Only Two Big Things Left To Tweak on The Harley… (Yeah, Right)

Well, it’s getting pretty close to being ‘all done’.

#1 – This Tuesday I’ll be dropping the bike off at Earl Small’s Harley Davidson so that Orie Cain can remap the ECM using the TTS Master Tune on the dyno to compensate for the  addition of the Vance & Hines full exhaust and Screamin’ Eagle Stage 1 breather.  I’ve been on the fence about this for several months, as the bike’s actually been running pretty well using the stock ECM mapping.  I played around with the XiED Air-Fuel-Ratio ‘management system’, which seemed to work pretty well at first. However, instead of the engine performance getting better as the EFI began to adjust to the lower AFR ratio (richer) produced by the XiED “spoofing” the data being sent from the O2 sensors to the ECM, it was actually falling off. So, I figure it’s time to bite the bullet and let a tuner do their thing with the motor since we expect to have this bike for long, long time. Even if we decide to pick up a H-D touring bike at some point, I can’t replace the ‘knees in the breeze’ ride that our Wide Glide delivers.

#2 – The New Öhlin’s shocks have been the best single change we’ve made to the bike so I’m chomping at the bit to upgrade the front suspension with a set of 30mm Öhlin’s cartridges.  However, they’re a bit pricey and will require removal of the forks and some internal mods, so that “tweak” may have to wait until winter.  In fact, I’ll probably just pull them off and send them off to Howard at Motorcycle Metal in Florida for the upgrade.

There are a few other things that I’m mulling over, but not yet committed to doing.

  • H-D LED headlight. A bit pricey, but since I do a lot of riding in the dark having good lighting is pretty important.  I also like having a lot of light during daylight hours and the cost of the LED headlight is almost a wash with adding a set of Motolights.  I really like the Motolights, but haven’t quite figured out how I’d install them .
  • Wider front tire. The Wide glide uses a very narrow Dunlop GT502 F 80/90-21 54V, and I’d like to put a somewhat wider tire up front to increase the footprint for cornering and braking.
  • Rear Rack – H-D needs to hire me to redesign some of their accessories and at the top of my list are the rear racks. They’ve come a long way with the Air Foil and Air Wing designs, but still need some more tweaks.
  • True Track? Not sure about this yet and need to discuss with Orie.

About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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2 Responses to Only Two Big Things Left To Tweak on The Harley… (Yeah, Right)

  1. Wayne Sulak says:

    I have seen an analysis of Harley’s financial results and it concluded they don’t make all that much margin on the bikes. They make the real money on the upgrades that almost all buyers end up doing. Hmmmm


    • TG says:

      Absolutely… In some respects, It’s very much like the bicycle business.

      Some of the more frank and honest guys in the sales biz will tell you that the initial purchase is merely a down payment, especially for the first-time H-D buyer. The high-end bikes yield some margin, but on the basic models it’s rare that buyers don’t start to upgrade & accessorize their bikes as then there’s the apparel, which is the real money-maker. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the service dept. where $86/hour is the norm and a 1,000 mile initial service is $300.

      The sad part is, some of the “upgrades” really are pre-meditated on the part of H-D: low-grade shocks, exhaust system, controls, mirrors, lighting and a somewhat eclectic mix of chrome and powder coated parts that don’t always compliment each other. No tachometer or other gauges, etc. So, it’s a given that ‘stuff’ will eventually get changed.

      I actually got a really great deal on our 2011 Wide Glide, as it was June 29th and the 2012’s were on the trucks headed to the dealers. As one of the Sales Managers said, nobody on his side of the table was high-fiving on our deal as it was a cash sale. Since then, let’s just say we could have bought a Co-Motion Supremo with our post-sale expenses… but that was factored-in to the entire proposition as we’d already knew what to expect.

      However, less than 1/2 of that has gone to our local H-D Dealer, since a lot of the stuff that needed to be changed came from 3rd party sources, e.g., Saddle from C&C in Southern California, exhaust from a Vance & Hines dealer in Minnesota, shocks from an Ohlins dealer in Florida, saddle bags from a leather shop in Southern California, etc. Perhaps I need to do a full expose in the not too distant future, as I’m pretty anal and keep detailed records of what gets spent on what, including apparel. We’re hardly unique.

      On the bright side, it’s still been far less than it would have cost to buy a boat, RV, special interest car, or the total cost of a two-week tandem tour to New Zealand… and we can enjoy it on a whim by merely walking out to the garage and strapping on our helmets & gear. No regrets… it’s been a blast and Debbie absolutely loves the whole H-D thing!

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