The little things can really make a difference on your motorcycle. My buddy just installed one of the Speed Merchant’s Triumph Stator Covers on his Thruxton. He mentioned that they make derby covers for Sportsters, too, so I took a look at the company’s site and immediately took interest in its Preload Fork Adjuster caps ($140), which allow users to fine-tune the spring preload in their fork tubes without having to remove the fork caps.
With a built-in adjuster incorporated into the fork cap, the Preload Fork Adjusters are available for Sportsters and certain Dynas with 39mm fork tubes and are made from 6061 billet aluminum. The Fork Adjusters are a cinch to put on and work with factory or aftermarket springs, but you’ll want to have a buddy close by to help with collapsing the fork tubes when installing them.
I also liked the look of the Speed Merchant’s Finned Derby Covers for Sportster models ($145). Made to fit four- and six-hole Sportster model primary covers, the sand-casted aluminum construction is polished to a high sheen. They’re available in polished, black-with-polished-fins, or all-black finish. Since I originally visited the Speed Merchant to check out the different covers available, I ordered up one of the Sportster covers for the long-term 2000 XL883 Hugger Sportster project I’ve been doing over the course of a year.
01 The 39mm Preload Fork Adjusters are available in a raw machined or black finish. They can be adjusted up to 7/8-inch so riders can fine-tune the preload based on their preference.
02 Installing the Preload Adjusters is very easy but you’ll need either a 39mm fork cap removal tool, or a large enough open-end wrench. You don’t need to remove the front wheel, but you’ll need a buddy or two to push up on the triple trees in order to back the pressure off the springs so you can simultaneously thread the adjusters in place.
03 I placed the removal tool onto the fork cap and used an open-end wrench instead of a ratchet because of clearance issues with the low risers/handlebar setup.
04 I’m running Race Tech’s Gold Valve Emulator kit with a longer spring combination in the tubes with an increased travel length of about 2 inches over stock. Because of the longer spring setup, the tension was too much for my girly muscles to handle installing the Fork Adjusters by myself, so I called a buddy to help.
05 Because I love to do things backwards, I realized I should have loosened the riser bolts (mounted through the trees) for clearance purposes before removing the fork caps. I did this when removing the fork cap on the other side, which made things much easier.
06 While I waited for my buddy to show up, I loosened the riser bolts from underneath the bottom triple tree in order to move the bar setup out of the way for when I’d install each SM Fork Adjuster.
07 The spacers (red arrow) are included in the kit and need to be installed in order for the adjuster on the Fork Adjusters to collapse the springs. To install the Fork Adjusters without having to remove the fork tubes from the bike, I had my buddy push up on the frontend so that the spring pressure would collapse enough for me to thread the adjusters into the fork tubes. I used plenty of anti-seize on the threads to prevent galling. Once I had the Fork Adjusters tightened down, I played with the adjustment (yellow arrow) to fine-tune it to a somewhat aggressive riding style. It works great in conjunction with the Race Tech Gold Valve kit I’m using.
08 The Speed Merchant’s four-hole Derby Covers are sand-casted from 356 aircraft-grade aluminum and fit ’94-03 Sportster models. Also available are six-hole Derby Covers for ’04-later Sportsters.
09 Installation is a cinch. I simply loosened the four bolts holding the stock derby cover in place and removed the stock cover.
10 I installed a new quad ring, placed the Speed Merchant cover in place and tightened it down with the stock bolts. I must say, the finned cover looks pretty damn sweet on the Sweet Tracker with just the right amount of bling.
The Speed Merchant
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