Pros: Great looks, tons of chrome from factory, real nostalgic look. A head turner
Cons: Add-ons are usually specific to the FLSTS model as well as specific year.
I've had plenty of other bikes in the past from crotch rockets to cruisers. This is by far my favorite. What did I get for my bucks? Of course there's the classic Harley rumble, all though a little weak in this model. Nothing that the Screaming Eagle Fish Tail slip on mufflers did not cure. There is the big crinkle black "V" twin 88 engine, with polished cooling fins and tons of chrome. The fuel injection is the way to go. No choke to mess with and waiting till the bike is warmed up is a thing of the past. I have the Vivid Black paint to make the chrome stand out. If you ask me it rather screams than "stands out". Harley chrome seems to be of better quality than any other off-the-shelf chrome. This bike has lots of it. The balanced engine on the soft-tail models it just the ticket. The butt grinding vibes are gone. The "V" twin rumble is there with just enough vibes to let you know there are only 2 jugs to this monster. Fire up the bike and there is no rattling headlights. It just sits there and rumbles like a tiger ready to strike. Any body that "poo-poos the springer front ends has never ridden one of these. It is a little heavy but you don't notice it. It ain't a crotch rocket. Any where you go, you will have people stop to admire the scoot. It is a real looker and it rides as good as it looks.
The only cons that I have is 1. The seat. It just may be my body shape or the way I sit on it but after about 40-50 miles I got's to take a little break. I could probably go 100-150 miles a pop but I'd be real sore by then. 2. Almost all after-market add-ons must be year and model specific. third and last is the front brakes. With only one front rotor you have to grab a handful of brake lever to slow it down from cruising speed. It takes a little getting used to but it is a learned trait with this model. This is a for real nostalgic cruiser with all the modern amenities of the 2000's. It's a cruiser and a darn fine one at that. I LOVE IT and can't say enough good about it.
Update. 12/8/2003 I thought I would give a better review on this bike than all the fluff I gave earlier. I still believe the fluff is well deserved though.
I still can't say enough about the bike. I have almost 8000 miles on the bike. I purchased it Jan. 3 2002. Mechanically the bike is flawless so far. There are no oil leaks or weeping anywhere on the engine, transmission, shocks...no where. I have had the bike serviced by a dealer for each recommended service interval. I have had no mechanical problems with the bike. It has always started up. The fuel injection is the way to go as I stated earlier. When you turn on the ignition there is a buzz and a slight grinding noise. This is normal. It's the fuel pump pressurizing the injectors. I have ridden the bike in freezing temperatures, hot humid days and on a rare occasion in the rain (didn't check the weather before I went to work). The bike has never failed to fire right up and purr. It seems to do great in all throttle positions,all speeds, in all weather. I run the bike at about 70 mph when on the interstate and it rides like a champ. I'm not a Harley mechanic so I won't get into MAPing or MAP settings. The factory settings are just fine for me. I have added no Screaming Eagle engine upgrades or non Harley accessories except the SE Slip-on fishtail pipes. There was no real need to change the fuel flow settings. I just wanted the deeper and slightly louder rumble of the "V" twin engine. There has been no vibrations, squeeks, or other noises that I felt needed attention. The fit and finish it just incredible. This is a Harley trade mark and it goes for this bike as well.
People have told me that they would never ride a bike with a hard to handle springer front end. I can tell you that I have enjoyed the springer front end every minute that I drive it. The nay-sayers probably have not ridden one of the newer springer bikes. They are heavier that the standard telescoping suspension that other bikes have, but the balance is very comfortable to me. I have scraped the bottom of my floor boards many times because it is so comfortable in turns that I just lean it over to far. The first time you scrape one (and you will with floor board models) will really get your attention. I had no real jolt just a scream that scared me half to death. I have since loosened the floor board up a little so that it will tilt up if it drags. Now when I drag a floor board I just lift my foot. The only other thing I have scraped is the bottom of the muffler at the very back. I was driving off a curb and with the piped mounted low they will scrape on a normal height curb. It did no real damage just a slight rough spot that I can feel if I run my finger under the bottom edge of the muffler.
The soft-tail suspension is great. It is not a touring suspension as would be found on say a Road King. I put several hundred miles on a Road King Classic this past spring so I have a little insight to touring suspensions. The rear suspension is very comfortable for me. I put any where from 30 to 60 miles one way when I ride it to work. I travel on back roads, the interstate and the city to get to work. Never a complaint yet. My only complaint is the seat. I gets a little stiff for me after about an hour or so. I have a friend that rented a heritage springer of the same year while at the beach and he loved the seat as well as the suspension. His bike is a 2002 Road King.
The paint is holding up great. I have the vivid black and like any black paint job in time you will get very minute scratches in the finish from washing and waxing. Stand back about 3 feet and the paint looks factory new. There is no fade, flake, orange peal or runs in the paint. A very good paint job.
Accessories as I stated in my first review are specific to this model. What fits a soft-tail generically probably won't fit this bike. Most add-ons must be for the FLSTS models. There might even be special relocation hardware for some of the items. I wanted to put on the detachable passenger backrest but when I found out that for this model I had to get a relocation kit for the rear turn signals, I took it back to the dealer. What stopped me quick was the part about drilling a hole in the rear finder. Had a problem with punching holes in "Baby". I have since seen a relocate kit installed on a springer and I may just go back and get the whole kit again. It looked pretty good.
The front brakes are a little weak with only one rotor and takes a little getting used to. To stop a 750 lb bike quickly, you need to grab a good handful of brake lever. Two fingers on the brake just is not enough. The rear break seems to work great. Too great if you don't balance the stopping with the front break. It takes a little time time get used to such a big bike from the rice burners that I rode in the past. It is so comfortable and easy to ride that I forget to really get on the front brake.
The leather is also outstanding and I have not had one complaint about it. It is good quality leather and thick leather, backed with injection molded plastic in a few strategic places. The mounting plate and the edge of the top flap are reinforced with it.
All in all I love this bike. Comes with the laced wheels, wide whitewalls, black crinkle finished engine, Oil tank under the seat, front mounted horn (not one that blows into my left boot) and many other nostalgic accessories, as part of the factory Heritage Springer package. I really recommend getting one of these if this style sparks your interest. Get one now though, as Harley has stopped the Heritage Springer production in 2003. It is not a fault with the bike just a change of venue. Remember the nostalgia electra glides (cow glides?) You can spend over $30,000 for a custom shop machine or you can spend less than $20,000 for one of these. Other than the Screaming Eagle parts found on the very expensive Harley Custom Shop bikes, this one is truly a custom machine.