04 Harley Line Up

Harley-Davidson Press Intro `04

Despite the widespread perception that nothing much changes so far as the H-D lineup from year to year, occasionally they'll surprise you. Certainly the V-Rod was news, and this year the Sportster got a substantial overhaul. So while most of the tweaks to this year's offerings fall into the cosmetic department, there is actually "real" change afoot over at the Motor Company in '04 as concerns the hog that could use it most. So here's the lowdown:


While the 1130cc V-Twin powered V-Rod stands as the #6 selling model in the US for H-D, it is #1 in Europe where folks are somewhat less insistent upon the "Harley-ness" of their Harley's. The VRSCA V-Rod is joined in '04 by a cosmetically altered VRSCB model. Both V-Rods have replaced their 30-tooth front drive sprockets with 28-tooth versions to give them even more initial power at launch (as if they needed it). Also, while H-D won't discuss top-speeds, the '04 VRSC clan share new speedometers that top out at 150mph replacing the outdated '03 versions that only went to 140mph. I think Nigel Tuffnel of Spinal Tap must be moonlighting in the speedo engineering department at H-D. "But this one goes to 150mph, so it must be faster!" In addition to raised chrome letter graphics and a higher sheen aluminum frame, the VRSCA gets five new purty colors to choose from: Impact Blue, Lava Red Sunglo, Two-tone Luxury Teal and Brilliant Silver, Two-tone Vivid Black and Smokey Gold, and Vivid Black. The VRSCB shows up in the traditional Anodized Aluminum, Vivid Black or Racing Orange. I swear, the schmaltz that the OEMs put into the official names of their color schemes never ceases to amaze me.

The 04 Sportster Spectrum

Like the V-Rod needed to look any badder..now available in black.

Like the V-Rod needed to look any badder..now available in black.     The VRSCB comes with blacked out frame, control levers, rear springs, brake calipers, and a two-tone silver and black engine and offers interchangeable handlebars as opposed to the welded pull-backs of the VRSCA. It had been a few months since the blue/green flamed out custom V-Rod had been repoed from our garage by H-D fleet and I had been trudging along, trying to make the best of my shattered life ever since. So when I got my trembling paws on the black VRSCB, I could scarcely wait to find myself a stretch of sweet, straight, desolate country road and boo-yah! Instant-on torque-o-mania! Shift, boo-yah! Shift, boo-yah! Shift, boo-yah! Oh, darling I missed you so much. I never forgot you, how good we were together. Yes, the ergos are somewhat extreme. Yes, the pegs drag around corners (and so will your heels if you don't move 'em). No it isn't for every type of road. No it isn't for every type of rider. No it isn't "like the other Harleys". It is sooooo much better! And it was sooooo good to be back in the saddle, if only for a little while. Boo-yah! Boo-yah! Boo-yah!

Now with rakish slashes of silver! H-D's touring models all feature 1450cc Twin Cam 88 engines, triple-disc brakes, and air adjustable rear suspension. Changes across the board include a wider 143mm MU85 rear tire that replaces the 132mm MT90 on all models with a claimed 30% longer life expectancy. The Electra Glide models also receive a new seat that sheds water better and eliminates more pressure points. A new Road King Custom and restyled Road Glide are added to the lineup for '04 as well.

The RK Custom is distinguished by a one inch lowered suspension, lack of fender trim, smooth leather saddlebags and seat, beach bar handlebars, chrome micro-wind deflector, newly styled triple clamp covers, slotted alloy wheels, fuel tank console, chrome light bar, bullet turn signals, streamlined floorboards, pegs, and brake pedal, and optional EFI.

The Road Glide gets a splash of silver detailing on the fairing, tank, saddlebags, wheels, and engine. Traditional Vivid Black and Impact Blue color schemes are now supplemented by Sierra Red, Luxury Teal and Smokey Gold. The fairing is mounted at a four degree lower angle now which gives it a more aerodynamic look.


EBass took the Dyna Super Glide Sport wine tasting but he swears he spit it all out in the little brass bucket.
EFI is now being offered as an option on Dyna Glides as well as new tank designs which are one inch longer with full length consoles. I spent some seat time on the FXDX/I Dyna Super Glide Sport. While I'm not a big fan of the rearward peg position, the bike was otherwise adequate in all areas. Handling, acceleration, braking, etc. were all within the acceptable range for a middleweight cruiser although none were cause for excitement. The textured black finish on many of the surfaces was unique looking and gave the bike a very custom aesthetic. Sometimes we adults lose track of what's in and out of style, so when the eight year old kid at the park came up to me and said, "I like your motorcycle, Mister. It looks cool!" , that was enough of an endorsement for me.

The Springer Softail has undergone some modest styling changes with a wider and flatter low-rise handlebar and low smooth Badlander seat.

CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) The '04 Screamin' Eagle Deuce is loose!

  A new Screamin' Eagle Electra Glide and redesigned Screamin' Eagle Deuce are on the floor. The Screamin' Eagle Electra Glide features a Twin Cam 103 powertrain with silver and chrome finish. Color schemes offered include Candy Cobalt and Starlight Black or Orange Pearl and Jet Black. New details include a full length fuel tank console and forged, chrome passing lamp brackets with bullet turn signals. Chrome Detonator three-spoke 16" wheels (and brake rotors) support the low profile front and rear suspension. Steppenwolf can be cranked loud as you want on a premium AM/FM/CD sound system. H-D plans on building around 2,750 of these with a $28,595 MSRP

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