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  1. #1
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    The Eagle’s first thousand miles

    Clocked the thousandth mile today, having collected my 2106 XL1200CA on the 21st May. Man, I’m loving it!

    So, what have I learned?

    First, I guessed I’d do about 4000 miles a year: D’oh! Even maintaining my strict fair(ish) weather rider status, that’s not gonna be enough. A surcharge from the insurers’ coming there, then.

    And there are things to love and things to hate: like the tuning. I have learned (from you guys here) that international emission and noise regulations mean that Harley Sportsters are tuned really lean. This means that running at low revs (2-3000 rpm) is dreadful as the engine struggles. I’ve also learned that a ‘fuel tune’ requires the purchase of computer hardware for at least £300, plus labour to tune on a dyno. I’d like to Stage One my Custom but even with second-hand exhaust, it’d be nearly £1000. Phew.

    I also hate the ‘hero blobs’ on the footrests – fortunately they are easily removed (I learned)! However, the mid-position footrests are uncomfortable when ‘dabbing’ in traffic, and the side stand pushes a long way ahead of the rests when parking so the rests will always get in the way to some degree. Also, when I draw my legs back, my jeans catch the pegs and pull them into the up position. Surprisingly annoying! I’ll have to get some footboards.

    My cunning plan to have highway pegs so I could change foot position while riding does the job fine. My knee can still hurt but having an alternate foot position pretty much stops that. I get some lower back pain but it’s manageable. The brakes are not as good as the hire bikes I had, particularly the rear. Bud tells me that I can’t just change the brakes because, like the fuel tuning, the ABS needs computerisationism if you make changes. Never would have dreamed it!

    The suspension is also a great success – I went for 320mm Hagons and they are a huge (HUGE!) improvement over stock. With the Mustang saddle (also a huge improvement over stock), the ride is smooth and comfortable. (I would still like Hagon fork springs, but can’t afford to change them yet.) I might also look into rubber mounting for the handlebars.

    I’ve also learned (or was reminded) that the 4½ US gallon fuel tank is really only a 3¾ UK gallon tank. This gives around 150 miles per tank, before reserve: not really enough but it’ll have to do. Something else that ‘will have to do’ is the speedo. It’s too low. When I look down at it all I can see is the chin-protection area of my helmet. If the sun visor is down then I only have a half-inch of gap to see the speedo ‘cos I can’t read the LCD through the dark visor. Such is life.

    I’m also going to need some (thinner) handlebar grips, with a ‘throttle boss’ – not something I’ve ever heard of before. Additionally, I’m having to get used to the one-each-side indicator switch layout but will get some ‘Turn Signal Extension Caps (Black): 71500177’ – only £27 for 2.7p worth of plastic! But it’ll make riding easier.

    There’s still a vast amount of money I’d like to be able to spend on it – tuning, forks, luggage, brakes, (etc.!), but I am still wonder-struck at having my own Harley Sportster. Awesome! And, what a lot I’ve learned!

    Thanks again to everyone here: it might have happened without you, but it wouldn’t have been so much fun or so successful.



    Cheers,

    Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member Whistler's Avatar
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    Good your getting out and putting in the miles. I insured mine for 8,000 per year. Usually more than I need, but not always much. Sounds like you have your plans for future changes, and that the beauty of Harleys. I changed the pegs, new ones don't have her blobs, so improved lean angles and faster cornering. I only get about 105mls to a tank, but its amazing how much you get used to it, and it's not impacted at all on whatever journeys i take. It's really nice to see nice words and positive feedback on the forum. Sir, you are a gentleman.
    FTW )

  3. #3
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    Great summary Chris and good to learn that you're still enjoying it. I've only put up around 500 miles in the time you've out up 1000! (work gets in the way) but still look for any excuse to pop out for a spin. The brake issue isn't all doom and gloom. Whilst the ABS system can't be dispensed with, without causing other issues needing resolution, you can swap out discs and pads for better alternatives. My other bikes always ran Brembo discs with sintered pads and even the single sided ones stopped on a sixpence. The Harley is a heavy bike, so takes some hauling up but it is what it is and you learn to plan ahead. Emergency stops are rapid enough (I've had a few!) but standard tyre grip runs out before brakes give cause for concern IME.

  4. #4
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    Chris you don't need any fuel tune hardware to connect to a computer if you use someone who can talk directly to the ECU.
    To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whistler View Post
    Sir, you are a gentleman.
    Thank you Whister - that's very magnanimous of you indeed.

    Cheers,

    Chris

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to ChrisOfTheOT For This Useful Post:

    Whistler (06-19-2018)

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckhornBud View Post
    ... I've only put up around 500 miles in the time you've out up 1000! (work gets in the way)... The brake issue isn't all doom and gloom. Whilst the ABS system can't be dispensed with... you can swap out discs and pads for better alternatives... but standard tyre grip runs out before brakes give cause for concern IME.
    Sage advise once again Bud - thanks. Thinking about the bikes I've riden over the years, even trusty old drum brakes could lock a wheel so your observation seems spot on, and is very encouraging as I shall not be worrying about brakes for the time being.

    I may have done twice as many miles as you recently but, man, I've been aching for it! I imagine I'll ease up a bit soon... maybe.

    Cheers,

    Chris

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by xbpod View Post
    Chris you don't need any fuel tune hardware to connect to a computer if you use someone who can talk directly to the ECU.
    Sorry xbpod, not sure what you're getting at. I read this to be saying that you can hook up the ECU to a laptop and do the job 'manually', so to speak. Is that what you're saying, or have I just embarrassed myself again?!

    Cheers,

    Chris

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckhornBud View Post
    Great summary Chris and good to learn that you're still enjoying it. I've only put up around 500 miles in the time you've out up 1000! (work gets in the way) but still look for any excuse to pop out for a spin. The brake issue isn't all doom and gloom. Whilst the ABS system can't be dispensed with, without causing other issues needing resolution, you can swap out discs and pads for better alternatives. My other bikes always ran Brembo discs with sintered pads and even the single sided ones stopped on a sixpence. The Harley is a heavy bike, so takes some hauling up but it is what it is and you learn to plan ahead. Emergency stops are rapid enough (I've had a few!) but standard tyre grip runs out before brakes give cause for concern IME.
    The rear brake on my abs Iron 883 is frankly shite, the dealers mechanic checked it and says its fine, he road tested it, but I find it less effective than the rear drum brake on my old Virago 750

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisOfTheOT View Post
    Sorry xbpod, not sure what you're getting at. I read this to be saying that you can hook up the ECU to a laptop and do the job 'manually', so to speak. Is that what you're saying, or have I just embarrassed myself again?!

    Cheers,

    Chris
    Hi Chris, there are tuners out there who can program the ECU directly without the need of a SE pro tuner or any tuning boxes. Plus you get the bonus of HD not being able to over write your new map when they do a software update on a service.

    Pete.
    To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by xbpod View Post
    Hi Chris, there are tuners out there who can program the ECU directly without the need of a SE pro tuner or any tuning boxes. Plus you get the bonus of HD not being able to over write your new map when they do a software update on a service.

    Pete.
    Funnily enough Pete I asked my tuner this exact question. There may be the odd few who are capable of doing it, I don't know. My tuner's answer was that a tuner was needed for post 20something bikes due to the way the mapping was flashed. It was that or have a bespoke map produced (which I think is what you are getting at) as there was no real time method of fiddling with eprom values. The actual fuelling needs translating to some sort of standardised fixed point map to populate SMV (stoichimetric values) before the tuner can then fiddle and adjust for each of those points. As I understand it, this is exactly what the tuners provide, but they also offer other pretty comprehensive functionality when partnered with a laptop to read them (or in the case of the FP3, with a smart phone). My other fuel injected bikes couldn't be directly altered via the eprom chip either. They needed re-flashing or the chip needed swapping out.

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