Pipes ’N Wheels

RC Components has you covered

Pipes and wheels kind of go together like peanut butter and jelly, or salt and pepper, or oil and water. Or is that oil and balsamic vinegar? Either way, upgrading a bagger’s pipes and wheels are pretty much the common mods that guys make. Luckily, RC Components out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers both. And a whole lot more.

In the wheel department, RC’s been machining those since Rick’s Custom Components first got started. Rick (the “R” in “RC”) was drag racing back in the day, and the set of wheels he’d ordered for his drag bike weren’t showing up. After waiting for two months, which turned into two more weeks, and then two more weeks after that, he decided to design his own wheels. And just like that, kids, the company was born. And we all know the old adage: If you want something done right, you do it yourself! Fast-forward to today, RC Components now operates under its 60,000-square-foot facility and offers cutting-edge products for Harley-Davidson, Victory, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, and much more, for those looking to up the cool factor on their rides. With more than 60 employees keeping the machines going, Rick and his custom components have become a mainstay in the aftermarket motorcycle parts industry.

For wheels, we were definitely digging the look of the Crank Eclipse wheels. The Crank is a newer design for RC Components that was launched at the beginning of 2013 and is available in Chrome, Gloss Black, Flatline (a flat-black finish), and the Eclipse finish, which consists of a black powdercoated finish that is then machined to highlight the polished aluminum and black powdercoat contrast. Available in 16x3.5 inches all the way to 26x3.75 inches up front, and 16x3.5 to 20x10 inches in the rear, the Crank Eclipse ($1,249) was the perfect fit for our bike owner’s tastes. And because he was going to be upgrading to stretched bags that would hide the rear wheel, he decided to keep the stocker in place. Matching rotors are available at $339 apiece, so of course we opted for those, too.

Because we like to keep things sanitary and on the up-and-up in the matching department, we were glad to know that RC offers its own line of Airstrike air cleaners to match every one of its wheels. RC started offering these back in 2011, and the Airstrike kits, which retail for $419, have been a huge success for RC ever since. The Airstrike includes a high-flow K&N air filter and a new backing plate that incorporates a velocity stack to improve airflow to the engine providing more horsepower and torque. And of course, the air cleaner cover can be tailored to your wheel purchase for the utmost in uniformity.

In the exhaust department, RC Components started offering its own exhaust line, RCX-haust, back in 2009. The amount of pipe SKUs has multiplied in just a few short years, and most recently for Touring models, RC started offering its True Dual head pipes ($479.95). Made to complement its slip-on muffler lineup from both a style and performance perspective, the true duals are available in a chrome finish or black ceramic coating, and fit ’10–later Harley Touring models. The Gatlin Eclipse slip-ons ($549 for this combo) work with ’95–later Touring models and are available in a 3-1/2-inch and 4-inch diameter tubing with 16 different end-cap designs. We chose the Gatlin Eclipse and the 4-inch diameter slip-ons. And to go with those were RC’s True Dual head pipes in chrome. Lastly, to up the performance efficiency to make sure everything was running tip-top, the RCX-celerator ($399.95–$450.95), RC Components’ own closed loop fuel management system offers complete performance without the need for dyno tuning, building maps, or making ECU modifications. The plug-and-play unit helps compensate for the addition of airflow going in and coming out of your bike thanks to an exhaust and air cleaner upgrade. Plus, the RCX-celerator also claims that it doesn’t need to be tuned if making more technical hop-up modifications, either.

rc components exhaust and wheels install

RC Components’ 21x3.5-inch Crank Eclipse wheel was outfitted with matching Crank Eclipse rotors and wrapped in a Michelin 120/70-21 tread and ready for its new host bike, a 2013 Street Glide.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

The RCX-haust True Dual head pipes feature a clean design that also aids in the performance department when coupled with the 4-inch diameter.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

The Airstrike Air Cleaner features a new backing plate with built-in velocity stack to flow more air into the intake manifold. It’s available with more than 16 different faceplates, but we chose the Crank Eclipse to match the wheels.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Last in the parts department is the RCX-celerator, RC’s own fuel management system. With the mods we’re making to the 2013 Street Glide, a little extra performance and fuel efficiency is never a bad idea. And the RCX-celerator offers both.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

We employed the skilled hands of our ace mechanic, Josh Rundlett, for this project. He got started by ripping off the stock football air cleaner cover and filter and throwing into the recycling bin.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Next, he installed the RC Airstrike backing plate and breathers.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

After slipping the supplied chrome hardware through the Crank Eclipse finished Airstrike cover, he installed the air filter and faceplate.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

The Crank Eclipse Airstrike looks right at home against the machined finish of the cylinder cooling fins.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Moving on to the exhaust department, the stock oxygen sensors were removed so they could be plugged into the new RC True Duals.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Josh yanked the stock exhaust off and made quick work of getting the new RC True dual head pipes in place. They were fitted with new circlips and the stock exhaust flanges and then loosely fit to the exhaust studs on the heads.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

The right side Gatlin Eclipse slip-on was…slipped on. The rear end cap is totally bitchin’, man! We’re definitely feeling the contrasting finish with the hole cutouts on the tip.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Next up, Josh installed the crossover pipe, which mounted to the oil pan via supplied mounting bracket.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Once that was tightened down, the left side Gatlin Eclipse slip-on was positioned in place…

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

…and tightened down under the saddlebag mounts.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

To round out the exhaust installation, chrome heat shields were carefully installed over the head pipes and then thoroughly wiped clean with a degreasing agent to remove any dirty fingerprints before firing the bike to life.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Josh quickly replaced the right side floorboard and pipe installation and…

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Josh hooked up the RCX-celerator to the factory ECM…

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

…plugged in the factory oxygen sensors to their respective ports. Once all was said and done in exhaust land, we moved up front to the Crank Eclipse front wheel installation.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Josh loosened and temporarily removed the stock brake calipers from both sides of the wheel.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Next, the front axle nut was loosened, and the axle taken out in order to get the front wheel off.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Out with the old…in with the new. The Crank Eclipse was slid in between the fender. But first, Josh had to make some modifications to the fender mounting holes to fit the new 21-inch wheel. Once the mods were made, the Crank was slipped into place and the axle was replaced.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Last, the brake calipers were reinstalled to the fork lower legs and wheel installation was complete. After a quick spin to make sure nothing was binding, the bike owner was extremely happy with the results.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Here are a few shots of the new components installed on the Street Glide.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

Overall, the wheel is top notch and the headers, slip-ons, and air cleaner all look really clean and simple...

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

...which “clean and simple” were the bike owner’s prerequisites before even beginning his search for parts.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni

rc components exhaust and wheels install

We were curious to see how the performance mods fared on the dyno.

Photo: Jordan Mastagni