While the Fullsac exhaust system and ECU reprogramming helped stem a little bit of the inherent Harley-Davidson 110″ engine heat issue that our Road King dutifully exhibits, there were still moments when heat coming off the rear cylinder, primary case and to a lesser extent the exhaust system would make it uncomfortable for me and/or Debbie.
More specifically, the problem has been high heat transfer to my inner and lower thighs (aka, fried thighs) and Debbie’s feet and calves when stopped in traffic or at traffic lights and even just riding along. It’s a known issue that existed in the 88 cubic inch motors and that was exacerbated when they increased the engine displacement to 96 cubic inches. The 103 cubic inch motors ran even hotter and the 110 cubic inch “Screaming Eagle” high output engines are the worst offenders. For 2014 H-D even introduced a water-cooled exhaust manifold for it’s largest touring bikes as an interim way to deal with the heat issue, as I’ve got to think they’ll eventually need to go to a fully water-cooled engine in the next few years if they want to stay competitive in the touring bike market.
Anyway, like a lot of folks with touring bikes I just added a set of mid-frame heat deflectors to our Road King that are designed to both shield the riders thighs and legs from radiant heat as well as capturing and moving air flow to draft direct heat from the back-half of the engine down and away from the riders. They don’t look all that great, but this is definitely a function over form modification, not bling. Installation was actually very easy; I was quite surprised and wonder why they weren’t added as original equipment on the CVO bikes with the 110″ motors; Lord knows they need it.
I’m thinking about having them painted the same Crushed Sapphire color as the bike; although, the ideal finish would match the Cold Fusion graphics. Not sure if that’s possible. Chrome would even look better than the flat black. But, at this point, I’ll just be thrilled if they help with heat management.
The second thing I did to see if it might help with heat management / rider & engine cooling was to remove the movable vents on the lower front fairings. They’re only held in place by a nyloc nut and plastic locating pin and can be popped off in about a minute. At first the openings looked a bit massive vs. the 1/2 closed-off openings with the fairings in place. However, when you consider that your typical Road King doesn’t even have lower front fairings, it’s not a huge change just going to the larger openings.
Photo at left w/the vent doors installed; photo at right with doors removed.
The pay-off for these two changes was a much more comfortable 50 mile ride this afternoon, with several stops in traffic. The heat deflectors are definitely doing what they’re supposed to be doing. As for removing the vent doors, it sure seemed like there was a lot more air moving around the engine and our legs. So, I’ll probably leave it this way until we do the Panama City Beach trip in early October and then put the vent doors back on for the winter.