Articles | Southside Harley-Davidson


Follow These Tips When Riding In Cold Weather (#3 Is a Must Do!)

Southside H-D | 02/04/2023

Riding a motorcycle in cold weather can be a challenging experience, but with the right preparation, it can also be a fun and enjoyable one. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and comfortable while riding in cold conditions:

  1. Dress appropriately: When riding a motorcycle in cold weather, it's important to dress appropriately to stay warm and protected. Wear multiple layers of clothing, including a base layer made of synthetic material to wick away sweat, an insulating layer to trap heat, and a windproof outer layer to block the cold wind. Make sure to wear gloves, boots, and a helmet with a visor to protect your face and head.

  2. Check your motorcycle: Before setting off on your ride, it's important to check that your motorcycle is ready for the cold weather. Check the battery, tires, and brakes to ensure they are functioning properly. Make sure that your motorcycle is equipped with a working heater and defroster, and that all lights, signals, and mirrors are in good working order.

  3. Warm up the engine: Before riding, give your motorcycle's engine a few minutes to warm up. This will help to prevent damage to the engine and to ensure that the oil is flowing properly to lubricate the moving parts.

  4. Be aware of road conditions: Cold weather can create challenging road conditions, such as black ice, snow, and frost. Be especially cautious when riding on bridges and overpasses, as these areas are typically the first to freeze. Slow down and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to give yourself time to react if necessary.

  5. Slow down: Decrease your speed to compensate for decreased traction and visibility in cold weather. Remember that cold tires have less grip, so you will need to brake earlier and more gently than you would in dry conditions.

  6. Use caution when downshifting: Cold weather can cause gears to stick, so be gentle when shifting gears. If you experience difficulty downshifting, try using the engine to slow down instead of the brakes.

  7. Keep your hands warm: Use heated grips or hand warmers to keep your hands warm, as cold hands can lead to reduced control and numbness. If you don't have access to heated grips, consider wearing gloves that are specifically designed for cold weather riding.

  8. Be extra visible: In low light conditions, such as early morning or late afternoon, it's important to be extra visible to other drivers. Wear bright or reflective clothing, and use your headlights to increase your visibility. Make sure that your motorcycle's signals and reflectors are clean and functioning properly.

By following these tips, you can stay safe and comfortable while riding a motorcycle in cold weather. Happy and safe riding!

By following these tips, you can stay safe and comfortable while riding a motorcycle in cold weather.


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Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet

Southside H-D | 02/01/2023

A motorcycle helmet is an essential piece of protective gear for any motorcyclist. Not only does it protect the head from injury in the event of an accident, but it also provides a barrier against wind, rain, and other weather conditions. Choosing the right motorcycle helmet can be a challenging task, as there are many factors to consider, such as safety, fit, comfort, visibility, style, and budget. In this guide, we will discuss the important considerations you should make when choosing a motorcycle helmet, so that you can find a helmet that is safe, comfortable, and meets your needs.

When choosing a motorcycle helmet, consider the following factors:

  1. Safety: The most important factor in choosing a motorcycle helmet is safety. Look for a helmet that has been certified by DOT (Department of Transportation) or Snell, which indicates that the helmet meets minimum safety standards.

  2. Fit: The helmet should fit snugly and comfortably on your head, with no gaps between your head and the interior lining. Make sure to try on several helmets to find the right size and shape for your head. It is also important to measure your head before purchasing a helmet to ensure the correct fit.

  3. Comfort: Comfort is key when it comes to motorcycle helmets. Look for a helmet with a comfortable interior lining and a chin strap that is easy to adjust. Consider purchasing a helmet with removable and washable interior padding for easy maintenance.

  4. Visibility: Good visibility is crucial when riding a motorcycle, as it allows you to see what is happening around you. Choose a helmet with a clear visor that provides good visibility, without any significant distortions or obstructions.

  5. Style: Different styles of motorcycle helmets have different benefits and drawbacks. Full-face helmets offer the most protection, but can be hot and heavy, while open-face helmets provide good ventilation but less protection. Half helmets and novelty helmets provide the least amount of protection but are more lightweight and stylish. Choose a style that you are comfortable wearing and that meets your safety requirements.

  6. Budget: Finally, consider your budget when choosing a motorcycle helmet. High-end helmets tend to be more expensive, but they also offer the most advanced features and technologies. Look for a helmet that fits your budget while still providing good protection and comfort.

Come down to Southside H-D and speak with a Motorclothes Expert about helping you choose the motorcycle helmet for you.

Not only does it protect the head from injury in the event of an accident, but it also provides. a barrier against wind, rain, and other weather conditions

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Why should I buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle over another brand?

Southside H-D | 01/29/2023

Founded in 1903, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has grown to become one of the most recognized and respected motorcycle manufacturers in the world. Known for their classic American styling and powerful engines, Harley-Davidson motorcycles have a large and dedicated following of riders who enjoy the freedom and thrill of riding on the open road. Whether you're a seasoned rider or just starting out, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can be a great choice for those looking for a high-quality, reliable, and stylish motorcycle. 

There are several potential benefits of owning a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, including:

  1. Style and design: Harley-Davidson motorcycles are known for their classic American styling, which can be appealing to many riders.
  2. Brand reputation: Harley-Davidson is one of the most recognizable motorcycle brands in the world, and has a reputation for quality and durability.
  3. Customization: Harley-Davidson motorcycles can be easily customized with a wide range of aftermarket parts and accessories, allowing riders to personalize their bike to their individual style and preferences.
  4. Ride quality: Many Harley-Davidson riders enjoy the smooth, relaxed ride of a Harley, which can be attributed to the motorcycle's low center of gravity and comfortable seating position.
  5. Community: Harley-Davidson has a large and dedicated community of riders, which can provide a sense of camaraderie and belonging for its owners.
  6. Resale Value: Harley Davidson motorcycles tend to hold their value well over time which can be a good investment.

When you are ready to come experience a Harley-Davidson to the fullest, stop by and visit the Harley-Davidson Experts at Southside H-D in Virginia Beach.  Even if you don't have a motorcycle license yet, we can show you how it feels to go through the gears of one of our H-D American legends motorcycles.


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What are the effects of upgrading my motorcycle with a Harley-Davidson Screamin Eagle Stage II Kit?

Southside H-D | 01/28/2023

Upgrading your Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a Screamin Eagle Stage II kit can significantly increase the power and performance of your motorcycle. The Screamin Eagle Stage II kit typically includes a high-flow air cleaner, a performance camshaft, and re-calibrated engine management software. These components work together to increase the amount of air and fuel that the engine can ingest, which in turn increases horsepower and torque. The high-flow air cleaner allows for more air to enter the engine, which can improve the engine's overall efficiency and power output. The performance camshaft can also improve your Harley-Davidson engine's overall sound and may make the bike more responsive to throttle input.

Additionally, the re-calibrated engine management software can optimize the engine's performance by adjusting the fuel-to-air ratio, ignition timing, and other parameters. This can further increase the engine's power output and improve its overall performance.

Another thing to consider is that even though you may see an improvement in power, it may not be as significant as you expect. This largely depends on the condition and current performance of your motorcycle, and which particular Harley-Davidson Screamin Eagle Stage II kit you purchase. 

Overall, upgrading your Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a Screamin Eagle Stage II kit can be a great way to improve the power and performance of your motorcycle, but it's important to be aware of the potential risks and downsides as well. It's always a good idea to consult with a professional before making any modifications to your bike.

It is always a good idea to consult with the Service Experts at Southside Harley-Davidson in Virginia Beach before upgrading your motorcycle. We can help you understand the potential benefits and risks of the upgrade and ensure that your bike is safe to ride after the installation.


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Are there advantages of using a belt drive over a chain drive?

Southside H-D | 01/27/2023

Harley-Davidson first began using drive belts in its motorcycle models in the 1980s.  In 1984, Harley-Davidson introduced the FXR Super Glide II which featured a belt final drive, it was the first Harley-Davidson model to use a belt drive.  In the following years, more models were fitted with belt drive, such as the Softail models in 1985, and the Touring models in 1986. This move to belts was part of Harley-Davidson's effort to improve the performance and reliability of their motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson uses belts in most of its models for a number of reasons.

  1. Quieter operation: Belts are quieter than chains, which is especially important for touring and cruiser models where rider comfort is a key factor.
  2. Low maintenance: Belts are low-maintenance and require less lubrication and adjustment than chains, which makes them more convenient for riders.
  3. Durability: Belts are designed to last longer than chains and are less likely to stretch or wear out quickly.
  4. Aesthetics: Belts are more visually appealing and can enhance the overall look of the motorcycle, especially when combined with a sleek, clean design.
  5. Efficiency: Belts can also be more efficient than chains, as they produce less frictional losses, which means they can transfer more power to the rear wheel.
  6. Cost: Belts can be more cost-effective over the long term, as they require less maintenance and replacement than chains.

It's worth noting that not all Harley-Davidson models use a belt, some models still use chain drive for their final transmission, like the Pan America and some custom builds.

The Harley-Davidson drive belt is typically made from a high-strength, low-stretch aramid cord, which is encased in a durable polymer compound. Aramid is a strong synthetic material that is lightweight and heat-resistant. It is known for its high strength-to-weight ratio and excellent durability, making it well-suited for use in drive belts. The polymer compound which surrounds the aramid cord provides additional strength and durability, as well as resistance to wear and tear. This combination of materials makes the belt strong, long-lasting and capable of withstanding the high torque and power output of Harley-Davidson's big V-Twin engines.

Under normal driving conditions, a typical belt lasts around 50,000 miles, but it is important to periodically inspect it for premature wear.  The Southside H-D Service Experts inspect your drive belt every 5,000 while performing factory recommended maintenance. 

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How many original 1903 Harleys exist?

Southside H-D | 01/26/2023

The Harley-Davidson Model 1 is a motorcycle that was built by Harley-Davidson Motor Company in the early days of the company. The Model 1 was the first production motorcycle ever built by Harley-Davidson and it was the foundation for the company's long history of motorcycle production.

The Model 1 was introduced in 1903 and it was produced until 1904. The motorcycle was built with a single-cylinder engine with a displacement of 405cc and it was capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The Model 1 was also equipped with a primitive suspension system, which was a big improvement over the hard-tail frames of the time.

However, the Model 1 was not without its problems. The single-cylinder engine was prone to overheating, and the primitive suspension system was not always able to cope with the rough roads of the time. Despite these issues, the Model 1 was a popular motorcycle, and it was used for a variety of purposes, including racing and transportation.

Due to the age and rarity of the Model 1, it is difficult to know the exact number of surviving examples. Many of these motorcycles were ridden hard and put away wet, so they have not survived in great condition. However, a few examples are known to exist in museums and private collections, and they are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. The exact number of existing Model 1 is not clear but it is considered as one of the most valuable and sought after motorcycle ever built by Harley-Davidson.

The Model 1 has a significant place in Harley-Davidson's history and it represents the starting point of the company's journey to become one of the most iconic motorcycle brands in the world. It is a true piece of American history and it continues to be a source of inspiration for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Harley-Davidson_Museum_Serial_Number_One.JPG: Danemrobertsderivative work: Hic et nunc, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Is the Pan America's Adaptive Ride Height just something for shorter riders?

Southside H-D | 01/25/2023

The Harley-Davidson Pan America motorcycle is a highly advanced and versatile bike that is designed to handle a variety of riding conditions. One of the most advanced features on the Pan America is the Adaptive Ride Height.  But isn't this just a feature to let shorter people ride it?  No, it's main purpose is to allow any rider to adjust the suspension to suit different riding conditions.  Below are three advantages to having Adaptive Ride Height on Your Motorcycle. 

1. Improved Stability and Control

The Pan America Adaptive Ride Height feature allows the rider to maintain stability and control of the bike while riding on uneven terrain, such as gravel roads or rocky terrain, which is great for off-road riders.

2. Enhanced Handling

The system also helps to improve the overall handling of the motorcycle when riding on smooth pavement. This is beneficial for riders who frequently ride on challenging terrain, as it allows them to tackle difficult obstacles with ease.

3. Adaptability

The feature is designed to provide a comfortable and stable ride for the rider, regardless of the conditions. It uses advanced sensors and algorithms to determine the best suspension settings for the current conditions, and it adjusts the suspension accordingly in real-time. This adaptability makes it an ideal feature for riders who frequently ride in different conditions.



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Is the sixth gear really that important for H-D motorcycles?

Southside H-D | 01/25/2023

The sixth gear was introduced on Harley-Davidson motorcycles as a way to improve the overall riding experience. One of the main benefits of adding a sixth gear is increased fuel efficiency. With the ability to run at a higher gear ratio, the engine is able to run at a lower RPM, which reduces fuel consumption. This can result in significant savings for long-distance riders, as well as a reduction in emissions.

In addition to fuel efficiency, the sixth gear also helps to reduce rider fatigue on long trips. When riding at highway speeds, the engine is able to run at a more relaxed pace, allowing the rider to maintain a more comfortable cruising speed without having to constantly shift gears. This can make a big difference over the course of a long journey, as it allows the rider to relax and enjoy the ride.

Another benefit of the sixth gear is improved handling and stability at high speeds. With the ability to run at higher gear ratios, the bike is able to maintain a more consistent speed, which can make it easier to handle in windy conditions or when passing other vehicles. This can also result in a safer riding experience, as the rider is better able to maintain control of the bike at high speeds.

Finally, the sixth gear helps to reduce engine noise and vibration, making for a more comfortable riding experience. With the engine running at a lower RPM, there is less mechanical noise, which can be beneficial for riders who are sensitive to engine noise. Additionally, with less vibration, the rider is less likely to experience fatigue or discomfort.

Overall, the addition of the sixth gear on Harley-Davidson motorcycles was a significant improvement that has greatly enhanced the riding experience for many riders. It provides a more efficient and comfortable ride, it improves handling and stability, and it also reduces engine noise and vibration.

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