Motorcycles have been part of my life for a zillion years now and, like most serious riders, I have explored more than one type of riding. But since most of my riding adventures and exploits have been on either sportbikes or riding off-road, it was time to branch out.

And if a newbie is going to get into this touring and cruising segment, is there really a better place to start than the worldwide launch of Harley-Davidson’s new Project Rushmore? I think not.

Touring and cruising are the backbone of the Motor Company and I was in Colorado to learn a whole lot more about that side of motorcycling so I guess you could say I was learning from the masters. If you make these types of motorcycles for 110 years, I figure you get to be pretty good at it.

I’d often wondered what it would be like to just sit back on a motorcycle and cruise along, taking in the sights that our wonderful country has to offer. Well, from where I was sitting the scenery was spectacular… but why are all the trees missing from the tops of the mountains? I quickly realize that the Berthoud Pass on Highway 40 is at around 10,000 feet of elevation. High enough to see the line where the trees stop and the mountains go on.

What is even better is the fact that I am cruising along quite comfortably - thank you very much - on a new 2014 FLHTK Ultra Limited Harley-Davidson; one of the new Harley’s that features the new Twin-Cooled High Output 103 powerplant. The sights were spectacular and the smooth-riding Harley was an added bonus.

The formal launch of the new Rushmore Project took place at the Colorado Museum of Art where Harley gave us an extensive introduction to all facets of the Rushmore plan.

Harley-Davidson has always been a company interested in its customer’s wants and needs and the Rushmore project focused a lot of its initial design and styling plans for the new models on customer feedback. The sometimes not so simple task of asking them what they want in a new model and then trying to facilitate their needs. In turn, practically every aspect of the previous bikes has been redesigned with over 100 new parts and features.

Project Rushmore also marks a new era in production capabilities as it has taken Harley a little over three years to complete the new bike from its conception. They have also been able to increase production, resulting in a 30 percent rise in capacity while cutting down the time it takes to produce the bikes. All this increased productivity equals an overall reduction in cost. So not only did they come up with a new bike, but they also figured out how to build more of them in a shorter amount of time.

 
By Tom Montano

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