Harley-Davidson recalls 46,000 new Touring bikes for creating oil slicks

A little bit of oil on the ground is way more terrifying when you're on a bike.

Harley-Davidson

When you've only got two wheels, it's a good idea to keep them from getting covered in oil. That's the reason behind Harley-Davidson's latest recall.

Harley-Davidson has issued a recall for 45,589 examples of its 2017 Touring line: the Road King, Police Road King, Road King Special, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Road Glide, Road Glide Special, Police Electra Glide and Electra Glide Ultra Classic. The manufacturer originally recalled 45,599 bikes, but amended its defect report (PDF) to remove 10 of them.

I'm not usually a fan of Harley-Davidson's offerings, but the Road King Special is pretty gnarly.

Harley-Davidson

The issue at hand can be traced to some clamps. These clamps, which secure part of the oil line in the oil cooling system, may have been improperly installed -- the defect notice lists the cause as "missed operation by assembly line worker." As a result, the oil line may become detached, which can cause a loss of engine oil.

Losing engine oil is bad for not one, but two reasons. First, oil starvation in sufficient quantities can cause an engine to seize. Second, and perhaps more importantly, leaking oil could end up on the rear tire. Since motorcycles only have two tires, oiling up the rear could cause a loss of control, increasing the risk of injury and scuffing up all that shiny metal.

Harley-Davidson will inspect every recalled bike, and if the clamps are found to be wonky, they will be replaced and secured at no cost to the owner. Starting on May 9, Harley-Davidson added an extra inspection to its assembly process in order to ensure the clamps are properly installed on all bikes going forward.

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