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Old 06-12-2013, 04:42 PM   #811
Eugene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy View Post
Passive aggressive? Really? Plastic is what it is, a cost efficient way to make things. I have several bikes in my garage that have tons of it and it does what it was designed to do. I was just responding to the posts above mine, and like I said, it's just a personal taste thing. Some people don't mind it, like yourself obviously. In fact, on most of my other bikes I don't either. And, when I first looked at my Sportster I didn't give it much thought really. But, after living with it for a while, taking things apart and tinkering with it some, I've just developed a greater appreciation for the feel of its components. Something I'd never actually considered or put much stock in until I actually experienced it.

I made the reference to furniture because I do, and always have hated particle board furniture. I just prefer antiques and real wood pieces. I like opening the drawers in my antique oak chest of drawers and seeing the dove tail joints in the corners. It just gives me a feeling of old world craftsmanship that I find missing in much of the mass produced stuff of today. In fact, when I first bought that chest it wasn't in great shape. I bought it at an auction, came home, took it all apart and rebuilt it. So, it should be good for another hundred years or so. Particle board can actually be more stable and less prone to warp with humidity changes, so in some ways it has advantages for furniture construction. It can also be molded into complex shapes, and even have quite convincing faux finishes applied, while being quick and cheap to produce. But underneath, it still is what it is... not real. Some people get that. Some people don't. Not saying one person's way is "better" than the other. It's just a feeling.

On the engine front...

I might tend to agree if we were talking about taking real advantage of that new tech as they did in the R1, or countless other manufacturers have done with OHC and 4 valve heads. But, if we're talking about 50 lb/lbs and 40 some-odd HP? My Sportster does that, and a good bit more actually, and with just two valves that never need adjusting. In fact as most anyone knows, 4 valve heads really only come into their own when chasing higher RPM and higher HP. For low RMP torque two do just fine.

And if you'd care to drag yourself out of Harley's sad days under AMF, and look into them, you might just find that, while they have kept their classic architecture, they have made great strides in engineering and reliability these days. Not to the standards of Honda and Yamaha perhaps, but still not like the old days either. I'd also put the quality of fit and finish up against anything being built today as well.

And believe me, you're preaching to the choir here. For over 30 years of my riding career I loathed anything to do with the MoCo and for the most part would have been agreeing with you 100%. But, now, after honestly experiencing one, my opinions have changed. Or maybe it's just my tastes?
Haven't you figured out that some here are getting paid to promote the bolt? It's seriously not worth arguing over. They're all good bikes. Ride what ya like.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:35 PM   #812
Super Sneaky Steve
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Question for Bolt owners. How's the top gear roll on at freewayspeeds?

I usually drive a real 80mph and need a little extra push to get around some cars.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:56 PM   #813
blk-betty
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Originally Posted by Ritalin Boy View Post
Suggested reading. Noob a few posts up should give it a go too.

Like it or not, it is what it is. The plastic cam covers have a striking resemblence to another engine yet the two utilize completely different cam and valveing architecture.

Serious question.....any ideas why Star didn't mold the engine covers in such a way as to set it apart from the competition and to emphasis the modern 4 valve/cylinder and OHC technology?
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:20 PM   #814
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Originally Posted by haphazard View Post
...imho a lucas or sparto style light would be cleaner looking than the stock taillight...

+1000
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:54 PM   #815
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Originally Posted by bowlingballhead View Post
Ok, here we go. At the risk of offending all Boltistas (of which I was one), I finally made it down to the city and saw a black, base model in person. (Let me preface this by saying that I loved the pics and videos of this bike, and thought for sure an r-spec would be my next ride). The right side of this bike IS HIDEOUS! I walked in, and they had it sitting there up against a posterboard Bolt display with the exhaust side facing out, and the first thing that came to my head was "WHAT THE FUCK!?" This is all subjective, and I don't mean to piss off those who still love this thing and those who have bought it, but I was completely turned off. All of the shit tacked onto the right side of the bike makes it look like some kind of weird, cheap, fuck, I don't know . . . cheap weirdo?

The strap across the battery box is ugly, the heat shields are ugly, the air cleaner is huge and ugly, and the muffler is ugly. If the bolt had a dog, the dog would be ugly. The mechanicals may be better than the Iron 883, but the Iron is infinitely classier/more beautiful. There really isn't a bad line on the bike (as evidenced by the pic a few posts up).

It doesn't stop with the looks though. Sitting on this thing while on its stand with both feet up on the pegs was one of the more awkward sitting-on-a-motorcycle-at-a-dealership experiences for me. I don't know how to explain it, it was just odd. The thing is too wide, the airbox too big, and the pegs are in a funny spot (I'm 5'6" with short legs, and have ridden an '08 Ninja 250 for the last five years, which I fit great on).

Sitting directly across from the bolt was one of these:

Honda Shadow Phantom. Looked five times better, sat five times better, hell, even tipping it felt five times lighter.

I don't know maaaaan, I really liked the Bolt. I'm disappointed as all hell. I post very rarely, so, it just goes to show how strongly I felt about seeing it today that I would get off my lazy ass and write this diatribe.
Ok, here we go. So I wrote this scathing showroom impression report, but finally got up the stones to ask for a test ride @ both Harley, and my semi-local (60 miles) Bolt supplier.

Fair notice background check: my moto-experience consists of small dirt bikes as a kid, a TW200 that I learned to ride street on, my '08 Ninja 250 which I've been riding since new in May of '08, and a brief ride on an SV1000 (about an hour). So this is my motorcyling experience. I've been pretty much infatuated with Harley's dark customs since they came out. Not big on huge, 800+ lb., chromed-out geezer-machines. That has never done anything for me, but the first time I saw a Nightster, I said "Hell to the motherfuckin' yeah!" (and then the Iron, and the 48, and even the 72 to a certain degree.)

Ok, so Harley shop first. (I really wish I would've written this while all the impressions were fresh in my mind, like I said I was going to a couple of pages ago, but let's give it a try.) Man, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to ride my first Harley. There are a lot of bashers and haters, but man! This bike absolutely speaks to me. To me the best looking bike out there right now:



The salesman wheels it outside the double set of double doors, goes over a quick once-over, and then fires it up. The sound is sheer ecstasy. For the life of me, I will never understand why people buy Harleys, and immediately rip off the stock exhaust to replace with some fucking ear-splitting, shit-kicking, shit-SOUNDING, blaring fart pipes. It makes no sense. A stock Harley is one of the greatest sounds known to man. A beautifully syncopated potato-potato. Ehhh, I digress. (I don't dress like a gay pirate, I wear a full-face and a textile jacket btw.)

So here I am, excited as all Hell to ride this thing, and I'm thinking to myself, "Boy, I hope all that shit you've read in the magazines about this bike doesn't come true." I take off, fully expecting to scrape the peg feelers on the first right turn out of the dealership and onto the road . . . Nothing. Then, as I'm riding down what I would call a pretty typical northern Minnesota secondary road with potholes and heaves, I'm readying myself for what is sure to be the bone-crushing, kidney transplant-inducing ride to manifest itself . . . and it never happens.

Maaaaaan! I'm not gonna lie. The whole time I'm riding this thing, I'm grinning from ear to ear. This motorcycle absolutely exudes character from every corner. It is teh smilez machine. One thing I really appreciate after five years with the high revving Ninja, is torque. Useable torque is such a beautiful thing after constantly ringing a bike out for five years. At the end of the five-mile ride or so (Iron had 0 on it when we started), I was absolutely over the fucking moon with this thing. Torque and pull of the line were great. This bike is gorgeous; the fit and finish, the paint, the lean, classic lines, it really is one of the prettiest things I've ever seen. The iron has an extremely slim and narrow waistline. As you're sitting atop of it, if you were to look down, it has almost an hourglass shape about it, which is one of the main differences I noted between the Bolt and the Iron (the Bolt being quite a bit wider in the middle, with an asymmetrical engine layout that has the rear jug sticking out quite a bit farther to the left side of the bike [possibly to accommodate the rather large air box?]).

Despite being an absolute blast to ride, the Iron does have two glaring flaws. The brakes are very weak. Almost inadequate. This is one complaint that all the magazines/moto-sites do have right. The brakes are pretty disgraceful, almost to a point where you may be planning your stops ahead of time, watching your following distance more closely, etc.

Then, there are the vibes. At regular highway speeds, the mirrors are in fact, unusable. They do get so blurry, you can't see what on God's green earth is going on back there.

Overall, when I was done riding the Iron, I was thinking that the Bolt test ride was going to be just a formality . . . that I was already sold on what I was already sold on from the beginning, but, the semi local Bolt-slanger happened to have a demo Bolt with 67 miles on it.

If you read the post that I self-quoted (which I do understand is gayer than AIDS on Tuesday ) you'll see that even though I was a huge fan of the bike in pic 'n' press, I scoffed when I finally saw it in person for the first time. This . . . has not changed. The exhaust side of the bike still looks too busy, too cheap if you axe me homes. The black is a vivid, super-shiny black. As soon as you touch the tank, you have fingerprints and smudges galore. Just a much bigger matte black fan.

Ok, looks aside, this thing fucking rocks. As soon as I took off from the dealership, I could tell that this thing wasn't no punk and it wasn't no bitch either. This thing pulls like a fucking freight train. Immediately evident that it would blow the Iron 883 away, no problem. It pulls hard, but then on top of that, it stops hard. Brakes work very well for what I suppose would be called 'this class of bike.' Although in my initial showroom impressions, it seemed to me at least, that the Bolt felt extremely heavy. This is not the real world case. In the ol' 'Indy-500-pace-lap-side-to-side-tire-warm-up' routine, the Bolt felt much lighter and more nimble than the Harley. This bike really threw me for a loop. I was sold on the Iron, and then I rode this. One thing that struck me as fairly odd: the Bolt's exhaust, while nowhere near as soul-stirring as the Harley's, was waaay more noticeable as I rode the bike. It had a definite growl to it, whereas the Harley was barely audible while riding.



http://youtu.be/TAVWqGjgigA

Bolt's downsides (to me): really cheap-looking speedo, cluttered/heap/busy/tacked-on shit exhaust side of bike, vivid paint on the standard model (I'm guessing the green R-spec is gonna be the hit boy!).

I don't think you can go wrong with either of these bikes if you're looking at this class of motorcycle. I'm probably going to go with the Harley for the sound, look, character, feel of the bike, but you really can't go wrong with the Bolt (which is better in pretty much all performance categories).

Anyway, sorry for the long post. I hope someone finds this info useful.

P.S. Forgot to mention, as far as ride is concerned, I felt no noticeable difference. All the talk of having to have a chiropractor along with an Iron, I didn't get it. Really, the bike rode no worse in the city as far as comfort than my Ninja which has five inches of travel in the back.

bowlingballhead screwed with this post 06-12-2013 at 09:10 PM
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:11 PM   #816
bowlingballhead
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Hmmmmm, having trouble embedding the youtoobz if anyone has any ideas?
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:44 AM   #817
kojack
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Yeah the green bolt r is the ticket I think. Add a set of Vance short shots and you have a winner. Those pipes would just fit the bolt so good. Add a few.personal touches and I have my favorite bobbed style bike.

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Old 06-13-2013, 04:49 AM   #818
Randy
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Great write-up, Bowlingballhead.

Two things I don't get though... One is that you thought the ride quality was ok. I know that mine really bothered me at highway speeds on anything less than smooth roads. The other is your comment about the vibration. The only place my 1200 mirrors blur is at idle. At speeds from about 5-10 mph up to over 90 my bike is smooth and the mirrors clear. Hmmm... I wonder if it's just a different harmonic between the 883 and 1200 variants or something?

I do agree about the brakes though. And, IMO, that is something that's inexcusable in this day and age. But, if you do get the Iron you should look into what I did about that on my 48 ("Go Sporsters" thread). Not sure if it'll work on the Iron, but the XR1200 4 piston caliper ($153) is a direct bolt-on for the 48 and completely solved my complaints about the braking.

Oh, and one more thing... If you think the Bolt stomped the 883, you really owe it to yourself to ride a 1200 Sportster.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:19 AM   #819
bfd70
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Have an 883. Mirrors work perfectly fine.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:25 AM   #820
shotgunshooter3
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I want one, but I'm going to try and stay a one bike dude with my KLR for awhile.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:32 AM   #821
kraven
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Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
Haven't you figured out that some here are getting paid to promote the bolt? It's seriously not worth arguing over. They're all good bikes. Ride what ya like.
I love a good conspiracy.

Was the moon landing faked?
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:33 AM   #822
kojack
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Originally Posted by shotgunshooter3 View Post
I want one, but I'm going to try and stay a one bike dude with my KLR for awhile.
IMO you can't go wrong. KLR....I love my versys, but totally MISS my KLR.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:35 AM   #823
kraven
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Originally Posted by Randy View Post
Great write-up, Bowlingballhead.

I do agree about the brakes though. And, IMO, that is something that's inexcusable in this day and age. But, if you do get the Iron you should look into what I did about that on my 48 ("Go Sporsters" thread). Not sure if it'll work on the Iron, but the XR1200 4 piston caliper ($153) is a direct bolt-on for the 48 and completely solved my complaints about the braking.

Oh, and one more thing... If you think the Bolt stomped the 883, you really owe it to yourself to ride a 1200 Sportster.
I agree. Great write up.

So, he should go spend 3 grand more and then start buying brakes and suspension?

Come on, bro.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:40 AM   #824
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I don't think you can go wrong with either of these bikes if you're looking at this class of motorcycle. I'm probably going to go with the Harley for the sound, look, character, feel of the bike, but you really can't go wrong with the Bolt (which is better in pretty much all performance categories).
This pretty much sums it for me and mirrors my experience with the two.
Best bike of the two for actually riding on a road and not parking in a bar or taking part in a parade. Buy the nameplate if you're that guy. But it's hard to deny that Star built a better bike.
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:26 AM   #825
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I agree. Great write up.

So, he should go spend 3 grand more and then start buying brakes and suspension?

Come on, bro.
Well, no, of course not... He already said he preferred the Sportster. I was just suggesting that he should at least try a 1200 version before he dropped the coin on the 883. Really low mileage 1200s are commonly available for less than either a new 883 or Bolt. If it were my money, and I was price conscious I'd at least want to consider that option. In fact, I've seen several cherry 1200 Roadsters lately for around the $5K mark, and they come with longer travel suspension and dual front disk brakes standard. Or you could buy one of the other models used, upgrade the suspension and brakes to be better than the Bolt's, have more power than the Bolt, be better looking than the Bolt, have the real thing, and STILL have money left over for the farkles of your choice. Just another option for someone in the market for a bike of this type.

OR, he could spend less and get less with the Bolt... Unattractive tank seam, funky, weedy looking exhaust, still have crappy suspension, etc.... Oh but wait! You DO get more of one thing to justify your savings... Lots and lots of plastic!

$153 to totally upgrade the brakes doesn't seem like a big deal to me actually. I mean come on, are you really not going to farkle your Bolt? And if you want decent suspension on either bike you're going to have to do something different. The tests I've read say that the shocks suck on them both.

And on the power front... Sure, the Bolt might beat the 883 stock, but... It's fairly common knowledge that Harleys are pretty choked up from the factory and respond very favorably to just simple exhaust and air cleaner mods.

Face it. Yamaha was clearly targeting the Sportster when they designed the Bolt. I guess that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but if I want something special, I just pony up and get the real McCoy. Of course if saving money is all you care about, maybe you could make up the difference by just buying your wife a CZ instead of that diamond she wants... she'll probably never know the difference.
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