Long-Term Bikes

2011 H-D Street Glide

MSRP: $19,499
($21,495 with paint, ABS, security)
Caretaker: Bartels
Measurements: 6ft./195 lbs./ 33 in. inseam
Odometer:** 13,529**
Miles Since Last Issue: 1620

Having confirmed my initial impressions that the Street Glide is a solid machine, for the next installment I’ve figured out all it possibly needs is a little suspension work, a little power (maybe some more sound), and more volume from the stereo to counteract the short fairing’s windblast.

For suspension action, I ordered from Harley’s Premium Ride collection, with a double cartridge front upgrade and a hand-adjustable set of rear shocks. The cartridge kit for the forks takes the stock units, which are old-school damper rods, and replaces the insides with valved cartridges, for greater tunability; soaking up big hits while keeping the tire to pavement over smaller ripples. The rear shocks are an interesting setup; the preload crank only actuates the left shock, which controls rebound damping, while the lighter-sprung right shock controls compression damping. Simplifying the mechanism and keeping weight down sounds like a good idea, but the proof will be when I actually ride it.

Then I ordered up the audio/stereo components—and got sticker shock. The stuff H-D sells works with the stock stereo head unit, but it comes at a dear price. I got an amplifier and speaker kit as well as an iPod control and relocation kit, to store in the left saddlebag, but all that came in at over $1000. The only thing that would be lost with an aftermarket unit is the speed-sensitive volume control.

The last addition was H-D’s Premium Touring Luggage (along with the sissy bar and racks to support it). With this nicely integrated system, I’ll have plenty of places to store my stuff, plus it’s really versatile: It can be configured as a back seat bag, a rack bag, or both.

All of this stuff didn’t come in until the end of our press cycle however. So when it finally got into the shop, halfway through the radio installation, we realized we were missing a cable for the stereo. I’m waiting for it to arrive so we can finish up and get the Glide back on the road.

Boom! Audio Fairing Amplifier and Speaker Kit $549.95
Boom! Audio iPod Interface $399.95
Premium Touring Luggage System $299.95
Detachable Sissy Bar Upright $179.95
Mid-Sized Passenger Backrest Pad $109.95
Air Wing Detachable Two-Up Luggage Rack $249.95
Premium Ride Hand-Adjustable Rear Shocks $499.95
Premium Ride Double Cartridge Fork Kit $399.95
Total $2690

2012 Victory Cross Roads

MSRP: $15,999
($17,349 w/cruise, ABS and paint)
Caretaker: Cherney
Measurements: 5 ft. 7in./ 160 lbs. / 30 in. inseam
Odometer: 5046
Miles Since Last Issue: ** 450**

Spring has come in like a lamb, but it’s going out like a friggin slug—a gray, dripping wet, cloudy slug—so I haven’t put on as many miles on the Cross Roads this month as I’d like (but I have discovered it’s actually a 2012 unit, not an ‘11). The tall shield I had on kept the wet off pretty well and afforded a goodly amount of wind protection, but it was a bear to see through, so I’ve swapped it out for a shorter unit that not only looks smarter, but allows a clearer view of the open road. Most of the breeze-blocking accessories I mounted to mitigate winter’s chill have come off as well; I’ve ditched the lowers and the highway bar close-outs, so not only is airflow better, but frankly, the X-Roads looks better without all that junk mucking up the front end.

I also ordered up Airhawk’s Cruiser Seating System, in the Medium configuration (14 inches wide x 14 deep), sized for shorter touring and cruiser seats. There’s nothing heinously wrong with the stock ‘Roads seat, but it’s not something you’d want for serious distance touring. Inflating the ‘Hawk’s neoprene inner bladder is as easy as blowing up a balloon—just puff into the valve until you feel the air cells fill. Then slip the neoprene into the provided stretch cover, which integrates breathable side panels to keep air moving—and slap it on your saddle. It mounts via the attached straps, and the non-skid base keeps it all in place. The interconnected air cells distribute your weight over the cushion as you move, so hot spots that usually conspire to numb your keister are pretty much gone. Those little cells also absorb shocks and reduce vibration. In a word, Ahhhh. The cushion comes with cover, attachment loops and straps, as well as a rubber patch kit. I’ll need more miles in the saddle to really pass judgment however, so stay tuned.

Victory Short Windshield 549.99
Airhawk Medium Cruiser Seating System $189.99
Total $739.90