Wyatt Underwood's


A new Harley!

Okay, the sweet lady knocked my 1992 Harley-Davidson Sportster out from under me and totalled it without hitting me. In fact, she left a befuddled me standing on the street, my hands still out where the handlebar-ends had just been, and staring at the Sportster on its side a foot or so in front of me, its rear wheel idly turning not far from my boot.

She was a nice lady. Her gentle tugs on my leather sleeve brought me back to the world of traffic lights and speeding SUVs. Her concerned "Are you all right? Are you okay? Oh! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!" brought me back to the world of how grateful I oughta be to still be standing and to have the Sportster look so much like it had when I rode it up to the stoplight.

It did! The tail-light had been popped off and lay on the street beside the revolving rear wheel. The rear fender had been rolled up under itself, but it wasn't even touching the rear wheel. The right rearview mirror was broken, and the ball at the end of the brake lever (near the right handgrip) had broken off.

She helped me get the Sportster up on its wheels and leaning on its kickstand. (I told you she was a nice lady.) I was too rattled to do it by myself, like I usually insist on doing.

Well, the folded-under fender sat right down on the tire once the Sportster's weight was on the suspension. Add mine and it became a loud rattley brake. The nice lady had some tools in her trunk and loaned me a couple. I levered the fender up against itself as close as I could then rattled off to my dealer's where, as you know, I soon learned the Sportster was damaged a lot worse than I'd imagined. Totalled.

Sigh. It had served me so well, the Sportster had. What to do? Get another?

The first thing to do was get the insurance taken care of. Right. Like they were gonna hurry.

Oops! Distinction: My insurance company stalled and dithered and dawdled and dallied and finally decided to offer me a cup of coffee and some pocket change. I had to call them half a dozen times to get that. Her insurance company, on the other hand, sent me a check right away for my travail, then offered to pay me blue book value for the Sportster. They even left me the Sportster, which turned out fine for me and a mechanic who wanted what was left of it for parts. (He was building his own.)

I turned the check over to my Harley dealer then had to decide, which model? Oh my. Life can be sweet. Which model indeed. I could've spent weeks choosing and enjoyed every minute of it, but I didn't. Leafing through the catalog I turned a page and boing! Everyone knew from my expression that I'd found the one. "Oh! The NightTrain!" said the accessories counter lady. "Yes!" breathed my wife. "Look how sleek and black it is! The perfect Harley for you." I just beamed.

Catalog image of 2000 H-D NightTrain

This is that image, scanned and tweakled for your viewing.

The salesman had several questions and a patient smile. Anything more complicated than "Unh-huh" or "Unh-unh" required intervention from Lindy. That is until he got to the "Do you want to customize it any?" question. My first thought was "No way!" But those handlebars...well, short stubby straight handlebars, they just weren't quite "Harley" to me. And all that chrome...what if some more of it were black?

Lindy tried out a similar saddle and said we needed one that accomodated a passenger, her. She also said we needed a short sissybar for her comfort and security.

Pretty soon we'd taken Harley-Davidson's wonderful idea and modified it to a wonderfler idea of our own.

You can see how that idea wound up on a different page. Let me just finish this story. I'll be quick.

So we placed the order and waited a while. Harley-Davidson delivered their NightTrain to the dealer, and I couldn't stand it. I had to ride it a few weeks. Four I think.

Then I returned it to the dealer and they spent a month or so meticulously constructing just what we'd asked for - with help from wheel-lacers, powder-coaters, and more Harley parts.

Finally, seven months after the very nice lady oopsed my Sportster, I rode out of my Harley dealer's shop with just the NightTrain I wanted, and a smile that damn near split my helmet.