As a "dyed in the wool" sportsbike rider for the last 40 years, I was somewhat underwhelmed when my mate said he had a new fatboy on loan if I would like to borrow it for the weekend to "see what Harleys are about".
It was a new '08 with the addition of very - very loud Vance & Hines slash cut pipes. My first impression was it was heavy (I ride a ZX9R E1 and TDM850)but was suprisingly easy to manoeuvre at low speed. I soon got the hang of slowing down (considerably) for bends, not because of stability, which was fine, but there is no ground clearance and I could only imagine how much the footplates would cost me to replace if I ground them away!
I rode on motorway, A and B roads, The engine torque combined with the loud pipes was addictive, the ride is vibrating and rather harsh compared to a modern sportsbike, and anything above 80mph is just too uncomfortable, about 60 - 70mph was the optimum speed, to ride in relative comfort. I found the bike turned heads(probably due to the incredible noise from the pipes) and drew admirers whenever I parked up. It had a "presence" on the road which I have not experienced on a bike before. All in all I rather enjoyed it, However I must say that when I got back on my ZX9 to ride home my first thought was how comfortable and easy to ride it felt after the Harley.
All in all, I can see some of what the Harley is about, but it's far too uncomfortable and too much like hard work for me! As for paying £13,000 for one ......!