If you have god forbid been injured in a motorcycle accident anywhere in California, give me a call anytime 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 x.1, to discuss your case.
I can get you medical treatment even if you do not have medical insurance,
I will send my investigators to you so you do not have to come into the office.
I will work to get your motorcycle fixed.
I will work to get you all the compensation you are entitled to for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and more.
I am not some marketing scam that you have seen posting flyers all over motorcycle rallies, or biker rags nationwide. I am not “an association of lawyers” who has attorneys paying me money to advertise for them nationwide, and then farms cases out to them. I don’t pass out trinkets and goodies at motorcycle rallies to make you think that I am something I am not. I am not some generic non-riding personal injury attorney who has designed a fancy website to get you to think that they are biker lawyers, which they are not, I am a real deal biker like you. My firm and I handle the actual cases that come in. We say what we are, and are what we say, experts in motorcycle accident cases.
Read my blog below. I am an expert in motorcycle accidents. Like you I am a real biker who rides, and I am an expert in personal injury cases.
Don’t be suckered into signing up with a firm because of fancy advertising, or who do not ride motorcycles, who says they ride just to get you to sign up with them. Don’t be fooled by fancy ads. I am a top rated attorney who rides in the wind just like you.
Enjoy my articles below, there are hundreds of them!
I have created a series of videos to help people wrench on their Harley Davidson motorcycles. The below video discusses not only how to get to the fuse panel on your Harley Davidson Electra glide motorcycle, it also teaches you how to remove your hard saddlebags, how to remove your seat, and how to put it all back together again.
I realize that I am I California motorcycle accident lawyer, but like all bikers I love to wrench on my motorcycle.
I hope you enjoy the below video, and I’m sure it’ll help many people who don’t blow to get to their fuse box, or how to remove their hard saddlebag, or how to remove their seat, to do so with ease.
I for the most part have worked my tail off since the age of 14 when I got my first job as a Bus Boy at a pizza joint in Canoga Park, CA called “Mancini’s Pizza Boy.”
I have taken time off here and there for short vacations, but I have never really had what I call a long vacation.
Well that is about to change.
I just celebrated my 49th birthday two days ago.
It has always been my dream to travel this great nation, The United States of America, on the ground where I can really enjoy it.
Yes, I have flown all over the nation, and to various other countries, but that is not the same as traveling on the ground. Yes, I have ridden my motorcycle near and far, but I have not traveled the entire nation for an extended period of time let alone one month.
That is about to change.
I am about to embark in my trusted class A, 35′ Georgie Boy” on a one month exploration of this great nation.
My dingy will be my Electra Glide Ultra Classic which will be towed behind on a Trinity 3 motorcycle trailer from theusatrailerstore.com.
This will be the first time I take a vacation where I am actually trailering my motorcycle. Secondly, I am not ashamed to say that I will be trailering my motorcycle on this trip. This is an RV trip where I will be living in the RV while I travel cross country, not a motorcycle trip where I sleep in a tent or motel.
I could always travel on the motorcycle and then stay in hotels or motels, but that would not be the same as traveling the nation in my RV. My plan is to park each late afternoon at an RV park, hookup the RV to everything, unhook the motorcycle, and off we go.
If all goes well we will be off the road by 3 or 4 each afternoon so we can take the Harley out and explore.
I call the Georgie Boy my mobile law office because it will be impossible for me to get away from the office for a month without working, hell I have a trial starting up in Fresno County on September 9, 2012. I will do consultations, and work cases while in the RV via wireless internet, and one hell of an office phone system.
For my many clients do not worry, our office will still operate at full capacity, and I will still be available at 800-816-1529 ext. 3. If I don’t pick up right away, do not fear, I will be returning calls from the road. My paralegal Kathy Serpas will be available at x. 420, as well as the rest of my staff.
As for the trip, the plan at the present time is to travel from Southern California, through Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and then up through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and then Washington DC. If there is time we will try to make NY City. If not we will go to Pennsylvania, and then back west through South Dakota and Sturgis, and from there we will probably do the direct route back through Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and then back to Southern California.
This will be a one month trip but the plan is not to rush to each destination from day to day, which would be no fun. I plan on taking it easy because I want to see the sites and enjoy the trip. I may stay a couple of days at a particular location like the sunny beaches of Florida, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, (I cannot wait to walk the fields of Gettysburg; I am a civil war buff) and South Dakota.
I plan on writing Blog articles each night from whatever destination I am at so each of my Biker Law Blog readers can take the trip with me. There will be pictures and video as well.
I will be writing more articles before I leave on the trip. I already have open invites for lunch and dinner from at least 100 of my Facebook friends in the various States I will be traveling in. Maybe I will meet some of you along the way as well.
The title of this story is “Planning the trip of a lifetime.” However, I have decided that this will be the first of my “trips of a lifetime.” I will try to do a similar trip every year to two years from here on out, or at the worst case, to truncate my trips to two weeks. For me this is a beginning of something new.
See you all on the road.
If you had a motorcycle anywhere in California or you were a passenger in a motorcycle accident, you may call us for a free consultation 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1526 x. 1.
I have been a serious long distance motorcycle rider for many years now. You may ask what is a long distance motorcycle rider. To me a long distance motorcycle rider is someone who rides 800 or more miles on a motorcycle trip multiple times a year.
So according to my definition, even a first time rider who does a few 800 mile or more motorcycle trips per year would qualify as a long distance motorcycle rider.
I regularly do trips of 1000 miles or more like they are no big deal.
I know many guys who are bikers, and what some would consider to be hardcore bikers, that literally do nothing but bar hop on their motorcycles. To them doing 300 miles in a day is unheard of. Further, many of these guys have motorcycles that are in no way set up to do any serious mileage.
Most of these guys do not have saddle bags, and brag about how they do not need wind screens.
I am not going to knock these guys that are basically local bikers, but they really have no clue what it is like to be a long distance biker.
There are also what I call your ubiquitous trailer queens. These are guys that trailer their motorcycle to events, and then unhook them and ride at the actual event, making it appear that they rode to the event. This article not about packing up your car, it is about packing up your motorcycle.
Unless you are doing an Iron Butt Ride which is 1000 miles in a 24 hour period, (basically nonstop riding except to stop for gas and quick meals) a 1000 mile or more motorcycle trip will be a trip that is at least a 2 days or more.
I have done runs that last a week or more.
The big issue for me on long distance motorcycle trips is; what should I carry on the trip, and how should I carry what I need on the trip.
For me what to carry with on long distance motorcycle runs is almost automatic. I carry:
Small Tool Kit
1 Quart of Oil
Sunglasses, and clear night glasses
Warm weather and cold weather gloves.
Emergency Contact Form
Fine cotton cloths
Plexus windshield cleaner
And whatever else I may need.
When I go on long distance motorcycle runs at least for the past 11 years or so, Elizabeth has been with me. Therefore inevitably, I also have to carry her purse, gloves, jacket, chaps, and whatever else she might want to bring as well which always includes her makeup and cloths.
In the past when I just had a softail or regular large cruiser motorcycle and no bagger, (see the picture above, the motorcycle is packed up to the brim, with tents, chairs, and everything for a full motorcycle rally.) my solution to accommodate all of the stuff that I like to carry, was to first to buy soft saddlebags, or a locking rigid saddlebag system, install a luggage rack behind the sissy bar, and buy a T-Bag soft luggage system that sat on the luggage rack behind the sissy bar, and then secured around the sissy bar.
The locking saddlebag system, called Leatherlykes Bags, was better than soft saddle bags, because they were bigger, and I could lock the bags and walk away without worrying about being ripped off.
I used the soft T-Bag motorcycle luggage system on a couple of my motorcycles. After a few years, I switched from the T-Bags, to something called the Kuryakyn Full Dresser Bag, when they first came out. This bag had a rigid plastic shelving system in it, held more stuff then the T-Bags, and actually looked better as well. Not only that, but it had a wheel system on it like conventional luggage so when I got to a destination, I could lift it off, and wheel it in.
I used this system a few times on my FLHT Electra Glide Standard when I got her, but once I put the removable Tour Pak on; there was no room for the Full Dresser Bag.
For 6 years with the Electra Glide we would use plastic bags to fill up the side hard Harley Davidson Saddle bags, and the Tour Pak. We would also utilize the luggage rack on top of the tour pak to bungee tie our leathers as necessary.
I eventually went back to T-Bags and got a Dakota bag which is specifically designed to fit the premium luggage rack on a Harley Davidson Electra Glide Tour Pak.
The Dakota Bag is so big, that it pretty much holds everything we need. Obviously there are some items that will not fit in the Dakota, so we continue to keep small plastic bags in the hard side saddle bags.
Liz and I are talking about riding cross country this summer. I figure on a cross country run we are not going to want to have to constantly lift the Dakota Bag off everytime we stop, and we are not going to want to have to park in a place where we can see the bike everytime we stop so someone does not rip off our Dakota bag.
I can get a cargo trailer that holds anywhere from 18 cubic feet of stuff, up to 25-26 cubic feet depending upon how much I want to spend, or how big I want the trailer to be.
I would need to install a motorcycle ball hitch onto my motorcycle for the trailer to hook onto, and rig up a wiring harness for brake and signal lights on the trailer.
It looks like there are many off the shelf trailer solutions for my Harley Davidson Electra Glide.
A cargo trailer at least to me would be the optimum way to travel cross country on a motorcycle, because we can just throw everything we want to take in the trailer, plus there will be room to store souvenirs if we decide to buy any along the way.
The trailer will take away the fun of trying to cram everything into a few small spaces on the motorcycle.
Even with a full Harley Davidson Electra Glide Custom Ultra, things can get tight real quick.
On a cross country trip I want to be able to enjoy the ride and the sights, without worrying about having to wash clothes every couple of days on the road.
There are many out there that say towing a cargo trailer behind a motorcycle is dangerous. Based upon my research, it can be done safely so long as you get used to it and take it easy just like anything else.
In closing, I have found that rigid saddlebags, a nice luggage rack mounted soft or rigid motorcycle luggage system, tour paks, and cargo trailers, all will allow you to carry the things you need on a long distance motorcycle run. What you do is really up to you.
This year Liz and I have ridden to motorcycle rallies all over the western United States. You can read my many reviews about these rallies here on the Biker Law Blog.
The key word that you will notice in the previous paragraph is “ridden.” I have never caged and/or trailered a motorcycle to a motorcycle rally. I always ride, and I will continue to do so long as god lets me.
The reason I mention this is that when you watch the video below taken by me at the rally, you will hear me confronting bottom feeder so-called biker attorney’s representatives at these rallies. Don’t worry, I will write a complete article on this subject coming up.
So let’s talk about the Palm Springs American Heat 2011 Motorcycle Rally.
Palm Springs is approximately 125 miles from my house plus or minus a few miles one way.
I really wanted to attend this rally because I am going to have what I am told is an extremely painful surgery that I have been putting off on October 28, 2011. The surgery and the recovery therefrom will take me off work, and put me out of the saddle from what I am told, for at least a month.
Further, this motorcycle rally marks the last major motorcycle rally on the west coast for the season.
The last time I went to this rally, I actually laid my motorcycle down to avoid a careless motorcycle rider who turned directly in front of my while I was leading a pack of motorcycles. The result was minor injuries to me and my motorcycle. It would have been much worse had I t-boned the idiot that pulled in front of me. Further, right after the accident, I lost my ATM card at a gas station, and when I called my bank to report it, I was informed that my account had been cleaned out. This is a whole other story. I was basically stuck in Palm Springs with just the money in my pocket. The experience kind of ruined the rally for me the last time I was there.
This year was much better.
I was actually going to ride to the rally by myself this year, however, due to Liz being able to find someone to care for our dogs and puppies; I was able to take her with me. We will give away the pups in the next few days so we will not have to worry about this issue anymore.
The ride to the rally took about 2 hours, and it was a real good ride. The weather was basically in the mid 90’s the entire time. Eat your heart out, mid 90’s in the middle of October, which is warm this time of year, even for Southern California.
The new Harley Davidson I have has a built in intercom, with the speakers and microphone setup mounted in our modular helmets. It is really cool being able to listen to tunes clearly while on the road, plus have a conversation with Liz while riding.
However, we still like to be quite most of the time while we ride, it is just habit.
We pulled into Palm Springs in the afternoon at around 2pm. It was about 100 degrees out and hot. We decided to cruise the strip before we got something to eat.
The strip was full of the roar of motorcycles, and of course many motorcycles. I have been to hundreds of motorcycle rallies, but I always get excited when I see this many motorcycles and hear the roar. For me it is addicting.
They had the main drag blocked off for pedestrians and vendors. We cruised around once, and then decided to hit Denny’s to get some chow before we came back to the rally location.
After lunch we rode to the rally location on the main drag. You can see from my video below courtesy of my GoPro helmet cam, the ride from the Denny’s to almost the rally location. Due to my not having fully charged batteries on the GoPro cam, I was only able to get a little bit of video from the Denny’s to the main rally location. However, the rest of the video with my hand held HD camera shows the main drag.
Once we got to the rally location, some guy with a custom and what must have been a 400 tire on the rear of his motorcycle, asked me about my GoPro cam, we had a short conversation, and then Liz and I did our thing.
Most motorcycle rallies at least to me, have basically become shopping malls with mostly girly type of jewelry and other stuff. Palm Springs is probably worst of all because it appeared that the local merchants were out with totally non related biker stuff, also selling their wares. I can understand it.
We had a good time walking the main strip looking at merchandise, and buying some merchandise, listening to the band, the stunt entertainment, and looking at all of the people.
We did not leave until dark. It seemed to me that it kind of got real weird after dark. There were a lot of cops at the rally, and they seemed to me to be more aggressive and more visible when it got dark. They were doing some pull overs and they were all over the place.
Hell I am an attorney and a law abiding citizen and to be frank, I felt real uncomfortable with what I saw going on at night.
Liz and I decided to head over to the Morongo Casino to try our luck. She lost around 300 bucks, I won around 200 bucks, and then we called it a night.
The next day, we did our traditional Joshua Tree – Pioneer Town run, and then rode home.
All in all I enjoyed the Palm Springs motorcycle rally. To be frank it was better than Reno and Las Vegas combined this year. I just enjoyed it more for some reason.
Now for me the 2011 motorcycle rally season is pretty much over since I am having the surgery on 10/28/11, and will be out for a month.
I am going to try to get a ride in this weekend, because the surgery is next Friday. Fun fun fun.
Check out the video of the Palm Springs American Heat Rally 2011 I shot below. Tell me if there is a problem with the audio. The master tape has no problem with the audio but it seems like YouTube may be screwing up the audio.
My old lady and I just completed a run up to the Reno Street Vibrations Biker Rally this past weekend.
It was around a 450 mile run each way from our home, and sure was an exercise in extreme weather riding for us Southern Californians, who are used to mild temperatures.
The route we took was from the 14 freeway to Highway 395 to the 80, and to our hotel in Reno.
The day we rode up to Reno, Friday, September 23, 2011, started out to be a mild day. The weather was calm at 5:30am when we left our home, around 75 degrees.
As we started riding north, the weather got hotter and hotter, cooled off, and then got hot again as the day went on.
You see highway 395 took us through the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, past Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in North America, up around 8,000 feet and higher, then through Carson City (Lake Tahoe is just above Carson City), and then to Reno which is basically in the Nevada Desert.
I usually wear a light long sleeve type of t-shirt on hot days to protect my skin from the sun, and blue jeans. I know I should wear an armored fabric type of jacket, and I am in the process of trying to find a good one.
My old lady also wears long sleeves, and usually always wears chaps as well.
On Friday, due to traffic conditions, an accident in a bad spot where a biker went down due to a defective road under construction, the heat, and the extreme traffic in Reno again due to construction and the fact that lane splitting is illegal in Nevada, Liz and I were totally spent by the time we got to Reno.
My new Electra Glide Ultra got so hot that it almost cooked that day.
We tried as best as we could to hydrate along the way, but I think that we over did it on Friday. We both almost suffered severe heat stroke by the time we got to Reno. We were both dizzy and sick upon arrival.
I was in such a rush to get to Reno; I ignored my basic riding principals!
In the future, I will make sure we take more breaks, hydrate more, and give ourselves more time to get to a long destination.
450 miles in one day riding two up, is a very long ride under any circumstances. In heat it can be tough.
On the way back from Reno, it was warm when we left, but soon, when we got up into the mountains, we suffered severe weather. There was lighting storms, rain, hail, and cold. Imagine going from warm to very cold in just a few miles.
I let Liz use my chaps since she left hers with a friend by mistake, I put a sweatshirt on, my leather jacket, my gauntlet gloves, and we proceeded through the severe weather.
Upon reaching Lone Pine, we stopped to get some food at the Mt. Whitney Restaurant. (A great local restaurant with damn good food.)
Lone Pine is a tourist town along the 395 which caters to people on their way to see Mt. Whitney and Yosemite.
When we walked into the restaurant to eat, we were all bundled up in leathers and more, all of the locals were in t-shirts and shorts. I took my jacket off and sure enough it was at least 80 degrees outside.
We went from warm in Reno when we left, to cold lighting storms, back to warm again, all within a 300 mile stretch.
I proceeded to take my leather jacket and gauntlet’s off again, and switch to light gloves, and then we got on the road again.
There was a 30 mile stretch after Lone Pine, just before Mohave and the 14, where I never was so afraid in my life while riding a motorcycle.
Out of no-where we hit cold, and 60-70 mile per hour wind gusts or more that literally almost knocked my bike over while we were riding.
The wind was hitting us from the side going north to south. When a gust would hit us it caused my head to jerk hard to the left. It also caused the bike to jerk violently, and I have a very heavy bike.
Liz and I had our intercom hooked up, and she was freaking out. I had to tell her to be quiet and not panic. The wind was so bad that I knew if I slowed down and tried to pull over there would be no way I could hold the bike up. I knew the wind would knock us over.
I knew the forward energy and centrifugal force of the tires turning made it safer for us to keep riding than trying to stop.
I was genuinely afraid like I have never been before in my life while riding. It was a horrible experience, especially in the pitch dark of the Mohave Desert.
When we got to a 76 truck stop in Mohave where the 14 hits the 395 we pulled over to get our bearings back. It was then that another couple pulled in on a motorcycle in a panicked state.
They were on a Harley Davidson Road Glide, they each had beanie helmets on with clear glasses on for eye protection, and they were even more panicked than we were.
The women got off of the back of her old man’s bike and literally hugged him and would not let go.
We discussed the fact that it was by the grace of god that we all made it through unscathed.
I put my leather jacket and gauntlet’s back on and we rode off watching the woman from the other bike hugging her old man like there was no tomorrow.
Moral to the story; when riding a motorcycle, be prepared for any weather.
I love this time of year. It is not too hot, not too cold. Basically perfect for riding motorcycles.
Today I had plans to meet my bros at a bar at 11am, and then ride to a Vietnam Veterans event in the Antelope Valley.
Let me add that I have been clean and sober for going on 14 years, so when I go to bars I don’t drink alcohol.
My wife and I got up early. We each had some coffee, suited up for our riding day, put our sun screen on, and then headed out.
It was a beautiful day, with not a cloud in the sky. Literally a perfect motorcycle riding day.
We rode out to the bar where my bro’s were waiting. My wife socialized with some of my bro’s old ladies, while I shot the shit with my bro’s for a while before the ride.
My bro’s invited some guests on the ride to the Vietnam Vet’s event. All of the guests were cool heads, and there were a couple of cool gal’s with them who were riding their own scoots.
One small gal had some pretty high ape hangers. I must say, I was impressed by her riding style. She can put many men to shame with her riding skills.
The gal’s took my wife out to see their motorcycles, and now Liz wants to go take a motorcycle riding course, so I can buy here a Harley Davidson Sportster. I wonder how she got it in her head that I was going to buy here a Sportster.
I must say I have mixed emotions about my old lady riding her own motorcycle. She has totaled at least 3 cars since I have known her. She is not the most careful person I know. I am not sure if she would have the concentration necessary to ride a motorcycle.
One of the guys mentioned to me that his wife was the same way. However, once she got her own bike, she was real careful.
I must admit, it would be kind of cool to have my wife riding next to me. Anyway, we will see. I will let you know if she goes for it. I don’t see any harm in her taking the MSF approved riding course for now.
Hell she was already talking about taking my Electra Glide…. There is a bat’s chance in hell of that happening.
Getting back to the story……..
We all left the bar for the ride to the Vietnam Veteran’s event. The gal with the high ape hangers was riding next to me.
It was not a long ride to the event, but it was a nice ride. We really enjoyed it.
Once at the event, we shook hands all around, had some good barbecue, listened to some good music, and watched the raffle drawings for prizes.
We stayed for a few hours, and then parted ways. My wife and I decided to take a little ride through the Mohave Desert.
Basically it was a great friggen day!
If you do not ride motorcycles, I would not expect you to comprehend in the slightest how a basic day like today, can become a great day, simply by jumping on a motorcycle and riding, but it was.
If you are curious as to what I am talking about, go out and get a motorcycle, and then you too shall see.
Next weekend, some bros and I are probably going to be riding up to Northern California. Hell, maybe I will be writing about a great weekend. We will see.
See below for a video demonstrating how the mufflers sound.
Many of my friends have aftermarket exhaust systems on their motorcycles which sound great and are not too obnoxious. Some have exhausts which are so obnoxious, that they would cause strain on long rides.
Through the years I have tried many different types of mufflers on many different types of motorcycles.
For about 5 years, I have run Screaming Eagle slip on mufflers on my Harley Davidson Electra Glide, with a stage 1 setup on my carb. and air filter. It is basically a Screaming Eagle stage 1 setup. Other than that, I am running a stock Harley Davidson 88 c.i. Twincam engine.
My right muffler developed bluing where the head pipe met the slip on muffler, very soon after I put the Screaming Eagle mufflers on the motorcycle.
I recently decided to try out some new slip on mufflers. My criterion was that I wanted my mufflers to have some bark, but not be too obnoxious.
As I have said many times before, I am a Biker Lawyer and Attorney, not a mechanic.
In the past, I have had my slip-on’s put on by the dealer. However, now there are many dealers who will not install slip-on’s due to E.P.A. regulations.
I almost pulled the trigger on some slip-on’s at the Laughlin River Run, but they were gouging the prices a bit, plus I did not want to wait any longer than I had already waited to get repairs done to my motorcycle.
After doing research on the internet, including watching some YouTube videos of guys installing slip-on’s, I decided that I could do the install myself this time which would save both time and money.
Some guys are running mufflers with no baffles. This is not only obnoxious and loud as hell, it is illegal. Further, unless you have some serious engine modifications, and/or carb. jetting, or fuel injector mapping modifications, running with no baffles will make your engine run too lean, and can burn your engine out.
Read the rest of the review below the video.
On top of that running open pipes without mods. will actually decrease your power output.
Baffles are encasing’s in the mufflers which decrease or muffle the sound of your exhaust/motorcycle. The smaller the baffle diameter, the less sound that is supposed to come out of the muffler.
Conversely, the smaller the baffle diameter in the muffler, the less exhaust flow you will have through the muffler, and the less power you will get out of your motorcycle engine.
Although in the past, I would just buy a set of mufflers for my other motorcycles, and just go with whatever I bought, this time, I decided to do a significant amount of research on the internet to determine which set of mufflers I would put on my Electra Glide.
One thing I have learned with Harley Davidson’s as opposed to other types of cruiser motorcycles is that you have a huge selection of options. Further, the sky is the limit as to how much money you can spend as well.
There are slip on mufflers out there such as the Vance & Hine wide ovals that run around $700.00, or you can get a set of LaRosa Design mufflers on EBay for $99.00.
It is reported that each of the above mufflers sound great.
After doing a bunch of research, I decided the best bet would be to get some muffles on eBay, because I could save money on used mufflers, and if I did not like the mufflers I could simply sell them again without taking a loss.
I also did not want to spend $400-600 dollars on new mufflers that could be a hit or miss with respect to being too loud, or that had an exhaust note that I did not like.
Many guys on the internet forums recommended Rush Mufflers as being a good sounding muffler, and not too expensive. I also read good things about LaRosa Design Mufflers, which were also supposed to have a great sound at a low price.
I decided to buy a set of Rush Mufflers with 2 inch baffles, and a set of LaRosa Design Mufflers with 1 7/8 baffles to test out.
I saw many guys bidding away on almost the exact mufflers in other auctions. Hell some guys were paying about $300.00 for the same used mufflers in other auctions. I just got lucky in my auction. The secret was to go with someone who was not too savvy with their auction design on eBay so that it was not too flashy!
Another excellent feature of these mufflers is that the Rush mufflers feature removable baffles, and you can buy different size baffles from them at their website here. I am running the 2 inch baffles. If I want to quiet it down a bit I can buy smaller diameter baffles.
The baffles can be removed and replaced with one bolt on the bottom.
When I received the mufflers you could tell they were used by looking inside of the pipes and seeing the grit, but the Chrome on the outside was in surprisingly good condition, they were basically new. The mufflers were heavy duty, and actually heavier than the Screaming Eagles. They appear to be longer than the Screaming Eagle mufflers as well, and protrude further out of the back than my Screaming Eagles did.
Now I could see why the guys on the forums were recommending them, these are top quality mufflers for a better price. But did they sound good?
The slash-up design fits the taper and shape of the back of the Harley Davidson hard saddlebags, I like the look. My Screaming Eagles were slash downs.
The install was kind of a bitch to say the least.
The easy part was removing the hard saddlebags on each side to get to the mufflers, which I did.
I decided that the install would be easier if I removed the heat shields on each side, so that is what I did, I removed the right and left heat shields which butt up next to the mufflers for easier access.
I then unbolted the muffler on the right hand side from the clamp at the head pipe, and the two bolts below the saddlebag bar, no problem.
I then tried removing the Screaming Eagle muffler on the right hand side; it would not budge. I tried twisting and pulling, it would not budge; it was stuck on real good. This is the muffler that blued so I was worried that the damm thing was welded on to the head pipe.
I decided to take a break and do the left side pipe. This one came off easy.
After trying everything to get the muffler off and failing, I in the end, went to Home Depot, and purchased a strap wrench to get the right muffler off. It worked like a charm, but I still had to use some heavy elbow grease. It finally came off.
The strap wrench is basically a rubber strap that wraps around the muffler and attaches to a special handle which allows you to get rotational torque around the muffler without damaging or scratching the chrome.
The install of the left muffler was no problem at all, it slipped right on; the right muffler did not seem to fit. It would not slip on!
Hell, I had my wife hold the front of the motorcycle, as I tried to force the muffler onto the head pipe. I sprayed WD-40 and Silicon lubricant onto the damm thing, but it was a no go. The muffler simply would not fit onto the head pipe. I pushed and twisted so hard, I was worried that I would damage the head pipe or the connection between the head pipe and the cylinder.
I went on the forums to see if I could find a solution. As usual there were many good solutions from buying a tool to expand the muffler pipe, to using other creative methods.
I decided that the best solution would be to take the muffler to an automotive muffler shop the next day, and have them expand the muffler pipe where it slips onto the head pipe.
I found a place close by. They charged me $10 bucks to expand the muffler pipe. This solution was cheaper and faster than buying a tool to do it, and it took no time whatsoever other than driving down there.
When in doubt, use professionals who know what they are doing.
I decided to run by the Harley dealership to buy a new muffler clamp for the right side as well. These are supposed to be single use items. They only had one left. I reused my old clamp on the left hand side and have no problems with it.
When I got home the muffler slipped on very easily, probably too easily. I was worried that the muffler guy may have expanded the muffler pipe too much.
My worries were unfounded. Once I tightened up the clamps and bolts on the slip-on’s, and checked very carefully, everything was great, with no apparent leaks.
After I started my Electra Glide, I first felt that the mufflers kind of sounded like my Screaming Eagles or just a tad deeper and louder.
When I did my ubiquitous test ride down my block with no helmet on, it sounded a bit louder and deeper. However, when I got back in the garage, my wife said they were much louder and deeper. I could not tell.
However, I then went on two day riding binge and discovered that these pipes are much louder and deeper than the Screaming Eagles, no doubt about that. I am quite satisfied.
Hell with ear plugs in; my ears were ringing pretty well after the two day jaunt. I do have tinnitus or ringing in my ears that gets worse at times with loud sounds.
I have decided to keep the Rush slip-on’s, and to sell the LaRosa mufflers that I purchased brand new without installing them. Why play around if I am satisfied.
As of right now I have a pair of stock mufflers, a pair of Screaming Eagles, and the LaRosa’s.
I give the Rush slip-on mufflers a big thumbs up and would recommend them above all.
I am a long distance motorcycle rider. This summer I am not only planning on riding to the Sturgis motorcycle rally which is a 2700 mile round trip plus ride, I am also planning on doing other rides, not to mention the 2000 miles I have already put on in the last couple of months. I wanted a state of the art stereo on my motorcycle with built in MP3 for my music collection, a built in High Definition receiver, and the ability to have built in Satellite reception for when I am in the middle of no where. I want to listen to CNN in the middle of the Western Desert!
In 2005 I switched to a Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorcycle from a traditional cruiser motorcycle. Before 2005, I had never ridden with a stereo system built into a motorcycle before, hell a windscreen was luxury to me back then. Since 2005, I have become spoiled. I will probably always ride baggers from here on out. Once you get used to luxury it is hard to turn back.
My Harley Davidson Electra Glide came with the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound system installed in the bat wing fairing, which in of itself has done its job quite well over the last 5 years, but the technology is outdated, even on the new units.
On my unit, there was a built in CD player, minimal AM/FM presets, built in weather band, and a sensor which increased volume as I would increase speed on the motorcycle. There was also an auxiliary input which allowed me to plug in an external MP3 player so I could listen to my music collection. The system worked with my OEM hand controls so that I could virtually control the entire stereo via my OEM handlebar mounted hand controls on the Electra Glide. The unit is great, but it is old technology. If all you want is a standard CD, a few AM/FM presets, and weather band, this unit is perfect for you. I am a tech geek, I wanted more!
Over the years I have plugged in an I-Pod, a smaller MP3 player, and I have also used my Garmin GPS to serve music to the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System via a cable plugged from the device to the auxiliary input of the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System. It worked, but to be frank, there was no real control of the tunes being played unless I dangerously tried to skip tracks while I was riding because the external device was controlling what was being played rather than the head unit. There were issues with the volume of my MP3 device having to be cranked up to full volume to sound good through the auxiliary input, and each device sounded different through the stock stereo.
Furthermore, the cable plugged in from my GPS, or a device in my pocket looked like crap, it flutters in the wind, and the quality of having an external connection is not as good as it could be. Not only that, but everytime I got off the motorcycle, I would have to unplug my external MP3 player, turn off the external MP3 Players, etc. If the battery wore out on my external MP3 Player, I was shit out of luck. Lately using the GPS solved many of the problems, but I had no real control of the tunes being served to the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System. When I got back on the motorcycle, I would have to plug everything back in, and start the MP3 player before I started riding, a real hassle; I am sure you get the picture, because many of you are doing this right now!
For short trips, rather than plugging in my external MP3 player, I used one of my home burned CD’s in the OEM system, which I have probably listened to over a 100 times now. It gets old if you know what I mean.
Let’s face it, with MP3, standard CD’s are obsolete, even CD units which read MP3’s, and other digital formats are obsolete because you can only fit so much on a disk, and most of these units have a limit as to how many tracks can be on a disk even if you buy the more expensive DVD format units.
Modern technology allows you to literally have every song ever made on one thumb drive, or standard USB disk drive now. There is no reason to ever have to switch CD’s anymore. Most of you including me don’t have every song ever made on disk, but my collection is almost 4GB and growing weekly.
There was an MP3 option for the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System, but it is an external unit that mounts to the handlebars and it is ridiculously expensive for what they give you. Plus you are severely limited to memory on Harley Davidsons MP3 option. On top of that, the new Harley Davidson Advanced Sound Systems need to be programmed at the dealer. If the unit goes dead, it can only be revived by a dealer reprogramming it. How much would that cost everytime? No thanks, I love Harley Davidson, but the reason I am upgrading is to go state of the art. Their solution is not state of the art.
The Biketronics Article and Review Continues below the two videos.
One good thing about the Harley Davidson Unit is that it was as reliable as a beast. It is basically waterproof. I have ridden through rain storms, and washed my motorcycle many times, and the stereo kept working no problem.
Well recently, I decided to upgrade my stereo to an aftermarket non OEM stereo so that I could have modern electronics on my motorcycle the way I wanted it, and not the way Harley Davidson wanted it.
My first dilemma was to find a stereo system (head unit) that would work with the existing hand controls on my Harley Davidson Electra Glide, and that would mount in the faring without having to modify the OEM wiring. I wanted a plug and play solution.
I found two companies which allow you to adapt aftermarket stereo systems to the motorcycle, using the OEM wiring, and your existing Harley Davidson Hand Controls. One of the companies is called Biketronics, and the other one is called Hawg Wired. Each of these companies sells adapters and units which allow you to mount an aftermarket stereo into a Harley Davidson Cruiser without having to change any of the wiring, and let’s you use your hand controls, just like you would with a Harley Davidson Stereo.
A negative note with upgrading the stereo unit with an aftermarket solution is that replacing the head unit will disable your built in CB, and intercom if you have it on your motorcycle. I myself have an FLHT Electra Glide Standard that had the Advanced Sound System installed by the dealer upon pickup of the motorcycle. I did not have the CB or intercom option installed because I don’t use them.
Let’s be frank, at highway speed on a Harley Davidson, a CB or intercom are virtually useless because of the wind noise anyway, so it is a feature I did not waste my money on.
Furthermore, even if I did have the CB or intercom installed on my Electra Glide, I would willingly disable them anyway in order to have a turnkey state of the art stereo on my motorcycle, that I could upgrade in the future for a nominal cost, as technology advances. There are Bluetooth headsets out there now that mount to your helmet that can be used to replace the CB or intercom if you absolutely have to have those options. The tradeoff depends on you. For me the decision was a no brainer.
After much research, and a lengthy telephone call, I opted to go with the Biketronics setup, because of the good reviews I read about them on the internet, (their units have a lifetime warranty) and their units seemed to be more straightforward to me. I must note that many guys said good things about Hawg Wired as well.
A Biketronics tech support guru spent at least a half an hour on the phone with me before and after my purchase. You can tell that they are bikers themselves, and are really into their product. They know what they are talking about.
The guy from Biketronics highly recommended a Sony Marine Unit that they sell because they are waterproof. However, my Internet research showed that guys without the Marine Units who wash their motorcycles, and ride through rain, have ridden for years with a standard unit with no problems at all. Furthermore, the Sony Marine Unit did not have all of the features that I wanted, which was the whole reason for upgrading anyway. I wanted my stereo to be state of the art, the way I wanted it to be!
Another factor that was a deal maker for me was that Biketronics stated that if you use a Sony head unit, their adapters were plug and play, including the mounting unit they sell, and the clear plastic cover they sell for their mount as well to protect the unit from rain or water. This is what I wanted; plug and play, no hassles.
My next issue was which stereo system to buy. Biketronics sells a complete kit including Sony Stereo, Hog Tunes speakers, all of their adapters, a clear plastic splash cover, and a powered in fairing antenna. The cost of this package which includes the basic Sony CDX-GT640UI was $509.88 with free shipping. Biketronics also sells a couple of other Sony Head Units, including a waterproof marine version. The other Sony Head Units will add an additional $10-$40 dollars to the cost of the package I mentioned above.
To put this in prospective, a Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System is around $1,000.00 and does not include the Hog Tunes Speakers or the powered in fairing antenna, and the Harley Davidson Stereo is obsolete compared to the Sony Stereo.
Further, I wanted to be able to buy the Head Unit that I wanted rather than going with only the head units that Biketronics sells, plus I did not want to put all of my eggs into one basket.
For Stereo (head unit) research online, there is one vendor that I know and trust, and that is Crutchfield Electronics. They are the car and home stereo experts online. They have a huge selection of stereos, they have all of the features, specs, pictures, and options, online, and they are reputable. You can speak to them 24 hours a day and they honor warranties and have a generous return policy. I previously purchased my powered in fairing antenna from them for $19.00 which is around $20.00 cheaper than the Biketronics version, and it appears to be the same thing!
I went one step further; I wanted to look at all car stereos and not just the Sony’s.
Biketronics and Hawg Wired both sell kits to adapt to non Sony units that work with your OEM wiring, and OEM hand controls, but based upon what I read, the install might be a bit more dicey for non Sony systems, rather than just settling for a Sony which is guaranteed to work with the Biketronics. The caveat is that whatever stereo I chose must have a plug in for the steering wheel controls, which is how both Biketronics and Hawg Wired adapt the Harley Davidson Hand Controls to the stereo system.
I looked at many different stereo systems. I spent days looking at systems. I finally found the Sony CDX-GT700HD which you can see by clicking here, for $179.00 with free shipping. This unit is only $20.00 more than the base unit that comes with the Biketronics Kit, and the biggest difference is that it has a built in High Definition Digital Receiver on top of the standard Analog AM/FM receiver. None of the other stereos I looked at had the built in HD receiver. On the others you need to buy an HD Receiver Adapter for an additional $150 or so. This included the Pioneer’s, the Alpine’s, the JVC’s, and other stereo’s I looked at.
Another big feature is that this unit has a front slide covered plug in USB port, and auxiliary port. I realized that I could plug in a thumb drive into the front with my entire music collection on it, and that the stereo would control it digitally without having to convert from Analog to Digital like I used to have to do with my Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System with the auxiliary port.
The Sony CDX-GT700 HD also has a XM or Sirius direct Satellite radio tuner option that installs right into the unit, so that I would not have to worry about having an external satellite receiver plugging into the Auxiliary port of the stereo, or using FM from a separate Satellite receiver to transmit to the head unit. I could control the Satellite directly from the Head Unit while on the road. This is what I am talking about!
Another feature for a stereo that I was going to mount on my motorcycle is that I wanted a removable face plate that I could make non removable if I wanted, and I wanted the CD plug in to be behind the faceplate to prevent dust and dirt from going into it.
Now the Sony stereo which has unparalleled sound quality, has so many features and specs that there is no way that I can cover them here. All I can say is that it is like having an iPod with full control right from the head unit with all of the features of a State of the Art Stereo.
I could not find any other stereo that surpassed the built in features of the $179.00 Sony CDX-GT700 HD, not even the real expensive ones. Many of the high end units require an external HD tuner, most had the CD slot open in the front, (more appropriate for cars) and many had the USB, and Auxiliary ports in the back of the unit rather than the front. This kind of setup would require you to open the faring and run wires everytime you wanted to change what was plugged in the darn thing, or run a live wire to somewhere on your motorcycle such as your saddlebags, etc. No thanks! I wonder what would happen if those live wires get wet.
I even looked at the units which have actual motorized screens that pop out of the unit, and allow you to have GPS on the Screen, and be able to Watch DVD’s, and even have a rear mounted camera view on the screen from your motorcycle.
These systems seem fantastic, but the guy from Biketronics told me that anytime you have a unit with a moving motor, such as these units which have a motor to drive the screen out, that the vibration on a motorcycle usually make them go bad quickly. Not only that, but the units I looked at were in the $1,000 range, and they also did not have the front USB and Auxiliary connections that I wanted, plus they did not seem practical for a motorcycle solution.
Although I have seen some guys with these units installed on their motorcycles, they look cool and the bling value is there, I need turnkey functionality, not bling!
I was again brought back to the Sony CDX-GT700 HD again and again, no matter what I looked at, so there it was, I decided on the Sony CDX-GT700 HD from Crutchfield Electronics, this is what I wanted. Here is a link to the actual system I purchased.
Now going back to the Biketronics kit which would allow me to install the system, I decided to buy the components I needed, rather then the complete kits they sell. I got the best Sony stereo that I could find, plus the whole thing would be cheaper for me than buying their whole kit.
I purchased the following from Biketronics to install my Sony CDX-GT700 HD into my Harley Davison Electra Glide:
(1) BT 1000 – 1998-2005 Sony Radio Install Kit, $199.95 (free shipping)
(2) Sony Harness w/Connector, $14.95 (free shipping)
(3) BT Splashcover, $19.95 (free shipping)
Total Price from Biketronics = $234.85, (free shipping), No tax.
I purchased the following from Crutchfield Electronics:
(1) Sony CDX-GT700 HD, $179.95 (free shipping)
(2) SoundKase DFC1X Black, $9.99 (free shipping) This is a case you put the faceplate into when you take it off of the motorcycle.
Total Price from Crutchfield Electronics = $189.90, (free shipping), No tax.
Total Price of Radio Upgrade Project: $424.75
The total price of my radio upgrade project was around $45.18 cheaper than buying the complete retro radio kit from Biketronics with their stereo included, and I got a much better stereo than comes with their kit. As stated above, I already previously purchased the Hog Tunes speakers, and a powered in fairing antenna. Now for guys that have an FLHT without a stereo, and are installing the stereo from scratch the Biketronics kit is just a tad more expensive.
After my order, the Biketronics kit arrived within a couple of days. The Crutchfield order took about a week to arrive.
First off, I got my tools out, unpacked the Biketronics Kit, and the Sony Stereo. I read the instructions for each before I began. It looked like it would be a very easy installation.
First, I removed the Sony stereo from the mounting cage that it comes with out of the box, and discarded the cage because it is not used in this application.
Then, I took the heavy vinyl that comes with the Biketronics kit. I removed the backing to expose the sticky surface, and placed it on the top of the Sony Stereo where indicated, and down the sides. I trimmed off the excess from the sides and back. It is obvious that this vinyl is stuck on to protect the stereo from dirt, debris, and water. No problem at all with this process.
I than removed the seat from my motorcycle, and disconnected the battery, negative first. The last thing you want to do is install something like this with the motorcycle battery connected. You could cause a short and do serious damage to your electrical system. Don’t be a fool; take a few minutes to disconnect your battery.
Then, I removed the outer Bat Wing Fairing. I am not going to describe how to remove the fairing here. If you are interested in how to remove the outer Bat Wing fairing, I previously wrote an article about removing the faring when I installed the Hog Tunes speakers which you can read here.
I then unplugged the Antenna from the Harley Stereo, and the two large connectors that plugged into the back of the stereo.
I proceeded to unbolt the 4 hex bolts which hold the stock Harley Davidson into the bracket where it mounts. I used a basic hex wrench squeezing it in inside the bracket to get the bolts off. My fingers were too big for this process but I got them out. It was a bitch.
I knew there must be a better way to remove and install these bolts, and realized it would be almost impossible to get the bolts back in if I used the reverse method of how I removed them. I decided to look in my factory service manual. The manual recommends using a long socket hex attachment that goes in through holes on each side of the bracket. Damm some times looking at the factory service manual helps. I could have got the damm attachment from Wal-Mart and had the stereo unbolted in seconds, but instead, I found a long standard hex wrench in my tool kit, put it in through the holes on the side of each bracket, and it worked like a charm. It took a few more seconds than using a socket attachment, but I saved a few bucks and time driving to Wal-Mart. If you are doing this install and you don’t have longer hex wrenches, just go to Wal-Mart and buy the socket attachment for $10.00. You can return it when you are done!
The instructions then said to lift the back end of the Harley Davidson system up, and pull out. Well I did this a few times, and the Stereo was not coming out. I was pissed off. I got on the internet and went on a few forums to confirm that you were supposed to just be able to pull the stereo out from the front. (Not the tank side of the stereo, but the front headlight side) Everyone responded that it should come right out.
One guy recommended that I remove the bolts from the vertical fairing stabilizer bracket to give more room for the stereo to come out. When I went to remove the bolts I discovered that I had the dreaded broken vertical fairing stabilizer bracket on the left hand side, and my horizontal bracket under the speaker was also broken. I was truly pissed off at this time. (This is a known bug on this motorcycle; I will discuss this issue on another article.)
My stereo was not coming out and as I tried, it was bending the inner fairing. I was worried that I would crack or break the inner fairing that is how bad this was. Here I am looking at my motorcycle all taken apart, and I could not get the damm stock stereo out. I decided to try again, and to use more pressure. Either the stereo was going to come out or I was going to break something.
I finally felt a bit of a pop and the stereo came out. It turns out that I got lucky; the asshole that installed the stereo in my motorcycle thought it would be a good idea to put what looked like rubber cement on the top and bottom of the front of my stereo where the front bezel meets the fairing, when he installed it. This is not standard. I guess he thought that it would stay in my solid that way. It sure did stay in solid, even when unbolted it would not budge. I almost destroyed the fairing getting it off.
Now I could finally install the new stereo.
First, I slid on the front black mounting piece that comes with the Sony Stereo and snapped it in place on the front of the unit. I then slid on the black bezel that comes with the Biketronics kit. The bezel is what goes against the fairing to seal the stereo from the inside of the fairing.
I then bolted on the two blocks that mount to each side of the Sony stereo which allow the stereo to be bolted into the Harley Davidson stereo bracket inside of the fairing. I did not over tighten the bolts as indicated.
I then lifted the back of the stereo and pushed it in and down into the fairing so the bezel was flush with the front of the fairing, and then bolted the stereo into the fairing bracket using the same screws that I took off of the stock stereo. It was easy to bolt on because I went through the sides as described in the service manual. You do not need the service manual to do this but it helps. All you need is the long hex wrench and then bolt in through the holes in the bracket on each side.
At this point I was not sure if the front bezel was flush with the front of the fairing, so I removed the Sony and reinstalled it. I discovered that I had it right the first time, but it was no big deal.
The Sony is much smaller and lighter than the stock unit which took some time to get used to. It is newer technology.
Now that I had the Sony mounted, I plugged in the Antenna. I then took the Harley Davidson wiring harness, and plugged it into the Biketronics retro radio kit. I then took the Sony wiring harness and plugged one end into the Biketronics retro radio kit, and took the other side and plugged it into the back of the Sony Stereo. I plugged in the connector for the hand controls into the stereo making sure that the plug was facing up as stated in the instructions.
Everything was ready to be tested per the Biketronics instructions. I installed the battery, and put the starter into the auxiliary mode. The stereo powered up, but there was no sound at all. I tried to fidget with the sound controls but nothing. I could tell that the speakers were not getting any juice at all. The Sony Stereo has a feature where when power is turned off, it beeps a few times to remind you to remove the faceplate. There was no beeping.
I went into the fairing and discovered that my speaker’s wires routed to a separate plug, and that there were also speakers wires routed to the back of the bike under the seat which went to the same plug. My stock stereo had two big plugs, one for the power and hand controls, and one for the speakers. The Biketronics kit only had one plug which was supposed to accommodate everything so they say.
At this point after all of the above hassles I went through I was pissed off. I thought Biketronics sent me the wrong adapter. I had to wait for the next day to talk to them. Their tech support told me that I had a unique setup on my motorcycle. It looks like it was set up for an amplifier on my motorcycle. They told me my wiring was non standard and they had only seen this issue once before.
To be frank, my Harley stereo had two big plugs, one of which was for the speakers. I cannot see how this is non standard if the stereo had the separate plug. The guy from Biketronics insisted that I had a non-standard setup.
We mutually agreed that the easiest and best solution would be for me to manually wire the speakers to the Biketronics Sony Adaptor. This would prevent me from having to cut into the Harley stereo plug harness. All I would have to do is unplug the stereo speakers, and run separate wires to the Biketronics Sony Adaptor Plug. It was basically 1 2 wire connection for each speaker. It sounds like a bitch but it is really no big deal. Any of you who have wired up a home stereo know that is real easy to wire up two speakers.
My only complaint was that this thing was supposed to be plug and play, and now I would have to manually wire the speakers to their harness.
I went to Wal-Mart and got a universal wiring kit with spade lugs and a crimper so I could do the job right, plus I got some wire. Turns out the spade lugs in the kit did not fit on the Hogtunes speakers, and the wire was too large of a gauge to work with. I went to Auto Zone to get thinner wire. To make a long story short I spend I significant amount of time trying to make my own spade lug wires, etc. but the connections were no good. I then tried to solder the wires directly onto the speaker lugs but they would not stay on.
Finally, I opted to just use the factory wires which I cut half way down and connected to the Biketronics Sony Harness and then wrapped real well with electrical tape. Again, it sounds like a nightmare, but it was only 4 wires total.
I then put the starter switch on Auxiliary, and wholla, I had tunes. However, I had to fix the broken fairing stabilization brackets before I could button the motorcycle up. I will discuss this in a later article.
I then buttoned everything up. I did have a minor issue while tie-wrapping the Biketronics module into the fairing. The kit did make my fairing tighter than before. I am sure that I could have done a better job tie-wrapping the unit into the fairing, but I had done some other work to the motorcycle and I was tired. I got it in, and the fairing buttoned back up.
First I tested the AM/FM/HD reception; it works and sounds fantastic. Local HD stations tune in just fine, and give you a display on the radio face of what artist is playing, etc. This is the first time that I have heard my favorite station in Los Angeles; 95.5 KLOS in HD sound. There is absolutely no sound or static at all. The stations transmit in digital HD. HD reception never has static like FM- Frequency Modulation (Analog), or AM-Amplitude Modulation (Analog) stations. I am going to have more fun with HD as I ride with the motorcycle more.
I burned a CD on my computer with about 300 MP3’s on it. This would be a backup music option in case I did not have my thumb drive music collection, my I-Pod, or another MP3 player with me. The CD worked flawlessly and sounded great. The stereo does have to be turned on to feed a disk into it. The artist and song info displays on the face of the radio like it is supposed to while playing.
It was then time for the biggest test of all, my entire music collection copied onto a USB thumb drive.
I copied my entire MP3 music collection, excluding full albums onto a 4GB thumb drive and plugged it into the front USB port on the stereo.
I was kind of worried beforehand that the vibration and wind of a motorcycle ride on the road would cause the thumb drive to dislodge and fall out on the road. One of the reasons I got the stereo in the first place was so that I could simply plug a thumb drive in without any cable, and that I could have my entire music collection play on the stereo without any cables or external players.
My worry was not a problem. I have now ridden at speed for many miles with the thumb drive plugged in, and it has not come loose at all, nor has it come out, or even come close to falling out. Believe me; I have ridden at speed on the freeway as well.
The ability to plug in a thumbdrive direclty into the Sony Stereo from the front, is the biggest feature of the stereo by far in my opinion. The feature gives me the ability to have my entire music collection on a miniture thumbdrive, plugged directly into the head unit, with pure digital music going directly into the stereo by way of the USB, and then having the Sony’s electronics convert it into excellent sound.
As I stated above, by plugging into the Aux port on the old Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System, you are using an external MP3 device to convert the digital to analog for you, and then the headphone jack is used to plug into the Harley system with a cable. With this method there is some signal loss at the Aux jack no matter what you do, plus there is no real safe way to control the tunes while riding.
I was able to hear some of my songs (my music collection is so big that it would take about 3 days to hear every song) as clear and as good as can be. Plus I was able to read the artist and song info on the faceplate which is something I could not do before with the Harley system. On top of that, I could also toggle through my collection while riding using the Harley Davidson stock right Hand Control.
There is another feature in the stereo that makes finding tunes much easier when riding, it is called the Quick-BrowZer Mode. When the button for this feature is pushed it basically plays about 15 seconds of each song in your collection, when you reach a song you want to hear you just push the big select button, and the stereo then starts the song from the beginning.
I have used the stereo for many hours now and the sound quality blows away the stock Harley Davidson stereo system.
Although the Sony stock head unit only puts out around 17 watts per channel, for 4 channels without an amplifier, which is around the same output as the Harley Davidson Advanced Sound System, this stereo is better sounding and louder than the stock Harley Davidson stereo.
Since I am already running Hogtunes speakers on my motorcycle, I get no distortion at all when the stereo is cranked up.
This stereo is setup to accept XM or Sirius satellite with a quick plug and play option. I did not order this option initially because I wanted to make sure that I was going to keep this new setup. I am probably going to get the satellite option for this stereo in the very near future, especially before I go to Sturgis.
I am also contemplating getting an amplifier for my system. Although the stereo is already loud now, I do not want to really have to crank it up at highway speeds. Let’s face it, when you are rolling at 80mph with a full face modular helmet on, and ear plugs, any stock stereo system will be very difficult to hear, even if it is cranked up. I know that with a nominal amplifier, I can get the stereo loud enough to hear even at highway speeds.
I am sure that if I removed my ear plugs, or if I only wore a beanie helmet or no helmet, I would be able to hear the stereo just fine, even at highway speeds. However, due to my tinnitus which has been caused by many years of riding without hearing protection, I do not want to damage my already damaged ears.
Biketronics and Hawg Wired each sell amplifiers; however I feel that each of their solutions is too expensive. I think the minimum price of their solutions is $399 plus. I can get a cheap two channel amplifier from Crutchfield for around $99 that will probably do the trick.
Why pay $399 plus if I can do the same thing for $99?
One big issue for me will be to get an amplifier that is small enough to mount in the fairing above the Sony stereo that does not generate too much heat and one that does not drain too much power. A motorcycle electrical system is not as strong as a car electrical system, so any amplifier I get will need to work on the Harley Davidson.
If I find that the Crutchfield cheapo solution does not work to my satisfaction, I will buy an amplifier from either Biketronics or Hawg Wired.
Bottom line, I cannot believe I waited so long to upgrade my system. I can think of countless trips I have taken that would have been much better had I been able to have a system like this on my motorcycle.
Like you I wanted to keep everything OEM. However, I got sick of using obsolete technology, or being extorted into paying Harley Davidson’s high prices to not get everything I wanted.
Now I have almost everything I want. I would recommend that everyone upgrade their Harley Davidson Sound System to the latest and greatest aftermarket solutions. There is no need to stick with obsolete technology anymore.
Just a side note, none of the vendors mentioned on here provided me with any product or compensation in return for this review. I wrote this review because I know that many of you out there are contemplating this type of upgrade or installation.
In December 2009, I took a little ride to Las Vegas. I was supposed to meet up with some friends along the way, but I ended up not meeting up with them until we got to Nevada.
Now I know some of you cannot ride in December due to snow and weather. Well here on the South West Coast we basically have year round riding. The below video proves it.
For me as a true Biker Lawyer and Motorcycle Accident Attorney, just give me an excuse to ride and I will be there. Unlike some other poser attorney’s out there claiming that they are “Motorcycle Attorney’s.” I am the real deal.
I have literally met up with hundreds if not thousands of Bikers and Motorcyclist from all over the United States and Europe. I love riding my motorcycle just like you do.
I love riding my motorcycle to Las Vegas, Nevada. Not necessarily because I like going to Las Vegas, but I flat out like to ride my motorcycle, and Las Vegas is another excuse to ride.
I shot this video during a ride to Las Vegas in December 2009. Some of the video was shot while riding my Electra Glide, with me holding my HD camcorder in my left hand, while holding the handlebar and throttle with my right hand.
Toward the end of the video, I took some video of me riding with my friends in a pack. This video is unique in that you can get in the saddle with me and see what it is like ride an Electra Glide solo and in a pack.
I am planning on taking many more videos of my rides in the future.
Well the title says it all, my wife and I owe our lives to god after this years Laughlin River Run. I will explain below.
If you did not know it, it is said that the Laughlin River Run is the largest motorcycle rally in the western United States, and some people say that it is the second largest motorcycle rally in the nation next to Sturgis. It is a great time.
You can read an article I wrote about a previous Laughlin River Run that I did by clicking here.
This year’s run began when we packed up my Harley Davidson Electra Glide to go to the Laughlin River Run 2010 on Friday, April 23, 2010.
Since I had to be in Court early Friday morning in Victorville, CA, we could not leave for the Laughlin River Run until Friday afternoon. Many of my friends left on the Thursday, the day before, but I could not go with them because I had to be in Court.
Therefore my wife and I planned on riding alone to Laughlin. By the time I did my pre-ride routine, and we got the motorcycle all packed up, it was very late. We did not get out of dodge until around 7pm; it was already dusk. I had to make a couple of stops along the way before we got on the road. Read the rest of the article below the videos.
By the time we hit the Pearblossom Highway, it was almost dark. We made good time to Victorville and onto the I-15 east. We stopped at Denny’s in Barstow and had dinner because we knew we would not get into Laughlin until around 1am or so according to the GPS.
Once back on the road we made good time from the I-15 to the I-40 split. If any of you have ridden on the I-40 between Barstow and Needles, you know that this is amongst the most isolated and desolate places in the United States. This is the Mohave Desert and there is nothing there except Rattlesnakes, Scorpions, and a couple of gas stations along the way.
While on this road we hit some pretty good speeds to say the least, I love riding through the desert at night, there is something spiritual and empty about it. We eventually passed a sign that said “next services 55 miles.” My odometer was already at around 60 miles since my last gas stop. I knew my Harley would easily make the next gas stop in 55 miles so that is where I decided to make my last gas stop before Needles.
Saying that I was riding at a pretty good speed is an understatement. I will just say this, I opened her up on the open road, we were hauling ass. As usual, I rode one handed a lot to relieve stress and give each hand a break from holding on. I was riding like normal, everything seemed normal.
We then approached the last desolate gas station in a shit hole called Essex; this is the place that I planned on stopping to get fuel before we got to our motel in Needles. It was around midnight by this time.
As I got off of the I-40 into the darkness, at a very, shall we say, decent rate of speed, I was still holding on one handed and banking normally. I then downshifted and slowed her up until we got to the stop sign at the end of the ramp.
When I accelerated out of 1st gear the motorcycle started to wobble uncontrollably. You must understand, I have been riding for many years. I immediately knew that something was seriously wrong. I stopped the motorcycle, and tried again; same thing. My wife was on the back.
The gas station on the exit where we stopped was at least a mile down a curved road from where you exit. You could not see it from where I stopped. We were basically just under the bridge in the middle of the friggen desert at night, it was pitch dark, and there was nothing out there with us except snakes, scorpion, coyotes, and god knows what else.
I got my mini led flash light out of the tour pak to see if I could see anything wrong with the motorcycle, everything looked fine. I pushed down on the motorcycle to see if there was something wrong with the shocks, they seemed fine. Everything looked fine. I thought it might be the road which was very rough and irregular. I got on the bike and tried again; same thing, an uncontrollable wobble.
I knew we could not sit out in the desert. Literally at this time in the morning on the I-40 there is very little if no traffic at all. On this particular off ramp there was no one and no light. It was pitch dark. So I proceeded to 1st gear ride the wobblier all the way to the gas station which seemed like a very long distance from the ramp, with my wife on the back.
I very much wanted to accelerate faster to see if the wobble would go away, but frankly the wobble was so bad, even at a couple of miles per hour I could barely control her to get to the gas station. I did not want to take any further chances on dropping the motorcycle, or getting my wife and I injured.
I am telling you, it took all of my concentration, and nerve to get the damm thing down the road. It was wobbling violently all the way.
Upon arrival at the gas station, I recognized it from previous trips I have taken on the 40. It is a unique place in the middle of no where. They have no pay phone, no air for tires, and the guy that works there at night looks like one of the guys from the movie Deliverance. They also have a bunch of fish tanks in the place. This place is literally isolated in the middle of no where.
Once we got there, I inspected the motorcycle and could not see anything visibly wrong with the motorcycle. I have AAA roadside service with premier RV and Motorcycle coverage, so I decided that I had better call AAA and get the motorcycle towed back to my home.
To make a long story short, there was no cell phone coverage at the gas station, they had no pay phone, and they guy behind the counter said I could not use his phone. After purchasing a couple of drinks for my wife and me, I finally convinced the guy to let me call AAA which is an 800 number. While I was on the phone with them, the guy at the counter kept on telling me that I had to get off because it was a business line; you get the picture we were screwed and at the mercy of this guy at the gas station for now. AAA told me that they would have someone there in two hours. Two hours! I told them I wanted to get the motorcycle towed back to my house.
It was cold as hell outside by this time in the desert after midnight. Luckily, there were some seats inside. Unfortunately, the guy that worked in the gas station seemed to have a few nuts loose. He must have had a hearing problem, because he screamed when he talked to you, and the guy would not stop talking. My wife and I wanted to just sit there and wait for AAA; instead this guy came to where we were sitting and non stop talked the entire time. I should say he non stop yelled the entire time.
While we were waiting, a couple of motorcycles stopped in at the place. A couple of guys from a famous motorcycle club also stopped in. 4 total motorcycles. We all came to a consensus that I had a flat rear tire.
Although my rear Metzler 880 tire was basically new with all of the tread on it, and it appeared to be fine, upon a closer inspection of the tire, as the guys watched me ride it slowly in the gas station lighted area, they said it looked flat. One guy said that motorcycle tires are heavy duty, and appear to be ok even when they are flat. None of us had a tire gauge, and the gas station did not have one.
This was a new one on me. I always change out my tires when the tread appears to be worn. I have never experienced a flat motorcycle tire before.
I purchased some fix a flat from the gas station to see if I could get the tire up and working. AAA called at this time, I told the guy who was actually coming out from AAA that I wanted to be towed home. He then dropped the news that the premier towing plan that I paid for only covered 100 miles for RV and Motorcycle, it is 200 miles for a car. I told him that I was going to try fix a flat and for him to call me back. The fix a flat did not work, and luckily it did not work. I knew it would be a bad move to try to ride in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night on fix a flat, plus the bottle said it was not for motorcycle use. When the AAA guy called back, I told him that we were just going to have it towed to our motel in Needles, CA.
So there we sat in the middle of no where, in the middle of the night, with a guy from the movie deliverance that would not stop talking to us, waiting for AAA, with no cell phone service, basically stranded. It was very cold outside. This was the beginning of our Laughlin River Run 2010 experience.
At around 2am we got a break from the action when some drunks pulled in and started fighting with each other about one of them putting out some gas money. Other than that we were stuck, and there was no customers coming in.
Finally the AAA guy showed up with an SUV and a trailer two and half hours later at 2:30am. We got the bike on the trailer and as he was strapping it in he broke off one of the reflectors on my front frame. I was not going to say shit because I just wanted to get the motorcycle towed to anywhere but where we were at.
After a 40 mile trip at 55 miles per hour (speed limit of vehicles with a trailer in this part of the country) we finally got to the motel at around 3:30am. We got the motorcycle off of the trailer and I was bummed. The guy gave me the card of some bike shop in Fort Mohave across the river. I would call them in the morning after a few hours sleep.
At this point while we were in the Motel, I realized that my wife and I were lucky to be alive. I cannot stress this point enough. Over and over in my head I tried to remember a point in the trip where I felt that something was wrong with the motorcycle. Had the motorcycle gone into a wobble of the type that we had when we got off of the I-40, at lets say 90 miles per hour, we would have been history, we would most likely be dead.
Think about it; I was riding one handed at speeds of 70mph plus and my rear tire had gone flat somewhere along the line. We could have crashed and no one would have seen us until they were running over us, or we could have gone off of the side of the road, and not be seen until daylight or even days later. This is how dark and desolate this stretch of the desert is. The only explanation I have for us not crashing that night was that GOD was watching over us. We are now still alive because of the grace of god.
This experience has changed both my wife and I. I am going to write a separate article on this subject, but suffice is to say; I am now much more cognizant of each and every bump and cranny while riding the motorcycle. After years of meticulous detail in checking my tires and tread, I finally had a catastrophic failure that could have been fatal. Thank GOD we made it out of this one alive and ok.
We did not get to sleep until around 5:30am Saturday morning. I set the clock to wake up at 9am so that I could call the shop on the card that the tow truck driver gave me. The tow truck driver told me that there was no Harley Davidson dealership within a hundred miles.
When we woke up in the morning, we discovered that our cell phones did not work in Needles either. Needles, California is a small desert town on the Arizona, Nevada border. I used the motel phone to call the shop on the card that the tow truck driver gave us. A girl answered the phone; XXX (I will not write their real name) and tattoo shop. I immediately knew I was screwed. Tattoo shop? I told her that I needed a tire for my Electra Glide. When she asked me for the size of the tire, I knew I was in trouble at that point; any reputable Harley shop knows the size of a stock Harley Davidson tire. I gave her the tire size. When she told me, “oh yes, we have some good used tires in that size available,” I knew that I needed to find a better solution.
There was no way in hell that I was going to ride with my wife on a used tire in the middle of the Mohave Desert.
I found the yellow pages in the room; it was the thinnest yellow pages I have ever seen. I looked under motorcycles. There was a small square ad for Harley Davidson’s, Honda, etc. They were located in Kingman, Arizona about 70 miles from where we were at. I called them up. Turns out that they were a Harley Davidson dealership. The gal on the phone said that they had 19 tires in stock. I did not tell her I had a Metzler on the bike, I knew she was referring to the stock Dunlop that comes with the motorcycle. I did not care, I was desperate. I told her that I was towing the motorcycle in.
I then called AAA, and used up another one of my 4 tows for the year, and told them I wanted to get my motorcycle towed to the dealership in Kingman. They told me that they would be at the motel within an hour.
My wife and I at this point were hungry, in need of coffee, and not having a very good time at all to say the least. My wife contemplated staying in the room and sleeping while I got the motorcycle repaired. Lucky for her she decided to come with me as you will read below. There was no food or restaurant anywhere close or within walking distance to the motel where we were staying.
Finally the tow truck driver arrived with a big flat bed tow truck. The guy had fresh oil spilled all over the flat bed from a car he towed previously; he had not cleaned it. I just wanted to get my motorcycle to the Harley Davidson dealership in Kingman.
The guy seemed like he knew what he was doing. I expressed my concern as I rode the bike onto the flatbed that if the tires hit the oil or my foot hit the oil I could drop the bike. He said “don’t worry; I know what I am doing.”
He strapped the bike on the flatbed, and we proceeded to drive the one hour to Kingman in the tow truck.
While on the I-40, in Kingman, we could see what appeared to be a big motorcycle event to the left. There were thousands of motorcycles, tents, a band, trailers, you name it; it was the friggen Harley dealership we were going to. They were literally having a rally and poker run to go along with the Laughlin River run. No one on the phone told me that this event was going on! It would not have mattered either way, we were stuck and this was the only game in town.
As we got off of the freeway and made a turn, the tow trunk driver pulled off the road and said he “had to check my bike, it looks like the straps have come loose.” As I got out of the truck, I saw my beautiful and treasured Electra Glide sitting squarely on its side on the flat bed truck. The bike had fallen over. I could not fucking believe it. There was my motorcycle that I polish and take care of like nothing else in my life sitting on its side on the flatbed truck. I was too tired, and too desperate to get out of this BS situation to scream at or punch the guy. I told him the straps are not holding my bike, the bike had fallen all the way over. He knew it. I could see that he was embarrassed. He told me that he would take care of any damage.
We then lifted my motorcycle back up. I did not see any visible damage. He strapped the bike back up and we went the ½ mile to the Harley Dealership. Picture this, there were police, there was security, there was thousands of motorcycles and people, they had the entrances to the dealership all blocked off to traffic, it was a damm festival/rally. The guy in the tow truck asked me if I could get the motorcycle in from the street, through all of the people and motorcycles. I said hell no, I had a flat tire and could barely hold the thing up with the wobble with no people around.
I jumped out of the truck and told one of the security guys that we were going to service. Almost instantly, the guy removed the blockade from the entrance, and ran in front of the tow truck, parting the way for us, all of the way to the gated service entrance. I was amazed and so was the two truck driver.
The guys from service all jumped on the back of the flatbed. They all bitched about the fresh spilled oil on the flatbed, but we got the bike off. I told them that the bike had fallen on the flatbed, and they all gave me empathy. At this point I felt like everything was going be ok, I was home, at a real Harley Davidson dealership.
The tow truck driver gave me his card and told me not to worry, that he would take care of any damage. I did not give him a tip because he dropped my bike.
So there we were, at the Kingman, Arizona Harley Davison Dealership, during Laughlin River Run weekend, with thousands of other people. Yippee. As it turns out, there were a lot of other people that broke down, and who were in service just like us.
The service gal told me that they had the Metzler 880 in stock, which made happy that I would not have to ride with a mismatched Dunlop stocker on the back. I told her “hell since I am here, why don’t you also do an inspection of the motorcycle, check the timing, and change out the fluids.”
I run with fossil oil in all of my motorcycles. This dealership told me they only used synthetic, so I went with what they had. I was happy. Hell at this point I really did not care about cost, I just wanted to get back out on the road; well I should have been concerned; they ripped me off! I will talk about that below.
I was told it would take two hours to replace the tire, and to do what I had asked. Great!
By the way, we still had no cell phone service in Kingman, Arizona, which made it impossible for us to check messages or get a hold of our friends in Laughlin.
So there we were. We got to the dealership at around noon. We were hungry. Everything we needed was at the dealer event; we got some good food, some lemonade. They had beer and such, but neither I nor my wife drink alcohol. We checked out the vendors, we basically had a good time.
However, when 3pm rolled I became concerned. I went up to the desk. I was told that there were motorcycles still ahead of me. At 4:00pm I noticed that my motorcycle was still sitting out back and had not been touched. I was told that I was next.
The dealership was scheduled to close at 6pm, and the crowd was starting to significantly thin out. At 5pm, my bike was inside being worked on, but no word. The gal at the desk told me that she would find me when the bike was done.
At 5:45, I told my wife to go ask about the bike; I knew the gal at the counter was sick of telling me to wait. At this time I saw the mechanic test riding my motorcycle back into the service gate; thank god, my baby was ready to rock and roll. Before my wife came to tell me, I knew my motorcycle was ready; with 15 minutes to spare before they closed.
It was 9 hours since we woke up, and 6 hours since we got to the dealership.
When I got the counter I had a sinking feeling that they were going to overcharge me, boy was I right. When I asked how much do I owe, she said $500.00. Five fucken hundred dollars, to replace a rear tire, change the fluids, inspect the bike, clean the air filter, and add brake fluid. I was shocked but I did not say anything because I was grateful that my wife and I were alive, and that my bike was fixed.
It could have been much worse. Hell the tow alone from the motel to the dealership would have cost $400.00 had I not had AAA premier membership.
I bit my lip and gave her my Visa checkcard. Earlier at the dealership parts desk, I purchased a reflector to replace the one that the original tow truck guy broke off, and a paint repair kit to fix a couple of dings I have in the paint. The dealership nailed me for $500.00. Hell in the San Fernando Valley, I got both tires replaced for less money.
The gal told me that they inspected the motorcycle from the fall on the tow truck and that there was no damage. Hell I did not even see a scratch; another miracle. She told me that I would soon need to get new brake pads, but other than that, I was good to go.
I asked her what was wrong with the original rear tire. She brought it out and told me to look inside. She said you could see an imperfection inside. To me it still looked like a brand new tire. There was no holes, nothing to explain why it went flat, other than a supposid defect inside.
Another troublesome thing is that she told me that the reason my bike took so long to get done was because the mechanic could not balance the first Metzler they put on, they had to use a second tire. This concerned me, and still does. Is there a problem with the rim?
Suffice is to say I was more relieved than pissed off at this point. I cannot explain how happy I was to get my motorcycle back working. If you are going to take a long road trip, make sure you have money or a credit card just in case something goes wrong!
When we finally got into Laughlin on Saturday night, the rally nightlife was in full swing; it seemed like we missed everything. Because it was night, most of the vendors were closed, but there was still a lot happening.
We went to the Edgewater Casino, where I proceeded to loose about $200 bucks within a half hour on the slot machines. I could not win anything, not even a teaser! It became apparent to me that my luck on this trick was just not there, and we would just be lucky to make it home alive and safe.
We decided to go into the nightclub at the Edgewater and dance a bit. We had fun. We rode back to our motel in Needles and crashed out at around 4 or 5 am.
When we got back to Laughlin at around 2 on Sunday afternoon, the rally was closing down and everyone was heading out. The vendors were all closing up, but there were many still open. We missed most of the goings on because of the bike issues.
What did I do? I bought a rally shirt, and then proceeded to loose another $150 bucks and the slots and blackjack. My wife did not do any better. We waked along the river a bit, socialized with some of the people, and then decided to hit the road.
We had a good run back home, arriving at around 2am.
Will I be back at the Laughlin River Run next year? Hell Yes, I cannot wait.
Maybe next year I will tell you more about the actual rally itself.
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