After many long, hard miles and a couple of spills here and there, like many of us, our 2002 project Fat Boy had seen better days. Worn, weathered, and long in the tooth, the old Boy was well overdue for a weight loss regimen and a facelift. The last time we visited this project, we started addressing the excess weight and wrinkled exterior by ditching the scratched and dented sheetmetal in favor of a new tank, seat pan, and rear fender from Custom Chrome’s Lucky F*cker collection. Seeing as this project started life with a set of bulging and sagging saddlebags, we decided to call it the Fat F*cker. Our plan isn’t to turn the Fatty into a frail and anemic Softy. No, our intention is to just shed a few pounds so that it still has the thick look of a Fat Boy, just with a leaner and meaner profile. Getting rid of the saddlebags, FL fenders, and Fat Bob tanks made a dramatic difference and gave the bike a much slimmer silhouette. In this next installment, we are going to address the fork legs and handlebars.
Recently we heard that the Ness clan had come out with a line of its Hot Legs fork sliders for Softail models. Originally released for Touring models, the legs are machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum and feature a really clean and custom looking hidden axle design. Ness offers the legs in either a chrome or black finish with a smooth or machined Deep Cut design. For the Touring models, the legs are available in either dual disc, custom single disc, or custom single disc dual caliper (two calipers on the same side) and the Softail legs are only available for dual or single disc applications. Another new item in the 2012 Ness catalog is its Modular Handlebars. Mini Apes, Drag Bars, and Bagger Apes, the Ness Modular bars are comprised of a multi-piece design that features billet junction clamps at the top allowing users to adjust the bar ends in or out to fit their exact desired comfort. The Mini Apes are offered with a 10-inch rise, the Bagger Apes come in a 13-inch version, and the Drag Bars are available in either 8- or 12-inch versions. All bars are offered in chrome or black, are drilled and slotted for internal wiring, and work with cable or fly-by-wire applications. Follow along as we add some strength and style to our Fatty with the Ness Hot Legs and Modular Bars.
01 For this install, we picked up a set of the Ness Deep Cut Hot Legs for Softail models ($599.95). The black-coated legs feature machined grooved accents that run down the legs, hence the Deep Cut moniker. The legs come with a Zinc-coated 12L14 steel hidden axle and the necessary hardware. Looking at the bottom of the legs, the axle slides in through the right and threads into the left leg. The cap (arrow) then slides over the bottom to hide the right side of the axle.
02 To beef up the top we picked up a set of the black Modular Mini Apes ($459.95). It’s basically a five-piece system with left and right handlebar control tubes, left and right billet junctions, and the lower handlebar section. The mini apes feature 3-1/2-inch on center knurling to fit most H-D models, and they come with 10 5/15-18 socket head bolts.
03 Since we were going to be removing the legs, we made sure to pick up some fork oil, new fork slider oil seals, and new lower Allen bolts and washers for securing the bottom of the fork legs.
04 We started the parts swap by securing the bike on a lift and using a center jack to raise the frontend. We then removed the front wheel.
05 We are going to be installing new hand controls and grips, along with new brake, clutch, and throttle lines to fit the 10-inch bars, so we removed the handlebars, controls, and all the lines as an assembly. We also removed the nacelle so that we could gain access to triple tree pinch bolts and the fork boot bolts.