It only had 10,000 miles on the odometer when it arrived at our garage, and we think we know why. It’s completely stock! When purchasing a used motorcycle, especially a Harley, it is very rare that it doesn’t already sport any farkles. Let’s get to work.
The stock suspension and seat aren’t at all comfortable, thus making it less than ideal for long travels. In addition, the handling challenges caused by the flexing chassis isn’t confidence inspiring either. To solve all handling and suspension problems, we chose Progressive Suspension for new shocks and forks and the Touring Link as a chassis stabilizer. Mustang Seats provided a new driver seat and backrest combo that’s not only more comfortable, but with its diamond-stitching pattern, it also looks suitable for a king. The lockable SwitchBlade windshield from National Cycle adds functionality and style, as do Marlin’s clocks. To ensure a clean and smoothly running engine, we opted to install Dimple magnetic oil plugs.
1. Progressive Suspension Touring Link 30-2000: www.progressivesuspension.com
Notes: In order to get to the mounting points, the exhaust had to be dismounted almost completely. Although we could twist and turn the pipe slightly, it wasn’t enough to get the bolt out. The exhaust removal took a lot more time than the actual installation of the Touring Link, which was about 15 minutes. The instructions clearly advise on how to correctly mount the stabilizer.
What the rider says: “Without the Touring Link, the Road King experienced ‘the wobble’ while riding through curves. It isn’t very confidence inspiring when the motorcycle starts to twist and bend mid turn. On the first ride after the installation, it felt like a new motorcycle. No more wobbling (and praying) while riding through curves.”
Install Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
2. Progressive Suspension 944 Shocks and Monotube Fork Kit: www.progressivesuspension.com
Notes: The rear shocks are easily accessible once the side cases are removed. One bolt on the top and one on the bottom are the only mounting points, and the correct mix of sleeves and washers that are motorcycle specific ensure proper fit. The instructions are easy to follow and include steps to adjust the shocks. To gain access to the front forks, we had to disassemble almost the whole front. A Clymer manual helped immensely in this process. The fork cartridge unit took about an hour to install, and we needed an impact wrench for the lower damper cartridge, which is held in the fork tubes with an Allen/hex bolt. It is accessed at the bottom of the fork tubes. If you try to remove the bolt with a regular wrench, the damper assembly spins or is just a pain to remove. We used the air powered impact wrench to loosen them.
What the rider says: “The Progressive Suspension forks and shocks were relatively easy to install, and I think most people that enjoy wrenching on their motorcycle can successfully do this. After several test rides, we adjusted the suspension to my liking. Of course, it’s an improved ride over the stock setup, especially in combination with the Touring Link.”
Install Time: 10 minutes per side (shocks), 2 hours, 30 minutes (forks)
Cost: $759.95 (shocks), $339.95 (forks)
3. National Cycle SwitchBlade Chopped Clear Windshield N21439: www.nationalcycle.com
Notes: As we already had the headlight off in the front suspension process, the windshield installed more quickly. The SwitchBlade would take about 45 minutes to install if started from scratch.
What the rider says: “Although the Harley came with a removable windshield similar to the National Cycle one, it wasn’t lockable, and it was scratched up from incorrect cleaning methods. The SwitchBlade is made out of Lexan® polycarbonate with the Quantum™ coating that’s exclusive to National Cycle. The fact that these windshields won’t scratch or shatter adds a safety component as well.”
Install Time: 10 minutes
4. Mustang Seats Wide Tripper in Distressed Brown with Diamond Stitched Passenger Seat and Backrest, and Quarter-Turn Screw: www.mustangseats.com
Notes: We spent extra time fixing the white seat tab washers so they would not show underneath the new seat.
What the rider says: “At first I thought the seat would be too flashy, but now it’s my favorite part. The distressed brown works really well with the Road King’s color, and the diamond stitching adds a lot of style. The backrest makes longer rides a lot more enjoyable, although it also creates a barrier between my wife and me. For daylong rides, my passenger would need some form of backrest, too. The shape and firmness of the Wide Tripper seat is very different from the stock one, but a good different.”
Install Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $499.00 (rider), $179 (passenger), $8 (quarter turn screw)
5. Harley-Davidson Nostalgic Collection Heated Hand Grips: www.harley-davidson.com
Notes: Fishing the wire through the handlebar took a while and tested our patience, but using some lubricant in this step will help. The other time consuming step is routing the wire under the tank.
What the rider says: “Exposed hands are always quick to get cold. The heated hand grips basically look and feel the same. There’s a round multi-stage controller at the end of the left grip that’s well made and very inconspicuous.”
Install Time: 2 hours
6. Marlin’s Fork Lock Clock and Oil Pressure Gauge: www.marlinsclocks.com
Notes: The clock mounts over the fork lock. It hides the lock and at the same time gives function to an otherwise unused area. As we performed an oil change, we took the opportunity to install the oil pressure gauge.
Install Time: 5 minutes
Cost: $99.95 (clock), $38.95 (gauge)
7. Leader Motorcycle Accessories iPhone Mount: www.leadermotorcycle.com
Notes: As several mounting options exist, we took some time figuring out which parts we actually needed. We chose to mount it on the left handlebar control with the longer bolts.
What the rider says: “It’s great to have a dedicated place for my iPhone, so I don’t have to check the countless pockets in my jacket and pants. I can’t operate the touchscreen through the plastic window, but I can see the screen (although hardly in sunny conditions).”
Install Time: 10 minutes
8. Dimple SS ½ x 20 x ½ Super Magnetic Oil Plug: www.drainplugmagnets.com
Notes: As we had already performed an oil change, we took the opportunity to replace the stock oil plugs with Dimple ones. The magnets in these won’t loosen or vibrate out over time.
What the rider says: “I researched these oil plugs for a while, and although their website is difficult to navigate, it does offer a lot of information. With so few miles on my Road King, I haven’t had issues with the stock oil plugs, but to ensure a long engine life, I went ahead and installed the Dimple plugs. After all, this Harley will see a lot more ride time with these upgrades.”
Install Time: 30 minutes
*Retail costs exclude taxes and shipping.
Text and Photography by Florian Neuhauser