmhouses and barns that look like a scene out of the 1850s. You'll roll through small, sleepy towns with names like Waddams Grove, Apple River and Scales Mound. The winding two-laner, with its tight turns and switchbacks, should be about perfect for a day cruise or even a weekend rumble.

The end of the trail takes you to the top of Main Street in Galena, where 85 percent of the town is on the national Register of Historic Places. Tour President Ulysses S. Grant's abode or browse the quaint Main Street shops.

Another option? Start in Rockford along South Main Street and ride along the ultra-scenic Rock River, down through Byron, on to Oregon and then Dixon. During the fall you can stop in on Byron's annual, uh, Turkey Testicle Festival. Hey, you asked -AC

The Goods
Starting Point: Rockford, IL
Distance: 87 miles
Eats: Lena Drive Inn304 N. Freedom St., Lena, IL 61048
Best Time of Year: Spring to fall
Points of Interest: Home of President Ulysses S. Grant
resources:
www.kegelmotorcycles.com.
www.gorockford.com

SnowBird Alert:
Arizona If you're looking for a warm-weather destination this winter, there's a new option available in Arizona. Sedona-based WildWind Motorcycle Tours has launched a series of escorted programs through the land of towering crimson cliffs, including Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Canyon De Chelly and "secret paradises known only to us," according to WildWind. Tours begin at $100 for a half-day, and custom tours can be specially built to combine with horseback riding, ATV tours, helicopter rides, hikes and other theme activities. Self-ride, off-season and group rates are available, and WildWind can arrange bike rentals, too. Visit www.wildwindmctours.com or call 602-690-2864.

A Mini Buyer's Guide **To
Extreme Cold-Weather Gloves**

A wise man once said, "If you can't feel your hands, it's too cold to ride." He may have been onto something: Throttle, brake and clutch operation all require acute motor skills, which can go south if your extremities get too cold. Even with heated grips, you still need the appropriate mitts to keep your hands warm and provide protection should the rubber side go up. According to the manufacturers, the gloves assembled here should keep your hands toasty down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit (air temperature), though your results will vary.

'08 FXCWC Rocker C
'08 FXDF Fat Bob
'08 Flhtcu Ultra Classic Electra Glide(in 105th anniversary trim)
'08 VRSCD Night Rod
'08 Victory Vision Street
The boldy curved, large-diameter exhaust typifies the Raider's street custom styling.
Dainese Gore-Tex Jerico Gloves $159Cowhide, Lorica and thermoformed inserts (over the knuckles) protect your hands on the outside, while a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane and Primaloft insulation keep things warm and dry inside. A strap and cuff zipper makes sure they stay put.www.dainese.com
Olympia Gloves 4298 Gore-Tex 2in1 Commander $65The Commander is two gloves in one. The first provides less insulation on the palm and fingertips for maximum grip and feel, while the second provides full Primaloft insulation for greater warmth. You get all this, plus leather palms and a Gore-Tex liner.www.olympiagloves.com
Firstgear Commander Waterproof Gloves $50Exterior protection is provided by a leather palm and abrasion-resistant soft armor panels on the back. 3M Thinsulate provides warmth, and Hipora inserts keep the Commanders waterproof and breathable. A wrist strap secures them, and a gauntlet drawcord keeps out the cold.www.firstgear-usa.com
Joe Rocket Nitrogen Gloves $70These gloves have cowhide on top, goathide on the bottom and high-density foam on the knuckles for serious hand protection. Chamude (synthetic leather) palms provide better grip, with Thermolite insulation for warmth and a waterproof Dry Tech liner for comfort.www.joerocket.com
Rev' IT! Fahrenheit Gloves $150The Fahrenheit features Schoeller Phase Change Material for insulation (it's claimed to maintain a constant internal temperature), along with a carbon-fiber knuckle protector. Outers are a combination of goatskin, Pittards leather and cowhide. A Hydratex membrane provides waterproofing with breathability.www.revit.eu
Roadgear Ultra Gloves $66With a breathable, waterproof Hipora liner and 3M Thinsulate, the Ultras should be a good choice for winter rides. Glove shells are cowhide, with extra-long gauntlets and Keprotec reinforced palms. Note that Roadgear claims these gloves have a 35-60-degree F comfort zone.www.roadgear.com
Spidi Nk2 H2out Touring Gloves $100Although leather is used in potential abrasion areas, these gloves have a predominantly Cordura shell combined with Primaloft insulation and an H2OUT waterproof/breathable liner. There's also a plastic knuckle guard, padding on the back and sides, plus wrist and cuff straps.www.motonation.com
Tour Master Winter Elite Gloves $100Tour Master claims the Elites' flexibility helps eliminate hand fatigue while maintaining the warmth of bulkier gloves. Thinsulate Liteloft helps achieve this goal, while a waterproof and breathable Hipora liner keeps your hands dry. Goatskin and sheepskin provide exterior abrasion resistance.www.helmethouse.com
RS Taichi RST557 Gore-Tex Armed Winter Gloves $100 These gloves feature a unique aluminum coating in the liner for extra warmth, with a Gore-Tex insert handling the waterproofing. Pittards leather palms improve grip, carbon fiber protects knuckles and a "double blade wind-shield wiper" on the left thumb keeps visors clear.www.motoliberty.com
Teknic Thunder Gloves $60With the Thunders, cowhide, a Keprotec-lined double-leather palm and rubber foam protect your hands on the outside, and Thermolite keeps them warm on the inside. A waterproof and breathable Powerskin II Z liner offers comfort and hook-and-loop straps keep the gloves securely fastened.www.teknicgear.com
Shift Torrent SS Waterproof Gloves $50For its tough exterior, the Torrent combines a goatskin palm (with Chamude reinforcements) and a windproof nylon back. Hipora inserts keep hands dry, while a microfleece wrist cuff helps keep them warm, and wrist and gauntlet straps keep it all snug.www.shiftmx.com