VTX handlebar swap

My friend Mark came over yesterday and we swapped my handlebars and riser on the 1800 Neo. Mark had given me the chrome riser block from his Retro, and I had the VTX logo filled with red paint. The bars are from Flanders and are black, the grips and stock Harley Davidson black rubber grips.

I had already removed the left grip so we were ready to start. First, loosened the screws hold the switch housings and the screws hold the clutch and front brake reservoirs. We left them snug but not tight, just enough to keep them from turning on the bars as we worked. We loosened and removed the nuts holding the risers to the triple tree, and pulled the bars out and forward of their usual position so that we could remove the switch housings from the bars. Then we replaced the bars and measured the distance from the end of the bars to the reservoir clamp and wrote the measurements down.

Then we removed the old bars again and put the new bars in place, putting the nuts on finger tight for now. Then we removed the screws from the reservoir clamps and clamped them on the new bars, closer to the end than they should be. This was just to allow us to get both reservoirs off the old bars, we will position them properly later. Now, the old bars and risers can be set aside. We used our measurements and set both reservoir clamps where they should be and tightened them down snug, but not fully tight.

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VTX turn signals

I finally got around to wiring and installing the custom Tradewinds turn signals on the front of my 1800 Neo. I am using parts from a 1800 C model and an aluminum adapter that I turned on a lathe. I sent them all out to be chromed and have finally assembled them , installed them on the forks, and wired them using the plugs from the Neo signals. They just plug into the harness and they work perfectly.

I like the look of the Tradewinds housings, so I have them for front and rear turn signals and driving lights. The driving lights mount on the Cobra engine bars, but I am thinking of changing to a different and less noticeable clamp.

The Tradewinds products are not cheap, but the quality is second to none and Tony is great to deal with.

More parts arrive

While I was away on business, UPS must have thought Christmas came early. I received black powdercoated handlebars, black replacement grips, GPS mounting hardware, a sun shield for the GPS, a document stash tube, and a helmet bag. Most of this translates into work to do, but in the long run the updates should be well worth it.

I’m going to replace the handlebars, grips, and risers. Mark gave me a set of riser blocks off his Retro and I’m going to remove my Neo bars and risers. I intend to run the wiring through the bars, and replace the grips with all-black HD grips. The GPS mount will require some drilling and tapping so that the mount is clean, but it should be fairly simple.

The document stash tube will mount below the headlight on the front of the lower triple tree. It’s intended to hold registration and insurance papers so that I don’t forget them if I leave the saddlebags at home.

Bike show prep

After I got the headlight shell and air cleaner cover home I put them on, of course.   Tom at Black Magic Customs did a great job on both parts.   The red stripes on the headlight shell are horizontal which isn’t easy to determine by just looking at the shell off the bike.

With it all assembled, it needed cleaning and waxing to get ready for the bike show sponsored by Black Magic Customs during Sandwich Freedom Days.   The show is Sunday, July 2nd at 12 noon in the Hideout parking lot.   I washed it and used my dog drier to remove the majority of the water.   They are selling dog driers for twice the price and calling them motorcycle driers.   Oh, well, it does do a good job.   After waxing and polishing I decided to head the 3 miles up to the show.   Some very nice bikes, but I tend to favor the old-school bobbers over the latest choppers.   There were some really nice examples of both styles.

I headed home early as it started looking like rain.   The motorcycle washing and waxing gods must have been on my side because it rained 5 minutes AFTER I parked the bike in the garage.   OK, maybe it was just dumb luck.   Since I’m leaving on a business trip in a couple of days anyway, I just covered it up in the garage.

Home again, home again

I got back home from Colorado today, landing at O’Hare at about noon.   On the way home I picked up the dogs and stopped by Black Magic Customs.   The headlight shell and the air cleaner cover were ready and they looked great.   I put them in the truck and went to the post office, then finally home.   It’s good to be home.

Torque recheck

After returning from the breakfast ride (about 120 miles total) I rechecked all the fasteners to be sure nothing had loosened up. All were good and tight to specs. Some people have had problems with front fork seals leaking after reassembly, I’m happy to say I have seen no leakage. We were very careful when disassembling the forks to keep the seals oriented the way they were installed so that we could duplicate the setup when reassembling them and it seems to have paid off.

Maiden voyage

Well, almost. It IS the maiden voyage for the newly minted changes: wheels, tires, turn signals, headlight wiring, front forks, etc. No problems, looks and sounds great. Photos soon to be forthcoming.

Rear wheel installed

The rear wheel wasn’t too difficult to reinstall, just took some fine adjustments with the bike jack to get the frame and the axle lined up.   The brake caliper took a little work as I didn’t install the caliper on the bracket before installing the rear wheel so I had to come up with another way to get it installed.   Took some head-scratching, but got it done.   Next is the under-tank wiring.

Rear turn signals and final drive installed

The turn signals were installed and the wiring checked before buttoning up the rear fender wiring. Work fine, look great. The final drive reassembly required some moly paste for the driveshaft splines and it’s a mess. I used some vinyl gloves to keep the mess down and they worked fine. The drive shaft installed easily and the left side shock absorber was all that remained.

Front wheel reinstalled

I had to work a bit to get the forks to line up just right, but I got the front wheel installed.   I cleaned the brake calipers and pads, and installed them also.   Spinning the wheel shows no excessive drag from the brakes, and the brake lever works the brakes as it should.   Front end work finished.