Show your patriotic spirit! American flags with motorcycle mounts in stock

Nothing feels better than flying our beautiful American flag on your motorcycle. (There are also POW/MIA, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, 2nd Amendment, Thin Blue Line and many other flags available.)

We stock 10×15″ flags with stainless steel mounts for round or square bars like luggage racks and sissy bars, as well as mounts for license plates.

These sturdy, made-in-USA flags from Pro-Pad are okay to use at highway speeds as well as parades.
Get ’em now, they’re going fast!

american flag square mount

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XK Chrome App-controlled LED Accent Light Kit

This is one of the most exciting Accent Lighting kits we have ever seen. Turns on or off with a simple switch, but you can choose from millions of colors and themes, and change them right from your smart phone. Here are some of the incredible features included in the XK Chrome kits…
1. Sixteen million different colors to choose from.
2 Dual lighting zones; run two different colors at the same time. The colors can be steady, “breathing” or strobing, at any speed you like.
3 See a color you like? Take a picture of it, and the XK Chrome will incorporate it into your lighting.
4 Dozens of pre-programmed holiday themes already available; designing and saving your own personal themes is easy.
5 Hit the brakes and ALL the XK Chrome lights turn red. Your whole motorcycle becomes a brake light!
6 Load you favorite songs into the XK Chrome play list, choose the colors you like, and watch the lights dance to your favorite music
7 Forgot where you parked? Find your bike with the built-in GPS

And the best part? Most bikes can be thoroughly lit up for under $400, including labor.
Watch the video below!

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International Motorcycle Show 2016

The Progressive IM Shows are the best places to immerse yourself in all things motorcycle. As always, we attended the 2016 New York City show on Friday, December 9th–opening day. It’s wonderful…the rest of that teeming city is slaving away, but a few lucky (and smart) two-wheel enthusiasts play hooky and spend the afternoon and evening wandering the almost-empty aisles, swinging a leg over any exotic machine that strikes their fancy, chatting with industry experts and manufacturer’s reps (sometimes not-so-expert!) who are actually happy to have someone to talk to. No long lines, no mobs blocking your view. You can even see some of the stunt show! It’s truly motorcycle heaven…especially since it’s winter. So we took a few photos of the fun to share with you.

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Milwaukee Eight Motor FACTS

Facts about the new Harley motor

Facts about the new Harley motor

Some juicy facts about the 2017 Milwaukee Eight motor, gleaned from an actual parts microfiche…
Our earlier speculation was incorrect; the Milwaukee Eight DOES have 4 valves per cylinder, opened by two pushrod-activated rockers arms (each one has one “finger” per valve) and closed by conventional valve springs. There are two spark plugs per cylinder, over flat-topped pistons. The heads are water cooled. There’s a single chain-driven cam with four lobes (now that seems like a step backwards,but it’s probably cheaper to produce than the 2-cam setup) and a Twin-Cam-like oil pump & camshaft support plate. Even the touring models now use a balance shaft to quell vibrations, though the motor is rubber mounted in the frame.

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Harley’s New Engine: The “Milwaukee Eight 107”

Milwaukee Eight Harley Davidson will unveil a brand new massive 1753cc V-twin engine next month.

According to the EPA’s data, Harley-Davidson will introduce a new 1746cc (107ci) engine with a larger 1868cc (114ci) engine for CVO models. The new engine will be used on the: CVO Street Glide, CVO Ultra Limited, Electra Glide Ultra Limited Low, Road Glide Ultra, Ultra Limited, Ultra Limited Shrine Edition and the Tri Glide Ultra and Free Wheeler trikes.

The EPA data has the 1746cc engine producing 92.5 hp at 5000 rpm, compared to the previous 1688cc Twin Cam’s EPA-rated 80.5 hp at 4000 rpm. Meanwhile the CVO models’ 1868cc engine is EPA-rated at 100.6 hp at 5000 rpm, a significant increase over the current 1802cc engine’s 87.2 hp at 4000 rpm.

Milwaukee Eight 1Early speculation about the “Milwaukee Eight” name assumed the number refers to the number of valves (as in four per cylinder). The EPA data however rubbishes this theory, confirming that the new engines will continue to use two valves per cylinder.

Assuming the EPA data is correct, we have a different theory for the name. Tracing Harley-Davidson’s big twin engine history back to the 1914 F-Head, the Milwaukee Eight will be the eighth in the succession:

  1. F-Head (1914-1929)
  2. Flathead (1930-1948)
  3. Knucklehead (1936-1947)
  4. Panhead (1948-1965)
  5. Shovelhead (1966-1984)
  6. Evolution (1984-1999)
  7. Twin Cam (1999-2016)
  8. Milwaukee Eight (2017 onwards)

Harley-Davidson typically reveals its model updates in late August so we expect to hear official announcement in the next few weeks.

The Milwaukee Eight 107 name was actually first trademarked by Harley back in 2014, and promises to be the power plant behind a number of new models for 2017. Some reckon the huge V-twin engine will power a new touring model that’s rumored to be unveiled next month, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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EPA Fines Harley-Davidson 12 Million for selling Super Tuners

super-tunerHarley-Davidson Inc (HOG.N) agreed to pay a $12 million civil fine and stop selling illegal after-market devices that cause its motorcycles to emit too much pollution, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

The settlement resolves government allegations that Harley sold roughly 340,000 “super tuners” enabling motorcycles since 2008 to pollute the air at levels greater than what the Milwaukee-based company certified to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Harley did not admit liability, and said in a statement it disagrees with the government’s position arguing that the devices were designed and sold to be used in “competition only.”

The company said the settlement represents “a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition.”

An EPA spokesman said that the vast majority of these tuners were used on public roads.

According to the government, the sale of such “defeat devices” violates the federal Clean Air Act. Harley was also accused of selling more than 12,600 motorcycles that were not covered by an EPA certification governing clean air compliance.

The settlement calls for Harley to stop selling the super tuners by Aug. 23, and buy back and destroy all such tuners in stock at its dealerships. EPA said the modified settings increase power and performance, but also increase the motorcycles’ emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

Harley must also deny warranty claims if owners continue to use the devices. An EPA spokesman said the company’s dealers are not part of this action, but “if they are tampering or selling defeat devices on their own, then they could be investigated independently in the future.”

Harley will also spend $3 million on an unrelated project to reduce air pollution, the Justice Department said.

“Given Harley-Davidson’s prominence in the industry, this is a very significant step toward our goal of stopping the sale of illegal after-market defeat devices that cause harmful pollution on our roads and in our communities,” John Cruden, head of the Justice Department’s environmental and natural resources division, said in a statement.

The announcement comes amid greater scrutiny on emissions and “defeat devices” by U.S. regulators after Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) admitted to using illegal software to evade U.S. emissions standards in nearly 600,000 U.S. vehicles.

“This settlement immediately stops the sale of illegal after-market defeat devices used on public roads that threaten the air we breathe,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Harley must obtain a certification from the California Air Resources Board for any tuners it sells in the United States in the future. For any super tuners that Harley-Davidson sells outside the United States in the future, it must label them as not for use in the United States.

In a separate statement, the company said it has sold the product for more then 20 years under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts and said it believed it was legal to use in race conditions in the United States.

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Harley Primary Issues 2007 and Up

Stock Harley Davidson PrimaryWe have seen numerous issues on Harley Davidson primaries 2007 and up (2006 and up Dyna’s). This is when Harley started using their 6 speed transmission standard in the Big Twin motorcycles. There are several model-specific issues as well as two major components–the compensating sprocket and the chain tensioner–that should be addressed on all models.  At the time I wrote this we had two 2008 FL Touring models in the shop for primary issues. We wanted to find solutions for our customers that would provide trouble-free riding for years to come.

Lets start off with symptoms you may be experiencing.

  • Loud whining (almost grinding) sound from left side of motorcycle.
  • Unnerving loud “clunk” when starting and stopping engine as well as when accelerating and engine braking.
  • Grinding or banging sound when starting the motorcycle.

What is the solution?

Harley Primary removed 2008 FLHXWe feel your best bet is to upgrade your Compensating Sprocket and Chain Tensioner.  However a complete evaluation is necessary to determine if any other components are damaged or worn.

Problems that could be found in addition to the compensator and tensioner can  include (but are not limited to) inner primary bearing, clutch hub, ring gear, primary chain. We will disassemble and inspect all your primary and secondary drive components and report what items if any need replacement at time of upgrade service. Once this evaluation is complete and you know the full extent of damage and wear we will provide you a complete estimate and your upgrade options. The time is now whether experiencing any of these symptoms or Not. Upgrading sooner can save you money. These problems will not go away. They will continue to get worse to the point of a major failure and you don’t want that.

Additional primary problems

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Legend Suspension REVO-A Bagger Shocks Test Ride

Legend Revo ShocksOkay, you own a beautiful Harley-Davidson. Love the way it looks…but really, how well does it ride?
If you find yourself swerving to avoid manhole covers or cringing when you have to cross a set of railroad tracks, stop lying to yourself. For what you paid for that motorcycle, it should ride much better than that. And now it can!
Last week we tested the new Legend Suspension 2015 Road Glide, equipped with their new Revo touring suspension. Both Chuck and Stephanie took the bike out and flogged it. We didn’t avoid potholes and manhole covers, we HUNTED them. Went in search of the nastiest stretches of road we know of. And how did this Legend Revo-equipped Road Glide perform? Incredibly. Like a flying carpet. It soaked up holes and bumps that we swore would crack the rims and we barely noticed them.

Legend Revo shocks  are 100% American made in SturgisThe Legend Revo shocks are 100% American made in Sturgis, South Dakota. Here are some of the more Revo-lutionary features…
*The unique spring design provides a large “sweet spot,” which is why they are comfortable for riders from 145 to over 200 lbs…without any change in the preload adjustment.
*Need to adjust the preload? Just grab the spring and give it a twist. No tools needed.
*The Revo-A shocks also offer adjustable rebound with a simple little clicker knob. (The Revo shocks have a fixed rebound rate, the Revo-A’s have adjustable rebound.)
*Lifetime warranty!

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Drag Specialties LED Headlamp

LED Headlight Drag SpecialtiesI have heard that as you get older, your eyes require more light to see, especially at night. At the same time you’re more affetcted by glare, which means you get blinded by oncoming headlights.
Screw that. As far as I’m concerned it’s just getting darker every year.
Which is why I decided to try the Drag Specialties 5-3/4″ LED headlight when I was customizing my 2004 Sportster last year.
Installation was a little more complex than I had hoped. The “bulb” section of the headlight wouldn’t play nice with my stock headlamp housing, so I ended up installing the entire headlight assembly with the Drag Specialties housing. (It comes complete with the housing, you don’t have to buy anything extra.) A three-prong plug was included, but not installed, so Chuck soldered everything up all nice and proper for me.
The first time I rode home in the dark, I was quite impressed. The LED light pattern was very different from the old halogen bulb. The new lamp flung out a wide, flat swath of light that was just the right distance down the road. The width of the swath meant that the right shoulder of the road was well-lit. What do you care about the right shoulder? That’s where the critters hide! It’s much easier to avoid them if you can see them before they throw themselves in front of you, y’know. And when cars are coming at you on a twisty road, the LED lamp shows you where the right edge of the road lies even if the fog line is getting a little worn out. Very nice!
Drag-LED-FeaturedOf course if some is good, more should be better. So I went on to install the Drag Specialties 7″ LED headlamp in my 1990 FXRP, which has a fairing-mount headlamp similar to a late-model H-D bagger. “Similar,” but not quite the same. Seeing as how I’m not the greatest fabricator it took me a whole day to get the new headlamp installed (Chuck would have laughed and gotten it done in about an hour) but boy, was it worth it. Yes, the Sportster headlamp is great. The 7″ on the FXRP is absolutely amazing. With the new headlight I was able, several times, to spot deer crossing the road about a quarter of a mile ahead, and stopped from 50mph to let them cross without drama. I actually rode to work every day right up to the first of November, a full month later than I had ever dared before.
Are LED headlights expensive? Yes, but much cheaper than the slightest tip-over. Are they worth it? If you ever ride at night, especially on dark roads, absolutely. Can you install them on older motorcycles without overwhelming the charging system? Heck yeah, they draw less power than the stock halogen headlight. Can they be installed on just about any motorcycle? Better let Chuck take a look at your existing headlight and he can answer your question for sure.

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Beat the Motorcycle Winter Blues

snow-blizzardIf you’re a rider, we know the snow and cold can really put a damper on your spirits and winter’s just beginning. Bikes Built Better feels your pain, so we put together this guide for ways to stay in touch with your motorcycle and beat the winter blues! These are some tips for keeping you and your motorcycle happy till spring arrives!

Heat and Insulate Your Garage

Heat Your GarageThe chill of winter can not only keep you off your bike, but can even force you out of the garage altogether. Most garages are not insulated well, and are very drafty, so they tend to be notoriously hard to heat. Unless you don’t mind working on the bike in snow gear, you’re going to need both an adequate source of heat, and a way to keep that heat in the garage where it belongs.
Bad Ways to Heat Your Garage:

  • Extending ducts from your home system (transmits vapors and odors from garage into home; is probably against building codes)
  • Portable kerosene/oil/propane heaters (emit noxious fumes; require venting; degrade air quality; deposit moisture and soot into air)
  • Wood stoves (fire hazard; can’t be turned on and off on demand; can be overly regulated)
  • Portable electric heaters (usually underpowered for garage spaces; draw a lot of power; can be a fire hazard)

Good Ways to Heat Your Garage:

  • Sealed combustion space heater (does not affect air quality; very efficient; no fire hazard)
  • Mounted electric heater (powerful; inexpensive up-front cost)
  • Electric radiant ceiling panels (efficient; silent operation; heat evenly; good to augment heat source in your work area)

Build or Buy a Motorcycle Work Table

Cruiser-Bike-Lift-SideIf you’ve spent any amount of time with a sore back after crawling around on the floor trying to get some motorcycle work done, you already know the benefit in having a motorcycle work table. A good work table will bring a bike up to standing height, give you a nice work space to set down parts and tools, and – if equipped with wheels – give you a platform to roll a bike around at your convenience. It’s useful for any bike, but a definite must-have if you’re doing major service or a full restoration or build. Motorcycle tables and stands start at about $279 The one pictured to the left is $779

Install Garage Flooring

motorcycle-garage-flooringThe single biggest source of cold inside your garage, and the one that will take the longest to heat, is a bare concrete floor. Cold concrete will multiply the amount of time it takes to get a room warm, and will always be uncomfortable under foot. Adding some type of simple garage flooring will take the edge off the cold, and reduce the fatigue you get from standing or sitting on a hard floor while you work.

Garage flooring solutions don’t have to be expensive, and most are easy to install yourself. The cheapest solutions are usually some sort of commercial carpeting, either in tiles or cut to fit from your local home store.

Carpet has many drawbacks in a garage; it stains easily, is generally not durable, and melts or catches fire easily, so as a permanent solution it leaves a lot to be desired. However, it’s a cheap way to keep the garage warmer and more comfortable in the winter, and is easily removed or replaced when it warms back up.

Do a Disassemble-Clean

cleaning-inside-sprocket-coverThere’s washing your bike, and there’s detailing your bike – then there’s doing a disassemble-clean of your bike. If your bike and you are cooped up for the winter, this is a perfect time to pull parts off and clean those areas you could never get to without partially disassembling things. This is a good time to not only clean that grime that builds up for months (or years) but lubricate moving parts as well.
Some good areas to disassemble/clean are:

  • Wheels
  • Inside fenders
  • Inside fairings (especially lowers)
  • Inside sprocket cover (you wouldn’t believe how much grime collects there!)
  • Inside chain guard
  • Inside swingarm

You’ll feel a lot better after pulling these parts off and giving them a good scrub when you see how dirty they get in areas you can’t normally see. This is also a good way to become acquainted with dis-assembly reassembly of your bike so you can do more complex maintenance tasks later!

Send Off Parts for Modification

modificationThere are some awesome bike modifications out there that are still done the old-fashioned way, by the hands of skilled craftsmen. But the down side is that you usually have to send out your stock parts to get them done; things like Custom Paint,  Chrome Plating, Powder Coating Embroidery, or leather work.

It usually takes several weeks or even months to get custom work like this shipped and completed, and the last thing you’ll want to do is miss out on a few weeks of ride time in spring while you wait on your chrome wheels to get back from the plating company.

Plan ahead by getting mods like this done over winter, and spend the warm months riding instead of waiting!

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