I really like reading your column because you relate so much to all the gals that ride.
Here is my question. I just got a new bike and the clutch is so tight it almost pulls me off the seat when I shift gears. Does Harley-Davidson think women have the same strength as guys or what? We have the estrogen, not the testosterone! Any suggestions?
Kansas City, Missouri
Thanks for the kudos, and if you have any specific topics you would like to see covered just e-mail me. I’ll do my best to keep you informed and updated on the various aspects of motorcycle riding.
Good point on the testosterone! Men have 300 percent greater strength levels than women, so your clutch may not seem tight to a guy trying it. I encountered the same problem with my Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider and changed it out the first month I had the bike. After some Internet research and visits to the Harley dealership, I found there was a huge difference in price on what route to take in correcting the problem.
J & P Cycles has a product called Easyboy Lite Clutch kit (part number 620-745), which is made by White Brothers. White Brothers claims, “That this product reduces the manual effort required to pull the clutch in by 40 percent.” I’m not sure what the percentage of improvement was for mine, but it made an unbelievable difference in the ease of using the clutch. Check their web site. I purchased the clutch kit for $19.99 and after paying a mechanic to install it, the cost was approximately $100. If you do the work yourself, it should take about 45 minutes and would be under $30.
The Harley dealership quote was $150 for the parts and another $300-400 for installation on a different system! It was a hydraulic clutch and would have required another handlebar mounted reservoir. Several people warned me not to go that route because they were prone to leak, not to mention the cost difference. Good luck and let me know how it works out for you.
There are so many cool styles of boots for lady riders. Which type do you recommend as a preference?
Good question. I love boots, shoes, heels, sandals and sneakers, but you need to be practical over fashionable when buying boots whether you are a rider or a passenger.
There are still many choices in footwear, but when it comes to safety I highly recommend an over-the-ankle boot. It provides ankle support when you try to hold up a bike that is on a heavy lean, it prevents burns if you get too close to your exhaust, and it provides protection if you go down. Also, make sure the boot is rubber soled; otherwise you will not have any traction and your foot could slip or slide when touching the ground. Harley-Davidson boots run anywhere from $60-90 a pair.
I have seen other divas riding in Dr. Martens ankle boot and they really like them. They run about $120. My first pair was a Harley-Davidson round-toed boot that zipped on each side. The style is easy to get in and out of and very comfortable. I have bought several pair since then and believe it or not, I still go back to them.
After you buy your new boots, bring them home and use mink oil or spray a silicone water sealant on them. Always clean your boots thoroughly after riding to remove any grit, gravel, oil or dirt.
Now for a gripe of mine. It irks me to spend $100 on boots and then have my shifter scuff and mar the top of my left boot! You would think the designers would pad the underside of the shifter, but so far I have not found or seen any that do. Have any of you?
“Never ride faster than your angel can fly”
Tip of the Month: Always back into parking spots. Heavy bikes are impossible to push in reverse direction.