issue 164

2020 X-Rod 1250 Custom

In the Heavy Duty issue 163, I mis-spoke when I said about Harley’s 2020 new models that the next big one will be the “Sportster” replacement. I now think I should have said the “V-Rod” replacement. If it had been a snake I would have stepped on it and it would have bitten me.

The V-Rod Night Rod Special of old and the new 1250 Custom are both 1250cc 60 degree v-twins with four-valves/cams, and are liquid cooled. They both even have the same looking aluminium 2-into-1, into two muffler boxes! This makes a lot more sense with the new model being a replacement for the much loved and popular V-Rod. At the same time the Harley Modular engine in the 1250 Custom can be downsized to 975cc as it is fitted in the Streetfighter. And voila! you have a Sportster replacement too! That all said the Modular engine with different frames and engine capacities can be everything from the LAMS approved beginners bike, the mid-sized Sportster/Streetfighter, and the 200kph V-Rod follow-on sport cruiser.

Electric Bikes

Too many? Too cheap? Too expensive? I also think that I’ve said enough about the Harley electric bikes and will end the conversation with: There are so many electric bike makers in the market today that even China has limited the number of electric manufacturing licenses. 

When I googled “electric motorcycle manufacturers” I got 87 million hits in under one second. Only the best will survive, and then those won’t be making a profit in such a competitive market. So my prediction is that someone like Amazon will be the only profitable electric motorcycle sales company in the world. But there will always be someone with too much money that will pay whatever, to have something more expensive than anyone else.

I lied, here is one more comment on a Harley electric bike, the so-called first electric Harley was built in 1978 from a 1971 XLH Sportster. It had a top speed of 80kph and did 0-51kmh in under six seconds. In 41 years Harley has only managed to double the top speed and half the acceleration time.

Now count your blessings, if you had bought Harley-Davidson stock five years ago, you would have lost 48 per cent of its value by today. The good news is, if you had bought a MY2014 Harley, you would have ridden it about 100,000kms and you would still have a smile on your face. 

What I am saying is, go buy a new MY2019 Harley and ride the wheels off of it and let someone else lose their money in the stock market.

Travel Knucklehead Style in 2020

This is perhaps the greatest time to travel back to 1959 and see old Harleys, Indians and American cars still on the road and ridden the way they use to be. 

I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba where there are only a few hundred original Harleys left and half of all the cars on the road are pre-1960s. 

With the potential explosion in tourism in Cuba, this may be the last time we can experience the good old days. 

Best of all, there is a big motorcycle rally every year just two hours ride from Havana where the Rally Harlistas Cubanos Varadero is held every year in February. Varadero is one of the largest resort areas in the Caribbean. 

There the Harlistas Cubanos ride in and show the world their pride and joys. Many “tourist” even bring their own bikes from overseas.

The rally is organised by local owners and the Varadero, Matanzas Cuba authorities. All Harley and motorcycle owners are welcome regardless of the club, bike or the colours they wear. Any travel agent in Australia, or for that matter Canada, can help you as something like 40 per cent of the tourists in Cuba come from Canada. The rally date in February is the best time to go as the temps are mild in the high 20s, and most importantly, it is the dry season with no hurricanes. The primary event organiser of the rally and founder of the “Cuban-Harleys Club” is Lyng Chang (or Dj Lyngchang as he is known). He inherited his family’s motorcycle traditions and works to conserve and restore the classic Harley culture in Cuba. His daily ride is a 1947 EL Knucklehead. Email

Cuban Tours

Flights to Cuba: Air Canada flies directly to Havana, Varadero and Santa Clara, Cuba


Travel Sites for Cuba

Brighter Days Festival 2020

When you get back from Cuba, it will be perfect timing to saddle up on your Harley and ride off to the Brighter Days Festival of music, bikes and cars. Bright, Victoria is a day’s ride from Sydney and Melbourne. So what is your excuse? Just getting there over the Alpine Way and Road through the mountains is well worth the free price of admission! This charity event is proudly sponsored by Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Northside Harley-Davidson, H-DTV, Heavy Duty Magazine along with many more at

Donations are given directly without middlemen to three charities: EB a rare skin blistering diseases, Sudden Unexplained Death In Childhood (SUDC), and Four Kids & Carers Future Foundation.

Movies & Motorcycles Trivia

Steve McQueen in  The Great Escape.

Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.

It seems like only 56 years ago, in the film The Great Escape, that Steve McQueen jumped a fence and made sales of the Triumph TR6 motorcycle go sky high too. What a movie and now we can see some of the out takes and read about the stunt rider.

Captain Marvel Sporty Girl versus A Star is Born

Where did Captain Marvel come from in the history of Super Heroes? And what Harley did she ride in the 2019 movie of the same name? 

Personally, I prefer A Star is Born and the Harley-Davidson Bradley and Lady Gaga rode off on to Arizona.

Bad Boys for Life III

Will Smith got a current Harley for Bad Boys III which tells us that the Fat Bob lives on past January 2020 with the movie’s release. This looks like the most fun movie of the current lot.