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Stiffey Installation from Rivera-Primo

The First Quick-Install Touring Stabilizer

By Bandit with photos by Wrench

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This is an interesting one. For years, we installed True Track systems to prevent touring Harleys from the negative effects of rear-end sway. The treacherous wobbling can actually lead to devastating high-speed wobbles. Most bikers disliked riding touring H-D motorcycles at high speeds, and wobbling as they passed 18-wheelers, when they were supposed to be relaxing out on the open road.

True Tracks did the job, but they were more involved. Evidently Russ Romero had another stabilizing notion. He designed an off-center alignment cap. It fits into the stock rubber mount, inside the pillow block, and tightens the ability of the swingarm to move laterally.

Russ worked with Ben Kudon at Rivera-Primo for testing and manufacturing. “It basically holds the pivot pin in place,” said Ben Kudon.

The beneficial aspects of this unit include a much reduced cost, and ease of installation. “You can install these in about the time it takes to brush your teeth,” Ben said and smiled.

So we decided to give Stiffeys a shot on my Mudflap Girl FXR. Of course, Ben wants you to remove your battery cables, so you can’t accidentally start you scooter and make a mess of the shop.

We had some discussion about jacking up my FXR. Here’s what the Rivera-Primo.Inc instructions call for. “Securely block your motorcycle in an upright position. Different models will require the removal of exhaust, passenger footboards, etc. Remove whatever is necessary to accomplish the installation per your OE service manual.”

Here's a side few of a rubber isolator and the Rivera Stiffy.
Here's a side few of a rubber isolator and the Rivera Stiffy.

Basically, we wanted to just take the load off the frame in an upright manner. I actually supported the transmission with a wedge, because the entire driveline is held in place by these rubbermounts, and once the pillow blocks are removed, there could be trouble in paradise.

So with just the bike upright, and the transmission supported so weight was relieved from the rubber mounts, I felt comfortable removing the pillow blocks. Later, I asked Ben about removing and operating on one at a time. “You don’t even need to jack the bike,” Ben said, “if you handle it one at a time, since one side will support the bike.”

It’s still a good idea to center the bike and relieve stress from the transmission. “It’s best to install the Stiffey one side at a time to avoid losing alignment of the rear fork with the frame,” Ben added. I also used this opportunity to check the swingarm axle nuts. On the right side I had to remove my D&D muffler. On the left, my cool kickstand mounting system was removed.

I removed my right pillow block and discovered some stainless Allens I purchased for this application. This is where the Stiffey came into play. The Rivera crew recommended smearing the Stiffey with a light coat of grease before shoving it into place.

This shot shows the offset inside both products.
This shot shows the offset inside both products.

Since the axle is offset, turn the Stiffey to align with it, and presto, it slipped right into place in the rubber bushing—easy.

I pushed it right into place with my thumb, done deal. Ben’s directions called for two thumbs, but mine slipped right in, no pressure—presto.

Lastly, I needed to install a greased spacer in the pillow block and install the pillow block. Rivera supplies the kit with two spacer sizes, a thin one about .155-inch thick for 1980-2006 models, and a .050 wide washer for 2007 and later models. Since my bike was all custom, I didn’t have any notion as to the year. “Hey,” Ben said. “the later model pillow blocks won’t accept the early spacer, so it’s a no-brainer.”

I just barely installed the Stiffey under my muffler mounting bar. Close call, otherwise the starter needed to be removed.
I just barely installed the Stiffey under my muffler mounting bar. Close call, otherwise the starter needed to be removed.

The grease-coated .155-inch aluminum spacer slipped into place and I bolted up the pillow blocks and was good to shift to the left side. It was even easier. I shifted back to the right and re-installed my muffler. This puppy was good to go. Rivera offers a one-year warranty to replace or repair their products free of charge.

I can’t wait to go for a ride and test the handling improvements.

Just back from my first ride. I noticed a more solid characteristic to the ride, less sway, and tighter handling, but I did notice increased vibration. I'll report in on further developments, as I cover more miles. I only noticed the increased vibration upon initial acceleration. I need to try some distance miles, like ride to Arizona and never come back...--Bandit 



Should we award Ben at Primo, Russ, or maybe I'll keep her.
Should we award Ben at Primo, Russ, or maybe I'll keep her.

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Reader Comments

I just added the "Stiffey" to my 2005 Ultra Classic, I do like them as far as the handling but the vibration is quite noticeable, has anyone come up with an idea to lessen the vibration?

I was hoping someone has tried a different material spacer? Any Ideas?

Spring lake, MI
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Editor Response These are available through Rivera/Primo. Check to see what they have. Ben Kudon is trying to revive the company. He currently doesn't have them at his new company American Prime.
Any update on this since the install?

Greensburg, PA
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Editor Response Hey G,

It definitely worked, from a handling prospective, but added an element of vibration. Since I'm on an FXR, I don't have the touring model weight issues, so handling wasn't a consideration. They are so easy to install, if you have a handling issue, try them out.
Well I have been running the Stiffy now on my 1982 FXR for about 5 months and it has worked wobble around the corners at all...a well spent $90.00....installed in 30 mins..

My only complaint is it really let you feel the vibration harmonics much more... I need a softer seat...

Gary Poh
Salt Lake City, UT
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Editor Response I need to work with Ben on this. I think there is a balance.

I have a severely modified 82 FXR and was wondering how the "Stiffey worked out in the long run for you...

Seems like a very cheap fix for the wobbles...

Any updates?

Gary Poh
Salt lake City...the city of Speed, UT
Monday, May 6, 2013
Editor Response Gary,

I noticed a significant stabilizing effect, so for the price they are worth a shot. I also notice additional vibration. Let me know what you think.
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