In my last post, I asked a question of myself: Was I uninspired by the V Star 250 because it’s essentially uninspiring or because I dislike cruisers in general? I admitted that I missed horsepower, but all else being equal the little Star offers pretty much everything any other low-slung take-’er-easy ride does.
The assignment of riding the Wee Star aside, I’ve been spending a lot of time on small bikes lately. Some singles, some twins, all diminutive and very unintimidating. Most of these I liked quite a lot.
So, to see if my boredom with cruisers came simply from the Wee Star’s extremely modest performance, I decided to sample the genre by trying another cruiser. And to make sure that I distanced myself from all other variables in the situation, I figured I would need something scary with a lot of displacement. (I mean, we want to keep this scientific, right?) Lucky for me, there happened to be just such a cruiser lying around the office to put my theory to the test.
Specifically, a Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide. A hundred ‘n three cubic inches of baseball and apple pie. The starter motor labored for a couple of revolutions before the two huge cylinders jumped to life, making the wing mirrors perched above the handlebars shake violently under cold idle, as if quivering at the mere proposition of swinging a leg over such an unruly beast.
In truth, the Wide Glide is anything but unruly. Apart from a relatively long front end and high bars that make the steering a little heavy in parking lots, the WG rides predictably and amicably. In fact, it’s more than that. Halfway home from the office, blasting along the freeway at 2300 rpm, I felt myself break into a smile.
Was it accelerating and listening to the classic sound of American iron reverberating off the concrete walls of the on-ramp? Was it having gobs of torque on tap?
From my Wee Star experience I know that the low seat, forward pegs, and harsh rear suspension was not the reason this motorcycle was making me happy. It even burned my leg when I parked it and locked the steering head. Somehow I didn’t care.
I finished my commute grinning like an idiot and trying to figure out what just happened. The Harley had wobbled out of the parking lot, rattled my spine over freeway bumps, provided no wind protection, burned my leg when I parked it, and somehow had me feeling exactly how you should feel when you get off a motorcycle.
I have very little Harley experience and am in no way loyal, but I can say one thing for sure: I do not dislike cruisers. The Wide Glide is inexplicable. It’s loud, uncomfortable, and absolutely unapologetic.
Somehow, though, I’ve been charmed. Maybe there really is no replacement for displacement.