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GOING THE DISTANCE
"THE LIGHT BEAST"
Photo by Genghis
ALMOST AS LIGHT AS A NEW SPORTSTER?: My '71 Super Glide Mabel.
STREET CHOPPER MAGAZINE ROAD TEST OF THE 2012 IRON 883 SPORTSTER:
"The light weight (559 pounds) of the Iron made the bike really fun on the freeway and canyon carving. I liked the mid controls and most who ride old bikes will too. I was not cramped and the position felt better than other Sporties I have ridden with forward controls...."
1971 HARLEY-DAVIDSON SUPER GLIDE SPECIFICATIONS:
WHEELBASE: 62.7 inches
OVERALL LENGTH: 92.0 inches
OVERALL WIDTH: 33.0 inches
CURB WEIGHT: 584.2 pounds
Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that the new Sportster, is only 25 pounds lighter than my '71 Super Glide, Mabel? Are you kiddin' me, or what? What did The Firm do, add lead ballast to the new Sportster's frame? Hard to believe, man. To put this into perspective, the curb weight of my '68 XLCH "Sally the Bitch" was 450 pounds, more than 100 pounds lighter than the new Sportster. You can't tell me that the total weight of the new Sportster's battery and starter motor add up to that additional hundred pounds. Not so fast, math geniius!
I have to stand self-corrected. I just looked up the curb weight of the '68 Sportster XLH, which is 530 pounds. Theoretically then, the extra 80 pounds the new Sporty has over the curb weight of the magneto-fired XLCH of the same year, consists of the battery and electric start equipment. It all points to how nimble and tiny the 450 pound XLCH seemed by comparison to all others, whether of the 900 cc or Big Twin stripe. I tell ya what. I was able to throw Sally the Bitch around like nobody's business but my own, and pushing her powerless ass? It was like pushing a half-full shopping cart at the supermarket.
Sally was sure easy to work on too, when I had my Chinese Laundry Bike Shop (see earlier articles on this, if this confuses you).
Picking up her back end was as easy as dead-lifting half my max. Lifting Sally to put her onto a milk crate was as easy as pecan pie. It was ridiculously easy.
I've had occasion to push my Super Glide when shovel power was temporarily unavailable, so I can testify to how to much easier moving Sally as dead weight was, compared to motorvatin' the illustrious Mabel. But, as I've stated before, I feel that adding electric start to Mabel, was the single most significant mod she's had. It has amplified the riding enjoyment for me, beyond all reasonable expectation. Just hit the button and go, man. I can dig this the most in the early morn when cold shivers have yet to wane.
MABEL SHIVERIN' & SHAKIN' IN HER PARKING LOT:
Fired up and warming up this morning.
I ruminated on that this morning, when I fired up Mabel to take a ride. Just take her cover off and lock it in Amy's (Amy is our Ford F-150 pickup, who is in the same parking lot) bed, take the locks off, gas and ignition on, and hit that willing button.
Easy Rider never had this easy, gettin' the reward without The Ritual. Some treat kicking 'er over as a litmus test, but I don't need to hear that "There will be a quiz in the morning."
Electric start, where have you been all my life? For 18 years I honed my kickstarting technique, all the while wishing for electric start, and here you are, baby! Electric start I love you, and Mabel I love you more for it. I'll leave the kickstart fetish to others, for whom The Ritual is more important than it is to me. Different strokers for different folkers, and all that.
What a wonderful ride I had. As you can see, I lugged my camera along so I could take a couple of pictures. The first picture was at my office on East 9th Street in the Village where I had to drop some work off. It was a crisp 42 degrees at six in the morning, my favorite time to ride. At that time in NYC, there's little traffic, and great solitude. Solitude is a favorite thing of mine. Socializing is highly overrated.
Whoever said that riding a Harley is therapeutic, must be a psychiatric genius, because it's true---as all you scooter trash know. Harley riding as a mental salve, is an absolutely righteous given in the biker subculture, and an inherent benefit that goes with the job description of Biker. Who needs Valium? Just gimme my Harley 74, man. Old school therapy for an old school guy. Old guy, old Harley. It fits, let's go wheelin' and dealin', baby! Yesterday was Good Friday, and today was Good Saturday because of my Harley 74. Mabel is the Resurrection of my Spirits, a soaring Morning Mass down the blacktop, at 70 miles per hour.
Is it any surprise that bikers sound refreshed and exhilirated after riding their Harleys? I noted this recently with Snow after he rode Animal Mother, his hardcore '69 XLCH. He could barely contain himself in a post at the IH Facebook page. Hey Brother! Welcome back to Harley Land.
Hey man, Harleys Heal. When Pastor Seventy-Four lays her healing hands on me, I want to say, "Hallelujah!"
"Heal this child, now!"
Don't doubt it. Mabel's Healing Harley Hands radiate a health-giving aura, that soaks into the pores of my skin with every blast of her straight pipes.
For you camera freaks out there, the picture on 9th Street was taken at a shutter speed of 1/15th of second at f/4, and the parking lot pic of Mabel was taken a shutter speed of 1/4th of second at f/4. The shots were taken hand-held, as all of my photographs are. Tripods are fer lames, man. "Gun control" is a steady hand, and the same principle applies to photography.
Let's see how long my euphoria lasts. Mebbe all day. Later.