These 13 Bolt-Ons Make The Harley-Davidson Roadster Perfect

We raid the Harley parts catalog and come out with a nicer Roadster

Harley-Davidson roadster
My favorite (and not-so-favorite) bolt-onsBrian Hatano

Modification is law for Harley-Davidson owners. The Motor Company expects us to modify our bikes. H-D designers even look forward to seeing what we do with their bikes once we get a hold of them. Done right, those changes not only improve our bike's performance, ergos, and aesthetics, but they also make us love our bikes a little bit more than we did before.

My affair with the Roadster started out lukewarm at best. I'm a cruiser guy and I really was hoping to get a Forty-Eight, but the folks in Milwaukee were hot to put a new Roadster in our fleet. I'm glad they did, as it presented a challenge: Could I make the new Roadster as appealing as that Forty-Eight without gravitating toward cruiser styling?

My strategy was to stay subtle while taking advantage of the Harley P&A catalog. Including the Café Custom parts, I came up with a list of 13 bolt-ons that were all easy to install—no special tools or skills required. Not all of them were hits. The Sportster Loud Horn kit, for example, really didn’t add much volume at all. Instead, it raised the pitch of the sound—exactly what I didn’t want. The Clubman bars were good for looks but torture on my wrists. I replaced them with the H-D Drag bars, which look just as good and are much easier on a longer ride. The Diamond Black grips get a mention here as well. They’re metal. Grab them after they sit out in the sun and you’ll understand.

But there are fantastic Sportster bolt-ons as well. The H-D Bar-End Mirrors go perfectly with the drag bar and improve rear visibility. Rear Set Foot Controls brought my legs back into a more comfortable position and were complemented by the Screamin' Eagle Heavy Breather Air Filter. That mod not only freed up some power but also eliminated the stock air cleaner housing that my knee kept bumping into. Another favorite was the black Derby cover, a perfect match for the wrinkle-black finish of the engine. It was an easy swap and only cost 40 bucks. It looks so good it should have come with the Roadster instead of the chrome cover.