Today, it was time to get the Mistress out for her ride; and to give her some much needed attention out on the asphalt. With all the work recently done, I needed to verify that the work was done correctly before we rip apart the front half of the bike, do the work, and not be able to isolate a issue on a test ride if one was found. Only one problem…temperature was around 28 degrees…and the wind was a-howlin’.
If you are a fan of Grease 2 (the movie or musical), there is a song called “Cool Rider”. It’s a song that one of my co-workers uses when she walks by my office…always throwing her hands in the air, revving the imaginary throttle, and singing as she moves down the hallway. Today, I took the blue Ultra out into the 28 degree weather with two friends…LJ and Mitch. We were COLD riders…but had a blast! We got looks from all those people around in cars and trucks that were priceless. Bundled up to protect our aging skin, we probably looked like the Michelin man with all the layers we had worn. It was a beeline to a gas station about ten miles away to fuel up the bikes, and to grab a quick breath (but no coffee…how could we possibly not even had gone into the building to find something warm???) It was obvious we were each suffering hypothermia and could not think straight.
I had the camera, I get to take the picture
Smart people would never have ventured out into the cold with such a bad temperature and wind chill awaiting those who braved the weather. Even dumb people would have immediately turned around and went back home. But, we are Harley riders…and we don’t like our bikes sitting in the garage when we can ride them. So…we rode some more, and found some curves to throw the bikes around on as we ventured back towards Mitch’s place (or, as I like to call it, my bike’s rest home for the next couple of months).
Eventually, we found ourselves at a stop sign, and we decided it was time to head back. Did I mention it actually got COLDER? It was 25 degrees when we returned! The three of agreed that we are not getting younger, and would like Santa to bring us each heated gloves for Christmas. I have been really good…I should get heated gloves, a heated liner, and a dual temp controller. *Hint Hint*. Seriously, I will be picking up this set of heated gear soon enough on my own; I know it makes cold winter riding actually really enjoyable.
So, how did the bike ride you asked? Well, I am glad you are so inquisitive.
The Progressive 444 shocks are amazing. Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and most other brands, come with shocks that “suffice” from the manufacturer when the two-wheel machines are built. They function, but they still feel like rods of steel are entering your spine on many bumps and potholes. Not so with the Progressives that we installed.
Oh, you still feel the bumps with the 444’s…but they feel “comfortable”. I told my co-riders that it now like being seated in a Lexus. You feel it, but it’s not at all uncomfortable any longer. The bike just glides over them, without the intense feel that you usually get. All I can say is: If you have the opportunity, money, or ability to get Progressive shocks installed, DO IT. I am not kidding…it must be a ten times improvement going to the new shocks. Just remember to set your sag setting to 1″ before riding (mine was set to 7/8″, close enough for my needs). And, I’m using the 444HD (heavy duty) since I do ride two-up and carry quite a bit of gear at times. These shocks are totally adjustable too, and you get rid of all the air lines and such too when installing these. If you want the same shock that lowers the bike an inch all the time, then get the 944’s.
So, the bike rode very well. The brakes seat very well by the time the ride was over so they are doing their job with stopping, and I can tell the tire is new as it is a little slippery into the curves. Generally takes 150-200 miles to get the brakes, tires, and bearings to play well with each other, so I’ll take it easy for a few more rides before running it through some more advanced play.
Thanksgiving week is coming up now, and both Mitch and I have plans that keep us from starting to tear apart the front of the Ultra this coming week. So, one more week off, and then we will shock and amaze everybody with what is actually under a Harley fairing, as well as what a motorcycle looks like when the whole front is missing. Pictures to come when it happens.