5 Basic Tips on Customizing Your Harley-Davidson

Whether you’re chopping your bike, or rebuilding from the ground up, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as modifying your Harley-Davidson. There is a special pride you get from riding the highways on a machine customized by your own hands to your exact specifications. But whether you’re a seasoned mechanic, or a first-time builder, it helps to keep some basics in mind. Here are a few very simple tips to help you get started:

Make a plan

Before you get started with any custom modifications, it’s important that you have a clear and finished plan for how you want your Harley to look and perform when all is said and done. Before you buy any parts, or spray any paint, think about your vision for the finished product and ask yourself how each specific part will look/function with the rest of the motorcycle. Otherwise you could end up with some sort of crazy Frankenbike,

Looks aren’t everything

Of course you want your bike to look cool, but just because you like the look of a certain part, doesn’t mean it’s the right part for you or your Harley. You should always keep the fit of your bike in mind. How does it feel for you as a rider? Is it comfortable, safe and functional? These are all things to consider when making modifications or adding aftermarket parts.


If you’re looking to turn your Harley into a chopper, there are two basic ways to go about this. 1) You start with a stock bike and simply strip it down and modify it to your specifications. 2) Get a rolling chassis and fit the drivetrain to the basic dimensions of your bike. This second method is a bit more labor intensive, but since pretty much everything from drivetrain to body work is in your hands, it gives you a lot more freedom to get creative with your customization.


Want to make your Harley as Loud, fast and beefy as possible? No problem. Aftermarket ignition kits and carburetors are effective and inexpensive ways to give your bike a bigger boost than possible with factory parts. Also, replacing your exhaust with the right aftermarket system will help boost performance, efficiency, weight and, yes, NOISE (a few good brands are Samson and Vance&Hines).


After you’ve chopped, modified and painted your bike, it’s time to accessorize. Adding the finishing touches can be the most enjoyable part of customizing your Harley. This is when you finally get to see your finished bike taking shape. This really just comes down to personal preference. You can keep it simple, or go full-dress style with saddle bags, a top-mounted box, big comfy upright seating, a windshield, a stereo system and whatever else you need to turn your bike into a two-wheeled mobile home.

However you choose to modify your bike, make sure you know what you’re doing first. If you’re new to the world of motorcycle customization, don’t be afraid to ask your local mechanic or parts store for tips tricks and suggestions. They’re usually happy to help, and would rather see it done right, than have to worry about another clunker on the road giving Harley-Davidson a bad name.

Guest Post from Cape Cod Harley with a link to http://capecodharley.com/.

Related Posts


  1. Hi Chris, your blog is really nice and informative. But one of the best ways of saving money and customizing a motorcycle on a budget, is to actually take on as much or the work yourself, as you possibly can.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *