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Friday, June 6, 2008

2008 FLHTCUI Ultra

2008 Harley-Davidson FLHTCUI Ultra Classic
ABS & Security System


You ask, "So how is the new 2008 Ultra Classic?" Here are a few things I have noticed so far. Overall I am pleased with the many changes over my 2000 Suede Green/Vivid Black Ultra Classic. Biggest disappointment has been the gas mileage, or lack of anywhere close to where the motor company says it should be. Biggest smile on my face, you guessed it, the bigger motor and 6-speed tranny. Below are simply my viewpoints. You got to go out and drive one yourself! Be careful, you just might bring one home for good!

Electronic Throttle Control – does not hold a true idle speed. Idle fluctuates from around 1100 rpm to just under 2000 rpm. Was told by Service Writer at a Harley-Davidson Dealership the company is aware of this and is working on a downloadable program to correct it. Service Writer showed me how to “boot” the ETC by having the Engine Cutoff Switch set to run, and then turn the ignition switch to start, let the electronic fuel injection run, while counting to 10. Turn ignition off, wait a second, then turn ignition on again, wait for fuel injection while counting to 10. Do this 5 times and then start the engine. Service Writer had to attempt to start engine 3-4 times before it fired up. Motor ran a little lower rpm at that time, but the very next day idle speed increase again. If you roll-off the throttle from the “off position” the idle speed in rpm drops a few hundred. This roll off is the same as you would do to cancel the cruise control. Most of the time, the idle is around the 1300+ range rpm. The ETC remembers the rider's hand pressure just prior to shutting down. Make sure you let the motor idle down to normal idle speed prior to turning the engine off. When starting do not touch the throttle as this might change the idle speed, not that you would want to touch a fuel injected motor's throttle when starting.

With just under 700 miles on the bike, gas mileage while running it on the highway at speeds between 65-70 in 6th gear have been averaging under 40 mpg. At 70 mph the tachometer is reading around 2500-2600 rpm. My question is whether or not this bike will eventually obtain the almost 54 mpg highway rating Harley-Davidson claims in their advertising. • The low fuel light came on for the first time the other day when my remaining miles on the odometer read 35 miles. I was told that when this occurs you should start looking for a gas station. The remaining miles gauge automatically comes on no matter if you had the trip meter showing or the total miles. This feature is nice and reminds you to head for fuel. As I got into town, the “LO” showed on the gauge, indicating less than 10 miles remaining in the tank until empty, or so I was told by the salesman. When I reached the gas station, I filled up with 5 gallons. I thought the tank was a 6 gallon tank! I figured out my mileage per gallon and got in the upper 30’s. I would guess that 85% of this tank was used on I-94 at highway speeds under 70 mph in 6th gear. I hope after an extended break-in period better gas mileage is on the horizon.

Brakes are fantastic, much better than my 2000 Ultra Classic. I ordered the Ultra with the ABS and have had an occasion to use this option while teaching a Skilled Rider’s Course in the rain. The brakes made the bike stop in a short period of time and a straight line. This option is worth the $750+.

Since I’ve never hard a security system on a motorcycle, the jury is still out on whether this was money well spent. However, the dealership where I purchased the motorcycle threw this option in, so why not take it!

Radio is fantastic! Eighty watts of mind blowing tunes for the long haul is something you’ll have to experience yourself. Have an Ipod? Leave it at home. The radio plays mp3 music, so take your iTunes and convert to mp3 songs, then load a CD with 120+ songs. This will keep you in music for over 8 hours! Concerned about the CD player skipping? Don’t be, not once has a song skipped while riding on I-94 with all the pot holes and bumps of the Wisconsin highway system.

I wish Harley-Davidson would abandon the Dunlop stock tires and replace with Metzlers. I know the Dunlop’s might last a thousand miles longer, but the Metzler having a softer and stickier tread handles the road better and I feel safer with them. As soon as I have ridden the life out of my Dunlop’s, Metzler’s will be my new lifeline.

Harley-Davidson opted to omit passenger grab bars back in 2005 (I think). In place of grab bars, a strap has been installed. This strap I feel is useless and offers absolutely nothing. My wife felt more comfortable with the grab bars and I used them at times to secure luggage that was placed there.

When I saw the Airfoil Luggage Rack introduced in 2008 for the Tour Pak and the optional light kit, I immediately had to have it! With the option light kit that works as a running and brake light it offers additional rear lights to the already lit up rear end.

A few years back Harley-Davidson introduced lowers with vents that could be opened or closed. Though I wasn’t too impressed at how cheap they seemed to be made (not a Harley-Davidson trademark), on my 2008 they are a welcome addition on those hot days. The addition of the Batwing vents that can be pivoted to provide more airflow to rider and passenger is a great standard feature.

6-speed transmission with the bigger 96 cubic inch, 1584cc motor really comes to play on the open road highway systems. My 2000 Ultra at a speed of 68 mph was pushing the rpm’s to just a tad under 3000. With the new motor and 6-speed gearbox, I don’t see 3000 rpm’s until I am almost at 82 mph and this is not the typical speed I cruise at. Now I can easily cruise at highway speeds and know that the motor is basically resting! At 70 mph, the rpm’s were around 25-2600.

For more information on the 2008 Harley-Davidson Touring Models, "A sweet way to ride" go to Glenn G's blog.

Read the comparison made between the Ultra Classic and Victory's new entry into the world of American made touring models with the Vision in the article from Motorcycle-USA.
Updates (June 26, 2008)! It has been just over one month since I took delivery on my new '08 Ultra Classic. I had the 1,000 mile service done six days ago. Capital City Harley-Davidson in Madison, WI updated the ETC (electronic Throttle Control) with an updated software program from the Motor Company. This will cure the uneven idles I had been getting, but have changed the way I turn the bike off, waiting for it to idle down first. I had the dealership replace all fluids with synthetic, a bit more expensive, but in the long run might give me less troubles. Now for the real good part, remember me complaining about gas mileage? Well this last tank 202.4 miles and just a tad over 4 gallons for an average of 50.44 mpg! That's all for now. Keep riding and checking back for new articles.

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