Too Hot To Handle

Too Hot To Handle

by January 10, 2015

Too Hot To Handle
Story & photos by: Susan “Bubbles” Udero
Mescalero, New Mexico

I bought a 2014 Softail Heritage Classic in September 2014 from a Harley Davidson dealership in New Mexico. I rode the first 500 miles at 45 mph as recommended but noticed the bike was getting hot so I called the salesperson to address my concern. The salesperson stated that these bikes run lean so it just needed to be broken in and then it would be fine. With that information I decided to ride to Arizona and I ended up getting burned from my groin area down to my right ankle. I called the salesperson again and she said to bring the bike back to get it serviced. I decided to take a different route back which would be cooler and avoid riding on the highways so I rode through Flagstaff, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had to wear my chaps while riding through Flagstaff, Arizona because the weather was cold and rainy. I noticed that the right side of my bike was keeping me very warm due to the intensity of the heat coming from the bike. Once in Albuquerque, I drove directly to a Harley Davidson dealership to get my bike checked. The service manager basically said that these bikes run lean. He checked the readings on the bike’s oil tank = 246 degrees; the front cylinder = 289 degrees; the crossover bar = 272 degrees; oil = 246 degrees; the pipe = 279 degrees; the front cylinder = 289 degrees; and the right cylinder = 284 degrees. The manager of the store bought me a heat shield to protect me from any further burns as I still needed to drive home to Las Cruces, New Mexico. During the three-hour drive I was not wearing my chaps and my leg continued to get burned. The heat shield did, however, protect my groin area and part of my upper thigh from getting more burned.

I went to a Harley Davidson dealership in Las Cruces, NM and shared pictures of my burned leg. The service advisor and manager of the store stated they would check the bike out thoroughly. During their testing, they compared my 2014 Softail with the 2015 Softail and the 2015 was pulling even more heat than mine. It was recommended that I use synthetic 3 oil, a high airflow filter, and heat/shield protectors. After a 1,000 mile service to my bike they said it would help so I again rode to Arizona. Due to the warm weather I didn’t have to wear my chaps and had to stop every 15 minutes to stop the bike from burning me in heavy traffic. (Photos enclosed.) It took me 13 hours (instead of 8) to arrive in Phoenix due to the bike heating up. I stopped at a Harley dealership in Phoenix and called the corporate office myself. An employee at Corporate clearly stated that the bikes pass emissions from the factory so I asked to speak with the CEO but was told I could only communicate via letter. At this point I wanted to ride to Milwaukee to address this serious safety issue with the CEO and question why the consumer should have to purchase additional parts (approx. $5,000 worth) to protect themselves from bodily burns.

Instead, I visited another Harley dealership in Albuquerque and was told that I should have never been put on a Softail Heritage for as much traveling as I do. They recommended the Streetglide bike so I test rode one. The Harley dealership made me an offer to trade my 2014 Softail Heritage for the 2015 Streetglide but I was unsure as I needed to do more research.
I returned to Las Cruces NM, and visited the original dealership and spoke to them. They suggested that I trade in my 2014 Softail Heritage for a 2014 Streetglide but I wanted to call corporate and ask for advice. The corporate representative said it was on record that I was having problems with my bike being hot. I asked for a recommendation on what bike would be safe and not burn me. The representative was not at liberty to say but instead recommended I test ride more bikes.

I decided to take the offer of trading in my 2014 Softail Heritage for the 2014 Streetglide. I am hopeful this was the best decision. Susan M.