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 on my bike that I would be done for the year. After all, the things left on my list were pretty high-dollar changes and I didn’t expect I would be dealing with them. Instead, a series of events occurred that have allowed me to change my mind and do one last set of changes to my Night Train.

The last changes that I really wanted to do to the bike were to add a set of custom wheels. Once again I had a specific vision I wanted for the bike but shortly found that I had several options that would meet my goals leaving me with a difficult decision. I spent several hours going through the Harley-Davidson web site and the catalogs looking at the various wheel assemblies that the motor company sold. Each year Harley-Davidson seems to come out with a few more styles that makes the decision even harder. Well harder until you realize that many of the wheels are being made for the current model year bikes which may or may not fit a 2005. Take for example the Blade wheel that was introduced in 2007. I loved the look of that wheel and had determined that was the one I wanted. Harley-Davidson makes that wheel in a 21 inch front wheel that will fit a 2005 Softail Night Train. Last year’s catalog stated that this wheel did not come in a 16 inch rear wheel that would fit the Night Train. Since I didn’t want a different wheel in the front versus the rear this was taken out of contention. When the 2008 accessories catalog came out it appeared as though Harley-Davidson had a version that would fit the rear wheel putting it back into contention. I began specing out a set of these wheels when I found out that Harley does not produce a matching sprocket that will fit the 2005 Softail so the wheel was again taken out of contention. This kind of thought process went into every wheel in their line up until I finally had settled upon what I wanted. I again went down to Chandler Harley-Davidson expecting to order a set of custom wheels. When I got there the chrome specialist (catchy title) suggested I look at alternative sources that would much cheaper. So I went home without ordering but with a list of manufacturers to search online. After several hours of surfing and calculating I had a new plan of attack and was back down to the dealership. Timing could not have been any better (or worse depending on how you want to look at it). I had a set of third-party wheels picked out and as I was explaining what I wanted the service manager reminded the parts representative that all Harley-Davidson wheel assemblies were 20 percent off. On a set of wheels 20 percent can be substantial so I was back to my original plan and my original design. I ordered a set of Mirror Chrome ThunderStar Custom Wheels and assorted accessories. The wheels may take up to 2 weeks to arrive but I think it will be worth the wait.


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