Home | 2006 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail® Classic| All Rides
2006 Heritage Softail® Classic

Harley-Davidson
2006 Heritage Softail® Classic

Thanks to
Hacienda
and Top Spoke Rentals

for providing
the motorcycle

2006 Heritage Softail® Classic
Tubo V-Rod
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Motorcycle Test Drive
2006 Heritage Softail® Classic
from Hacienda
and Top Spoke Rentals

by Kirk Johnson
May 2006

MSRP $17,395 - $19,765

About the Bike

Throw a leg over a Heritage Softail® Classic and, just like that, you’ve bought yourself a one-way ticket to happier days. One look at the studded leather bags and you can’t help but grin ...

... Beefy tires on optional Chrome Profile Laced wheels, graced by chrome-accented fenders. King-size detachable windshield. Low two-up seat with back rest. Giant chrome headlight and passing lamps. This is how the early dressers did it. Today’s version combines all this with the best of today’s technology. For example, the Classic gets a wrinkle black and chrome Twin Cam 88B® engine with smooth-riding dual counter balancers. This Twin Cam B™ engine was fuel injected with a stage one performance kit installed and upgraded exhaust pipes.

I told Lumpy, Hacienda Customs, CFO, the other day that I wanted to spend some time on the Heritage Softail® for a review on Motorcycletestdrive.com. He said “sure thing.” Five days and 2,000 miles later I brought the ride back covered with dead bugs and a lot of mud and dirt. To my relief, he was not mad at all. After 2,000 miles you learn a lot about a bike. And most of it was great. View pictures from trip.

First a note about riding and me. I have a bad back and the first thing that I did was adjust the classic touring handlebars as far back as possible so I would not have to lean forward. This helped a lot, but was not enough for me. I found that after many hours of riding in this position, the muscles in the back of my neck get tied up in knots, making it very uncomfortable. If I were going to purchase this motorcycle, I would have to replace these handlebars or put on pull back risers. I will evaluate this motorcycle as though this was not a problem for me.

Test Ride

I found the bike to be very dependable and it was consistent as anything that I can remember. It always started on the first compression stroke. It always felt the same whether it was turning, breaking or acceleration. No surprises. Just like a really good friend that you know you can depend on. And boy am I glad this ride had a stage one kit installed. If there was anything that I found less than great was the time spent in the passing lane. It needs a little more power. Of course, it did not help riding with a friend that had an 80-inch V-ROD.

The Twin Cam B™ engine is sure nice and smooth. You can hardly tell it is running at idle, unlike the rubber-mounted twin Cam engines in the touring bikes. But at speed, I think the rubber-mounted engines run a little smoother. Not much though.

Now with this ride I had floorboards for my feet in the place of foot pegs. It even had rubber cushions in the floorboards. How nice is that? I found no use for the heel shifter. It got in the way. I will have to ask long time riders who have this option if they use it often. I found it was in the way and several times when I started up from a stoplight, when I placed my feet on the floorboards, I would put my boot on the heel shifter. I also found that it gets in the way after several hours on the highway and you move your feet around; you can’t move your left foot back very far because the heel shifter gets in the way. I did notice that it could be removed very easily. If the ride were mine, it would be gone.

The fuel injection worked great. We went from about 900 feet to over 11,000 feet in elevation and the Twin cam never missed a beat. One thing that I did notice was that when you return the throttle to the off position, it feels like the injectors shut down. I guess this is OK, but it sounded weird. Normally you have the fine noise of that big twin rumbling down with a crackle here and there. With the engine running about 3 to 4 thousand RPM and you return the throttle to off it sounds as though your engine shut off. It does not sound very Harley to me. I have never noticed this before on other bikes. But then I don’t spend much time on injected bikes either. Then when you get down to about 2,000 RPM or you crack the throttle, you hear a little pop and then the rumble from the exhaust when the injectors kick in again. Again, this was absolute and predictable every time the throttle was retarded. I do not have a clue what map was used with this injection system, but I am sure it can be changed.

The first day that we rode, there were a lot of cross winds. At first I thought that this bike handled about as bad as my Sportster in the crosswinds. I was riding with a good friend, Jerry, and he had his V-ROD. I wanted to see how his handled the crosswinds so we switched bikes for a short time. His bike was a handful in the crosswind also. I decided that it was not the bike, but the heavy crosswinds. I felt better now. Not sure how a Road King® or an Electra Glide® would have behaved?

Climbing hills and going around corners was great except for the lack of power. I did find the 29° lean factor limit called out on the Softail® spec sheet. I did drag the floorboards on a couple of corners. It was refreshing to find that when they scraped, they did not set the bike up with a bounce effect. Again the bike was very predictable in every aspect.

The low seat and huge detachable windshield was always welcome on the road. I must have killed a million bugs. Riding at night, you have to keep the shield clean or it becomes a pain looking though the mess. I also noticed that the high beam indicator at night seemed to create an annoying glare from the indicator located on top of the tank. Maybe it was just that led was aimed at my eyes.

I was able to get from about 40 mpg to around 50 mpg with the Softail®, depending on how fast we rode. It never even used a drop of oil for the entire 2,000 miles. Again very predictable and no surprises. This was a great ride.

Summary

Smooth Twin cam B™ engine with luxury plus. Very predictable and a lot of fun to drive. Needs more power for passing and the mountains in Colorado. You can throw away the heel shifter, keep the low seating and the big windshield for the highway. Also I did notice that the back of the seat where the buddy seat begins, gave a lot of support for your lower back. That helped a lot.

Pictures from trip

Ride safe

Kirk

 

© 2005 phoenixbikers.com; This material may not be published, reproduced or linked to in part or whole
without the permission of Kirk at phoenixbikers.com.