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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to this forum and wanted to ask a few questions. I am looking at buying my first bike(Harley) in the near future. I was wondering how reliable are the new engines? I plan on getting a used bike, so are there certain years to stay away from? What is considered 'high' miles for a bike? What type of scheduled maintainance are required? How long do brakes, plugs, wires, oil, etc. last? What is the going rate for labor? I know these are more than a few questions, but I would like to be informed. I know 'stupid is, as stupid does'; but, if you don't ask, you'll never know. Thanks in advance. Please be kind, after all I'm a FNG. Oh, is shopping on ebay a good idea or not? Thanks again.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

How much do you intend to spend.

Piss on Ebay.
 

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The new Twin Cam 88 motors are very reliable. IMO, I think these motors have been perfected and refined over the years. The previous motor, Evolution, was said to be just as good. In fact, most custom motorcycles with big bore kits and higher cubic inches are still using the Evolution engine so it cannot be too bad. (S&S/RevTech). Shovelhead/Panhead motors are still around, but will require ALOT of maintenance due to the nature of their age.

Labor through any authorized HD dealer can run as high as $75 per hour. Keep in mind, alot of their revenue is generated from the service dept/parts/and the OVERAGE charged on an MSRP bike.

Your best bet is to find a local or independent bike shop that you can trust to wrench on your bike, labor can run as low as $30 here. Or get the manuals and wrench it yourself.

Maintenance on a bike occurs pretty frequently, much more than a car. Seems as if it is always getting something done to it. Oil is one of the most important things that needs changing frequently.

You can't really judge a bike by its mileage like you would a car. A bike that has been ridden more than likely has been babied and taken care of.

Beware of the biker poser that has a chromed out 98 Roadking with 1500 miles. Chances are that it has been sitting in the garage being shown to friends and not ridden. Bet you he still has the original fluids in that bike. This is definately not going to be a good deal.

Ebay has some good deals on bikes, but it has become to commercialized lately. Your best deals there are for PARTS. Everyone is trying to make a dollar there, so its really hard to find super deals. Try Cycletrader for used bikes or surf the net for dealers selling new bikes for MSRP.

If you are AD military, I would take advantage of the AAFES deal and order through them. I had a few of my soldiers order bikes through them and said it was pretty painless.

Figure out what your budget is going to be and go shop models. Then post here and we can help you where we can.

Good luck
 

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I have saved some serious bucks buying parts on Ebay...you just have to know exactly what you are buying and exactly what it is worth. I usually avoid used parts, but there are plenty of people who buy new HD stuff and then change their mind or never get around to installing stuff. I bought some HD TC88 billet style mirrors that HD sells for $199 for $105. Some guy had them on his RK for about a week and decided he just had to have the whole "Alluminator" collection instead.

On the other hand I've seen people get carried away bidding and actually pay 20% more than MSRP for HD parts when they could have got them for 20% less than MSRP through Chicago HD.

Again, know exactly what you need, what it's worth, and what's up for sale. I've actually bought stuff just to resell because I knew it was a bargain and made a few bucks.

I sold all the stock stuff (seat, pipes, headlight, etc.) that I've taken off my Fat Boy over time and raised about $300. I know people say "keep it so you can go back to stock or if some collector wants it". I say bu11****, it would sit in my basement forever until it rots and there is about zero chance of my bike ever having collector value....besides, I'll probably have it for life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks gentlemen for your input. JimmyK, I am willing to spend up to 17,000US;however, I do have more sense than money. I want to get the most for my money and spent the least possible. I have time and plan not to rush into any decissions. I've waited twenty years for a Hog, so a few more months won't hurt much more. Why so hard on ebay? I think that I've seen some good deals, but what do I know. I'm a FNG.
Dprice, thanks for the info. I was going along the premise that low milage was better. Again, thinking like purchasing a used car. I understand a little more now. I've read on other threads that the engines can go for >100,000 miles without major work done. Then I've looked on ebay and a bike with less than 20,000 has just been completely reworked. I was just confused and trying to gain as much info as possible, to possibly avoid a bad decission. I thought with the new engine design, they were more maintainance free. I am mechanically inclined, but only with cars. I've got a two bay garage, with lots of tools.(We used to restore cars) However, I've never worked on bikes. I've studied a complete rebuild and transmission install, but haven't put my hands in one. As far as AFFES is concerned, I don't have my motorcycle license. I don't know if they would sell me one and send it to a local dealer, how long they would keep it, or what. I plan on going Monday to speak with the Harley rep. and see what can be done. Again, I will be in the dilemma of deciding what I want and put my green down on. Thanks again. I'll keep everyone posted on what I am doing.
 

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Ok, if you are willing to spend up to $17k then my suggestion is for you to concentarte on finding a dealer that sells at MSRP and buy NEW.

For the first year you have a great warranty and you know you are not buying someone elses nightmare.

Go the the Harley home site.

http://www.harley-davidson.com/selectorshow.asp

Click on products and start looking at the different bikes. Pull up specs and pricing and you will find at MSRP you are there.

I would buy new for sure. Best of luck to you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright, JimmyK. But keep in mind that this is my first bike. I don't want to lay down a $17,000 machine and end up with $10,000 in scrap metal. I just didn't think it would be smart to buy new. I will go by the AFESS Harley dealer and bug them a bit. Just to see what's up. I just know what I did to my first car and don't want to do that to a new scoot. If I were to buy used, I've seen extended warranties offered. Aren't they a good choice? J.T.
 

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This being your first scoot I will assume limited experience riding.
A motorcycle riders safety course is the first step. Consider getting a used *** bike (Cheep) just to be sure a bike is right for you. If you don't like it or drop it no great loss and you can be sure before you make a major investment. When you mention scrap metal remember what happens to the bike happens to you. Good Luck, Ride Safe.
 

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dprice said:
Labor through any authorized HD dealer can run as high as $75 per hour. Keep in mind, alot of their revenue is generated from the service dept/parts/and the OVERAGE charged on an MSRP bike.
Damn, we got a dealer out here that is charging $85.00 an hour! Talk about steep!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Roger!, Roger. A safety course was my first order of business! I'm crazy...not stupid. Yes, I do have very limited experience on the road. But I want to run something by the forum. I posted this on my intro., so I apologize if you've read this before. I went by AAFES today. They only have two Road Kings. Just one of the bikes at which I was looking. $300 to hold until approval from a finance institution. $16,800 out the door, with alarm sys. and wire wheel. I know this is my first bike, but you can't beat the deal. Bad news: I would have someone pick it up at a local dealer. I will have hell to pay, but will have to wait about six to nine months before I get home to tag it. Plus the time to get my license and finish the safety course. Well, there you go. Comments welcomed!! J.T.
 

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fearnot69 said:
Alright, JimmyK. But keep in mind that this is my first bike. I don't want to lay down a $17,000 machine and end up with $10,000 in scrap metal. I just didn't think it would be smart to buy new. I will go by the AFESS Harley dealer and bug them a bit. Just to see what's up. I just know what I did to my first car and don't want to do that to a new scoot. If I were to buy used, I've seen extended warranties offered. Aren't they a good choice? J.T.
Ok but follow your logic all the way now. If as stated you have $17k to spend on a used bike, and you lay it down, then you still have a $17k wreck.

I smahed the hell out of a kia with my Roadking and the damage was $4,500. The whole thing is covered however. You will have insurance so you will not lose the bike. Partner of mine got killed on his scoot a few years back. He is dead and burried but they still had to restore the bike. His wife sold it.

New bike used bike, it does not matter in a wreck. The saftey course is the way to go by all means.

Now if you spend $17k on a used bike, Mx cost will probably be higher. The new bike is fully covered first year and for anywhere from $800 to $1,700 you can opt to extend warranty another 6 years on a new bike.

Go for the new, take the saftey course and life is good!
 

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fearnot69,
I agree with Roger48. I know you already know about the safety course, I'm not talking about that. Going with a mid range, used, metric bike will help you learn to ride, it's especially important when going through the MSF course. But the bike has to be big enough for you too. I've seen some pretty big guys riding Sporty's, this bike is way to small for a big / tall guy. It's a lot easier to get through the course (since you're a new rider) with a bike that will fit your height / weight. I realize weight couldn't be an issue with you -- I remember the weigh in's. The safety courses I took in the military (not just MSF) would have been hard on a bike like a Road King. Buying a new Harley and then letting it sit for 9 months doesn't sound good. Anyway I know you'll make the right decision, good luck.
 

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I went back and re-read what "Logical" posted. Everything Logical posted makes perfect sense to me -- After I take all that stock stuff off I'm not going to store it -- I'll never need it again, especially the pipes.
 

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Fearnot,

That's a good price for the RK and it sounds like this is the way to go for you. One thing to consider is to buy a small bike now cheap, take the course on base now, and get some experience for the next 6-9 months.
This way when you do come home you'll be already with some experience
under your belt.
 

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FEARNOT69,
I have to agree with buying new.
Don't forget that a new Harley is like a block of marble and you have to carve the bike you want out of it.
If you find a second hand that you really like go for it but there is also a lot of pleasure in starting from a stock bike and making it unique and yours.
With the budget I had (about 16,000 buck equivalent of Pounds) I could have bought some decent second hand road king or fat boy or whatever.
I decided to buy a 2002 Softail Standard and let it grow on me like a nice leather jacket.
I have judt started changing a few details and the bike is already looking vrey unique.
I am goin to have it custom painted in August and that is going to be a blast!
The Softail Standard is generally recognised as a good starting point for customisation and the fact that it comes pretty bare makes it cheaper than the Fat Boys, Springers or Road Kings.
You can actually turn it into your own very special Fat Boy if you like.
The whole process is a lot of fun!

Let us know what you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As stated before, I plan to take the Safety Course at home. I can't get my motorcycle license here.(I'm in Germany) If I had my license from home, I could get it trasfered to a USEURA(sp?) car/motorcycle. However, either I go home and get my license or get it through Germany. Not going back to the states until I get out and two thousand EU. is TOO much to spend on a license I'll use for a couple months. I've decided to go new. I know it sounds crazy, since I haven't owned a bike before. I have borrowed friend's bikes, but only on a limited basis. I feel comfortable on a street bike....been riding since I was seven or so.

I stated, also, in another thread that I went ahead and put $300 down to put my name on the bike(2002 Road King with Red/Black two-tone, alarm, wire wheels, and 4 yr/unlimited mileage warr.) I got approved for the loan and I am putting over half of the money down in cash. 16,865 out the door. However, they won't allow me to get the loan since I am not re-enlisting and I get out at the end of March in 2003. Crazy, since my credit is outstanding and I will have paid over half of the bike from the get go. Anyhow, I am trying to pull some strings to pay it cash. F the creditors! I'll send them a copy of the paid reciept along with my middle finger. :rolleyes: Comments welcomed. J.T.
 

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I have an idea for you fearnot69. May I suggest that you bike an old clunker metric bike for "practice" till you're absolutely read to buy the $17K Harley. Often times you can find a good metric bike for not much money. l

After your practice, sell the back when you leave.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Pjim, as I stated before. I can't get my license here....better yet, I don't want to pay over $1000US to get a motorcycle license here. I don't have time to go to the states and get my license. I want to go through the safety course to waive the road test.(I'm from VA) If I had my license, I would probably already have gotten a metric bike. I think that would probably be the best to start there. I feel comfortable with road bikes. I've ridden many 'crotchrockets', but never a hog. I'm a pretty big guy. I weigh about 220-225lbs. I think I can handle the bike. The chance to get the RK, at that price, is only here. I can't get that deal in the states. Through the military or Harley dealership, for that matter. Either I get the bike here and have it waiting for me when I get out of the military or I forget it and buy one used months down the road. What is the likelyhood that I can get a 2002 or 03? Plus, at MSRP and without taxes? Either I buy new here or I get used. Both are alright, since this is my first scoot. However as other members have stated, I would have to buy used for the price I can get this bike new and possibly buy someone else's nightmare. I've got a couple days. I plan to make a final decision by Monday. Tuesday at the latest. Thanks for the reply. J.T.
 
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