This is the second installment of our series: The V-Rod Chronicles. If you want to read the first chapter, click here!
After my pilgrimage to the German Porsche Museum, the idea of getting a V-Rod stuck with me. My stable of motorcycles needed a Harley. So, I started the research of the various years and models that were available. After the early years of the bike, I noticed that the majority of the models I saw on the road were the chromed out V-Rod “Muscle”. But every once in a while, I saw a sleeker model with the same basic frame, a smaller tail section, and darker detailing. That bike had the Porsche designed revolution engine and all of the aggressive looks I saw in the first Gen model, with a cleaner look and monster 240 rear tire. It was called the V-Rod, “Night Rod Special”, and it was pretty blacked out. A perfect Motorcycle for MotoJustice since our colors are mostly black with a touch of orange.
So, my search began and I discussed purchasing a new model with the local H-D dealer. But, time gets away from you and before I knew it, Harley-Davidson had discontinued the V-Rod line by 2017. With that in mind, I was on the lookout for a 2017 black Night Rod with orange lettering. My online searches had me looking nationally and one model that was of particular interest got bought out from under me. I found a 2005 locally, but I rode the bike and it was not very comfortable due to a protruding frame bar that hit me just above the knee. It was a V-Rod special edition for drag racing and didn’t fit the bill.
The folks at a bike shop in New Orleans found me a 2012 model that was in good shape but the numbers weren’t right and the mileage was high. I was also surprised by the heat that came off of the factory pipes while sitting in traffic. This little tidbit of information would come in handy when I finally found the bike I wanted. It popped up on Craigslist and was only about 1 hour from New Orleans in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The guy seemed legit and the pics of the bike showed it was immaculate. I was stunned by the mileage: 86 miles on the clock, 2016 model (but I could forgive the one-year difference with that mileage!). I knew I had found what I call a “coffee shop” rider’s bike when I stopped in with my Ducati mechanic to test ride and eventually purchase the bike. When we spoke about the exhaust, I asked if the heat from the pipes bothered his right leg or if he wore chaps. He said that the pipes never got hot and he didn’t notice. With 86 miles on the clock, I’m sure he just made it to his local coffee shop before he shut down the engine and enjoyed his coffee. When I rode the bike as intended, the heat scalded my inner calf and thigh like a blow torch.
Here is a picture of the odometer which shows the mileage after riding the Night Rod from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, and the bike looked brand new. Of course, there is always trouble in paradise, and the bike was not without issues. My mechanic suggested that this was likely due to many short rides over several years with the first owner. I purchased the bike in 2020 and I was not as gentle with it. The first issue I had was with engine overheating. I also noticed that the Speedo froze and after bouncing off the rev limiter on my typical rides to work, I must have asked too much of the cooling fans since they weren’t working either.
Unfortunately, the issue was not without pain since my friends and family ribbed me about the problems associated with my ‘new’ bike. I made the mistake of putting an absorbent pad under the bike to catch the coolant that spilled out. When my HD mechanic saw the picture of the bike, he hustled over from Mississippi to help me get “our” pride back (and protect the Harley-Davidson reputation for quality and build strength).
Check out the pics and tune back in for the next V-Rod Chronicle!