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A local motorcycle enthusiast's look at motorcycles, motorcycle gear and anything that goes into enjoying a ride — including where you can find the stuff in our area.

Satisfying a cruiser itch

The new Valkyrie

I have to say I am really impressed with buying bikes from dealers in Erie.  For the most part the dealers are all exceptionally good – in fact all but one really went to the limit to help me find the right bike.I’ve been having the itch to get a cruiser since Roar on the Shore.  I’ve loved the Harley Fat Bob, with its sick twin headlights and chubby tires since it first came out in 2008. I also really like the Triumph Thunderbird Storm – also with twin headlights but maybe a little less chub.

Since these guys are both relatively new they are pretty pricey, so I figured I would sell my beloved Moto Guzzi Griso to soften the blow a little bit.
Harley of Erie didn’t have any used Fat Bobs, but I was able to find two really nice ones at Offroad Express – oddly enough one at each location.  They had an extremely nice red one at the Wattsburg store, with a windshield, aftermarket exhaust and some other little upgrades.  The Peach Street store had a black one with about 1500 miles that was stuck other than an aftermarket slip-on.  Since they were within a couple hundred dollars in price, I focused on the black one with the lower miles.  They encouraged me to ride it and it really was a great ride, although it could have been a little more spirited.Now I had to ride a Thunderbird Storm.  Problem number one:  no local dealer.  The nearest dealer was either in Cleveland or Pittsburgh, so I trekked over to the Cleveland one and took theirs for a spin.  They made me promise to keep the ride short, but otherwise were pretty friendly.  This thing was a beast.  It handled amazingly well, looked great and had a ton of power.  Problem number two:  even though the Storm did just about everything better than the Harley there was just something missing, some bit of soul that the Harley had in spades. But to get the Harley up to the Storm’s performance level it would cost me a mint.
Hmm…  What to do?
I was sitting on my porch watching my kid mow (he’s to the point where he won’t let me mow at all because he says I don’t do it as well as he does – I feel a little Tom Sawyer guilty but didn’t say anything) and I see one of my neighbors ride by on his Valkyrie.  Wow, it was crazy- the thing looked gigantic but he seemed to handle it extremely capably.  I’ve always known a little about the bike but was shocked to hear that it did, indeed, have a six cylinder motor.  It also had a huge, extremely loyal following and a string of incredible reviews.
I looked online and in the paper and found one for sale right in town, privately, and setup an appointment.  Got there just after dark, and just as I got it on the road it started to pour.  I’m not afraid of rain but I didn’t feel comfortable on someone else’s bike in those conditions so I brought it back after a few minutes.  From the little I got to ride it though, it was incredible.  I went over to my neighbor’s house a few days later to find out a little bit more about the Valk and not only did he fill me in but sent me off to ride it.  I was so impressed that I figured the Valkryie would satisfy my cruiser itch and hopefully be inexpensive enough so that I could keep my Griso to boot (especially since my Griso has been over at Horsepower, Inc. getting tuned for the past few weeks – it would suck to sell it before I got to appreciate everything that Eric did to make it shine).New problem:  while there’s plenty of dealer support for the big Honda in Erie there are only two for sale in the whole area.  One at Forest Park with like 85,000 miles and the one I rode in the rain.
Forest Park was great and offered to send me out for a ride but even though everything I’ve read about the Valk says it is bullet-proof and that it goes to well into the six figures in terms of mileage I felt a little uncomfortable.  The one being sold by the guy was great, but he was pretty firm on price.
I called every other dealer in town to see if they had one, but sadly, no one did.  One salesperson was prompt to tell me what a “piece of junk” a Valkyrie is and that I should buy their bike instead.  Mind boggling.  I expanded my search, expanded it a little bit more (and then a little more) and found one near Milwaukee.  Yes the one in Wisconsin.
It’s not that I didn’t find some great ones in Cleveland or Pittsburgh, it’s the fact that it is exactly the color I want (blue and white) and it has everything just about that I would want – five or six thousand miles, windshield, aftermarket pipes, a little extra chrome and a terrific price.
Best part – it’s about nine hours away and I get to stop in Chicago for some pizza and dogs and take an awesome road trip.  I’m going to fly up next weekend and ride it down – they are even picking me up at the airport, which is like an hour and a half away.
I am very excited that I will be able to keep my Griso and still fulfill my cruiser itch at the same time.
Posted in: My bikes

8 Responses to Satisfying a cruiser itch

  1. Tony K says:

    I’m jealous! Not only did you get the bike you want, your first ride is a nine hour cruise! Make sure to tell us how it went and if you’re happy with it (Mention the pizza too!)

    Great blog and post some more pictures if you get a chance.

    Tony K.

  2. Rob says:

    Yeah, I’m pretty psyched. I also happened to pick up my Griso from Horsepower, Inc., on Monday and they did a really terrific job with it, so I am even more sure about my decision to keep both bikes. The differences on my bike after Eric at Horsepower did his magic were really impressive, just from a seat of the pants feel. I’m going to post about it in the next few weeks as the tune sets itself up.

  3. Jack says:

    This is just a general comment to the post:
    The new Valkyrie looks sick, in such a good way, if your into cruisers. One thing in my experience riding for many years is that Valkyrie owners are loyal and love their bikes, similar to many Harley owners. My friend has a 2008 HD Fat Bob Screaming Eagle, sweet bike for sure and chubby. I think your review the Bob is accurate. I think it also comes down to price too. In my opinion the Valkyrie is priced right and has a lot of offer. My experiences with Erie dealer is on par with yours. Some of the more esoteric bikes are harder to test ride due to the location of the dealers as you mentioned. My experience with tri-state dealers have been very good, as well. I perfer to keep the business local when possible.

  4. Jack says:

    BTW – I really like the look of the Griso and I have not seen any around town, so you would be a rarity in Erie. Don’t sell it! Awesome bike!

  5. admin says:

    Local first is definitely a priority – I’ve been looking for one around here for a while now. I guess I could wait till the Spring and see if something comes along here but then I miss out on what will hopefully be a great Autumn ride.

    Thanks about the Griso – it’s really a blast.

  6. Sly says:

    What gear are you going to take for a nine hour drive, your first on a new bike? It’s not cold season yet, but probably it could be pretty cold once the sun goes down. Do you plan on anything unusual for comfort or warmth, or to help you stay alert?

  7. admin says:

    That’s a great question actually – gear is one of the most important things to consider when going on a ride. Full-face helmet for sure, with a balaclava underneath to keep me warmer. I’m thinking about using a Schuberth but the Bell Star that I reviewed some time ago is such an awesome helmet that I just might go with it. I’ll wear layers of shirts beneath a very versatile Tourmaster, Revit H20 for Gloves and Sidi Sport Rains for boots. Pants I’m kinda torn right now. I might break out the old chaps and wear them over jeans and longjohns, or else I may get some pants to go with the Tourmasters. The only motorcycle specific pants I have right now are excellent Revit Rotors, but those are very Summer specific. If I can I may just take some heated gear too – I am going to Wisconsin after all.

  8. Thanks for the good writeup. It if truth be told was once a entertainment account it. Look complicated to far added agreeable from you! However, how can we keep up a correspondence?

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