Tuesday, September 6, 2016

So much chrome!

My new Sportster is in really great shape, and I should acknowledge that the dealership did a fairly good job getting the bike nice and clean just before I picked it up (there is a problem with the front brake and, more worryingly, with the gearbox but we'll get to all that in due time, whenever that may be).

That said, it suffers from an all too common ailment for these bikes: TCC, which stands for "tacky chrome contamination".

TCC is typical of the late 1990s and can be seen in a myriad "accessories" that were produced in those years, all things that add no value and in fact ruin both the aesthetics and the ergonomics of a bike.

Turn signals, footrests, mirrors, gas caps, handlebar grips, and "chrome trim" for every nook and cranny you can imagine.

Have a look at these details shots:
to begin with, those grips are just incomprehensibly ugly, they had to go:
There is a plastic chrome end cap on the throttle. See how we look at it in bemusement?

The handlebar clamp: it wants to remind you that you're riding a Harley-Davidson (as if the vibration wasn't enough to remind you, am I right?) and that chrome is just so flashy; this is not only very ugly, but it must have cost a fortune! Why?? Also, look at those two huge washers, surely we can do better than that.
And just in case you'd forgotten that you're riding a Harley-Davidson, on your way from the handlebar to the gas tank, here is another reminder, a tasteful gas cap trim:

I appreciate the quality of the piece, it's clearly not cheap... but I can't stand it. Goodbye.

The mirror. I mean... what the hell were they thinking:

*Sigh* The oil filter. This is a real pet peeve for me when it comes to these bikes.
Look, I understand the point of chrome plating when you need to protect metal from corrosion. It's a time-honored tradition that is by no means exclusive to H-D, and is sometimes an engineering necessity (on telescopic forks' stanchions for example). British bikes have chrome parts...
But a chromed oil filter?? Come on, not only is it tacky and serves no purpose, but it seems like a sinful waste of the stuff: chrome don't grow on trees, y'all! Anyway, I'll keep this for now, and swap it out for a black one next time I do an oil change.

The battery holder, there is a lid and a strap; I'll see if these can be stripped and re-painted. Black, of course.

The turn signals, front and rear. While they are ugly, I will be keeping these but will try to strip the chrome and paint them black. The ones at the front are actually quite neat and make for a much more uncluttered look than the standard ones.

The ones at the rear give the back of the bike a relatively slim appearance but they're not very visible and will interfere with the passenger backrest when fitted, so, these may need to go at some point.

Another triumphantly horrific piece: the license plate holder. Good god, BILLET! Baroque, hefty, intricate billet! On what is essentially a hot-rod motorcycle, that is a faux-pas.

And finally the footrests: these were so hideous and so uncomfortable that I had to ask the dealership to swap them for OEM parts before I collected the bike. They obliged and fitted a pair of brand new black rubber ones that are just perfect: comfortable, stylish and absolutely bulletproof.


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