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Harley Riders USA Forums » Harley Davidson Wrenching Info, Tech Tips, and DIY Forums » Electrical - Ignition, ECM, Tuner, EFI » Electronic Throttle problem?


Electrical - Ignition, ECM, Tuner, EFI Discussion on these continual problem areas and how to resolve them.



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Old 05-19-2009, 05:05 PM Top   #1 (permalink)
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Default Electronic Throttle problem?

So I picked up my new (to me) 08 Ultra today and on the way home had some problems that I think are the electronic throttle. 4 times in a 200 mile ride back home I just simply lost throttle control. Felt like I had let go of the throttle and when I would twist it nothing would happen. finally I would twist to full throttle and the bike would come back to life with full throttle. It was a bit dangerous one of those times when I was merging onto a busy interstate. Two other times at a stop, the idle wouldn't come back down from about 2200 rpms.

I took it to the local harley dealer since it is still under factory warranty and they just shrugged it off saying that if it wasn't doing it right then that they couldn't really do anything about it. Since it is intermittent, but I think a dangerous situation, shouldn't they be offering to do more?

I figure it has to be a connection, or the throttle assembly or the throttle position sensor. Can't these things be tested??

Anyone know of any failures of these parts that I can point out to them? Should I just get pissy and demand that they replace whatever they need to replace to fix it? Or should I try another dealer. That last option would be tough because I don't really have anyone who would drive up with me to another town to bring me back and take me back when it was done.

Any suggestions?

Thanks/1
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:02 PM Top   #2 (permalink)
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Backdoc...I hope when they wrote the issue up that it was documented that the throttle would open up 100%. I would call the service mgr up and discuss the issue with him and express the liability that they have assumed...they wrote it up, documented the issue and gave the bike back to you with no resolution to the issue. I would advise them that should this issue arise when you are riding and you stack it up it would not be good for their dealer to release a vehicle with a dangerous condition present.

There was a few articles in another HD forum that addressed this issue
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:49 PM Top   #3 (permalink)
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Backdoc...I hope when they wrote the issue up that it was documented that the throttle would open up 100%. I would call the service mgr up and discuss the issue with him and express the liability that they have assumed...they wrote it up, documented the issue and gave the bike back to you with no resolution to the issue. I would advise them that should this issue arise when you are riding and you stack it up it would not be good for their dealer to release a vehicle with a dangerous condition present.

There was a few articles in another HD forum that addressed this issue
Well it was just an informal discussion with the tech. I need to make an appointment to actually give them the bike for a few days. I'm sure then it will be written up and hopefully resolved. If they give it back after that with the same "gee, I don't know how we can diagnose it if it isn't happening all the time" attitude, I'll go up the ladder a bit.

I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I can't help feeling like I might be being treated a bit differently than if I had bought the bike there.
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:27 PM Top   #4 (permalink)
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I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I can't help feeling like I might be being treated a bit differently than if I had bought the bike there.
naw..I don't think so, money is the same color green anywhere you go. I think it was a lazy tech that didn't want to dwell into your problem until you actually took it in for the actual repair and the work order was signed.

When you finally get it in, I recommend being VERY through in your description of the issue and make sure that iall of it is documented/written down that the throttle opened up 100%..that way if something (God forbid) happened after they worked on it and released it back to you with a faulty throttle controller....you will "own" them, not that it matters. I would make a point to talk to the service manager when you do take it in and relay your concerns and have him install new components as you have no confidence in the old one.

If they are a good dealer they should get you a new throttle system after hearing that!! Good luck!!
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:17 PM Top   #5 (permalink)
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I have read a rash of problems with the TBW. Take it to your dealer and tell them to fix it, period. Bet they wouldnt be shrugging it of if it was the other way around and the throttle was going to wide open

They should have plenty of info on the problems, you shouldnt have to point out anything to them.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:36 PM Top   #6 (permalink)
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I have read a rash of problems with the TBW. Take it to your dealer and tell them to fix it, period. Bet they wouldnt be shrugging it of if it was the other way around and the throttle was going to wide open

They should have plenty of info on the problems, you shouldnt have to point out anything to them.
Actually it does that too from time to time, but just not wide open. I had two instances where the idle would not come down from the 2500 where I had been riding. I have found what is supposed to fix that problem, but it is a hassle if it's going to happen all the time.

There is one report of a rider being killed when his bike with the ETC wouldn't roll off the throttle when the rider entered a turn and he and his old lady were thrown from the bike. He was killed and she was seriously injured. Don't know if it was ever confirmed that the ECT was to blame.

I actually like the way it feels, I like how smooth it makes the transition to cruise control, I just want it to work like it's supposed to work and not be worrying about when it's going to happen again.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:43 PM Top   #7 (permalink)
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"Well it was just an informal discussion with the tech. I need to make an appointment to actually give them the bike for a few days."

Well, no wonder he just shrugged his shoulders. Get that bike in, do a FORMAL write up and get the damned thing fixed! I'm nearing 10,000 miles on my 08 E-Glide and haven't had any problems. The Service Manager told me when I picked up the bike NOT to turn the throttle past the 'off' position. There is about 1/4 of an inch spring loaded area just past the off (no throttle) position that will screw up the module's sensing ability. The bike MAY go into creep home mode with little or no response.

Here is the reset procedure from another forum....Good Luck

http://hdforums.com/forum/touring-mo...-side-fix.html
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:17 PM Top   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Steve. I have 9,000 on my 08 and have not had any problems with the throttle but thanks for taking me back to HDForums and remembering that it is so hard to read posts on there.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:08 PM Top   #9 (permalink)
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"Well it was just an informal discussion with the tech. I need to make an appointment to actually give them the bike for a few days."

Well, no wonder he just shrugged his shoulders. Get that bike in, do a FORMAL write up and get the damned thing fixed! I'm nearing 10,000 miles on my 08 E-Glide and haven't had any problems. The Service Manager told me when I picked up the bike NOT to turn the throttle past the 'off' position. There is about 1/4 of an inch spring loaded area just past the off (no throttle) position that will screw up the module's sensing ability. The bike MAY go into creep home mode with little or no response.

Here is the reset procedure from another forum....Good Luck

http://hdforums.com/forum/touring-mo...-side-fix.html
Thanks, I'm going to try the reset procedure before my next ride. If it still has the problem I will definitely get the bike in. I was just a bit disappointed when the service tech said that even if I bring it in if they can't reproduce the problem there was nothing they could do. It only did it 4 times in 200 miles, but one of those times it could have definitely caused an accident. I don't like the idea that if they can't reproduce it they will just shrug their shoulders and tell me tough luck.

Anyway I'll try the reset and give them a chance if that doesn't work.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:27 PM Top   #10 (permalink)
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I don't like the idea that if they can't reproduce it they will just shrug their shoulders and tell me tough luck.
don't settle for that...if that happens again (this is why you want everything documented) ask to speak with the serv mgr, if that doesn't resolve it, talk to the GM...explain that if something does happen you'll be the new owner of the dealer!!! They should get you a new throttle unit, once it's fixed...find a new dealer
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:26 PM Top   #11 (permalink)
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Well reset procedure didn't do dick. I went riding two up today and every time we hit a sharp bump, the throttle disappeared. Even when riding in cruise control. When it does, the speedo goes to zero and back and my cruise setting is lost. This seems to be a separate problem from the high idle problem.

I'm taking the bike to the dealer tuesday, how do I impress upon them that there are two different problems? They seemed to think the problem was in the throttle at the bar, but the times it did it today, I wasn't even touching the throttle.

One more question: Can they look up the VIN of the bike and see if it has been in for this problem before and what was done (and obviously not working)? Also, can they run the VIN and see if the recall on the fuel filter has been done?

thanks guys, Sorry to be a PIA, but this is pretty frustrating with a new bike (at least to me) with less than 3K miles on the odometer.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:03 PM Top   #12 (permalink)
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BACKDOC...when you bought the bike did the previous owners put new bars on???? If they did the problem could be with loose wiring
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:04 PM Top   #13 (permalink)
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BACKDOC...when you bought the bike did the previous owners put new bars on???? If they did the problem could be with loose wiring
I think the bars are stock, but I certainly wonder about a loose connection. But I have no idea where to look for it. This problem has occured without a jolt, but it certainly seems to happen with more frequency with a sharp bump, especially when two up.

I'll probably pull the seat before I ride tomorrow and check the connections at the control unit. If I'm not mistaken, it sits right on top of the battery right? That one will be easy to check if I'm right, but if there are connections inside the fairing, I'm going to leave that to the dealer to mess with.

The previous owner did put on different grips. Nostalgic HD type. I don't see in the accessories catalog that they are incompatible with the 08 tourers. Don't know if they were dealer installed or by the owner.
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:18 PM Top   #14 (permalink)
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not sure where the control system is on the new bikes. My I suggest something??? If I were you I wouldn't be riding the bike until you get it to the dealer to be fixed and for liability sake. I also wouldn't go pokin around trying to self diagnose the porblem......take it to the dealer and let them do it...that's what warranty is for...I'm looking out for your best interest..if you continue to look and poke and try to fix it, it gives them an out as they can probably tell that the system has been touched..who knows, but I'd keep the area sterile and that way you can say you can truthfully say you didn't touch anything.

You've already pointed out the problem to the dealer and they released it to you. If (God forbid) something happens, they will have a defense as you continued to ride the bike with a malfuntioning TBW system.
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:58 PM Top   #15 (permalink)
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You shouldnt have to do jack, trying to fix this problem. If your dealer tells you they have never heard of any problems, they are blowing smoke up your ass, because there have been many documented cases of problems with the TBW. Just take it in and ask them to fix it or get a hold of the MOCO and they will make the thing right.

Give me a cable any day.....................
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:26 PM Top   #16 (permalink)
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I was told that by several dealers about my fuel pump and it drove me nuts as it's totaly irrelevant. It's clearly a dealer get out. In the end I found a great dealer up in Edinburgh, this don't help you BUT my point is don't take this line and demand a solution now.

Exactly what was wrong with cables anyway
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:15 PM Top   #17 (permalink)
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not sure where the control system is on the new bikes. My I suggest something??? If I were you I wouldn't be riding the bike until you get it to the dealer to be fixed and for liability sake. I also wouldn't go pokin around trying to self diagnose the porblem......take it to the dealer and let them do it...that's what warranty is for...I'm looking out for your best interest..if you continue to look and poke and try to fix it, it gives them an out as they can probably tell that the system has been touched..who knows, but I'd keep the area sterile and that way you can say you can truthfully say you didn't touch anything.

You've already pointed out the problem to the dealer and they released it to you. If (God forbid) something happens, they will have a defense as you continued to ride the bike with a malfuntioning TBW system.
OK, I found the problem and I'm glad I didn't take it in because I would have gotten stuck with any service bill. I bought the bike from an independent dealer and either that dealer or the original owner decided to remove the plastic tray that the ECM module sits in. So, it was sitting directly on the battery. It also happens to have a brushed aluminum bottom and I could see where it had been arcing when coming into contact with the positive battery terminal. WTF????

Why would someone do that?? Oh well, I will have to order the part, but in the meantime I sacrificed part of an old plastic fishing tackle box to make an insulator and zip tied it to the ECM. A couple hundred miles of riding today and not a single glitch.

No way that would have been warranteed. It wasn't my fault, but it certainly wasn't a manufacturers defect either.

Anyways, hopefully that will end this drama.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions guys.
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:37 PM Top   #18 (permalink)
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Glad you found the problem..surprised the dealer you took it too didn't find that...or maybe they didn't get that far. Hope all fairs well and that you will be able to put some miles on!!
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:29 PM Top   #19 (permalink)
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great news

But I still don't get the point of an electronic throttle system !
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:51 AM Top   #20 (permalink)
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But I still don't get the point of an electronic throttle system !
it's for those that want to see technology advance!!! fewer moving parts mean less chance for malfuntion...look at the figher jets being made....everything is going to be by wire
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:04 AM Top   #21 (permalink)
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well thats an interesting pont and ya know i love technology,, BUT i just dont buy it on a motorcycle,, i can see it as an aid to hide chit and go for a clean look but that aint important on a bagger and thats all they fit them to

this brings me to another point,, i rode an 09 and loved the handling etc,, thought the improvements were sectacular BUT never liked the ABS.. to me it felt wooden and woefull.. ya know if i could i would have switched it off. Then i read on another post of yours that you reckon its saved your ass at least once now,, so thats a good point , do you put up with less feel and go for the time when you can just haul on everything and not worry or do you rely on the strength of a motorcycle which is rider feel,,

more than any other vehicle,, car etc,, the bike gives you constant and great feedback as to the tires , road conditions etc etc.. i mean i can see the point of ABS on a car and specifically on a car that Mom drives the kids to school in.. BUT i would rather have the performance out of the braking system and rely on my own experience to apply the correct braking at any given time..

this brings me to "Traction Control" ,, i was reading about the new sports beemer,, that thing can have the traction control setup for touring tires right through to full slicks! and of couurse it has all the other chit.. so why traction control,, i mean i want the back end to drift out of corners,, its important for full control and for chosing you line. i dont want some homogonized scoot that wont let me slide, burnout or generally pick the way i want to take any specific bend etc

this is all great tech for a car,, truck etc,, but on a bike you are (cornily enough) part of the machine and you feel everything, every twitch, every change in road surface etc and experience brings you to a point where you can really fck it down the road,, so why handcuff yourself with a load of tech bullchit that simply anaethatises your over all experience AND more importantly control not to mention enjoyment..

to me injection and engine management are just about acceptable,, thats it.. and besides what ya doing up so late
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:08 AM Top   #22 (permalink)
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well thats an interesting pont and ya know i love technology,, BUT i just dont buy it on a motorcycle,, i can see it as an aid to hide chit and go for a clean look but that aint important on a bagger and thats all they fit them to

this brings me to another point,, i rode an 09 and loved the handling etc,, thought the improvements were sectacular BUT never liked the ABS.. to me it felt wooden and woefull.. ya know if i could i would have switched it off. Then i read on another post of yours that you reckon its saved your ass at least once now,, so thats a good point
I gotta tell ya dude...the ABS is the best thing Harley has ever done. Saturday, an asshole coming down the off ramp from the interstate pulled out right in front of me without even slowing down for the stop sign. I was running about 50mph riding two up with Betty on the back. The guy looked me right in the eye and just kept on coming. I hit both brakes HARD....both wheels "chirped" and then the bike just sort of shuddered to a stop. No way I could have stopped in time without the ABS...With regular brakes.it would have locked up and if I'd let off enough to stop the slide I'd have hit his rear fender dead on. ABS works and feels just like any other system until the wheels try to lock up under the brakes....I don't understand the "wooden and woeful"....hell, it brakes as well or better than any bike I've ever owned.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:13 AM Top   #23 (permalink)
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IMO no feel whatsoever,, in fact so little feel that you would need ABS to stop safely

ive yet to encounter a situation where i could place my hand on my heart and say that i would have been saved by ABS..

i have been in hospital a fair few times from bike wrecks and its always a total wipe out that nothing could have prevented ,, apart from maybe a tad more intelligence !!

either way,, ABS sucks the living hell out of all feeling for what and why as far as brake performance goes...
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:06 AM Top   #24 (permalink)
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Pete...I too was a firm believer that I was an awesome "combo braker" and trained very hard at it. I dislike disagreeing with you, but on this one I can tell you without a doubt that YOU CANNOT out perform ABS..I bet you money on it! Ask 1BCMC, PAPA S, BORRACHO or any guy who works/worked motors and they'll tell you that ABS will outperform any human being doing emergency combination braking...the ABS system will kick any humans butt doing so, more safely and consistantly without the worry of tire lock-up!! I am a firm believer in ABS..as I told you, the one occassion where PAPA S and I almost got creamed made me a believer AGAIN!!

Now the Traction Control make no sense to me also......
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:27 AM Top   #25 (permalink)
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you know i believe you,, it was your post on another thread that got me thinking about it again,, ya see it was the one thing i didnt like about the bagger that i took out,, the brakes didnt feel right at all...

then you posted that thing about it saving your neck and it just got me thinking,, was gonna post a thread on it but figured as this thread had reached its conclusion i would just jump in here...

i understand what you are saying and i respect your standpoint 100%,, just wandered what everyones opinion is,, was hoping for a long running debate here on the tech developments on Harleys,, there worth etc and the way i roll,, i would never buy a machine with ABS...

I mean Panhead made another point someplace around here that even pulling the wheels is a tricky operation with ABS because of the sensors etc,, so gradually the home wrench is going to be stuffed and some guys will get priced off bikes altogether as legislation creeps in demanding standard fitment of this "tech"

i want to build my own bike,, service it,, tune and do what the hell else i wanna do with it without big brother passing a billion laws that paint me into a corner and remove the whole point of having a bike..

thin end of the wedge ,, so not only do i not like the feel,, i see it as a menacing threat to the way i live
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:45 AM Top   #26 (permalink)
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Your about 20 years late with your argument. We heard all this when fuel injectors came on and carburetors were on their way out. If you want to wrench on your own bike bad enough you will. I have put so many bikes together out of boxes that I thought like you I would never be able to live with out doing my own work. But guess what, I did. These twin cam motors don't even split cases and fly wheels like the old ones but man they run so much better, and it's nice not having to carry a tool box along just to make sure you can get home. Embrace the change man. Yeah I still look longingly at a Pan when I see one, but my knees don't hurt from kicking them over any more and I don't have to go over my bike with a fine tooth comb if I want to go on a trip. Maybe I will go somewhere and see 20 bikes just like the one I am on. So what, I don't have to prove any thing to any body. I know where I have come from and what I have done. I have pulled into gas stations and had the doors locked and the lights shut off. I am glad that the bad boy image has gone away.

Now if you want to get me going start talking about how Harley is advertising to women. I'm not ready to admit I own a girl's bike yet.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:50 AM Top   #27 (permalink)
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great post,, did already mention the injection thing a few posts back

so i am guessing i am alone here in my resentment of car tech on bikes.. but mebe now,, OJ has come out against traction control

and i think Mike may have a view on electronic throttles..

anyone else want chime in and get this debate rolling
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:24 PM Top   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
OJ has come out against traction control
Pete...I'm NOT against it..I just don't see why it is needed..I guess it is a safety thing if someone wasn't carefull when wicking on the throttle. I do not mind technology encroaching on our motorcycles, I actually embrace it as it does make motorcycling safer and enjoyable...that's the way I see it, that's the way I live it and that's the way I ride it

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thin end of the wedge ,, so not only do i not like the feel,, i see it as a menacing threat to the way i live
ur mui LOCO man!!...but I wuv you anyways!!!
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:45 AM Top   #29 (permalink)
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Pete...I'm NOT against it..I just don't see why it is needed..I guess it is a safety thing if someone wasn't carefull when wicking on the throttle. I do not mind technology encroaching on our motorcycles, I actually embrace it as it does make motorcycling safer and enjoyable...that's the way I see it, that's the way I live it and that's the way I ride it.

ur mui LOCO man!!...but I wuv you anyways!!!
Pete's just "Old School" when it comes to scooters. He rides shoeless and drags his feet to stop...never did like drum brakes, disc brakes or ABS cause they just don't have the "feel" of bare feet in an emergency braking situation. He don't like TBW either....he preferrs to pour the gas directly into the carburator while riding due to his steel trap brain's ability to more accurately meter the fuel requirements for a given load and RPM on the engine. Riding comfort isn't even a consideration as he removed a perfectly good saddle and replaced it with a home made, pink....yes....pink, antique tractor seat!! He's gonna remove the starter from the Street Bob today cause he likes to do a rollin' push start and try to catch up with the scooter when she fires off. Gotta give him credit tho'...considering all the shit he's removed from that bike the sumbitch is lean and mean and only weighs in at around 12 pounds!! :p
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:09 AM Top   #30 (permalink)
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retards just trying to have a little healthy debate here
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:21 AM Top   #31 (permalink)
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retards just trying to have a little healthy debate here
Don't get yer panties in a wad there ol' Buddy....I was de-baiting Ya!!
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:22 AM Top   #32 (permalink)
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i'd just like to state for the record that i dont wear panties and i was just messin with ya

thing is the encroachment of useless tech IMO IS a PITA and will lead to the demise of the live we all love...

discuss -
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:42 AM Top   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
i'd just like to state for the record that i dont wear panties
ok ok...he should have said "thongs"......would be more accurate of a statement!!

Quote:
will lead to the demise of the live we all love...
the fuggin LIBERALS are doing that already!!

GAWD...have we jacked this thread all up or what????
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:46 AM Top   #34 (permalink)
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thread was done,, the dude had resolved his issue and was happy

now what this place need is a lively debate,, this aint about me its meant to be a thread where people can really let go with a long spiel on their feelings covering this topic,,

hell,, we could even have debates on other topics if this one works

aint no point having a political debate area coz y'all a bunch or right wing red necks anyways
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:50 AM Top   #35 (permalink)
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go for it.....open up a new thread in the other section...label it..."SK8's Debate Place - NO on Technology for Bikes" or "Cavemans Guide to Old School Rides" haaaaaaa haaaaaaaa
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:00 AM Top   #36 (permalink)
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LMAO

dammit that aint my point!!,, i do lovetech and i love being able to map my motor with the PCIII and laptop

love it

tech ain the issue,,, hell i am a freelance tech guy

the issue is subtle,, but its there is you take away the fact that sk8 wrote the posts
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:20 PM Top   #37 (permalink)
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SO BEN whats your standpoint on traction control on HDs??

or ABS for that matter..

pitch in buddy,,
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:56 PM Top   #38 (permalink)
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Here, Panheads got the traction control solution

http://www.5min.com/Video/How-To-Cre...Tires-34025870
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:25 PM Top   #39 (permalink)
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LMAO
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:21 AM Top   #40 (permalink)
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Although I think ABS braking is the best thing since canned beer I can see no logical reason for Traction Control on a motorcycle. There's only one wheel back there therefore no differential for the "other" wheel to lose traction. I don't know how it would work in a "slide out" while cornering under too much power....my experience has been on dirt bikes that if the rear wheel gains too much traction, when drifting a turn, the scoot tries to right itself like a gyro resulting in "high siding" the rider....been there ...done that..it ain't fun. As far as TBW goes, the jury is still out on that one. My bike has it and I really can't feel any difference in throttle response. There's a lot of complicated throttle position sensors and electronics that have the potential for failure but then again no cables to stick or break. I guess as long as the SOB works as advertised and gives me no prollems I'm a happy camper!!

You happy now Sk8??
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