I often receive emails from readers and viewers asking questions or telling their stories of their own experiences with working their bikes. Recently I was contacted by Kevin who was beginning the process of installing handle bars on his 2013 Street Glide himself. He had watched my video on How to Install Handlebars on a 2012 Street Glide multiple times and had a few questions before he got started. During the process we kept in touch as he completed or began various processes of the install. We developed a friendship from this and he installed the bars himself and really had no issues during the process. I was so impressed with our conversations and his willingness to jump in and do it that upon completion I asked if he would be interested in writing his experience for the Ride It Wrench It blog. I am so grateful he accepted…
Here is Kevin’s story:
“To do it myself or not”?
If I was asked this question before I watched Scott’s YouTube video I would have to say NO WAY.
I use YouTube University for most everything I try to do. It has so much to offer other. I must have watched his video at least 6 times and even took notes before I came to the conclusion that the install was something I could tackle myself. Besides, I had like four months to go before riding season. If I messed them up I guess I could swallow my pride and tow it to my local HD dealer.
So after researching what parts I would need, reading all the HD forums I could find. Then stock piling up the tools and equipment I would needed. Mighty-vac, torx & hex bits, torque wrenches, etc.
I then started the process. Slowly…
I have to say the process wasn’t very complicated. After a few back and forth emails from Scott and visit to a local non HD bike shop, I was thinking I was good to go.
Then I stopped at my local HD dealer where I had bought three brand new motorcycles from them in the past. They weren’t very helpful. Actually, they kind of scared me by saying how difficult it was. But since I already had the bike torn down I figured what else could I do? They did have a street glide with 14-inch apes they had put on. I just wanted to know the cable lengths. They said they would pull the work order and call me. After a week went by I stopped back in, they said the work order mysteriously vanished. They also said the process is very complicated and they could do it for me. Go figure.
I ended up with LA Choppers twin peaks. The 14 inch ones to keep my stock mirrors clear. I’m 5′ 10” and my hands are a tad lower than my shoulders. I’m sure it will be great when I can get out on it.
I also went with LA Choppers cables and wiring extension kit to match the size. Love the bars. Well made. Great finish and very heavy.
I’m not happy with the wire extensions as they didn’t have the molex pins attached. I didn’t want to purchase the special crimping pliers. I was afraid of not having a strong connection between the pin and wire down the road, so I stayed with the stock pins. In my case I just soldered each wire twice. I honestly enjoyed that part. I also changed out the bushings to a polyurethane bushing. That’s a must.
I used Revzilla for all my parts (except the SE Throttle Sensor). Fast shipping, they paid the PA sales tax and even gave me Revzilla bucks to spend later.
Disassemble was easy, had the bars out in no time at all. I took my time, enjoying each step while I was completing each part. If you feel yourself getting tired or frustrated, stop and start again later.
I learned a lot from Scott’s videos, gained confidence, but to actually get a wrench in your hands? That’s when you start learning your bike and get the satisfaction from this process. After all, it’s my bike and I did the work. It’s a great feeling.
Before I started this all I could think about was how much money I’m saving. Looking back now its more about how much I learned.
Some ideas to throw out there…
- Get good tools. Some Harbor Freight tools just can't stand up to repeated use. (more than twice)
- Buy the SE Throttle Sensor. You still have to extend it, but the green plug is gone.
- Take your time when you extend that Throttle Sensor. That was the most frustrating part for me. The wires from the sensor are the same colors.
- Take pictures and write down the wiring diagrams for everything. Double-check before cutting.
- If this is your first time soldering wires? It’s simple. But I recommend practicing first though. YouTube it. It’s a little different than copper pipes.
- When you attempt to pull wires through your bars, ensure you have a strong connection before you lube it up. It makes a mess to try to clean everything and tie in again. Get help and stay calm. Push and pull. I tied the cable to the wire, and the wire to the cable.
- Watch Scott’s video on Molex Connections. Explains everything.
The whole process really only took me about 10 or 12 hours. Don’t be in a rush and enjoy the whole journey. Looking at the bike now all put back together? I think it’s great. Its a shame that someone can't see the work I did, the steps I went through to complete the process.
If my Dad was alive I’m sure he’d be sitting at his local coffee shop bragging to his buddies about how I did it, how I had to solder wires, disconnect Molex connectors and rebuilt the engine. Well maybe not the engine part, but he did like to talk up his boys. He wasn’t much of a mechanic, but that would be different if he had access to YouTube University. Actually thinking back now he didn’t like motorcycles, but he did like sitting on my wide glide and rev up the motor.
So, if you’re thinking about doing this yourself? I’d say go for it. Don’t be in a rush. If you get stuck just remember Scott is there with you on YouTube….. And there is a ton of knowledge on the Internet. Just be careful and research things.
Thanks for the videos, Scott. A tremendous help!
The offer for dinner and a cold one never expires if you ever find yourself in north-central PA!