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The golden rule of sales

Sportster right
My new Harley Sportster 48 Special.

This report covers:

  • I wanted a motorcycle
  • Inseam-challenged
  • Found it!
  • Completely different!
  • So what?
  • Practice
  • The point
  • Summary

First, I want to remember all those servicemen and -women who gave their last full measure of devotion to keep our country free. Today is not a holiday; it’s a day of remembrance.

This report will be quite different. Today you learn how BB made a mistake when purchasing a big-ticket item, and also how it was corrected. Although the subject is the purchase of a motorcycle, it does have an application for airgunners.

I wanted a motorcycle

Forty years ago, I rode motorcycles a lot. I enjoyed them for local riding — no cruising or off-road riding for me.

When I married Edith, she asked me to not ride motorcycles and I promised her I wouldn’t. We were married in May of 1982, and I kept my promise. I once jokingly told her that when she died I was going to grow a beard and buy a Harley. My advice is to not make jokes like that, because they stay with you.

I decided to get a motorcycle

Fast-forward to today. I still wanted a bike for the same reasons I did forty years ago. But in that time motorcycles had changed dramatically. Harley Davidsons were now reliable. I promised several readers that I would report on the bike I bought, but the report has turned into a 10 times bigger story, so I decided to wait until now.


Though I stand 5 feet 11 inches tall my inseam is only 28.5 inches. One of my sons used to call me a pot-bellied dwarf. Most motorcycles are too tall for me, and, if an 800-pound bike gets more than a few degrees off upright, my 73-year-old legs can’t support it. I needed a lighter bike that was also lower in the saddle. Thus the Sportster. Today guys call Sportsters girl’s Harleys, but in my day they were the fastest thing around. Until the Kawasaki triples came to the market, stock Sportsters were dusting off everything on two and four wheels.

Found it!

So I went into the local Harley dealership and found my bike. It is a 2019 Sportster 48 Special. The 48 refers to 1948 when Harley started building a 125 cc bike they later called the Hummer. It was a copy of a German DKW bike that Harley got the drawings for as war reparations. The Hummer had a 2.1-gallon gas tank that everybody called the peanut tank and soon after the Sportster came to market in 1957, the peanut tank became its trademark. The 48 Special was offered for 2018, ’19 and ’20 and the most distinctive thing about it was what Harley calls the Tallboy handlebars. They allow the rider to ride more upright for comfort.

When I mounted this 550-pound bike in the dealership both my feet were flat on the floor. Its mileage was low and, yes, it had originally belonged to a girl. I even liked how it looked. So I bought it.

I ordered several accessories to be added, but my motorcycle safety course (mandatory in Texas to add motorcycle to your driver’s license) wasn’t for a month, so I could wait.

Well, I waited, and waited and waited. I took the course and passed it and I got my driver’s license updated — but still no bike. I went into the dealership asking about the delivery date and saw my bike sitting in a storage garage, awaiting parts. All the things I had ordered came in but then they required some other small parts on the bike to install the things I ordered, and those parts had not been ordered. I waited for a total of 6 weeks, and then I was called to the dealership to get my bike.

In fact was called to the dealership twice to get my bike, and both times no such luck. It was always something else that had been overlooked and had to be ordered. The second time I was called to pick up the bike, it wasn’t ready for me again. I was told more new parts had to be ordered for it. And that’s when the camel’s back broke! I came home and calmly wrote an email message to the CEO of Harley Davidson, Mr. Jochen Zeitz. Here is that message.


Mr. Zeitz,

I purchased a 2019 Harley Davidson Sportster 48 Special from Stampede Harley on April 14, 2021. I thought I’d tell you how that sale has gone.

For starters, the man who sold me the bike, (name removed), left the company the day after I bought it. He wasn’t there long enough to have a business card, so Sales Manager (name removed), wrote the deal. I also bought a removable windshield, engine guard and removable saddlebags when I bought the bike and was told they would be installed when they arrived. Reasonable enough. I needed to take the rider course to get my motorcycle license, so I thought no problem. That was April 14 and my check for the down payment was cashed the next day. But since that time I have been treated like an orphan at Stampede. Today is May 26 — six weeks since I bought my motorcycle and I have yet to hear it run!

Fast-forward to today and the items I ordered came in, but the bike sat for a month without being checked out by service. I was called over twice in the past week to pick it up to no avail. I went over for the second time today and was told by the service department that the bike still needs other parts. The service guy pointed out a scratched right mirror stalk and a scuffed ball on the front brake lever and I was told those parts had to be ordered and replaced.

I could have bought any motorcycle, but I bought a Harley because of the reputation the Motor Company seems to have built up in recent decades. I owned a 48 panhead and a 46 knucklehead and neither were reliable. But they had been fooled with, and I understand why they were the way they were. I figured if I bought a newer bike with the Evolution motor and all the latest stuff, it would be reliable. I’m still hoping for that, but at this stage, who can tell?

I have owned a Suzuki 850, a Laverda 750, a Bultaco Metralla, an Ossa Pioneer dirt bike, a Honda 305 Superhawk, a Honda 350, a Kawasaki 175 dirt bike, a BMW R27, a BMW R50, a Benelli 125 and a Yamaha 500 single. Except for the Ossa and my two old Harleys, all those bike were reliable.

I hope the Sportster I bought will be the bike I want. If not I will sell it quickly and never darken Harley’s door again. I have been treated like an orphan at Stampede and they are the only experience I have with the modern Harley Davidson Motor Company. Before now my only experience with Harley was with Sam Arena in San Jose, and I can tell you — he knew how to treat his customers.

A salesman is supposed to follow the sale through delivery. I know you know that, but Stampede seems not to. Whenever I call sales they try to buy my bike and sell me another one. Sure be nice if I could take delivery of this first one!

I was thinking of buying a TriGlide in a few years because I’m 73 and don’t really need to be on two wheels much longer. I may buy a trike, but before I do I will shop all the dealers — for their service, not for what they have in inventory!

Tom Gaylord
The Godfather of Airguns


I sent that email. An hour later I was called by the service department at Stampede Harley Davidson, telling me that my bike was ready. It was late afternoon and I had the Royal Rangers to teach, so I told them I would pick it up the next day.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

Completely different!

This time when I went in, things were completely different. The bike was ready to go. It had been washed and waxed and the gas tank was full. The sales manager came out with the registration and walked me through the particulars on the bike.

Not a word was said to me about that email I sent, but it was obvious the message had gotten through. Did the CEO of Harley ever see my message? I doubt it. There are numerous filters in a 4+ billion-dollar company, and I knew that when I wrote the email. But you notice that I put my television handle on the signatory line, along with a link to this blog. I wanted whoever in Harley corporate did deal with the message to know that I was a writer with a large following. In other words, I talk to a lot of folks. They wouldn’t be able to ascertain how many readers I have, but a quick Google search on Tom Gaylord does bear fruit.

So I got my bike and so far I am enjoying it as much as I had hoped. I plan to follow up on my contact with Mr. Zeitz, to tell him the rest of the story when there is more to tell.

So what?

What does my story have to do with airguns or with you? Well, I think it has a lot to do with you. When it comes to airguns, I am awash in them! I can get almost anything I want to test and if I like it, I can often cut a special deal to buy it. You may be different.

You may have to save and save to get that one airgun you really want, and I am telling you here that I understand that. This motorcycle was way outside my wheelhouse, so I went through the normal buying process just like any other civilian. What mattered the most to me was service after the sale. Yeah, when you pull out the big bucks for something, everybody is your friend. But a day later, when things get cold and clammy and stuff isn’t working the way you think it should, there needs to be someone there to hold your hand and open doors for you. That’s what selling is all about.

The world-record automobile salesman is Joe Girard, who is in the Guinness World Records for selling 1,425 cars in a single year. Each was an individual sale, there were no fleet sales. In his books Girard tells his readers that sales is a matter of work by the salesman, before, during and after the sale. I know you all know this, but if you treat someone right, they will return again.

A salesman’s adage goes like this, “You can cut a man’s hair many times but you can only scalp him once.” Joe Girard once said that every person influences 250 people, so good or bad, the stories go on. I think, with over 100,000 registered readers and perhaps a quarter-million readers worldwide, B.B. Pelletier probably reaches a few more than 250.


Yes, there are buyers who only care about the absolute lowest price, and yes, they will waste a salesman’s time, only to buy from the cut-price place when all their questions are answered. My advice to salespeople about guys like this? I have a word that describes them. Bruce Wayne used the word in the Chinese prison when he was learning to be Batman. The word is — Practice. Consider the time you spend with the tire-kickers as time to refine your sales technique.

The point

In case it hasn’t dawned on you yet, I am not really writing today’s report to my readers. I’m writing it to the businesses who want to get more customers and to retain them. I see so many crazy things like repeated spammy emails that eventually turn people off, when all it takes to grow your customer base is to treat people like you want to be treated. How about that? The Golden Rule really works.

Buyers usually know what they want, and as the price of an item goes up, so usually does the buyer’s knowledge of the item. Sure, there are kids who don’t know the muzzle of an airgun from the butt, but they shop at discount stores and buy airguns based on the colorful boxes and the emphasized velocity. Selling to them is a whole different game.  What I’m talking about are those higher-ticket items whose buyers are discriminating, either because they have to be or because they just are. And, if you treat them right, they will return, if only because they were treated right.


The bottom line to selling is to sell things you believe in to people you treat like friends. Put yourself in their shoes and sell it like you’d like it to be sold to you.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

57 thoughts on “The golden rule of sales”

  1. Later today I will do my annual walk among the many, many rows of stones in the Garden of Stones and visit far too many with names I know all to well and remember them.
    I believe It is a holiday for those of us who still walk this Earth. A holiday that gives us some time to celebrate their gifts to all; Liberty, Freedom, and a chance for Peace.
    Most of them, certainly the ones I knew, would join in and celebrate the holiday…if they were still with us.


    • Shootski,

      They are still with us in the heart.

      I learned something today about placing honor on our missing brothers in arms, it is the coin thing.

      A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier’s family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect.

      Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.
      Leaving a nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together.
      Leaving a dime means you served together in some capacity.
      Leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when they died.

      So don’t forget to take a pocket full of change.

      Thanks for your service.


      • Mike,
        I never knew that about coins left at a soldier’s grave. I was very moved to learn that the different coins leave those specific messages for the deceased soldier’s family. Wow.
        Thank you for your service.

      • Mike in Atl,

        Your welcome!
        You have answered what had been a mystery ’till now.
        I have a supply of Recognition Coins with Unit/Squadron Insignia that I have place on visited headstones for years. I also give them as tokens of thanks to Service Member’s family members I meet in my travels.

        We Remember Each and Everyone of them!


  2. A fine article on a vexing problem; sales without service connection. It’s like shooting a break barrel, the follow through after the trigger pull is as important as setting the sight picture in the first place.

    I spin some wrenches at my local bike shop (LBS – bicycles) in retirement. The first duty is to come out of the service bay when the shop owner is buried in customers and help folks who take the time to visit our show room. This is all the more critical with the international bicycle shortage due to Covid and its multiplicity of effects.

    P/A has treated me well over many years as has a shop in Arizona (one purchase). I will return to these vendors even if there is a price difference to the negative because there is follow through and that means an ethical establishment that supports its customers. Price is not the ONLY measure that is important to a long-lived customer relationship.

    On another front, I gave my Gold Wing to my son a year ago. It was time to leave the motorcycle world as I have no real need of it any longer. Loved being on that big bike and commuting on it when I used to punch a clock. That exigency has passed, and the cell phone automobile talkers spooked me off the saddle. I’ll stick with the mountain and road bikes on our rail-trail for two wheel fun.

    Thanks for what you do, oh, and be VERY careful out there!


    • Lance,

      Thanks. I am being Very Very careful. So far only back roads and empty parking lots — trying to improve my low-speed control. I have had two cars pull out in front of me so far.


      • BB

        Watch those back roads. Nobody watches for bikers.
        Some old bat pulled out in front of me once. At least the ditch was shallow, and there was no mail box or culvert to make things more interesting.

        Dodged a chicken once. Took out another chicken. And I hate farm dogs.


      • Tom,

        As far as being careful, one thing I have found useful on a bicycle is to keep in mind that you are completely invisible to all other road users. I suspect it goes for motorcycles as well.


        edit to add, Beazer just added the same comment /blog/2021/05/the-golden-rule-of-sales/#comment-476008 LOL

  3. BB,
    Wow BMW R27…. very pretty!
    Do you wear a high viz vest? I would if I was riding again. I have seen guys in full DPM riding black bikes…. I mean heck.
    I loved my Yamaha XZ400 it was super smooth and very awesome for casual long range riding and it was very good on fuel. My fave bike was my Honda CB100 which I made into a cafe racer. It was awesome and could do 120kph no problem.
    Shooting the Awesome FEG in the garage off hand. Still have to fettle the sights a bit more but it’s starting to shape up. A globe sight would be great, will see if I can make one. : – ) Robert.

  4. BB,
    You will never know if signing off your email to HD the way you did, did the trick or how things would have went if you merely signed TG. My guess is that it did, but I would also like to think that such an letter would have the the desired effect anyway.
    I do enjoy these off topic blog entries and the sort of comments that they bring, like those above.
    Ride safely.


  5. BB,

    Good article.

    I am dealing with my own version of poor customer service lately with my local internet provider (Century Link). I live rural and pay for 3.0 Mbps. All is good if I can get at least 1.5 and often 1.0 will suffice for no more than what I do. 0.1, 0.2, 0.0 is typical as of late.

    I call service and end up talking to someone in Florida (I’m in Ohio). The story just gets worse from there. One issue seems to be that my area is “permanently exhausted”. I guess that means maxed out capacity, with no plans for upgrades. Still, they want there money for something that is barely usable, if at all.

    Many companies, it seems,.. try to put as much distance between you and them these days. 1/2 to 1 hour on hold (after 15 minutes of automated phone/voice prompts). Several days to get a service call. No contact or follow up afterwards. Resolve info./options sketchy at best.

    I supposedly have a service call on Tuesday (2nd one). The first one fixed nothing and I never talked with anyone, despite my local sub-station being 1/4 mile down the road. We shall see. I may try “hot spot”, but that is not without its own expense, limitations and pitfalls.

    Well,…. enough of all that. Suffice to say,.. I am chewing on rail road spikes and spittin’ nails!

    Everyone have a good day of remembrance.


    • Chris,

      I have a hot spot for in case the cable goes out. It costs $60 a month and I have to use it every time I am away from home or when the cable goes out. It’s 60 megs a second, so I can watchg high-def movies, if I want to. Unlimited minutes.


      • B.B.,

        You have us all concerned about riding a motorcycle. I used to ride, and enjoyed the experience…until several attempts were made to kill me! Drivers today are reckless and all too often distracted by their toys (cell phones!). Young people are fearless and unaware of the dangers. We have deer cross our road almost every day. There is a guy who rides a crotch rocket by our house. He’s going like 90 mph when he screams by. If he makes contact with one of those deer…it’s over for him. Beware of deer, dogs, raccoons, opossums, and other small animals. Any of them could take you out. It’s has to always be in the back of your mind. BE CAREFUL GODFATHER!

        I suggested to Chris that he check out using a “hot spot” too. I have even seen people use their cell phones as a hot spots and achieve much higher speeds than Chris is getting from his provider. You say you get 60 megs, I assume you mean 60 Mbps, which is megabits per second. 60 Mbps equals 7.5 megabytes per second. And yes, that speed will stream video without any stuttering or buffering.

        Geo (remembering the loved ones lost protecting our freedoms)

    • Agree 100%
      Very good article.
      I can think of several companies that need to learn this basic lesson; like Century Link.
      Chris, we might be neighbors!!

  6. B.B.

    Keep the rubber down and the chrome up!


    PS I asked to be notified when an “out of stock” item comes in at Pyramid. since them I get 3 e-mails a day from them for all sorts of other things…
    What is the president of Pyramid Air’s e-mail?

    PPS The Laverda must have been faster than the Sportsters?

    • Yogi,

      I myself am bombarded by sales emails from PA. It was so bad that I had them unsubscribe me. That worked for a time, but as soon as I went to their site and looked at a couple of airguns, it started back up again.

      They are no longer my exclusive airgun needs supplier. C’est la guerre.

    • Yogi,

      The Laverda was just as fast as this Sportster at the top end — 120 mph. But it wasn’t nearly as fast getting there.


  7. BB,

    Nice article. Bad experience. Good solution. I will not unless it is absolutely necessary do business with the local Harley facility. They have managed to leave a very bad taste in my mouth over the years. I am quite certain all of the Harley owners out there can relate to your experiences.

    I go to the local Harley biker dude shops when I need a little work done that I do not know how or do not have the equipment to do myself. I am treated well and they have done top shelf work for me. Though they are usually busy when I show up, I am treated respectably and with appreciation.

  8. I agree with Gunfun1. It definitely sounds like they were trying to get you to give up on the bike and buy another one. They probably had another buyer at a higher price or someone at the dealer wanted your bike. The Sportster, when it came out, was considered a superbike, competing with the likes of BSA, Triumph and other European brands. They just couldn’t match the engineering R&D and cost of the Japanese.

    I also had a problem with “authority” back when I used to write for a regional motorcycle magazine. I had bought a Triumph Tiger in NJ in the 90’s. Now when you buy a new vehicle, the dealer is supposed to place a 4 year inspection sticker on it. This dealer just told me to go to the nearest inspection station which I did. Much to my surprise, the station slapped a two year sticker on a 2 day old vehicle. When I questioned them, the station manager said that was all they had to do as they couldn’t be sure I hadn’t modified the bike! I replied that’s why it’s here for inspection! No dice.

    So I went home, typed up an article and then wrote a letter to the DMV director at the time. A week later, someone from the State Public Relations office told me to go back to the inspection station where they replaced the 2 year sticker with a 4 year, new vehicle sticker. Yep, the threat of exposure to bad publicity can really move things along!

    Oh, my trick with dogs is to slow down and drift to the center of the road to draw the dog out. Then I accelerate moderately and aim for the dog (so long as he’s in front of you). All of a sudden, the chaser becomes the chased. Has worked everytime for me. (No, don’t run him over!)

    Good luck with the new scooter, BB. Make sure you get used to using that front brake!

    Fred formerly of the Demokratik Peeples Republik of NJ now happily in GA where they don’t inspect motorcycles

    • Fred
      Another thought is with the covid stuff going on maybe they layed off thier mechanics. They was probably making as much being layed off as they was working. Maybe the dealership did want to let that info get out. Probably not the case but with this last year or so things have been kind of crazy.

      • yup – you don’t get rich being a motorcycle mechanic or even owning a single marque franchise motorcycle store. Everything is powersports and multi- franchise dealerships today. Us old guys remember hanging around and drinking beer with the owner and mechanics when the store closed on Friday nights and Saturdays, bench racing . Then someone would suggest a 50 mile ride up to Greenwood Lake, NY for a cup of coffee.

        • Fred
          Your reminding me of the old muscle car days.

          Us kids use to hang out at the local speed shops and listen to (and contribute) to the bench racing stories with the old timers. Well old timers to us. That was back in the mid 70’s.

          But most importantly us kids volunteered time helping in the speed shop. Not only for bragging rights that we actually worked at so and so’s shop but also to get whatever knowledge we could. And I remember them always saying. “Kid this is hard work it ain’t fun” for some reason I never seen it that way. I always had fun there.

          Mis those days. Definitely glad I got to have those “memories” to remember this Memorial day.

          Thankful for the people that served but there is so much more that needs remembered from time gone by.

    • Fred,

      I did almost all of that with the dog, but as his head was at the height of my gas tank, I didn’t aim at him. I just accelerated past him when I pulled close.

      I am going to vacant parking lots to get used to the brakes and clutch. This lil’ puppy really wants to take off! 🙂


  9. Hey buddy, enjoy your new two wheeler. Just don’t try to impress your neighbors yet doing burnouts or a wheelie. BTW, that’s a nice looking Toyota Tundra pickup truck that you have in your driveway.

    • Bob,

      Yes, Goldie (Bob was her owner before me and he named her) is still doing fine. She only has 94K miles on the clock. She had 73K when I bought her from Bob in 2016.


  10. BB, Awareness is everything when riding any two wheeled machine, and knowing where trouble is likely to occur. Glad you took the M.C. safty class. Don’t forget, you can do everything correctly, and still get taken out by the other guy.
    I never had a dessert thumper with a big tank, but now those three wheeled contraptions look interesting, they are harder to tip over, and they use them on the Tour de France now too.
    I never knew my R10 was a parts bin gun when I bought it! You should be fine on your new machine, it’s not an AMF machine. Maybe you could name it ‘Stella’ ? Marlon Brando would be proud. Question: there is no way that a spring guns transfer port can be any where other than where it is normally located,right? If the port where on the top of the spring tube at the end, would the piston/seal still work, or would would there need to be changes to it?I think it would need changes. On a true bullpup springer, ( it doesn’t exist yet) piston is below the barrel and travels toward the user, like a HW 45. The transfer port could be like a pcp transfer port that enters the bore from below? I was thinking of an overlever bullpup design, but now I think a fixed barrel underlever design with a rotating breech, or transfrer port for loading, cleaning.
    Thank you for all you teach.

    • Rob,

      Anywhere that port is, as long as the air that passes through is sealed, it will work. Many springers have slanted transfer ports so the hole can be in both the center of the compression chamber and also the center of the much smaller and higher barrel. The FWB 124 is one like that.


  11. FM, who never served, salutes and remembers all who have, and do; blessed to count many veterans among friends and family whose service ranged from WWII to Vietnam. One of my elementary school classmates did not return from Vietnam; another was wounded there while serving with the 101st AB. Well done, Tom and all commentators To Whom This May Apply.

    Good read today; the golden rule of sales is nothing more than The Golden Rule, mostly honored in the breach, not in practice.

    As for motorcycles, fun machines, but as I lost a very good friend, he was another Tom, who died riding one through no fault of his own, not for me. I thought of acquiring a military R75 sidecar combo a few years ago, but decided to stick to 4-wheeled machines instead.

    This is a good watch, appropriate for today…Remember.


  12. 1stBlue,
    All I saw was the green light to design the “true springer bullpup” …
    It’s Air Arms breech etc and Diana spring tube and Air Arms trigger. The lever rows forward, no idea if this is a good thing or not. You do have to reach all the way back to action the bolt, that could be redesigned with ease. I took the silencer off. No idea how to stick the scope on. And yes the scope is in correct proportion. The Diana part maybe a bit skinny. : – ) Robert.

  13. B.B.,

    I am going to follow your lead above with Harley-Davidson and write an e-mail to the president of Pyramyd AIR.

    I just now tried to appy the “Did you see something” $10 discount on a $75 order, but the discount did not apply during any step in the checkout sequence, even though I entered the website using the “Activate Offer” link and activated it at the site. This sort of thing has happened to me so many times in the past year with PA that I correctly predicted to my wife that the offer wouldn’t work. So once again, I closed up the checkout page without making a purchase.

    Additionally, the last three times I tried to make Pyramyd AIR purchases when there was a 10% or 15% discount, the items I intended to purchase were exempt from the offer. What good is an offer when few good products are eligible? Each time, I closed the checkout page withut making a purchase.

    I’ve made thousands of dollars of purchases from Pyramyd AIR over the years, but I am just about done with them. There are simply too many other ways to purchase air gun stuff online these days to reward such shoddiness.

    Hey, does the president of Pyramyd AIR read this blog? Maybe I’ve just written him here and now! 8^D


  14. TG,

    As always, great article; full of information and holds my attention.

    NICE BIKE!! I personally feel like motorcycles and “sports” cars have evolved so much that most are so overweight, that they’re no longer the lightweight, tossable, and care-free, fun vehicles they once were.
    Too big and too heavy (just like me!)
    Just tell the salesmen to point me to the full-dressed, trike section!!

  15. B.B.,

    I have to compliment you on your choice of bike. A former colleague of mine is small statured and bought his first motorcycle when he was in his 60s. He had trouble finding the Harley that would fit his short legs and short arms, so he wnt another route. He went to a custom build shop and had a motorcycle tailored, literally, to him. If I remember correctly, he chose a vintage 1970s frame for them to build a bobber on.


  16. Dear Mr. BB, Thanx for your service & congratz, sir. Gonna get a Wild Hogs tat!?! As you know been a saddle tramp for many moon, way before bein’ a biker was groovy cool. The most important tip I can share is, don’t care if ya wear a chrome helmet (remember those?), put a dune buggy flag on top of said helmet, or wear a yellow, green, orange or rainbow vest. Cage drivers do not see ya. They look right at ya & still do not see ya. You are invisible to them. Realize & ride like it. You’ll be fine. Hope we get to split a lane, me on my geezer glide, you on your snortster before check out time. Ride safe my friend.

  17. BB,

    One last thing (actually several) on bikes. I had a 2000 Wide Glide. Replaced the 2 up seat with a Saddleman brand. Had a nice pop in/pop out back rest. VERY nice. I also added 2 driving lights. Bright LED that were actually for cars. Small and very stylish. Made a HUGE difference at night, which I rarely did.

    They also sell lights/bulbs? that flash real fast. You see them coming. I do not recall if the WG had high/low beam. I am thinking just one.

    The final thing that has stuck with me to this day was to watch the wheels of people pulling out. It gave me a good heads up more than a few times. My eyes were always 5-10 car lengths ahead constantly scanning.

    Be safe and have fun. You have been around the block a time or two,… so you are already way ahead of the game.


  18. B.B.,
    nice article. I hate being treated like that (and I have been). Nothing turns me off like false promises.
    I think We were was meant here : ” she asked me to not ride motorcycles and I promised her I wouldn’t. Were were married in May of 1982,”

  19. BB
    Well I don’t think that looks like a girls bike. Here is a picture of my daughters bike. She has these flickering LED brake light strips on the side of back license plate and white ones on the front forks. Yours looks more like a bobber with some concessions to a stock bike.
    She rides the roads of Los Angeles, gutsy girl.
    Early on I told her there is someone out on the road that is going to try to kill you and it is your job to find that person first and avoid them. Made the point.
    I like the fact that you can find and access that sweet spot in traffic with two wheels. Not sure about doing that on a Trike, but you are much safer on one and may do fine just moving along with traffic.
    When I got my ex-police bike, a 71 FL I walked out the door with a frame, motor, transmission and rear wheel, left all the shinny parts and front end there. I wanted to build a chopper. Kind of regretted that later on, $$$ but I got a good price.
    It may have been the police bike gearing but I could always walk away from a Sportster. Couldn’t get across an intersection in first gear though.
    Back then I bought 6′ of throttle cable for the 15″ over springer with a 650 Triumph front brake I installed. They were very accommodating and had all kinds of aftermarket parts. Today … “We only carry stock parts, sorry we can’t help you … at all … with anything !” The aftermarket rules! And to think, they once offered me a job as a custom painter.
    Bob M

    • Bob,

      I was at Harley yesterday and fell in love with an older Heritage Softail. I hope I haven’t fallen down a rabbit hole! 😉


  20. I just had my (minor) customer service event. Midway was the only place I could find a particular pellet for a P17 and the H&N slug sampler for .22 that I wanted to try. My son in law, his dad and I have been toying with slugs to see how they shoot. The items were in a bubble wrap envelope and arrived in the condition you might expect. The can was all dented up and the pellets we not better for the experience. The slug sampler was broke open, and one of the tubes of slugs was broken, so slugs freely bounced around in the envelope with the can of pellets. We tried them out and I fired off a letter to customer service asking that shipping be refunded, since the package was poorly packaged and damaged. I was assured there was no mechanism to do that, but I could return the shipment for replacement. I just gave up at that point. It was really annoying that they are so concerned with helping, just don’t have any other mechanism to do so (their words). It amazed me that they would pay shipping both ways for a replacement, but not refund or give me a coupon for the shipment.
    P.S. If you get on a softail and ride it, you will really be hard pressed to say you don’t want to buy it. I haven’t ridden the newest series of the softails, but the 2017 and earlier softails are sweet riding bikes, they carry the weight really low and handle so nice, even at low speeds. I would venture to say they “handle lighter” than even the sportster.

    • MMCM13,

      NO, NO, NO!!! There is a BEAUTIFUL Heritage Softail at the dealer right now and I really want it! It probably wouldn’t cost me much to switch because they really want my bike back — it’s so easy to sell.

      Fingers in ears and loud singing to drown out the chatter! 🙂


      • Well BB
        People do have more than one bike 😉
        Just like airguns, What do you want to use it for? I have three BSA’s. 67 & 70 Lightnings and a 68 Mk IV Spitfire in addition to the FL cruiser. Outstanding aftermarket supply companies for the BSA’s out there.
        Might want to look into a kidney belt …
        After one ride on my Harley a shipmate sold his Sportster and went full dress. The engine torque sold him. Hard to go back.
        I’m planning to go to the American Historical Racing Motorcycle Associations, (AHRMA) Classic Motofest of Monterey at the Laguna Seca raceway this July with my daughter. In a vehicle. Way too far round trip for me on a bike.
        Bob M

      • I have the spectrum ends (in some respects) of motorcycles, a ‘15 Harley Ultra and a ‘15 BMW R1200GS adv bike. One weighs half as much, one has twice the horses, both are a great example of motorcycles. I do miss my Softail Deuce, I still scan the adds for another, Softails are a nice ride.

  21. “My new Harley Sportster 48 Special.”
    That new Harley looks fantastic! Great for you! =>
    And as for Jesus’ Golden Rule…well, I’m sure He’s cool with this report. =>
    Take care & God bless,

  22. Tom, I started riding motorcycles when I was about 10. I’m now 67. Lots of off road riding, street riding, loading up my motorcycle with camping fear and taking off for as long as a week and a half. Have owned just over 25 motorcycles in all those years. Two Sportsters, many of the Japanese big four, a Bultaco, a BSA , a Royal Enfield. Quit the job I had worked for 24 years and took a job in parts at Destination Barley Davidson in Tacoma, WA. While there, I saw the owner. Ed Wallace Jr. do an act of kindness that bears retelling here. The dealership had loads of events. Often live music, Taco Tuesdays, group tides etc. They had a little cafe inside. I would often see a very nice gent just hanging out there. His name was Louis, he was a large black gentleman, and he rode a Softtail, which he dearly loved. I found out later, that Louis had his Softail repo’d and was heart broken. Ed Wallace Jr. had found out as he was looking at HD”s up for auction down in California. He recognized a Softail up for auction as being Louis’s. He then acted quickly,and bought that bike in the auction. He then had an employee take the company truck and big trailer down to California and pick up that bike. When the bike arrived in Tacoma, he had our service department go through the bike, service it and fix any problems they found. He then called Louis in and presented the bike to him, and instructed his finances department to find a way Louis could handle the payments, and work it out. I’m quite sure the dealership lost money on this, but a very loyal Harley rider and customer sure got his brightened up, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer man. I retired from that job in August of 2011 and we moved to Hawaii.

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