Rolling Thunder rules, okay!

2012-11-19 13:51

CAPE TOWN - Harley-Davidson’s South African motorcycle line-up will grow to 40 during 2013 - among them some rather special 110th anniversary bikes showcased last week here in the Western Cape.

Harley-Davidson loves to create anniversary models every five and 10 years – and why not?– because nobody else on the planet has heritage and pedigree quite like these guys and will offer nine types of Sportster, seven Dynas, eight Softails, six Touring, two V-Rods and seven Custom Vehicle Operations, not forgetting the occasional Tri-Glide trike ex-stock.


Nine of the above will be offered ex-stock as 110th Anniversary Editions – in no particular order they are a Sportster 1200C (from R127 995); a Heritage Softail (R245 400); my favourite, the Road King Classic (R265 000); an Electra Glide (R316 000) and three CVO’s from R305 000. Each is serialised and features exclusive paint and commemorative bronze fuel-tank badges.

Production will vary by model and will be strictly limited. These models come with all available factory-installed options as standard equipment.

A day spent with the brand last week in Cape Town – unfortunately in atrocious rain at the start – revealed the newcomers werre loaded with sparkle – and not by accident – to be known as Hard Candy Custom, a styling movement rooted in themes first seen in the chopper era of the 1970's (if your memory goes back that far!) that embraced dazzling metal-flake paint, brilliant chrome and styling details in accessories, gear and riding apparel of the day.


First stop along the route was to call in at Fisantekraal airdrome, a private strip where H-D had taken the trouble to re-create the first wooden workshop where the famous ‘Serial Number One’ single-cylinder motorcycle was made in the Davidson’s back yard nearly 110 years ago. (see picture, above). Riding the new Sportster 1200C to this point always proved safe and easy to manoeuvre in such bad weather.

With the weather brightening all the time our route took us out Wellington way and traversing the 18km Bain's Kloof Pass towards Rawsonville. The latest version of the stylish and full-on Tourer Road King Classic was my steed of choice for the next leg of the journey, cosseted behind the big windscreen; with its chunky mudguards that housed whitewall tyres, with my feet flat on comfortable running boards for kilometre after kilometre.

With rain gear now safely stowed in the rugged, hand-made leather panniers, the lusty 1690cc air/oil-cooled engine is ideal for covering ground quickly – safe in the knowledge that that 22.7-litre fuel tank would get me easily to our destination.

Clarence Drive in Gordons Bay is always a pleasure to ride on any motorcycle at any time – a road that’s surely world-class in all its naked beauty. A bike swop found me next aboard a Dyna Street Bob – first introduced to the Harley family back in 1991. Now sporting a classic 1690cc V-twin and a six-speed Cruise Drive ’box, surely the perfect bike to listen to that reverberating Harley exhaust that other manufacturers have tried to emulate but never quite managed!


Hugging the Western Cape coast towards Muizenberg via Baden Powell Drive is a road I know well. It’s always busy but offers an incredibly bumpy ride to  unsuspecting motorcyclists.

As I had managed to arm-wrestle the key for the Road King Classic once again it proved the ideal choice for the final leg of the bumpy journey back into Cape Town.

• Fans of the marque will be pleased to learn that the doors have re-opened at the Green Point (Cape Town) dealer. Yusuf Moolla is the new owner but has entrusted daily running to Jason Nicol, previously the sales manager.

Visit them at Harley-Davidson Cape Town.

  • brak.jan - 2012-11-19 15:45

    I don’t understand how a product with such horrible reliability, which is better in no way than its competition and with very high prices, still sells? Harley sells the ‘lifestyle/image’ very well…..

  • riotousr - 2012-11-20 09:06

    Class and lifestyle. I will take two if any one is on a bribe trail.

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