I Tell You It Ain’t No Bagpipe: Vance & Hines Pipes Upgrade – My Story

•December 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Let me tell you it aint no bagpipe

Well it has been 2 years now since I purchased my shiny new XLC1200 Sportster, and my intentions were always to do some modification work on it, like everyone I guess, however when you start getting down to business modifying a Harley, it can be expensive exercise, so what was it that I wanted to modify?

First of all I had my sights set on chrome footpegs, grips, and some new shiny pipes that rendered the sound that I have always associated with a Harley Davidson,  “WHY DIDN’T I DO IT WHEN I BOUGHT THE SUKKER” I exclaimed when I tried to justify the $2000.00 budget to my wife (and this was just the pipes) so I wasn’t surprised at my wives answer a big NO, so two years running on standard pipes that my wife said sounded like a VW beetle, and other members said sounded like a sewing machine, when I pumped the accelerator when idling at the lights.

What to do??

Well I started out small, a badge here, a new cover there, and a bit more time goes by.  “What about the internet” surely I can do it cheaper that way?  I have heard many a story of how ones have done all their mods by searching on then internet, great if you have a softail, fatboy and the likes, but not much in the way of sportster bits are available, but I was determined to do what I wanted and not break the budget.

I started to get parts together, thanks to Tas, I managed to get a second hand heavy breather from one of his friends, these things are worth $500 approx but with my deal I managed one for $250 = Saving of around $250.00 ,  then a little later with the AU dollar doing so well the boys at MCA at Bankstown did me a great deal for a set of narly Vance & Hines Chrome short shots staggered, and a Daytona Twintech race tuner for $811.00 = Saving of  approx $400.00.

Stocked up on all my equipment, I bundled my bike and my goodies off to Loaded motorcycles for the upgrade,  cost= $260.00. (not sure if the saving here, but I thought it was a good price)

The result !

My wife took me to pick up my baby, and after moving a few bikes out of the way ,  Dean wheeled it out in the open, man what a difference,

( for a little background, Dean had rang me earlier to tell me she was ready to pick up, and I asked him how it sounded, he had one word “LOUD” “Man she is loud”)

He now told me to crank it over,  when I did I was delighted at the crack and burble, the illusive sound I have been chasing over the past two years, I looked over at my wife, she stood motionless, and looked white as a ghost and the only thing she had to say was “NO WAY” poor old Dean back peddled, “it’s ok we can get baffles for it “ he came back so quick it was like he had practiced it all day, all I could do is smirk, and giggle, now my baby had become a monster.

By the way she has got used to it now, I have asked how it sounds as I compare to all the Harleys that race passed our unit, she loves the sound but tells me mine just sound a little more “farty” (gotta love her) however she tells me to wheel it up the driveway before I start her, I just say Yes Dear, then crank away, that will teach my noisy neighbours .

The total saving if I take the quote given to me by the dealer would be at least  $800.00, so if you want to you can modify your Harley on a budget, you just have to be patient.

P.S.  I have had a couple of nervous moments, when pulling up near police, but they seemed to be oblivious, so I burble away as quiet as I can until I can’t see them then let her fly, what a magnificent sound we can get out of our rides.

Moral – The moral of this is,  don’t let the standard pipes and the wife stop you, get your gear on and let your baby breath a little.

Before:                                                                                                After:      

See the video


Keep Customizing


Harley Davidson 1200XL Sportster – 2 Years on

•April 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hello readers,

Well it has been 2 years since I purchased my shiny new 2009 XLC 1200 Sportster,  and I thought I should write a post on what I now think 2 years and 16,000 kms on.

I have not been disappointed I can tell you that, however one thing has emerged from 2 years of riding through rough terrain, being caught in deluges, being led through bull dust (very very very fine dust),  and that is being a very proud owner, the effort to keep the shiny black beast with all its chrome clean has been a true labour of love which I know any Harley owner would understand.

Does the bike have any cons?  Unfortunately no bike will ever be perfect, and I need to present a totally unbiased opinion for it to be worth anything, so here are my findings:

1) Suspension — Now you would think that if you spend $20k (yes thats what we pay in Australia) on a motorbike, you would think the manufacturer would at least give you decent suspension, but unfortunately the XLC (top of the line) Sportster has in my opinion inferior suspension, with it going to cost me around $1000.00 AU to fix it. Now a lot of people will tell you that Harley’s are not suppose to handle well, not true even with it’s inferior suspension surprisingly enough it handles ok,  but get around the tight stuff and thats where the upgrades would come in handy.

2) Power — Whilst there is enough power to get you in trouble I would love to see the sportster with a couple of upgrades, suspension and a few more horses out of the stock 1200.  Again to fix this I am looking at another $2000 AU to get 10 more HP (Heavy Breather, Pipes, race tuner).  The problem is not mechanical sometimes, but for 1200 cc I pay $100.00 more on rego because of the engine size, so would love the BHP to match it, but anyway it can be fixed which is a good thing (just need to rob a bank to do it)

What about the pro’s :

Well with a few small con’s the 1200XLC delivers to the owner a beautifully looking bike, and despite some horror stories I have heard, it runs smooth, and delivers what you want when you ask it to. The 2009 XLC in my opinion is a much nicer bike that the 2011 model, I like the thin tyre on the front and thicker trye on the back, and the finishes on the tank are much better over the 2011 model.  It is interesting to note that the majority of people do not know what model it is , as they expect to se the peanut tank from yesteryear, and quite promptly state it doesn’t look like “that” sportster (Nightster) which sports the old school tank.

All in all I love my bike which I affectionately call “Abbey” I can’t see it ever been sold, and hopefully my sons will have just as much fun riding her as I have had to this point.

Happy riding and “Stay Upright”

Air-Bag Vest & Jackets Are They Worth It?

•January 19, 2011 • 1 Comment

Hi all,

It seems that motorists are still not getting the message to watch out for us motorcyclists on the road, and further to this there seems to be a growing mentality that protective gear, or clothing is only for the wimps out there.

Now I am not sure where this is coming from, maybe those people that have been riding scooters for some time in skirts and thongs, and now have migrated to a full blown motorcycle and think that clothing like that will be protective enough.

The cold hard truth is that if you come any motorized bike, be it a scooter or Harley at even 40 kph with only a T-Shirt and Thongs, it is like putting a grinder on to your flesh.

So what do you think?  Do you think that if a truck hits you from the side or from the back, or if you drop your bike at 60 that wearing protective clothing wont make a difference?   If you think it wont, your an idiot…  anything that sits between you and the road (protective equipment)or another vehicle increases your chance at minimizing injury.

There has been a product introduced onto the market that has been developed to improve a motorcyclists chances when being separated from your motorcycle, they are called Air-Bag Jackets and vests.  Now there are a few different makes and models available with different methods of deployment, but all of these brands offer something that no body armor out there offers, “neck protection”.   The most feared injury any motorcyclists fears is that of spine damage, now none of the manufacturers out there guarantee that you will never have spinal injury or major injury if you use their product, but like i said before, anything that puts a barrier between you and the road or object will minimize any damage that may occur.

Below is a link to a couple of videos showing how these jackets and vest work.  Note how the neck is put in a splinted position when inflated.  This could be the difference from you being able to walk or not. Check them out

Now these are only two makes, Dainese & Hit Air, there are other makes that use pretty much the same system. The Dainese uses sensor technology and are at the top of the market price wise with a vest being around the $400 mark.  The Hit Air uses a tether system, and are cheaper, but just as effective.

I first saw one on a ride with our HOG chapter, and was very intrigued by them, thus the research I have done thus far. I have also gone one step further and have purchased a Hit Air vest like the one below to add to my protective equipment.

So if you have any stories to inform us of how they work in a real life situation I would love to hear from you, and so would my readers.

I am reserving my final comments when it has to be used (which i hope never happens) but i am going to do what i can to make sure i am as protected as i can without compromising riding comfort and flexibility .  And remember


Ride Safe…

Road Rage ( No wonder)

•December 26, 2010 • 1 Comment

Just a quick flurry from my winge section, well it is not really a winge more than a shout at all those idiotic drivers out there over the holiday period.

I found myself beeing beeped by three people on one day, you may ask why, what is it that incurred the wrath of the motorist behind me, well let me tell you one of the three stories and another incident, that reinforce the need for care over the holiday season.

Here I was keeping in mind that the holiday period sees the highest death toll on the road, and also that the police are out in force, and particularly the fact that double demerit points are in place, so here i am driving on the left lane with speed control on, and might i add driving to the posted speed limits.

This guy in a beat up Hyundai comes speeding up behind me and sits inches from my bumper, strange you may say especially for the fact that the right lane was free for him to overtake, anyway, he stays behind me at the same distance, and I am quietly frustrasted, I turn the corner, he follows, again the right lane is free and I stay in the left to allow him to pass.

As I look in the rear vision mirror, he seems agitated, and again I am at a loss why, as he has ample opportunity to pass me, any way we come up to some pretty heavy traffic on a notorious road for pedestrian to car accidents, so i slow a little, not much 5 kms, but in any case the traffic is banked up anyway, so i slow up behind the traffic and leave around a half a car length in front, well did this freak the driver out behind me, he starts beeping at me, now I notice there is a side street that he may want to get into, so i move up so he can, but again to my frustration he stays behind me and keeps beeping.

Now to let you in on a small secret, i have never been tempted to get out of my car EVER to deal with morons like this, but the preceding happenings nearly got me out of my car, I signaled in my frustration to the guy “where do you want me to go??” the traffic was banked up for half a kilometer. This MORON was frustrated because I left a half a car gap, can you believe it??? What is going through peoples minds, if i did not have my kids in the car i would have become one of those road rage statistics, cause I would have belted the guy.

The other incident happened on the F3 Freeway on my way up to Newcastle for work.  You often wonder why people come to grief on such open roads, well this story will have anyone banging their head against a brick wall in disbelief at how stupid people are, and how adults also can show no common sense.

So to keep this one short, here I was again cruise control on doing 110 in the left lane, and in the distance I detect a slower driver, so I wait a little before deciding wether i will pass or not , but in a blink of an eye i am up his bum, this guy is doing 55kms in a 110k zone, with two foam mattresses flimsily hockey strapped to his roof racks (probably the reason for his speed) but now judgment in this situation is the difference between life or death, cause if i had not taken the time to look i would have been pulverized by a semi trailer hammering in the next lane. Now remember this all happens in split seconds, so pretty hard for me to emphasize my feelings.

Apart from the frustration and absolute disbelief at the Moron in front of me, and the driver of the truck clearly NOT doing the speed limit, can you imagine if I was on my Harley, and I made a split second decision to pull out to overtake???  I would be a goner, even in the car i would not have had much chance. Again take in the whole picture, even if I was the truck driver I could have seen the slow driver, as he came up pretty quickly, so FREEKING SLOW DOWN…….  Don’t add to the MORONS out there on our roads

If you are on the road please look at the BIG PICTURE and don’t take frustrations out on the guy in front of you, cause he may not be able to fix the problem, because push someone too far like this guy did to me, and you might find yourself in hospital. Or worst still you may never see your family again.  I dont know about you but getting home late, is far better than not making it at all.

Everyone this holiday season TAKE A CHILL PILL.

Green Making Insurance Companies Rich

•April 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

With our ridiculous age of litigation and liability even our motorcycling fraternity is now the brunt of another cash cow. I am referring to the mighty CTP green slip.

I have recently renewed this “essential” bit of insurance whilst registering my bike and car, and while I do understand the underlying principle of the green slip I am absolutely befuddled, and enraged at the same time at the increasing cost.

The cost of a green slip for a bike in particular can range from $380 – $700 for a private vehicle, depending on the insurance company you go with, what I fail to see is how this government legislated insurance can vary so much and can be so high for a motorist that has minimal to no liability for a third-party.

For example, for a car owner, the liability for injuring of a third-party is high, so I can see how this insurance can range from $406-$700, however for a motorcyclist we have an extremely low liability in this instance. I may take a pillion probably about 5% of my year, so the only one at risk is myself, thus the reason I have income protection and life insurance, the risk if I have an accident in 99% of the time would be panel damage to my vehicle or someone else’s vehicle, thus the reason I have full comprehensive insurance, so why oh why do we pay so heavily on the CTP green slip for a motorcycle??

In recent reforms the CTP green slip now covers the at fault driver, this may count for some of the rise, but instead of asking and discounting for people who have their own protection insurance, these cashed up insurers like all the banks just hike the price as they see yet another way to strip our hard-working citizens out of more of their hard-earned cash

We hear of talk about helping minimise cost to families, but we see no action from anyone to make one of the most cost-effective, resource saving forms of transport viable. They want us to save the environment, and minimise traffic congestion in our cities, yet now it is no more expensive to register a motorcycle than it is a small car thanks to this CTP cash cow

When are we going to say enough is enough…… How many insurances do we need to have??
Love to hear your comments

V-ROD Night Rod Special Review

•April 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hi all, well when all the rain settles we will be taking out a V-ROD Night rod Special for a test run, for a day if we are able, and will get back to you with the results.  In the mean time check out the stats on this beautiful Harley..


Ride For Life – Learn For Life

•March 12, 2010 • 1 Comment

I have heard over the past year about riding safe and the importance of riding defensively, which as a motorcyclist is of paramount importance, as we all know that riding can be very dangerous, however what happens in the event that something does go south whilst out riding with our mates or our club?

We don’t like to think about it, in fact most of us don’t even like entertaining the idea that something horrific will happen out on a ride, however the fact of the matter is that it does happen and most probably will happen some day, the question is with all the precautions we take as a rider , are we equipped to handle a situation where a mate, or club member is in need of urgent medical care?

The answer alarmingly is NO.  Most riders wouldn’t know what to do in the event of an accident, yes we may think we do, but it is amazing out of the guys I have spoken to who said they would know what to do, how many would cause further injury, by the first aid plan they suggested. It is even more alarming how many riders will go on a long ride day and not even have basic First Aid equipment.

We would not think of spending our hard earned cash on an accessory or custom part for our rides yet , refuse to fork out $50.00 for at least a minimal First Aid pack to take with us, or even $200 to do a first aid course that could in the event of one of our mates having an accident not only save their life but also may save their quality of life, by preventing any precursor to a spinal injury.

As a First Aid trainer , I have come across a terrifying fact – Most people will remove a helmet of a motorcyclist in the event of a crash!!!  What would you do?

It should be the responsibility of every person on two wheels to know what to do in these situations, you can not sit back and expect your road captains or someone else to take responsibility when something goes south on a ride.  The fact is that we all would hope our mates would act in knowledge if we were to come off and would know how to handle us in any situation that may arise, unfortunately the statistic of how many people actually know first aid is not good.

Most alarmingly is how little time we have before brain damage occurs, or how long it takes to bleed out in the event of a major bleed, a simple first aid course and some basic First Aid supplies can help prevent this from happening.

The question is are YOU willing to step up and take the necessary steps to prevent your mate, or club member in the event of an accident?  I am sure we all would say yes, well if you do, then get into a First Aid course, and buy yourself a First Aid kit for your panniers or back pack. If everyone did this we would know when we ride, that in the event of an accident we will be well cared for and also could render assistance to others in trouble.

In Australia you can sign up for First Aid courses very easily , send me a message or visit one of Australias leading First Aid providers and book in for a course

Safe Riding All