A few more words from the team at SAC Raging Bull – Your High-Tech After Market Harley Specialists
2017 is almost done with and believe it or not Christmas is just around the corner. We are very pleased to see so many new Harley’s on the roads every weekend and I see more and more new riders and faces in popular places all the time. This is a good thing so keep it up. Our time on earth is not forever so we say that we should all enjoy every moment and there is really no better way to do that than to ride a Harley in your spare time.
Enough chit chat, it’s time now to get your bikes pre-holiday checks and maintenance done before the last-minute scramble begins. I’ve taken some time again to gather some good information from all the people here at the Harley shop, it’s always good to let it come straight from the people on the floor. Brenda really likes communicating with you guys and girls on WhatsApp, its fast and efficient and we all get to add value to your requests – keep them coming on 0829796727 and save the number on your phone. We often send out short important, valuable, informative messages on WhatsApp rather than doing a sometimes bothersome e-mail newsletter. Some do these e-mail newsletters because they have to, some do it to do a little extra marketing and some even do it just to score points with the boss. We do it because we truly want Harley riders to know everything that they need to know about their Harley’s. Read all our past newsletter by clicking on the following link
Now a little about chipping and tuning, more and more of you guys and girls are fitting open pipes and filters to your bikes and not finishing off the job. This is mainly because you are uninformed, so you end up with an un-happy bike (spluttering, misfiring, surging, running lean and hot to only mention a few symptoms). In standard form when you buy your bike the tuning is matched to the pipes and the air-filter that the bike comes out with and yes, we all know that this is not cool. But what’s important to know is that if and when you upgrade to loud pipes and open filters that you need a proper tuner and or dyna tune. If you like messing with your bike or you are just a perfectionist a dyna test and tune every year will be a good thing. Technology moves on and so do we, so regardless of how well your bike is tuned and suited to pipes and filters we highly recommend regular dyna tuning. If you’re not sure you can send us a WhatsApp on 0829796727 or shoot us a mail on email@example.com.
If you have a bike that has panniers and like most you use them more than they are designed for, before every ride you should check that they are properly secured. If they are over loaded, and this is easy to do they can easily work themselves loose and fall off. If you don’t ride regularly and more than one year passes between services, it is important to have an annual check done on your bike. There are a number of items that need checking and or replacement i.e. brake fluids, oils, batteries, air shocks on Tourers to mention only a few. If you are a petrol head or a hard-core fast rider with extra power work done on your bike, then this one is for you and it’s important. If you know someone like this make sure they get to read this article to avoid unnecessary expensive repairs or road side breakdowns. Once again knowledge is power, and some good old mechanical mercy can work wonders.
Some Important Useful – More Technical Advice For Hardcore Petrol-Head Harley Riders
If you ride faster and harder than the rest and or you have had performance work done on your Harley then this is for you. The majority of Harley Riders in South Africa ride their bikes in the manner that it was intended to be done. These bikes are all capable of riding between 100-120km/h for ever, they use little fuel roughly between 16-20km/l and use no oil between services. They run very hot when riding slowly in a pack formation and more so in a big group- stop start for long periods of time like on a toy-run or something similar i.e. Sunday morning site seeing breakfast run through heavy traffic. The reason for this is simply put, they are air-cooled and rely on only wind from the front and the little oil in the engine to keep them cool. The life expectancy of a Harley if it is ridden in this manner is, who knows? These bikes can do between 100-300 thousand km’s it all depends on the riding style, service intervals and most important of all – how much mechanical mercy we have for them. One thing that they don’t like is to stand and idle while not moving -they should not idle for longer than 3 or 4 minutes while standing stationary at filling stations or before riding in the mornings while warming up.
Some detail and the pain
The following words are important for you petrol heads out there because you need to understand these bikes a little better so that you can fuel your passion and ride fast or hard and use the extra power on tap reliably. Over the last 10 years we have built a number of very quick bikes that are capable of riding between 140-180km/h or more for long periods of time or long distances. This is fine if you have some mechanical mercy for your bike and a good understanding of the relationship between power, speed and thermal temperature. Mostly we ride fast and hard because we can but in our country our summer riding is often done at ambient conditions, 30ᵒc and in some cases as much as 40ᵒc or more and we have nice long roads – 200 or more kilometres between stops. So, if you’re on a bike that has been tweaked, chances are good that you would be sitting at a high speed for a long while. Now we all know that Harleys don’t have much information on the dash but if you had the luxury of an oil temp and or cylinder head temperatures gauge to monitor you would understand my concern. A well-tuned strong Harley, riding along at 160km/h in 40ᵒc would eventually see cylinder head temperatures in access of 150ᵒc and oil temperatures around 140ᵒc or more, the further you ride like this the more the temperatures creep and there is nothing that can stop this from happening other than slowing down and reducing the revs for a while. The more power your bike has on tap the more heat it generates and with the V-twin engine configuration, the rear cylinder can easily self-destruct because it’s cooling air comes via or through the front cylinder first, so it sees much hotter air and is unable to dissipate this efficiently. So, you think that the oil-cooler and good oil can save the day – no it can’t! The modern Harley Davidson engine has built in safety features or a safety net – but even those can’t save the day. What they do is, dump extra fuel, auto torque control and remove timing when a certain temperature is reached – the result – a misfire every now and then and or a loss of performance while the engine is trying to look after itself. In these riding conditions the bikes use excessive oil and plenty of fuel not to mention heating up the tyres far past their capability.
The fix – Remedy
There are several ways that we can reduce or minimize the risk of something going wrong, I’m only going to speak about a few but the bottom line is you need to prepare your bike for these riding and ambient conditions.
- Firstly, always ensure that you use the highest octane best quality fuel available
- Let your engine tuner know – and be honest, how you intend on riding (at what speeds and for how long). To a large extent the tuning can go a long way to protect the engine if you are doing an – Iron butt run or similar: a Colesburg, Laingsburg, Beaufort West fast Karoo run in the summer. You need to dyna tune more regularly and more specifically.
- Insist on 100% fully synthetic engine oil. A better-quality oil than SE-3 in 1. You need at least a 5W-60 grade of oil.
- You can consider a better than standard oil cooler with additional electric fan cooling on the engine barrels as well as the oil cooler.
- There are bigger capacity oil sumps available for the touring bikes, the more oil the cooler it runs but never overfills. The oil just ends up coming out under the air cleaner or by the breathers.
- We are investigating an engine condition monitor, oil temp and engine temp ext.
- Ensure that your cold tyre pressures are correct i.e. 2.8 front and 2.9 rear before embarking on such a ride.
- Also, consider good quality tyre pressure and temperature monitors.
The only Harley engine failures that we have seen in our workshop have been directly related to stupid temperatures and or engine oil shortage – thermal temperature overload.
So now you decide for yourself, how much mechanical mercy do you have and who is responsible for the consequential damage?