BLOG-So, by now you likely know that I and the club I am involved with, the Sworn Few LEMC, ride year around and tend to get caught in adverse weather conditions. There are no “garage bikers” in this LEMC club. Of course there is nothing wrong with choosing to ride in nice warm weather only, and garage your bike during cold or adverse weather. Each biker has his own desires and passions to ride and I completely respect that. Some may not be comfortable riding in things such as very high winds, which is okay. You must always ride within your own capabilities. The Sworn Few LEMC members are hard core bikers through and through and it kills us during periods of heavy snow when we can’t safely ride. We have a deep heart felt love and passion for riding and brotherhood! That will always be the foundation of our club, but for some others it may not be.
I pretty much ride my bike to work and back everyday, aside from all the club rides. Yes, when I leave for home in the morning after a graveyard shift it is often near 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I have to be cautious and watch the humidity levels closely, as to avoid ice. Most the time it is around freezing or a bit above in the colder part of the year. In the warmer part of the year it is just a T-shirt (ooooh how I love the warm season).
Anyways, I ride a 2014 Harley Street Glide Special and have the stock engine guard bars. I was looking for something cheap to block some of the cold air and rain from spraying up on me and my feet while riding, without spending a large amount of money buying expensive full lower fairings that Harley sells. Plus, I did not want them on year around and I like the open feeling of just engine guards. Later in this blog I will talk about […] air cooled engines.
So, I went to my local Harley Davidson dealership and purchased “protective soft lowers” (Harley Part #58502-80C). They are black, made of vinyl and polyester, snap onto your engine guards, and run from $50-$60. There is a cut out for your highway pegs. You can Google search the Harley part number and many places sell them.
The first time you put these on will be a challenge, as they need to stretch around your engine guards to be snapped into place. I suggest warming them up with a heat source of some sort to get the vinyl more workable before attempting installation. Otherwise, you will likely become frustrated and start swearing. You might even throw a tool against the shop wall.
They are fairly inexpensive, fairly easy to install, do protect the rider from weather, and are very easy to remove.
I found that it was nice riding back and forth to work with them installed on my bike during adverse and cold weather conditions.
Then I headed out for some longer club rides at freeway speeds. I suddenly found my bike lacking its usual spunk and power (103 ci w/a stage one intake kit and Vance & Hines Twin Slash Rounds). This became extremely apparent when riding against a head wind. Wow, the power loss and gas consumption on my Street Glide was extremely noticeable and it took a few rides to finally come to the conclusion that these “protective soft lowers” are not aerodynamic at all and act as a sail so to speak. They are not made in any way to have the wind cut up and over them, so instead they just catch the wind terribly and literally rob the bike of power, thus causing much more gas consumption.
I would also tell you that I would obviously not utilize these in warm weather conditions at all, as it would block the air flow to your air cooled engine, thus causing overheating issues. I think there is a warning on the original package about this. I never had this problem, because I only used them in colder weather.
There is nothing on the package about this “sail” problem as I have come to call it now. I learned this from personal experience and testing of this product. I wanted to pass this blog and review on to all you Law Abiding Bikers, so you can be informed if you are thinking about purchasing this product from Harley Davidson.
So, I took these “protective soft lowers” off my Street Glide Special and will not put them back on ever again. My power and gas mileage returned immediately. It is not worth it to me to just put these on for low speed riding on city streets back and forth to work. They would be more useful at higher speeds and longer rides anyways, in which they fail miserably in my opinion. I do not like something robbing me of power and digging into my pocketbook in regards to gas prices.
- Easy installation
- Easy removal
- Protect the rider from adverse weather
- Large loss of power
- Act as a “sail”
- Hinders getting good gas mileage
That’s great info . I was about to order these and have seen many post about bike not running great with airflow being blocked . You made my decision! Rain gear will work just fine !
Matt Couchman says
Right on. Glad to help!
Ride Safe & Ride Often!
~ Matt Couchman
Law Abiding Biker™ Team
Helping, connecting, entertaining, and inspiring as many bikers as we can worldwide!
I was just about to pull the trigger and buy some of these for my bike until I read this review. What you said makes perfect sense. Looks like I’ll stick with my chaps. Thank you for saving me the headache