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Rented an FLHX over the weekend for a long "test ride" of a touring model, and this one was the worst handling motorcycle I've ever ridden, especailly at slow speeds, coming to a stop, or being "twitched" by grooves in the pavement. (There had to be something wrong with this particular motorcycle, not FLHX's in general.)

I drove a 2000 FLHR for about 25 miles this summer, and what an easy bike to ride. Shouldn't all the touring models handle similarly? I currently have an Heritage Classic, and was thinking about moving to a touring Harley, but the rental is making me rethink that.

I'd like to go back to the dealer later this week and have a talk with someone there about this FLHX, and other touring models, and see if we can figure out if something is wrong with that particular bike. Now they are not going to be welcoming of that at first, so I want to do my homework first.

What are the common ailments in an '07 street glide with 16,000 miles that would make it handle like a pig at slow speeds or when getting ready to stop? Or some not-common problems to look for? Thanks.
 

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HATER OF THE GRAVEL!!!!!!
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The street glide is a lowered bike, and that changes the geometry.

I have a Electra glide, and it handles really fine, it is the 2007 with the new multi valved forks.

As to the following the groves, that is the Dunlop 402 tires.

as to the slow speed handling, that is the weak point of the tour bike line, there high center of gravity helps them at speed be very light and responsive, but the parking lot speeds, it is handful indeed.

Take a Electra glide out, I think you will like it far better.
 

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~~Finder Of Paths ~~
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sounds like it was handling like my '06 Ultra did when a rear wheel bearing went out. to make it worse it was at 30,000 and dealer says its a wear item they wont warrenty it... $180 to replace them and I took them the wheel, they didn't even have to remove it! wont be using my local dealer again for any work at all, there is no way that bearing should have gone out unless it was bad to begin with, service writer even admitted he had seen some come in at 15,000 miles with bad bearings and stated "its a wear item cant warrenty it". At 100,000 maybe but 15,000 or 30,000 miles no way.
 

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My guess would be the tires were worn flat. I know when mine get that way the bike grabs every groove and bump on the road. I do a lot of high mile interstate riding and they get worn flat. 54,000 miles on it now. I have got to start riding more twistys.
 

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Sounds to me like you got ahold of a bad example. I would strongly suggest you go back and take a turn on another X or a RK or even a RG as there's not really a noticeable difference; these machines all handle extremely well given their size/class. It may be that the previous bike had a low tire or lose steering head or maybe even hidden damage, who knows?
Did you report your impressions to the mgr? Did he hop on and check it out?
Just wundrin...
 

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Chart said:
Rented an FLHX over the weekend for a long "test ride" of a touring model, and this one was the worst handling motorcycle I've ever ridden, especailly at slow speeds, coming to a stop, or being "twitched" by grooves in the pavement. (There had to be something wrong with this particular motorcycle, not FLHX's in general.)

I drove a 2000 FLHR for about 25 miles this summer, and what an easy bike to ride. Shouldn't all the touring models handle similarly? I currently have an Heritage Classic, and was thinking about moving to a touring Harley, but the rental is making me rethink that.

I'd like to go back to the dealer later this week and have a talk with someone there about this FLHX, and other touring models, and see if we can figure out if something is wrong with that particular bike. Now they are not going to be welcoming of that at first, so I want to do my homework first.

What are the common ailments in an '07 street glide with 16,000 miles that would make it handle like a pig at slow speeds or when getting ready to stop? Or some not-common problems to look for? Thanks.

The twitching by the grooves can be explained in this article. http://www.bikernet.com/garage/PageViewer.asp?PageID=1673

I can say that the big HD full dresser or even just the bagger touring bikes take a little different skill than any other bike I have ever ridden in my nearly 20 years of riding.
 

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Jeffytune said:
as to the slow speed handling, that is the weak point of the tour bike line, there high center of gravity helps them at speed be very light and responsive, but the parking lot speeds, it is handful indeed.

Many police departments use the Electra Glide or Road King as thier 2 wheel speed abatement, these bikes handle extremely well at low speeds. The trail on these bikes make them great to use as a trike or a sidehack, which makes them not as great at high speed. These bikes are very nimble with the proper training. Many people can not handle any motorcycle at low speed and we all need the practice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the suggestions

Following are answers to some of your suggestions and comments:


My biggest concern is with the slow speed / comming to a stop handling of the cycle. The following of the grooves was a minor problem compared to the other.

What is best way to check for steering head / wheel bearing problems without putting it up on an lift. I doubt they will take the time to do that with me, and I'm looking for quick & dirty ways to see if that's the problem.

The front tire looked almost new, and I failed to look at the rear tire. But, they were Dunlaps, and I run Metz's on my softail.

I did not report this to the manager upon returning it, as I was already late for another apointment and did not have the time. Hope to correct that this week, but expect their first responses to be "Oh it's just a different motorcycle and it's just driver error" or something equally dismissive. The only point to this thread is to gather thoughts / ideas as to why it may have handled the way it did. The rental department's season ended that weekend, so I don't think someone else would get stuck with that cycle in the mean time.

Getting used to riding a touring frame I don't think is the issue here. My father has a classic 1972 FLH, and he can't ride anymore so I take it out a 2 -3/year just to run it. It's not here, so I can't look to see if the forks are behind the stem as they are today, but I expect they are.

The 2000 RK I rode this summer for about 25 miles was mixed city/highway driving. I was amazed at how well balanced and easy to ride it was. You could come to a stop and put your foot down whenever you got around to it. Real slow speed riding: No problem. It was easier to balance than my Heritage at slow speeds in stop-and-go traffic. I understood why the Police and the Shriners used them. It was easy to ride.

Flash forward to last weekend: Coming to a stop expecting to put down your left foot, and the bike falls to the right. Real slow speed riding, like what you'd do waiting for your turn at a stop sign, and the bike would try to fall over. This was made much worse with my wife on the back, of course, but she's an experienced passanger with thousands of miles behind me on 4 different motorcycles, so she knows what she's doing. I'd have to come to a complete stop in slow merging corners because keeping the rental upright required complete focus, and turning my head to check for cross traffic might have allowed the cycle fall over.

I didn't realize how bad it was until returning it, and getting on my Heritage to ride home. Even in the parking lot my bike felt rock steady compared to the rental. At corners I could slow-ride and turn my head to check for traffic with no problem.

Please understand, I rented this planning trade my Heritage for a Road King with ABS before next season. The rental department did not have a RK available, so I took the SG thinking they would behave in a similar manner. Now I am seriously questioning trading motorcycles, and would like to figure out what was wrong with the rental so I can have the confidence to move to a touring model. Thanks again.
 

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I own both

04GLIDE said:
My guess would be the tires were worn flat. I know when mine get that way the bike grabs every groove and bump on the road. I do a lot of high mile interstate riding and they get worn flat. 54,000 miles on it now. I have got to start riding more twistys.
A ultra and a SG. The wife drives the SG but i take it from time to time. Recently she was saying it didn't feel right. So we switched and it felt like crap!!! Back home I check the tires which looked fine.....holy crap only 20 pounds in the front tire. Put some air in "36" and bingo a new bike. A soft tire is hard to spot but it is dangerous and pressures should be checked often.

The one inch lower in the rear of the SG doesn't do diddley to change the handling unless you have 2 full size people on it then it does.
 

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I think you were experiencing the significant difference between touring bikes and softails due to the softails much lower CG.
 

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I went from a Wide Glide to an Ultra and LOVED the Ultra's low speed handling immediately.
The bike you rode had a problem.
 

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Would a bad front engine mount or bad swing arm bushings cause the same kind of issue since the swing arm, engine, and transmission are pretty much mounted as a unit?
 

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Air Pressure?

Did you check the tire air pressure? I test rode a BMW touring bike one day. It handled awful. I went a mile down the rode and came back. I asked them to check the tire pressure. Both tires were under inflated. Filled them up and it was a totally different bike. Under inflation is a common problem with motorcycle tires. Riders do not check it enough. My 2 cents.

Deac
 

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Went from a Low Rider to a RK Police and I am amazed at the handling of this much larger scoot....not as nimble and quick as the FXDL...but the long distance ride of the RK makes up for it....like riding a big loud cloud.
 

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bigbluff said:
Would a bad front engine mount or bad swing arm bushings cause the same kind of issue since the swing arm, engine, and transmission are pretty much mounted as a unit?

Simple answer:

Yes, they would allow even more lateral movement of the drivetrain than already there due to physics. Side to side movement anywhere along the drivetrain will allow the tracking of the rear tire to change versus staying steady when cornering and would shift the balance from one side to another while stopped in some cases.
 

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04GLIDE said:
My guess would be the tires were worn flat. I know when mine get that way the bike grabs every groove and bump on the road. I do a lot of high mile interstate riding and they get worn flat. 54,000 miles on it now. I have got to start riding more twistys.
That and even low tire pressure will squirrel it up.
 

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04GLIDE said:
My guess would be the tires were worn flat. I know when mine get that way the bike grabs every groove and bump on the road. I do a lot of high mile interstate riding and they get worn flat. 54,000 miles on it now. I have got to start riding more twistys.

Exactly, This would be my first suspect. My 04 EGC handles like a dream with good rubber. As soon as the rear tire starts wearing flat the thing is all over the place at low speeds and becomes very obnoxious, even worse at low speeds with cold tires. If the handling improved slightly with warm tires its probably the problem. I start seeing this at about 8000 miles on my rear Metzlers.
 

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I agree on the tire pressure as well as the state of the tires. Rental companies are usually very conscientious about maintenance, but the pressure could have been low. Also, there may not have been any air in the rear shocks, which would make it a little squirrelly two-up when on uneven pavement.
 
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