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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some may know that although I embrace new tech , I also am a firm believer in new is not always better .. There is no right or wrong answer here , just
your thoughts . We all started riding at different times in Harley technology , some have never ridden a Harley with a carb or a chain final drive for example ..

I go back to 1971 and a 1969 Sprint SS350 as my first Harley ..

Since then I thinketh the one greatest improvement would be a toss up between disc brakes and EFI .. the disc brakes , anyone who has ever ridden a drum braked Harley on a rainy day knows the excitement that can provide .
And anyone who has ever had a carb'd Harley ,knows fuel management is poor , especially pre EVO , when the oil changes every 2000 miles smelled of gas ..

JtB
 

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The biggest improvement is FI, IMHO. I sold my beloved '91 FXR because I was completely spoiled by the FI on both my Dyna and my RG.
 

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I think you're spot on with disc brakes, Jack. I've never ridden a drum-braked Harley, but I had a couple of drum-braked metrics and I had to plan my stops well ahead of time.

Disc brakes = better performance + much easier to work on. You don't see that combo too often in tech improvements.
 

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Getting rid of the rear tapered bearings.



ELECTRIC START....... just dated myself, didn't I?
 

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I'm with you on the disc brakes, not so much on the EFI, other than the "starting sequence" (petcock, choke, couple of squirts) required, the Zenith on the '76 Sporty and the SE 51 on the '01 Switchblade were / are good to go. (the S&S Super B on the '81 FXWG was a different story though:eek:)

Offhand, the belt final drive and electronic ignition would be near the top of my list, especially the belt...
 

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Both my 93 FXLR and my 89 FLHS have S&S Super E's,the 93 has had the S&S on it for 50,000 and since i got it set right after several attempts is has been spot on ever since,the 89 has had its S&S for about 20,000 miles and its the same,my 01 Glide was fuel injected then after motor work,big bore,cams and head work i could never find anyone in my area to get the power commander to run exactly right(this was an early power commander)after i changed it to a carb i was happy with it.Yes i agree on disc brakes and i had a chopper in 71 with only a rear drum brake,its a wonder i'm still alive today,I'm still not a huge fan of FI based on the what if theory,if it or the ecm takes a shit out on a ride,im screwed,a carb i can rebuild at minimal expense.Other than a clogged jet or leaking gasket there isnt much to go wrong.
 

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The single greatest improvement for Harley was getting me as rider...:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I still prefer a carb over FI , especially when it comes to tuning , and I do not like the computer controlled everything .. But it is a vast improvement in fuel management .. Now I don't have to carry a handful of spare plugs with me ..

Points were a pain tis true .. Electric start , hhmm , for a Sporty definitely , they would hurt you fast .. To be cool and start on the first kick , you definitely had to know your carb ..

Cold start ?? choke on , two shots of gas , get the kicker thru the compression stroke and stand on it , and 'tater 'tater :D

Warm start ? choke off , one shot of gas and go thru the compression stroke and stand on it , and it's 'tater 'tater time ..

Personally , the belt isn't on my list of great improvements , I loved my enclosed chain ..

JtB
 

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I'd say the swing arm frame is one of the best improvements ever. I don't think any of us old farts could still be riding on a hard tail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
yep , I couldn't and wouldn't ride a hard tail any more , nothing like hitting a bump with a kicked out front end and pogoing down the highway .. Oh I had a rear shock on mine , ran about 18-20 psi in the tire ...

JtB
 

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For me I guess it would be a toss up between all electric start and the 6 speed gear box. With my knees today I couldn't constantly start a bike with a kick starter, not even with CR's, and it always seemed like I needed another gear on long rides with the 5 speed, I haven't felt that way with the 6.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Back in the nineties there was a European rear pulley , that was a 61 tooth , seems the rear at the time was a 70 .. Being a super genius , I put one on my 88 TG , and in fifth gear , the engine speed was precisely where sixth is in these bikes , and it was a dog in fourth and fifth , a headwind was a chore and trying to pass someone at interstate speeds took forever ..

JtB
 

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My last new bike ('83 FXRS) was carbed of course. I believe that I tried about 5 different carbs until I got one that worked for me. Was rather expensive after a while. I think that I will like F.I. and electronic mgmt. even though I still believe that it's some kind of sorcery!:)
WF
 

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I'm sure that kick only bikes will never be missed. I had some interesting times with my 66 XLCH with high comp pistons. When looking for a new place to live, I actually looked for a place on top of a hill. Catch start was better than a kick session on a hot day.
 

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Never owned a kick start Sporty although my buddy did and i can remember having to help kick when it wore him out.As far as the belt drive its nice,but very costly to replace if you have ever broken one,i never minded the chain drive always kept it lubed,sure it was messy but easy to replace if you had to.
 

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From a safety perspective I would go with disc brakes over shoes any time, and of course abs.

From a maintenance perspective I would go with rear belt drive over a chain; lubing and adjusting the chain slack was a real pain. Electronic ignition over points; still remember being in heavy traffic going 70 when the cam follower on my points broke thereby losing power, and then having to negotiate across two lanes of traffic to get to the safety of the shoulder :eek:. EFI over a carb, although my FXE's Keihin CV and my buddy's Super E are rock solid.

From a riders perspective I would go with cruise control over the thumb wheel throttle lock any day. Wait until they link CC between bikes; you'll have groups of two or two hundred all going the same speed down the highway. Electric start over kick. My FXE is one or two kick start; always loved it when it started on one kick. Of course way back when, my buddy's XLCH would wear two or three guys before it would kick start.
 

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Belt drive--quiet, clean, lasts virtually forever for all but the highest mileage riders

EFI-- embrace it, take a some time to learn how it works and how to tune it and it's very easy to work those small hiccups out. A system such as the Power Vision gives you the ability to this.

Electronic ignition-- Another one of those "it just works" systems that you don't have to think about any more. Reliable?? My dad has been hauling a replacement Duraspark box behind the seat of his F350 since it was new, because the damn things don't last. The original is still under the hood.........since 1976.

Cruise control--love it, wouldn't be without it.

ABS-- use it in a "need" situation a couple times and you'll become a believer.

Stereo-- I'm not one that thinks that everyone within 3 miles needs to hear and feel my bike radio, and some days I'll ride for hours with it turned off, but it's a nice when I want it.
 

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The single greatest improvement for Harley was getting me as rider...:p
Well, JTB did leave this open (^^^^^), lotta truth, see no arrogance intended, Harley was ( as has a propensity) on the fast track to a shit heap, how many times? Each time rescued by necessity. Seems others have to pull their (moco) heads outta there asses for them
 
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