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  1. #1
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    Cool Eagle Phase 1: Complete

    Hilltop Motorcycles (http://www.hilltopmotorcycles.co.uk/) have reprogrammed the control module, which marks the end of Phase 1 for my XL1200CA Custom. The broad goal for Phase 1 was to get myself a motorcycle that met my needs and preferences as near to perfectly as I could. I was clear from the beginning that, in completing Phase 1, there might never be a Phase 2 or 3, but the bike is good enough now that I should be able to manage it for several years, even with ‘age related aches and pains’ (hopefully)!

    I took delivery of the bike from Cheltenham H-D on May 21st, paid eight grand for it and have spent another three: thus Phase 1 cost £11,000 and constituted:

    • 2016 Harley-Davidson XL1200CA Sportster Custom
    • Mustang Vintage Wide (14½”) Solo Seat with Backrest
    • Mustang Offset Driver Backrest Tongue (or support post)
    • H-D Quick-Release Compact Windshield
    • H-D Locking Quick-Release Windshield Clamp
    • Hagon 2810 Adjustable Shocks (320mm)
    • H-D Extended Reach Forward Control Conversion Kit
    • Kuryakyn Premium Footboards & Splined Peg Adapters
    • Drag Specialties 60mm Mirror Extensions
    • Drag Specialties Dragster Wide Handlebars
    • Avon Performance Super Sport Air Grips with Throttle Boss
    • H-D Bar & Shield Self-Locking Fuel Cap
    • H-D Turn Signal Extension Caps
    • Swingarm Bag
    • Hilltop Motorcycles ECM Reprogramming
    • Road Tax & Bikesure Insurance
    • Various H-D Dealer Labour Charges


    I have done well over five thousand miles in the last four months which changed my Phase 1 priorities alarmingly. At the start I was certain I’d be getting new fork springs from Hagon – to match the shocks – but the cost of fitting (with new seals) was nearly £300, so I haven’t. (I may just try a lighter fork oil – has anyone tried this?) I also thought I’d get new exhaust & Stage One tune. But all these things were trumped by physical realities, especially rider comfort.

    Phase 2, if it ever occurs, will see the fork springs replaced because the ride is still not soft or smooth enough for me (I have read Harley forks described as ‘under sprung and over dampened’). I agree as lumps & bumps in the road can still cause me to grunt unattractively on a ride. I would also like to change the rear 320mm shocks for 330mm, but the 320mm are plenty good enough for a few years yet.

    I also need to get the bars changed (again) for ones with more pull-back. I got the Drag Specialties bars because the extra 3½” of pull-back was the absolute most I could get before the lines needed changing. (Brake hose is the shortest – and the most expensive to change on an ABS bike, apparently.) Again though, the current bars will be fine for a couple of years at least.

    Finally for the imaginary Phase 2, I’d like to get a two-into-one exhaust. Most likely the Cobra Power Pro because I want more lean angle on the right. (There should be no tuning required as the Hilltop reprogramming says it’ll ‘learn’ the new exhaust characteristics.)

    Phase 3 (or Fantasy Island): I always hankered after a Stage One tune, but the Screamin’ Eagle section of the 2018 H-D parts manual (p563 on) gives Stage tune details and says of the Stage Two ‘Torque Kit’ tune:

    The rider will feel up to a 15% increase in performance when compared to stock bikes in the low- to mid-RPM range

    (By way of comparison, the ‘Power Kit’ offers ‘…up to a 25% increase in performance when compared to stock bikes in the mid-RPM to upper RPM range’.) As torque is king for me, that 15% pretty much sold it. (And, just for your information, a Stage One tune offers 10% increase throughout the rev range.)

    While on Fantasy Island, I’d also like a new, larger, tank all sprayed up just like standard…. I was shocked when Dave reminded me that a stock 4½ US gallon tank is only a 3¾ UK gallon tank.

    There are other ancillary items, purely decorative and wholly unnecessary, but I’d still like them. Not sure if they’re in any ‘customisation phase’ as some are service items, but I’d like:

    H-D Fuel Tank Trim Panel Kit
    H-D Chrome Switch Housing Kit
    Fat back tyre

    But for now, Phase 1 is sorted: Thunderbirds are Go!

    I was at the services recently and when I came out and saw my bike parked there just a-gleamin’ in the sun, I could have wet myself with joy. The extended forward controls have cleaned up the lines of the bike and it even looks like the wheelbase has extended! With the new tuning/reprogramming the bike is everything I have ever dreamed of, and everything I never realised I’d want or need (a cruiser – who knew?!). Just wonderful. As I stood there admiring my beautiful bike, all I could think was, “It’s every inch a Harley-Davidson”.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    P.S. Pic to follow...
    Last edited by ChrisOfTheOT; 09-24-2018 at 04:38 PM.

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to ChrisOfTheOT For This Useful Post:

    K9F (09-24-2018)

  3. #2
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    Funny thing - I was all suited & booted this morning, ready to go and [gasp!] battery was flat. Bugger. I charged it about two weeks ago & have done about 600 miles in the mean time but it was down to 12.5V this morning. Last ride was 200-odd miles, maybe four days ago. I re-charged the battery (to 14.6V, a full 'five bars') but have ordered a new Motobatt MBTX12U - largely because Delboy's recommendation was so glowing.

    Still, no ride today, or tomorrow - and the rain has just stopped!

    Not so cheery,

    Chris

  4. #3
    Senior Member Leeds883's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisOfTheOT View Post

    I also need to get the bars changed (again) for ones with more pull-back. I got the Drag Specialties bars because the extra 3½” of pull-back was the absolute most I could get before the lines needed changing. (Brake hose is the shortest – and the most expensive to change on an ABS bike, apparently.)
    Looking forward to the pics. Just a note on extending the front ABS line. Not as expensive or as hard as you may think, I went through this a couple of months back. The one piece line is replaced by a (longer) upper hose and a lower hose along with a distribution block to connect the two. The stock upper and lower lines are fixed to the stock distribution block and cannot be used. I did the work myself and the total parts bill was no more than £100.

  5. #4
    Senior Member K9F's Avatar
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    Nice to see someone enjoying it and riding it, the mileage is admirable and your post informative and interesting. Thank you for sharing. The wetting yourself with joy should perhaps be kept under wraps. Tena Lady may help?


    IF YOU GO THROUGH LIFE WITH YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND.....ALL PEOPLE WILL SEE IS AN ARSE!!
    TREAT EVERY DAY AS YOUR LAST.....ONE DAY YOU WILL BE RIGHT!!

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to K9F For This Useful Post:

    ChrisOfTheOT (09-25-2018), olza23 (09-24-2018)

  7. #5
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    HI - great read. I find myself planning radical changes to mine but I "fell in love" with my bike as it looked when I bought it so almost feel guilt when chopping and changing!

    Interesting point on the battery though, I know I should get an optimiser but feel the best thing for the bike is just to ride it! I am surprised your battery went flat, was it on its way out?

    Ps - hurry with the pics (of the bike)

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to olza23 For This Useful Post:

    ChrisOfTheOT (09-25-2018)

  9. #6
    Senior Member bluenose-1956's Avatar
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    Hi Chris,

    Although in both the USA and the UK there are eight pints one gallon,

    A USA pint is 16 fluid ounces and a UK pint is 20 fluid ounces, that's the reason that a USA gallon is less than a UK one.

    Not everything in the USA is bigger than in the UK.

  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leeds883 View Post
    Looking forward to the pics. Just a note on extending the front ABS line. Not as expensive or as hard as you may think, I went through this a couple of months back. The one piece line is replaced by a (longer) upper hose and a lower hose along with a distribution block to connect the two. The stock upper and lower lines are fixed to the stock distribution block and cannot be used. I did the work myself and the total parts bill was no more than £100.
    Thanks Leeds - is that £100 for stock Harley tubes? I was warned off doing the work myself (not that I ever would - not my area at all...) because the ABS needs a pukka Harley 'digital technician' to do his malarkey. I take it your brakes are okay?!

    Cheers,

    Chris

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by K9F View Post
    Nice to see someone enjoying it and riding it, the mileage is admirable and your post informative and interesting. Thank you for sharing...
    Thank you again K9F. I certainly am enjoying riding it. Alot. Because we had such a dry Summer, I was determind to make the most of it. (It means it's going to be a high milage bike, but I suppose that's what they're for...)

    I take it those blessed with a genuine Harley Custom Vehicle don't have to worry about ECM programming - is yours tuned to the nth degree? Must be awesome!

    Cheers,

    Chris

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by olza23 View Post
    HI - great read. I find myself planning radical changes to mine but I "fell in love" with my bike as it looked when I bought it so almost feel guilt when chopping and changing!

    Interesting point on the battery though, I know I should get an optimiser but feel the best thing for the bike is just to ride it! I am surprised your battery went flat, was it on its way out?

    Ps - hurry with the pics (of the bike)
    Thanks to you too olza. I understand what you mean when reluctant to 'chop and change'; the whole reason we buy these things is because we fall in love with what we see. (I would have left my Custom as is but I draw the line at 'hurting'!)

    I agree about riding rather than an optimiser too. I was aware the battery was struggling because starting was becoming an issue. After charge it though I assumed I'd be good for a month or two but checking today, it's back to 12.6V after only 30 hours. I'm hoping to get out tomorrow so will charge it before I leave and hope it'll last for the day. I think the low night-time temperatures this week really nailed the battery. (New one won't arrive until Friday - I should have gone to CMS in Exeter to pick it up, it would have been a lovely ride.)

    Pics are a bit delayed, sorry - maybe at the weekend.

    Cheers olza,

    Chris

  13. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by K9F View Post
    ... The wetting yourself with joy should perhaps be kept under wraps. Tena Lady may help?
    Very offensive. I would only ever use Tena Men. I am so awesomely masculine.

    Cheers,

    Chris

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