If you follow TMO on Instagram, I should warn you now: you’re going to see a whole lot of Harley stuff over the next several days. In particular, I’ll be trying to master our Stories game, to give a real sense of the trip to and from Prague.
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As I write this, I am sitting in a basic hotel in the middle of Nowhere, France, having put in an almost-500-mile day on the Street Bob. Be sure to look out for next week’s journal for details on how well the bike held up over 2,000+ miles. Yes, I did secure an American flag to the sissy bar.
This past week, however, the focus was on sorting out the final details for this trip, as well as throwing some miles on the bike for the sake of getting myself long-distance ready. One thing that really surprises me about the Street Bob is its ability to be comfortable over long hauls.
Well, relatively comfortable. It’s no Indian Roadmaster, but the experience of sitting in the saddle for mile after mile is less excruciating than I would have anticipated. Yes, your rear end gets a little sore after an hour or two, but thankfully the tank only holds 13 liters of dino juice; you’ll have to make a stop every 150 miles or so to keep the Dreaded Fuel Light at bay.
Still, I do wish I had listened to Tod Raferty’s advice and bought an Airhawk seat cushion. Harley-Davidson’s stock seat for the Street Bob leaves something to be desired after a while. My luggage system helps – the four Kriega bags I’ve strapped to the passenger seat – US 30 + Us20 + US 20 + US 10 – serve as a very comfortable backrest.
Regardless of some discomfort, I absolutely love this bike. I keep wanting to counter myself, to curb my enthusiasm on the Street Bob, to be a true and good moto-journalist who criticizes this bike for its weight and lack of power. But it’s just so stupidly fun. Addictively so. I am getting to the point where I need to spend time on this bike.
It’s the intangibles stupid. That’s what this bike is about. It can’t beat any bike in its price range when it comes to performance numbers. Hell, it can’t beat bikes that cost considerably less. A Street Bob is more expensive than a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 but has less power and fewer amenities. But I’ve ridden both and it’s the former that has me craning my neck to check my reflection in shop windows as I ride past.
“That’s me!” I’ll think. “I’m that guy! I’m the cool guy on the Harley.”
I can hear your arguments against this kind of petty thinking, and I agree in principal. Your arguments are valid and correct. But then I fire up that monstrous V-twin and I just don’t care. I can’t hear you over the rumble of my freedom, man. The whole thing is so stupid and so wonderful.
So, I made sure to put 500 or so miles on the bike in the week before the Prague trip. Officially I did this to ensure I was physically ready for the trip – to identify any issues that might come up on a long-haul journey and work out ways to address them. This is what I told my wife I was doing. Really, I was just riding and riding and riding, and wishing very much that I didn’t have to stop.
Maybe this trip to Prague will help me get my fix. Maybe it will just make things even worse.