Archive for May, 2010

Road King goes to: Bosham

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , on May 31, 2010 by bleiglass

The announcement was promising, and the ride to Bosham with the Hogsback Chapter on Bank Holiday was a full success.

Here some of the pictures Syoko and I could take.

11 bikes meet at GHD

and off we go…

Thank you Ruth for leading us through a great afternoon


My 2-up luggage rack dilemma

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , , , on May 29, 2010 by bleiglass

With the purchase of the much needed detachable two-up luggage rack (54215-09) I ended up in a situation that required a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive, a dilemma. I knew I would have to cross this bridge from the first day I saw a Road King Classic, but how best to solve the issue, without moving the bike into “illegality”, had to be addressed right now.

Harley-Davidson’s advertisements are optimized, painting a ideal world of ideal products, but can you spot what is missing on this picture of the detachable two-up luggage rack?

Exactly… where is the bloody huge yellow number plate? Please believe me, this original Harley-Davidson luggage rack does not grant you the license to drive without a number plate, you will loose this argument with the friendly police officer or UK MOT technician.

Here is how my Road King looked with the rack and original number plate

Outch, the plate was too large, and the rear red reflector even raised it more. The plate had to be bent backwards and will surely break within the next 100 miles and damage the delicate chrome of the rack.

I was facing 2 problems: the size of the number plate, and the location of the required red reflector. It is my understanding that the actual size and shape of the number plate is not regulated, only the size of the font, i.e. the height of the letters and numbers.Theoretically you could paint your car yellow and glue black letters on it, or shape it rund, like some Lexus and old Rovers have

The same applies to the rear red reflector, also called catseye, their size and shape seems also not regulated, just the requirement to have a red one to be seen at night without any electric lights on.

Some bikers just glue a small round sized reflector on the back of their bike, and report no problems. But is this a solution or just some dodgy DIY job to please the authorities?

I decided first to reduce the height of the number plate, very slightly, without noticeably changing the font size, by reducing borders and removing all advertisement, fitting all on a 7 x 5.5 inch plate. The original plate was 9 x 7 inch.

Then I removed the red reflector, which finally gave me enough space to fix the new plate below the luggage rack – onto the original number plate holder.

Yes, this picture still shows that my accident damage from when I was hit by a Land Rover, is not yet repaired. Most parts are at the dealership, but the (painted!) rear fender and left saddlebag takes some more time.

And the red reflector? I could glue one onto the number plate each time a MOT is required, but another solution is already on order with Harley-Davidson, and it is called a Rear Fender Tip Light (59685-10). This (expensive) addition will hopefully please every MOT technician and pass as the required rear red catseye.

After a car run into me from behind and I ended in a ambulance, I am happy to be a bit more colorful at the back of my Road King. That is also why I use smoked turn signal lights at the front, but kept the original amber ones at the back. The front view is now in simple dual-color tone black and silver, while the rear is – as legally required – very colorful with black, silver, red, amber and yellow parts.

Classic Car & Bike Meeting at Northfield Farm

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , on May 26, 2010 by bleiglass

As I wrote in my previous post, I spend 2 days at the farm of a friend, Northfield Farm, while he organised a very succesful Classic Car & Bike Meeting.

The drive was the longest I did to date on my Road King Classic, 138 miles one way. Up the M25 clockwise, taking the A1(M) north till after Petersborough, going west on the A606 pass Rutland Waters and Oakham to find the farm on a small side road near Cold Overton.

The weather was said to be good, and it was very good, sunshine and temperatures nearly reaching 30 C, and I was clearly overdressed for the trip and weather.

Please find below some pictures I took during the day, with a strong bias towards motorcycles, as the cars won in number.

Northfield Farm and its staff offer great food, and their meats and farm made hamburgers are the best in the country,  acclaimed by famous chefs like Clarissa Dickson Wright and Rick Stein.

If you would like to join at the nest event, write down the next classic Car & Bike Meet at

Northfield Farm

Sunday 11th July 2010

More information under

Here a rough map, the exact coordinates for your GPS navigator are:

N52 42.081 W000 47.939

Road King goes to: Northfield Farm

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , on May 22, 2010 by bleiglass

This weekend I will drive to a special meeting with a old friend, Jan McCourt at Northfield Farm. He is organizing a Classic Car & Bike Meeting at his farm. The weather looks great fo a ride up north to Rutland Waters, and I hope to be able to take many photos that I will share here on this blog.

If you are in the neighborhood, why not visit too, here the advert and details


First ride with the Hogsback Chapter UK

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , on May 19, 2010 by bleiglass

With my new Harley-Davidson, I also got a year of free HOG membership, and the opportunity to learn, understand and maybe embrace this community.

But the HOG membership is just a start, as the true values are attached to a Chapter membership, and the one associated with my Guildford Harley-Davidson dealership is the Hogsback Chapter UK, which has – as I understand – a long, albeit turbulent, history.

For more information visit the pubic section of their very well organized Website, please find the link in the right panel.

Last weekend I could participated on 2 rides, and I was very impressed by the warm welcome of the other members present. Thank you very much, I am confident we will see more of each other.

Here some pictures I took at the occasions

Connecting a Garmin ZUMO 660 to a 2010 Road King Classic

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , on May 16, 2010 by bleiglass

I thought about it for quite some time, was not sure if a classic Harley-Davidson should have a modern GPS navigator, classic looks versus modern design, less is better versus usability…., at the end the touring aspect won. The Road King Classic is a tourer, and that is what I plan to do, touring, going to distant places I did not go before.

Yes, a map could do, but I like my gadgets and toys, and a GPS navigation unit was already on my Goldwing in 2001, this very basic, colorless and bulky Garmin Streetpilot, that could not tell you left from right, but just put a arrow on the screen to tell you in what direction behind the horizon your destination may be, as if you would be sailing on a yacht on open oceans…

2001 Garmin Streetpilot

For a quarter of the 2001 price of this antique Streetpilot you now get in 2010 a all singing all dancing Garmin ZUMO 660, and I ordered one.

2010 Garmin ZUMO 660

It comes with some useful accessories, a very good and flexible handlebar RAM-mount, and a motorbike connector, a cradle with PowerCable, which you need to fix the ZUMO to your bike and connect to the Road King power supply – if you do not want the unit to run out of battery after 3-5 hours.

Garmin PowerCable

What I planed to do was to connect fused power linea to the Accessory Connector, which I found in front of the battery of my Road King. I did not cut off the other connections (Audio, Mic, USB), just left them untouched.

To to the job, I had first to remove the seat as explained in the owner’s manual.

As the ZUMO PowerCable comes with bare wires, I needed to do some shopping, a Supplementary 12V power point was needed. You can get them from your Harley-Davidson dealership (Part 91843-97), or buy them on eBay from  less reputable source, but cheaper.

Supplementary 12V Power Point (eBay style)

My plan was to lay the cable from the handlebar, below the tank, towards the battery. So first thing I had to do was to remove the tank. That was the most tricky part, and to prepare for the job I had to locate the fuel pump fuse, the fuse box is under the left side cover.

The fuse box

  • With the bike running, I pull the fuel pump fuse until the bike stalled, which took just a few seconds. As the petrol in the injection system is under pressure it would spray all over the place if I didn’t do this prior to disconnecting the fuel line.
  • I could now remove the fuel line under the tank by pulling up on the fitting  and disconnecting the main fuel line, it works similar to a compressed air fitting.
  • After that I remove the console fastener (1:) as well as a small screw at the front of the console,disconnect the electrical fittings (A) from the tank and the console, and pulled the overflow hose (B) off the tank.
  • Now I removed the tank fasteners at the end of the tank (2:), and at each side of the front of the tank.
  • Finally I could lift up the tank slightly first to disconnect the electrical connector under the tank, and then carefully remove tank.

Tank and Console fixings

Connector (A) between Console and Tank

Tank is removed, make sure its nearly run empty

Once the tank was removed, the “plastic” world of my Harley came into view. The black cable tunnel runs from front to back, and has a clip-on cover. My plan was to run the Garmin PowerCable inside this tunnel, along the left side (arrows).

The cover could easily be opened (see arrows for clips), suddenly revealing the verycolorful electrical backbone of the bike.

Now that you have the tunnel open, all you need is find a nice place for the Garmin PowerCable to rest. From the handlebar, I routed it through the Nacelle, together with the cables from the left controls, and from there into the main left side cable channel.

I did not need to remove the Nacelle or any light fittings, the cable fitted through the hole. It is tight, but all I had to remove was the fuse on the Garmin PowerCable. Also the 4:1 bridge passed through without problems.

Now I could close the main cable tunnel again, replace and reconnect the tank and console with all electrical connections, and start to build the final connection, the one to the Supplementary 12V power point I bought, some soldering helped.

I cut off and binned the cigarette lighter type socket and soldered the cables together (2), covering them with Heat-Shrinkable Tubes with Adhesive inner Liner. The lead (3) is wired so the ignition and fairing switch have to in the on position, but it can be changed so it works with the ignition only.

Push the new power point (3) into the Accessory Connector, check the fuse is in the Garmin PowerCable (1), roll and bind the loose cables together and store away in front of the battery (12V). I did the same with the Audio out/Microphone/miniUSB jacks (USB), as I am not yet using them at the moment, but could add later some audio out jack to the right side cover or console, that has not yet been decided. At least they are safe and somewhat protected from the elements against corrosion.

Put the seat back on, connect the ZUMO 660 to the cradle, and off you go. This is how the job looked after less then 2 hours of work.

Important note: this is what I did, I do not recommend
you doing this yourself, I could be wrong and you or your bike
could be damaged in the process.
Please ask your local Harley-Davidson dealership
for advice, or better: let them do it.

About polarized sunglasses

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , on May 11, 2010 by bleiglass

If you want to see your Harley-Davidson in rainbow colors, very easy, just put on some polarized sunglasses.

I was quite surprised when I drove for the first time with my new shades. Took some time before I got them, as I need prescription glasses, and as I used my old sunglasses mainly for driving car and bike, the optician recommended polarized glasses.

Polarization can be observed through scattering when the light passes via the atmosphere. This scattered light creates the color and brightness in a clear sky. Once this scattered light is subjected to partial polarization, it can increase the contrast in such a way that darkening of the sky in a photograph is possible. During sunset, this effect is easily observed from the horizon angling 90 degrees from the setting sun. The brightness of the clouds and sky are drastically reduced. This is the reason why polarization filters are utilized in sunglasses.

But while driving on my MP3 scooter back from work, wearing the new sunglasses for the first time, a very strange effect could be observed: if I look at or through the windshield, it shines in rainbow colors.

After several attempts I managed to capture it on photo. Excuse the somewhat blurred second shot, I had to hold my sunglasses in front of the camera, and refocus, as I use prescription glasses.

Here another view, each time you change your angle of view, the rainbow shifts

But I must say I see better with polarizes sunglasses, the view is much more sharp, full of contrast, without flares and reflections. The rainbow colors mainly appear on the plastic windshields, very strong with my Piaggio MP3, much less pronounced on the Road King Classic. Also very different is the view at the rear window of a car. The glass seems dotted with fingerprints, and as soon as I take the polarized glasses off, the fingerprints disappear. But then I am not able to look through the glass anymore, as its reflections are strong it seems like a mirror.

I think its definitively better (and safer) with the polarized glasses, even with the rainbows on some plastic surfaces.

I read that some car drivers have problems looking out of their car when they added tinted film to their windows, and I see nothing on my Apple iMac when wearing the polarized glasses, the screen turns completely black. This made me worry I would not be able to watch the directions on my Satellite navigation unit, a Garmin ZUMO 660, but after a quick test I can report: the SatNav display is not disturbed by any rainbow or black screen.

The explanation for the dots on rear car windows is not simple: its tempered glass, it has been manufactured in a vertical tempering oven containing small surface depressions resembling dimples along one edge. These marks are caused by the pointed metal tongs which support the glass during its passage through the oven. Glass which is passed horizontally through an oven may contain a very slight surface wave caused by contact with the rollers. The waviness can sometimes be detected when viewing reflected images from a large distance. Finally, the air quench nozzles discharge air in a fixed, reciprocating or rotating motion, and the area of air quench can be seen through polarized glass as arrays of iridescent spots or lines… Understood? Well, I did not write that but ….

I do not want to miss my polarized sunglasses, although there is some getting used to.

Do you see rainbows?