Hog Ties Soft Hooks H-D 94650-98
Is your roadside emergency tool kit a cell phone and a credit card? If so, you’re slightly under-equipped. When the tow truck driver pulls out his giant rusty iron hook to throw across your handlebars, you’ll be dreadfully sorry you didn’t make that $6.95 investment in a pair of Hog Ties Soft Hooks.
Hog Ties Soft Hooks are made by ANCRA for Harley-Davidson. At $6.95, they’re one of the least expensive items you’ll find in the Genuine Motor Accessories and Genuine Motor Parts catalog (page 832). The beauty of the ANCRA Harley hooks is that they are 11⁄2 inches wide, versus the usual one-inch-wide soft hook. They are actually softer to the touch than the coarser Brand X hooks. And best of all, they’re the same price, if not a buck less, than other brands. You’ll also be impressed to find out that the minimum breaking strength is 1,800 pounds, and the recommended working load of each soft hook is 600 pounds. Each strap is 17 inches long, and the pair wraps up into a small ball about the size of your fist (unless, of course, you carry them flat).
“But I maintain my bike regularly and don’t ride very far from home,” you say. Well, I maintain my Harley regularly, too, but I do ride far from home. However, one Sunday night, riding home on my 2000 Wide Glide, I stopped to top off my gas tank a mile and a half from home, and my ignition crapped out on me. My bike was totally electrical-ly dead. I called H.O.G. Roadside Assistance, and told them I needed a tow. When the tow company called me back to confirm my location, I stressed to them that I was on a motorcycle and the driver needed to have tie-down straps.
The driver showed up with a flatbed truck, dropped the back end of the bed down to the pavement, then turned to me and said, “OK, ride it up on the back.” My jaw dropped. The look on my face had to have been total disbelief. For another thing, if I could have started the bike I would have ridden it home. The other thing, if the bike was actually running, there is no way in hell I would attempt to ride up a 45-degree incline on a sheet of metal. Just a minor temporary setback.
The tow truck driver managed to con some poor unsuspecting passerby into helping him push the bike up the back of the bed with me astride the bike, and then lowered the bed back to the level position. Step one out of the way. Next, he yanked his chains and iron hooks out to tie down my Harley. “Hang on a second, don’t you have any tie-down straps?” I inquired. After digging around in every compartment of his truck, he found one, just one, ratcheting tie-down strap. Of course it was about 4 inches wide, probably rated at 40,000 pounds of tensile strength—serious overkill.
Luckily, my daughter happened to be home when I called, so I told her exactly where to find my Hog Ties Soft Hooks and ratchet style motorcycle tie-downs, and bring them to me, so we could tie this bike down and get it the last mile and a half home. I stuffed the Hog Ties Soft Hooks into the Wide Glide saddlebags that night. The next day I bought another set for my other bike, and I still have two more sets with the ratcheting tie-downs that I use for the rare trailer trips.
Just a quick side note: Don’t waste your money on tie-downs without ratchets. You’ll have to retighten the nonratcheting tie-downs every hundred miles or so. ’Nuther quick side note: When you need to use them, attach your Hog Ties Soft Hooks to your front fork, frame, or engine guards—not your handlebars.
As I mentioned, I have my Harley serviced and maintained by the local dealerships on a regular basis. However, I have still been stranded by stator, starter, and throttle cable malfunctions—usually on a Sunday evening. Unfortunately, in my encounters, the “professional” tow services never seem to be up to the task of dealing with a motorcycle.
Since it sucks even more to be stranded in the dark, I carry a little 2″-long Streamlight (www.streamlight.com) Key-Mate flashlight. They claim their 100,000 hour LED never needs replacing, throws a beam of light more than 30 feet, and is good for up to 96 hours of continuous use. They’re only $9.99, and available at Cabela’s (www.cabelas.com). And if you don’t happen to be hooked up with H.O.G. Roadside Assistance, check out American Motorcyclist Association’s MOTOW (www.amadirectlink.com). It’s well worth the minimal investment. Lastly, prepare yourself for the inevitable. In addition to your cell phone and credit card, carry a pair of Hog Ties Soft Hooks.