With all this power it needs to go somewhere, so exclusively designed for the Bulldog, a 18x8.5-inch rear wheel covered in Avon rubber handles all the asphalt eating, with a 21x3.5 front heading the bike in the right direction. As far as the suspension goes, up front you will find a fully chromed 41mm telescopic frontend, which happens to be 1-inch under stock length. Both fork legs are perched between machined billet triple trees for a beefy look with seamless transitions. The 1.5-inch diameter frame is color-matched powdercoated with a 4-inch stretch in the backbone with standard curved dual downtubes. The neck rake is 34 degrees with three more in the triple trees to provide maneuverability at both high and low speeds. For the rear, a standard swingarm carries a set of nitrogen gas-charged, adjustable shocks. The shocks can be set to comfortably accommodate the weight of a rider, passenger, and some luggage. The Bulldog had good stopping power with four-piston billet calipers biting down on a two-piece floating rotor front and rear.
Once we were in the wind for a while I started to notice a few things: first was that the seat design was low and comfortable with a deep pocket and just the right amount of lower back support. The seat itself is a two-up design with comfortable seating for a passenger as well. The rubber-isolated floorboards are nicely positioned and comfortable for the long trip. Match that up with the molded rubber grips and the bike was virtually vibration free. The next thing I was dealing with was the fairing and windshield. I'm not a big fan of windshields if I'm not in the rain, but I really like the look and design of this fairing. It is unlike any others out there when it comes to the shape. The swept fairing helps to keep the wind off your chest and hands but the height of the windshield was not tall enough for me, at least not the right angle. At higher speeds the wind was not going over the top of my helmet, more like it was pushing up in the front and hitting down on the back of my head. I found that if I hunched down a bit or sat upright it was better but this was not going to be good for a long trip. My brother is 2 inches taller than me and he had no problem with the wind. The fairing also houses a marine-grade Alpine multi-function stereo receiver with detachable faceplate that is iPod and SAT radio ready. The 5.25-inch two-way speakers are fully enclosed in the fairing for maximum sound with the help of a 55-watt power rating from the receiver. It was nice to have the sounds as we headed north, but at top speed with the wind noise and the sound from the engine mixed with the sweet sound of the exhaust the stereo needed to be a little louder, but nice to have when we were not on the highway. At the end of the first day we had just over 370 miles on the bike and if we didn't have business to conduct, we could have just kept going. So we found a hotel, grabbed a shower and some dinner before finding some nightlife. The next day we dropped off the customer's bike to him and my brother got a ride over to pick up the other bike which happened to be a '09 Road King he was going to paint.
We packed up our gear and headed out making a small detour across the Golden Gate Bridge and down to Fishermen's Wharf for some hot clam chowder and fresh crab. Then we headed back to L.A. By the end of the weekend, we had over 890 miles on the Bulldog and I have to say that the bike was very comfortable and not bad on gas, getting about 33mpg considering the use of power and the speeds we were traveling. I wish the bags were bigger, the radio was louder, the windshield was taller (just a little), and I had more time with the bike. So before we have to get it back, I'm looking forward to this weekend where I think I'll head south and see if they stop me at the border before getting some tacos. I'm not sure but I think I need a passport, we'll see.