Harley-Davidson Dyna Switchback 2012
Eschewing the more traditional dual coil-over spring shocks found routinely on many cruisers, the Switchback instead benefits from a pair of 5-way preload adjustable nitrogen-charged, “cigar tube” (monotube) emulsion shocks. This rear suspension, says Harley’s Bjorn Christensen, better matches the ride comfort and handling performance of the front-end than does suspension action from traditional coil-overs.
Front suspension travel of 3.8 inches, and 2.1 inches for the rear, doesn’t sound like a significant difference from many of Harley’s cruisers, but don’t let these numbers fool you into thinking the Switchback provides less than average ride comfort.
The SB’s plush saddle sits 27.1 inches off the tarmac and offers CVO-seat levels of comfort. However, it’s the suspension package that deserves most of the kudos for providing remarkable-for-a-cruiser bump damping. The SB’s suspenders gobbled up most road imperfections without effort; it was only the most cavernous expansion joints or chuckholes that succeeded in overcoming the Switchback’s firm but compliant fork and shocks.
New five-spoke cast-aluminum wheels (18-inch front, 17-inch rear) were designed for weight savings – again to aid in the goal of giving the Switchback quick, low-effort handling – as well as style. Concern for handling performance even extends to the headlight.
The headlamp assembly is a sizeable unit that sits on the highest portion of the fork, raising the bike’s CoG, and therefore impacts the amount of energy required to swing the bar left or right to initiate a turn. In light of this, Harley opted for the weight savings offered by die-cast aluminum (compared to the usual zinc die-cast used for the headlight housing) when it came time to choose materials to fabricate the nacelle.
After a day’s worth of riding freeways, 25-mph surface streets and meandering canyon two-laners, my time aboard the Switchback in these environments allowed me to give the SB the guilty verdict: guilty of handling and riding as advertised.
Harley has achieved in the SB the low-effort steering it set out to give this new motorcycle from day one. The ’Back’s handling/steering is also accurate as well as easy. The chassis remains composed throughout a corner’s arc – even while dragging the floorboards past the Switchback’s 29-degree lean angle (left and right sides).
Reeling in the Switchback’s 718-lb curb weight is the work of a single 300mm rotor/4-piston front caliper combo, and a 292mm rotor with single 2-piston caliper for the rear. The brake set performs sufficiently, offering decent stopping force. Our test unit was fitted with Harley’s simple but effective ABS system – an option for all 2012 Dynas, as well as many other non-Sportster Harleys.
The SB’s quick-release windshield deflected windblast from my 5-foot 8-inch frame, keeping my helmet visor bug-free and my torso relaxed since buffeting was virtually nonexistent. I also found the rider triangle ideal, with no amount of discomfort in my reach to the mini-ape handlebar, my hands falling naturally to the grips. Seat-to-floorboard relation was also close to ideal – my only wish is for a heel-toe-shifter instead of the solo toe shifter gracing the SB.
autocoops source article: www.netcarshow.com www.motorcycle.com www.roushperformance.com
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