Motorcycle Forums » Harley Davidson

Who's Ridin Harley 103ci Motorcycles

  • January 25, 2013 12:45 AM PST
    I'm in the market for a new bike and am leary of these new big motors .I am thinkin of findin a 2010 or 11 - 96ci bike with low milage instead because of all the talk about how hot they run. I know of one person who got a bad one.and they put an engine in the bike already. I DON"T WANT THAT!!!
    I have rented them on occasion and while i do not notice any difference in power between 96 and103 i also don't notice it running any hotter.
    So who's got experience with them good or bad to help me make up my mind.
    The dealer has made me an unbelievably low offer and am swayin towards a brand new one cuz i haven't bought new since 91'.
    Help me.
    • Moderator
    • 16585 posts
    January 25, 2013 2:53 AM PST
    With my riding style the engine size is not really important. I was very happy on my '93 WG 80", Love Rex my 88" carbed RK. If I had to replace it I would Very Seriously try to find another clean '04 carbed RK. All are plenty fast for me.
    • 846 posts
    January 25, 2013 8:29 AM PST
    Before my last purchase I rented a 2009 (96 ci) Road King, What I purchased was a 2009 FLPD which is a police version RK back in 2009 it came with the 103 ci engine and I had the same concerns. The FLPD with the 103 ci engine had been the standard engine for that model for a few years.but i was concerned as this was not a stock engine at the time. I've ridden the bike over 25,000 miles and can't complain. The only thing other then regular maintenance has been tires.
    That being said it does come with the heat shields already on them. But I don't notice any more heat then a stock bike at the time.
    It's all up to you on my end I have no complains with the engine or the bike. Being in New England (Mass) I've ridden it in the Humid summer months and the cooler temps of spring and fall. The only time I notice any heat is in the humid summer months if I'm in stop and go traffic and that is from the right side where the exhaust is so i caulk it up to that.

    What ever you decide best of luck and i sure you'll enjoy it.
  • January 25, 2013 8:33 AM PST
    No rex, it's not about speed for me .It's more of a concern about engine running too hot and not being as reliable as they should be. I don't think I can get an unbiased opinion from a dealer ecspecially one thats trying to sell my a bike.
  • January 25, 2013 11:11 AM PST
    Thanx for that chaz,I'm pretty much set on the new one. The offer is just too good.I did my homework and checked prices at at least eight dealers and thought i had the best price.Then my friend mentioned it to the owner of the local dealer (who was closed when i went to give him a shot) and he called me and beat them all.Go figure!
    • 2 posts
    January 25, 2013 12:09 PM PST
    The myth that the 103 runs hotter is exactly that, a myth. The engine actually runs cooler than the evolutions and ruffly the same as other twin cams. The reason people tend to think it runs hotter is because it is a larger engine in the same area as it's smaller predecessors so, you do feel the heat coming off the engine more. To combat this problem HD has developed the engine heat management system which basically shuts down the rear cyl at idle. This helps a little but adding heat deflectors is a better fix as it helps while the bike is moving at low speeds as well.

    As far as your friend who had to replace his engine. That is very unfortunate but without knowing more about what went wrong, I can't really comment. That being said, it is extremely unlikely it is a 103 issue. Outside of displacement there is no difference between the 96ci and the 103ci and relativly few differences between those and the 88ci. There are all variations of the same engine. As far as longevity is concerned I would suggest an EVO believe it or not, they are fantastic engines with very few issues save a leaky paper base gasket that can easily be replaced.
  • January 25, 2013 12:53 PM PST
    Thanx StBobber,I am runnin an Evo motor in an older Road King Now and like the bike so much that i am going to keep it too.Have done the cam and pistons twice along with lifters and breather valve and the engine is bulletproof considering the amount of miles i have put it thru.I am just lookin for a newer ride for the frequent long distance trips and sometime two up ridin i do with the bride.
    • 2 posts
    January 28, 2013 6:46 AM PST
    If your going to be riding two up a lot, I would go with the 103. The extra torque is very noticeable with two. Then again the 96 sure isn't a sloucher. Between the two I'd say it's personal preference. Ride 'em both and see what ya think.
  • January 28, 2013 8:11 AM PST
    For as long as you don't do any mods in the engine, you have nothing to worry about. I have an 88 CI Springer Classic, a 2006 SE Fat boy with a 103 CI w/o oil cooler and a 2009 FHLP (Roadking Police) with a 103, with a oil cooler which a bought it with zero miles and I do not have any complaints. All my bikes all they have is a stage I upgrade and they run fine!! Gone are the days of issues with HD and for as long as you don't go crazy making changes to the engine, you will ride and ride w/o any problems!! Good luck with your new bike!
    • 823 posts
    January 28, 2013 11:37 AM PST
    Love my 2012 Wide Glide (103). Feb 9th will be one year from purchase. I have 17,500 miles on it. Most of those were in temps of 90+ and up to 115 here in the desert southwest. Rear cylinder cuts out at an idle and helps some at lights. I got no complaints.
    • 719 posts
    January 28, 2013 12:47 PM PST
    i bought a new 2012 streetglide 103 it is badass and it is stock (till the waranty runs out) it runs a little warmer than my other bike but its a hell of a lot biger and it is fuel injected the thing is in order for them to meet the epa bull they r on the leen side a good fuel management system will take care of the run hot
  • February 26, 2013 2:32 PM PST
    I've got a 2010 Ultra Limited with a 103, and I'd say yes it does "seem" to run a bit hotter than my 08 Street Glide that had a 96. I say seems only because I have no proof it does, it does seem hotter on my legs, but in Oklahoma with temps anywhere between 90+ to 120 any motorcycle runs hot in the summer. It did come with an oil cooler where the Street Glide (96) did not so if it does, it's got something to help there. Stock the 96 and 103 are gutless (your mileage may vary), so I've done a few things to "make it run better" I've opened up the intake (BIG Sucker), I've gotten rid of the cats, which opens up the exhaust, also put V&H power duals to help a bit more, changed the cam (255e) and did the SE Super/race tuner. After doing all that I believe she runs cooler and better, she's got a tad bit over 84,000 miles on her and she runs like a dream, and is as fast as she needs to be. The MoCo does testing on these engines, yes there are some that have had issues, but they all do, or will at some time down the road. Find something you want to ride, if you're worried about the 103 purchase the extended warranty, the MoCo will fix it. If you live in an area where you can open up the intake and exhaust and get rid of the cats have the dealer do it and the warranty will still be valid.
    • 0 posts
    February 27, 2013 9:12 AM PST
    Marni just bought a 13 fatbob..The torque is incredible straight outta the box..It does get a bit hot in traffic but nothing unbearable..On the other hand another mate of ours just bought the street bob and she reckons its get real bloody hot on ya leg..I like the 103.
    • 5417 posts
    March 8, 2013 3:13 AM PST
    Just test rode a 103 Ultra Classic this past weekend. I really didn't notice too much difference between that and my 96ci road king. Maybe a little more mid-range power - going from 45 to 65mph seamed to be a little quicker than mine.
  • March 19, 2013 1:13 AM PDT
    I had an "03" 88 ci till June of 2011. Got an 2011 Ultra Tour Glide and we love it. We put 18000 miles on it to this point with no problems. I do like the 103. Seems to have more torque and has no problem going over 100 mph when needed.
    I'm told from York, PA. this engine is tried and true to go the distance of 100,000 miles. We will see...Only 82,000 more to go.
  • April 4, 2013 10:15 AM PDT
    I bought a 2013 Ultra Classic back in October and immediately noticed a severe heat issue on my right leg. It turned out to be the catalytic converter in the stock head pipes. I changed them out for a set of Vance and Hines Power Duals and a set of Rinehart slip ons and problem disappeared. At first I thought the Rineharts might be too loud but after riding them for a few hundred miles I have decided that they are just about perfect. Right amount of sound, but quiet enough on the highway to enjoy the radio.
    • 48 posts
    April 5, 2013 5:03 AM PDT
    We have a 2012 Heritage 103. No complaints. Litle sh*&^t gets with it real well. In stop and go traffic yes, you're feelin some heat. The engine temp management system works well (add on factory programming required for the 12 Heritage, but the feature is there). With that said, last June we also bought a 12 Road Glide Ultra. Comes with the heat shields and of course the idle temp management feature that shuts down the rear cylinder at idle. You can turn that on and off with the flick of the throttle, key o n, engine off. I have no complaints. 10K on both bikes...I dont necessarily run fast but I do get through the gears pretty quick and hard for the most part. My brother always said "ride it like ya stole it". Pretty much do until 80. No problems.
  • April 10, 2013 1:27 AM PDT
    Isn't the heat issue caused mainly due to the location of the Catalic Catalic oh dammit the location of the cats being right under your thighs (well a little lower)? Can be cured doing a complete change of the exhaust setup and removing the cats?