This review examines the latest 2006 Harley Dyna machines with opinions from mcnews.com.au editor Trevor Hedge balanced with the views of experienced day to day Harley rider Neale Brumby. Neale is the editor of Heavy Duty magazine which is a print publication that primarily focuses on Harleys. Neale was also a competitive runner in the Harley Sportsters racing series that ran in Australia a few years ago and has ridden a Harley Sportster around Phillip Island in 1m50s so it’s fair to say he can hustle them a bit.
First off we will start with Trev’s impressions of the new Harley Dyna models to give you the perspective from a non Harley regular before going into Neale’s view on the changes as they relate to someone who has been sat on the seat of various Harley models for many years.
So over to Trev…
Harley-Davidson’s Dyna range of motorcycles have undergone some major changes for the new model year with big new forks located in much stronger triple clamps and attached to a new frame dramatically altering the nature of the beast. When riding aggressively on earlier models I managed to produce illicit creaks of protest from the spindly forks and triple clamps but with fat new 49mm forks for 2006 the whole show takes everything in its stride without any protest.
As a result the 2006 bikes hold a cornering line better than ever before and with the right amount of body language employed to help keep the pegs off the deck the latest Dyna models can be hustled quite quickly indeed. Now some of you may sneer at that comment but rest assured that in low and medium speed corners a well ridden 2006 Harley will show a clean pair of heels to a poorly ridden sportsbike.
When it comes to accelerating out the other side of that corner however things have not changed all that much with the fuel injected 1450cc twin-cam engine only receiving minor updates to improve service life. Shuffling up the cogs on the way out is a much smoother affair though thanks to a new six-speed gearbox. The sixth gear is much taller than the previous models top ratio which helps to make highway cruising even more leisurely than before. Clutch effort is also drastically reduced which is a big help when negotiating city traffic. In fact the uninitiated would be amazed at how comfortable and practical a Harley can be to commute on.
The Dyna range includes a 35th Anniversary Super Glide, FXDI Super Glide, FXDCI Super Glide Custom, FXDLI Lowrider, FXDWGI Dyna Wide Glide and an all new FXDBI Street Bob. I recently spent some quality time with the 35th Anniversary Super Glide, Low Rider and the new Street Bob and came away impressed by all three but it’s the Street Bob that does it for me.
The FXDI Super Glide is the cheapest model at an aggressive $21250 while the Street Bob comes in a full grand more at $22250. Both models share the same engine, new frame, forks, gearbox and wider rear tyre but the Street Bob’s mid-mount controls and mini ape-hanger style bars along with much more attractive spoked rims and a lower seat height just seems to be a sweeter package.
The Super Glide actually offers marginally more cornering clearance but once you have your Harley riding technique down pat both can be kept off the deck quite well when the pace gets hectic through your favourite set of bends. The infamous Black and Reefton Spurs in Victoria were part of our test route and we didn’t exactly hang around.
After the Street Bob the $25750 Low Rider was my next favourite. This is perhaps not too surprising as it shares the same seat height and peg position as the Street Bob but benefits from the ability to carry a passenger. Just don’t expect your pillion to be too comfortable. While there is space back there for a small posterior, it could never be described as an enticing proposition for a passenger.
If you have long been contemplating a Hog then the wait may have proven worthwhile as the 2006 Dyna machines certainly offer a lot more cornering pleasure than ever before. Harley is quite aggressive with their new pricing structure so if you have long lusted after a Harley now might be time for that trip to the bank manager after all..
“The difference is chalk and cheese”. These are the words used by Sir Jack Brabham to flog a long forgotten brand of tyres about thirty years ago. Yet those same words kept ringing through my mind as I cranked the ’06 Dyna Lowrider through yet another tight, bumpy corner on the Reefton Spur. Ahead was the bulky frame of H-D Australia man Paul Bailey giving his Street Rod plenty of stick but the vastly improved Lowrider was staying comfortably in contact. In fact, I could probably have passed him but you don’t pick a fight with Bails without consequences!
We pulled in for a breather at the top of the range and to allow a few stragglers time to catch up. There was plenty to consider.
I hadn’t realised when the new ‘06 range was released that the Dyna range would receive such a comprehensive makeover. Indeed, many would argue that the current Dynas were the pick of the Big Twins for roadholding and agility anyway.
At Heavy Duty magazine we have just finished our 2003 FXD long-term project bike and apparently Harley must have been reading about the improvements we made to our bike as most of those areas have been addressed and delivered in the 2006 model along with fixes for some of the things we couldn’t change like; the frame casting behind the primary that drags on the ground in left handers. All this is no more. The 2006 Dynas come with an all new frame and swingarm, wheels, bigger rear tyre, six speed gearbox, 49mm forks, new rear shockers, new front brake, one inch diameter axles and fuel injection standard across the range. And guess what readers… It all works beautifully!
There are two new models in the 06 line-up. The first is the FXDBI, a blacked out, stripped down ‘bobber’ style bike with mini-ape bars, single seat and tank mounted speedo. It sits low and cool in new matte Black Denim paint and is also available in Vivid Black, Black Cherry and Deep Cobalt. New model number two is the FXDI 35th Anniversary Super Glide which is meant to commemorate the original “boat- tail” FX, designed by Willie G back in 1971. There will only be 3500 manufactured of which Australia will receive bugger all (less than 100.) This bike is a rolling ad for all things Harley and really looks the part. The number of gawking onlookers during our press ride was proof enough of that!
The Street Bob lines are very pleasing to the eye and it proved a decent ride up the twisty ribbon of tarmac that is the Reefton. Those of you who have ridden Dynas will be reassured that the new bikes feel very familiar yet so much better on the road. They can be hustled into a corner pretty hard and still maintain composure. If you do overcook it, it can be slid through on the exhaust (right side) or footrest (left side) without any drama. The new frame and forks provide great stability and the rear tyre is now a 160/60-17 Dunlop – the same size as the Deuce – while the front Dunlop remains a 19 inch. The front brake rotor has been enlarged to 300mm and claims improved feel at the lever. I couldn’t tell the difference but both brakes did work well on the Reefton.
The biggest news however is the six-speed gearbox. H-D offered a similar box as a bolt-in option last year and say demand caused them to make it standard in 2006. Personally, I reckon that a six-speed on a Big Twin is a bit of overkill. You find yourself dropping down a gear to overtake under 100 kays BUT at cruising speeds the fuel injected donk ticks over beautifully at well under 3000 rpm. The clutch lever is much lighter as well. The new box uses ‘dog rings’ rather than gears to shift the cogs and, combined with helical cut gears and a plasma coated shifter fork, provides a shorter lever throw and quicker, smoother changes. The whole transmission is noticeably quieter and durability should be increased due to larger internal bearings and a fully automatic primary chain tensioner. All these changes reflect the comprehensive update the Motor Company have lavished on the whole Dyna range.
While the Street Bob and Anniversary Super Glide have drawn the bulk of attention the rest of the range has not been forgotten. All the improvements made to the new models carry over to the Wide Glide, Super Glide/ Custom and Low Rider and all are available in Australia. However, the unloved FXDX has been dropped, which means there is no option to fit a double disc front end, as we did to our 2003 FXD. (Although the new Night Rod has a double disc brake and the same diameter forks. Possibilities!)
I really like these new Dynas. They offer all the traditional virtues of the Dyna range with complete up to the minute engineering that gives the finger to any knockers of Milwaukee’s finest.
Priced from $21250+ORC (FXD) they are still brilliant value for money. I noticed that one of the Japanese factories now have a “cruiser” for sale at $24000 +ORC. Geez, why would you bother when you can have the real thing?