I put my first ride on my new Road Glide Special, Amber Whiskey at Daytona. I had test ridden a RGS months before when they first showed up at the dealer. My H-D Breakout was 8 months old when I saw the new RGS at Sturgis. I wasn't interested in trading it in when I got home but I did manage a test ride on the RGS. It was to short a ride wearing a full face helmet. Not ideal for my test ride. My other half rides on the back and isn't really happy with the accommodations of the Breakout. I figured I would stretch the budget this past January and buy the RGS to add to the stable. Draining the bank for its custom touches to make it mine had me anxious to get in the first ride months later.
Daytona Bike Week was a trailer ride away from the snowy northeast. The official worst winter ever on record. The camping location was at Beverly Beach Campground. The spot was amazing with my site right on the sea wall.
The morning view from the camper with the load door open and the screen down. Does it get any better?
I wheeled the bike out of the toy hauler and did a quick ride on A1A. It was AWESOME! First thought was my Lepera Nomad II seat dropped me a bit lower than my stock seat making the stock wind screen very effective for my 5'10" height. The 13 inch Holey Roller apes from Road 6 felt perfect. The motor pulled easily as the 103 with the air cleaner from RSD and SE exhuast and tuner made the bike very responsive.
I finished setting up the camper and then went on a ride to "The Loop". The back road winding loop was a perfect test loop for the new bike. The RSD 21" front wheel felt fine with no ill handling issues. The effect of the wheel made the bike hold a more straight line and resist turn in but in a turn it felt neutral. The look of the front wheel in the slightly raised stock fender was perfect. The gap is a lot tighter and cleaner looking to my eye.
Looks is subjective. I think the stock bike in Amber Whiskey is bland. The effect of the black / contrast cut, apes, 21" front wheel treatment brings out a cruiser look than a traditional bagger. All of it adds up to a bike that I think is one of the best looking bolt on baggers I've seen. Yes you can really go crazy with bagger customizing but this satisfied my desire for something different yet not outlandish.
My GF flew down to meet me. She wasn't too happy with the stock seat and worried my choice of a low profile Lepera Nomad II wasn't going to work either. Her fears were removed when we went on our first ride. The Nomad seat while not all day comfortable was good for an hour before both of us were ready to stretch our legs. Our age is around that 50 mark with mine over and hers just under. The tourpack I ordered was still on backorder so I didn't have it with us to give her a place to lean on. We didn't do much long rides as the record heat had us sticking close to the ocean breezes. All told the bike put on 800 miles in the week. Not bad for not really going anywhere but in circles.
The radio had the XM satellite radio added on. I travel for work in sales so listening to a station across states is a must for me. I hit places pandora won't reach and love the stations on XM. We listened to it all the time. I did have a few lock outs on my Boom audio Sat Nav system. I had to restart the bike a few times to clear it. I will update it soon to the latest rev of code.
The Sat Nav was GREAT in finding places listed in brochures. We used it all the time to get to the spread out locations at Bike Week. It made finding the spots drama free. I did find two issues with the Sat Nav. One is turning off the turn by turn mid stream was not intuitive. Finding the menu to Stop Route midstream had me stop at the dealer tent to get some help finding the sub menu. The other thing was the inability to change the volume of the turn by turn voice unless it was talking. Annoying but once up to speed I was able to be on the ready to lower it when approaching a stop light.
The new bag latches are great. Gone are the old complex units I had from my old 2000 Road King days. I don't miss them one bit.
I came away from the trip feeling impressed with the bike. I have never had a radio on a bike before and pretty much dismissed it as something that would take away from the riding experience. I found myself seeing the other side of the coin. I really liked hearing the radio. I wished it were louder and clearer but that can be dealt with. I did complain that the Screamin Eagle exhaust was too quiet when I first tested it in the garage. I was really unhappy with it but loved the look of the contrast cut tips enough to just deal with it. While at Daytona I realized that the sound from them is not that bad. Matter of fact a bit subdued on a bagger isn't such a bad thing. Maybe a blessing in disguise.
A couple of issues I had were with the Boom system cutting out and the Start Override Switch in the clutch lever didn't fully arm when the bike was in gear and the clutch was pulled in while starting the bike. This was intermittent. I don't know it it was a lever/grip change that was making it intermttent or if the switch was faulty. Something the dealer can look at during its service. Other than that it was the best bike I have ever owned. I think it's worth every penny I spent on it.
Looking forward to the detachable tourpack showing up along with SPRING!