New Tank Badging for the Harley…

Regular readers may recall back on Sept 2nd I posted a blog entry describing how I covered up the silver pinstripes on our 2011 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide’s tank and rear fender with some black pin-stripping tape, as they never quite looked right to me.

Well, one thing leads to another and after hiding the pinstripe my eyes came to rest on the “H-D Bar & Shield” badge that adorned our fuel tank.  Truth be told, the Bar & Shield tank badge was always targeted for replacement from day one for a couple of reasons: 1. It looked and felt cheap and 2. Putting the bar & shield emblem on the tank didn’t make it a true Wide Glide.

Our ’11 Wide Glide when it was new with the silver stripe and ‘bar & shield’ tank badge.

Again, while I like the configuration of our Dyna, I just don’t think it should have been called a Wide Glide.  While it’s definitely a parts-bin bike (even true for the original Wide Glides), the original Wide  Glides came with all kinds of chrome dressing and pretty awesome paint on all of the tins.  However, H-D went on the cheap with the 2010-2013 Wide Glides by spec’ing less expensive black powder coated engine covers and other parts all around and your choice of two paint jobs that paid homage to the older Wide Glides, but fell way short in the execution department: black with a silver pin stripe on the tank and rear fender (but not the front), or a tank offered in a few different colors with a simple fLAME job. Heck, back in 2010 the flame job bikes came with all black front & rear fenders. It wasn’t until 2011 that they at least started to put color-matched fenders on the flame job bikes.

Anyway, like I said… we really liked the Wide Glide’s long/wide fork & forward control configuration but never thought it should have been called a Wide Glide given the way H-D chose to dress it out. So, this past week I finally found a set of tank emblems I liked — a pair designed for the 2009 CVO Fat Bob — and did the swap-out.  You can see how the emblems looked on one of the 2009 CVO Fat Bobs, below.


The swap out entailed carefully warming up the original tank badges with a heat gun, then separating the 3m trim tape from the tank with some 6 lb fishing line and finishing up with some 3m adhesive remover.  Oh yeah, they were as cheap as I thought: stamped tin with 3m trim tape filling the void.  Sorry-Harley, that’s just low-rent.  I also took advantage of having the tank free of emblems to work over the paint with some polishing compound to remove all of the imperfections.  There were also a couple of impressions in the paint around the original tank emblems that I filled-in with a clear-coat touch-up pen and then blended back in with some 1,000 & 2,000 grit sandpaper before working over with the polishing compounds and Porter Cable orbital polisher. 

Tank with silver stripes camouflaged by black pin stripe tape and “bar & shield” tank badges removed.

After I had all of the prep work done for the new badges I was pretty tempted to just leave the tank badge-less, which will still be an option in the future. That’s one of the nice things about having badges attached by 3m adhesives.

On the bright side, the emblems that Harley-Davidson used on the 2009 CVO Fat Bob were very high-quality pieces. I first discovered the “letter opener” CVO badges on ebay while looking for some other CVO badges from the ’09  Road Glide.  However, the photos of the ones being offered as take-offs from an ’09 CVO Fat Bob seemed to suggest they weren’t quite pristine so I decided to see if some OEM versions of the CVO badges were still available for resale from Harley.  I pulled the part number off the ’09 CVO Fat Bob mircofiche, punched them to Google and was pleased to find a couple reliable sources had them in their on-line catalogs.  I ended up buying them through New Castle and held my breath as to whether or not I’d be asked for a VIN number to verify they’d be going back on an existing ’09 CVO Fat Bob.  I say held my breath because the ones on ebay ended up selling for a few more bucks that I was willing to pay, so those were off the table.  Thankfully, my order was accepted, processed and two days later the badges were being shipped via UPS for arrival by this past Friday.  Woohoo!!!  I was dancing!

They arrived Friday as scheduled and then came the hard part: getting them aligned on the now naked tank so that they’d look right. By looking right, even though the Wide Glide uses what is essentially the same tank as the ’09 Fat Bob, I wasn’t thrilled with how they’d been mounted on the ’09 CVO’s.  So, the trick for me was figuring out how to put them on our tank in an orientation that: (a) I’d like,  (b) fit the contour of the emblem, and (c) could be replicated on the other side of the tank.

As for (a), I opted to go with a more level and lower installation than Harley used on the ’09 CVO Fat Bob. It seemed to fit the contour of the emblem and I just like symmetry.  Although, I did eventually go with a slight angle as dead-level just didn’t look right.  OK, right side done.  I wrongly assumed I could simply use a tape measure to come up with four different alignment points using features of the tank and center console as the point of reference to replicate placement on the left side of the tank.  Well, I did that and — low & behold — discovered the Harley tank and console aren’t quite symmetric.  So, I now had to put the bike into a front wheel chock to get it level and then eye-ball the placement left-to-right.  What a PIA that was….

However, at the end of the day I think all of the effort was well worth it.  Our FXDWG continues to become a “My Glide” that bears very little resemblance to it’s former self as a Wide Glide and I’m thinking the CVO emblems will look really nice and compliment the Performance Machine Domino wheels when they finally arrive.

Of course, to truly vanquish “Wide Glide” from the bike I’ll need to replace the battery cover band.  The blacked-out / wrinkle finished look worked for a while, but with the new tank badge and chrome wheels on their way I’ve decided to go with a glossy-black powder coated Willy G. battery band that should be here before next weekend.


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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One Response to New Tank Badging for the Harley…

  1. William says:

    Nice read. I like what you have done with the Wide Glide. I might go for the badgeless, silver-trimless look myself… I love the all black.

    I’m currently looking for a 2010-2011 Wide Glide and it seems I can get the best used price on the black with flames model (even though they are about $700 more new).

    I just like the all black the best…

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