I had a bad feeling about this mod. First, I
don't like to pack anyone, any time. If you want
a ride on my Panhead, carry a hand-towel and
a bungie cord. I avoid giving a girl a ride home
from the bar, even a babe with gigantic
hooters. I would preferred to follow her home.
I'm not the kind of rider to take a woman on a
long run. I would rather have a variety of
women in various towns and cities. Okay, I'm
Okay, so the pressure's on. Sin Wu
want's to ride once in a while, and I want to get
laid daily. Gotta give up something. I kept the
stock Road King classic seat for additional
passenger comfort. It's covered with dust, in
the corner, but that quick change aspect is
covered. I ordered the custom billet tab for the
rear of the stock seat, and had it powder
coated black, so both seats were ride-ready.
When you purchase a new saddle, it doesn't
always come with the rear tab. The base is
plastic and screwing fasteners in and out will
wear out the threads.
Here's a handful of the fasteners and
bag bracket spacers.
I ordered the front and rear detachable
docking hardware kits, but be careful. I leaned
toward the new lower backrest/sissybar for
styling, which wasn't in stock, but the pad was.
I bought it, then the backrest was
back-ordered so we bought the taller sissybar
for immediate gratification, but when we got
home the pad didn't fit and we were forced to
buy the tall pad. Watch out for this dilemma
when ordering. Make sure to check all the
installation instructions to make sure you have
the correct puzzle pieces. There are several
back rest options so watch that aspect when
Here's the massive chromed Classic
H-D axle dress hardware.
This is simple installation. Slip on the
plastic wedge and the cap grips over it. Push
them into place--done deal.
We also ordered some classic hex bolt
covers and stainless Allen caps to begin an
engine detailing process. We purchased
chrome caps to detail the front brake calipers
and classic chromed front axle covers. We
didn't use the plastic chrome caps ultimately
but brush painted the raised edge of the
calipers black. I'll tell you why in a bit.
This was supposed to be one of the
easiest mods we undertook, but we learned
quickly, that wasn't the case.
This is the front docking port in place,
but not tightened.
When we black powdered a ton of
components previously, we assembled the
bike securely with Loctite and care. That was
our undoing. The Phillips-head beside the
shock needed to be replaced with the front
docking hardware. Take one bolt out and
replace it--no problem, right? The Phillips
screws wouldn't budge and we proceeded to
strip the heads. First, I wished I had an impact
I had loaned mine
years ago. It was never returned. Watch out for
I discovered an aerosol spray by
Chemsearch called Yield in the auto parts
store that loosens rusted bolts instantly. It
worked like a charm, with a little patience the
bolts came lose. An American Rider reader
complained that this product isn't available in
retail stores. That's true. My longshoreman
connection hooked me up. You may need to
find a factory worker or mechanic who has a
After reading the Low Detachable
Backrest kit info that came with the taller kit,
the Backrest Docking Hardware kit directions,
the Front Docking Point kit instructions and the
100th Anniversary FLHT and FLHR Backrest
Pad kit directions, I guzzled my first Corona.
I couldn't handle the
I opened the next Corona. The operation
would have been simple if the directions were.
I read them over and over. There were too
many variations between years and
configurations to sort through. The Front
Docking port directions confused me with
illustrations involving rear bag support
spacers designed to bounce out the
saddlebags and clear the release button on
Why would the
front docking port directions come with
spacers for only the rear saddlebag mounts? I
This was a matter of trial and error.
If you've built choppers as long as I have,
there's always a way to make anything work,
so ignoring the confusion, we spanked our
asses in gear. I ignored the spacers, installed
the front docking rubber that was designed
specifically for the King with a notch for the
There's a bracket that runs from the front
docking station to the rear, but first the rear
docking port bracket needed to be installed.
On some models equipped with air shocks
the shock filler bracket must be removed. The
directions said I didn't need to remove it on the
2003, bullshit. It was directly in the path of the
docking bracket, so off it came.
This shot shows the bracket in place,
with the shock air port moved. Note the single
empty hole in the bottom of the bracket. That's
where the rear bag mount bolts into place.
The trick of the night.
Three lousy bolts had to be removed, the
rear bag bracket 1/4-20 fastener and the two
5/16s fender support bolts. First the 1/4-20
spun the thin, tin clamp that holds the nut in
place. Then the 5/16, once removed, could
hardly be replaced. Nothing aligned properly.
My lovely assistant had to squat and lift the tip
of the fender, and in one case we were forced
to remove the lower bag rail to align the top
This still doesn't totally jive. Actually
washers had to be fed behind the top
Backrest mounting bracket also.
"Can I let go of the fender, now?" Sin Wu
asked grunting. The top docking port bolts are
packaged in two sizes, 1 inch and 3/4 inch.
The directions warn that if the rear inch-bolt
comes too close to the fender, replace it with
the 3/4. We replaced both and used the 1-inch
jobs in the front holes on both sides.
Without the rear fender rack detachable
bracket, another option, two washers were
thrust under the rear docking port bracket to
make up for the thickness of the rack bracket.
Part of the confusion was the numerous
detachable elements available for various
models. There's also the two-up detachable
rack front docking kit that surfaced from time to
That's all there was to it. We bolted all the
elements in place and tested the back rest
and bags. Sure enough the King Classic bag
lid smacked into the backrest latch when
opening. We ultimately spaced the rear back
bracket out only about an 1/8 of an inch and
we were good to go.
We tried it with the spacers, without,
then with smaller spacers that worked
Sin fed me chips and salsa and dabbed
my sweating forehead with a bandanna, while
I slipped the saddlebag bracket, 1/4-20 nut,
into place using a long magnet. It worked on
the right side. On the left we unbolted the
entire fender support, replace the nut,
adjusted the thin, tin tabs, and bolted the
sucker all back together, only to have the nut
fall out again. In this case we squeezed a slim
square 1/4-20 nut behind the docking bracket
and bolted the back bag bracket on with a
spacer. It worked like a charm.
"Can we ride?" Sin cooed. I told her to
gear up. We were just about ready to roll.
I used electrical contact cleaner to
loosen the tin insignia plate, but discovered
that wasn't the intended plan. Leave it be,
Here's the totally clean caliper. Big
I ground the lip unevenly, but it then fit
into the recessed slot on the caliper.
After grinding, all was well. Sorta.
The air in the garage eased as I warmed
to her company. For an easy half-hour we
played with the details of the bike by installing
nut caps and front axle caps which I snugged
down against a coating of silicon to prevent
Some silicone on the axle nut will
prevent vibration that may loosen the cap.
I discovered that the front chrome caliper
caps stuck directly against the existing tin
insignia. I took one off and cleaned the area
thoroughly with electrical cleaner then the
self-sticking surface didn't reach the base.
Here's the 100th Anniversary backrest
that will not fit on the short back rest bracket.
We sent the short unit to Custom Powder
Coating, in Dallas, for a coating of black.
Note that there are various pads and
various fasteners and spacers for different
applications. Don't try using common
I ended up with 1/2 pint can of
Rust-oleum paint and a small brush for
touch-up details. I sent Sin Wu in the house to
prepare for the ride. That meant striping out of
her threads and waiting for me in bed. It's the
code. We must workout before we ride.
Editor's note: I'm sniveling through this,
but I'm sure with some experience this would
have been a breeze. I suppose that's what
dealerships are for.