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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I thought it might be fun to document the changes I'll be making to my new-ish Road Glide.

The story and the background:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - I had a 1988 Ninja 600. I lived in California (Orange County) and road like you would expect a 19 year old to ride. A friend crashed the bike, it was uninsured and I didn't replace it until much later in life.

In 2019, I bought a Triumph Scrambler 1200XE - and rode that for about 2k miles (mostly around Big Bend National Park - trailered there). I decided I didn't like dirt riding at all and the 9'' of suspension travel was no bueno on road. I traded that bike for a 2020 Triumph Speed Twin - which I still have.

In September of 2020, I flew to South Dakota and rented a 2020 Street Glide. I spent 4.5 days riding the Black Hills and surrounding area - I'll be going back. What a fantastic place (in the summer)

I returned from the trip fairly soured on HD and spent the better part of a year investigating bikes and test riding nearly everything available. I wanted a bike I could ride in all 63 of the U.S. National Parks. I will spare you the long story - but....the short story brings us to my purchase and how I wound up with a RG after being soured initially.

The short version of why I wound up with my RG is "soul". The other contenders didn't really have it and despite being "better" on paper in some ways - they just didn't excite. The top contenders were: Indian Challenger, Honda Goldwing and BMW K1600B.

I decided to embrace that which frustrated me about Harley (seat, motor, handlebars,
suspension, tech) and make the customization an enjoyable part of the process. No product anywhere has more customization options - it's an impressive environment for people who like to tweak and personalize their bikes.

By day, I'm in corporate finance. I usually buy new vs. used. New Harley's come with about 3.5k of "mark up" that created no value to me....so - I went on the hunt for a used model. That brought up problem #2. Did I go w/ a Special or base model?

I really struggled with black vs. chrome thing and ultimately landed on chrome (sort of). So, with that decision out of the way, I was now open to both base and Special models....with the specials carrying an 8k premium (or so) to base models, even in the used market.

I was initially looking for vivid black, but found a 2021 in Gaunlet Grey that had only 900 miles on it. Here is how she looked at the dealer:

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Motor vehicle


I really didn't want a 107, it's what I rented in South Dakota and found it hard to ride above 80mph. Turns out, that was primarily an issue with the rented bike. I thought there was a problem with the engine....but, this bike ran really well and had no trouble geting to 80mph.

I typically get buyers remorse for any large purchase....the advantage of riding literally everything out there is I have no regrets with this purchase and I'm really pleased to be a part of the club. Thanks for your warm welcome here.

Now what?

Well, I knew I wanted to customize (a lot?). I'm now battling supply chain issues and parts availability.....as I'm some of you are.

The first thing I did was pretty minor - changed out the long whip antenna for a shorty. I ordred a "CravenSpeed" from Amazon and took delivery of my first new part, albeit a lame "mod".

Hood Automotive lighting Automotive design Automotive tire Automotive exterior



I knew I needed a different windscreen, but smart money would have me changing the seat first....Saddlemen was 5 weeks out so I took a chance and ordered the Memphis Shade 8.5.


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I spent a lot of time on youtube trying to find comparisons....here is a shot of the stock windscreen over the Memphis Shades 8.5''.

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Two Thumbs up to Memphis Shades - a much higher quality product than stock and quick, response delivery.

I did order the Saddlemen step-up seat. They quoted a 5 week delivery....they exceeded that estimate by a good margin! While waiting, I ordered the quick connect hardware from HogWorkz and the 12'' backrest.

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And...the most recent mod, my new Saddlemen seat:

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As expected, it's rock hard at the moment....but, I really like the looks. The contrast stitching is the "dark grey" options from Saddlemen - I think it works pretty well with HD Gaunlet Grey.

What's next?

Well, my vision is sort of a black and chrome accessory combo - I hope I don't end up with "goofy".

I've ordered the KST Spearhead bars in high gloss black, 12''. I expect them to arrive in a few days. I've also ordered a set of Harley heated grips, those may take a bit longer and I won't install the bars until the grips are here and ready to go.

I am CONSIDERING adding an amp and upgrading the fairing speakers at the same time as I will need to take off the tank for battery access for the grips. If you have any experience on batching these things together, I'd love to hear it.

And, lastly - I am doing a 124 cubic in build with new clutch basket and dyno tune. I've paid for the parts (through a local builder) and we are waiting on them to arrive.

If you've hung in this far - thanks for taking the time to read. As I look back, this really isn't that interesting.

One final comment on the base vs. special. I mentioned the 8k premium above, for that premium....you get the following big ticket upgrades from Harley:

- 6.5 speakers instead of 5.25 (same 25w Boom output though)
- vivid black fairing
- 114 engine
- black accessories if you want them - but, that is nearly 1k more

Fortunately, the premium was in my budget. I'm grateful. BUT, instead of giving that to harley - I'm using that premium on the engine build. Time will tell if my direction is wise.

Thanks for your time, I'll post more as I do more.
 

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Congrats on the new purchase. As for mods, you will hear everything under the sun. Lots of ways to go, to me its comfort first. You have the seat so whats next?? Looks like you have bars ordered.

I recently upgraded my shocks to Ohlins, and it was an immediate improvement that I feel every time I ride the bike. Big investment that isnt "Cool looking" but your back will thank you

As for audio, comes down to a couple things. What you want and budget. Audio is like engine work, its great when you first get it, then you want more. At least thats how I am. With audio take your time, research, and plan for adding on in the future. If you dont add on, no problem. If you do add on, you have the option to without scrapping what you have already paid for. The audio unicorn has never been caught! Here and the other forum are great for audio questions, answers and guidance.
Enjoy the process, to me its half the fun.
 

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2008 FLTRU 105th Anniversary w/ 110"
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Great write-up on how you came about your decisions and I agree 100% with the direction you are taking; researching what others have done, going about the mods in a pragmatic order, and getting right on the things that make the biggest impact for comfort and enjoyment. Bravo, sir. Now get out and ride. ;)
 

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i really like that gauntlet gray better than the gunship grey. a little darker, maybe metal flake, don't know why.

don't forget to upgrade the lights! custom dynamics (and even Harley) make some upgrade worthy led turn signals for visibility.
 

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Nice bike, enjoy the process of upgrading. I'd like to eventually go to a 124 or something one day on my 107 when money permits.

Also agree with a suspension upgrade, definitely worth the money.

I'm not 100% sure on the 21 but I know most of the newer bikes have the accessory wiring plug already there under the gauge cluster for adding heated grips so you shouldn't have to worry about running any wires from the battery.
 

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‘22 Road Glide Special
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181 Posts
Congrats! The bike looks great. I actually prefer the chrome over black since just about every bike now seems to be blacked out. (I say that, but still ended up with a black on black bike 😏) I was in the same boat, I wanted the standard and was gonna throw that extra cash at a big bore kit and upgrades. I ended up getting a great deal on the special so I went with it. But your plan is definitely the smart move and will you will have more performance for less money when all is said and done. Nice job. I’m looking forward to seeing how your bike comes together 🍻
 

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Nicely done...congrats, bike looks great!

I put an 8.5" Memphis Shades on my '19 RGS too. Night and day from the stock shield. Been meaning to ditch the antenna...gonna look into your link. Notice any difference in how it affects signal or is it unchanged?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@sturge that black is gorgeous.

RE: antenna - no difference in reception at all....but, I will say I haven't yet tested at the fringes of reception (riding out of town, etc.)

I have a similar antenna on my F150 (and, removed the metal whip there too) I have driven that all over the place and don't notice any meaningful difference in reception.

Craven Speed antenna I bought
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm almost embarrassed to add these next two mods as they again fall into the most "basic" of modifications.
Fortunately, two more parts arrived just yesterday - so, I can get into some of the meatier stuff soon:

I pulled off the front fork reflector. This is the pinnacle of basic. Noteworthy only in the comparison to the same exercise on my Triumph which wasn't "clean" and required many, many passes of Goo Gone.

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I used the same process for both bikes (You can see the Triumph in the background). Heated the reflector and general area with a heat gun, then used fishing line pulled down between the fork and the reflector.

I don't know if this mod is advised - I'm sure it is a safety reduction....but, the amber just doesn't look great in my opinion.

Keeping with the "eliminate amber" theme - I did another quick mod with the front turn signals. I ordered Custom Dynamics Pro Beam LED lights, with smoked lenses. These replace the stock amber lens and traditional bulb with LEDs that are BOTH very bright running lights and amber turn signals.

Here is the stock look:

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And, the updated look with smoked lenses.

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The whole process took about 10 minutes to install, (most of that time was ensuring the dielectric grease was out of the bulb housing) and then 3 mins to cycle the hazzards to allow the can-bus system to update.

I'm pleased with the result. The front of the bike is MUCH brighter and, I have to assume I've gained back at least a small amount of safety lost to the eliminated reflector.

Parts of the next project are here!

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I'll be installing KST 12'' Spearhead bars (gloss black) along with upgrading to heated grips. My grip of choice was the Harley Davidson Empire collection - selected primarily for ease of install and completely internal wiring. Oddly, some of harley's grips do not have complete internal wiring - they run a power cord outside, along the clutch line (at least that's where most people seem to install them)

The grips required an additional wiring harness. I also have that.

I am slightly anxious about this install as I've never done this before.....and for as much good as you tube is - there is also a lot of trash out there. If anyone has any experience with the handlebar/heated grip install - please share any wisdom.

I've also been able to complete a bit more research on a few more parts that will be ordered this week.

Rear Shocks: I'm fairly settled on the 13'' pro action shock, which will give me 3.5'' of shock travel vs. the 2'' I have today along with the appropriately sized springs for my weight. I spoke to Pro Action this week and they said they need about a week to complete (largely due to Daytona bike week). My early experience with the company is solid - They had a lot of time for some schmuck (me!) cold calling them.

Audio: Talk about your proverbial "can of worms". I'm slightly concerned that doing my first upgrade will be akin to a drug dealer's "freebie samples". I suspect I'll be hooked once I hear how much better the audio can sound. I'm also grateful my income has increased as my hearing is going so I can afford stronger and stronger amps! A big thank you to members of this forum who've answered a ton of questions in other threads. This place has been fantastic. I wish I bought my Road Glide 20 years ago.

For those wondering (and, I'm in that group) - Still no word from my engine builder on parts. I can't wait to get that call.
 

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2020 Eagle Eye RGS
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Nice Bike! The KST bars are modular so they are a piece of cake to install and adjust multiple ways so you'll find the position that works for you very easily. I will say that were a lot wider that I anticipated and I had to make a few adjustments so they didn't hit the windshield at full lock. But, 1 year later and they are working and holding up great.

Good luck on your project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I failed miserably at installing the KST 12'' spearhead bars. I whined all about in another thread....thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

The bike is back together with original bars - (though - no pins and adjusted "up" as much as possible)

These arrived today and VERY excited to get them on. The folks at Pro-Action were super cool to work with.

These are 13'' 130lbs springs. So a full inch taller than the stock shocks, but given a proper sag adjustment (which is impossible with the stock units) I should sit about 1/2 inch higher or so. When I spoke to Pro-Action, they said these have 3.5'' of travel - so, another 1.5'' over stock.

I rode for about 90 mins yesterday - I don't think I'm heavy enough on my own to compress the stock units at all. Very rough. I'll post some pics of the install....hopefully, so simple even I can't mess it up.

Product Audio equipment Gas Coil spring Office supplies
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Happy Friday everyone - I hope you have nice weather and can ride this weekend!

The Pro-Action shocks went on pretty smoothly. I did end up having to reverse the installation order (I went bottom to top) as I needed to compress the shock. My swing arm didn't drop as much as I expected.

Anyway - here's a shot of them installed along with a comparison in length to the stock units:

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and, the comparison to stock.

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While the bags were off, I also removed the seat strap brackets....though, that hardley counts as a "mod".

I've been told the parts are in for my 124 build - which includes slip ons and headers....so, REALLY looking forward to getting that scheduled and done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, the good news is I got some riding time in this weekend and the new shocks feel GREAT. I still need to do some fine tuning - but, they are so much better than the stock version.

The bad news is I've damaged them already trying to put on my quick release backrest. The bottom part of the backrest hoop scrapes the top of the shock, creating this:

Automotive design Kitchen appliance Audio equipment Gas Small appliance


I'm certain the shock functionality isn't impacted...but, it sucks to drop 1k on the shocks and then have a problem like this.

I'm not certain what I will do. I need the backrest in place for my travel setup/bag. I might be able to grind down the backrest a little - then deal with the messed up finish.

Would love any suggestions.

Also completed another easy mod - but, really like the visual difference. Spent the $15 bucks on smoked bag relectors from hogworkz.....took off the red.

Automotive parking light Automotive lighting Automotive tire Hood Grille
 

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Awesome write up. Congrats. If that seat is like the Saddleman I had. It will never get softer. After 6k miles I gave up on it ever being comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Big day yesterday! An excited journey to GMR Performance of Forth Worth to pick up my 21 RG. The pictures don't show much, but - I had a 124 build done on my stock 107 - here is what was included:

- 11.1 compression 124 kit
- TTS 175 Camshaft
- TTS tuner, dyno tune
- New lifters
- Upgraded Fuel Injector
- 64mm throttle body
- Arlen Ness 360 air cleaner
- New, stronger valve springs
- New, stronger clutch springs
- Barnet Billet Clutch Basket
- S&S Grand National slip ons (de-cat)

The end result was 133hp/145ftlbs. The bigger deal is that the torque curve is more like a "table" (i.e. flat) - it develops 140ft/lbs at 2500 RPM and essentially holds that through the rev range.

I rode around for about 100 miles yesterday with a big, big grin on my face. The bike is well balanced. The S&S pipes are quiet-ish when cruising, but have a really nice bark when you get on the throttle. Throttle response is "instant" and it pulls until you let off. A completely different bike.

Tire Fuel tank Automotive fuel system Hood Wheel


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It feels good to the the performance parts "sorted". There are a few things I still want to do - but, first up will need to be some extended (both longer and further out) footboards. This new air cleaner sticks out much, much farther.

One interesting point of note: I asked about heat and how much 'worse' it would be. The answer is/was "not much". I think I may feel less on the right side with the elimination of the cat - but, with the tune optimizing the engine performance shouldn't be much different.

I sure hope that's the case.

Pretty cool to just be able to roll on the throttle to pass / accelerate. It was an investment, but I'm pretty happy!

thanks for letting me brag a bit.

If anyone has suggestions on footboards - I'd love to get them. As noted above, I raised the bike 1'' (ish) by going from a 12'' shock to a 13'' shock - I'd like to get just a bit more clearance with the footboards.
 

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nice set up. fantastic torque curve. looks like a lot of fun.

what did you end up doing with the shock? i had the same situation with my ohlins that i installed on my cvo with the solo tourpack setup. i never did get it sorted, and i totaled the bike before i really had a chance to look into it. this go around i went with legends for that very reason, they have a nice, flat top on the shock with no chance of the mount interfering.
 
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