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Hogging the road on a Harley

2015-06-30 21:17


HEAVY METAL: Harley-Davidson really definitely manufactures great bikes and the celebrated 883cc Sportster range is a case in point (similar to illustration). Image: Dave Fall


2015 and yet again the Harley-Davidson Africa Bike Week woke up the sleepy resort town of Margate on South Africa's Hibiscus Coast.

So you thought Harley-Davidson ownership was out of your league based on price alone. Well, at the count of three, get your cheque book at the ready: how does ±R100 000 for a 2015 Iron 893R Sportster sound to you?

A motorcycle brand that’s always intrigued me, is Harley-Davidson. Perhaps, maybe one day, enough to consider ownership; but an awful lot of people in South Africa are perfectly happy and capable of writing out a cheque at the mere mention of the brand.

There’s a malady of late that’s been known to afflict 50% of men known as “mid-life crisis”* whereby perfectly healthy males, come the weekend, adorn themselves with gold chains, bandanas and pisspot helmets and ride around on big, lairy motorcycles at well below the national speed limit.


Come Monday morning you’d probably fail to recognise them because they’re to be found in designer suits and either sitting behind the biggest desk in the bank, perhaps in charge of the forex department, or happily defending some poor bloke who’s had the misfortune to have a run-in with the law.

(The other 50% meanwhile, buy caravans and hook them to the biggest 4x4 you ever did see and choke the roads between here and the Dolphin Coast seven days a week!)

What do I get for my hard-earned money, I hear you ask.

Well, you get a full-sized cruiser-type motorcycle built in the good old US of A, an 883cc vee-twin motor between your knees that’s extremely well insulated against vibration, a 19” front wheel – 16” rear, a 13-litre fuel tank that’s good for a miserable 200km, and a belt-drive transmission that doesn’t need lubeing.

Oh, I nearly forgot, there’s the greatest trademark exhaust note known to man!

For 2015 Harley has almost 30 models to choose from, including the all-new 750cc Street and the above-mentioned Sportsters, plus Dynas, Soft-tails, big-engined Fatbobs, Tourers and a whole raft of CVO custom bikes.


Space constraints make it a little difficult to write about each one separately but if your appetite has been suitably whetted and you take the trouble to visit a Harley dealer I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Generally, though, it’s the latest entry-level 750cc Street machine and the pedigree 883cc Sportsters that are the most talked about – and for good reason.

The 883R as a solo seat, clipped front and rear mudguards to expose the chunky tyres, while a muscular Evolution motor barks its way menacingly through the discreet chromed downpipes and staggered exhausts - perfect for frightening dogs and little old grannies!

Harley seems to have listened to its customers because this one can brag longer rear suspension travel than we’ve been used with previous Harleys - perfect for keeping up with some of the other lads on a Sunday morning.

• Each Harley comes with a 24-month (unlimited distance) warranty and service intervals - after the first 1000km - are set at 8000km intervals.

*Apparently girls don’t get “mid-life” woes as badly as we men do, so I’ll just have to take the bad-tempered and occasionally insolent wife’s word for that!

Read more on:    harley-davidson  |  dave fall  |  south africa

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