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Our website is all about motorcycles, especially BMW cycles. We cover rides in the Southwest and Mexico, motorcycle modifications and review motorcycle products. 

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A Cheap Second Helmet

Tomas Perez

The final two helmets I considered
I went with full face helmets about 35 years ago. For one thing I figured they were safer than an open face helmet. In addition, my motorcycle insurance company was running a promotion on a generic full face help for about $20. I couldn't go wrong with that price but at first I felt all boxed in. It took me a few months to get used to the full face helmet.

So why did I purchase an open face helmet this past week after so many years of using full face helmets? In addition, I recently got a new expensive full face helmet so why buy a cheap second helmet? The reason for the new helmet is my new second motorcycle. It's a bit of a sport bike with that forward lean created by low, narrow bars. I found that when I used my Schuberth C3 I had to really cocked my head back more than normal because the helmet rides rather low over my brow. It's never a problem on my touring bike but doesn't work too well on my sport bike. I found that I really enjoyed riding the Super Hawk without a helmet but that's a no-no. Thus my justification for buying a new helmet.

I intended to purchase a helmet with minimal features and extras. The first ones I looked at were half helmets. The price of a half helmet and a regular open face helmet was about the same so I decided that I might as well get a better grade helmet. We all know the saying... "what value do you place on your head..." The two I settle on are shown in the picture above. I really liked the pilot type helmet shown on the left in the picture above but when I closed the face shield the bottom edge of the shield was about 1/8 of an inch from the tip of my nose. I figured wind blast would push it again my nose. No returns on helmets at the store I was at so I didn't want to risk it. I decided on the Fulmer 75B helmet. In the store it looked very nice and the cost was ok at $109 (plus tax).

I put the helmet on and rode home on the Super Hawk. Once I got home I switched bikes and went out for a ride on my R1200RT. The helmet is very nice. Here are the pros and cons as I see it after a short week of using the Fulmer 75B.

  • Economical
  • Light weight
  • Built in sun screen
  • Materials and inside pads seem very good
  • Not too noisy for an open face helmet
  • Sun screen lever is logical
  • Removable liner


  • More noise than a full face helmet
  • D rings (takes much longer to put on)
  • No lip on clear shield to help in closing and opening shield
  • Venting system inadequate
  • Face shield cannot be fully raised and remains in the line of sight

Front view - shield up

Nice sun screen

Lever used for sun screen

D ring system

Fulmer on left.
$109 vs $750
Schuberth on top
Fulmer liner not bad for the cost

Triumph Trophy SE - First Impressions

Tomas Perez

First ride on the Trophy SE


Updated - 2013/1/27 - See Below

I had a chance to ride a 2013 Triumph Trophy for a short test drive recently. My ride was way too short but I was very interested in comparing this bike to my current 2010 R1200RT. These are my first impression of the bike and are not meant to be any type of detailed road test report. Like I said - too few miles to give this bike a truly fair review.


A few key points on the 2013 Triumph Trophy SE (BMW 2010-2013 R1200RT figures):

  • Engine - 1215cc liquid cooled inline 3 (Boxer 2 cylinder)
  • Wet weight - 662 lbs (571)
  • HP - 132hp @ 8900 rpm (110hp @ 7750rpm)
  • Torque - 88.5 lb-ft @ 6450 rpm (88 @ 6000 rpm)
  • Gas tank - 6.9 gal (6.6 gal)
  • Cost - About $19,990 (BMW - $17,200 to about $24,000)
  • Maintenance Schedule - minor at 10,000 miles/ Major at 20,000 miles (BMW - 6,000 miles)


The Trophy SE is aimed at the BMW R1200RT and perhaps even the K1600GT. Some reports say it is aimed to fall between the two BMW standards. Let me start off by saying that I am a boxer fan. I have always liked the basic engine design and my current BMW is my third of a relatively short list of bikes that I have owned. I'm just keeping my options and eyes open to any new sporty touring bikes. Besides, the Trophy dealer is only 6 miles away vs my closest BMW dealer at 265 miles and my independent mechanic is only a bit closer at 250 miles.


The bike was so new that the dealer had just prepped the bike. When my brother and I got to the dealer the bike was still in the bike wash bin. A sales person pulled the bike out to the shop area. I looked the bike over and to me it looked like a slightly larger RT. The bags are a bit strange in that they swing together on their mounts. Push in on one bag and the other bag moves with it. That feature is part of the design and is suppose to prevent bag movement from offsetting the balance of the rest of the bike. I can't speak on this feature since there was no way I could test that. I asked if I could start the bike and was told sure (although we were still indoors and all the doors were closed). One thing led to another and I was finally talked into taking a test ride. As it was, the day was beautiful and I had ridden one of my bikes to the dealer so I had all my riding gear with me.

Sitting on the bike and starting it I immediately notice a few things in comparison to my 2010 RT. The bike looks and is larger than the RT and lifting it off the side stand I also notice that it feels heaver also. Starting the bike had a pro and con for me right away. The pro was that the engine felt very smooth at any engine speed. As a matter of fact I did not have a sensation of high power at any time while at a stand still (not a pro or con). The con for me was that the throttle feel is very light. I mean VERY light! First thing I thought of was that this bike must be drive by wire! (I need to check but I think it is) The soft throttle is probably something someone can get used to after some time with the bike.

Just pulling out of the parking lot


Well... time to get rolling. I'll share my points as they came to me during the short ride. No drama putting the bike into gear from the start or at any speed after that. Not as smooth as my RT but I have nearly three years and 36,000 miles to adjust or get used to that bike. Getting on an access road from the dealer's parking lot I slightly over rev the engine before I release the clutch. It's that very soft throttle thing. I adjust my throttle feel again and leave the dealership.

Very normal running through the gears once I'm on the access road. It's my first run thru the gears so in my opinion I am not smooth at all. A new ride and you have to adjust your shifting, clutch and throttle movements. The Trophy has no issues - it's just that all bikes are different in this regard. Thinking about it now I was probably shifting at a too low RPM because that is what I am used to doing. Shifting at low rpm is not an issue with this bike since it has a good torque curve but it did make the bike feel very normal i.e. not exciting. I was expecting more. But to get that rush I am required to rev the engine much higher than what I'm used to. Before I forget to mention it I must say that a big plus for the bike is that the heavy weight seems to melt away as soon as the bike starts rolling. The ST1300 felt a little like that but not nearly as well as the Trophy. Good job by Triumph.

I do a lazy U turn under an over pass to head in the opposite direction. That gives me a chance to rev higher in each of the gears as I approach the on ramp. Ah... much nicer feeling of power and speed. By the time I get on the expressway I'm doing 65 mph. I first notice that I am getting way too much wind in my face and it's noisy. Btw, I use a Schuberth C3 and it's normally quiet as long as there is a smooth stream of air directly across the helmet. I ride an RT and a sport bike with hardly any fairing but this was really bad. I move the wind shield up and down but it is only a smooth quiet ride when I fully raise the wind shield. I don't like riding like that. The RT is much better in this regard and I'm using the OE wind screen on my RT. I think the reason for this is that the RT puts a tremendous amount of air behind the screen. This air stream seems to push the air coming off the top of the screen much higher than it normally would. The wind screen is flat with no curve or flip on the upper edge and it's that way on the RT and the ST1300. This is one of the first things I noticed on the RT when coming off of my Honda ST1300. The ST1100 has an upward flip on the screen and does a better job than the ST1300 of keeping wind off the face of the rider when looking over the shield. But the ST1300 trumps the ST1100 by having an adjustable wind screen. In this regard the RT blows these bikes away (sorry for the pun) and many owners say that after market makes it even better. I'm happy with my RT screen so I still have the OEM screen.

As I move over to the left most lane (i.e. fast lane) I think "after market wind screen" for sure and forget that issue. I up the speed to 70 mph. The bike is smooth - very smooth. If you really search for vibration you have a very slight buzz on the grip and even less on the pegs. I am talking very, very little - nothing to be concerned about. Both the Trophy and RT are very smooth at normal speeds yet very different. I kick it up to 80 mph. Same observations. Move up to 90 mph and it feels much like the 70 mph speed. At higher speeds the Trophy is smoother than my RT. When you push the RT you get that low frequency vibration that in my opinion is much less intrusive than any high frequency vibration or buzz. Push the RT and the engine lets you know that it is working harder. It's part of the boxer "experience". Since there were no cars behind me I slowed down to about 70 mph again and accelerate again to 85 mph. The Trophy had no problems doing this although it did not feel exceptionally fast. Maybe it's because it doesn't give that vibration that my RT gives me when I push it. The Trophy just pushes forward with smooth power delivery. These high speed passes were all performed in 6th gear which is very tall in the Trophy but presented no problems for the bike. It has the power and torque to make these higher speed passes easy. That tall gearing in 6th is a big plus for a touring bike. I like it.

On my way back to the dealer I see a large flea market with a huge parking lot. I decide to turn into the parking lot in order to test the slow speed behavior of the bike. Shortly after getting into the parking lot I turn into a lane that has people walking in the middle of the driving lane. This bike must be quiet because they don't notice me until I am right behind them. I'm riding at slightly faster than walking pace. Conclusion - the Trophy handles very well at slow speed. I did not notice any wobble or hunting for balance when I was doing this. It was as if I had been riding the bike for years. I felt at home.

Out of the parking lot and back on the access road. I decide to stay off the expressway so that I can do more stop and go driving on my last leg back to the dealer. The bike had a seat labeled "Low Rider". I asked if it was a special seat but the sales guys kept telling me that they knew very little about the bike plus they had not received any sales information on the bike yet. As the bike was offered to me it is a lot lower than my Corbin equipped RT with the seat set on the high setting. In the low setting the two are probably much closer but I think the Trophy would still have a lower seat height. I'm 5'10" with a 32 inch inseam. It was a very easy straddle for me. I'm negligent of not checking the seat setting before I rode off on the bike but in any case this is not a tall saddle. Stop and go riding is uneventful. I had no issues of any type. Braking, turning, and lane changes were all easily performed. The one issue, as I stated before, was the soft throttle but it was not as severe as when I first started off. I'm sure it's a matter of getting used to it.


The Trophy is a sweet ride in many ways but I'm not sure it will knock the RT from my favorite list. I felt the Trophy fits exactly between a two cylinder and inline 4 bike. Like I said at the start of this article - I'm a boxer engine fan. In addition, I like the V-4 engine of the ST1300 better than the inline 3 of the SE. The Trophy just sounded like a lot more was going on while under way compared to the RT. I'm sure that if I ride the bike for a lot of miles many of it's finer points will bubble to the top. Maybe it's mileage or maintenance (lack of) or balance or radio (I did not try it) or the electronic suspension or the total package (what I like about the RT). The Trophy is a very good bike that simply felt normal to me. It did everything well but did not wow me in any. I need to mention that I did not race or push the bike in any way. The Trophy engine is the type that has to be revved to get the extra power from it. It wasn't my bike so I did not push it at all. But saying that I can also see myself being the owner of a Trophy SE for a number of reasons. For now I like the dealer network, range, mileage, options, light feel once it's rolling, and the bike has a good supply of power and torque. I switched from the ST1300 to the RT because of the 160 pounds of weight savings. By the same token the RT is about 90 pounds lighter than the Trophy SE. I see it as carrying a bag of Portland cement on my RT. Maybe not a big task for a young fellow but for my old bones and muscles it swings the scales to the lighter bike.



Update - 2013/1/27

I forgot to mention something that I think is important. The maintenance schedule for the Trophy consists of a minor service at 10,000 miles (like oil change) and a major service at the next 10K miles i.e., 20,000 miles. The Trophy uses shims under buckets for valve adjustment (major service) so I suspect that they will maintain their setting for a long time. So if you keep your bike for 30,000 miles the Trophy will require only 3 service visits during that time whereas the BMW will require 5 service visits. Double those visits if you keep your bike for 60,000 miles (6 vs 10). Makes a difference. If you do your own service it will be a lot cheaper but the labor and parts are still required. This is big plus for the Trophy. Warranty is 2 years/unlimted miles for the Trophy. The BMW is 3 years and 36,000 miles.

I listed a price of $19,990 above because that is what the dealer quoted me. The actual price of the Trophy SE is $18,990. My local dealer is also charging $900 for frieght and prep making their total cost for the SE nearly $21,000. My understanding is that other dealers don't have this extra charge.

This is a minor point. The Trophy has a rather small fairing pocket but the good news is that it is wired. It's a good place to charge your cell phone or iPod. The pocket is also locked whenever the bike is shut off. The BMW has only one pocket also but it is several times bigger than that of the Trophy. I would never determine a bike purchase based on a fairing pocket but they sure are handy. My RT pocket is always full of things.




'79 BMW R100RT: Third Day Progress

Ricardo Perez

New Mud Flap & Renewed Plates!

I've had the RT now for about two weeks, but yesterday, a Saturday, I had time to work on it for the third time. This time I installed a new air filter element; changed the oil and oil filter; changed out the transmission fluid; and the rear end fluid. I used Mobile 1 VTwin motor oil and Royal Purple 75W145 for the transmission and Mobile 1 75W145 for the rear end. All the plug bolts were fairly frozen on so it took some doing to get them loose and the old oil filter was the wrong one so it was tough getting it out. BMW makes a filter that is two piece so you can install and remove it without having the frame interfere like it does when using the one piece type. I don't know how they got that filter in, but I had to tear it to get it out.
We adjusted the idle speed to just over 1,000rpm so as to make sure that the oil light didn't come on as it was doing when the idle was at about 750rmp. I also used some de-greaser to clean up the rims and the disc brakes. I lightly sanded the front discs and the breaks seem to work much better.
We took the bike for a short test run and it's running smoother and shifts better. We're still getting some oil weeping from the pushrod entry point into the block and from the oil pan gasket, but those seem to be very minor and can get to them on our next work day.

From the Archives: 2005 BMW K1200LT vs 2005 Harley Ultra Classic

Ricardo Perez

Here's an article from 2005 comparing the BMW LT and the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic: 

2005 K1200LT vs. 2005 Harley Ultra Classic
I am sitting at home waiting-out Hurricane Emily with not much to do, consequently, as promised, here’s my not so professional comparison of the two motorcycles. I’m doing this because some of the forum members asked me to do this. It’s only my personal opinion and it’s not to start some long drawn-out debate on the issue.
I’ve had the Ultra about two weeks and have a little under 1,000 miles on it. As some of you know from my earlier posting, I came to the decision of buying an Ultra without much thought process in making the decision. Here’s a summary taken from that posting of what led to my decision,
My '05 BMW K1200LT 
Well, I'll be signing off the forum, at least as an LT rider, this week. I rode up to Austin to get my new non-working CB radio replaced, but when I got to the dealer I was told that they assumed that it was the relay that was bad on my new CB radio so they had ordered the relay, but not a new CB radio which meant I had to stay overnight to see if they could get one in overnight. I was understanding, but told them that I had to get back home and I wasn't about to make a third trip (660 miles round trip) for the same problem. So I had them remove the CB and credit my account the $768.61 for the CB, Antenna, and Installation. That's about five trips (not including the routine maintenance trips for the 600, 6K, and 12K) that I've had to make for little things (slave cylinder, clutch, communications system, windshield motor, CB, severe front tire cupping, etc.) so all in all, I've traveled about 4K miles or 30% of my riding just for service. I got my bike and took it about a mile down the road and traded it in on a HD Ultra Classic (there's also a dealer about 7 miles from my home). Of course, had I seen a Honda, Ducati, or any other dealer along the way I would have stopped and traded. Impluse buyer is a bad thing. This is my first non-BMW bike (riding since the 60's)...the ride's not as bad as I thought it might be, not as smooth, quick, or powerful as the LT and I miss my LT brakes, but it sure is easier to handle than the LT (imho) and riding two-up doesn't create that LT stress of having to really focus on my stops, go, and turns (granted that's caused by my lack of skill). Maybe I'll get a GS for solo riding? Anyway, I'll miss all the great input from most of you and the expert knowledge you shared with me. Maybe we'll see each other down the road as I putt-putt along. Thanks, and Happy Trails To You!
My brother, an old BMW and currently a Honda ST rider, showed up at the house as soon as he heard the news that I had a new bike. When he walked in I was at the kitchen table checking out the tool kit which comes standard with the Ultra. They look okay, but not exactly what I would call “Snap-On” quality. Right away, my brother says, “Isn’t it thoughtful that Harley makes every combination wrench capable of opening any ‘long neck’ beer bottle!” Without skipping a beat, he added, “I suppose this was included as a complimentary gift”, as he eyed the unopened bag of Pork Rinds on the table. I’m the kid brother, and like my older brother, I grew up only on BMW bikes so his comments were “textbook” and about what I expected. Of course, his critical comments didn’t stop him from taking it on a ride. He called about an hour later saying he stopped at his house for a bit and would bring the bike back in a few days. Later that evening, when he finally returned the bike, he admitted that he’s fond of anything with two wheels, including the Ultra!
So, what do I think? What follows is my personal opinion and there may be some truth in it, but don’t count on it.
Type of Riders: Most of the LT riders I know (not too many) are in technical professions such as engineering. Harley Ultra riders, unlike popular opinion, are not marauding crusaders looking for the closest topless bar, but more like your typical dentists or gynecologists.
Seat: The LT seat is too narrow up front and I get that “monkey butt” feeling after a few hundred miles. The Harley seat is much more comfortable. Advantage to the Ultra.
Sitting Style: The LT sitting style, like all BMWs, is very upright compared to the Ultra. The Ultra is more laid-back with your feet forward. I still get on the Ultra trying to look for the gear and break pedals in the BMW position. I’ve only taken two rides over 300 miles, but both times I haven’t found myself squirming around the seat with the “monkey butt” I get on the LT stock seat. The forward feet configuration is also fairly relaxing on those long rides. I give the edge to the Harley.
Controls: The controls on the LT are much more ergonomically situated compared to the Ultra. The Ultra controls are in about the same place, but I really liked the turn signal controls on the LT. A neat feature on the Ultra is self-canceling turn signals. Of course, with the Harley you don’t find yourself fumbling around for the windshield control either! I do like the Harley rocker controls on the fairing; they seem to be in a logical place and are easy to rock on/off as needed. Edge goes to the LT.
Foot pegs: Not a good comparison since the LT has pegs and the Ultra has massive floor boards which seem to have enough room to carry a case or two. The boards are mounted on some type of springs so that you get no vibration. They’re neat, advantage Ultra.
Windshield: I had the tall windshield on the LT and although I’m 5’10” I still found it to be too tall even at the lowest position to get much air in “stop and go” riding. The motor went out on the LT and had to be replaced under warranty (still an extra 660 mile round trip return to the dealer to get it replaced since no part in stock). The Harley windshield is a good height, but it’s a fixed windshield without the convenience of being able to lower/raise it. Advantage LT.
Gauges: The LT digital display is good, but the LCD is hard to see in the sun which, except for this hurricane pause, is plentiful in south Texas. The Harley has analog type display for speed and RPMs and LCD for Radio. I measured the accuracy of each speedometer against my friend’s GPS (riding side-by-side) and the LT was about 5mph off (reading 80 at 75) and the Harley was accurate (reading 70 at 70). The low fuel, oil, and fuel injection lights on the Harley are very small and hard for me to see (I wear glasses) compared to the LT. I give the advantage to the Harley because I appreciate an accurate speedometer.
Trunk & Side Bags: The Ultra has much more space than the LT (haven’t measured it, just eyeball judgment). I like the Ultra top case. It has lots of room and is much wider than LT trunk so it’s much easier for me to find stuff. I’ve taken the LT trunk off (with Ztechnik rack) and it weighs exactly 30lbs. I don’t know how much the Harley trunk weighs, but it’s construction is not double walled and has to be much lighter (good for keeping that low center of gravity [cog]). The Ultra comes with bag liners as standard equipment. Of course, the central locking system is great on the LT. The locks on the Ultra do they’re job of keeping things closed, but they don’t seem like they can keep any determined thief from easily breaking the lids open. Edge goes to the Ultra.
Gas Tank & Refueling: The LT tank is holds about a gallon and half more than the Ultra (5 gallons) so you travel further than the Ultra on one tank with the LT. The gauges
on both the LT and the Ultra (analog) seem to be accurate. I’ve taken both to near fume levels and both read accurate. Of course, as mentioned above, the “low fuel warning” light on the Ultra is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Refueling the Ultra is much easier than on the LT. Both bikes have the lid and then the screw-off cap. As you know, the LT is on the right side and I always found it a bit troublesome to stop by the pump, with the pump on the right side also, take off my helmet, putting it between the handlebars and the “on/off” key then remembering that I need the key to unlock the lid (small inconvenience which can be avoided by thinking ahead). If I remembered to get the key first then I had to be careful when swinging the handlebar to the left so I can open the gas lid without dropping the helmet. Once the lid is open the little rubber thing that is suppose to hold the gas cap while refueling never really held it in place. The Harley presents none of those small inconveniencies since the lid and cap are in the center of the tank so you can park on either side of the pump and it’s easy to fill it to the brim. Edge to the Ultra.
Fairing: The LT glides through rough winds and it really takes high speed curves well. The Ultra with its “batwing” fairing mounted on the front handlebars and forks is not as stable at high speeds and I found when taking a curve at over 70mph you really need to pick a line and stick to it otherwise I get an uncomfortable wavy feeling. The Harley with the “batwing” fairing and it now comes with new little clear plastic wings for added wind protection. Additionally, it also has the “lowers” for fuller wind coverage. The LT is one piece and great protection (I haven’t hit a hard rain on the Ultra, but it can’t be as good as the LT).Edge goes to the LT.
Lighting: The lights on the LT are anemic (I had the Xenon HID lights added) and the Ultra’s “Spot” lights are very good for stock stuff. Taillights are about the same, but I haven’t given them much thought. The LT floor lighting is very nice, but not essential to me. Edge goes to the Harley.
Side-stand: The LT side-stand is not much to brag about, but then neither is the non-existing center-stand on the Harley. The electrical stand on the LT is great, but to me a little too low, esp. when traveling in Mexico with all its topes (speed bumps). The Harley stand is very sturdy, sturdy enough for my wife to get on the bike with the side-stand down and not have me cringe. It also leans way over, kind of scary way over, but it sits fine and won’t roll off the stand, either forward or backward. It doesn’t look like the wind will topple the Harley. Those two things are welcome additions, advantage Harley.
Heat: The Harley does put out some noticeable heat in city traffic, but that a good thing in cold south Texas! Advantage goes to the LT.
Dropping: I rolled the LT down twice, once on each side the first month I got the bike, but the damage to the bike was only some small scrapes on the “wing” plastic and it was on the underside where it wasn’t noticeable (side bags did not touch). I haven’t dropped the Harley (knock on wood), but it has a roll bar on the “lowers” and rails around the saddle bags, but it sure doesn’t look like it can handle any type of drop without significant damage. Advantage LT.
Brakes: I miss my ABS and power servo brakes on the LT, although the Harley does stop much better than I thought. Big advantage to the LT.
Front Fork: The LT handles better up front, but the Ultra doesn’t give you that sick feeling in your stomach when you press the front brake lever going at a slow speed and having your wheel turned. Advantage to the Harley.
Suspension: It’s much better on the LT. You feel the bumps and those uneven asphalt to cement seams on overpasses. Advantage to the LT.
Tires: Since I had severe cupping on my stock stone which caused a frightening front end wobble (with hands off the handlebars), I give the advantage to the yet (only 1K miles) untested Dunlops. Advantage to the Harley.
a) Standard: The Ultra comes with the bag liners and that’s very nice. I had to purchase the Kathy liners for the LT. The LT came with a tool kit (I’ve heard that they are no longer standard equipment) and the Ultra also has a kit. I don’t think either one is top quality. The LT had the tire repair kit and the Harley does not. The Harley has the CB (with antenna) as standard on the Ultra Classic and it’s not on the LT. I’m sure I’m forgetting lots of things, but if they don’t come to mind then they can’t be that critical. Advantage goes to the Ultra.
b) Optional: To me the LT comes about as loaded as you can get a bike except for the lights. The Harley stores I’ve seen can turn the Ultra into a solid piece of chrome with only bucks getting in the way. I don’t like the fact that everyone pushes the Harley upgrade (at least Stage I: new air intake, computer chip, and exhaust for an extra 2HP maybe at the $700 range) before you even get out the door. Edge goes to the LT.
Power: Of course, the LT. I don’t know if I’ll get that Stage I yet on the Harley. The stock engine seems like it can handle most things. Being from the BMW family, I’ve keep the rpms over 2K so as not to lug the engine. It doesn’t give you that great Harley “potato” sound with the engine revved up a little, but I can’t think of anything worse than lugging an engine.
Acceleration: Here again, the LT. I’ve only taken the Harley to 85mph and it’s okay, but seems happiest at 70mph.
Smoothness: The LT. I always thought the Harley was a very rough ride just from seeing guys at stops with all the vibrating, but amazingly, the Ultra is smooth enough for me at highway speeds.
a) Slow speed handling: To me the Harley is miles ahead in this department. Compared to the LT, the Harley is like riding a bicycle. Edge Harley.
b) Fast speed handling: As mentioned above advantage to the LT.
c) Riding two-up: The Harley is much easier to me. My wife noticed right away that I was much less stressed out on the Harley than the LT, especially in stop and go traffic. Advantage Harley.
d) Non-paved roads: The little I’ve done on the Harley is enough to give the edge to the Harley. It feels a little more grounded. Edge to the Harley.
e) Two-up comfort: My wife says the LT is more comfortable. She told my son that riding on the LT is like riding in our Mercedes, but that the Ultra is not bad and, “hey, it a motorcycle, adapt and get used to it”. What a gal! Advantage to the LT.
f) Overall feel: The LT is a beast to stop and go, you get used to it, but you never dismiss it. The Harley is just the opposite; it’s easy to stop and go, esp. two-up. The LT feels long on the road and the Harley feels short and stubby
(whatever that means). Consequently, the LT ride is smoother with turns and leaning feeling a bit more solid than the Harley which feels quicker. To me, this is a toss-up with the slow speed feel going to the Harley and Highway speeding to the LT.
Appearance: The Lt looks sleek and modern and the Harley looks retro. Having taken the Tupperware off numerous times I know it’s a pain which you don’t have with the Harley. Conversely, it’s a pain to wash the Harley (haven’t done it yet, but it looks like it is) compared to the LT. It’s all a style thing so it doesn’t matter which I think is better…it’s more of a trying to compare apples with oranges.
Conclusion: Well, grasshopper, would I do it again? I never really ridden a Harley too much and I really was amazed at how easy it handles compared to the LT in traffic and in stop and go situations. Sure it’s not as sleek, powerful, or smooth as the LT, but when I get up in the morning and say, “let’s go for ride” without thinking about it, where as in the past, I would really think of “a ride” as an event which I had to “think” about and think about where I was going and what obstacles I would encounter. That intangible is worth making the move.
I know I’d still have the LT if I could get local service, but I can’t and a 600 mile ride for service and to be told “we don’t have the part in stock” is not too practical for me. I’m still going to look at the GS for riding to the Big Bend country which I visit a few times a year!
My '05 Harley Ultra Classic
…gotta go, water’s rising and I have a leak in the sunroom!