Get­low­downon2011 Har­leys Be­hind bars

It’s the eas­i­est bike they’ve pro­duced, writes Craig Duff Talk of the town

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

AHARLEY-DAVIDSON priced and po­si­tioned for be­gin­ners is one of the head­line items in the US brand’s 2011 range.

The 883cc Sport­ster Su­per­Low lives up to its name in ev­ery re­spect, with a 69.5cm seat height and a price of $11,495.

It’s a shame it doesn’t qual­ify as a learner ma­chine un­der our 650cc­ca­pac­ity LAMS laws, be­cause it re­ally is de­signed for new rid­ers.

There is hope, though, with Har­ley work­ing on a new, small­ca­pac­ity bike for global mar­kets.

Har­ley en­gi­neer James Sadauckas says the Su­per­Low is the re­sult of feed­back from own­ers of the pre­vi­ous 883 Low.

The main re­quests were for bet­ter sus­pen­sion and a big­ger tank, but the en­gi­neers over­hauled ev­ery­thing, from the fi­nal drive ra­tio to the seat­ing po­si­tion, as they tried to make the ‘‘ en­try-level’’ Har­ley as user-friendly as pos­si­ble.

‘‘This is the eas­i­est Har­ley to just get on and ride,’’ Sadauckas says at the Aus­tralian launch of the Sport­ster range. ‘‘We’ve set the rid­ing style up to be re­ally neu­tral for con­trol and com­fort. The seat­ing po­si­tion is up­right, which gives new rid­ers more con­fi­dence.’’

Cars­Guide’s only gripe about the bike is also a re­sult of the above process— the foot­pegs touch down with very lit­tle lean an­gle.

‘‘It’s a bit dif­fer­ent here. In the States this will be many peo­ple’s first bike, so we’ve built that into it. It’s a lot cheaper than scrap­ing the hard­ware,’’ Sadauckas says, while agree­ing po­ten­tial Aus­tralian own­ers will prob­a­bly raid the parts cat­a­logue for pegs not so wide.

Grind­ing noises aside, the Su­per­Low is a bang-for-your-buck bike that lives up to Sadauckas’s prom­ise of sweet han­dling.

That’s due in part to the ra­dial Miche­lin tyres de­vel­oped specif­i­cally for the bike and to the ex­tra sus­pen­sion travel, which means it doesn’t bot­tom out on big hits. The cut in wheel weight doesn’t hurt ei­ther.

Rid­ers look­ing for more per­for­mance can opt for the 1690cc Forty-Eight. The bike gets its name from the eight-litre ‘‘peanut’’ fuel tank that first ap­peared on a Har­ley in 1948. It cuts its tour­ing range but fits with the sleek, Sport­ster look.

A more foot-for­ward ride po­si­tion and 138Nm en­dow the FortyEight with the looks and urge to make it one of Har­ley’s more pop­u­lar mod­els, es­pe­cially at $14,995.

The Sof­tail mod­els weren’t on hand at the launch, but will now join the Tour­ing and VRSC line-up with stan­dard ABS. H-D Aus­tralia mar­ket­ing man­ager Adrian O’Donoghue says about 60 per cent of the com­pany’s sales vol­ume now has anti-skid brakes.

mag­a­zine is cel­e­brat­ing its 500th edi­tion this month with a se­ries of de­bat­able lists on the best and worst of mo­tor­cy­cling over the past five decades. Edi­tor Jeremy Bowdler says reach­ing 500 is­sues is a huge achieve­ment for a spe­cial-in­ter­est mag­a­zine. It shows the growth in in­ter­est in mo­tor­cy­cling as a pas­sion, hobby or daily means of trans­port. The mag­a­zine’s topics this month in­clude the best and worst bikes of all time, the 10 best bikes to learn on, and the roads you have to ride. It’s on sale in newsagents for $8.95. Har­ley-Davidson has joined other ma­jor bike­mak­ers in host­ing VIP hos­pi­tal­ity at the Aus­tralian Mo­toGP on Oc­to­ber 15-17. The three-day pass costs $867.20 and in­cludes un­der­cover seat­ing on the front straight, lunch each day and ac­cess to cof­fee from a barista and soft drinks. As­sorted HD mer­chan­dise will be avail­able and Jack Daniels will hold a tast­ing ses­sion each day from 1-4pm. To book call 1800 012 000.

First bike: (left) the Sport­ster Su­per­Low scrapes its foot­pegs on the bi­tu­men and (above) the smart Forty-Eight.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.