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Old 6th October 2015, 10:38   #1
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Default Essential Accessories: How to pimp up your Harley-Davidson


With the monsoons receding, the long zonal rides are upon the Harley world. It is time to get your bikes out of their hiding places and put on some miles.

A few riders on the last ride were asking me about the various upgrades and accessories available to us. I have broken this into four parts for this writing:

a. Lights.

Upgrades on the main headlight is usually to the preferred Daymakers from HD. A direct fit, and a quick job. The light beam is very powerful and lights up the road pretty well. An added benefit to most of our daytime warriors is that it increases your visibility to oncoming traffic by a thousand times- and also makes you very easy to track, when you are in a group ride. There are a few riders who have complained about the dawn/dusk hours and the effectiveness of the same when its raining. Do not throw out your old headlight, if the rains bother you, then switch to the regular lights for 3/4 months of the year.

Additional Fog or Auxiliary lights are a boon in our kind of traffic allowing for more light to be ‘laid’ on the road making it safe to ride. These can be mounted along side the headlight or on the crash-guard. Always make sure that you use these with a relay and get your wiring checked by someone at the workshop. This is the weakest link in the reliability of HDs.

Cheap Chinese made ones are available, and then there are some super gorgeous ones like the Clearwater Simple faults and shorts cause bikes to fail on highways- and your little effort towards saving money can result in a huge loss of riding opportunity and the cost of getting your bike shipped to a nearby service station.

b. Exhausts

This is a tricky one. Choose an exhaust that you have heard on the same bike as what you own. Do not buy a particular exhaust because it sounds good on a Sportster. The Sportsters are the nicest sounding bikes, in my opinion but on the FatBoy, the same brand could sound just like distant thunder. So do not choose by name/style or recommendation. Choose because you heard it. Slip ons are changed at the far end of the header pipes, while ‘full system’ ones are ones that change from the exhaust port. Make sure that the full system pipes have Oxygen sensor ports drilled in, as if you have to do it, you could drill too close to the exhaust port and you could burn off the sensor filaments.

The usual suspects for an upgrade are V&H’s, Arlen Ness, Cobras to the more exotic SuperTrapp and Covingtons. The pride of Indias' HD was a CFR on a Night Rod based out of Pune- which won any and all exhaust battles, hand down, till the police surrounded the owners house at 4AM on a Sunday- but that’s another story. Unless its radical change in exhausts, the slip-ons do not usually need a fuel management system.

c. Air intakes

Stage 1 from SE is the best upgrade to a better breathing air filter element. Also, it comes with a very long life and only needs regular maintenance (as opposed to replacement for the OE air filter.) Various other more aggressive breathers are available like Heavy breather Screamin’ Eagle of HD, VO2/Drake/Duke from V&H, and the Big Sucker from Arlen Ness. These are the ones that protrude out into the oncoming air and feed the engine with more air, almost like ‘forced air induction.’

d. Fuel Management Systems

Once you have altered the exhaust profile (mostly making your exhaust a freer flowing one) and given your bike more air than it could handle with its basic ECU, the air intake and exhaust sensors start to keep correcting this imbalance that is beyond their parameters to handle. So what?

SEPST from HD is the factory choice for FMS. The SEPST comes with a orange coloured interface that gets mated to ONE HD. One specific bike, not the owner. So when you sell that bike, you give the SEPST away. Given that its an authorized product, it is used to flash the ECM with no moving parts to ‘hang around under the seat.’ The drawback is not this- the drawback is if you mix components like a V&H exhaust with a Heavy Breather, you are essentially out of depth and you will need a Dyno to tune in your bike. Very very unlikely. Which means you are jammed. Call your workshop advisor for pricing on this item. Or you need to be like this one ‘tech head’ mariner from Pune who could really work wonders with the SEPST.

FP3 from Vance and Hines is a very popular upgrade, relatively cheap, easy to install, and with a huge database of products to mix and match. This takes the map from a table that will come with your FP3, or if you have some eclectic mix of parts, then you email them, and in about 72-96 hours V&H will email you the new maps, which again- can be done by yourself.

Power Commander would be the more advanced version of a piggy backed system that alters the ECU output and based on preset maps that you key in, the bike runs. A lot of people are happy- globally with this PC-V, which is the current version on sale.In case of any engine issues, or for instant comparison you can just unplug it in literally 5 minutes and get your bike into stock condition again.

Power Vision – is possibly the most vaunted of the lot. It takes your maps from the dealer, and flashes the ECM with its new maps. There are many plus points to this like recording your ridng data and almost everyone who is tech’ interested in fiddling with the bike would have this. IF flashing your ECM worries you, then this is not for you. If you are going to be upgrading your bike on completion of warranty and the likes, then you should probably plonk in the dollars and get this.

What happens if you don’t do this FMS. The ‘out of syllabus’ oxygen intake and ‘freer than free’ exhaust will cause your bike to start running lean and will cause ‘blueing’ of your exhaust headers. This is the first sign that all is not well in your bike. You will continue to ride it hot till one fine day you will burn your exhaust valve.

I write this from various inputs- personal experience, printed material and input from fellow riders. I could be off the mark and would welcome questions or corrective feedback.

-The Real Slim KD

Last edited by GTO : 6th October 2015 at 15:40. Reason: Spacing :). Thanks for sharing
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Old 6th October 2015, 16:03   #2
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Default Re: Essential Accessories: How to pimp up your Harley-Davidson

Nice thread Kamlesh ji. Well needed for all Harley enthusiasts. I for one have only upgraded my exhausts to Cobra RPT (Race Pro Tech) Slip-Ons with studded back ends to match my 2013 Heritage Softail, out of the options you have listed above. More details can be found on my Heritage thread here - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/superb...ve-review.html (Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic FLSTC: The Comprehensive Review)

Few of my upgrades -

Cobra Slip-On exhausts
Essential Accessories: How to pimp up your Harley-Davidson-cobra-race-pro-slip-exhausts_6.jpg

Custom Gear Shift Link Rod
Essential Accessories: How to pimp up your Harley-Davidson-harley-softail-dhiraj-gear-shift-link-rod_1.jpg

Auxillary Tail/Brake & Turn Signal Conversion Kit
Essential Accessories: How to pimp up your Harley-Davidson-auxillary-tail-brake-turn-signal-conversion-kit-new_5.jpg

Besides these, the mandatory ones are the engine guard with highway pegs (life/bike saving)
Essential Accessories: How to pimp up your Harley-Davidson-13-highway-pegs-mustache-engine-guard.jpg

Loud Chrome Cow Bell Horn (another necessity for a country like India)
Essential Accessories: How to pimp up your Harley-Davidson-39-engine-left-view.jpg

and the chrome billet hand grips.
Essential Accessories: How to pimp up your Harley-Davidson-billet-hand-grips_left_2.jpg


Last edited by dkaile : 6th October 2015 at 16:10.
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