Doin’ Time

Tough­en­ing up our Africa Twin, torquing new ac­ces­sories onto our Road­ster

Motorcyclist - - Contents - —Brian Hatano

MOD­I­FI­CA­TION IS LAW for Har­leydavid­son own­ers. The Mo­tor Com­pany ex­pects us to mod­ify our bikes. H-D de­sign­ers even look for­ward to see­ing what we do with their bikes once we get a hold of them. Done right, those changes not only im­prove our bike’s per­for­mance, er­gos, and aes­thet­ics, but they also make us love our bikes a lit­tle bit more than we did be­fore.

My af­fair with the Road­ster started out luke­warm at best. I’m a cruiser guy and I re­ally was hop­ing to get a Forty-eight, but the folks in Mil­wau­kee were hot to put a new Road­ster in our fleet. I’m glad they did, as it pre­sented a chal­lenge: Could I make the new Road­ster as ap­peal­ing as that Forty-eight with­out grav­i­tat­ing to­ward cruiser styling?

My strategy was to stay sub­tle while taking ad­van­tage of the Har­ley P&A cat­a­log. In­clud­ing the Café Custom parts, I came up with a list of 13 boltons that were all easy to in­stall—no spe­cial tools or skills re­quired. Not all of them were hits. The Sport­ster Loud Horn kit, for ex­am­ple, re­ally didn’t add much vol­ume at all. In­stead, it raised the pitch of the sound—ex­actly what I didn’t want. The Club­man bars were good for looks but tor­ture on my wrists. I re­placed them with the H-D Drag bars, which look just as good and are much eas­ier on a longer ride. The Di­a­mond Black grips get a men­tion here as well. They’re me­tal. Grab them af­ter they sit out in the sun and you’ll un­der­stand.

But there are fan­tas­tic Sport­ster bolt-ons as well. The H-D Bar-end Mir­rors go per­fectly with the drag bar and im­prove rear vis­i­bil­ity. Rear Set Foot Con­trols brought my legs back into a more com­fort­able po­si­tion and were com­ple­mented by the Screamin’ Ea­gle Heavy Breather Air Fil­ter. That mod not only freed up some power but also elim­i­nated the stock air cleaner hous­ing that my knee kept bump­ing into. An­other fa­vorite was the black Derby cover, a per­fect match for the wrin­kle-black fin­ish of the en­gine. It was an easy swap and only cost 40 bucks. It looks so good it should have come with the Road­ster in­stead of the chrome cover.

WRIST Brian Hatano MSRP (2017) $11,299 MILES 6,068 MPG 47 MODS H-D Bolt-ons UP­DATE 5

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