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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking forward to buying a softtail (dumping a Honda 650). Can't wait to trick it out but I know NOTHING about cycle mechanics. Can anybody refer me to resources where I can learn, for example:
How do you chrome out or replace parts, if you can't pull the parts off the bike yourself?
Is it best to customize (chrome, replace parts, paint, etc.) before you put many miles on the bike?
 

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nyaz,

If you are as you suggest absolutely not mechincal, then it might be best to plan on paying the bucks and having a dealership or reputable local shop do your work. Checkbooks and credit cards are always effective mechanical tools. LOL If you can't resist doing your own mechanical work, buy a shop manual and read it carefully before undertaking any project. FYI. Many dealerships provide hands-on mechanic classes (i.e. how to change oil, etc.) for free. Great way to learn!

As for your modifications, everyone has an opinion on when it's best and what is best. Read some of the other posts. You'll see that some riders have work done before they even drive away with their bikes. Others have the work done more gradually. Notice the phrase "have the work done". While some riders enjoy wrenching their own, many riders pay to have the work done by a reputable shop. And to some extent when you have work done may depend on what you can afford.

Ride safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response, Jim. I don't plan to work on the bike myself. I live in the Phoenix area. How would you suggest I find out who the reputable local shops are?
 

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nyaz,

I'm not from the Phoenix area but there are members on the Forum who live in AZ. They might have some suggestions. Road Captain Hippo lives over there in AZ. He might have some thoughts on good shops in the Phoenix area.

You may want to take a look at a highly rated noncommercial site recommended by Internet Navigator, aol (if that's a recommendation!), and others: www.Hawgeye.com The site provides real life customer experiences at dealerships and independent shops. While not perfect, you can definitely get a feel for some of the places based on the comments on the site.

Ride safe.
 

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Where in Phoenix do you live? I'm on the east side, and depending on your philosophy there are a few shops I can recommend, one run by old time bikers and one high end performance and fabrication shop.
Be careful, there are shops I wouldn't want touching my bike with a 10' pole.
What dealer are you buying the bike from?

If I were in your place I would ride the bike for a while and this will give you a better idea which way you want to go. It's real easy to fall into the monkey see, monkey do attitude. What one wants on a bike depends on the intended use of the bike and is usually refined over time, sometimes over several bikes time.

Even on a custom bike, you first need to have the concept down pat before you turn the first bolt. Adding stuff at random without a vision of the finished bike can end up in some pretty expensive and ugly stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This forum is great! I'm glad I discovered it. Pasadenajim, thanks for your advice. I'll check out Hawgeye.
Hippo, I would welcome some shop recommendations. I live in the East Valley. I plan to buy at the Chandler dealer, since its closest to me. I'll take your advice on riding the bike for a while before monkeying with it.
You mentioned what you do with the bike will influence how you customize it. I'm not looking to race, I just want to C-r-u-i-s-e, two-up, and any long trips will be limited.
My wife and I happened to go to the indian casino off Maricopa Road this past weekend and ran into a toy run. Were you there? It was fantastic seeing so many bikes up close! I'm obsessed, can't wait to buy.
 

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Yup, posted a bunch of pictures on another thread. The Casino was where the run ended in the afternoon. Most of us were on the road at 8 am.

That particular dealer used to whack you big time, but recently they have started selling to pretty close to MSRP, so it may be as good a choice as any. Some people seem to think their shop is not as bad as some others, but I have no first hand experience.

When you have the bike you can either e-mail me or join us for bike nite in Chandler on wednesday nights, or Tempe on thursdays, we are always there and you can get more then one opinion.
 

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You can also speak with Steve, the lead road captain of their HOG chapter, he tends to be a little politically correct but is a good wrench once he takes his vest off.
 

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Yep - ol' Hippo, as usual, is the wise one who keeps his head while the rest are losing theirs.

With a first Harley DO NOTHING for the first few thousand miles. Just ride and enjoy. Then make gradual changes - what looks or feels good - and Fu((KK the begrudgers!!!!

Use synthetic Oil - runs cooler in heat, starts better (better viscosity) in cold, lasts 10,000 miles and DOES NOT VOID warranty.

Use Liqui Tech Polish - or so they say because we cannot get it here!!!!


PROOOOZZZZACCCC time again... ....... .....
 

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Hey NYAZ !

You have a wealth of information in your homeboy Hippo. Take him up on his suggestion on the email thing. Hippo and I have been Amigos for some time now and I highly endorse much of what he says.

One thing that is important is in fact to wait, watch and then decide. Listen to the different bikes on the road and when you find the one with the right sound then discuss brand and performance of the pipes.

You can ride a stock Fatboy with pride until you find what you really want to do to it.

Although you said you won't be doing your own work you may find in time that will change. The suggestion of the service manual is a good one. Regardless of what you believe your mechanical talents to be now, you may surprise yourself over time.

Enjoy the new scoot and welcome to the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey Guys:
Thanks for the sound advice. I guess I will ride awhile before I do any customizing. Next step: rent a few different models to try out. So hard to chose! At this point its "narrowed down" to Softail (Deuce or Springer) and Dyna (Wide Glide, Super Glide, Low Rider). I know opinions are like
*-holes, but any non-subjective comparisons of these models - Handling, pickup, two-up compatability, and like that?
 

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How tall are ya and how much do you weigh? The reason I ask is many of the models are better suited to a particular rider based on this.

The idea of renting a few first is a good idea if you are unsure of what model you will pick.
 

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TC, just opened your attached pic. 'thought it'd be a bike pic. Surprise!
None of the women I know look like that.

Q: is that Osama's wife? (or a small taste of justice for him?)
Loved it!!!!!!! Hope others also enjoy it.
 

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TC, was laughing so when I was trying to post I inadvertantly posted twice. I've replaced the second message with this one.

Just showed the pic to my girlfriend, it's a classic!
 

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At that size, limited to the softails and dyna's, predominantly for riding two up, there is only one bike.

Heritage Classic

The only bike that comes close to a FLT for riding two up most of the time. Unless your OL is wonder woman you will need the bags.


I don't know that I would recommend a springer to a first time owner that does not turn wrenches.
They look good though.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
HIPPO:
Why the Heritage Classic? I appreciate the advice, but I don't like the looks of that model compared to, in particular, the FXSTD and FXDL. What are the pros & cons of each?
BTW, is it just me, or is it getting to C-O-L-D out there to be riding?
 

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Yup, colder then a witches ***, but we do what we do. On the 31st we have the polar bear run we do every year, and we are going up the mountain to Flagstaff, come hell or high water.


Good looking bikes, but I thought you said riding two up was a main consideration.

This is just one man's view, but you start putting saddlebags and wide pillions on them, maybe even sissybars, and they do not look quite as good as without them. Up to you.
A secondary consideration, riding in Phoenix, spotlights are a very good thing to have, even more when riding two up. They don't call it the red light running capital of the world for nothing.

There are still a few ladies that will drape themselves over a rear fender, but they usually are not new to the life.


Get a few opinions from other people, as I'm the sort of guy that thinks of a RoadGlide as a little bike. LOL
 
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