The front fender does have a purpose in it’s life, it protects the bike and you from debris and water. After talking to many that have removed the front fender however, I find (and now know) the only real complaint is that of water if it’s raining hard. Which is true. Keep this in mind when removing it! If you don’t care about the water issue, then in my opinion removing the front fender looks aesthetically better.
The process is very simple and quick.
Get your 6mm allen wrench out.
We need to remove the fork bracket with the 4 bolts first. These bolts are pretty tight, but they will ‘pop’ loose. Careful not to scratch your ride!
Once the bracket is removed, turn it over and you will see 4 smaller T-25 bolts.
Remove these bolts.
That was easy. Now just put the lower fork bracket back on. Some where asking about just leaving it off, but the answers they get are it will make your steering pretty miserable.
Tighten them down good. I’m told it’s a 18-25lb torque. I just guessed and it’s fine.
There, the fat tire on the 48 screams “check me out”!
Removing the lower plastic belt guard on the sportsters not only looks better, but will make you superman (ok, not really. I made that up – just looks better).
Grab your 3/8 wrench, there are 3 bots we need to loosen to slid it off.
Once they are loose, you can slide it –> forward and it will be detached.
At first it seems as if you will not be able to pull it out from the bike due to the exhaust and belt, however if you pull it under and bend the belt just slightly, she will come out.
Now just remove the 3 bolts entirely.
Much cleaner look.
Now your superman.
I don’t know how many times during compliments I hear, “Nice bobber”. The Forty Eight was designed to resemble the 1948 Harley and most people I run into either have never heard of it or have no clue what it is and it’s assumed I ‘bobbed’ a bike.
We can do some some basic mods that will bring it closer to that illusion.
Dropping the maker lights down lower on the fork is one of them and an easy one. Let’s get started!
Here is what the default looks like.
What we want to do is bring them down to under the head lamp on the fork tree.
(when doing this, only do 1 side at a time!)
Grab your Torx T45 bit and unbolt the marker light. You will notice a metal notch that keeps the light “centered”. This notch needs to come off because the lower fork mount doesn’t have the space for it. I used a hacksaw.
Then use a file to file the cut smoother.
Be sure to bring the washer down with the assembly as well, and put the bolts back where they where (they are not the same bolts). ((ie, the one with the weird groove goes on the lower fork))
Bolt them back up and center the light how you like it.
Now repeat for the other side.
Done. Looks much better to me.
The wires will be long enough, but I did ziptie the left side due to it being too long after the move.
My goal is to do mods that are cheap and also look stock for my 48. I was looking the at the screaming eagle intake but they want close to $300 for a K&N without an airbox. No thanks.
I just ordered a K&N filter for about $45 on amazon. Then removed the stock airbox. It breaths SO much better. And really, your not going to gain much with spending an extra $200. sorry. The screaming eagle breather will have more surface area and I’m sure that would help if your sportster had some major upgrades to it where it really needed more air to compensate for a beefier CAM or head work, but not for basic mods.
Noticing that the airbox on the sportsters is what secures your filter to the bike, I did have to make one modification. Without using some sort of plate that sits between using the stock gaskets (otherwise the whole air cleaner vibrates way too much – which I tried).
So lets get started. Not much as far as taking things apart. Once you get the airbox out, the back large plastic piece and rubber ring are the main things we are going to remove.
Watch and remember where to two gaskets go.
We take the plastic box and make our bracket we need from the scrap. As you can see here, the initial cut using a dremel doesn’t have to be pretty.
Next we take our new braket and smooth her out (for cosmetic reasons). I used a table grinder but you can use a file too. Place your two gaskets where they go.
Start putting things back together.
If you like that hard/basic look you can stop here and just have this hanging out in the air. Again, I like the stock look of the black cover so I put it back on.
You will be able to hear the intake – this is normal. Not a big deal, but when you listen for it, it is there.
*Total invested for a free-flowing K&N $45.00
*Should work on any recent Harley Sportsters
If you don’t like the look of this setup and still want something on the cheap, have a look at Mreeds mod!
When it comes to opening up your exhaust or having a better sounding Harley there are a lot of options. It seems most people go for the Vanc & Hines pipes which look good and sound great. But for me, I like the stock looking exhaust and don’t want to be just like everyone els. (If you want black exhaust, consider the wrap kit with stock pipes.)
So I took the stock exhaust and just opened them up by removing the baffles (or I should say drilling out the baffle caps).
If you take a flashlight and look up inside the stock exhaust you will see what seems to be a sealed off exhaust. About 8″ in are plates that are really screaming to be opened up.
There are a lot of opinions out there about doing this mod. Most of what you will hear is “you will lose back pressure”. Which could be true. However once I did this mod, I didn’t notice anything except pure happiness. She sounded WAY better (like a Harley) and seemed to have more power – like she finally woke up. In fact, if you do the other mods I’m posting on here, it will make up the difference if you really think you lost any back pressure.
Let’s get started. Firs, you’re going to need a drill, 1ft drill extension, a 1in hole bit and about 1min of your time.
Just put the drill up inside the exhaust and start drilling. I found that slow speed with more pressure is faster. You will be drilling through 3mm metal, so it’s not much. Once both pipes are drilled, turn on the bike and hear your new baby sing. The pieces you drilled will fly out.
Here is a 3-part video in case you wanted a visual. You don’t have to remove the pipes as he did, but this is basically what the end result is.
Now she sounds and runs great! Also, having cars hear you is safer as far as I’m concerned.
If for whatever reason you don’t like the fact that you “lost pressure” or you’d like a different sound, consider the Cycle Shack exhaust. Best bang for the buck for aftermarket exhaust on the sportster.
So you have nothing to lose by trying the baffle trick first. Especially if you already have the extension and hole bit. I for one don’t see myself upgrading past these stock/drilled pipes.