The First Year on My 2018 FLTRX
Thought I would do a one year mini-review on my '18 FLTRX.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my first 12,000 miles on this bike!!!
The M8 is the real deal in my opinion, and the engine management software is top notch. Roll-on power, engine braking, low-end torque are all excellent. Smooth.
My previous everyday rider was a '94 FLSTC. The (new) frame, handling and suspension upgrades are thankfully decades ahead of that old iron. The stock rear shocks lasted about 6K miles and started the sloppiness that i was accustomed to with the Heritage. Putting a set of Öhlins HD 772s from Smarty was the best upgrade I have ever done to any motorcycle. The bike handles like it's on rails now, and I feel much more confident going a little faster in the corners. Thanks, Smarty!
I recently acquired a take-off set of stock wheels and tires from a gentleman in a neighboring county. I've been wanting to swap out the (front) stock 19" wheel with a 17" wheel because the tire has almost twice the sidewall (130/60-19 vs. 130/80-17) and a little more "cushion." I've only got a couple hundred miles on the front so far, but I'm liking what i'm feeling. The front end feels a lot more planted overall. Although it requires a little more input to turn, it is not as "schitzy" in the corners. In a curve I would find myself over-steering with the stock wheel and it would require even more input to stabilize. The 80 series tire and 17" wheel will travel further out in a corner, requiring more input, but when you give it that input it seems to be a smoother transition. I guess I'm just not that "into" sport bike riding and handling on an 850 lb. touring bike lol
Cable clutches are still my preference, but that's another discussion. The '18 stock hydraulic clutch isn't too bad when you get used to it, but it can be a real bitch in traffic. The clutch engages way too late, and combined with the strong pull, stresses the outer digits of your fingers. There's no adjustment for engagement like there is on a cable clutch. I had the AIM clutch actuator installed last week, and it changes the friction point a little and takes a bunch of the effort out of pulling it. Much better! I've heard they've changed the system on newer bikes, so they're aware of the issue.
In retrospect I wish i hadn't upgraded the radio. The whole system is an embarrassment to both Harmon-Kardon and Harley. It was the best available at the time, but I wish I would have done my homework before purchasing. The GPS is OK, but the software is so outdated and clumsy that it's virtually useless. To have a unit on the market in 2018 that doesn't integrate seamlessly with another Bluetooth device is a crime. I think they worried so much about securing their engine management software that they neutered all the other capabilities. Seems everybody has a phone these days, so there's just no excuse for not being able to use it with this bike.
At my 1000 mile service i had the dealer install the Coolflow fan. Too many days in hot city traffic not to, in my opinion. It switches on and off automatically, so it's pretty much a no-brainer. It pulls air from the top of the rear cylinder and blows it out between the transmission and the right exhaust. My wife says it's warm but not uncomfortable on her feet. She scoots her right foot farther out on the footboards if it bothers her. If I shut the bike off and turn the fan on manually, the rear heads cool down faster than the fronts. So far it's been a nice upgrade and hopefully will keep running for a long time.
I guess I've been lucky because I've had none of the problems that evidently occur with these M8s. I do my own fluid changes and minor maintenance and have a local independent that reluctantly works on more complex issues because he's wary of all the warranty bullshit.
I remember when I bought my Evo how everybody dogged them because "shovelheads rule."
Seems to happen with every new engine the MoCo develops. Time marches on.
I only hope in 10 years I can say that this bike has given me every smile that my Evo did.
'18 FLTRX • '04 BAR HOPPER • '94 FLSTC • THE BEST BIKE ...is the one you're on!!!