Originally Posted by pgilliam1
Do you really think comparing Harleys to BMWs is a fair comparison?
Of course I do. They both bill themselves as long distance touring bikes. That has BMW Motorrads bread and butter since their first bike in 1923. But in reality the HD product is inferior in every meaningful way (and always has been), except ego gratification. Functionally the HD is among the worst touring bikes offered for sale, but people buy them not because of how well they work but because of image and how they perceive themselves on them.
But if you are serious about long distance riding in all weather on all
kinds of roads, not just big flat American freeways, then there are many other choices for touring bikes that are both superior performing, more comfortable and more versatile. BMW wrote the book on sport touring with their RS series bikes, combining near sport bike performance with touring comfort and luggage capacity. No need to tip toe through curvy roads when loaded for a long trip. Now other companies have followed BMWs lead with their own highly capable bikes.
But seriously, something like an R-1200RT of Yamaha FJR-1300 does everything better than a Harley touring bike does, and gives nothing away to the Harley in terms of comfort or luggage capacity. Then you add in the conveniences HD never offers, such as complete tool kits (my G/S tool kit has tire irons, tools for adjusting head bearings and feeler guages for valve adjustments!), tire plug kits, multiple underseat storage cubbies, center stands (and on the flat twins, the bike balances on the stand such that you can remove either wheel for a tire change and it will settle on the other tire, no need for a jack to remove the front tire, on my G/S the bike will sit on the center stand with both
tires off the ground), accessory outlets long before HD thought of it and fairings that work better the faster you go and you know the people who designed them do a lot
of long distance riding. The big frustration for me with this V-Rod is the lack of storage, helmet lock and center stand. They are inexcusable omissions on a big touring sled.