Transforming Someone Else’s FLHRSE5 Into “Blue II”

Given that our last two motorcycle’s – the 2011 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide and Blue, our 2013 Harley-Davidson CVO Road King — were purchased new, there was never any question that these were “our motorcycles”. They came to us without any prior history or owner-induced changes from their pristine stock form.

fxdwg_stock 2013-Harley-Davidson-FLHRSE5-CVO-RoadKing3

Well OK, it’s probably a stretch to use the word ‘pristine’ to describe any new Harley-Davidson motorcycle as there are always things that were left off, installed wrong, slightly flawed or just cheap parts that will need to be replaced. So let’s just call them unsullied. The 2013 Harley-Davidson CVO Road King that we found and bought to replace ‘Blue’ was previously owned and had some owner-induced changes, some minor issues and was, well, sullied. In short, the bike just didn’t seem like ‘ours’ even after getting it home and doing a deep cleaning.

state_farm_insurancePart of the problem is being stuck in limbo since the fate of Blue remains undetermined. In fact, even at this late date we’re still not sure if State Farm is going to go along with GEICO’s plan to total instead of repair. There’s definitely been progress made in that regard in that my friends at GEICO said they’ve once again provided all of the data they collected to come up with their estimate to State Farm for the second time. GEICO also closed-out with the salvage company, which would suggest the bike was picked up and moved to State Farm’s contract salvage yard.

However, I was able to do a few things on Monday that went a long way towards making the replacement bike feel a lot more like ours than I expected. The catalyst was paying a final visit to Blue who was now sitting at the IAA salvage yard five miles from our house so I could swap-out a few more parts and recover my owner’s manual.

20151109_164900 20151109_164844

It was really sad to see Blue sitting there on “the pad” amongst the other damaged or impounded motorcycles: she was clearly the belle of the ball.  However, after getting over the visual I will say that it felt good to have my owner’s manual back since one didn’t come with the replacement bike; I’ll just replace the maintenance checklist & sign-off pages with new ones printed out from the on-line manual library at Harley’s website. The parts that I needed to swap were the ones that I discovered were a bit defective after buying the replacement bike; they included:

  • The fogged-up headlight with its funky concentric ring stains in the lens.
  • The leaky rear speakers that allowed the saddlebags to fill with water on the trip home.
  • The nice new heat shields that someone scratched up before they installed them on the replacement bike. No kidding, the shields with 17k miles on Blue were in better shape.


Just having those parts replaced was huge to me as they were parts I would no longer have to try and repair or pay to replace. And, more to the point, they were ever-present reminders that this was a different bike, one that was sullied by someone else.  However, after getting Blue’s good parts on the replacement bike I was riding a pretty good wave so I went ahead a did a few other no-cost things that maintained my temporary rush:

  • 20151111_193254While the exhaust slip-ons with the mismatched baffles were fully exposed and easy to access, I went ahead and removed them and then gutted the baffles so the slip-on shells would be ready for the new Fullsac cores.
  • I reprogrammed the bike’s security system with my own master code.
  • I also reprogrammed the speedometer / LCD / tach display so the icons and colors all matched the display on Blue.
  • I polished the bike keys to remove some surface rust and put fresh batteries in the FOBs.

Just making those part swaps coupled with those quick wins suddenly made the replacement bike seem a lot more like ours than it had been before. I suspect it was eliminating the things I perceived to be flaws or odd-looking that allowed it to finally seem to be more familiar.

To truly make it ours, as soon as I get confirmation that Blue will remain a total loss I’ll complete the ownership transfer process by:

  • having State Farm replace Blue I with Blue II on our insurance policy;
  • finding out what it’s going to take to get my license plate transferred to Blue II; and
  • nagging Crystal Motors for the Florida title so I can get the bike titled in Georgia.

I’ll also be in a position where I can start to spend a few dollars on the replacement bike by:

  • ordering and installing the Motolights;
  • ordering and installing a new Fullsac exhaust system and reprogramming the ECU;
  • taking Blue II over to Harley-Davidson of Atlanta so David can do the Dyno tune; and
  • dropping the saddle off at Marietta Auto Trim to be reworked.

There will also be a bunch of near-term changes I can finally make by installing the custom parts I’d pulled off of Blue that made her look distinctive; they include installing the:

  • Custom Dynamics LEDs + voltage equalizer & turn signal trim rings
  • ‘Live to Ride’ derby cover & blank points cover in conjunction with a complete fluid change
  • Screamin’ Eagle air cleaner cover & rain sock permanently installed under the cover
  • Color-matched blue mid-frame head deflectors
  • Color-matched four-point dock
  • Color-matched Paul Yaffe Stealth III lighted license plate frame
  • AP-1 auxiliary fuse box & other electrical accessories
  • Ohlins rear shocks

I remain cautiously optimistic that State Farm will finish their review of GEICO’s repair estimate and come up with a write-off value in the near term on a path towards totaling the bike. But, until that happens, I remain in limbo! I don’t like being in limbo.


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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