Do you remember the first day you threw your leg over a motorbike? If it was anything like mine then it changed your perception of bikes and the road forever.

Now imagine the exact opposite experience. I'd wanted a Harley Fatboy since I watched Terminator 2, with the deep thudding exhaust note and the fairly stripped down, not over fancy looks. It was an old-fashioned Harley without any of the frills of the Electra-glide/Road King but it still had that earth-mover of an engine. I'd imagined what it would be like to flick that starter and take the first ride down the road. In my mind you could hear every thump of the V-twin from that first explosion.

Then, in late 2007 I found my bike - a blue/cobalt two-tone 06 Harley with 2000 miles on the clock, full screaming eagle stage 1 and slash cut pipes. It was immaculate and everything I'd hoped for. Virtually everything in life that you've strived for is diluted from your expectations when you taste it in reality but this wasn't, it was quite the reverse. Picking it up from the dealers, from that first 'click, click, click BANG thud thud thud thud' as it started I fell in love with it. It had a soul and that soul was a cross between Marquis de Sade and Genghis Khan, a cantankerous, bastard of an engine stoked by the fires of hell and fuelled by dead kittens. So utterly unlike anything else I'd ever ridden (early Blades, Superdukes, Buells, Triumph Tiger) which all felt faintly... transparent. Every ride, every moment with the bike is an event, an experience that assaults every sense - taste, touch, feel, sound and sight - they all hit their rev limiters.

On paper it should be terrible. It weighs (with fuel) nearly 400kilos, its still pre-war technology, it costs 14k new. But none of that seems to matter when you're bimbling around. Sure you never know whether you'lll actually make the corner (although I've had the footboards scraping and it still felt like it was in control). But that just doesn't matter when you blast through a tunnel or are just out there riding. Also, it will take off like a scalded cat because of the HUGE amount of grunt from tickover.

Reliability and build quality are very good. It is incredibly solid and well put together (you can lift the bike up using just the rear mud-guard - assuming you've got the strength). All the materials are top notch: thick, supple leather on the seat, deep paintwork, chrome an inch thick. Belt drive fits with the nature of the engine and is low maintenance but all that chrome does require a lot of polishing and the solid wheels corrode easily.

Going back to my first ride on any bike: it felt alien, unusual, vulnerable but massively exhilarating.

The first ride on this bike felt completely different. Everything fell to hand (even the indicators didn't take long to get used to). The wide tank, the running boards and forward pegs, the huge chrome headlight. It was everything I'd expected. Then you wind the throttle on. Its suprisingly quick - not the way a Blade is, more the way you'd imagine a Bentley to be - the huge amount of grunt just mashes the rear tyre into the road and it bludgeons the weight of the bike forward. Again, it feels fantastic, who cares about the actual numbers?

Other plus points: women (especially the 'wrong' sort of women) seem to love it. An entirely unrelated point: the pillion seat seems to vibrate in quite an unfortunate way at about 70mph. Many a time, I've had a shaky hand tap me on the shoulder and the shout of 'Don't stop' when out with a female pillion (makes a change from the rest of life I suppose ).

Negatives: I think I've covered most of them. Weighs a ton, doesn't handle, needs a lot of polishing to keep looking the way it should.

The bike is a talking point too, most of the time when I pull up there is always someone keen to talk about it (or their BSA which they rode in the war...). I've never had people moaning about the noise or looking disapproving (which I thought I would before I bought it, especially considering the SE pipes). The only exception are the snotty looks from some power rangers, but even they are the exception rather than the rule. I generally find it nice to hear about other people's experience when I'm parked up but I realise this could be a negative for some.

To summarise - go and ride one before you criticise it, but if you're open minded enough to do so (you may need to find a dealer a long way away from anywhere you might be seen by your mates) then you'll probably need to recalibrate what you are expecting from a bike. Some may like it, others won't - but its an incredible experience all the same.