2008 Harley Davidson FXSTB Night Train Review

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2008 Harley Davidson FXSTB Night Train Review

Post by ganahsokmo on Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:57 am

On a recent road trip to Quebec City from
Toronto with Harley-Davidson, I got serious seat time on some truly
beautiful bikes. While there wasn’t a traditional tourer in the group,
we had free reign of a number of cruisers - some of which were new, some
not so much. Under sunny skies we set forth on our journey with me on
the Fat Boy on the first leg. After stopping for lunch, gassing up the
bikes and draining some bladders, we set out with yours truly aboard the
Night Train.


Based on the Softail chassis, but leaner, lower and more raked out,
the Night Train is one of many Harley models that offer the appearance
and distinction of a pseudo custom bike with no assembly required. These
out-of-the-box customs - which also include the Rocker, Cross Bones,
Fat Bob and Street Bob to name a few, provide riders with the unique
characteristics of a custom in a reliable, ready-to-ride package. They
also provide the simplicity and peace of mind that come from buying a
mass-produced motorcycle from an established manufacturer – not
someone’s garage. Instead of buying a bike someone else has tinkered
with or choosing parts and accessories, installing them yourself and
hoping they fit and look good, you can buy the ‘custom’ bike you want
off a showroom floor - providing this setup is the one you want, of
course.



Harley has expanded each of its lines to include classic-looking
customs alongside traditional mainstays. While Sportster fans can now
opt for the Nightser and Dyna riders the Fat or Street Bobs, Softail
enthusiasts can still choose from time-honored models like the Heritage
Softail Classic and Softail Deluxe or if they wish to push the
boundaries of convention, they can go for such customs as the Rocker,
Cross Bones or Night Train. Doing so adds undeniable style and
distinction without compromise as you get the 96B V-Twin powerplant with
the same, albeit modified Softail chassis configuration.

Finished in Black Denim paint, my tester looked about as sinister as
they come. Not only the tank and bobbed fenders, but also components
such as engine covers, air cleaner, oil tank, rear fender supports,
drive-belt sprocket and fuel tank console were all powder-coated or done
in a ‘wrinkle-black’ finish in various shades and textures of ebony I
am told. Who knew there were so many variations of the color black?
Adding to the cool factor is the drag-style handlebar on risers, the
bullet headlamp, 21-inch wire wheel at the end of a raked-out fork, and a
low-profile front fender. The combination of the narrow drag bar and
forward controls make for a pretty aggressive riding stance.
Unfortunately the riding position that it creates is about as
uncomfortable as it is cool. Depending on whether your priorities lie
with attitude or ergonomics, you will likely love or hate how the bike
stretches out the rider.

The drag-style handlebar looks great and feels good initially but
isn’t an ideal setup for tight turns in combination with the 32-degree
rake, particularly at slow speeds. Kept in a position that doesn’t
encourage proper balance or posture, it wasn’t what I would call ideal.
Cruising backroads was easily accomplished, but riding slowly around
town brought on its fair share of challenges. After running wide open on
a stretch of highway between Toronto and Trenton known as the Highway
of Heroes, for about an hour, I wanted to redirect my destination to a
good masseuse. I have no doubts that some riders will enjoy the intended
riding position, I just don’t happen to be one of them.


'Finished in Black Denim paint, my tester
looked about as sinister as they come'
Riding position aside, the Night Train represents everything Harley
is known for. The electronically fuel injected, rigid-mounted 96B V-Twin
rumbles and shakes while it plays a beautiful soundtrack for the ears.
At 656 lbs, the Night Train is anything but slight, but the 1584cc Twin
Cam V-Twin offers up 86 ft-lbs of torque at as low as 3,200 rpm,
allowing the rider all kinds of fun with their right hand at various
speeds. The traditional 45-degree Harley V-Twin may not be the most
efficient or performance-oriented powerplant in its league, but that’s
not to say it has nothing to offer.

Firing up the 96B is akin to waking up a stubborn powerhouse of a
farmer from a deep slumber – it may take a few moments to get moving,
but just try and stop it once it has started. As with the new Fatboy,
the Night Train now boasts a much needed sixth gear. Highway cruising
can now be done at a lower rpm, saving both gas and your eardrums. While
the sixth gear does drop the rpm, there is still plenty of pop left for
passing in the top gear.
The ride feels supple aboard the Badlander seat, which is cushy and
comfortable. The ride is soft but not to the same extent as an Electra
Glide; it has more of a Buick feel than a Cadillac. A 200mm rear tire
sits below the bobtail fender which looks pretty badass and doesn’t do
much to impair performance since the riding stance, and the bike itself
aren’t exactly conducive to hard cornering. Despite my gripes about the
riding position, the one highlight of this stance is that it has you
leaning forward which saves your tailbone and gluteus maximus during a
long ride, which I made in sections from Toronto to Quebec City.


Harley-Davidson’s new mantra of building out-of-the-box customs is
allowing them to appeal to a much wider audience. The company’s engine
quality and reliability have come a long way, making more people
consider shelling out the extra cash for a Hog. Regardless of what your
cruiser preference or riding style, they will have a bike to suit you.
The Night Train may be that bike, or it may not - the choice is
ultimately up to you.

Related Reading
2008
Harley Davidson Cross Bones
2008
Harley-Davidson FLSTSB Cross Bones Review
2009
Harley-Davidson Model Line-up
2007
Harley-Davidson Softail Fat Boy Review
2000
H-D FXSTB Night Train
2007
Harley-Davidson XL1200N

ganahsokmo

Join date : 16/01/2010
Age : 35

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