So if you’ve been following my last couple of blogs, you know that I have been pondering what to buy to replace my old Sportster. I think, last week, I left you with me, a suspicious-by-nature motorcycle accident attorney, in Orange County, looking at a used motorcycle. The bike, if you recall, was a 1993 Harley-Davidson FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide, in decent condition, with an odometer that read 46,000+ miles.
Despite having very-far forward controls that I could barely reach, I climbed up onto the gas tank (haha) and took the old girl for a ride. And I will admit, she rode well. Lots of pick-up, and tuned just right it seemed. But midway through the ride, I looked down to check out my speed, only to notice that the speedometer was not working. Hmmmm. Not working = not connected. Which, to me, means either it’s broken (less likely), or intentionally disconnected to hide mileage accumulation (more likely).
With that, the red flags went up for me. Looking over the guy’s paperwork, it looked as though he had put less that 1,000 miles on the bike in the past two years. If the odometer was accurate, that is. Which I know it wasn’t.
When I pulled the bike back into his driveway, I asked how long the odometer had been disconnected. He had a surprised look on his face like I had walked in on him in the bathroom.
“Huh? What? It is? That . . . uh . . . must have just come loose!”
Sure it did. So with that feeling in my gut that this guy may not be completely forthright, I thanked my new friend for his time and hit the road, looking for another deal.
A day later, I checked out another motorcycle in Orange County. Same year, make, and model as the last one, but a bit more my style. Another 1993 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide:
The first thing I noticed was that the bars, though cool, would need to be swapped out for me to ride her. (A couple more inches of pull back and it would be a whole lot more comfortable for me.) Second, and far more importantly, this bike was tuned terribly. My gut instinct is that she was jetted way too lean — as many Harley’s are. But common or not, the net effect was dreadful. She sounded like she was cooking up popcorn in the pipes. On top of that, there was serious hesitation when the throttle was rolled on. Plenty quick at the middle and top of the band, but I would definitely have to rejet this poor girl immediately.
After my ride, I talked to the owner for awhile. He was a very nice guy who clearly loved motorcycles. We talked about our families, and the importance of new riders taking a motorcycle safety course. And I almost made an offer on the bike. The looks, alone, had me chomping at the bit. But my concerns lingered about the poor tuning, and the fact that this bike had been run in that condition for a decade. Lean tuning may make for a fast ride, but it also runs an engine too hot. The fact that his buddy — presumably the same guy who had jetted and tuned the bike — had installed a performance cam, did nothing to further my confidence in the longevity of the engine.
I told the seller I was going to look at one more bike the next day in Bakersfield. But I promised that if I didn’t buy the motorcycle in Bakersfield, I would make him an offer within the next two days.
Will Sy find a used Evo Harley in decent condition for the right price? Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll tell you how about my trek up to Kern County, California, and my latest Harley Dyna test drive.