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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Back! My Softail Custom is Back!

 Right out of the shop at Patriot Harley Davidson

Back near the end of May, some idiot, paying attention to everything EXCEPT what was in front of him, rear-ended me at a traffic light! As it turned out, I was OK, but there was $3,500 worth of damage to my 105th Anniversary Softail Custom, and I bitched about the event in an article back in June. (click here to read).

Most of the replacement parts parts didn't take long to get, and installation didn't involve that much labor, but getting the painted tin out of Harley Davidson was an entirely different story. It took damn near 2 1/2 months to get the fenders! Patriot Harley Davidson finally put 'er back together for me, delivering it just after I got back from Southern Comfort 2011!

Getting the bike back was a really nice surprise when I got back, and George and Jeff at Patriot get TWO GOLD STARS for helping me through the entire process, making sure my bike was fixed properly. GEICO also stepped up the plate, approving all suggested repairs....No bitching and quibbling at all. Thanks to everyone.

Very first stop, but you knew that, right?

As soon as I got it home, up on the lift it went so I could replace the front rotor and pads, which I'd ordered last May.

Back at home with it's siblings and up on the lift for brake work.

The front rotor got warped somehow, and it happened not too long after I bought the bike. One day I started noticing a "pulsing" when I hit the front brake, and it just got more and more annoying as time went on. So I picked up a chrome replacement on eBay for about a hundred bucks, some new rotor mounting bolts, and new brake pads. 

I read somewhere that you should always use new bolts when replacing the rotors, and for reasons not entirely clear. It could be because new bolts have locking goop in the threads, which is gone when you remove them. I reckon just using Loctite on the old bolts would do the job, but for 10 bucks, I replaced the bolts with new ones, deciding to cut corners on money someplace else besides my brakes! Cheaper beer? Cheap women? (Is there such a thing?)

And I used Loctite anyway, along with the compound in the new bolt threads. Double-locked! Now some Yahoo will write me a note, telling me one of the thread-locking compounds cancels out the other, creates acid, and eats the damn bolts away! I'll let ya know. Or not......

it's a quick and easy job to replace the rotor and install new pads

Done deal....

And right about here, I got to thinking, which (as all my friends know) can be dangerous. I was thinking that I just installed a very smooth, chrome rotor which had unknown friction characteristics, and maybe....just maybe...the fucking bike wouldn't stop! Now that might seem was...but I still rode up to that first red light S L O W L Y, making damn sure the brakes worked. And then I gradually got used to the idea that a chrome rotor worked just fine, LOL.

Time passes........

So I've had the FXSTC back about a week now, and the Joker has been tucked away in the back of the garage while I've ridden the Softail. I gotta tell you....I've been on the Joker all summer (I'm damn glad I bought that second bike!), and certainly got used to a rough-riding, ornery old complaints about it at all. But the two bikes couldn't be more different!

Getting back on the FXSTC is almost like riding on air. I don't have to tense up at every little crack in the asphalt, knowing I'm about to get hammered! And even with my loud pipes, the Softail is damn near quiet in comparison to the Joker. And you don't have to run it at 3,000+ RPMs to keep it from rattling itself to death! In short, My Softail Custom is a well-mannered, easy-riding bike, reminding me how I managed to ride all those miles last year.

So this chapter is closed. One idiot's stupidity turned into getting lots of sparkly new hardware, so it wasn't all bad, and of course, I wasn't hurt. I had the second bike so no riding got missed either. All things considered, I guess it turned out OK, though I sure hope there ain't no next time. And I hope the idiot gets a super-high rate increase when his insurance comes up for renewal. If nothing else, that might make him pay some fucking attention to motorcycles.

And that's about it. It's been so long since I had the Softail Custom, I feel like I've got a new bike! Heck, it even LOOKS new. Since it's been on the shelf all summer, it escaped a lot of summer miles, so I'll let it rest up for a long run next Summer. Sturgis? Now THAT's an idea.......


PS The Softail has a back seat and passenger foot pegs, so maybe I can start dating again? Just sayin'.