What’s the dumbest thing you can do with any motorcycle? Short answer: anything it wasn’t designed to do. Like, say, taking a Harley-Davidson factory custom bagger racing.
This video starts out innocently enough, with an average-looking middle-aged guy telling us how much he likes his Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide. Sure, he loves track days and wheelies and sportbikes and all that, but now that he’s older, he likes this cruiser, too.
What’s coming next, a Geritol advertisement? Nope. After seeing the light on this foot-forward cruiser, our intrepid bike journo takes it racing. He packs the bike down to the Bike Shed Festival, a grassroots motorcycle event in the U.K. town of Lyddon Hill, and heads out on-track.
The Bike Shed Festival has racing for classic bikes, learner-legal bikes, and even a foot-forward class—skip forward to the 4:15 mark to see the big Harley-Davidson in action. In a foot-forward race, you probably won’t get your knee down, but maybe you can drag an ankle? In any case, it might sound silly, but it looks fun, and that’s what’s important. Tape up the headlights, get some leathers and a proper protective helmet, and hope you survive qualifying.
Although things get “a little loose and wobbly,” the CVO does just fine. It doesn’t come out of the race unscathed, however. Thanks to that low ground clearance, the bottom of the panniers and floorboards will definitely need some attention. The brakes are roached, too, after a few laps hauling the Road Glide’s nearly 900 pounds down from speed. It’s all a trade-off, though. What other motorcycle allows you to race and listen to the stereo at the same time, all while hauling your lunch in the panniers? The CVO even made it into the Best Of The Rest final race event of the day, even pulling into the lead for a while.
Maybe it wasn’t such a terrible idea to take the Road Glide to track, then, because we all learn an important lesson about the bike: “Grab hold of it, tell it what you want it to do, it’s going to do it.” Even if you’re asking it to beat smaller bikes around a track, apparently.