Harley Sportster 1200, the Sound, the Looks

Last month was all about the daily grind for the Harley Spotster 1200 and I. Bad weather, traffic congestion, boring motorway kilometers... Not that the Harley couldn't cope, on the contrary, it took just about everything thrown at it, but neither of us felt quite at home. It's a bit like that Pamela Anderson movie 'Barb Wire' where the girl is rock climbing in high heels; it's doable, but you look a bit daft and you'd be much better off with a proper pair of boots.

It felt the same way with the Harley Sportster 1200. Like I said before, it's a surprisingly capable bike, but it's just not designed for wet weather on the Bangkok outer-ring. It felt like I was making it do things it didn't really want to do. So, I decided it might be a good idea to put it back in its natural habitat and go for a spot of cruising.
Of all the bikes I've taken home over the past few months, the Harley Sportster 1200 has been the biggest hit with my house mates and despite not many of them ever having any inclination to sample any other machine I've ridden home, I wasn't going to get away with a solo journey.

So, on jumped the first passenger and off we went into the sun-baked outskirts of Bangkok. I've never really ridden much with a pillion on board and was quite worried about the prospect of Saturday traffic in the capital with a non-motorcyclist on the back, but it was a piece of cake. With the weight low down, slow maneuverer were a doodle, everything staying well balanced and very stable. The enormous amount of grunt from the engine meant there was no need for frantic revving and clutch slipping to get underway, and aside from the rock hard, minimalist pillion perch, passenger one was very happy.

As was rider two; once confidence with the pillion situation had grown, I settled into the usual cut and thrust of Bangkok traffic. Again, the Harley Sportster 1200 just did what was asked of it, with no real complains. My only niggles being a spot of wrist ache from a heavy clutch and a bit of forward planning needed for braking - the single front disc did feel slightly overwhelmed by the extra weight on board.

Niggles aside, cruising and posing it the Harley's forte and I just couldn't belief the reaction it got. Even on a busy Saturday in central Bangkok, people stopped, waved, pointed and smiled as we passed. A coffee stop in Siam Square had a few passers-by interested, and we even got a nod from another Harley rider on Wireless Road - doesn't happen that often in the capital.
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