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 Motorcycle Safety
 Rider Training Courses
 500 cc Harley V-Twin Learner Bike
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  3:43 PM                       Like
Just found this. A 500cc V-Twin is not in my opinion, "a learner bike". But what do I know about it?

Iconic American Maunfacturer, Harley-Davidson is releasing a 500cc v-twin learner motorcycle and considering building an electric Harley

Just checking ? no, it's not April 1. During its 110-year anniversary celebrations, iconic American manufacturer Harley-Davidson has dropped a couple of brand-twisting bombshells ? firstly that it's building a 500cc learner bike, and secondly that an electric Harley is under serious consideration.

Here's an interesting tidbit: if you search Google, you'll find 12,700 results that contain both the word "Sportster" and the defensive phrase "not a girl's bike." Try the same search using the Honda Shadow, another mid-level cruiser, and you get just 965 results.

The Sportster, of course, is the current mid-capacity cruiser line in the Harley-Davidson range, with 1200cc and 883cc engine models. That's bigger than most sportsbikes, but not big enough to escape the ridicule of certain big-bore Harley owners (1400cc and upward) who seem to think 883cc isn't hairy-chested or noisy enough to be considered a "real bike."

And that's the market into which Harley-Davidson is planning to release a 500cc learner machine, ostensibly to replace the excellent 492cc Buell Blast which was scrapped, along with the entire innovative Buell brand, back in the depths of the global financial crisis in 2009.

Despite any flak new riders might face, the move opens up several new markets for H-D including restricted-license riders throughout Europe and Australia, and aspirational customers through India and Asia, where a cheaper, 500cc Harley would still be bigger than most things on the road.

H-D's COO Matthew Levatich, speaking at the company's 110-year anniversary celebration in Milwaukee, said the as-yet-unnamed bike is "nimble, light weight, has a low seat height and supple throttle and braking. I?ve ridden it ? it looks great, sounds great, it?s a Harley, and it?s priced right"

Read the whole thing.


http://www.gizmag.com/harley-davids...e75-76713031

TonicBIA
Male Senior Member
382 Posts


Arlington, Va
USA

Triumph

Sprint ST

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  3:56 PM
Interesting. I've been hearing about this bike since HD let Erik Buell put the blast in a compactor.



The motor company spent the last few years lobbying states for their motorcycle training fleets to be inclusive of a bike with certain stats. It was a big deal in Va as apparently we had the strictest standard nationwide.

Interestingly enough I used to have 2 Yamaha Visions (XZ550) that I felt were perfect learner bikes- tame in the parking lot but enough oomph to hit the interstate and be comfy on for a year or more. They rode like a dream too. 550 cc V-twin, liquid cooled, shaft driven awesomeness.


Looking forward to seeing this new bike, the price and even the electric now that Harley moved from the knucklehead, to the panhead, to the shovel head all the way through each stage of innovation to their newest iteration- the showerhead!
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  4:44 PM
Would you start a class of 16 year old students on such a bike? would you start a 55 year old 5'1" student on such a bike? Or, assuming you have at least partial liability for any untoward outcomes, would you prefer something like 150 cc singles?

Not that the bike pictured above isn't suitable for some students, the question being is "would it be suitable for all students"? On the other hand there are some students whom are incompatible with motorcycles for any number of reasons and for whom any motorcycle would be a bad choice or lead to a bad outcome.

Edited by - gymnast on 09/03/2013 4:51 PM
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6884 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  4:55 PM
quote:
Originally posted by gymnast

And that's the market into which Harley-Davidson is planning to release a 500cc learner machine, ostensibly to replace the excellent 492cc Buell Blast which was scrapped, along with the entire innovative Buell brand, back in the depths of the global financial crisis in 2009.
This sentence alone, specifically the part that I've put in bold, makes me distrust the whole article.


Honda now has a pretty decent line of 500cc bikes. I think it's good that other manufacturers are finally starting to make some smaller bikes too.
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TonicBIA
Male Senior Member
382 Posts


Arlington, Va
USA

Triumph

Sprint ST

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  5:03 PM
quote:
Originally posted by gymnast
I have always held that, as much as possible, people need to be trained on what they will first be riding when licensed for the street. Imagine conducting driver education programs with with go carts and rider lawn mowers, license testing on those "vehicles" and then the newly licensed driver operating a regular car on streets and expressways.



I'm going to be mean and just steal a quote from you. I feel training a student on a motorcycle that can truly be operated in all environments outside of the course is ideal. The 500cc mark fits the bill in my mind as a bike that can be beginner friendly but still be able to keep up with traffic anywhere in the country be it the 80 mph average speeds on the DC metro interstates or the high altitude passes of Colorado.

With seat height I'm certain that Harley is going to address that better than they did with the Buell low given the complaints they received. If not they might do like many programs did and bring in a smaller bike to accommodate the gravitation-ally endowed.

Of the training bikes in the program we have a bit of variety but the Vision at 30.5 inches with a very narrow profile fits right into the mix.
Seat height
TU 250 30 inch
TW 200 31.1 inches
Ninja 250- 30.5 inches
XT225- 31.1 inches

We do have short bikes like the ones below, but both are wider. The rebel in particular is an issue for shorter riders that complain about the boxes on each side (one holds the battery) digging into their legs when power walking and when in line.

eliminator 125- 26.8 inches
Rebel 250- 27 inches

As to putting 16 year olds on them- it can't be worse than teaching classes of 18-20 year olds on 600 cc Race Replicas or higher. Thanks MSF military program exclusion! Rarely if ever is the power of the bike a problem in class. I actually have fewer incidents than I do with the eliminator 125 out in town which is known for having a very strong front brake.

As to liability- I fall under both the site's policy and my own personal rider. If the boys upstairs (MSF, State and Site) decided they want to approve the new Harley bike- then it's not a problem to me. I have coverage.
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  5:11 PM
"I'm going to be mean and just steal a quote from you."

Context is everything. Unless one is intentionally prevaricating.
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TonicBIA
Male Senior Member
382 Posts


Arlington, Va
USA

Triumph

Sprint ST

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  6:25 PM
Feel free to put it into context. I'm still looking forward to seeing this as a training bike.
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dhalen32
Male Moderator
841 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 09/04/2013 :  6:16 AM
Gymnast:
I would certainly prefer a smaller engine. I'm skeptical, but will reserve judgement until they actually show it to us, let us ride it, etc.
Dave
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 09/04/2013 :  8:25 AM
"Feel free to put it into context. I'm still looking forward to seeing this as a training bike."


"Would you start a class of 16 year old students on such a bike? Would you start a 55 year old 5'1" student on such a bike? Or, assuming you have at least partial liability for any untoward outcomes, would you prefer something like 150 cc singles?"

The presence of liability insurance insurance is a means of showing a willingness to take financial responsibility for matters where one may be found culpable of error.

A larger bike may be entirely appropriate for training in cases where a student has had previous riding experience and is taking the course mostly for the purpose of getting their license or in cases where intention of the student is to purchase a large displacement bike upon the completion of training.

Your comments related to the ergonomics requirements of the student in relation to the selection of an appropriate training bike are spot on.

There is little question that the bike is intended as a replacement for the Buell Blast for use in the Riders Edge Program.

Here is some additional information on Harley Davidson's 500cc V Twin which is intended for the Asian market (and, apparently, domestic use as a training bike). http://www.bing.com/search?q=Harley...&form=MOZSBR

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capozzir
Senior Member
303 Posts


Leesburg, VA
USA

Honda

GL1800B

Posted - 11/21/2013 :  9:00 AM
Just came across this article on the new HD Street 500. I found it interesting that HD will have a "kit" for the range bikes. Sounds like the reduction of speed in 1st and 2nd gear is a good idea and addresses some of the concerns I've heard about the use of larger displacement bikes on the range. The weight of the bike is less easy to address but may be appreciated by larger participants.

http://rideapart.com/2013/11/2014-h...00-review/2/
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Axiom2000
Male Moderator
1761 Posts
[Mentor]


Georgetown, Delaware
USA

BMW

F 800 GT

Posted - 11/21/2013 :  2:08 PM
I wish The Motor Company all the luck in the world with this new offering. I have no doubt they will find their way onto many MSF Ranges, of course price may be a big prohibiting factor in seeing them in great numbers.

We can all have an opinion about their suitability in a beginner-training environment. With what I know now I think they are too heavy and powerful for a rank beginner, of course I will keep an open mind until they are actually available for testing, it will be interesting for sure. Most likely if we end up with any, they will occupy the same role as did the Buells I had, that of Garage queens and dust collectors as far from the doors as they could be stored. Not saying we would never use them, on occasion when an experienced rider taking the BRC would request their use we would drag one out and place it on the battery charger for them to try.
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 11/21/2013 :  3:46 PM
Quote from the article linked to by capozzir:
quote:
The only time you really feel the extra weight is when attempting a very low speed, full-lock u-turn, where that weight wants to pull the bike down. Above about 8 mph, the Street feels as agile as a 250cc cruiser. Anything slower brings that immense and awkward weight back into the handling characteristics.
My Shadow, at 500 lbs., is guilty of this. I have often wondered how I could have handled the figure 8 during the BRC on my bike. I can make a decent tight U-turn on my bike now but back then I'm not sure I could have done it at the speed needed for the box. I am not saying the bike can or cannot do it, I am wondering if back then I could have done it on a Street 500.

I assume a drop during the exam is a fail(?).

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dhalen32
Male Moderator
841 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 11/24/2013 :  4:27 PM
quote:
Originally posted by capozzir

Just came across this article on the new HD Street 500. I found it interesting that HD will have a "kit" for the range bikes. Sounds like the reduction of speed in 1st and 2nd gear is a good idea and addresses some of the concerns I've heard about the use of larger displacement bikes on the range. The weight of the bike is less easy to address but may be appreciated by larger participants.

http://rideapart.com/2013/11/2014-h...00-review/2/



Capozzir:
Check out this thread on our site for more detailed information.
Dave

http://www.msgroup.org/forums/mtt/t...&whichpage=1
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dhalen32
Male Moderator
841 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 06/26/2014 :  6:30 AM
Well I finally got to ride one of the new Street 500s as our dealership finally received ours in early June. The controls seem very easy to operate although I felt that the bars were rather far away on the one bike that I rode. They seemed to be adjusted for a tall rider and since I rode the bike during a break in a class I did not want to adjust a student's bike in a way that might disturb them as four exercises had already been completed that Saturday morning.

It started easily and ran smoothly as the fuel injection seems very well sorted. The clutch had a very light pull and broad friction zone. The disc brakes felt just right for a new student. Good linear feel but not overly powerful as some felt they were on the Blast. The two RiderCoaches were complaining about clutch/friction zone adjustment on a lot of the bikes. We are still sorting out who is supposed to maintain the machines as they are under some sort of H-D warranty and we operate/store the bikes in our "metric" dealership. That will be resolved this week. I convinced the two RiderCoaches to simply adjust them on their own and it was all completed on all 10 bikes before they started class the following morning.

The vehicle protection kit seems to work well. However, the lean angle of which the bike is capable cannot be exploited in full as the "outrigger" scraped during my first attempt at riding the 135 degree curve of Exercise 13. This is probably a good thing but RiderCoaches will need to make the adjustment (as I did) so they do not ride the cornering exercises demonstrations at too high a speed.

The rev limter in first and second gear is very effective. I see this as a great feature. When a student panics and rolls on the throttle the bike simply will only go so fast. The fuel injection, ignition or both cause the bike the feel as if sombody has grabbed on to the bike and it simply will no longer accelerate. It should allow a new rider to regain composure and control and start to apply brakes, squeeze clutch, roll off of the throttle, or any of the above and come to a stop without harming themselves by colliding with a solid object. In my opinion this is a great advancement in rider training.

A dealership can also buy additional saddles in order to accomodate different sized riders. There are a lower and taller saddle available in addition to the standard height with which the bike is delivered. For our ten bike (plus two spares) fleet we purchased 3 low and 3 tall saddles to help both short and tall students fit their training bike a bit better. With one Phillps head screw being removed you can change saddles in about 30 seconds.

The bike is still heavier than the Blast but it certainly has a lot of improvements that make it a pretty decent training machine. However, anyone who would put these machines on a training range without that vehicle protection kit to save a few $$ is not thinking with much foresight.
Dave
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