WRIST: Grant Peterson
MSRP (2012): $14,849
MODS: None yet
As one who rides and relishes old iron, new motorcycles are an unknown quantity. I’ve tried to avoid riding them in case I was missing something I couldn’t afford, but a carrot was dangled in front of me in the form of a 2012 Harley-Davidson long-term testbike, and I bit. Now I just had to pick one—which proved tougher than anticipated! I stand 6-foot-3 and weigh 220 lbs., so a hot, little 883 wasn’t what I was after. And because the bike would be used primarily as a commuter on the overcrowded Southern California freeways (where we’re fortunate enough to be able to split lanes), I wasn’t going to pick a bagger. That left the Dyna family…
Shortening my short-list to a Dyna with a new-to-the-line, 103-cubic-inch Twin Cam motor left either the Fat Bob or the Wide Glide, which were not my first choices. I’m a Super Glide kind of guy—that bike looks more like Harleys have since the ’70s and less like a factory custom or wannabe chopper. The no-frills Street Bob would have been my second choice; unfortunately both of those models are for the “price-conscious” and still come with the old, 96-inch motor. I can’t imagine that a little bigger bore and pistons cost that much more! Maybe next year? The 2012 catalog doesn’t seem to offer a Dyna for someone more interested in performance than profiling.
That said, I decided to try the Wide Glide. I think the challenge here will be dialing-in the ergonomics to suit my height and riding style, since Harley appears to have set-up many of its bikes for smaller riders with low seat heights and a short reach to the bars. The Twin Cam engine and six-speed transmission are proven performers, but I’m looking forward to finding out how the rest of the bike stacks up as I ride (or should I say "Glide"?) up and down the 405 freeway every day.