Harley-Davidson Switchback - Long-Term Test Update

A mover…and a shaker.

Harley-Davidson Switchback on-road action shot

Much of our long-term Switchback’s recent road miles have been racked up during hard-core touring stints, a job for which the Dyna-series bike clearly wasn’t intended. Sure, it has saddlebags and a windshield, but just because your plane has wings doesn’t mean it’s fit to fly across the ocean. The Switchback excels on short flights.

If you've been following this long-termer, you'll remember it shook an exhaust weld apart, completely separating the Screamin' Eagle Nightstick 2-into-1 slip-on muffler we added at the onset from its header pipe. Because we like the look and sound of the Nightstick (and wondered if the problem would recur), we had it replaced under warranty. Only this time, we opted for the Jet Black version (harley-davidson.com, picking up the $55 price difference) to complement the Switchback's black cast aluminum wheels and, of course, had to add the Jet Black Exhaust Shield kit ($199.95) to complete the look.

Harley-Davidson Switchback static side view

After another 2,000 touring miles on the bike, we’ve had no trouble with the exhaust or other mechanicals, though a rock got the headlamp, which was replaced for $150.95 plus $110 labor. The only other thing we had repaired was a faulty turn-signal indicator, which was covered by the warranty.

Adding The Motor Company’s Detachable Tall Windshield ($349.95) greatly improved rider comfort on the highway by eliminating the head-jiggling turbulence created by the shorter stock screen. Unless you’re a Sasquatch, you’ll be looking through the tall windshield, but there is a big increase in cockpit heat.

All the work, plus the bike's 10,000-mile maintenance, was performed by Trev Deeley Motorcycles in Vancouver, British Columbia (trevdeeley.com), which has its own, totally amazing museum on site. If you're ever traveling through this part of Canada, be sure to stop by for a visit.

Now that its high-mileage touring season is over, the Switchback is back in the stable and ready to serve as a showpiece. Ditch the windshield and bags, and shake things up around town.

PRICE AS TESTED (2012)|$17,579
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