Bikernet Blog Search Bikernet
Ride Forever -
Thursday Edition


With techs from the V-twin Visionary, Sawicki Exhaust, and Legends Suspension

By Bandit, with photos by Frank Ball Jr.

Share this story:

My grandson, Frank Ball Jr. and I made the run to Sturgis with a Kendon two-bike trailer, our 1928 Shovelhead and the 5-Ball Racing Crazy Horse powered mascot bike. Both quirky, flat-side tank bikes. We jammed out and rode around the rally and had a blast.

Of course, he got the bug and had to make the run on his own terms in 2021. The changing times have been enormous. When I started coming to Sturgis it was about 50/50 between electric starts and kickers. The last couple of years Frankie rode a Pro Street styled FXR with a CCE glide front end I built, and Bob T.’s FXRP, but he was having the engine upgraded by Bennett’s Performance and Eric pulled a cylinder stud and we were on the hunt for a new set of cases. S&S came to the rescue with the help of Jason Mook at Deadwood Custom Cycles

Frankie had a few years under his belt with the evils of custom motorcycles, breakdowns and hard-to-find components. Plus, his dad recently bought a late model Road Glide and natch, wanted his son to be riding a similar bike.

Bada Bing, Frankie stumbled into Bartels, where Deb Black handles our 5-Ball Leather line. He plunked down $32,000 and rode out on a new Midnight Crimson Road Glide, which was blacked out. “Family seems to be moving away,” Frankie said. “I needed something reliable for long distance runs.”

That was his jab, since his dad moved to Austin, Texas recently, and I peeled out of California for the Badlands.

Rally time approached and Frank started checking his run options. He could ride with his brother, Charlie, the Barber, to Vegas and Salt Lake and across Wyoming on the 40 and then north and east into the Badlands.

He also met up with a group heading into Montana and then Yellowstone, sort of the long scenic way. But then he hooked up with Jeff Holt, the V-Twin Visionary with a shop in Phoenix. Jeff had a plan to ride the million-dollar highway out of the desert, into Wyoming and onto Deadwood, where they would all crash at the 5-Ball Headquarters in Deadwood.

There was an additional benefit to riding with the Visionary, who was scheduled to produced bike shows for Harley-Davidson. Jeff's Phoenix based shop was available to install and new pipe on his Glide.

“He had a bunch of aftermarket stuff at his shop to throw on my Road Glide,” Frankie said. “Jeff was ready and experienced at installing the Sawicki, stainless, two-into-one bagger exhaust system.”

Charlie is up high and that's frank's Pro street FXR built by his gramps.
Charlie is up high and that's frank's Pro street FXR built by his gramps.

Charlie and Frank had a plan to peel out of Los Angeles before the crack of dawn. They could hardly sleep after packing, checking, packing, checking and packing again.

The coast to Phoenix would blister and LA traffic was always a challenge. They rose with a start at 3:00 a.m., suited up and hit the road by 4:00 a.m. They jammed in the dark from homeless encampment Venice to interstate 10 and across downtown Los Angeles on the escape route to Palm Springs where commuter traffic diminished and they could push their speeds and ramble around lumbering semi-trucks taking goods all across the country.

Outside Palm Springs Charlie signaled for a gas stop. The sun began to crest the mountain pass leading into 74 Palms, California where we have a brother who lives in a rusting ’59 Cadillac shell. They gassed up but recently learned of unrelenting traffic snarls leading into the Phoenix metropolis. They had to fill-up, pay, down a protein bar, share a coffee and hit the road.

The Bandit recommendations allowed them to dodge morning traffic as the sun warmed the asphalt desert streets. Frankie was excited. Everything went as planned, but Phoenix was hot. Their late model bikes carried them effortlessly to Jeff’s shop and they hung out for an hour before the Visionary arrived.

It was breakfast burrito time as they checked out the Super clean shop. Three lifts stood ready on Jeff’s side of the shop. They shared mechanics with Jeff and FXR manufacturing.

Maggie has an office. The industrial park was surrounded by galvanized chain link fence, sand and broke down cars.

The Collective of Phoenix shop shared a building with FXR Division, aftermarket performance shop, building exhaust and T-Bars. They also build super-strong brackets for Thunderheaders.

They went to work installing the two-into-one Sawicki Performance Pipe, Pro One running boards, LED headlights and bullets in the front and rear. Heading to Dyno-Tune, the Visionary noted that Harley changed the mapping on the 2021 models and no one had the software needed to dyno his new bagger. They had an aftermarket air cleaner, but he held off. “Can’t dyno-tune your bike,” said Jeff. “If you do it will void your warranty.”

The highly trained mechanic, Danny, Motorwitch, Ray who worked at Bartels previously took care of everything.

He’s also turns 114-inch M8s into 129 road dragons. Shops were cool and nice. Outside it blistered at 110 degrees.

They had some hand guards he wanted but they wouldn’t fit a ‘21. Otherwise, everything bolted up. They reach out to Zipper’s for help with mapping.

Everything went smooth except the second bracket nut to the Sawicki, which bolted to transmission. Sawicki didn’t ship with square nuts to fit inside the bracket, made it impossible to attach both mounting bolts.

Here’s the official data from Sawicki

**NEW** 2-into-1 Bagger Mid-Length Pipe

Our Bagger Midlength is now available, off the shelf, ready to ship TODAY!

Designed with Performance in mind. For a deadly look and great sound.
Same classic stepped performance headers from our best-selling Bagger Shorty pipe
Mandrel Bent Stainless Steel Tubing, 1-3/4" primary to 2" step to allow maximum transfer
Mid-length muffler terminates midway beneath standard bags
Hand Formed Merge Collector allows precise flow performance.
All TIG welds performed by hand in our Charlotte, NC manufacturing facility

Finish Options:
Brushed Stainless Steel
Black ceramic coated Stainless Steel
End Cap Options:
Billet end cap allows you to tune the sound for your liking, by adding or removing packing
Sealed End Cap "Cannon" is a fully welded stainless end cap

All sealed-end Cannon pipes come standard with a badge on the front muffler cone

Other Details and Fitment Notes:
Accepts 18mm o2 Sensors for aftermarket tuners or 12mm Sensors with reducers
Must use flat mesh race style exhaust gaskets (not included)
Flanges not included
O2 sensor lengths may vary by year; extensions may be required
pre-'08 bagger models will require spacers at the mounting bracket

1. Remove existing exhaust, all existing aftermarket and factory exhaust brackets. **On baggers you will need to remove the Right-side floorboard to adjust the pipe into the correct position**

2. Remove factory exhaust gaskets. Replace with Part# 17048-98, Screamin’ Eagle Performance Exhaust Gasket kit. *These are required and provide a correct fit and ensure no gasket material blocking the port*

3. Remove transmission side cover (if your model has this cover). Remove two lower transmission housing bolts.

4. Install the mounting bracket to the transmission housing using the factory hardware. Torque to 13-16 ft-lbs. (Ensure the bracket is not cocked or caught on anything, it should be flat on the transmission housing) Make sure any factory standoffs are removed.

5. Move factory exhaust flanges and retainers to new exhaust system. *If installing a Ceramic Black pipe, leave protective film on the exhaust so it does not get scratched*

6. Apply a small amount of anti-seize compound to the threads of the oxygen sensors and install them into the new head pipe. **18mm to 12mm oxygen sensor adapter may be required on some models.** All of our Pipes run 18mm O2 bungs so you can run an auto tune system with Wideband o2 sensors.

7. Using stock flange nuts, carefully install the header assemblies onto the motorcycle. *Do NOT tighten, just start them a turn or two.*

8. Slip the collector onto the headers. You may have to use a soft/rubber mallet on the headers to slide them into the collector.

9. Position the muffler and headers so that it clears all points of the motor, frame and controls. **Remember, this is a 3-part system so it will require some adjusting to make everything line up**

10. Start the bracket hardware and snug down *Do not tighten them yet*

11. Check fitment and clearance around all critical areas; this is your opportunity to adjust the system by twisting and rotating.

12. From back to front, tighten down the exhaust system, ensuring that nothing moves as you go. (We question this procedure.  All other exhaust systems for rubber-mount bikes call for tightening from front to back. You don't want to wedge the exhaust system against a vibrating engine. Could cause cracks.)

13. Install supplied exhaust springs once everything is tight.

14. Check all fasteners, fitment, and wiring. This is a great opportunity to make sure everything is clearing how it should.

15. Good practice with Raw stainless pipes is to get all the oils from your hands off before starting up so that it does not stain. You don’t need to go crazy! Acetone or something similar with a shop towel works great for this.

16. Start the bike and allow it to idle until the pipe is hot. Allow the pipe to completely cool. This will ensure that the coating is completely set up on black pipes and it will temper raw brushed pipes, so they keep that nice flashy stainless color!

17. You’re done! Go forth and disturb the peace!

Important Notes:

– A stainless steel pipe is a great indication of how your bike is running. A pipe that turns black or is unreasonably hot is an indication there is a tuning issue.

– We often get asked what to do if you burn something onto a Raw pipe. The best solution is to brush the affected area until it is free from whatever is stuck to it. We use RED Scotchbrite pads here. Go perpendicular with the grain of the pipe, not lengthwise.

This is a great way to renew the finish of a well-used pipe; Stainless can always look brand new with enough elbow grease!


Do your pipes have O2 Bungs?

Yes!! All our pipes have 18mm bungs in them, so you can use aftermarket wideband sensors or factory sensors. If your bike came from the factory with 12mm sensors, you will need a 12mm-18mm Sensor adapter. If your bike doesn’t have O2 sensors you will need a 18mm sensor plug. you can request Custom pipes without sensor bungs if you so prefer

Does your pipe come with 12mm-18mm adapters?

No. You will need to get 12-18mm adapters from your local dealer if you are running the small style sensors.

What kind of performance gains?

Our Exhaust systems will provide performance gains across the RPM Range. The results will vary based on Displacement, Compression and General Performance modifications done to the motor. Please refer to our Facebook/Instagram for dyno Graphs we post.

Do your systems include exhaust port gaskets?

No, we suggest Screaming Eagle Exhaust Gaskets from your local Harley Davidson dealer.

Can I repack my muffler?

Mufflers with our removable endcap can be repacked to your liking with a variety of packing. they come packed with Stainless steel wool, but fiberglass and other options work very well and change the tone of the pipe.

Our Sealed cap / Slash Cut mufflers are non-Serviceable .

Do you make custom exhaust systems?

Yes! Contact us at for all custom inquires

What if my pipe breaks?

We handle warranty based on a case-by-case basis. Unless the pipe is obviously broken from a crash/hit/dragged, then we will happily issue you a Warranty repair or replacement if it is within the first year (sometimes longer even). All warranty or repairs require the item in question to be sent back to Sawicki Speed Shop before a replacement/repair is sent out. please see

Where can I get spare parts?!

Almost everything is available under the “parts” section of the store. If you don’t see what you’re after shoot us an email.

Questions not answered here?

Feel free to email us at with any questions we didn’t cover here

Much of the above, which was well thought out, will apply to almost any system.

They left the shop and rode to the Hotel. It was time to relax at a Phoenix Italian joint with Jeff and his magnificent and hardworking wife. After a good night’s sleep, they jumped out of the sack and met Jeff at 7:00 for breakfast and rode to Payson, Arizona, an hour away, at a cooling elevation of 5000 feet and met up with two other guys. One came from Oklahoma on a Road King. He had a 129-inch M8. It ripped. Fastest bike in the pack, but he took it easy, maybe out of respect for the other riders and the chase vehicle.

The other guy, Mark, was from Payson, with a population of 15,000. Frank tattooed him in Austin, Texas. Funny guy on a white Road Glide. Apes. He has a Shovelhead Chopper back home.

Jetted out through Navajo Nation and ran into a spiritual Indian biker, who gave them pins and wished them a safe trip. “We were in New Mexico briefly then into Colorado to Durango and met up with folks from Durango, H-D,” Frankie said. “We met with their Social Media girl at a famous barbecue place in Durango around the corner from the dealership.”

Next morning, they rode through Durango and over the winding Coal Bank pass on the San Juan Skyway with the Million Dollar Highway connecting Silverton and then into Ouray. Frankie felt good and strong as his bike crested the 10,000-foot pass and descended into the town of just over 500.

“Some in the pack were burnt out,” Frank said, “so we stayed in a small town. We didn’t make it that far but crashed out and hit it early.”

“Everything was running good,” Frank added. “The glide sounded like a real Harley, running strong.” In Montrose they headed East toward Gunnison and Salida. As they hit the road north out of Salida toward Wyoming, Charlie got crossed up at one of the many junctions outside Denver. The brother may have been looking for a two-laner around Denver and into Wyoming. “I went back for Charlie,” Frank said. “Then we peeled to Denver, got gas and hit Highway 28 as quickly as possible to catch the pack in Cheyenne, 100 mph all the way.”

They didn’t hesitate or hang out in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where monsoon rains met them, but they barreled through the state and into the Badlands and ultimately Deadwood to the new Bikernet Nerve Center in the center of town. They could smell the girls’ perfumes and chili from the crest of the pass in Lead, South Dakota. They followed lingering smells wafting through the canyon and the buzzing glow of the intergalactic headquarters as it generated 17 million watts of supreme chopper knowledge through the World Wide Web via staff members at all corners of the globe. It’s a little terrifying to watch a 100-year-old home glow against the hillside in the historic presidential district, but they didn’t hesitate to keep rolling.

“We were excited to get there,” Frankie said. They arrived on Thursday and by Saturday, refreshed they rolled to Legends Suspension on Whitewood Road on the outskirts of Sturgis. Speaking of high energy, Sturgis is the supreme being of motorcycle towns. Every year more brothers and sister move to the epicenter of the Chopper Nation. The sidewalks rumble. Buildings are made of old exhaust pipes and steel sculptures line Main Street. There are 400 bars, one motorcycle museum and two restaurants. Even the hardware store sells motorcycle parts.

The largest Indian Dealer in the World has three massive buildings on the edge of town. More and more motorcycle industry giants are moving to Sturgis just to feel the vibe 365 days of the year.

Legends did the same. They wanted a Road Glide to use for a tech for the V-Twin Instagram page. They chose Frank’s 2021 Glide to install front and rear suspension system. The Visionary set it up and here’s the straight scoop from the Legends World Headquarters on the edge of Motorcycle Nirvana.

I believe we installed our AXEO front cartridges and the 13-inch Revo-ARC Black Remote Reservoir system on Frank’s bike. Below are details on each of the products used.

The Legend REVO ARC (Adjustable Rebound & Compression) is available in Piggyback models for Dyna, FXR, and Sportster models and as Remote Reservoirs for all FL models.

The Legend REVO-ARC's feature Adjustable Rebound & Compression damping and utilize Legend’s touring specific extended coil length. This creates a larger "sweet spot" without increasing overall shock length providing an improved, plush, yet performance ride quality featuring increased control, and resistance to bottoming out. Legend's unique spring rate requires minimal pre-load adjustments between riders’ weights or loads. ACME course threaded body easily adjusts by hand, so no tools are required.

The Legend ARC provides optimum rebound and compression performance for any given rider weight, personal ride quality preference, or personal riding style. Seven position external adjuster knobs allow fine-tuning of compression and seven more adjustments fine-tune rebound. Light to heavy riders can fine-tune ride preference while aggressive to casual riding styles can tune to desired quality or personal preference.

The shocks feature 35mm billet aluminum monotube dampers, deflective disc damping valve stack, low friction sealing system and PTFE based sliding bearings allow stiction-free movement for improved performance and feel, balanced piston and base-valve designed specifically for motorcycle applications and include a Nitrogen gas bladder design allowing ultra-fast response. Easy installation and alignment are provided by spherical bearings on both top and bottom.

Made in the USA and backed by a lifetime warranty, Legend REVO ARC Remote Reservoir and Piggyback coil suspension systems are designed for optimum performance with any of Legend Suspensions’ AXEO high performance front cartridge kits.

Legend REVO ARC Piggyback and Remote Reservoir systems are available in 13” or 14” standard, or heavy-duty applications, with a Black Type III Hard Coat Anodize finish.

NOTE: FL Heavy Duty applications are recommended for 500lb. + rider and passenger total weight.

NOTE: DYNA, FXR, SPORTSTER: Heavy Duty application are recommended for 250lb.+ rider and passenger total weight. Also consider Heavy Duty if most of your riding is 2-UP, stunt riding, or aggressive riding style.

AXEO - Basic Overview

Our AXEO front end kits include two identically built cartridges with our unique design due to a floating piston that separates the oil filled damper chamber from a nitrogen chamber. This floating piston is essentially a load sensing component that allows for a nice comfortable ride while the suspension is traveling over normal road conditions (i.e., expansion joints, cracks, etc.) where you’re using the first couple inches of stroke.

In the situation where the fork travels into the third and fourth inches of travel due to high-speed cornering, hard braking or extreme road hazards (i.e., uneven bridge joints and railroad tracks, man hole covers, drain basins, etc.) the floating piston is engaged to provide the extra bottoming resistance. This is due to the velocity at which the fork is traveling and the fact that the damper piston cannot keep up with demand to flow oil through the piston and shim stack.

The difference in pressure forces the floating piston into the nitrogen chamber which compounds the pressure and reduces the bottoming effect. The other benefit to this is that the nitrogen pressure when compressed, assists the springs to return the front end back to the extended position, keeping the front wheel firmly planted on the road and the chassis back to the proper ride height. We have had resounding comments from customers that have installed the AXEO's stating that they’ve never felt the front end of their bike feel so stable, secure and positive.

“First they replaced the rear suspension on a lift,” Frankie reported. “They took the bags off. It was easy except for mounting the adjustable reservoirs. They provided night and day suspension and handling over the stock system.” With the Legends system he could adjust for riding style, passenger or load. “It turns better and is cleaner and smoother the faster you go.”

Sturgis was once a wild party, and an escape from citizens, a showdown for clubs, the wild west for the last time. Over the years it calmed, became the highpoint of any biker’s year. It was the epicenter of the custom world with shows every day, celebrity builders, hot entertainment at night and open road rides to die for.

The bikes changed from stripped down choppers to full touring rides with high-tech electronics, massive bags and bling. The Visionary was hired by Harley-Davidson to produce a bagger show in Deadwood in Outlaw Square. Baggers rolled in from all over the country. They’ve become the lowered and metal flake ’59 Cadillacs of the motorcycle industry.

But recently they’ve challenged the factory. “Wild how baggers are done up like Dynas and FXRs,” Frankie said,” all performance and handling.” It’s up to the Visionary to market this movement through his vast social media marketplace.

Sturgis is shifting again to become the aftermarket marketplace center to meet the manufacturers and have custom or performance packages installed. It started years ago, when mechanics set up stations and discovered the money was in changing tires. Charlie had to wait several days and in line for several hours to have his thinning rear tire replaced. He stuck it out and got the job done.

True Track, designed by the late Will Phillips sets up for installations at only one event annually, and Ron kills it at the massive Black Hills H-D lot in Rapid City. It’s the only event he attends every year.

Now a brother can ride a stock bike to Sturgis and have it completely rebuilt in a week with products from any company in the country including S&S, Baker Drivetrain or…

There’s one aspect of riding to the Badlands, which hasn’t changed, and the granddaddy of the lot is the Buffalo Chip. Brothers and sisters come from all over the world to facilities like the chip, to pitch a tent, park a motorhome, or rent a cabin and party. The chip has all the facilities available from restaurants, state of the art concerts with major players, to shows, demonstrations, and you never need to leave the facility. Rod “Woody” Woodruff and his entire family run what will become the City of Buffalo Chip, like a fine-tuned clock.

In the early days, brothers were introduced to events encompassed in one location and cut off from the town to allow the party to rage without interference from the Man. That was a big deal in those days because the Man fucked with bikers constantly. The Chip took on that mantra. Once you rode through the tall gates, girls could be topless all day long and smoking a joint or revving straight pipes was cheered not frowned upon or ticketed. It was pure party 24/7.

One of Frankie’s other goals was to see and meet tattoo artists from all over the world. His missions included, jazzing up his dresser and checking what the tattoo wild west was up to.

Too soon the week dwindled, and folks started to peel for home, or maybe a ride through Yellowstone or the painted desert before heading home. “I felt like folks left early,” Frankie said.
Getting ready to leave the Badlands, Charlie broke his spark plug off in his rear head. He was bitching about his handlebar bushings. But Frank convinced him to leave them alone. So Charlie turned to replacing his spark plugs. They kept twisting on it and finally it left the threads in the head, bad news.

Bennett’s Performance upgraded his drivetrain and his bike contained tons of anxious torque and top end power. “He didn’t need to change his plugs,” Frank said.

This is a mystery to me. He didn’t just break off the ceramic top but took the nut with it leaving the threads in the head. I was up late consulting with the group as to the options before him. I was on Covid lockdown, so unable to help in the shop in Deadwood, but Jason Mook, from Deadwood Custom Cycles could, but he was going to shut his shop down for much needed break after the rally.

We made arrangements to deliver the bike to Jason’s shop for the repair. Ultimately Jason was forced to remove the head, remove the plug, check the threads and put it back together.

That wasn’t the only issue facing Charlie on the run back to the West Coast, and the story gets even better. But Charlie has a new love, so we won’t dwell on Strippers, disease, Vegas and delays.

Charlie followed Frankie and another rider in a rental car to Salt Lake where he lost his way. Frankie spent the night and the next morning his riding partner was gone and Charlie, well, I can’t go there.

Frank peeled onto Interstate 15 south and rolled into the Mandalay Bay resort for shower and an overnight rest. Charlie arrived late, but he had the Covid, so Frank peeled out at the crack of dawn to meet up with his Tattooing partner the magnificent Em. 

With state-of-the-art technology, GPS and communications he could navigate off the interstate to Amboy, through the desert and meet her in the parking lot of the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. At 28, this was his first solo ride, his first Sturgis run and still the glowing smile on Em’s lovely face made his day.

He’s already planning for Sturgis ’22.

Sidebar: Shortly after arriving back in Venice he noticed a problem with the Sawicky pipe but fixed it with exhaust gasket tape and a hose clamp until a new system arrived. Then he rode to San Francisco for a tattoo convention and broke the pipe bracket, had it welded at a shop, and it was cracking again when he rolled back into LA. He’s looking for another two-into-one system. What do you recommend?

Click for action.
Click for action.

Share this story:

Back to Tech

Reader Comments

The Sawicki is still very new to the industry. Two Brothers Racing is a good pipe, and I personally like the Bassani. Both great performing pipes that sound awesome and look amazing as well.

John White
Sugar Grove, IL
Friday, January 28, 2022
Editor Response Thanks. I passed this onto Frankie.
With all the performance mods on his new RG, two birds with 1 cruise. Great reading KRB. 'Rona sucks.

Jeff Kraus
Port Charlotte, Florida (USA)
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Editor Response Thanks brother. Stuff is coming together.
Damn new bikes are a way too complicated for me. I have traveled all the roads mentioned. You changed the numbers to confuse the innocent lol. Been to Pioneertown too. Love Pappy and Harriets. Miss the west. I’ll be back. Bill May

Bill May
Nashville , TN
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Editor Response Thanks Bill
I run a D & D 2 into one Boarzilla pipe on my 2015 120 CID Street Glide. It flows great, great quality, never had an issue. A little loud.

jWllie Jim Bob
Pella, IA, IA
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Editor Response Thanks. I passed this onto Frankie.

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.