My ride

My ride

I’ve owned this motorcycle since 1995. It’s a Harley-Davidson FLHT-C®, known as an Electraglide Classic®. In slang terms it’s a bagger, so-called for the trunk and bags hanging off of the top and sides. I’ve put over 200,000 miles (320,000 kms) on this one — not a lot, by some standards, but quite a few all the same.

This motorcycle has taken me from Canada to Mexico and places in between with the utmost reliability. As things such as cables, windshields and grips have either worn out or been routinely replaced, I have used OEM equipment, or what I consider to be the safe and economical equivalent.

The engine is an air-cooled 82 cubic inches — 1340 cc — onto which I’ve added a Mikuni HSR42 carburetor and an Andrews EV27 cam. I had the engine re-manufactured by Harley-Davidson at 103,000 miles (165,000 kilometers) due to a rear piston problem.

As for tires, I stick with OEM Dunlops because they give me many miles between changes — 12 to 15,000 miles rear and 25,000 miles front.

In 2007 I tried a to a Metzler 880 140/90B16 77H rear, even though my last Dunlop 402 rear gave me 15,616 miles (25,730 km).

The verdict on the Metzler 880? It’s not good: only 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) on the Metz. I’ll never use another Metzler, and in fact I’ve already replaced it with a Dunlop 402. I expect that I’ll get 15,000 miles out of this Dunlop also.

Add-on equipment that makes life easier

  • I’ve been fed up with the OEM horn for years, and finally I replaced it with a Stebel Nautilus Compact Air Horn.  Read details of the Stebel Nautilus Compact Air Horn install and see pictures here.
  • I’ve added a switched fuse block from easternbeaver.com to accommodate all of the electrical add-ons I’ve accumulated over the years.
  • I have found a viable aux tank that will add two gallons of cruising range! In May I rode out to Tucson to pick up a new Tour Tank. Have a look at the description of what I did regarding fittings and installation.
  • I use a Throttle Rocker on long rides to ease the pressure on my fingers and hand. It works well, but be warned that you should shift the Rocker around the throttle — or remove it completely — when riding in stop-and-go traffic. I lost my old-style Rocker and had to replace it with the newer-style with the velcro strap. I don’t like it as much because it can’t be shifted out of the way. The velcro wrap has to be too tight for it to be effective.
  • A Garmin GPS rounds out my equipment and is hard-wired into the electrical system. While it is no replacement for paper maps, it often prevents me from pulling off to the side of the road and checking a map while en route to my destination.
  • A Powerlet Power Outlet is mounted by the horn to provide a fused, weather-resistant, single point take-off for a variety of electrical products.
  • Odds and ends include a ten dollar battery-operated air compressor. I’ve taken it out of its plastic case and I carry it in a saddlebag. It has proven invaluable for keeping my tires inflated, both at home and on the road.

My riding gear includes the following:

  • Nolan N43 Trilogy helmet.
  • Roof R05 Boxer flip-front full-face helmet.
  • Aerostich Darien armored jacket with removable liner.
  • Aerostich Darien Light rain pants with knee armor.
  • Aerostich electric vest with long sleeves.
  • Joe Rocket ballistic jacket for summer riding, although I don’t wear it often.
  • Stealth boots by Magnum. I was able to wear them all day right out of the box.
  • Gloves include a variety of deerskin and Thinsulate-lined products. I’m currently using a pair of Lee Parks DeerTours.

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