I have been riding since I was 12 years old, primarily on the dirt or on the back, bumping helmets. I decided on my 51st birthday that I wanted a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy—no discussion. With the new wide tires on the 07s, well, I just couldnt pass it up.
I went to the dealership without a license or a second thought. I walked right up to the sales guy and told him what I wanted and bought the bike. But then there was this one little detail: I didnt have a motorcycle license, and at my age, I was not going to tempt insurance rate fate. So I waited for my husband to come home from a business trip, and he picked the bike up for me. Meanwhile, I signed up for my MSF class. Not a well-thought-out plan, but I got my bike.
Of course, there were a few little glitches with the bike, primarily that it was too tall (I am only 5-foot-4), so I had the Harley-Davidson suspension kit installed before we brought it home. This was also the first year of the redesign, and there just wasnt much else available from Harley-Davidson to make it fit me. So I began the personalization effort while I waited for my license. I pulled the passenger seat and footpegs, and I found a luggage rack at Motherwell Products to fill in the fender. Next was the low-profile Mustang Solo seat—huge improvement. I could touch the ground with both feet, toes only.
After the seat was lowered, I became quite up-close-and-personal with my engine. I dreaded intersections, and, well, summer as a whole. The Kuryakyn heat deflectors were my new best friends. “Wow” is all I can say about those. I added a Harley-Davidson detachable windshield and windshield bag, but because I am vertically challenged, even the small Harley-Davidson windshield was a few inches too tall. I would get motion sick while riding on rolling roads, so I had a custom windshield made at Rifle—sweet. Oh, then I knew I needed sound.I really wanted to be heard but also be able to think while I rode,so I went with Rush slip-ons—a nice little purr.I also added lots of chrome, a few extra lights in the front and rear, and a chrome tool box.
The handlebars were tearing up my back on long rides and quickly becoming a real issue, but I dreaded this expenditure because it was going to involve new bars, and possibly risers, not yet on the market. Because I was adding height and pullback to the bars, I wanted to grab anything that could possibly be added to the bars at the same time. I went through a series (three sets) of handlebars. While all of that was being done, my bike was in the shop for the whole summer (three months downtime). The handlebars were a big-ticket item and ultimately a really bad experience. In the end, I have the same bars I started with mounted on $100 Drag Specialties pullback risers.
So 18 months later, and a lot of lessons learned, I have a ride on which I feel confident. Shes solid on the road, comfortable on long hauls, and holds her own on the open highway and especially loves the mountain roads. However, Ive already picked out my next bike. This experience has helped me make the selection.
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