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Biker Check: Harley's Switchback

By Edited Dec 18, 2015 0 0

Lose weight fast! Buy one get one! Just some of the very effective promoting and marketing words we believe Harley-Davidson would have easily incorporated into the promotional material to its newest model, the Switchback.

It seems most people as well as their physical trainer is always looking for the newest craze to quickly drop some pounds. Why not, reducing weight helps you look and feel better and you'll move more efficient and they're a bit more agile. Well, imagine if we said there was a weight loss program making it possible to lose around a hundred pounds without bringing down your Big Mac consumption or jogging a single mile? It is possible. Just roll in to your local Harley store and exchange that 812* pound Road King for a 718* pound Dyna Switchback. Plus, with a cost that rings in fifteen hundred dollars cheaper than a King, with the Switchback you're simply scoring yourself a BOGO value, seeing that the Switchback is basically two bikes in one.

Of course the concept of two bikes in one is not a new idea from Harley-Davidson by far; the company has provided convertibles under the FXR, Dyna, and Softail product lines. What's distinctive and diverse with regards to the Switchback is that having its 41.3mm front-end, chrome front lights nacelle, 130mm front wheel, floorboards, durable saddle bags, and an extensive FL-style fenders; it looks like from the Touring lineage and not just a Dyna with hard bags and a windscreen. Once you detach the windshield and saddle bags, well, it still kind of looks like part of the Touring family, pretty much undressed, simplified and sexier.

As you throw a leg over the saddle and hit the streets it becomes clear this motorcycle isn't the offspring of some overweight sofa glide. It's agile and powerful. I spent some time on the Switchback and everything from its looks and handling to the performance, storage space, and flexibility amazed me.

The Harley engineers really invested so much time when it came to setting up the steering and suspension to make certain the bike had the comfortable and plush drive of a touring motorbike, yet the maneuverability and handling of a Dyna. The front-end geometry, wheel features, and suspension are all developed to work as one to give detailed and easy steering.

Within the big fork is a 20mm cartridge which helps offer enhanced damping, and at the rear is a set of Nitrogen-charged mono tube rear end shock absorber with double rate springs. The back-end shock absorber is adjustable, which make it an easy task to set up the rear end suspension for solo, two-up, or loaded up riding. Back to the front, a 130mm Dunlop delivers a nice consistent footprint and bombing down the route, but the low profile design of the tire helps get the bike over and in and out of tight comfortably.

One thing I definitely noticed was that unlike the members in the Touring models which can sometimes give unwanted feedback in the form of trembling when upset by inconsistencies on the road at high speeds and high-speed turns, the Switchback was stable from wheel to wheel at excessive speeds, tight sharp turns, and once packed up and leaned in high-speed sweepers. Even when I gave the mini ape handle bars a good shove while driving straight down the road, the bike steadily held its line without the rear end getting squirrelly or needing time to settle down.

Motorized from the 103ci motor and supported by the 6-speed transmission, the Switchback goes to the spot where you want it, facing that big rig, comfortably. Given it won't break any speed records, although with the saddle bags totally stuffed plus a touring bag strapped to a baggage rack, I'm able to comfortably slip past heavy traffic on inclines without the need to shift it down into the 5th. Weighing in 43 pounds less heavy compared to the Heritage Softail Classic (761* pounds), and just 12 pounds heavier compared to the second heaviest Dyna, the Fat Bob (706* pounds), the Switchback is simple to fold back kickstand but is not so heavy which hinders the functionality or capabilities of the triple digit displacement motor. Bolted right side of the rubber secured motor is a chrome 2-into-1 straight cut tailpipe that offers a reasonable note and offers the bike a lot more of performance look instead of the dual vintage look found on most touring styles. And unlike the Touring designs that have tailpipe system fixed towards the rear end of the saddle bag sustains, Harley-Davidson builders developed the rear end exhaust hanger bracket to mount the back of the drive train and to actually move with the drive train. With over-all weight a primary concern, Harley-Davidson opted for an aluminum rear end hanger clump rather than metal.

Slowing the Switchback down or arriving in an immediate halt a four piston set front caliper and 300mm regular expansion floating rotor, along with a double-piston torque-free back caliper getting upon a 292mm rotor. The motorbike I analyzed was with the Security Package Option that bundles the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with the Smart Security System.

The Switchback looks like it could be the Road King's much younger sibling, which is awesome considering that King has become a favorite within Harley enthusiasts. Dimensions of the motorcycle are right considering the saddle bags weighing about 25 percent smaller compared to a regular FLT saddle bag and a 4.7-gallon tank instead of the 6-gallon tank that comes with the King. Even though the bags are smaller sized, I was able to stuff into them a coat, a couple of shirts, a roll of toiletries, and a camera in one bag alone, by attaching a sissy bar or maybe a baggage rack and putting a sizable travel bag and hooked up my motorcycle helmet on the side, I'm able to pack just enough gear along with me for a two-week ride.

 

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