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2011 HarleyRocker C Comparison Review

Tuesday, January 4, 2011
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2011 Harley-Davidson Rocker C Cruiser Comparison Video
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Harley-Davidson's Rocker C gets its name from its "Rockertail" swingarm and hidden coil-over shocks that give it a hardtail look but with the advantages of a Softail ride. Learn more in the Rocker C Comparison Video.
With a wheelbase stretched out to 69.2 inches and a ground clearance just over five inches, the Rocker C is slung long and low. Throw in a seat height that drops to 25.2 inches when you settle in to the deep cushion of the Convertible Trick Seat and pullback handlebars that punch out a rider’s arms almost straight and the low-riding effect only increases. Tall and skinny up front and wide and beefy out back, the Rocker C is all about swagger. Throw in its “Rockertail” rear end and trick deployable passenger pillion and you’ve got a bike unlike any other Harley-Davidson, which is a definite part of its allure.

Thumb the electric start and the pulse of the rigid-mounted Twin-Cam 96B drums to life. The pushrod-driven 1584cc powerplant has a lumping character other manufacturers seek to duplicate. Though it’s counter-balanced, there’s a healthy amount of vibrations in the tank and bars at idle. Roll on the throttle and the vibes become less noticeable. The Twin Cam 96B used in the Rocker C hasn’t changed much since the introduction of the TC96 in 2007, which means the air-cooled powerplant puts out noticeably more heat than its liquid-cooled counterpart used on the Stryker. Aesthetically, though, there’s no comparison. The Rocker C’s machined cooling fins stand out against the black powder coated engine and the luster of the chrome rocker covers, pushrods, air filter and oil lines are a classy touch. The staggered shorty exhausts also inject a little more attitude into the bike’s design in comparison to the 2-1-2 arrangement of the Stryker. And though sound is arbitrary, similar to the character of the engine, the rumble emanating from a Harley’s pipes is unmistakable.

A skinny front tire and an ultra-wide rear tire means it takes a heavy countersteer to get the Rocker C to turn in. A rigid-mounted  air cooled Twin Cam 96B engine provides the punch for the 2011 Rocker C. We pit the 2011 Star Stryker vs the 2011 Harley-Davidson Rocker C in this factory custom chopper comparo.
Harley-Davidson's 2011 Rocker C looks like a rigid and rides similar to one, too. Dripping in chrome and lathered in high-dollar paint, the 2011 Rocker C has a level of fit & finish other manufacturers try to emulate but few can duplicate.


Our 0-60 test took was run stoplight-to-stoplight, a more real-world application since these bikes weren’t built for the drag strip. After four runs, the bikes put up almost identical numbers in our V Box readings, with the Stryker edging out the Rocker by a mere .02 seconds. The Harley, which put out 78.58 lb-ft of torque on Mickey Cohen Motorsports dyno, demonstrates its definite torque advantage as it shoots out hard, fast and hit the 60 mph mark at 6.35 seconds. Power numbers on the graph confirmed the feel at the handlebars with the biggest hit between one and two seconds. If you’re not holding on tight, the Rocker C has a kick that will drop you on your behind. But as the Stryker spools up, its surprising horsepower advantage and lighter weight become apparent as it closes the gap and edges ahead as it cracked 60 in 6.33 seconds. The Stryker doesn’t have the kick of the Harley but its acceleration is very linear with most of its power coming in between two and four seconds. The Rocker C still felt faster but required an extra shift as it redlined in second gear just below the 60 mph mark. The extra shift and shorter gearing kept it from being the victor in our street drag.

The Rocker C features a 19-inch tall front hoop punched out at a 37-degree rake angle mounted on a 49mm fork.
The Rocker C features a 19-inch tall front hoop punched out at a 37-degree rake angle mounted on a 49mm fork.
Rolling through the winding road of Trabuco Canyon exposed the Rocker’s main deficiency. The combination of a tall, 90mm-thin front tire and a chunky 240mm rear means the Rocker C turns in slow and heavy. A skinny front tire and ultra-wide rear looks cool but requires a real heavy countersteer to get it to turn and the bike wants to stand up on itself. In comparison, the Yamaha turns in with little effort at the bars. The Stryker’s suspension is also much more compliant, as the Rocker C not only looks like a rigid but rides similar to one as well. At 3.1 inches, there’s not much travel to the Rocker C’s rear and some of the holes on the 405 were like kidney punches. The Rocker C’s 49mm fork and stiff front end does work to its advantage in braking, though, as the Harley doesn’t dive as much as the Stryker. The Rocker’s four-piston arrangement has a stronger bite and the rear didn’t lock up as easily as the Star’s system. ABS is also an option on the Rocker C, which at this point isn’t available on the Stryker.

Place the two bikes side-by-side and it’s not much of a contest. The Stryker’s low-profile, low-slung tank is a strong feature but overall its aesthetics are sanitary in terms of a cruiser. The Rocker C’s paint just pops, especially on the hand-finished tank. It has cool retro-style bullet taillights and a ribbed oil tank that also gives it throwback appeal. There’s no visible fender supports which keeps the look of the rear clean. And it’s dripping in chrome, from its fork to its bullet headlight, staggered shorty exhaust, five-spoke wheels, tank console, taillights, chrome rocker and air filter covers, cooling fins and oil lines. Like Harley’s touring motorcycles, the Rocker C now comes with a hands-free fob that automatically arms and disarms the bike’s electronic security functions when you’re within range. And when you’re investing almost $20 grand in a bike, security is important.

A round  analog speedo mounted high on the tank helps keep the bars of the Rocker C clutter-free.
A round, analog speedo mounted high on the tank helps keep the bars of the Rocker C clutter-free.
So which bike won top honors in our comparison? For its better handling, smoother ride, more refined gearbox and a responsive engine, we give the 2011 Star Stryker the nod as the better all-around motorcycle. Its MSRP is $8500 less, too, which holds a lot of weight in these challenging economic times. In comparison to the price of the Rocker C, it also will leave you with money in your pocket for customization. Ironically though, both testers agreed that if they could own one of these bikes, they’d take the Harley. We both enjoyed the extra low end grunt and the superior fit and finish. The Rocker C is full of character that other cruiser manufacturers have yet to duplicate, from the pulse of its engine to the sound emanating from its pipes. The two-year, unlimited mileage warranty is also enticing, but its $19,499 price point places it beyond the means of many.

2011 Harley-Davidson Rocker C Photos
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2011 Rocker C Technical Specifications
The 2011 Rocker C has a level of fit   finish other manufacturers try to emulate.
Engine: Air-cooled, Twin Cam 96BTM
Bore x Stroke: 3.75 in. x 4.38 in.
Displacement: 1584cc
Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
Final Drive: Belt
Clutch: Multi-plate, wet
Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive
Frame: Mild steel tubular frame
Length: 95.0 in.
Seat Height: 25.2 in. (Unladen:27.4 in.)
Rake: (steering head)-36-degree
Fork Angle: 37°
Trail: 6.2 in.
Wheelbase: 69.2 in.
Front Fork: 49 mm telescopic
Rear Shocks: Hidden, horizontal-mounted, coil-over
Wheels: Front-19 in. x 2.15 in. 
                Rear-18 in. x 8 in.
Tires: Front -D408F 90/90-19
            Rear-D407 240/40R18
Brakes: Caliper Type 4-piston front and 2-piston rear Optional.Anti-lock Braking System
Suspension Travel: Front-5 in.
                                     Rear-3.1 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.9 gal.
Weight: 722 lbs
Colors: Vivid Black Deluxe, Scarlet Red Deluxe, Cool Blue Pearl Deluxe, Black Denim Deluxe
MSRP: $19,499 (Vivid Black); $19,874 (others)

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Comments
damyankee007   April 6, 2011 02:53 AM
this bike is nice seat is not something i would keep. this bike is for taller people. it has forward controls and ca not be changed. as for hight you can not change the hight in it. i found out at the local harley dealer they are discontinuing this bike. why because people were complaining about the passager seat. aside from that it is a nice looking bike. i am a harley rider and aside from some people here are bad mouthing harley mine os a 03 and i enjoy riding it. every bike has it falts nothing is perfict. ride, enjoy and be safe.
sololobo   February 15, 2011 09:21 PM
Hey 0-60 Joe... You bought a stock cruiser that does 0 to 60 in 1.5 seconds? Dream on buddy! There is not such monster. I had an very fast sport bike that did it in 2.9 and I know for a fact that your cruiser is never going to beat that. And 115+ in 6 seconds? Dude which black hole do you ride in? There isn't a hill on this planet steep enough for you to reach that kind of speed on a stock cruiser. I think you better go back and read those specs over and over a few times guy, then report the real numbers back to us OK?
GB -Salona Zualberanuu  January 12, 2011 12:11 PM
we may argue about the kind of bike we love but we don't kill over it.
Apursgabenskis -Tous des jaloux  January 12, 2011 08:36 AM
Je possedes un Rocker c 2010,oui moin puissant,oui plus chère,oui vous pouvez la détester,sauf que...quand je lis mon journal du matin et que je voies une accident de moto,il est très rare de voir un propriétaire de Harley être impliquer???souvent des bizounes avec des marques bâtardes qui files à tombeau ouvert.Oui ma Harley côute une fortune,sauf que lors de la revente elle vaut encore des $$$ !!! pouvez vous en dire autant de vos Kécannes japonaises,fouter nous la paix, les Harley's ces pour ceux qui ont de l'argent,les autres vous êtes des jaloux avec pas un $$$ en poche.Vous aisseyez de vous réconfortez avec une marque cheap.Salut Have a good Day
Wing Rider -Group riders  January 12, 2011 05:42 AM
SteelTravler hit the nail on the head when he mentioned his Gold Wing. The Gold Wing is currently "long on the tooth" but it is still light years ahead of any bike that Harley currently makes. We have 3 Harley riders in our club. They constantly are talking about getting a Gold Wing as soon as they can sell there Harley's. They are the typical Harley rider with loud exhaust and all 3 burn oil and vibrate so bad that we have to stop every so often so they can rest there hands and butts which get numb from the vibration of the Harley. We also prefer that they stay in the back of our group when we ride as we do not want to listen to the noise and smell the burnt oil.
just another dude in the HD target market -HD Siren Song  January 12, 2011 03:28 AM
To me, HDs are the sirens of the motorcycle world. They beckon with an alluring and mesmerizing song of history and beauty. But as your financial ship gets closer to them, the rocks appear and your bank account is soon wrecked. Then the cognitive dissonance sets in and you lose your ability to come to terms with what just happened. You'll start saying things like: If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand. This is what the followers of Jim Jones also said. Like many here, I can admire the beauty and history of HD bikes, but when it comes to writing a check (yes, I can afford to do that) I just can't justify the cost considering the plethora of competent new and used bikes out there for a fraction of the price.
Joe -NorthRocker - my $20,000  January 11, 2011 02:32 PM
Aesthetically preferences are objective of coarse. Despite what some here say I certainly wouldn't call the Rocker worthless but so far nobody has been able to break down to me why it's worth $20,000 except that "It's a Harley". I've come to a realization recently however that being the most expensive is part of the Rocker's appeal to it's core market. If it were priced competitively at 12-$14,000 then what would be the status appeal of owning one? There is nothing exclusive about the Rocker to warrant it's higher price except the Harley brand. For example If Nike were to cut their massive mark up in half and brought the price down their brand wouldn't harbor quite the same "perceived exclusivity" (cool factor) over other brands that offer just as good or better performing shoes and profits/sales could decline. For those that know someone that owns a new Hummer H2, Rocker, or pair of Air Jordans ask them how much they paid for it (I'm sure they will either be happy to tell you or be a little embarrassed). Then ask them if they would have been as attracted to it if it wasn't advertised and priced as a premium product. I think chances are after they think about for awhile you both may be surprised by the answer.
SteelTraveler -Another reminder.  January 11, 2011 01:12 PM
Just turned sixty. Owned alot of bikes but never a Harley. Every once in awhile a begin to think about buying my first Harley and then I either hear a Harley Horror Story or read a bike review like this one and I come to my senses. Currently ride a Goldwing and love it.
Arnold -RE:sololobo  January 11, 2011 01:07 PM
Harley has never made a bullet proof engine in its 100 year history, LOL. If I'd wrote this article I would have compared it to a Yugo.
Arnold -RE:NorthRocker  January 11, 2011 01:02 PM
I guess you don't mind that the front brake line wasn't even mounted to the forks. Yep, you sure payed for a job well done!
sololobo -I loved my screwed up HD  January 11, 2011 12:56 PM
Before reading this I was pissed they didn't use the Raider. Wow I thought that new 96 CI engine was better than this. I love both motor companies BTW. I was going to say I was surprised at all these guys saying they had HD engine problems as I had a FLSTC 80 CI Evo that was bulletproof. Then I remembered the huge leak soon after I purchased it, the dealer had to tear apart the engine to shave the bottom of the cylinder and replace the gasket. Then I remembered the extra couple grand I threw at it to make it go faster than 80 and comfortable enough to ride. (all my labor BTW) I really loved that ol Heritage after 16,500 to buy then 2000 to fix up. Oh yea, then there was the fact that the black wrinkle on the engine started to rot off in the first year, just like the cheep chrome on the wheels rusting and flaking off in 6 months. The dealer told me all this stuff was covered by the guarantee, until I wanted it fixed. Still I loved it, all the way up till I had to sell it for 10 grand 6 years later because it looked so bad. It's cool though, now I can buy someone else 6 year old heritage with all the cool stuff done to it for 10 grand. Hmm think I'll buy the 3 yr old used stratoliner for 7500...
NorthRocker -my two cents  January 11, 2011 12:21 PM
well all I can say is that I own a 09 Rocker and I love it. Rides awesome and it does all I need from a bike. When I was shoppin around for one it was the Harley's quality and attention to detail that got me more than anything, others in comparison looked cheap. Guess you get what you pay for.
Joe -America can do better!  January 11, 2011 08:44 AM
Speaking of America, it's no surprise that the HD 96 twin is the least performing engine in it's class but I didn't realize it is also a contender for the slowest in the mid-sized market as well. I hate to admit it but as an American this is kind of an embarrassment. I think the least Harley could do at this point is make the 103cu standard for the tails & glides without raising prices and maybe make it an inexpensive option for the dynas. I fear that they will wait too late to upgrade though like they did the 96.
BigBabySweets -Go Home Salona  January 10, 2011 08:27 PM
Salona: Do yourself and us a favor and go back home to your war torn country and let us finish our fu--ing motorcycle argument.
Joe -Welcome to America  January 10, 2011 07:21 PM
Salona, welcome to a free and easily accessible internet. It's a beautiful thing ;).
Captain America -America! F*** Yeah!  January 10, 2011 05:41 PM
Salona, think about how trivial our silly motorbike name calling is. Don't take it seriously. We talk s*** about each other's bikes, but in reality we riders are a tiny minority of the driving public and we know it. The name calling is all in jest. This is sport in America. We mock each other for fun. It's a cultural thing.
Salona Zualberanuu -America?  January 10, 2011 04:09 PM
Why is it that when I come to this country I was hoping to find happiness for me and my children? Instead all I found is hate, violence, greed, and name calling. All I wanted was to escape my war torn country to live at peace with my neighbors. It seems that you can't even look for a motorcycle here without getting into a fight. One thing is for sure no one who loves freedom would put down his brother for riding the motorbike of his choice.
Mike in WV -Rocker Loses...and so does the purchaser  January 10, 2011 04:03 PM
Mike...come on! The authors clearly stated that the Stryker edged out the Rocker. I have to agree with most here that a better comparison price wise would be with the Raider, but it would be obscene how bad the Rocker would lose to the Raider. Again, the strongest point here is that Harley's pride couldn't even out perform a mid sized Yamaha stock bike nearly half it's price. I had a Stratoliner and can personally attest to the power of the 113 ci motor. I have not riden the Stryker, but I am confident in Yamaha's design and engineering. My last HD was a '92 Road King, and while I loved the look of the bike, it was the poorest excuse of a motor and ride I had ever had. That bike cost me more in repairs than any other bike I'ver ever owned...before and after. As a kid I had a Sportster and yeah, probably explains my kidney problems now, but I was a kid and really didn't care too much cause I didn't know any better. Once of the best bikes I ever had was a '79 Honda 750 four...plenty of power, nimble and all around a blast to ride. If it wasn't for the ass ugly frame tubing and poor ergos, I might consider a V-Rod. Harley fell short again in 3 separate bagger shoot outs. Some things are subjective when you buy a bike...but performance, power and reliability are measurable and are not disputible. As a social observation...listen to the people who talk to strangers about their riding and pay attention to how early they state they have a Harley. Those that offer that information without being asked is merely trying to assert their status by trying to impress the person. I have more respect for my friends who ride HD's who don't make it a focal point. No person has ever impressed me by what they have as opposed to what they have given.
Letsmakeadeal -The value of fit and finish.  January 10, 2011 09:45 AM
I wonder who would buy a Cadillac CTS sedan for full retail price if they kept the outside & interior as is but gutted out the v8 engine, sport suspension, & many of the standard luxury features and replaced them with lower performance/millage, bumpier ride, more sluggish handling, & higher regular maintenance costs then say an average midsized car like a Honda Accord. If you say you WOULD buy it because "It's a Cadillac" well then my friend do I have a Bike for YOU! ;)
Craig -Mike on the payrol  January 10, 2011 08:50 AM
Rocking chair wins? Get a motorised barstool dude.

If I could choose between the two and Mike was paying it would be the rocker. ( I know I would regret this but would keep telling myself: "but its a harley" ) I would constantly have to remind myself that all the downfalls of the bike give it character and that at least when I have to sell it I should have enough cash to buy a Yamaha.

My money would however be on the yamaha in reallity. I would however change those odd looking pipes though, they just dont do it for me.

How proud can you be of been ripped off for buying a so called all American product that cant even match up to an import of almost half the price. Does your govt tax those imports? Maybe they should and give the mo co the incentives. OOPS!


Half333Evil -Whatever Mike  January 10, 2011 08:37 AM
I find it funny that the comparison is not with the Raider, which is the Stryker's big brother. Oh, yeah, HD cannot compete with the big boys anymore. The only thing that Harley riders enjoy more is having to put an extra 5K into a bike so it can keep up with stock Japanese and Vic's.
Micheal -What next?  January 10, 2011 07:33 AM
So what next, go down yet another bike class and compare the Rocker to a Star 950? What can they do to get a Harley to come out on top on one of these comparisons?
C.T. -Surprising  January 10, 2011 06:49 AM
Wow I knew this would be an uneven match up given the price gap of these two bikes but I kinda expected the Rocker to take this one. There is a lot you can do with a bike for an extra 10 grand but I don't think Harley really took that to heart in this case.
milwaukee mike -The Rocker wins!  January 9, 2011 02:36 PM
Those riders that ride suzukis, victorys, hondas, kawasakis, bmws need to justify their purchases, while HD riders just enjoying the ride and the lifestyle. No justification, just pure satisfaction.
Charlie -Rocker to Rocking Chair  January 9, 2011 02:30 PM
Harley couldn't have named this bike better when they called it the "Rocker". After all with retirement just around the corner, Harley riders aren't far from a "rocking chair".
Arnold -Wordy  January 9, 2011 02:15 PM
To the guy who thinks Victory Motorcycles are a good product and value. They are even worse then Harley-Davidson.

To the people who write long letters on this site. get a real job like the rest of us. Nobody reads your winded posts.

As for the Harley in this article, no one noticed in the pictures on this site that the front brake-line was hanging loose.


RT Rider -Brother is sorry  January 9, 2011 11:10 AM
My brother bought a Harley new dresser and let the dealer talk him into a lot of extra parts like a loud exhaust system that is supposed to enhance the performance etc. All in all he has spent a small fortune on his Harley and he hates it. It leaks oil, burns oil, vibrates terribly and he has problems with it starting with a warm engine. The dealer is useless unless he wants to spend more money on aftermarket parts. He has called and e-mailed the factory and that is also a dead end. I have a BMW R1200RT which is use exclusively for touring. He would like to get the new BMW touring bike but he has had no luck selling his dresser. The paper is full of used Harley's. I told him when he was considering buying it that he better like the so called "lifestyle" the bike itself is so far behind the times as far as technology goes it will never catch up. The Harley "lifestyle" people claim the made in USA stuff and such but I really think they like riding around in large groups with loud exhaust thinking they are impressing everyone. Evey time I see a Harley rider with the loud exhaust and the tall handle bars it never fails me to think of the world "idiot" and it in no way impresses me. I think my brother will be stuck with another up coming riding season with his Harley and he is just going to have to accept the fact that he should have looked around before he bought. He has Harley everything - even Harley decals on the windows of his cars. I wonder how much money he has spent on all that useless stuff. Just think of the motorcycle he could have had with that money - instead he is stuck with a bike that has no resale market. Anyone even considering buying a new Harley should really look in the newspapers or craigslist as they are full of late model Harley's that can be bought for a fraction of what a dealer will charge for a new one.
Kansas Rider -Resale Value? What a load of crap!!!  January 9, 2011 09:52 AM
If you can actually afford either one, buy the Yamaha, and put the $8,500 into a good no load mutual fund (put the payment difference in each month if you don't have it all). Then every month put $50 in the fund to make up for the riding days you missed because the Harley had a problem. Then once a year add $500 to account for the extra maintenance costs. At the end of your 5 years of half payments, sell your 40,000 mile Yamaha that's never seen anything but oil changes and a set of tires, for $5,000, add it to the money in the fund, and then talk to me about the resale value of that Harley with 12,000 miles you hated to ride because it looked and sounded good but was a pain in the rear when used as a motorcycle instead of a male enhancement product. Then take that and buy another Yamaha for straight cash, never make another bike payment, and actually enjoy riding instead of just admiring how good it looks while it's sitting on a trailer.
Roth.E -Frazer- Comparing two premium motorcycle brands  January 9, 2011 09:51 AM
Although I think comparing an entry level cruiser to a sport tourer is a little apples in oranges I can understand what you mean though by the two polarities of the image driven H-D and the rider oriented BMW. I agree if you don't subscribe to the "lifestyle" concept your probably not going to pony up the extra thousands for a machine with such limitations and no exclusivity. Or in your case keep riding it. I've taken my coworker's R1300 for a spin a few times and even though it's not really my kind of ride I have to respect BMW for being a long standing premium brand in it's market but not resting on it's heritage to sell bikes. You can certainly make the argument that BMW bikes are more expensive then some of their competition but if you look at the reviews (including the best bikes of the year on this site) and talk to riders you would at least be harder pressed to say that they are OVER priced. On a side note though even with the demise of Buell I don't think all is lost on the American front. Victory's X bikes (whether they fit the "image" or not) have proven that the U.S. can still produce bikes that can compete in performance, efficiency, handling, and yes even value.
Frazer -Harley needs to catch a wakeup  January 9, 2011 12:58 AM
I wanted to start riding again after a 16 year hiatus so I bought a Sporty in 2007 because I wanted a cruiser that wouldn't kill me. I quickly realized that the Harley was a bar hopper - not a cruiser because it is just plain uncomfortable as soon as you go past the 50 mile mark and I also realized that the brakes, suspension, handling and performance were just plain crap, so I started customizing everything on the bike and spent a small fortune in the process - and nothing I did really improved the bike at all - except the looks - it really is a sweet looking bike now. I bought a BMW K1300 GT last year and the difference between the two bikes is ridiculous - in every aspect the Harley isn't just inferior, it's not even close to the quality of the BMW. I kept the Sporty despite all this because I spent a lot of time and money customizing it and have it looking exactly like I want it - but it is now a pure indulgence - I don't ride it enough anymore to justify having it - but I'll keep it anyway because if I sell it now, I wont get back a fraction of what I spent on it. All I can say is that Harley has fallen behind in every aspect of what makes a bike a great bike. I really don't see how Harley can survive if they keep on producing the bikes they are now. The least they could do is give the bikes good brakes and suspension but I think the powers that be at Harley think that they will always be able to sell these things to fools that like to play dress up on weekends. I'm not one of those fools that dress up like pirates on the weekends and buy a Harley for "the lifestyle", but I was a fool to buy a Harley and I was an even bigger fool to try to customize it into a real bike. The moral of my story is that you should only buy a Harley if you are really not interested in what a real bike feels like and if you are interested in a real bike, you should only be looking at Europe or Japan.
Jimmy -The business of selling nostalgia  January 8, 2011 08:26 PM
I don't know if these results say more about Yamaha's engineering or Harley's lack there of. Once upon a time H-D was about the product rather then the brand & substance rather then image. Sometimes I am nostalgic for those days and when I see the current MOCO models I think that they are too.
Johnny 5 -Just to clear up somethings;)  January 8, 2011 10:31 AM
Born 1945-52 = Baby-Boomer = Dead or to old to give a damn.

Born 1953-65 = Shadow Boomer = Given Everything = Harley Riders

Born 1966-75 = Pepsi Generation = Invent all extreme sports = pissed

Born 1976-82 = "x" Generation = Added nothing = Import Harley Rider

Born 1983-90 = Latchkey Generation = Confused = Rocketeers

Born 1991-? = No title = Under corporate reseach to date
Sorry Harley Man -Wish I Was a Wing Man  January 7, 2011 01:17 PM
I am sorry but I must agree with "fooledonce". I also made the huge mistake of purchasing a new Harley last summer. It has been nothing but a can of worms for me. I think I have heard the complete Harley Davidson Excuse Book for why my bike leaks oil, burns oil, misfires, will not idle or start with out 3 or 4 try's and the list goes on and on. This has been the worst experience that I could ever imagine. I am just a touring rider so I do not wear the standard pirate outfit nor do I ride with the so called "Harley Crowd". All my riding friends have Honda Gold Wings and a day does not go by that I wish I would have bought a Wing instead of the piece of outdated crap that I bought. I can not get a decent offer for it no matter where I advertise it. There are identical bikes for sale for 10 grand less than I paid for mine. I can attest for the poor quality and who ever said that a Harley has all American parts is totally wrong. My bike has tons of plastic and parts from China and India. It has rattles and the engine back fires. The paint has a few spots where it is chipping off. I could go on and on.
Reader -LOL  January 7, 2011 12:37 PM
Camel jockey riding rocketeers? Now that's funny!
jj -professionals and harley  January 7, 2011 12:04 PM
i've been reading what everyone is saying but i have to agree that most of the comments about "wealthy social status" is right on when it comes to harley. I own a shop that customizes about 50 choppers a year and can say that 99% are real wealthy. they will buy a bike and easily drop 50 grand.
fooledonce -very good comparison, too bad HD made themselves look so bad  January 7, 2011 10:10 AM
Bikendad: Just because 2 bikes are similar price doesn't mean they are comparable. The Stryker and the Rocker are 2 VERY similar bikes in size, style, and performance. The Rocker may have the better build quality but it's pretty obvious which is the better VALUE. $8500 Is enough to buy another V-Star for the wife to ride and STILL put some cash in your pocket.
The Harley may also have a better resale price in the future but I suspect that even that will change. Harley's resale advantage is the product of a crowd of ignorant buyers that bought into the hype that HD is the "best" there is. Gen X-er's (myself) and younger didn't grow up idolizing Harley (quite the opposite actually). The baby boomers are aging themselves out of the market and I'd be willing to bet the number of people willing to pay top dollar for a harley are coming to an end. Harleys will begin to be sold for what they are ACTUALLY worth.

As a disclaimer: I am not a "Harley hater"; I'm an informed buyer. I purchased a Harley late last year. I put 4500mi on the thing and it became blantently obvious to me that most (not all) of the critisims about HD were spot on. It was slow, handled like garbage, didn't stop well, the suspension was bottom shelf and in general was a "below average" bike. I believe in trying things out before forming an opinion so I tried out a Harley. I came away unimpressed, to say the very least.
I want Harley to be the best in the world. I want to be able to root for the home team. I want to have an American bike mfg that I can be proud of but until some MAJOR (and I mean MAJOR) changes and upgrades happen Harley will remain as overpriced hype and an embarassment to me as a red blooded American. Buell was picking up steam and was fast becoming a real contender but HD, in all of their short sighted stupidity, killed the one shining hope that America would soon build a world class bike. Now all we have is $20,000 eye candy that barely competes with (loses to, actually) a "budget priced" bike from Yamaha.
Koby978 -Tom Hall & Randy Smith  January 6, 2011 07:00 PM
It is so typical, the goofs who can’t even type one simple 1st grade level sentence are the first ones to correct other people’s grammar. This may explain why they usually own harley-davidsons. LOL
Bikendad -Rocker vs Jackpot  January 6, 2011 12:17 PM
My point is that atleast the Rocker and Jackpot are 2 comparable bikes at the same price point. I'm sure Mr Harley would pick the HD as he always does but we consumers could make our own judgement there as to his journalistic bias.
Niki -Bikendad. What's the point?  January 6, 2011 11:39 AM
Bikendad if the Rocker could barley stack up against the Stryker what do you think a Jackpot would do to it? If anything I would like to see how the Yamaha stacks up against the Fury or yes even the Jackpot.
Bikendad -Get Real  January 6, 2011 09:25 AM
These 2 bikes are not even close in price, apples to oranges. How about a comparison with the Victory Jackpot, atleast it's in the same price range.
Mike in WV -I'll add Randy to my Moron list  January 6, 2011 07:31 AM
I'll gladly add Randy Smith to the moron list. Anyone who criticizes someone else's grammar, and in the same line uses a wrong word...that's just classic! The fact is Randy exemplifies the HD attitude of "I'm better because I ride a Harley". "Motorcycle prowess" and "higher social status"...propaganda of insecure, low esteemed dregs that have inadequacy issues. Funny that Randy has appointed himself the worthy currator as to who is "wanted" and who "fits" in. I can afford any bike I want...I've owned HD, Honda, Yamaha and Victory bikes. I choose not to ride HD ( I certainly can afford them ) because the HD bikes I've had looked really great, but did not perform or handle as well as other bikes. There is no exclusiveness to HD anymore than owning a Ford or Chevy. I'm no knocking Ford or Chevy, I'm just saying there's nothing exclusive about them. Additionally, the HD bikes don't hold up as well. Sure, with maintenance and repairs you can keep one running...but my idea of being a biker is spending less time in the garage fixing the bike and more time in the saddle riding the bike. The sad fact is that there are so many people like Randy caught up in the hype and thinking the bike will make them special. I guy I know...we'll call him Rick...doesn't have a real job, just drives people around, lives off his wife's income and traded up from a Sporster to a Street Bob. All you hear him say is "I got a Harley", trying to impress the girls. He's a slug...a low life dips**t who couldn't even get a real job as a Wal-Mart greeter, but yet Randy would have you believe that he is a made man and has "higher social status". He's just another Dick on a Harley. lol I don't fault my friends who still ride Harley's...again, they are shiny and look nice, but there's more to being a biker than just having a nice looking ride. Most of my friends that have riden my bike have admitted that my bike handles and performs much better than their HD and looks just as good...and they would love to buy one, but their pride won't let them ride anything but a Harley. It's good to be proud of what you ride...but don't look down your nose at someone else because of what they ride. Pride goes before the fall. If you put pride first, eventually you will fall. HD should keep that in mind.
Matt -Tom/Randy: "Want" dictionary did you find that in? =)  January 5, 2011 06:30 PM
Did you find that in the same dictionary that told you "thing" is the proper usage of "think"?. I don't mean to sound like a grammar douche. If you can find a dictionary that supports that usage though I will be happy to accept it. And to be honest I have nothing against Harleys but personally vanity is not a main reason that I ride. At least not enough to pay premium for it. Once some of the used 08 Glides come down to a fair asking price I may even consider one.
RJ -HD vs Yamaha  January 5, 2011 03:10 PM
I converted from HD over to STAR a long time ago. I'm a minority, I know, and probably am one of the few that actually went from owning a 2002 HD FXDWG 1450cc riding 24K miles to a 2006 STAR Warrior 1700cc 17K miles then eventually a 2006 STAR Roadliner 1900cc. That Liner has now turned 35K miles, I've ridden it all over New England, and still brings a smile to my face on every ride. I can still remember clearly when I handed my plate over to the woman at the Yamaha dealership for the Warrior. "You sold an HD and are now buying a Yamaha?" I said "yup" but can you see the progression in power which includes significantly increased torque? The other part that's hidden on these Yamahas is actually how well these bikes handle. That's why people chose a Yamaha, power and handling not because it's cheaper - well maybe some might. I don't work at Walmart or a factory, in fact, one of the top five IT Companies ranked by Forbes last year, but if a working man or woman can obtain a motorcycle - good for them, they deserve to be happy just like anyone else. I cannot stand to see people putting others down over marketing hype and branding. Leave that to the companies trying to win your dollars... The STAR motors are quite durable with plenty of aftermarket items to get you the air, sound, and fuel you need to fine tune it for even more zip. I feel comfortable riding with my cruiser buddies on their HDs (even more stable on highways), and also take and do crazy runs with my brother in law on his K1300S, and other buddy on his ZX14. I certainly cannot match their speed on the straight roads and do not wish to imply, but can keep up well for a 850# cruiser with OEM Startoliner bags on twisting CT roads. Does that mean I cannot afford the HD? No. Does that mean I lack a certain bravado for being on a metric? No. Does it mean I put down every HD out there? No, (they're on two wheels like me). I do miss the feel of that old HD, but I also have a list of old girlfriends I'd like to ride one last time too. It all comes down to personal taste and what you want out of YOUR motorcycle. So to all those who piss and moan one way or another, keep an open mind, and ride them before taking a stance. Personally, I hope you chose the HD every time, it just makes my bike more unique. Now I don't know how the Stryker fairs never having ridden one, however, it seems it might need a little more power for that fun factor, but if it handles like the rest of the STAR line I can see why it might have won. That's a real life assessment.
Dan K -Jesse: "A fool and his money..."  January 5, 2011 03:01 PM
Out of those that say they would "take" the Rocker I would be curious to see how many of them would actually be willing to "pay" $20,000 for it.
Dan K -last post was for "Mike" not Tom  January 5, 2011 02:28 PM
oops.
Dan K -Tom- Myth of the air cooled V-twin.  January 5, 2011 02:24 PM
Mike I like the Porshe twin engine as well but Victory and Yamaha have dispelled the myth that you can't make a competitive stock air cooled or even oil/air cooled v-twin this day and age that is powerful, efficient, & affordable. Harley really has no viable excuse at this point for sub par engine performance except to sell more aftermarket parts & dealership labor.
Robbie.k -20 gran, really  January 5, 2011 02:13 PM
Nothing wronge with a Jap bike.It will out last and out ride any Hardly.Lets see, 20 gran, or 9 gran???Hummmm.Which will it be.See,ing my pecker still works and i,m not going through mid life crisis, i,ll go with the one that makes sence to the avrage guy or girl.I,ll take the Jap.Which i allready have.I do like the 48 sportster though.
bryan harley -Clarification for Confused Jesse  January 5, 2011 02:09 PM
Hey Jesse,
What I meant is that on a performance level, we found the Stryker to be the better bike. But on a personal level, myself and the other test rider like the Harley more. It's fit and finish is superior, we like the low-end grunt more and it has more character. But character and styling is more subjective than objective, and objectively, the Stryker came out on top.

We wanted to match the Stryker up against the Honda Fury, but the 2011's aren't available yet. Fortunately, Harley came up big by supplying us a bike to compare the Stryker to. Sure, there are other Harleys we could have pitted it against, but these two both fall into the factory custom chopper niche, so that's what we went with.

Mike -Mike  January 5, 2011 12:55 PM
Rocker C is the ugliest bike Harley has ever made period!!!!!, It looks stupid and the people riding it look stupi on it, harely makes three engines, the Big Twin, Sportster, and V-rod, a properly prepared Sportster engine will clean house on any Big Twin including the Twinkie engines, the V rod done right will wipe them all up, the day Silly Willie gets his head out of his rearend and starts putting the Vrod Revolution engine in Dressers and other frames is the day that will save Harley. I know all of you "bikers" out there are going to say the air cooled engine is the best, but then again you are "bikers' and you would'nt want to go to "biker night" on a Vrod, but the change to liquid cooled is coming and you will have to deal with it....as for the styker, it looks like any other Yamaha piece of junk!!
Tom Hall -spong bob  January 5, 2011 12:08 PM
Hey I remember that monkey movie as well as those Honda-Davidson choppers. Does that make me gone as well?
Tom Hall -Sloppy  January 5, 2011 11:59 AM
I thing even if HD's are made in India the price will not drop either. Look at General Motors when they said back in the '90s that unions were hurting their competitiveness on a global market. Todays foreign made American cars are more expensive then ever! I admit that this Yamaha is good looking for an import but come on now,..the Rocker isn't that ugly.


Tom Hall -Matt - Randy- "want" vs "what"  January 5, 2011 11:49 AM
Randy was right on both accounts. His use of "what" was the right word usage. The other thing is that according to Forbes Magazine the average Harley-Davidson guy social income is about $100,000 and higher. I thing Matt you have "want" on the brain.
Jesse -Confused  January 5, 2011 11:25 AM
You say the better bike is the Stryker, but if you could have one it would be the Rocker C. Wouldn't rhe Rocker be the better bike, if that's the one you would ride?
Chuck -ROTFLMAO!  January 5, 2011 10:26 AM
HAHA My big cousin keeps swearing that his Rocker he sold his boat to get would "wipe the floor" with any "kiddy Fury or Stryker" he came across. I can't wait to share his article with him if he hasn't already embarrassed himself! =P
Real World -I'll Take the Star  January 5, 2011 10:02 AM
Good God Harley Davidson has been making parts bin bikes for years and the only thing good I hear about a Harley is it sounds good. Get real - if the only good thing you can say about a bike is it sounds good with out a muffler then it is time for HD to hire a motorcycle designer instead of a clothes and gadget designer and start making a real modern motorcycle. A Harley would be the absolute last choice for me if I was in the market for a cruiser. Harley made a huge mistake when they dumped Buell. Buell was the only thing that a young buyer would consider and they dumped it just when Buell was getting rid of the antique Harley v twin for a modern Rotax motor. When Harley gets out of the parts bin business and starts designing and selling a true motorcycle I might take a look. Right now it seems all that Harley is really interested in is selling clothes and after market parts.
Niki -I don't get it.  January 5, 2011 09:55 AM
After seeing this comparison I don't see how can you spend 20 hard earned G's for a Rocker and not feel like your being ripped off. If you really want a "look at me, look at me!" bike for that $ you can get a barley used Big Dog and at least know that you're getting something with competitive power and won't get as easily lost in the "look at me!" herd.
Mick -Comparison  January 5, 2011 09:03 AM
I agree with the comparison conclusions. Stryker is cheaper and better all around performer. But there's something to be said for the appeal of a Harley. Haters can hate all they like, but an H-D sounds and feels different than other brands. All the metrics feel indistinguishable from the rest. All the criticism for H-D is totally valid, most important being its high price. But people value the brand's identity. That's a simple fact. The other being H-D is the top-selling brand in the U.S.
Bob -Power?  January 5, 2011 08:50 AM
And what's up with such low power numbers? Is it the crappy fuel they feed you in California?

My last HD was a 2000 FXDX with 1450 cc. That's 138 less than now, 0.3 less compression, 10 years older and it dynoed at 78 lb/ft and 66 HP at the rear wheel.

At least HD has a monstrous aftermarket to pump up those numbers. How many options are there for Stars?
Bob -The rest of the story  January 5, 2011 08:41 AM
What isn't mentioned is the fit and finish. The HD is superior to the Star in this regard. When you pay that kind of dosh, it's nice knowing you get something that sets it apart from the others. Sitting on it, the HD doesn't feel or look cheap or utilitarian. It's a solid piece of machinery that will be on the road for decades. How many 30 year old Yamahas do you see running around regularly?

That said, the HDs have truly proven to be ultra reliable if you don't mess with them and have the maintainence done right. Moreso in recent years. I've put a couple hundred thousand miles on various HDs and gone on some very long trips in climates that vary from one extreme to the other and never had a worry of the bike stranding me. I'd be even less worried with a 2011 model.

I'll agree with some others that the Rocker shouldn't have been compared to the Stryker, but perhaps a Softtail Standard or Deluxe. Would've brought the price down and been more comparable in style and features.

Too bad HD doesn't make a single bike that interests me anymore, nor have they the last 10 years. The OCC and West Coast Chopper custom buzz changed HD's lineups from substance to style. A style that doesn't appeal to real riders like me.
sloppy -You got that right Randy  January 4, 2011 06:42 PM
"Only unemployed factory workers that greet you at Walmart can afford nothing more than a Japanese import." You got that right Randy. Most blue collars ride the Jap knockoffs. They gotta leave the H-D's to the executive types. I live in a rural area and all the factory hands and country boys buy Road Stars like it is cool. H-D's are for the boys with deeper pockets.
sloppy -H-D dropped he ball  January 4, 2011 06:28 PM
I think Harley did a bad job with the looks on the Rocker. The Rocker and the Cross Bones are just plain ugly. They look like H-D is trying to hard. The rear end with the fold out passenger seat was a bad idea. This is a weird test though. Just to let the H-D fans out their know, MC-USA is just about always gonna pick the highest performing bike in the test. The never go with form over function. I am not a big fan of the Strykers looks at all though. The Raider is the one to get if you want the chopper look. Gobs of power, you just have gotta get rid of those o.e. hideous pipes.
Matt -Randy- "want" vs "what"  January 4, 2011 05:56 PM
Randy you’re a funny guy and all but I feel compelled to point out that your grammar usage means you are confused as to when to use "want" instead of "what". ;)
Mitch -Consumer-Stryker Sales  January 4, 2011 05:45 PM
Actually despite predictions (including my own) the Fury has been a strong seller for Honda. I think the Stryker being an even better value has a chance of being profitable for Yamaha as well. Personally I have to agree with Dan though that the Rocker being the most expensive in it's class is in danger of pricing it's self out of the "pseudo" chopper market with manufactures like Big Bear and others lowering prices. If I were Harley I would lower the MSRP by a few Gs or at the very least throw the 103 in it.
Randy Smith -Then vs than  January 4, 2011 05:29 PM
If your grammar usage means you are confused as to when to use "than" instead of "then". Don't ride Harley, you don't fit in, you never will, and we don't what you.
Randy Smith -Bryan Harley  January 4, 2011 05:14 PM
Harley's are not "bar-hopping bikes" but instead are the real deal. Today's American made hotrod riders don't care for quarter mile times or low prices. Instead, real motorcycle prowess with higher social status comes from what only money can buy. Even the young college age "camel jockey riding rocketeers" trade-up as soon as they become working professionals in their early twenties.

Only unemployed factory workers that greet you at Walmart can afford nothing more than a Japanese import.
Dan K -Results are telling  January 4, 2011 05:06 PM
Well one bike is for "Show" and the other is for "Go", no surprises there. I did however expect Harley's standard engine to fair better against Yamaha's mid sized 1300 mil though. Say what you will about paint and exhaust note but personally if I am spending $20,000 on a wanna-be chopper (that is only a thousand or so less then a REAL one) I would certainly expect the engine to pack a little MORE power then average, or at least noticeably more then it's entry level competition.
Rion -Neither competes with each other.  January 4, 2011 05:03 PM
Ok, so a almost 20k HD can barely compete with a 10k Yami performance wise, but the Yami still isn't as well build as the HD; this is news? M-USA if your trying to inform HD that their bikes cost to much then good job, either wise this entire review seems a little odd. Try the Super Glide custom, or the 1200 custom in comparison. The Soft-tails are the worst deal in motorcycling history, anything can beat them because they have the features of a base cruiser, and the price of a touring cruiser. I'm no Harley fan but even I can tell that you really dropped the ball on this one.
spong bob -milwaukee mike?  January 4, 2011 04:30 PM
the "real bikers" are all but gone now. the last were combat vietnam vets who road hd's because at the time that was the only big bike made. but in '69 honda made a 750cc inline 4 and the gangs on both coasts made the first fast choppers out of them. if you can remember that monkey movie clint eastwood played in, the bike gang leader road one. it was a honda.
Consumer -$$$  January 4, 2011 04:18 PM
Tell you what people, if the economy doesn't improve neither one of these bikes are going to sell!
Joe -0-60 in 6 seconds?  January 4, 2011 04:08 PM
Thats got to be the slowest Japanese 0-60 since the 1960's. It looks like these imports are really starting to be Harley's. Just kidding folks. On a side note my 2010 factory stock cruiser made by ****** does 0-60 in about 1.5 seconds and 115+ in about 6 seconds. Can you guess what is? Here's a hint, it's not made in the *.*.*. by ******-********.
tim -drip drip drip  January 4, 2011 03:48 PM
this maybe the first yamaha that needs a drip pan.

as for the rocker. could handle better if the rear tire was a 200 not a 240.

Brian Adams -I'm not the singer so don't ask  January 4, 2011 03:42 PM
With all fairness Bryan, don't you guy's think comparing a little over $10,000 bike to a slightly lower then $20,000 dollar bike is not very fair? I like your articles most of the time but this takes the cake.
Dyna Rider -Nice  January 4, 2011 03:25 PM
Interesting comments here.Nothing new in people on different sides of the whole Harley/Metric argument. The people who chime in and say crap about Harlies usually have never rode them, and/or cant afford them. The people who say crap about Metrics probably havent ridden them,either. I can say that I have owned a few bikes in my time, and now ride an 01 Dyna. Yep, they rattle, yep theyre loud, yep they are awesome. Scooter, (nice handle), you easily insult a lot of people behind that keyboard, but I'll bet my paycheck you would never say that to their face.If we ride a bike, were all bikers kid. My bike is NOT a cruiser, those are Japanese bikes. They imitate HD, and for a good reason. Listen, ride whatever you want, we have all the cage drivers to worry about. Metrics make great sport bikes, no doubt. But when they make an imitation, call it for what it is.Ride Safe.
JAS -Funny  January 4, 2011 03:08 PM
Glad to see there are so many other people out there that laugh at the whole HD image thing. I really feel sorry for them, it is so obvious that they feel small and inadequate with a chronic need to feel noticed. Very sad... Really laughed at your comments "Not a pirate" & "scooter"!
GB -buy a Victory  January 4, 2011 02:49 PM
better looking that either of these bikes and you won't get ripped for not buying american and you won;t have to buy a pirate outfit either. you wanna play biker buy the harley, you wanna ride buy a Victory.
Fabian -A shame, a damn shame  January 4, 2011 02:31 PM
In the US, cruisers outsell every other type of motorcycle combined and HDs make up the vast majority of cruiser sales so unfortunately there are a lot more "milwaukee mike" types out there. You know, the type that will not even consider a Japanese bike even when it's cheaper and faster.
milwaukee mike -OK,...buy the stryker  January 4, 2011 01:54 PM
Or better yet,..buy a honda Furby.
Honda dealers are selling brand new 2010s ones for less than 8K.
Buy a metric and pretend you're a biker.
Scooter -I'll Take the Star......  January 4, 2011 12:13 PM
Just check out the Quad City Times. It is full of used Harley's at very low prices with a lot of "make an offer". Why would I pay 20 grand for a 1960's tech motorcycle? Harley better wake up and hire some real engineers before it is too late. I doubt they will get any more bail out money so HD will have to make on there own now and there line up of dated overpriced bikes will not make it. The competition is really leaving HD in the dust and every year HD brings out there new line of bikes. They are the same as last year with a new color, more or less chrome and maybe another stupid moronic name like Fat Bob or Night Train. Taking old bikes and painting them all black and calling it Night Train does not qualify for a "New Model". Harley continually counts on there aftermarket sales of ash trays, belt buckles and t shirts and other useless crap to hold up the bottom line. The majority of Harley buyers could care less about the actual motorcycle. They just want to get a Harley, remove the muffler and dress up like a clown and ride around town thinking they are some kind of bad ass. What they do not realize is they really are a Ass but not a Bad Ass. When I think about a new motorcycle a Hardley does not cross my mind.
Not a pirate -Beginning of the end, HD?  January 4, 2011 11:34 AM
Don't all the folks playing dress up as pirates (dentists, proctologists, etc.) already have their ultra-low-mileage HDs stashed in their climate-controlled garages with the matching HD refrigerator and petite dog pillow? The traditional HD market is getting its collective hips replaced. At $20k, who's going to buy the Rocker? Kinda sad that the HD doesn't really measure up (as a motorcycle, not man jewelry) to a bike practically half its price. And Craiglist is chock full of folks who still firmly believe the myth that HDs hold their value. HD jumped the shark when they fired Eric. It's just a matter of time until HD begs for another 1980's tariff...
Vince XB -I hate to admit it, but...  January 4, 2011 11:14 AM
... I think I'd rather have a Rocker as well. I hate how much they charge for those things though. I admit, there is a certain "feel" that HD does actually deliver. But for $8500 more? Ugh, I just can't bare to pay that kind of cha-ching for the bling. That said, you can get a sweet VRod or Dyna for about $12k if you shop around a bit.
Nick -How long?  January 4, 2011 09:16 AM
How long before Milwaukee Mike chimes in talking about "real" versus synthetic manliness and resale value?