An­other café for the road

Motorcyclist - - Garage - —Brian Hatano

buy­ing a new har­ley-davidson with the in­tent of keep­ing it stock is rare. I don’t ex­pect Road­ster own­ers are any dif­fer­ent, but in­stead of the usual cruiser treat­ment most Sport­sters get, up­grades made to this model will more likely re­flect its sportier char­ac­ter.

The Road­ster’s lower han­dle­bars add an ag­gres­sive look, but the mid­lo­ca­tion of the foot con­trols feels like a com­pro­mise, both in looks and in com­fort. I sus­pect the abil­ity to ac­com­mo­date a pas­sen­ger has some­thing to do with this setup. H-D’S Rear Set Foot Con­trols (h-d.com; $700) re­lo­cate the rider pegs to the pas­sen­ger-peg lo­ca­tion for a more nat­u­ral rid­ing posture with low bars.

To test whether or not I’d be okay with this mod­i­fi­ca­tion, I hopped on the bike, kicked down the rear pegs, and went for a ride. For the next few days, I did this front-to-rear-foot­peg shuf­fle and ac­tu­ally found the rear­ward po­si­tion more com­fort­able. The only trade-off is the loss of pas­sen­ger pegs, which, for me, re­ally isn’t a deal­breaker since I’m also in­stalling a solo seat and a café tail­sec­tion.

The rearset kit can be or­dered sep­a­rately, but I bun­dled it with two other pieces from Har­ley’s Café Cus­tom Ac­ces­sories pack­age, the Café Cus­tom Tail Sec­tion (un­painted, $550; Vivid Black, $700) and the Sport­ster Club­man Han­dlebar ($200). No cut­ting or drilling is re­quired, but sev­eral parts get shelved so you’ll want to save them if you plan to de-café the Road­ster at some point in the fu­ture.

In­stal­la­tion of the rearsets re­quires re­moval of the ex­haust sys­tem. I ad­vise re­serv­ing a week­end for the in­stal­la­tion in a spot where, if nec­es­sary, you can leave the bike overnight. In­struc­tions rec­om­mend hav­ing a fac­tory ser­vice man­ual on hand. I man­aged with­out, but if you are un­fa­mil­iar with Sport­ster anatomy, a man­ual is a good in­vest­ment.

The han­dlebar swap took less than an hour, while the Café Tail took about two and re­quired re­moval of the stock seat and rear fen­der. The H-D rearsets were a bit more chal­leng­ing for me, as I had some dif­fi­culty get­ting the pegs to slip into the kit’s brack­ets. I ac­tu­ally had to force them in place with a pair of pli­ers, some­thing I don’t ex­pect to do with parts that come from the fac­tory.

Aside from that hitch, the rest of the parts fit nicely. Next, I’ll or­der paint from Color­rite to match the new tail­piece to the gas tank. That’s to­mor­row though. To­day, I ride!

wrist Brian Hatano (2017) $11,299 miles 2,602 mpg 47 Har­ley-davidson Café Cus­tom Ac­ces­sories up­date 2 msrp

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