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Harley-Davidson Night Train test

Full in the black

The color doesn’t matter – the main thing is black. With the Night Train, Harley-Davidson proves that choppers don’t have to be covered in shiny chrome. Simple in black also works.

There are things that just inevitably belong together. Dick and Doof, Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, Schwaben and Spatzle or the Pope and the Catholic Church. According to popular opinion, chromium polish and chopper also form an inseparable unit. But where otherwise the sun is reflected in high-gloss chrome parts, in this case there is a construction made of aluminum and steel dipped in matt black shrink varnish. Harley-Davidson calls the new creation of the Softail series, which is almost entirely black, FXSTB, or night train.
The mourning-look big twin from Milwaukee attracts attention with almost magical force. Wide-open eyes compete with wide-open mouths. Night Train riders shouldn’t shy away from the limelight. Pure fascination – that is what makes the American heavy metal so unique.
Barely six hand’s breadth above that, the driver sits down in the hollow of the seat. The feet are placed far forward on the rubber-coated footrests, the arms stretch out towards the handlebar on their chrome-plated risers – together with the chrome-plated lamp the almost last attributes of a glamorous past. This is exactly how you imagine the sitting position on a chopper, and it is also comfortable. On the other hand, the passenger seat offers little comfort. Hard, short and narrow, it is actually better suited for luggage than for passenger transport. Nevertheless, despite multiple inquiries, the pillion rider persisted during the test drives – a change of vehicle is out of the question. Fascination is a strange thing.
As clumsy as a child’s first attempt at walking, the Harley stumbles over poor stretches of road and immediately makes one thing clear: The American way of drive calls for spacious, well-developed highways. The Night Train acknowledges curves that are approached quickly with violent rolling. Those who do it even harder will be put in their place by the side stand and the exhaust system. Through hard contact with the ground and plenty of flying sparks, they testify to the end of the lean angle. While the rear suspension ignores any unevenness in the ground and can barely hold the heavy disc wheel on the ground, the metallic clacking of the fork when it is compressed strongly heralds the end of its mechanical strength. She goes to block mercilessly and the wire-spoke front wheel begins to jump. Tea only thing that helps here is voluntary self-restraint, i.e. taking the gas off. It’s a shame, because contrary to many earlier test machines with the 1340 Evo engine, the Night Train is extremely lively. And, according to Harley-Davidson, nothing has been changed in the engine setup. The twin bumper turns willingly in higher engine speed regions. In an unusual hurry, the shift foot feels compelled to engage the next gear.
But what has remained are the hearty expressions of life of the V2. The feet wander off the footrests on their own initiative. The rearview mirrors only paint a very distorted picture of reality and the hands struggle in vain against the feeling of numbness. But that is also part of the fascination.
No reason whatsoever can be found for the bad brakes on the Night Train. Tea lonely disc on the front wheel has a lot of trouble robbing the black colossus of its dynamism. If the brake lever is pulled hard, the narrow front tire soon begins to whistle and whimper, but there is no adequate deceleration. In connection with the poorly tuned fork, this is a real safety deficit and those who now rely on the support of the rear disc have built on sand. Badly metered, it suddenly locks the rear wheel and puts the Harley on a skid course. Even if the machines from Milwaukee are a role model for the whole scene in many respects, when it comes to brakes, the Americans should be unabashedly copying some Japanese suppliers.
But for those who love the fascination and myth of this heavy metal, they will generously overlook its weaknesses. Of its nature is and remains that Harley-Davidson Night Train is a motorcycle to stroll through the show miles of this world. And she masters this profession perfectly.

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