Iím a former Harley Davidson owner who loves your website. I feel compelled to share my experience with my ex-hog with the hope that my story could help others avoid the mistakes I have made. I would ask that it you upload this email to your website please do not include my email address on the site. I would prefer keeping my anonymity. I would be honored it you uploaded this email to your site without my email address however.

The first important distinction I need to make is that I am a cruiser rider. I donít have anything against sport bikes Ė I just like the way cruisers ride. I like loud, low riding bikes and I like leather and chrome. I had always wanted a Harley and until last year I had owned a Suzuki Intruder and a 1500 Vulcan Drifter. I made excuses like ďwhen I can afford a Harley I will get one.Ē In retrospect I can see the insecurity in such statements. Last year I had the money for a Harley and I bought one.

My Softail was a fine example of the famous machine from Milwaukee. It was decked out in lots of chrome, 1 ĺĒ drag pipes, $2000.00 worth of custom paint, ape hangers and a dual 42mm carburetor with a big custom intake. It looked great but the honeymoon period ended quickly. Harley Davidson ownership came with many rules I was unaware of prior to my purchase.

Iíve listed a few of the rules of Harley ownership as follows:

1. Always make sure your bolts are tight. I never had to tighten the bolts on my import bikes so imagine my surprise when things started falling off. The average HD shakes harder than a British au pair (please excuse me for the obscure Louise Woodward murder conviction reference). While showing off my new ride to a friend he noticed a bolt was gone. It had been there earlier that week. Several of the chrome goodies came loose in short order also. What a bummer. I learned rule number one quickly.

2. Always use a good thread lock. Within a month I had learned that it did not matter if I tightened the bolts because they would come loose quicker than I could keep up with them.

3. Park your HD on a mat. Oil spots began to appear in my garage. My friends admitted they place rugs on the floor of their garage. ďA Harley has to leave its markĒ quipped one of my friends. This drove me crazy.

4. Keep a quart of oil in the saddlebag. One of my Harley friends said this is what he has always done. Just check it once a week and you will be fine.

5. Always warm your bike up for about 5 minutes. I may sound cold hearted but Iíve never warmed a bike up. I like to get on and ride. The only problem with my Harley was the backfiring that occurred. I couldnít get the carburetor tuned well enough to make it run in cold weather. Even if you warm the bike up the air temperature of the wind rushing past the jugs cools the engine unevenly. A couple of rides at 15įF and the head gaskets were cracked. This didnít help with the oil leak problem I already had.

6. Donít rely on your mirrors. I couldnít see out of mine. The vibration was too intense.

7. You will loose money on a Harley if you factor in the price of parts and upkeep. I always heard Harleys are a great investment compared to metric cruisers. The sad reality is that the Harley was the only bike I ever lost money on. I sunk a ton of money into this bike to keep in running long enough to sell it. It was very important to me that the bike be in good shape before I advertised. I didnít want to screw somebody on a sale so I made sure it was in good working order and I sold it as fast as I could.

This spring I bought a new 2004 Vulcan 2000. Itís perfect for me. The Vulcan 2000 has a 2000cc (125 cubic inch) V Twin engine, a 200mm rear tire and a belt drive. Iíve reached 125 MPH with ease on this bike. I donít need to tighten bolts, add oil, my mirrors work and I threw the oil stained (Harley parkiní) rug away.

Since buying the Vulcan several people have suggested I probably wish I had a Harley instead. Now I just smile politely and say ďnoĒ. The reality is I have reached a point in my life where I can afford any motorcycle I want regardless of the price. I have chosen Kawasaki.