Not a Lot of Room Under the Seat (aka “Upgrading your Bike”)

Fiddling with your ride.  One of the simple joys of owning a motorcycle for those that are (at least slightly) handy.  It seems that anytime I have 10 minutes to spare from work, family, etc. that I find myself Googling phrases like “cool motorcycle gadgets”.

First off, bear in mind that while your bike alone might cost $10,000, you’re probably going to spend another $2,000-3,000 or more if you have the discretionary funds and the inclination to do so.

In my previous post, I indicated that we visit Harley-Davidson stores for the poker chips.  Really, the HD locations are just….waypoints.  And excuse to go “thataway”, really, and just give us a reason to visit a new area.  (We collect magnets from our “regular” travels, in the US and abroad.)  When we get to the stores, though, we don’t go right up to the counter and pick out a poker chip (by color, hoping it’s not the same as the last three we bought, just to keep it random), but instead we tend to head to the “sales” rack in the clothing section.  Now, as a Harley fan, I put sales in “quotes” for a reason.  Everything “Harley” costs more than it would if it weren’t HD branded.  A simple t-shirt, on the “sales” rack, can run $15-25.  Just an FYI there for you.

But back to the meat of this post’s intention about bike upgrades.  If I’m not out riding, I just want to add crap to my bike.

  • I’m on my third cell phone mount.  I seem to have settled on the QuadLock Motorcycle Mount and Case.  My prior versions were a hassle to put the phone on and take it off, and I found myself not wanting to remove it for photo opportunities.  It’s $80, but it has been worth it for the ease of mount/unmount and positioning and security while riding.  (Note: The case itself is a bit slippery.  I plan to attempt to modify my nice, grippy OtterBox with their free mount “sticker”, but in a stronger fashion than they intend for you to use it!)
    QuadLock-MotorcycleMount
  • I’m on my fourth USB power outlet and still not happy with it.
  • I added a small terminal block ($7) to do cleaner wiring.  Also spade clips, extra wire in red, black, green (they didn’t have white for ground), speaker wire (nice insulation, good thick gauge), heat shrink, new wire cutters, etc.
  • I’ve added a motorcycle armrest to the sissy bar to give the wife more stability. (The linked product is quite sturdy and very quality.)  This is an image from their site, not the one from my bike:
    MotorcycleArmRest
  • The first thing I added was a front and rear camera system.  The Innovv K1 system and I do recommend it.  (When you get in an accident, if it’s not your fault you’ll be able to prove it!)

    I provided more details and pictures of the specific install on this HDForums thread:  https://www.hdforums.com/forum/off-topic/1219530-dash-cams-3.html#post17128351

  • I added a Captain Itch “Crotch Cooler”, and I tell everyone that it was the best money I’ve spent on upgrades yet!  Here’s some sample images (from their site), but there are many combinations beyond what I can show here!
  • I added an HD detachable hardware kit for the sissybar/armrest/luggage rack.  The link there is for the hardware alone.  Then I had to get the detachable sideplates and replaced those latches with the locking version. More $$$.  But I look a lot cooler when I ride to work…. 15 minutes each way.  Ha.
  • We spent $900 on our helmets and two Sena 10S Bluetooth rigs for our helmets.  Fortunately, my Samsung S8 (with Bluetooth v5) can play music to TWO separate rigs.  I’ve also since bought another helmet, a half helmet for in-town / commute scooting.
  • Definitely wasn’t happy with the volume on the speakers.  Found a YouTube video on how to upgrade them.  (Very good video!) Had to buy the recommended headphones, $15/each.  So that’s 2 of those for $30.  Oh, wait…I messed up one of the four speakers so I had to buy another kit.  Oh, and a soldering iron…oh, and a good roll of solder/flux combo.  I consider it a 10-15% upgrade, but definitely better than the Sena stock speakers.
  • $8 from Amazon for a pack of clear, smoke and yellow goggles for various riding types.
  • Luggage.  We are taking a lot of trips.  It’s now the end of August, 2017 — and we have over 6,000 miles on the bike!  Early on we knew we needed some decent luggage.  This is not the HD branded, which I’m sure is better, but this is an aftermarket product I suspect will hold up for another year, maybe.  We liked that the studded look matches the 2016 Softail Heritage Classic we use it on.  I discuss more about luggage selection in another post:  Choosing (and Modifying) Luggage for your Bike.  (Note:  Since this writing, we have since upgraded to the HD Bag.  The clips on this Oxide bag just got to be too much damn hassle.
    OxideBikeLuggage
  • And I needed a tool bag, too!  (Also aftermarket, obviously.)
    OxideToolRoll
  • On our third set of passenger pegs.  Started with the stock pegs, I immediately replaced with some cheap floorboards.  The wife said they were uncomfortable after a bit of riding.  To give her more options, I replaced those with Kurakyn double adjustable pegs. After some riding on those, the wife indicated that they didn’t make sense, and she’s right.  When sitting on a bike, especially as a passenger, your feet do not turn in, they will most certainly turn out.  But the front/top peg doesn’t stick out as much as the back/bottom peg!  So, I bought two components for extending them, a Kuryakyn extension kit ending in a Clevis connector, and the actual Clevis connector (female) to mount to the flat parts of those, thus making the front/top peg stick out further.  I had to drill the original part just a tiny bit to get them to fit, as the hole was a touch too small for the bolts.  I had actually cancelled that order, and it was too late as it had already drop shipped to get a “better” part, a single-piece extension.  Just FYI, Rivco cone-shaped peg extensions are not compatible with Kurakyn.  Must be just a 5mm difference.  Fortunately, my attempt at canceling my first order was unsuccessful!
  • Last night I installed my LED’s.  If you’re a purist about the bike, meh, whatever.  I wanted them for events like bike nights, rallies, greater visibility at night (only white or amber on the road, per Texas law).  And I got to tinker to put them on.  I can definitely recommend the system from LEDGlow.  Really simple to work with!  (Do what I did, though, and buy a kit with more lights than you think you need.  It’ll be cheaper now and you’ll have replacements if you need them, or just more to add when you get around to it!)  You can get out cheaper than I did.  A 6-piece, with no 3m or wiring extensions is just $159.  I like options, so I over-bought.
    LEDGlowPurchase
  • Also, the stock 2016 FLSTC has “passing lamps”, which are bright lights next to the headlight.  I tend to keep these on all the time while driving for better visibility (for others to see me).  The switch for these, however, drove me crazy.  Down behind the windshield, on a simple toggle switch.  Knowing that I disliked this, and needed a good switch for the LED’s, I added this switch housing from HD (in black, though) and three switches.  Two are in use now, with a third to spare.  The image is chrome flavor, but the important thing is that it looks like it belongs.  I spent a lot of time trying to find a good alternative that didn’t involve buying this, but there just isn’t a lot of handlebar room to spare on a cruise.  Most switch additions really are more suited to a bike with a faring.
  • Also adding the BAL-1 from BrightAssLights.com to increase visibility.  Came very highly recommended in the Harley-Davidson Forums
  • I could go on and on with battery tenders, leather vests, mesh jackets, leg chaps, cooling vests (highly recommended for hot weather!), spare parts, screws, wiring harnesses, you name it.  I think my point should be well taken by now.

So much of what I’ve done is electrical, and the title of this article refers to how much room there is to put wires and connector boards under the seat.   I didn’t get into that much, or show any pictures, but I like the title.  So I’m keeping it!

The moral of the post is:  if you buy a bike and you like to customize, be ready to drop some money!

Remember kids:

Shirt-StockSucks

Stock Sucks!

One thought on “Not a Lot of Room Under the Seat (aka “Upgrading your Bike”)

  1. Pingback: Choosing (and Modifying) Luggage for your Bike | Two Wheels. One Bike.

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