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The Harley Switchback 6000 Mile Test Ride

867, 1712, 500, 1712, 295, 891

What do those numbers mean? That's the mileage for the trips we plan to take on the 2012 Harley Switchback this August. Once out to Sturgis and back, then a 300 miler before heading back to Jersey.
Half of that mileage will be done two up... in serious touring fashion. The Switchback isn't a bike you think about when you first think of touring... the
Road King, Ultra Classic, street glide or Road Glide usually come to mind first. So in the interest of expanding the universe of knowledge...we're doing this! To make imageit interesting...we're going to blog I and post video from the road in this space.

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July 26, 3:25 pm..update. 2 hour flight delayed in charlotte... I have to go to Bergen county Harley Davidson to pick the bike up because it needed a new rear tire.. Late lunch across the street at the reBar...will try to make Gettysburg tonight...5:30. Thanks to the hard work of the service techs at Bergen Co. HD, I'm on the road heading west.

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6:30pm A mutha of a t-storm blew in about the time I made Allentown PA. I discovered my Frog Togs have several holes that look like something hot touched the material and melted it, so, like Billy Joel says, "I'm living here in Allentown" tonight at the Quality Inn and Suites.

First impressions. The Switchback has a 103 cu inch powerplant and yet it's not a peppy as I anticipated it would be. It's not anemic, and it's got loads of bottom end grunt. The operator floorboards are a plus. I don't know if it's just me but I'm feeling every little bump in the road through the front forks...not in a dangerous or bad way...I never feel uneasy, but I'm just noticing them more than I think I should. The speedo on the tank takes a little getting used to as most of what I ride has everything higher up, near or on top of the triple tree clamp. That's not really an option the way this bike is set up. Having the speedo where it is also eliminates the ability to carry a magnetic tank bag, which would expand the cargo storage of the Switchback. Granted, most die hard HD faithful wouldn't be caught dead with a tank bag but it's something I'm going to miss on the next trip to Sturgis.

You can smell the chocolate / cocoa when you get near the plant.. (but this isn't the plant..it's an auto museum..)

July 27, 2012. 8:30 am - Heading to Hershey PA. Settling into the seat and getting comfortable with the manners. The biggest problem I'm having is with the kickstand. It's behind and under the primary so it takes some work to reach it with my boot. I'm not looking forward to reaching this with a passenger on board. After Hershey, I head to Gettysburg, then onto Antietam for a full day of Civil War Battlefield touring.

7:30 pm Pulled into New Market VA to get gas. For some reason the idle seemed stuck and wouldn't fall below 18-1850 rpm... It wasn't a problem handling, but something obviously wasn't right. Shut it off, refueled and upon the restart, everything worked fine.

Saturday 7/28/12 Spent last night in the Motel 6 in Harrisonburg VA... someone should tell Tom Bodet that "Clean and Comfortable" should extend to the bed...that morning I headed south to connect with the Blue Ridge Parkway in Waynesboro VA. A couple of times the bike shut off after pulling in the clutch to exit the interstate...The first time it happened, I just let out the clutch by reflex thinking since it was in 6th gear, it should start right back up.. and as soon as I let out the clutch, the rear wheel grabbed and started to lock up, pushing the rear end to the left. I quickly re-engaged the clutch and avoided a spill, but it scared the crap out of me. This continued until I got onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then it quit. Bad gas? Maybe.

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August 6 2012 8 am Other than 1700 miles of road grime, the Switchback has performed flawlessly these past three days..and the two up comfort improved tremendously once the pre load was dialed up a couple notches at Four Rivers HD..today we plan test the cornering and clearance on the Iron Mtn road and Needles Highway here in South Dakota.

Web Staff

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