Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Eight Press Launch & Cape Tour
There comes a time, when you have to put brakes on life, take off and ride for a few days. But then every once in a while you are blessed with an opportunity to ride top quality motorcycles, enjoy the company of fellow riders or journalists, AND take in some of the most amazing scenery you’ve ever experienced.
This was the case when Harley-Davidson Africa invited a group of journos on a Press Launch of the all new and improved Milwaukee Eight touring range. Excitement factor at 107%!
Cape Town here we go!
Arriving the Sunday afternoon, booked in at the Premier Hotel in Cape Town, and off to a social event for introductions and briefing on the next two days of riding. Here we met the agency team of Greater Than; Galia, Nadia and Cara, and Aidan the Marketing Manager of H-D Africa who gave us a brief intro to the new models. George our host and tour leader looked after the entertainment factor and fed the bunch of us with great food. The view from George’s house was amazing, wide open ocean and sunset on the one side, and the 12 Apostles on the other. Simply breathtaking!
The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we were taken to the Harley-Davidson Cape Town dealership followed by a quick rider’s briefing and bike allocations. Needless to say, I went straight for the “Couch” or the Road Glide Ultra! None of us wanted to ride the Trike, so it stayed; I’m sure someone will have fun on it, just not me.
Lined up and eager to hit or get out of Cape Town traffic, we set off to our first stop in Gordon’s Bay. I felt right at home on the “Couch”, and could immediately feel the improvements made on the motor and suspension, but I’d have to ride the previous 103Ci model to really compare and judge.
After a windy start along the coast, we arrived in Gordon’s Bay for a coffee or milkshake at Talla’s Tavern. What a peaceful little town, bikes parked for a photo opp and off we went again up the R44 Clarens Drive pass to our lunch stop in Hermanus.
Settled in at the Burgundy Restaurant for a lunch of note, giving our senses and bikes time to reset and charge up for the final leg up to Barrydale for our stay-over.
On this leg we swapped bikes and I decided to ride a 103Ci Road King just so I can compare the new with the old. It is on this leg that I’ve come to realise and appreciate what the guys at Harley-Davidson have done.
I was blown away by all the improvements they had made, just by listening to their fans and customers, Harley-Davidson pulled off the most amazing build the brand has ever seen.
More power. More comfort. More control.
Just to highlight a few:
- Quicker Acceleration
- Improved Economy
- Improved Heat Management
- Improved Fit
- Reduced Vibration
- Richer Exhaust Tone
- Improved Charging
- New Engine Styling
- New Touring Suspension
Harley- Davidson redefined touring by developing the all-new Milwaukee-Eight™ engine, the ninth Big Twin in its history, plus all-new front and rear suspension for its 2017 Touring Motorcycle lineup.
Back on the bike again, travel was going smoothly, enter the amazing Tradouw Pass on the R324 and through a spec of a town called Suurbraak onto Barrydale. Here we booked in at the Karoo Art Hotel for the night, and a view to die for.
Some entertainment followed where each and every one had to wack back a Jagermeister shot just because the host found something to stick it to you. Well, they manned up and took shots for the team as well! Helmets up boys!
The whole hotel is decorated with paintings and art, all for sale of course, beautifully place in the middle of town on the busiest street where one car would pass every hour or so. What quality of life these folks must enjoy? I had the most amazing view from my patio, after taking a refreshing shower, I just sat there to soak it all in.
That evening we went to a local bistro for one heck of a meal, a shot or two of Chilly Vodka just to juice things up a little, before hitting the sack at the Hotel just across the street – thank goodness.
Up bright and early the next morning, I had the golden opportunity to play in the “busy” street with the Road Glide Ultra, before parking it for a few off-the-bike photos; something this beast truly deserved.
Breakfast was up next, another photo opp with the group of fellow journos, checked out and exit. Fuel stop at the edge of town, then hitting the road to Montagu on the R62 stopping over in Robertson for a refreshment.
This time I was on the 107Ci Street Glide, one of my personal favourites next to the Road Glide of course, enjoying the agility, power, and comfort of the bike, locking the Cruise Control at speed so I can sit back and relax.
“The Milwaukee-Eight engine carries the legacy of Harley-Davidson Big Twins into the future,” said Chief Powertrain Engineer Alex Bozmoski. “While respecting the essential Big Twin character, we’ve created an all-new motor. Every aspect of performance, durability and styling has been improved as a direct response to the voice of Harley-Davidson customers around the world.”
New Touring Engine
Retaining the classic 45-degree V-Twin cylinder angle, the Milwaukee-Eight engine produces up to 11 percent more torque than previous year models and offers 50 percent more intake and exhaust flow capacity. The Milwaukee-Eight engine is counter-balanced to cancel 75 percent of primary vibration at idle, retaining the classic feel of a Harley® V-Twin while being very smooth at highway speeds. A new heat management strategy for all Milwaukee-Eight engines improves rider and passenger comfort. Despite its increased power, the Milwaukee-Eight engine delivers better fuel economy compared to previous models.
New Touring Suspension
All-new front Showa® SDBV™ and rear suspension components enhance the comfort, control, and performance of all 2017 Harley-Davidson® Touring model motorcycles. New emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers offer 15 to 30 percent more pre-load adjustment than previous standard Touring shocks, with a single knob to hydraulically adjust pre-load.
I was in my element, weighing in at 105kg standing at 6 ft 2 inches, I truly could not find fault on any of the 107Ci models. No helmet buffeting, no numb hands, no sore legs but I would certainly have added a rider backrest just to keep that lower back from spiking.
Both the Road Glide Special and the Road Glide Ultra are fitted standard with the Infotainment system, incorporating GPS navigation, Radio, MP3 player via USB or Bluetooth, impressive sound system and so on. What I loved about this system is when you run into reserve fuel, the GPS will pop up and offer to guide you to the nearest fuel station for a refill. How cool is that!
Anyway, back on the bike and leaving Robertson making our way back to Cape Town, and on the way take a detour up Du Toit’s Kloof Pass for a snack, a view, and a leak. Then it’s all the way downhill back to Cape Town’s depressing city traffic, and even more depressing end of a phenomenal two days of riding true American heritage.
During this trip, I couldn’t wait to get off the bike, step back and adore the technology and style of the new Milwaukee-Eight Touring models. In the same breath, I couldn’t wait to get back on and experience first-hand, what the folks at Harley-Davidson intended for us to enjoy – World Class Quality!
Entering Cape Town, its cosmopolitan lifestyle and the frantic road users, one of the riders had a finger-pointing and dodging experience with a Taxi. Another rider had a butt crawling Mini from NRB with little young boys and their funny looking hairstyles (trendy or fashionable my ass), thinking it too funny to intimidate a rider. I had to oblige and tuck in between the Mini and the rider, just to intimidate and protect, much to the entertainment of Mike the cameraman who was riding pillion with me on the Ultra at the time. The Mini with mommas little babies disappeared in traffic somewhere, and the rider continued on without a Mini accessory attached to his rear.
Safely back at the Cape Town dealership, it was time for the shuttle to take us journos back to the airport, while I talked on the phone with Azania of Radio 702 for an interview on Motorcycle Safety and Awareness.
What an eventful two days it has been! Super thanks go to the girls at Great Than, the agency for Harley-Davidson Africa; organised this event with professionalism and integrity. To Aidan and his manne, well-done on a splendid machine. George, our tour leader and main man of Skaris Touring, you are a star bro!
To you, the reader or rider, do yourself a favour, visit your nearest Harley-Davidson dealership and test ride a Milwaukee-Eight Touring bike just for kicks or for an upgrade. Every single one of us journos couldn’t stop praising this new range, neither will you!
In closing, the Milwaukee-Eight engines are offered in two displacements: the Milwaukee-Eight 107 (107 CID/1745cc) and Twin-Cooled™ Milwaukee-Eight 107 (107 CID/1745cc) for standard motorcycle models and the Twin-Cooled™ Milwaukee-Eight 114 (114 CID/1870cc) for Harley-Davidson® Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO)™ motorcycle models.