BMWSportTouring

question to any Harley riders

Posted By: majordad

question to any Harley riders - 11/19/09 10:02 PM

I have been considering buying a 2002 up Road King or Street Glide. I would like read opinions from this site from people owning both BMW and HD to compare the two (not trying to start a war, just curious). As it stands now if I bought one I would still keep my RT (against my wife's wishes).

I haven't ridden one yet, however, the RK or SG appear to be a comfortable, long haul bike. This is my primary style of riding but I have to be able to manage in a parking lot. This is why I love the RT because I weigh only 150lbs. The size of the RK or SG is intimidating me a little.
Posted By: lvnvbiker

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/19/09 10:25 PM

I have alot of HDs in my past so I'll take a swing... I would also toss the "Roadglide" FLTRI into the mix to round it out. The Roadking was my first "bagger" and I rode it mainly w/o the sail they call a windscreen, very comfortable like a nice easychair in terms of possition and with regular bars good for quie a few miles even with the wind beating. The Roadking and Streetglide are similar bikes with the screen mounted to the fork not the frame so they are effected by crosswinds and wind in general adding some input to the bars. The Streetglide is basicly a stripped down Electraglide with a less comfy seat and a 3" wind screen that is a fun ride but you still eat bugs. The least known but IMO best riding and looking of the baggers is the FLTRI Roadglide with the frame mounted sharknose fairing. This is the only HD I will own again, and when the economy clears up I will be buying another. It rides as comfy as the Ultraclassic but smoother due to the frame mounted fairing, and don't be afraid of the bikes as at low speed they are easier to handle than the RT. Do yourself a favor and ride the Roadglide, then the others before making a decision( at vegas hd they will let you swap bikes a few times during a rental day, ask at your local HD dealer/rental counter). They are really more similar to an LT than an RT, and maint is super simple on the HD with no valve adjust due to hydraulic lifters. The RT is more responsive and quicker handling than the HDs will be but for long easy cruising the HD is a great bike.
Posted By: T__

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/19/09 10:26 PM

majordad, you really need to go ride one yourself.. My Harley Electra Glide is actually easier to handle at low speeds & parking lots than my 2009 BMW RT.. Harley uses a reverse upper triple tree that enhances low speed maneuvers & parking lot on-the-lock turns..

As far as comfort goes,, that is a subjective thing.. I actually feel more comfortable at speed on the RT then the Harley.. The upright sitting on the Harley is nice for moderate sit back cruising but I find it isnít as good as the lean forward position of the BMW for long hours of riding..

The BMW is hands down better (for me) at cruising at 85-90 mph for long distances.. Much more precise & better at lane position precision.. The Harley will do it but the BMW will do it with less fuss & muss..

My Harley has a 5 speed & that is OK for back roads & 70-75 on the freeway but at 80 mph up I find I keep looking for another gear..

The BMW braking & foot brake pedal position are much superior in my opinion..

The 08 up Harley dressers are a little different as they a have a more limited steering lock (I think due to the larger fuel tank)..


Bottom line: I like them both but I seem to ride the BMW much more than the Harley if Iím traveling more that an hour..

Twisty
Posted By: Tapatio

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/19/09 10:33 PM


Have you considered a Victory? I saw a Cross Country the other day and was really impressed. The stock 106 engine will blow away any stock HD.


Posted By: upflying

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/19/09 10:44 PM

I ride both an '03 Road king and own an old RT. The HD gets ridden every day, the RT once a month maybe.
The HD has a butter smooth transmission and clutch. You can slip the wet clutch all day and it never complains. A bit of shake at idle but it runs smooth otherwise. High resale value, dealers at every corner and fantastic aftermarket support. Lot's of thumbs up from onlookers. The non-ABS brakes are fine for what they are.
The HD has very little cornering clearance and the suspension and ride are primitive. The bike is heavy but carries the weight low. Performance is feeble above 70 mph. It needs a big bore kit, cams and exhust to move but that is expensive and politically wrong due to increased noise and emissions.
A V-Rod Road King would be perfect but traditional HD enthusiasts do not like liquid cooling.
My RT has much better handling, speed, performance and braking. Protection from the elements and touches like heated grips are fabulous. It is also heavy and carries the weight higher. Seating is also higher and it may be a bit harder to handle for some riders at very low speeds.
Transmission is noisy, clunky and notchy but no problems with it yet. Clutch is smooth but not up to a lot of slipping abuse. Dealers are scarce and resale isn't very good.
Really there isn't much in common except two wheels. One is a cruiser and one is a sport tourer.
Posted By: Deadboy

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/19/09 10:44 PM

I have ridden an 09 road king twice lately (friend's new bike) and must say given the historical design limitations it is one hell of a nice ride. The new motor (96"), frame (much more stable with no "wiggle") and the 6 speed transmission are all major improvements in my opinion, and I have ridden an older twin cam not that long ago. Not my cup of tea (I owned a shovel long ago and liked it a lot) but a very well put together bike all in all. Weight truly shouldn't be an issue, the HD's are know for carrying their weight down low, but if you really want a bagger/cruiser I would give the new Victory models serious consideration, the few people I know that own them are very happy.
Posted By: FLrider

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/19/09 10:45 PM

What is it that you want to do with the bike? If you are looking for a long haul tourer, then you already have the perfect bike.

If, instead, you are looking for an around town bike, then maybe the RK and SG aren't the only choice.

I will tell you one thing. The ABS on the RT is awesome. I will NEVER own another bike without ABS.

If your decision has been made to buy between the RK and SG, I have ridden both and in my humble opinion, the RK is winner. Easy to ride, low center, remove windshield and EASILY removable saddle bags allow you to change the "look" of the bike.

There is a ton of them out there! You should be able to steal one.
Posted By: Dave_C

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/19/09 11:55 PM

Originally Posted By: majordad
I have been considering buying a 2002 up Road King or Street Glide. I would like read opinions from this site from people owning both BMW and HD to compare the two (not trying to start a war, just curious). As it stands now if I bought one I would still keep my RT (against my wife's wishes).

I haven't ridden one yet, however, the RK or SG appear to be a comfortable, long haul bike. This is my primary style of riding but I have to be able to manage in a parking lot. This is why I love the RT because I weigh only 150lbs. The size of the RK or SG is intimidating me a little.


I do think a Harley would be a fun 2nd bike for cruising around. You should practice your riding skills so that you understand the balance of the motorcycle and can control it at low speeds, regardless of your size. Any of these heavy bikes are too big to try to muscle around. There are some books on how to ride like a pro with some good tips.
Posted By: baggerchris

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 12:23 AM

Having ridden both for years here is my opinion;

For really high speed comfort (over 80, long distances, like Nevada hwy 50 or 6) the RT wins.

For really twisty roads like Ca. hwy 36, the RT wins.

For me, on just about anything else, the HD wins.

My wife Tessie would NOT ride on the RT having found the HD to be so pleasant

Right now I have a HD and a F650GS single and life is good.
Posted By: Matts_12GS

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 12:29 AM

+1 on the road glide.

I also have a line on where you could find the prettiest softail deluxe cheap if you wanted it..
Posted By: majordad

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 01:15 AM

thank you all for your replies. I think there are things to like in both bikes and certainly won't consider getting rid of my RT. I know a good thing when I see/ride it. I may consider going to the dealer this weekend if possible.
Posted By: Boone60

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 01:30 AM

My buddy rides the frame mounted Roadglide, and will not go back to a Roadking. This spring, I told him about co-workers that ride UltraClassics complaining about arm fatigue, and how the heavy winds were shoving them around, the day after we had went on a 100 mile ride. I hadn't noticed the wind on my RT, and my friend mentioned the Ultras with the frame mounted windshields in the crosswinds beat-up the arms on those guys.

Have fun shopping.
Posted By: BailyD

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 02:19 AM

Very true what everyone else has said. I ride the RT for work and HD Electra Glide for home. I am constantly comparing them. I have the new Brembo ABS and found it works wonderful, very similar to the BMW (NOT THE STOPPING POWER, BMW hands down). If I were doing high speed, highway the BMW is the one. Harley works fine and is fun to chug around town on.

Don't be afraid of the weight. Once you get used to it and practice technique the HD is easier to learn to ride at low speed. Tipover bars are your friend and keep your bike at nearly 45 degrees! No hard parts touch down so you aren't afraid to push your training to the limit. After you drop it the first time you get over the the fear. Minor scratches on the downside of the bars.

fyi, I've never owned a Harley before last year. (22 years riding)
Posted By: Bill_Walker

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 08:33 AM

There are tons of places around now that rent Harleys. If you're thinking of buying one, rent one for a day (it's the only way you're gonna get a test ride anyway).

I had an '02 Road King, put about 10,000 miles on it. I figured out why H-D riders are always blipping their throttles: the mass of that big spinning flywheel will hold the bike upright at a stop! It was much easier to ride slowly than my RT.

It's very much a go-slow-and-enjoy-the-scenery bike. Which is not to say you can't hustle the bike (the RK has the best cornering clearance of any Harley), but you'll be working pretty hard to go speeds you'd hardly consider sporty on the RT.

Ride quality is definitely worse than the RT, due to very short suspension travel. And due to the seating position, shocks go straight up your spine. This was really the deal killer for the bike for me, because I have a couple of herniated disks in my low back. That, and I never felt comfortable with Harley riders.

Here's a study in contrasts:
On my Road King on a lonely road in Nevada, I may have (not saying I did on a public forum) once hit 100 mph after a goodly run with the throttle wide open.
On my RT on lonely roads in Nevada, I may have cruised for hours on end at 100 mph.
Posted By: krussell

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 01:30 PM

As Bill points out, the HD rental program is one of the best in the business. It's definitely worth getting some time on them. I've had an 08 RT, an 08 EG, and an 09 EG. They are all great bikes. The suspension on the HD is seriously lacking when compared to the RT. The HD is easier to ride.

If you start getting into later models the frame was redone in 09, big improvement in stability and handling. Some say a bit harsher, but compared to the RT it's like riding a ROCK anyway.

The Road Glide is the best long distance bike, I don't like the look from the front or I would own one. They seriously messed up in 2010 on the RG, they lowered it an inch. You can put after market shocks on it to get that back.

There's tons and tons after aftermarket stuff. Can be fun, can be expensive. Resale is very good on the bikes.
Posted By: beekay

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 01:44 PM

the low CG on a Harley is nice. i don't feel so tall. the low CG does make it feel 'heavy' on turns, until you get used to it. I was competing the roadglide and the rt. the roadglide was my first pick, but it was too spendy for me right now, and I really wanted something different (have old ironhead now). Dad owns an ultra classic and it will be his forever. Older ones are easy to maintain with a single carb to tune, there are TONS of parts out there, so you can spend what you want on parts, and don't have to feel limited with choices, especially on older bikes.
There is a passionate user group (to say the least). You will either like it or hate it.
Putting around 2up is definitely a strong point for the Big Twin Harley. the weight and low CG keeps the passengers from giving too much inadvertent input.

Its a very fun group of bikes, and its hard to go wrong with one, especially if you are keeping your RT.
Posted By: Dale_K

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 01:55 PM

I've owned a couple FLH series bikes and a few BMW's. Right now I have a R1200R. If you're worried about low speed handling the Harley is actually very good in that area. It's also good at highway cruising. Pretty weak motor and terrible at canyon carving but you already know that.

Harley advertising used to have a slogan "Things are different on a Harley". It's true. They are more fun. Not necessarily in a rational way but genuinely fun. Good luck.
Posted By: Albert

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 04:13 PM

I rode a Road King (and other HD's) prior to the RT. I like the HD a lot and it was a really comfortable bike. I'm having lots of fun with the performance and handling on the BMW but I would have no regrets riding another HD. The big HD's actually handle quiet nicely although they obviously lack any real ground clearance. Completely different animals but both have + and -. Most of my HD big twin friends have gravitated to the Road Glide (as said above).
Posted By: Softtail

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 08:48 PM

majordad, I have a 1991 FXSTC (Softtail) Branch heads, 20 over Keith Black racing pistons, Edelbrock cam, S&S Super E, etc. I also ride a 2008 K1200GT and have owned an RT. How did I decided to get a beemer? I was on a day ride, comming out of the Wallowa River canyon when two bikes blew around me. As I went through the town of Wallowa, I saw that both bikes had pulled over and I wasn't sure what they were. I started out of Wallowa and I saw them in my rear view mirror. I decided that they were not going to pass me again, so I ramped the HD up to about 100 mph. I couldn't see where they were because you can't see out of a harley mirror at speeds over 60. My eyes were watering and the left gas cap had viberated loose, so I had to let go of the bars to keep it from flying off. Flash, they both passed me again. When I got into Enterprise, they were stoped at Safeway, so I pulled in and checked them out. They were both RTs. I bought an RT the next day. Bottom line, my stock RT could run circles around my hopped-up FXSTC and my GT is a total harley eater. But I will always keep the hog, infact I am going to put a 124 inch S&S motor in the bike in Jan. <<<<Softtail>>>>
Posted By: mikeR1100R

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 10:50 PM

I must confess to not knowing much about about Harleys. I do know that I rented a Roadking in 2008 to ride the road to Hana in Maui. We rode two up for 225 miles that day. Georgi was using her arms to hold herself up off the passenger seat by the end of the day because it was so uncomfortable. My wrists were so sore from the strange angle of the handlebars that I was shifting without the clutch for the last 50 miles due to the pain. It was big, slow and heavy. I don't know what year the bike was made or if the bars and seat were stock equipment, but I do know that I was extremely unimpressed with this motorcycle.
I know that this is my only experience with a Harley since riding a 1974 XLCH 35 years ago, but I am not likely to ever have any interest in a Harley based on that day.
Posted By: Old Bill

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 11:03 PM

A lot of good input above. I've ridden H-D's for a long time and only recently an RT. I like them both.

There will always be a Harley Davidson in my garage.

Bill
Posted By: Selden

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/20/09 11:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill_Walker
There are tons of places around now that rent Harleys. If you're thinking of buying one, rent one for a day (it's the only way you're gonna get a test ride anyway).

+1. Do an all-day rental, or two half-day rentals of different models, and ride as far and as long as you can. Even if there isn't a HD rental place near you, driving several hundred miles to find one is probably worthwhile use of your time. A few years ago, a guy flew in from Australia, rented an HD, and rode it in the Iron Butt Rally, but you don't have to go to that extreme.
Posted By: ERdok

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/21/09 01:47 AM

I've owned 8 different HD's and currently have a 2010 Road King with ABS. Never had any significant issues with any of them. Great for all day cruisin' with a sweet spot at 75-80mph. It won't keep up with the RT but is every bit as comfortable for the long haul although anyone who's ridden with me knows what it'll do in the sweepers...Bob Foley...where are you...? grin

If you buy one my advice would be get a 2010 rather than earlier year model. A few reasons: The TC96 motor with 6 speed (08 and newer models) has more power and torque than the TC88 (99' thru 07 models). The new frame/suspension and wider rear tire on the 09-10 models makes for a better ride and handling than prior years and has a 6 gallon rather than 5 gallon tank. The 2010 models have a helical 5th gear which has eliminated the "5th gear whine" notorious in the 08 and 09's.

Just my $.02

Rick
Posted By: SSTwin

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/21/09 02:19 AM

Majordad, just another .02 to add to the already great replies you've gotten. I've been riding BMW's since 1974 and currently have a 2005 R1200GS and a 2003 Road King. I like them both ...alot for what they do and how they make me feel.

The GS is the true "do it all" bike for me, as an RT would be in most respects as well. Powerful (enough) for almost all circumstances, easy handling with very high limits for a big bike and just fabulous ABS brakes. "Tippy" low speed handling feel and a dearth of dealers is a big negative.

My 2003 Road King is my "smilemaker". Easy to ride, great to see (or be seen on), and the right mix of look, feel, and sound. I have mine pretty "dressed" but essentially stock mechanically and it is a fabulous match for the "riding style" down here in straight ,flat Florida (11 curves in 318 miles!). That said, when I lived up your way, I still had fun with it on the wonderful roads of rural VA and MD. It has been absolutely rock solid, no issues, no needs. Weeks go by with no battery tender and she still starts on the first push.

Hope this helps a bit; keep the RT; get an RK (removable WS is a big plus for the local riding I do) and enjoy both rides!
Posted By: DonD

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/21/09 03:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Tapatio

Have you considered a Victory? I saw a Cross Country the other day and was really impressed.


My wife and I stopped at the Indian store outside of Charlotte NC last weekend. Most gorgeous bikes I've ever seen - if I was buying for looks, it would have been a done deal!
Posted By: TEWKS

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/21/09 06:40 PM

A pic of my 92 Ultra that I bought brand-new. It's kinda like driving a dump truck after getting out of a sports car.(rt) That's the best way I can describe it.
That being said, it's still a lot fun to just sit back & chug along. (& of course move over for faster moving BMW motorcycles) Added bonus, the rt does feel like a rocket ship when you get back on it.


Pat
Posted By: BailyD

Re: question to any Harley riders - 11/22/09 01:33 PM

A few replies here have mentioned what I've experienced on my HD. When riding "around town" I find myself smiling?? I really like something about it and I can't put my finger on it? BTW....I refuse to put loud pipes on my bike, STOCK = reliable, to me.
Posted By: bondobob65

Re: question to any Harley riders - 12/19/09 07:30 PM

Keep in mind the dynamic of the rubber mounted FL bikes and how the late 80's thru the 2007 bikes felt like they were hinged in the middle when going through sweepers at anything over 50-60 mph.

I guess HD has fixed this issue with the new bikes but both of my old FL's 1992 FLHS and 2003 FLH had the dreaded death wobble that would almost initiate tank slap at legal California freeway speeds.

Other than that they were smooth all day long and great for relaxed cruising.
Posted By: XTrooper

Re: question to any Harley riders - 12/21/09 11:35 AM

I have tens of thousands of miles on Harley touring bikes. When comparing them to the RT, the tractor-trailer rig vs sports car analogy is, I think, a good one. A bit more physical input is necessary when riding the Harley, but the new ones are rock-solid reliable, comfortable, and will get you to where you're going without drama. My last Harley was a 2008 Electra Glide FLHT with ABS and cruise control. It was a great bike, very comfortable to ride, and it never let me down. If you're interested in one, I wouldn't hesitate to make the purchase.

Here's a photo of our '08 taken while on a trip from a couple of summers ago. We were enjoying perfect riding weather on the Skyline Drive in Virginia. smile





Posted By: Capt G 55

Re: question to any Harley riders - 12/23/09 03:48 PM

Depending on your height, I too would point you either to the Street Glide (any year) or to a 2010 Road Glide. They both sit nice & low where weight does not become a major factor. If height is not an issue, the Road King should also be considered. It's basically the entry level to the HD Touring family (windshield only, no radio, etc). It does tend to sit a bit "taller" than the other 2 choices. I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have.

BTW - I do sell for the newest HD/BMW dealership in the NY Metro area.
Posted By: Albert

Re: question to any Harley riders - 12/23/09 04:14 PM

Here's my 99 RK with around 90k miles on it.


Shot with FinePix Z1 at 2008-09-12
Posted By: Peter Parts

Re: question to any Harley riders - 12/23/09 04:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Boone60
My buddy rides the frame mounted Roadglide, and will not go back to a Roadking. This spring, I told him about co-workers that ride UltraClassics complaining about arm fatigue, and how the heavy winds were shoving them around, the day after we had went on a 100 mile ride. I hadn't noticed the wind on my RT, and my friend mentioned the Ultras with the frame mounted windshields in the crosswinds beat-up the arms on those guys.


After riding a naked R80RT with a pretty big bars-mounted windscreen for a few years, I installed a super Saeng fairing-windscreen, modified to mount on the chassis. Although I expected a big change, I noticed hardly any difference in how much fuss gusts of wind caused.

What does that mean?

PS. This thread has certainly moved me to re-examine my deeply held typical BMW-rider prejudices. Of course, it has been quite a while since we used to be offended to be considered only a Cadillac (or even Rolls-Royce) of bikes (certainly true of the precision-made /2). But there is still quite a gap between BMW design and the less-than-Lada Harley design (I have in mind the way things are made and bolted together, not to mention the historic-preservation issues). Even if an HD is a fun ride sometimes.
Posted By: kinchy

Re: question to any Harley riders - 12/24/09 02:48 PM

Agree. If I had to sell one or the other I think I'd have a real problem. Like a wise man once said it's like having a few girlfriends, they all do something different. Adding is more fun than reducing inventory.
Posted By: Rphoto

Re: question to any Harley riders - 12/25/09 07:12 PM

Don't forget the HD V-Rod line -- lots of fun and the most "European" of the Harley line up -- especially the VRSCR Street Rod model. My Street Rod always makes me smile. Here's link to the SR with our old R1100RT (since replaced by a K1300GT).
http://gallery.me.com/remphoto#100730
Posted By: lvnvbiker

Re: question to any Harley riders - 12/25/09 07:37 PM

Boone60 the Ultra windscreen and fiaring is fork mounted not frame, I had an 07 and can tell you that the Roadglide(frame mounted) is more stable like the RT. I still have one HD, but I walk past it to get on the BMW every day.
© 2017 BMWSportTouring Forums