Well, a week on the Nightster – time for some initial thoughts.
It’s not a Daytona.
Its really quite a different riding experience. In fact, due to the high Nightster’s handlebars, I would say it feels closer to a motocross bike than a road bike. The big wide bars mean you can push it around corners fairly easily, and you are sitting bolt upright, nearly to the point of leaning back, so it’s a really different stance to the old bike.
Brakes? What Brakes?
I think the rear disc on the Triumph was nearly as big as the Harleys front! Well, not really, but going from a dual disc to a single disc is quite a change – and I am quickly learning the value of applying some rear brake as well – something I had all but forgotten on the 675. If I don’t grab enough front, I won’t stop in time. It’s not really as ‘sure’ as the old bike either, but, it’s also something I am quickly getting used to – and I don’t really think I will be needed to stop as quickly on it either.
My god. The sound.
Is just so awesome. This particular Nightster bubbles and spits on decel a lot. Which I love. But reading up indicates it may be also running a bit lean – which I will address at some point with a Vision Commander. I believe the factory chip has been flashed to match the Short Shots and Hi-Flow – but I will be tinkering more – so something self programmable is going to be important. Regardless – it is loud, but the thump of the engine and the gurgle of the pipes is infectious!
Talking of the engine – it shakes
On the Nightster, sitting at the lights in neutral, or just sitting on the bike full stop is an experience. The V shakes and basically, well, thrubs under you. Compared to the 675, which I will now describe as smooth as silk, it’s a much more ‘raw’ experience – which is something I am really enjoying.
Hold On – it’s got no fairings
Which means above 100kmph, it becomes an experience to ride. The riding position, coupled with the fact it has no fairings – means you have to hang on. I can see the neck muscles are going to get stronger holding my head in place. Despite how it might sound, I am actually really enjoying the roughness of the ride – unlike the old bike, which was like a scalpel, you really feel like to have to ‘ride’ the Nightster
Holding On – Hand Grip and Indicators
One thing I am still getting my head around are the grips – well, not getting more head around, more, trying to fit my hands around.
Because I am taller that Harleys intended rider, the standard handlebar and therefore grips force my wrists both back, and out. I can alter the back bit by losing off the levers and adjusting them forward, but the pullback will require me to change handlebars – and I think the solution may be Clip-Ons. Because my wrists are pushed slightly out, the lower part of my outer palm sits on the grips, and, all my gloves have either hard or soft armour right there – the result is that I shift my hand out on the grips, and now, I can’t reach the indicators properly. This essentially means I need to let go of the throttle to hit the indicator – which is less than ideal.
My back still hurts – but now in a different way
I am not sure what the ‘average’ Nightster rider height is meant to be – but it’s certainly shorter than me. While better than the rear-sets I have been used to, the mid controls are still a little cramped – so I will be putting on forward controls in the near future – however, I also want to stretch out my top a bit as well – so considering clip-ons – and the combination could make for a very interesting riding stance – much like a ‘<‘ posture. We shall see what the back things of that.
So much to do!
What I do love about the Nightster, is that there is such a developed tinkering community. So much to customise, and so much information on how to do it yourself. I have been reading up heaps online and am forming a list of mods to do to the bike – both cosmetic and performance wise. The good thing though, compared to the Landrover, is that its all much smaller scale – so the mods can be done quicker and easier.
Pulling Stuff off – putting it back on
Nearly immediately after getting home, I unbolted the front fender as the beginning of my ‘bobbing’ process; and then put it back on 2 days later.
It’s amazing – ride it in the rain without a fender and you get a constant fountain of water that comes up over the front of the bike and straight down onto the middle of your visor. It’s uncanny how accurate it is.
I have come to the conclusion that most people who bob their Nightster’s, don’t ever ride them in the wet. So – I am going to have 2 modes for the bike – middle of summer and rest of the year.
Its totally different to the 675, which is what I wanted – an new experience and a new buzz. Go the Nightster!