SOMETIMES the best mods are the ones you can’t see, and if you can see them, I reckon they should look like they grew there, not some gawdy item that looks like an afterthought, more an integrated, functional piece of kit offering improved performance. Things that improve your bike, but aren’t so obvious to the outside world, and they don’t have to be just for horsepower either, they can enhance rider comfort, offer a bit of style or even just making easier to clean. Things that make living with it that bit easier. Not everybody is gets it, but who really cares?
This ’02 Heritage Softail has been carefully selected for it’s ‘good bits’, like the forged crank running on Timken roller bearings. What’s so special about that, you ask, well the tighter tolerances allow for the use of gear driven cams which deliver more accurate valve timing across the rev range, especially important when approaching the red end of the tacho!
To take advantage of these well engineered internals, a larger pair of pistons and barrels were fitted taking the displacement to 1690 cc. Matched with a pair of S&S 585 Easy Start cams (gear driven of course), the internals were ready to do their job.
None of this was going to be advantageous without increased lung capacity so a pair of Screamin’ Eagle heads sucking air in through a H-D Heavy Breather intake and expelling the depleted air-fuel mixture via a set of (very loud) Vance & Hines chrome Big Shot pipes.
To ensure everything happens at the correct moment, a Screamin’ Eagle Super Tuner is implemented, fine tuned by Jamie at Sportcycles Dyno Tuning in Newcastle.
With all this grunt at hand, a Hayden primary chain tensioner was installed to ensure smooth gear changes.
In keeping with the theme of modifying with purpose, the suspension was upgraded with a Fournales air shocks on the rear, while up front mono-tube cartridges with Progressive springs keep the front wheel planted while traversing the various undulations of NSW tracks… I mean roads.
Avon Cobra whitewalls wrapped around OEM chrome rims, utilising polished stainless steel spokes connected to chrome hubs, all assisting the bike’s ability to stick to the bitumen while looking good doing it.
Having all this go is great, but inevitably you’ll need to stop, or at least slow down at some point, therefore good brakes are essential. This Softail retains the Harley rear brake while opting for an upgraded Brembo front caliper, both connected by braided stainless brake lines to give the rider good ‘feel’ for confidence inspiring stopping power.
Controls, grips and switch-blocks are all Harley finished in chrome with a stainless braided line operating the clutch.
Between the knees, the rider has a custom ‘marbled’ pattern on the tank, finished with a deep, rich candy blue colour which extends to the front and rear guards… the pics don’t really do it justice; it needs to be seen in the flesh to be truly appreciated.
Atop the tank is a Harley LED fuel gauge along with matching chrome fuel cap; and nestled between them is a Dakota Digital display with more functions than your average smart phone! It will keep you informed of such things as speed, selected gear, engine RPM, oil temperature, mileage, and a number of other essential bits of information.
This bike follows the principals of form and function while retaining or enhancing style. It doesn’t really have anything on it that it doesn’t need. What it does have on it looks great, but more importantly, what has been integrated works better than the original, or the OEM parts that are up to the task have been retained…. if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
And having lived with this vehicle as a visitor to my shed, I got to put a couple of day trips in the bank on it. It lived with me because my mate who owned it had it up for sale, but worked away, so I offered to let him park it at my place so if anybody needed to check it out, it was available… and it looked pretty good sitting there too. Eventually, it left unsold, perhaps because of his asking price or perhaps it didn’t seem to be anything special at first glance, but for whatever reason, it did eventually get sold and if I’d have known what he accepted for it (I wouldn’t have offered such a low ball amount), I reckon it would still be sitting in my shed with me as the new owner.
Check out more photos of the Subtile Heritage at Keisha Mae.
Words: JT @CrotchRocketMotorcycles; photos: @iShootPix