Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

For those familiar with Harley touring models, you know that in 2010 Harley Davidson abandoned the large taillight in favor of two dual purpose brake lights and turn signals. Although it adds to the sleek look of the bike, it really allows for poor visibility to other motorists during daytime riding, especially on sunny days.  I have been told countless times by those I ride with that my bike is virtually invisible when I”m braking – especially in direct sunlight.

After doing numerous cosmetic and “performance” upgrades to my dearest Beatrice, I decided it was finally time to do something that could potentially save us both.

I ordered the Custom Dynamics Dynamic Ringz, LED brake lights, and load stabilizer online for $172 shipped. They arrived within eight days, and they took all of 30 minutes to install.

Installation in the front and rear is as easy as popping off the existing lens covers, unscrewing and removing the halogen unit, and inserting the LED unit. Pop the lens cover back on. Many choose, at this point, to run smoked lenses on all four lights. I chose to install clears in the front, and I kept my red lenses in the rear. I felt it was a better aesthetic fit for the bike. A flat head screwdriver is all you need to complete this task.

The load stabilizer was the longest and trickiest part of the install. The load stabilizer mounts underneath the bike’s side panel and connects into the main wiring harness. Positive and negative terminals also attach to the bike’s battery. Truthfully, this wasn’t an arduous process – once I located the main wiring harness. Connecting to the battery requires nothing more than a screwdriver, just do me a favor and make sure you properly feed your wires underneath the frame otherwise the seat will be resting on them. As you can surmise, I had to reroute my wires because I screwed it up the first time.  Syncing the lights and stabilizer are simple. A few left blinks followed by 10 or so right blinks, back to the left and done.

Front: The Dynamic Ringz convert the stock halogen turn signals to full time LED running lights and, when activated, amber turn signals. They have 48 LEDs on each insert. The outer ring of 24 are white, and the inner 24 are amber. The outer white ring is very noticeable to oncoming traffic (see pic below). At night, it does not light up the road too much more, as the LEDs are aimed straight out, but they do reflect brightly off of any reflective surface – for example stop signs, road paint, and the eyes of animals watching from the side of the road.

Rear: The improvement from my stock tail lights was remarkable. In direct sunlight daylight, the rear running lights are brighter than the stock brake lights. And the brake lights, when activated, are extremely hard to miss.  One of the first upgrades I made when I first bought the bike was the tri-bar upgrade, which converted the tri-bar on the bottom of the fender to running and brake lights. These new Custom Dynamics drown out the tri-bar brake light entirely. The photos below show the Custom Dynamics LEDs as running lights on the left, and as brake lights on the right.

Rear OneRear Two

The Verdict: This upgrade is a must for anyone concerned with increasing their likelihood of being seen by other drivers on the road in all riding conditions at all times of the day – the bike is highly visible from the front and the rear. It is a relatively low cost upgrade which requires minimal mechanical skills to complete.

Visit Custom Dynamics on the web.

 

Up Next: Harley Daymaker Reflector

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

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All over HDForums.com I have read how great Harley Goodies Floorboard Extensions are; but truthfully, I didn’t need them, my ride is comfortable enough. After all, it’s a Harley, it can’t get any better, right?  Yup, I was wrong.

I started the search for the floorboard extensions after I bolted on my passenger floorboards – the position of the passenger floorboards sat my wife’s feet tighter on the bike, cramping us just a little more than the passenger pegs. My search brought me to the Harley Goodies review page.  It didn’t take long to realize no one has anything bad to say about these products.  I composed an email to Tom, and sure enough, he got back to me that day letting me know that my model year (2012) is in fact available.

Although Tom got back to me, I did nothing with the information. Besides, we didn’t have an overnight trip planned for at least another month. Fast forward three weeks.  It was a Tuesday, the trip was on the horizon and I still hadn’t solved my floorboard problem. Rather than emailing Tom again, I called him. We spoke for 15 minutes about the differences and advantages of the product, he gave me a small homework assignment – check the thread size of the shoulder bolt on the 2012 bracket – and upon completion, I ordered the passenger extensions (chrome).  With a 2 week return policy, I also ordered a set of the rider floorboard extenders (black).  I wasn’t sure if I needed them, but figured they would be worth the shot.

As mentioned, that was a Tuesday.  They arrived that Friday from California (free shipping and cross country travel in 3 days?!?). I spent some time with the bike on Saturday installing them.  Installation was a breeze, although I admit, the original bolts were a bit difficult to get off because of leverage.  Tom recommended a 6 inch socket extension which I didn’t have.  I am sure it is easier with the proper tools!

Installation took about an hour for both rider and passenger extensions – the majority of the time was spent on the rider rather than the passenger extensions.  Instructions specifically dictated that the bike be taken on a slow test ride to assimilate the rider to the new riding position.  What better way to test ride than to go out for a sandwich!

After my ten mile jaunt all I can say is, wow!!! I was skeptical at first, but I am thrilled with the results. Tom put it best on the phone when he said, “they offer you more real estate.” And he wasn’t kidding. As a taller fellow, my riding position seemed more natural to me and I had plenty of room to move around on the boards. I have since been out a few more times and my bike has never felt more comfortable. The passenger extensions seemingly provide more room as two-up riding is less cramped.

Below are some pics after installation was completed.

 

Thank you again Tom!!!  This is one product endorsement I will definitely be passing along to fellow riders.

Manufacturer: Harley Goodies

Products: Rider and Passenger Floorboard Extensions

Cost: $46.95 and $39.95 for rider and passenger (Note: there is a discount for members of HDForums

 

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile!

Ride Day: Sunday July 31

Total Distance: 245 miles (10 hours)

Went for a great ride today with three great couples. We left Stafford, CT around 10:00 a.m. and headed North on Route 32 as two Yamahas and 2 Harley Davidsons (a Dyna Glide and a Road Glide Ultra) but came back as one Yamaha and 2 HDs.  Shortly after Athol, MA we took our first break at the Tully Dam. While stretching I was able to snap a few pics for documentation’s sake, so I can remember where the hell I’ve been, and of course for all you.

(from what I was told, there is a disc golf course to the right of this picture)

Our lunch destination was Curtis’ Bar-B-Q in Putney, VT (look for a review in the near future). We arrived around 1:00 and stayed for nearly two hours. The ride home took us through the back roads of New Hampshire, and back down 32 into Mass and eventually ended at our starting point in Stafford, CT around 8:00 pm. (Route to Curtis’: 32 North to 119 West to Rt. 5 in VT)

Trip Highlights:

* Monson, MA… Seeing the damage from the tornado that ripped through in June was awe inspiring to the say the least. Riding down Main St. was a definite eye opener to the destruction mother nature can cause with one quick hit.

* With Bells On… Our stop at the Tully Dam brought attention to the fact that my bike was the only one without a bell keeping the road Gremlins away. Is riding with a bell superstition or necessity?  Depends who you ask.  I fought long and hard telling the other riders that I “ride with the dead” [I keep prayer cards from funerals in all the vehicles in/on which I travel]. “Ride with the dead” may sound great, but it’s not a bell. I was surprised to be given my very own bell when we stopped at Monadnock Harley-Davidson. Special thanks to Kim M. for giving me my first bell. I guess it’s safe to say from now on I will be “riding with bells on.” [Click here for more information on the legend of the bell]

 

And here’s an extra special helpful hint for you… when riding without a jacket (or anything long sleeved for that matter), remember the sunscreen!  My arms should be peeling in about 4 days.

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

Part of Phee’s transformation includes a luggage makeover.  Although in the past I have always been against dressing the bike for long distance travel, I recognize that things change.  It is necessary to have ample luggage space if serious about taking long distance motorcycle trips.  Usually I am not too worried about aesthetics, but when it comes to Phee, looks are, well, not everything, but they’re a lot.

In mid-June I ordered the matching OEM hard bags, mounting brackets, guards, and duffel inserts. I placed my order through accessories4bikes and by doing so I was able to save more than $500 by not going through my local dealer (these savings were calculated after I paid for shipping). Within 24 hours accessories4bikes emailed me to let me know the mouting brackets were on back order through Yamaha until August 5th… of course, this was unacceptable as it was the first part necessary to installation.  There was no use having the other pieces without the brackets. Of course, I also wasn’t about to pass up the savings. I canceled the mounting bracket order and quickly started calling bike shops nationwide until I found one that had the part in stock. A few credit card numbers and two days later the mounting brackets were sitting in my kitchen.

The only downfall to ordering online rather than through the local store is time.  If ordered locally I would have had the bags in 4 days time – 1 day to place the order and three to ship from Yamaha to the dealer.  My total wait time online was about 10 business days, as the parts were ordered, shipped to the web site, and then shipped my way.

The middle of June was extremely wet here in the Northeast. When everything arrived I could do nothing but stare at the boxes in my living room.  I was anxious to get them installed, but I was also trying to stay dry.  So they sat… and sat… and sat… and about 4 days later there was finally a break in the weather.

(Yes, my buddy Gus Man is as sad as I am about the rain)

The installation proved to be a rather smooth process, and I learned a few things about my bike during that time as well.  First, the previous owner had installed the passenger floorboards on the bike backwards.  Because of this, the floorboard on the pipe side would leave a mark on the top of my pipes.  A positive side note of the luggage installation is the fixing of the floorboard. Of course, after careful examination of the right passenger floorboard, I learned it had a fairly severe stress crack. The board broke completely with a little additional pressure.  I am very grateful this pressure was applied with my hands in a driveway rather than a passengers foot on the highway.  The pics below show the broken board.

The removal of the floor boards is the first step in the luggage installation process, as the mounting bracket shares a bolt hole with the floorboard. I left the right floorboard off the bike for the remainder of the install, which made sense considering it was broken anyway. In addition to sharing a hole with the floorboards, the mounting bracket also used the sissybar/side rail bolt holes as seen in the picture below.  Also visible in that picture are the luggage guards and the left passenger floorboard – after it had been placed in the proper position.  The only draw back I see to the floorboards in their proper position is that they cover the Yamaha logo on either side of the bike (but I’m over it already!)

(mounting brackets, guards, floor board left side)

(mounting bracket, guards right side – no floorboard)

After all the hardware was installed, the luggage needed to be mounted.  It was very easy to do, however extreme caution had to be taken as to not damage the bag – if feasible, I recommend using two people to mount the luggage, one to hold and one to attach them… they are too expensive to risk careless damage.

Rather than wait and order my floorboards online, I wanted (foolishly) chose to pay full price at the local dealer.  Unfortunately one board was fine but I still needed to buy them in pairs.  All of my old mounting hardware was still in good shape and I was able to reuse it. With new boards in hand it took no more than 45 seconds to snap each into place and complete the job. I had a smile on my face when I finished, but the smile had little to do with the extra $150 I had to shell out to fix the boards, and it had everything to do with the rain being gone and the sun finally shining.

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.