A Fork in the Road

The Night Train is really starting a transformation. The nuts and bolts swap were subtle but noticeable. The hand control changes were anything but subtle but again the look just seemed to work. There is definitely something to be said for chrome controls. If you are looking for something that will get noticed, that will do it. The problem with changing out the controls is that it makes the brushed metal fork legs really stand out and I don’t mean in a good way. It was pretty clear that I was going to need to make a change to the forks but I was really facing a dilemma as to what direction I wanted to go with this conversion.

To stay true to my vision for the bike I really wanted to put lower black fork legs on it. I thought it would definitely represent the dark nature of the Night Train. Besides, it should be a lot less money for me to do the black fork legs. With chrome lower legs I would not only need the legs themselves but in true Harley-Davidson fashion I would also need to replace the zinc fork drainage screw and the retainer nuts. These things are starting to add up so I had my mind made up that I was going to the dark side. I went down to Chandler Harley-Davidson with plans to order the fork legs and begin the swap. When I got down there things weren’t quite so simple. The first challenge I had was the fact that the black lower fork legs that Harley-Davidson produces are black gloss. The color of my bike is Black Pearl which is quite different than black gloss. This meant the fork legs would have more of a look of the down tube of the frame than of the tank and fenders. I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was with that look. Secondly, they happened to have a bike on the showroom floor with the black lower legs and black paint. I had thought that the black fork legs would make the chrome spoked wheel to stand out. Instead it drew your eye to the black tire. That is really not what I wanted to draw the focus to. Now I had doubts that my decision to go dark was the right one. I really began to question my decision when the parts specialist stated that they were having a service special for February where they were offering 20 percent off a chrome front end package. The price difference that I thought would be substantial was now within just a few dollars. My vision for the bike was about to take a much brighter direction. I ordered the chrome lower legs along with the chrome drain screw and the axle retainers (it still drives me crazy that I have to buy the bolts and retainers separately in chrome rather than Harley-Davidson just including them since it is pretty obvious that anyone doing a chrome front end is going to want them.) I also choose to include the chrome slider dust covers and the chrome upper fork nut covers. The transformation was amazing. I thought it would be way too much chrome but it looks amazing. It sets off the chrome controls on the handlebars and carries the them down to the wheels. It sets off the Black Pearl front fender making it really stand out. It especially draws attention to the laced front wheel in a way I did not anticipate. I’m glad I went this direction. With this modification now complete I think my work for 2008 is done. There are other things I want to do to the bike but I think I have exhausted my motorcycle budget for the year.


  1. Jeff Blogs says:

    The Wheels of Fortune

    “With this modification now complete I think my work for 2008 is done.” I wrote these words just two short weeks ago and already I am contradicting myself. I did truly believe that once I put the new forks…

  2. Michael says:

    Great article. I just ordered an ’08 FXSTB also in Black Pearl. Like you I was thinking about getting the black lowers but was worried they wouldn’t quite match. I’ll have to give it some more thought. Meanwhile, nice bike and let us know if you do any more work on it.

  3. Jeff Summers says:

    Congratulations on the ’08 FXSTB! When I bought mine I really wanted Dark Cherry Pearl but that was impossible to get. I “settled” for Black Pearl and I am SO glad I got it rather than the Cherry.

    I’m really happy with the chrome fork legs and glad I went that way. It really made the wheels pop and get noticed. The local dealer later got in a bike with gloss black fork legs. In my opinion it made the tires look a lot bigger (brought out the black of the tires). It looked pretty stealth but with my personality I wanted the wheels to stand out more than the tires. It really depends on the look you are going for.

    I keep telling myself I need to take the camera out and shoot some more pictures. I’ll see if I can do that over then next week or so and post some photos of the bike as it is currently configured.

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