The title of this post may seem like blastphemy, but lets face it, I know Harleys. Through the years I have delt with many repairs as I do almost all of my own work. I have had few on-the-road troubles on my bikes, BUT the troubles I had should not have happened at all.
My latest rant is also a rant I have had on other bikes. Cams. I changed cams on my Evolution engined bike a bunch of times due to lifters going bad and taking out the cam. I even did it on the side of the road once. This was something that should not have happened. I got into the habit of just changing them every 50k miles. On my last bike, a Twin Cam, I had the cam chain adjusters go and cause a chunk of damage. This was covered under a good will warrantee, but it should not have happened. On my present bike, a twin cam, I decided to check the chain adjusters, and found them bad. In the process of replacing them, I found a bearing that had spun, wear on the oil pump, and other "issues". In addition, the job is a LOT harder than it needs to be. It should be a side of the road fix. As far as I am concerned, anything that wears or has a tendancy to go bad should be able to be replaced in the parking lot of a hotel/campground without large special tools and without having to visit a Harley Shop for anything but a one time purchase of parts. Parts that are not expensive and can easily be carried with you on a long trip.
I have finally decided I will never buy another Harley (I have said this before) but there is really nothing else out there that truly *suits* me. There are smaller bikes that suit me well enough. The Kawasaki KLR 650. The Wee Strom. The older Honda ST1100. But there are very few, and none of them are real two up touring bikes. The Harley FL series can have a HUGE trunk with a massive luggage rack that allows a ton of crap to be brought. The side bags are also huge. When the latest Honda Goldwing came out, I thought that maybe with it's increased performance and all that I might like it. It is a hell of a bike, well out of my technological comfort zone, but maybe I could adapt. I was at a show looking at it, and I mention to the Honda guy that it does not look like there is a lot of luggage capacity. He tells me that there is just as much capacity as my Harley. I said great, I would go get my gear out of the bike and see if it would fit. He was less than enthusiastic about that. I then said, hell, I would just bring the stuff that was in my trunk and see if it would all fit in the new Honda, again it was NO!. I am pretty sure that all the stuff that was in my tour pack would have fit in the Honda, but it would have been tight.
So, what do I get? Maybe a Honda Goldwing with a Harley Trunk would work. Wouldn't that piss off both the Harley and the Honda crowd? This is an idea I like.
I have been thinking about going back to just small bikes and getting a trailer to tow so I can bring lots of stuff when necessary. My girlfriend gets very little time on the bike anyway. I suppose it would be cheaper to just rent a bike if we go on a long trip together.
But then, I do like riding the FLH. Maybe I could get an old Harley frame and put in an aftermarket engine, putting in all premium parts so that it will be reliable.
Or, I could just quit work, buy a small cheap bike and travel around the world.