2012 Harley-Davidson FLD Switchback | Doin' Time

Staffers’ Rides

Photography by Mendel Yano

Wrist: Joe Neric
MSRP (2012): $17,579
Miles: 13,025
MPG: 36
Mods: Harley-Davidson Analog Speedometer/Tachometer, Diamond Black Collection grips

In the last installment, I had a slip-on exhaust, performance air cleaner and stage one tuner kit installed. Now that the Switchback is sounding and performing much better, I wanted the styling to match. Nothing over the top—just a few bolt-on pieces to show her off a little. While I was thumbing through the Harley P&A catalog, I stopped at the Diamond Black Collection, where the opening line, “Shroud your bike in mystery,” caught my eye (www.harley-davidson.com). Sold!

All Diamond Black Collection components feature a blacked-out and knurled billet-aluminum finish, which creates a cool contrast. What I liked most about the whole collection is that it adds subtle styling accents that help make the bike look custom without trying too hard. The handgrips ($79.95) are cool to the touch but have a side effect I hadn’t thought of. Because the textured-metal design doesn’t grip gloves as well as the boring stock rubber items, you have to make more of an effort to hang on. And that’s worse if you run the Switchback without the windshield, which I’ve been doing lately. A kung-fu grip is the price of cool, right?

I managed to grind through the stock metal floorboards, so those really needed to be replaced. The Diamond Black Collection footboards ($199.95) added that cool touch I was after. But be careful: Like the grips, they’re mostly metal. And they can be really slippery if you get any oil or other liquid on the sole of your boot.

My dad always told me, if you’re going to bother committing, commit 100 percent. With that in mind, I also ordered the Diamond Black shifter peg ($19.95) and the larger Brake Pedal Pad ($49.95) to complete the black-billet look. Much like the handgrips, there was a cold feel to the controls and the shifter does bite into my boot, creating a wear spot, but that’s not really a big deal.

It’s funny how I never noticed how much I used something until it was gone, like an analog tach. The Switchback’s stock instrument doesn’t have a traditional tach, just a digital readout buried with the tripmeter and clock. The Harley-Davidson Analog Speedometer/Tachometer ($299.95) features a gauge-within-a-gauge look that satisfies my need for a needle, while the contrasting numbers are easier to read, especially when you have to lower your head just to see the gauge. A nice surprise was finding how incredibly easy the orange-and-black color scheme was to read at night. I highly recommend this upgrade.

All the pieces are falling into place, so the Switchback is sounding and looking great. With summer around the corner, I’m planning another ride up to Solvang with some friends, and I know that I’ll be arriving in style. Or, should I say, shrouded in mystery.

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