When I went to pick up the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout, I hadn’t rode a 700 pound motorcycle since last season. I wonder if Kanishka Sonnadara knew I was a bit apprehensive as we climbed into his demo Nissan Juke NISMO. We met with Maria Diaz at Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, signed our lives away, got a tour de bike, and got to work.
The Breakout is brand new for 2013. It is one slick machine. The design gives a distinct nod to various eras of motorcycling, past and present. The front rim, connected to a 130/60/21 looks all too familiar, in a good kind of way. The rear rim is packing serious rubber. The 240/40/18 is one of the Breakout’s most prominent features. Visions of mag rims on my old Sportster floated through my mind but there was no real comparison. The refinement of the finish of the Breakout’s rims, leave my 2007 Sportster looking industrial in comparison.
Harley-Davidson did something interesting with the concept of the bike. The MoCo had Ben McGinley to design the new for 2013 model. Who? Good question. Ben is a 24 year old graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He’s riding a 1992 Harley-Davidson Sportster, highly customized, which he did all of the modifications to.
The telltale signs of backyard garage shop inspired motorcycle design are all there. It starts with the long, curved rear fender that covers the oversized back tire. The next clue was the blacked out heat shields over the Breakout’s exhaust. It complements the two-tone theme running throughout the bike. Both pieces seemed shaped like what you’d find on custom built motorcycles around the world, but come from factory with Harley-Davidson’s factory finish.
When it came time to leave I admit, I was a bit nervous. The Breakout starts at around $20,000 plus taxes. It weighs roughly five times my weight. I didn’t have time to get lunch. I decided to err on the side of caution and drive away very slowly. Kanishka saw me from his Juke NISMO as we waited at the red light and gave me a thumbs up and a big smile. “Ok,” I thought, “time to nut up and shut up.”
Before I go any further there were two things I noticed immediately about the Breakout prior to take-off. The first was that this kick-stand made me re-think everything I thought I knew about Harley-Davidson’s kickstands. Apparently in 110 years the MoCo has in fact learned how to create a kick-stand that just plain works. If you’ve ever owned an older Harley you’ll know what I’m talking about. Problem solved.
The second thing I noticed was this strange key fob system that I really don’t care to explain, nor does the diehard motorcycle traditionalist in me care much for. “How do I start this damn thing again?!” I felt like I was the one who was 110 years old. Actually that’s really not true. I went to Deeley Harley – Davidson Canada under the impression I was getting the 2013 Harley-Davidson Switchback. I was a little disappointed, because I’m old enough to die, but that doesn’t mean I’m old enough to have any interest in floorboards and heel-toe shifters. When I understood I was getting the Breakout I was really excited.
That wide drag bar and the foot pegs which looked way out front but actually weren’t too unnaturally far were a great fit. I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the ergonomics though, as I rode home to Toronto in rush hour traffic.
Today was my first day riding the 2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout. That ride in traffic reminded me of why I switched to liquid cooled V-Twins only. I currently own a pair of them. The Breakout got hot in the stop and go traffic. I decided to take the Breakout out late at night and see what it was all about on cool, empty roads.