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Thanks to
AZ Thunder Cycles
for providing the motorcycle

Special thanks to Dani from AZ Thunder Cycles for the help with the pictures.
Tubo V-Rod
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240 X 18 Metzler
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Chain Driven
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Springer Front-end

Nov 11, 2005

Please note the Saxon's Black Crown provided for my test ride was a pre-production model that was rushed to Arizona Thunder Cycles so they could review the bike. They liked the bike so much that they turned it over to me for a test ride before they had it updated with new improvements.

With that in mind, please read the followup from Manufacturing at the end of the article. Thanks Kirk

Oct 2005

SAXON's 2005 Back Crown Test Drive
by Kirk Johnson Oct. 2005

Price as tested $26,995

The Saxon Black Crown was designed by master builder Gard Hollinger of LA County Choprods, the Black Crown is unlike any other production motorcycle. This noble beast has refined styling and an untamed attitude that rules the road.

That, at least, is what the brochure says about the Black Crown and I will have to agree with the "untamed attitude" about the description. It does bring out the want to be bad in you. This is not a bike that you want to spend the day on. But when you are on it you do want to be seen.

The Black Crown comes stock with a 96 ci S&S motor, 6 speed tranny, LACC Mad Fish exhaust, 240 MM X 18 Metzler rear tire and a Springer 4” over front-end on a Softail frame with a hidden shock. The finish is a mat black with red trim on the rims and chain links on the drive chain.

To me this bike resembles the next generation Bobber. By this I mean back in the 60s the Bobbers soon became the choppers as builders made changes to their bikes. The Springer front-end has a 34° rake. This makes this bike easy to handle and maneuver. The Bobber part comes from the bobbed rear fender and no front fender, straight pipes, solo seat and matt black finish.

Road Test

It was a great day for a ride. It was Thursday afternoon and the temperature was around 90°. I was excited to ride this beast. We started out as friends for the first 6-8 miles. From the moment that I hit the starter the loud pipe spoke with authority from the 96 ci S&S. I wanted to crack the throttle and hammer it right there. The only problem was I was still in the parking lot. As I left Arizona Thunder Cycles I headed south on Scottsdale Rd. The bike rides like a champ. The 34° rake makes for a great look, but is still fun and easy to ride.

The first concern I had was when I turned on to the 101 on ramp. It was a left turn and I was going with the flow of traffic. I heard a scraping sound from the frame or the kickstand. I was not used to that. I am glad there were not any big bumps in the road at that location. I was fully aware that this bike was not made for cornering. But to go even slower then traffic on left corners is hard for me. I am not a very sane driver if you know what I mean.

The bark of the pipes were with me the whole time and I loved it. They bark with authority on acceleration and cackle when you back off. They do turn heads. As far as I am concerned a bike is never too loud or never too fast, unless you live in Carefree.

Now when I did get to find the throttle limit on the onramp the bike vibrated worse then an old Sportster. In fact it was so bad that when it came time to shift I did not want to release my grip in the clutch grip. That was easy, I just quickly ratcheted the throttle off full for a split second with pressure on the shifter and we were in second and then third.

The ole Black Crown tore down the onramp quite nice. It felt a little flat around 3-4.5K but picked up around 5K. After letting up on the throttle the bulk of vibration was gone. It rode in traffic quite nice. Again you feel bad, bad to the bone. But, not bad enough to ride to San Francisco. I still had a powerful desire to ride to a biker friendly place where the bike could be seen.

After about 3 miles of putting up with the 101 traffic, the engine started to sputter. It quit, then ran for a second, and then quit again. They told me they put gas in it before I took off. Now I have a problem. I was on the inside lane and wanted to get over so I could exit. You know how the traffic is on 101. I just looked at the traffic in the right lane, hit the signal and pointed to the lane and started over there right after the next car came by me. I was lucky, there was a gap so I fell right in behind the passing car all the time keeping the engine in gear and turning as I slowing down while switching the lever on the tank to reserve. I eased over on to the side of the road and stopped.

The silence of an engine with rushing traffic next to you is about as much fun as a root canal. I did double-check the ignition switch. It, by all indication was just fine. All the time on the ride to the side of the road there was not a hint of a flicker from the lights or the digital tack or speed indicators. Next, of course was to check of the fuel level. I removed the crown-shaped gas cap to find ample fuel. I did double-check the fuel valve, and yes, it was on reserve.

I did notice that the crown-shaped gas cap was solid piece of metal and had an o-ring at the base. Maybe it just formed a vacuum and quit. If that is the case then it should start right up. It did. I check for a tank vent, but did not find one?? Well, it was running now and sounded solid. Needless to say I took the next exit and headed back south on Hayden Rd.

After about 5 miles it quit again. It sounded like fuel starvation, just like the last time. I was able to loosen the gas cap and this time it started right up and I left the cap loose. After that there was no more problems. I headed right back to the barn.

Summary

Great looks, six speed, Springer front-end, great pipes and I did love the low seat. It is only 24” off the ground. It is a great bar hopper, not a cruiser, even if it is a Softail. This bike does vibrate a lot on hard acceleration and you have to be very careful on left turns.

Follow up letter from

David Schwam
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Saxon Motorcycle Co.

Kirk,
Thank you for taking the time to test our new Black Crown. The Black Crown is a very unique production motorcycle - it includes numerous hand made custom components, and an overall design concept that blends new and old styling.

The bike you rode was essentially pre-production model that we rushed to Arizona Thunder Cycles so that you could review the bike. At that time, we were aware of several issues with the bike and had already specified a number of improvements for the model. Unfortunately, however, at the time of your test we had not yet received the parts required to make the changes. As a result, it appears that you experienced some minor issues that would have otherwise been prevented.

The production Black Crown now includes the following:
1. A heavy-duty 2006 proprietary Saxon switch
2. Improved venting in the fuel system and gas tank in order to prevent vapor lock and improve engine performance
3. A new shorter kick stand to improve the bike's lean angle.

We take quality and customer service very seriously. When one of our owners experiences a problem with his bike, our top priority is to solve the problem and get him back on the road. We then try to determine if this is an isolated issue or an emerging trend, and work to improve our design, internal processes or components in order to prevent the problem in the future. This approach has enabled Saxon to quickly establish itself as a top tier manufacturer.

Thanks again!
David

________________________________________________
David Schwam
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Saxon Motorcycle Co.
(916) 934-0873 tel
(916) 290-0170 fax

David,

Thank you for the update. This should make a big difference in the future for riders and owners alike. Two thumbs up to you and your service team. Support like this speaks volumes for your company.

Thanks

Kirk

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without the permission of Kirk at phoenixbikers.com.