Vance and Hines Dresser Duals heat shield…

One thing I’ve learned while wiping down a sled is to check for loose or damaged parts. This morning while down the rear header pipe I noticed the heat shield moved excessively. I could see that the clamps were tight and snug but the heat shield was able to move away from the exhaust pipe by an inch or so. After I removed the rear lower clamp I was able to remove the whole heat shield without touching the upper two clamps!

It turns out the the welds broke on both upper mounting brackets. I’m pissed that I had these pipes on for only a few months, I purchased them new May 5, 2013 and I only have 2600 miles on the bike!!

My mechanic is going to see if I can get a replacement heat shield quickly as this must be a defect on their end. I’ll update this post and let you know what happens.

EDIT: I took the broken heat shield and mounting brackets to my machinist who welded the pieces back in place. I took a can of high temperature spray paint and gave it a few coats. After a few hours drying the finish wasn’t too far off from the front headers heat shield. At least I’m able to take the sled for a ride without risk of further damaging anything else.

Vance & Hines sent me a replacement heat shield after a two week wait. I have to say that’s damn good service since they never requested I send back the original header heat shield back.

I’m not certain I want to install the new replacement heat shield yet. I have high confidence my machinist made the welds strong, maybe even more robust then the factory. For now, I’m going to keep the repaired shield on. If the paint becomes more noticeably different in time I may install the replacement.


Roadglide iPod controller review…

I’ve been looking at the different ways to control my iPod Nano while riding the sled. I have seen the different manufacturers offerings as well as the official MOCO hardware version. When I had my Roadking I used a wireless device that wasn’t infrared so it worked great whatever orientation it was mounted and didn’t require a certain angle. I had 16″ apes so the remote was mounted high near the clutch side hand controls.

The remote manufacturer is called Scosche and they make a variety of electronics for the consumer market. This particular model was meant to be mounted on the steering wheel which means the mounting hardware is ideal for a handlebar configuration. The controlFREQ allows me to place my iPod (any iDevice) into the Roadglide fairing pocket and be free of weather elements. If you don’t want your remote damaged during heavy rain you an pop it off the cradle and stick it in your pocket. It will operate from that location too.

In the future I plan on getting one of the interfaces that allows you to control a iDevice using the stock handlebar controls and the benefit of viewing song information on the head unit display but this is a cheap and clean way to get some functionality of the expensive interfaces.

If you have the newer thunderbolt connector you can probably use a 30 pin docking connector adapter to your newer iDevice. I haven’t tried it out since I’m using the older 30 pin connection.

Being able to remove the Scosche remote controller is nice, especially if you’re not within viewing distance of you sled like inside of a restaurant. I just pop mine off and stick it in my pocket. If you’re into playing music while parked you can control the head unit easily.



I’m into photography and like to take shots of the sleds now and then. I rarely bring along a DSLR with me when I ride but always have a Canon S100 that does a decent job and shoots raw format if I choose to do so. I took this photo on the way home from work.


HD Razor Tourpack…

One of the first parts I ordered for my FLTRX was a HD Razor Tour Pack. The main purpose of the TP was to provide a backrest for my wife when riding two-up. I used a removable backrest in the past for my FLHR Standard and that worked fine. I don’t plan on riding any long tours with this sled so my thought process was a little different.

This time around I wanted a different look and wanted a Tour Pack instead of just a backrest. I started looking at the different models available by HD and the third party vendors. After a week of looking around and checking out other Roadglide’s I decided on the Razor or Chopped Tour Pack by Harley Davidson.

I had given serious consideration for the third party tour packs and thought the look and function was comparable to HD. After reading reviews by owners that purchased the third party tour packs I decided I wanted the quality of HD and their color matched product. What we do with our sleds is a personal choice and I don’t really care what others do.  Call it what you want but I like to see the Harley Davidson logo on the top of my cover and knowing it is a genuine product. The fact that it has a big part in changing the look of my sled I know I didn’t try to cut corners. I gave it my best shot.

Once again it became a choice of looks rather then function as I didn’t require the additional capacity a Chopped Tour Pack offered but still had the convenience of a passenger back support. The choice was simple for me, I ordered the Razor model.


When you order the Razor TP from the dealership you can have it color matched painted. I’m sure this adds to the turnaround time but you will be certain the TP will match your sled. I went ahead and ordered the cover lock (matching key to bags), passenger backrest, TP mounting plate and the 4 point docking station. All these parts arrived in less than 2 weeks. The TP itself took about 5 weeks to arrive from the time it was ordered.


One note about pinstripes. I had the stock red pinstripe on my sled covered with gloss black. I will eventually have matching pinstripes on the TP. Nothing to flashy just enough to continue the subtle flow of the existing pinstripe theme.

I had spray painted the bracket that mounts to the four point docking system flat black. I wanted to see how well it would look with the rest of the sled. I planned on trying this with gloss black too. Well… after I did the installation I liked how the flat black came out and didn’t bother with gloss. I will have to take my tour pack setup apart later so I can have it powder coated.


In my opinion, the Razor TP is a great alternative to the passenger backrest. It has the comfort and safety benefit with the added bonus of being able to carry smaller items. I can carry my laptop briefcase, jacket and more for my daily commute. You won’t be able to store a full sized helmet like the larger versions. I thought I would be taking the TP off when my wife wasn’t riding with me. I ended up liking the look enough where I don’t even bother taking it off. I also installed the Brukus security devices on the TP and saddlebags to add one level of theft deterrent.

If you’re into long distance multi-day rides I would recommend getting the larger TP for the added capacity. The ideal situation would be to purchase a King TP for the long hauls and use the Razor for daily riding. When I travel on long road trips I use a whole different Tour Pack setup. It’s called the GL1800 system, aka… Goldwing.

Air cleaner cover…

I’ve been running the stock cover with the Screaming Eagle setup. For now, I went with a powder coated gloss black air cleaner cover that is a stock cover replacement. I’m digging the look so far. I’ll need to check out more air cleaner offerings before I commit to one.


I still have a ways to go in powder coating the engine part. I’ll be leaving a few chrome highlight pieces but for the most part they will be parted coated gloss or flat black.


Powder coat dash & gas cover…

I’ve been looking at the different custom dash pieces available and really don’t want to go that route unless I go with a stretched tank. So, for now I went with powder coating the center dash gloss black along with the gas cover.

Removing the dash is fairly simple. Pop off your seat and one bolt up in front of the tank. I went ahead and removed all the plastic pieces and rubber trim, seals etc. Keep in mind you’ll have to tack down some of them when you do the re-install.


Up until now, all the powder coating I’ve had done were by Dave England at After Hours Custom Cycles. I had this idea of going with another service that happens to be on my way to work everyday. I searched for reviews on this companies service and it there were a few negative comments. IMG_4173

The whole process took about 3 days, not bad. When I picked it up it looked fine with existing shop lighting. Once I got home for closer inspection I started to notice the “swirls” and general poor quality compared to the previous parts I had done by the other service. The key hole section was very jagged as if this area was used to handle or hang the part.

I re-assembled the dash and gas cover and went ahead and installed the parts to see how they looked. I’m digging the general look but now realized I should have had the gas cover door in a matte finish to add some contrast up front and match the inner fairing.


UPDATE: I ordered a matte black finished gas door from an e-bay seller and the contrasting pieces is what I was looking for. Also, I’m going take the poor quality powder coating as a bad experience and from now on will stay with one service. I didn’t realize that there are so many variations to “gloss black” and subtle options. From now on I’d rather stay with proven quality service  then taking chances out of convenience.


Sinister Wheels…

I gave some thought about the look and function I wanted for this sled. I decided on function for a couple years then after my two self imposed years was up I would make it completely unridable but look good 🙂

At the time of this writing there are a lot of fellas rolling around with 23-30″ front ends. I dig the look just as much as the next guy but will wait to see if it will become the next “chopper” craze. I don’t plan on entering any bike shows so my sled has to be rideable. I’ve ridden across the country so it has to be mechanically sound and dependable too. I plan on putting some miles on this sled and getting my moneys worth!

So back to wheels… I’ve had RC Components Czars, Ride Wright Fat Daddy’s spokes on my other sleds. I liked the convenience of cast wheels but really liked the look of spokes. After searching around I found a set of cast wheels that reminded me of spokes. The cool thing it was a company not too far from my spot, Sinister Wheels in Turlock, CA.

I made contact with Ali the owner and operator of Sinister Wheels. I have to give his company props in customer service and a quality product. I must have spent a couple of hours at his facility talking to him about wheels and motorcycles in general. You can tell he has passion for the industry and the quality in his product shows. In case your wondering, Sinister Wheels doesn’t even know I’m writing this blog so I have no vested interest in his company other than I’m a satisfied customer.

After checking out the various models I narrowed it down to the Black Series and the model I chose was the “Elite”. This wheel for whatever reason reminded me of spokes. Maybe it’s the design that allows you to “see through” the wheel even with a dual caliper setup. It has the clean non-bulky appearance I was looking for. The way the matching rotors are made it continues the point line down towards the hub.

I chose the 21″ model for the front and a 16″ for the rear. I went with the 16″ so I could get as much “slam” as I possible without going to an air ride. These wheels are built to order. The quoted time was 3-4 weeks turnaround. I got my set complete with rotors in about 10 days.



Update: After I dropped my lower you can barely see the rear wheel. Some may not like this since they are paying for a rim to be seen. If that’s the case you’ll probably want a 18″ wheel on the rear side. In my case I can’t see mismatching the front and rear rims, it doesn’t seem complete. That’s just me.


Your going to have to believe me when I say there is a 16″ Sinister Elite Wheel on the back of my sled, you can’t really see it. 1H4B0263

Progressive Suspension…

I did the normal internet research to see what other FLTRX owners were upgrading for their stock HD suspensions. After a week or so I decided on Progressive 412’s 11.5 heavy duty springs and the Progressive mono-tube -2″ drop kit. These are both direct replacements for the stock HD suspension. Note* the reason I went with the 412’s on the rear is I’m very familiar with its performance. I ran that particular model shock for years on a custom I built and I liked the way it rode.

If there is an upgrade that gives you the most “bang for your buck” this is it. The difference between stock is significant. Most guys riding the stock setup will mention “nose dive” or “bouncy”. This upgrade eliminates both and takes the sled to a new level of handling.

I’ve ridden at various speeds a few major cracks, railroads crossing, pot hoes etc. I have yet to bottom out. The front fender rear mounts were drilled out so the fender could be tilted forward, I had to do this with my FLHR when the 21″ spokes were installed too. As far as clearance, time will tell. I’m expecting to scrape on the sharp twisties as I do that on my Goldwing now, I can probably avoid scraping if I tame it down a bit.

Some FLTRX owners have wondered what a Progressive mono-tube -2″ drop will be  compared to a stock setup. My mechanic Dave England took a few “before and “after” photos so you can get a visual reference.


The photo below is of the stock HD suspension. IMG_4102

You can really see the difference between the two setup. Thanks for taking the time taking the photos Dave!IMG_4103


When I first bought the denim black FLTRX model I actually gave some thought in building my theme around the red pinstripe. I even thought about powder coating my rims red or slapping an after market rim that had some amount red already there.

After giving it some thought it dawned on me to keep my black on black theme. The idea is to go over the existing red pinstripe with a gloss black pinstripe. The will keep the color contrast consistent throughout the bike. A local pinstripe artist Bob Gomez has been in the business for many, many years. He’s done work on all types of cars, motorcycles, boats etc. He has also pinstriped two other sleds I had in the past. You can check out Bob’s website Sidelines.