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BIKERNET TECH: Latest Motherwell Fender Rack Installed

Just Right for a Traveling Indian Chief

By Bandit with photos by the Redhead

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This started with a couple of notions. The Triking Viking, who road tests lots of bikes, wanted to take my 2014 Indian for an Iron Butt ride, but needed a luggage rack. 
He removed my rear passenger pillion and raved about the rear fender. “Completely changed the look of the bike,” said the Triking Viking from a mountain cave outside Copenhagen.
Bikernet has also worked with Motherwell Products, Inc., out of Ferndale, Washington, for just over a year. They’re a young company making luggage racks for Harley, but recently they announced designing luggage racks for Scouts and Indian Chiefs. 
Okay, but I was stuck in the dark corner of a biker bar on the edge of town, and something happened. I don’t know what town it was, but a nearby town. The luggage rack topic surfaced and a brother, who was competing with another wild man in the art of stabbing the table between his fingers with a locking-blade knife as fast as he could said something under his rapid breath. “Most luggage racks are bullshit except Motherwell,” he muttered, whipping his glinting knife from one digit to the other, in the dim-lit corner of the smoky room.
“You’re kidding,” I barked and distracted him. He nearly cut off his finger, and I slipped out the back door, fired up my Chief and peeled out. Don’t think I’ll hang out in that bar again. Impressed, I reach out to Bre at Motherwell and asked about the new Indian Chief rack. 
“They’re at the powder coater’s,” she informed me, and I prepared for the installation. Rich Worley, the owner of American Biker in Charleston, SC, told me when I received my Indian, “You may want to replace the spacers behind the fender rails for something more friendly to bungee cord hooks and strapping shit to your rear fender.”
When I received the Motherwell rack in satin black powder, I looked at the mating points and something was wrong. They were massive. I assumed the rack tangs would slip between the rails and the fender onto spacers and I would be good to go. I called Rich and he pointed out the error in my thinking. 
Here's the stock bag spacer, mounted to the fender--wrong. Maybe he just slipped it into place to measure it?
Here's the stock bag spacer, mounted to the fender--wrong. Maybe he just slipped it into place to measure it?

Later in 2014 when Polaris Indian folks discussed bags and touring models, they came up with some cool spacers designed to deal with bags easily. I ordered a set of them and waited.
Kelly from Motherwell helped me with the dimensions. I could have machined a set, but I had a different notion in mind. When I received the stock Indian spacers with rubber sleeves, I discovered the error of my ways. These aluminum spacers were mounted on the outside of the fender rails. It was a breeze. I removed the stock Allen metric fastener, and installed the spacer/brackets with new locking fasteners.
I stood back and studied the system. I slipped the cool Motherwell rack in place and studied it some more. I wasn’t convinced this was the way to go, plus the stock spacers could not be used on the inside of the makeshift fender rails.
Here's my first notion.
Here's my first notion.

I shifted to plan B, the making of a different spacing system, to allow the rack to be mounted on the inside of the rails. Mounting it on the inside would hide the attaching mechanism and allow the fender rails to be exposed to complete the lines of the fender.
Never, ever throw away a spacer.
Never, ever throw away a spacer.

I started to investigate space-out options, from bare aluminum chunks to be machined, to a myriad of spacers. I started trying various configurations.
I discovered a problem, maybe two. The front spacing would be different from the rear. The front Motherwell attachment was different and not as wide, by a hair, than the locking mechanism at the rear. I kept trying different spacing configurations. First time around, the front ones were perfect, but the rear units tested me. I kept digging.
Ultimately, after three drawers of searching, I found two pieces. They were exactly the same diameter as the stock spacers and just the correct length. I could even use the stock rubber sleeves. I drilled them out and was ready to rock. 
So, here’s what I came up with, and I think it works. I could machine 1/8-inch off each one, but I thought I’d test out the system first. This Motherwell rack will work perfectly for the ride to Sturgis this year and should to the trick for the Triking Viking on his Iron Butt challenge. We will bring you all the action.
If you get a chance, test ride an Indian at Bike Week or any major rally. You might be impressed.
Click for more info: 679 Treeland Drive, Ladson, SC 29456. 843-641-0258
Click for more info: 679 Treeland Drive, Ladson, SC 29456. 843-641-0258


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Reader Comments

I have invented a rack for h-d ultras would like to talk to you fellows as I think it is the answer to a lot of heavy weight put on top of rear luggage. I call it the ultra rack I made it out of stainless steal .035 tubbing then polish to a Crome like finish if interested drop me a note

Brian durand
Vernon, BC, Canada
Monday, November 28, 2016
Editor Response Sure, send me some info. I'll be glad to help anyway I can. Send it to
Very nice!!

Edmonton, AB, Canada
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Editor Response I know it's not much of a tech, but Indian is all new for us old Harley mechanics. We need to experience even the little stuff.
Like your new luggage rack, and it's removable that makes it very cool.

I was in Laughlin when they introduced the new engine, mounted on a stand. Drew a crowd when they cranked it up. Happy we now have three USA bike manufacturers. I'm just not a fan of the big fenders.

Indian should give you an award for bringing attention to the brand. Ride safe Bandit..

Softail Bill
Santa Maria, CA
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Editor Response Appreciate the comment. Have you ridden one of these puppies? They are amazing. We modified the rear fender some, in keeping with traditional Indian Chief fenders.

I would have liked better Scout fenders. Old Scouts were the best looking bikes on the planet for years.

You're right about the three U.S. manufacturers. It's incredible. If only the government would leave us alone.

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