By BRENDAN SORRELL, special to THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LOUDON — During this year's Laconia Bike Week, Harley Davidson is offering two experiences at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for those interested in experiencing what it is like to be on a Harley. The first involves a fleet including at least one of every model of motorcycle they sell, from touring to sport bikes, that people can demo by taking a bike onto the New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval.
The other major part of Harley Davidson's tent at the speedway is the Project Rushmore Experience. "This gives people a deep dive into the experience of being on one of our touring bikes," said a Harley representative. It does so by offering a virtual experience of being on such a bike. Touring bikes are the ones designed for the long haul, bikes that are made for comfort and convenience. For the Rushmore experience, a touring bike is positioned on a jump-start unit that allows the bike to be running and the throttle being pulled down without the back actually going anywhere because the wheels just spin in place. In front of the touring bike are positioned three 60-inch curved HD TVs, allowing riders to experience what it's like to be going down a road even from the confines of the tent.
The Project Rushmore experience is an impressive display of technology, but the new technology they are implementing into the bikes is perhaps more impressive, and certainly more pragmatic. The first major improvement Harley has made recently on their touring bikes is to add an infotainment system. This system has a small screen just underneath the windshield that can be controlled by touch or by small toggle switch near where the rider grasps the handlebars, the screen can display GPS directions and also music and other entertainment features, much like a screen in many new car models can.
The second major improvement, and the one the bikers at the Project Rushmore event on Monday were most excited about, is having everything on the Harley be one-touch. For example, in the past riders would have to get off their touring bike if they wanted to get something out of their saddlebags because there were two difficult-to-open latches on the side of it, where now they can simply lean back and unlatch the saddlebags with one hand and get whatever they want out of them while remaining seated.
Harley Davidson will continue to showcase their touring bikes and offer demo rides of every model in their fleet at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway through Saturday.
Motorcyclists take bikes from the Harley Davidson demo fleet for a spin around New Hampshire Motor Speedway's one-mile oval. Virtual rides with the Project Rushmore Experience are also available. (Brendan Sorrell for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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