HAR­LEY PULLS IT UP A PEG OR TWO

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - ON THE ROAD - BY GE­OFF HILL

There is some­thing deeply sat­is­fy­ing about swing­ing a Har­ley through a se­ries of moun­tain bends with that big V-twin echo­ing off mildly baf­fled sheep.

On a sunny morn­ing, it makes you feel fully alive, liv­ing in the mo­ment and en­gaged with all your senses while trail­ing the back brake into a down­hill cor­ner to keep the bike sta­ble, and carv­ing the curve with the foot­board scrap­ing gen­tly as you look for the apex.

Then, as the road opens up beyond, twist­ing the hap­pi­ness han­dle, lift­ing the bike up and pow­er­ing to­wards the hori­zon, your ears filled with that syn­co­pated sym­phony which is prob­a­bly the most evoca­tive of all engine notes.

It’s par­tic­u­larly sat­is­fy­ing since moun­tain twisties are hardly tra­di­tional Har­ley territory, and if you’d tried this lark on a Har­ley 10 or 20 years ago you’d have ended up soar­ing through the air at the first cor­ner and draped over the afore­men­tioned sheep.

As Bern En­right, Har­ley’s ami­able and eru­dite prin­ci­pal en­gi­neer, put it at lunch: “Hey, there were more cor­ners this morn­ing than in the whole of Wis­con­sin.”

The han­dling of the Her­itage Clas­sic is even more sur­pris­ing be­cause it looks, as the name im­plies, like it’s been de­signed in the 1950s down to the sim­ple sin­gle speedo atop the tank.

But be­neath that old-school fa­cade lurks state of the art tech wrapped around a chas­sis which is a third more rigid than the pre­vi­ous model.

It’s also lighter, as is the new swingarm, re­sult­ing in a 17kg weight loss for the whole bike.

Com­bined with the stiffer chas­sis, this makes han­dling a sin­u­ous joy, par­tic­u­larly with a lean an­gle of over 28 de­grees be­fore the boards touch down, which is high by Har­ley stan­dards.

It also makes ac­cel­er­a­tion 10% faster than the out­go­ing model and im­proves brak­ing, al­though some of the, er, sportier rid­ers on the launch felt it could do with a se­cond disc up front on a bike weigh­ing a rather hefty 330kg.

How­ever, I sus­pect that’s be­cause they’re sports bike rid­ers who use the back brake so lit­tle they’ve sold them on ebay.

In fact, the only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s avail­able in brown. The chaps at Har­ley may call it Red Iron Denim, but they don’t fool me; brown it is.

And and the only things in the world that look better in brown are brogue shoes and pints of beer. Har­ley-david­son Her­itage Clas­sic

Price: from £17,995

Engine: 1,868cc air-cooled V-twin

Power: 93bhp@ 5,020rpm

Torque: 114 lb ft @ 3,000rpm

Colours: black, red iron denim (brown), red, sil­ver, olive/black, grey/black, blue/black

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