2018 Fat Boy On Board

First impressions on the new Fat Boy.
Nothing particularly exciting, but here's some on-board thoughts while riding around Brizzy.
It was only a quick spin on a bike with 750km on the clock so I didn't get to tap it out or push it very hard - and it seems that the city is one giant set of road works at the moment. Everywhere I headed - along the river, out to the Airport and around South Bank is all 40kph.
But I did get some decent freeway and a few on ramps in between too.

2018 Fat Bob On Board

First impressions on the new Fat Bob.
Nothing particularly exciting, but here's some on-board thoughts while riding around Brizzy.
It was only a quick spin on a bike with 750km on the clock so I didn't get to tap it out or push it very hard - and it seems that the city is one giant set of road works at the moment. Everywhere I headed - along the river, out to the Airport and around South Bank is all 40kph.
But I did get some decent freeway and a few on ramps in between too.

2017 Road Glide Special Test

I couldn’t get enough of riding the Road Glide Special. Touring, back roads or city riding. On numerous outings I went several off-ramps past where I normally exit the Freeway because taking the extra-long way home was such a joy.

Part of the enjoyment was down to the fact that Harley had kitted the test bike out with some of their ‘tall’ options.

It was fitted with the genuine accessory ‘extended reach’ saddle and taller touring screen. Subsequently the comfort level for a tall guy like me was simply outstanding.

It turned this ‘Roadie’ into the most comfortable Harley I’ve ridden in 15 years of throwing a leg over test bikes.

Accordingly I tried to ride the wheels off it.

That included several 400km-plus touring-style days, numerous shorter day runs, city commutes and a heap of relaxed boulevard cruising – and the bike didn’t put a foot wrong through any of it.

The other significant contributor to the enjoyment factor is just how good the Milwaukee 8 engine, slung in the touring chassis with its upgraded suspension, really is.

The new motor is smoother, sweeter, has more torque and taps out longer and harder than any previous (standard) big block Harley– 110 cubes included.

While cruising at freeway speeds there is virtually no vibration from the engine. It’s as smooth as silk. Then opening the throttle produces a crisp response and gob-fulls of grin-inducing torque.

With all the excellent touring extras, like the superior comfort and wind protection, excellent sound system, integrated navigation system, cruise control, trip computer and long list of other creature comforts - it really does dare you to ride further and further every outing.

The Sound system is also excellent and with my phone stowed in the ‘Jukebox Media Compartment’ (read glove box) I was constantly pumping out a pre-selected music playlist that remained clear and audible - even at freeway speeds.

The infotainment controls are intuitive and easy to use with two joysticks on the switchblocks to navigate through the various menus and options. Of course you can use the touchscreen directly too, but on the open road the switches seem easier.

Actually, it’s on the open road that the whole touring package seems easier. Correctly dialling in the rear preload proved to be important in getting the most from the new emulsion shocks and Showa front forks - but that also proved to be pretty easy. There’s no fiddling around with pumps and air pressure to adjust the rear any more. Simply unscrew the ratchet fasteners inside the left pannier and dial preload up or down with the knob under the box. Job done.

Ultimately the real beauty of the machine is still the new 100x111.1mm bore and stroke, 8-valve Vee-twin engine with 10:1 compression ratio. Matched with the 6-speed cruise drive gearbox, lightweight clutch lever and tried and trusted touring chassis the bike is a confidence-inspiring delight to ride. It’s very stable, sure-footed and remarkably nimble (for such a large machine) – all at the same time.

On the Freeway you can sit back, relax and watch it all roll by with minimal input required. But then on the back roads it has good cornering clearance and excellent stability - even over rough tarmac and demanding surfaces.

The linked Brembo Reflex brakes with ABS are everything you would expect from Brembos. I rarely used the back pedal because the linked system worked so well. The confident way they performed, even over the broken roads in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie in Northern NSW added even more to the pleasure factor of this quite remarkable motorcycle.

In town, the width of the large frame-mounted Sharknose fairing makes lane splitting ‘discretionary’, but the motor is strong and tractable at low speeds and its unique looks, wonderful paint and deep chrome make it a very serviceable Boulevard cruiser too.

Apart from the all-round capability of the Road Glide, the biggest take-away I got from the test was that Harley have a range of saddles, screens and handlebar options to make their bikes fit all sorts of body shapes and sizes - short and tall and everywhere in between. It’s probably the most important part of the customising process.

I couldn’t get enough of riding the 2017 Road Glide.


Bike: Harley-Davidson FLTRXS Road Glide Special

Type: Milwaukee-Eight™ 107
Carburetion: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Air Cleaner: Paper, washable

Type: 6-Speed Cruise Drive®
Clutch: Hydraulically actuated 9 plate wet,
Assist & Slip
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio
Rear Drive: Belt, 32/68 ratio

Type: Mild steel; tubular frame; two-piece
stamped and welded backbone; cast
and forged junctions; twin downtubes;
bolt-on rear frame with forged fender
supports; MIG welded
Seat: Harley Extended Reach

Wheels3: Enforcer Cast Aluminum
• Front 19 in. x 3.5 in. (483 mm x 89 mm)
• Rear 16 in. x 5 in. (406 mm x 127 mm)

F Tyre: D408F 130/60B19 61H
R Tyre: D407T BW 180/65B16

F Brake: Dual floating rotors 300 mm x 5.1 mm (11.81 in. x 0.2 in.)
R Brake: fixed rotor 300 mm x 7.1 mm (11.81 in. x 0.28 in.)

Front: 49 mm Dual Bending Valve
Rear: Premium Low Hand-Adjustable

Canon G5 X Camera Review

I have been using a Canon Ixus 125 pocket camera that is a few years old now - it doesn't take a bad pic in good conditions or if you have ample time to set up, but it's slow - as in lag from hitting the trigger to making the exposure. Moving targets are pretty much out of the question.

I had a Kodak DC4800 back in 2001 and always liked its 'pocket-ability'. We had heaps of shots published in the local bike press because Co-pilot was really good at hanging off the back of the bike and getting rider shots and we were among the first to do it locally.
The Hippie apace

This isn't one - but I like the pic.
Co-pilot at work

Then as I got more serious about imaging the kit grows and grows. This is just some of what I can cart around to a gig now. The soft boxes and lights are still in the car.

If I'm shooting bikes for a mag I still carry the Nikon D800, lenses, flash and kit in a backpack, and it's usually worth the effort.

But it's all a bit too much to carry for social rides and non-giging stuff - sooo I just bought a Canon G5 X.
It had the things I wanted - view finder, manual control, F1.8 lens and is very compact - pocket size  (if you have a big pocket.)

It's a lovely feeling, tactile thing. Touch screen is good - controls are good, all pretty intuitive - I got it worked out with just a cursory flick through the manual.

It's not that much bigger than a Go Pro:

So far I'm very happy with it too. Tried it out last night - rode down to the Bayside and not having to carry the weight of the full kit was great. Just the lightweight tripod and the tiny camera was like nothing at all.

Here's the full size jpeg:
It's had a slight crop and minor colour correction in PSD.

I also shoot a lot of bikes and vehicles for sale in dealerships.
Using the 36mpx capable D800 has always seemed overkill for low-res online stock shots so I used the G5 X today to see how it coped.

It struggled a bit with auto white balance , but got a reasonable result with balancing manually. They are only half this size online. Should save some wear and tear on the big gun.

We'll see how it goes with moving targets next. Burst mode is 10fps so it should work OK.

Low light and high ISO is pretty noisy on auto. Slow it down and use a tripod and it's surprisingly good.

There's no 4K video - but it does 50fps in 1080 -  I mainly produce 720 for You Tubes so it didn't bother me. There in no external mic input either, so that could put some off.

So there's the long winded story. So far the Canon G5X seems like a pretty good solution for a portable camera that takes a good shot and is motorcycle friendly.

More to come.