Published In The August 2014 Issue Of Cycle Source
Article By: Daniel Donley At Pandemonium Custom Choppers www.pandemoniumc2.com
Photos By: Duke Miller
Do you have a stock Harley- Davidson that is just like all the rest? You know what I’m talking about, when you are at an event and the parking lot is full of bikes and you can’t pick yours out of the crowd? We all know that we don’t want our bike to look like joe schmo’s next to you. Well, this month we are going to focus on taking the cookie cutter out of a stock Harley-Davidson and making it fit your personality. Personalizing your motorcycle can be as complex or simplified as you make it. With a factory service manual in hand and basic wrenching abilities in mind, you yourself can accomplish the individuality that your bike deserves.
So here are a few things that you can do at home with some spare time. The bike we are using is a Fat Boy Low and the owner is a woman, her main focus was that she wanted it to look like her bike, have some storage and it needed to fit her better because she is short. To get this project started we took the weekend off, rounded up a few buddies and gave this 2013 Fat Boy Low a heavy dose of personality so it could lose its cookie cutter status.
We decided to get the project started by lowering the front suspension. We decided on a Progressive suspension drop in lowering spring kit. The installation of this kit was very straight forward and also allowed us the opportunity to add some freshly black powder coated lower legs and cans to give the front end a sleeker look. A factory service manual is very handy here for reference of all torque specs for front end reassembly. We moved on to the rear suspension which is a Dead Creek Cycle Lowering kit. It gave us the option for 1 ½ or 2” lowering. We decided to go with the 2” lowering to make sure it was low enough for her so she was flat footed and comfortable. Let me tell you what, this was the simplest rear lowering kit I have EVER installed on a Softail! I would highly recommend it.
Now it was time to give this machine a little bigger growl, so it was on to the exhaust. She had already picked out a Vance & Hines Exhaust; all we needed to do was install it. This is a pretty straight forward install; just follow the directions. With traveling in mind she was looking for a little bit of storage so a set of saddle bags were in order. To get them mounted up a set of Cycle Visions saddle bag brackets were just the thing. These were installed in quick order with basic hand tools. There was a hiccup in the bracket that ties the right and left saddle bracket together underneath the fender, the bracket included with the kit was for a bike with a longer fender and was not going to work on our Fat Boy Low. To keep the project moving along wee whipped up a bracket to tie the right and left side together, we also used this bracket for our turn signal relocation, which is required when installing saddle bags. I imagine this bracket will be (STBC).
Cookie Cutter at its finest.
With our service manual in hand disassembly of the front suspension was very straightforward.
Progressive Suspension parts before installation
On a side note, here is a little trick that you can use to install the Fork Seals. Take the bag that the seals came in, cut the end open and remove the seal, and then take the end that isn’t cut and cut a triangle out of it. Once this is done take that bag and with the end you cut the triangle out of and put it over the fork tube and put your seal on top of the bag with a little bit of oil and slide it down the fork tube. This keeps from tearing the seal.
Front end all lowered and blacked out.
We used a Dead Creek Cycles Lowering Kit to lower the rear of the bike. This was a super easy install.
After lowering the front and rear suspension the bike’s stance changed which required the kickstand to be modified to lean at the proper angle. Exh1 – Vance & Hines Big Radius Exhaust ready to install.
Adding an exhaust system to your bike is a simple upgrade to give your bike some personality.
Cycle Visions Saddle Bag Installation kit these are very well made and the quality is top notch.
Here is what we come up with to tie the right and left saddle bags together.
and we also used this to relocate the turn signals.
Progressive Suspension www.progressivesuspension.com
Vance & Hines www.vanceandhines.com
Dead Creek Cycles www.deadcreekcycles.com
Cycle Visions www.cyclevisions.com