Road Captain inner fairing: Compatibility Issue with Top Mounted Speedometers


"Top mount" style speedometer

There are a number of Harley Davidson motorcycle that mount their speedometers above the handlebar clamp. Examples include most dyna Super Glides and all sportster models except the Sportster Custom. Our Road Captain outer fairing will fit these models in their stock configuration, but the inner fairing will not. Unfortunately the stereo area on the Road Captain inner fairing will hit the speedometer. The inner fairing can be made to work on these bikes, but doing so requires relocation of the speedometer. This article goes over some options for doing so on various models and configurations.

NOTE: Models such as the Sportster Custom and Softail Breakout do have a handlebar mounted speedometer, but they mount them below the handlebar clamp. The speedometers on these models do NOT interfere with the Road Captain inner fairing placement, although depending on the height of the riser you may have to reach over the top clamp somewhat in order to control the stereo.

Digital speedometerBadlands Eliminator mirrors

Digital speedometer conversions

This is the most expensive option, but digital speedometers are are cool and versatile. MotoGadget makes a tiny digital speedometer called the Motoscope Mini, which is available through Custom Chrome for $357.99. Add a billet handlebar top clamp with indicator lights for another $276.99 and you’re done! Expensive, but cool. They also make a rocker-box side mount for this speedometer as well. Another way to go would be Badlands digital mirrors such as the Eliminator model. These integrate the gauges and the indicator lights into the mirrors themselves (they shine through the glass). I have these on my Road King and I love them, but they are expensive at around $800/pair. Mine included the turn signal LED’s on the front - if you are considering billet mirrors and new turn signals these cover those bases as well, taking away a bit of the sting from the cost, and really clean up the front end of the bike.

Joker Machine fork mounted speedometer bracket

Side-mounted speedometers

Several companies make a side-mount for speedometers. These mount off one of the fork tubes, off one of the front fuel tank hold-down bolts or off the rocker boxes. Prices seem to range from as low as $60 (without indicator lights) to $170 or so. Obviously these move the speedometer far away from the Road Captain inner fairing, so that is helpful. They also make the speedometer harder to see, of course. Unfortunately I have not tried any of these yet, but here are some educated guesses on the various types.

Rocker-box mounted speedometer bracket

Side-mount: Rocker-box
These should certainly be compatible with the Road Captain fairing, as they move the speedometer far away from the fairing. There are several available on Ebay and elsewhere. Not all include the indicator lights. I only see them listed for Sportsters - perhaps the wider tank on a Dyna would interfere. Some note “some modification required for Sportster Forty-Eight” without elaborating on what that means (I have been told that the Forty-Eight speedometer mounts differently than the other top-mount speedometers).

Joker Machine fork mounted speedometer bracket - Sportster

Side-mount: Forks
I’m not sure if these would hit the fairing or not. From the photos that Joker Machine has for theirs it looks to me like it would work on Sportster models where they mount low, behind the forks, and would not work on Super Glide models where they mount high, up next to the forks.

Links to Joker Machine side mounted (on forks) speedo mounts:
http://jokermachine.com/products/harley-davidson/sportster-parts/speedo-side-mount-assembly-2014.html
http://jokermachine.com/products/harley-davidson/speedometer-relocation-brackets/oe-indicator-speedo-side-mount-assembly.html

Tank bolt mounted speedometer bracket

Side-mount: Tank-bolt
In the case of the tank-bolt mounted models it could be that when you steer to full lock on that side of the bike the fairing will hit the side-mounted speedometer. I just don’t know as I haven’t tried it. I will update this article if I get more info on this.

Super Glide bottom mount speedometer conversion



Notch in back cover for speedometer wiring

Round spacers

Super Glide - Sportster Custom style bottom mount conversion

On my 2006 Super Glide I was able to relocate the speedometer below the handlebar clamp using a speedometer bracket from a 1996 to 2003 Sportster Custom. I believe this would also work on earlier Super Glides (2005 and prior) but I don’t know that for 100% certain as I haven’t done it and don’t know of anyone yet who has. Note that the front-ends are different (2005 and prior had 39mm forks, 2006 and later had 49mm forks) so it’s possible the clearances could be slightly different.

Because the Sportster Custom speedometer bracket does not contain the indicator lights I also utilized a handlebar clamp cover from Joker Machine which integrates the factory indicator lights (turn signal, high beam and low oil pressure lights). I opted for the black clamp cover and had the speedometer bracket powder coated black in order to match the black handlebars and dash on this bike. I also used 5/16” I.D. 1/2” O.D. x 3/8” length round spacers to go between speedo and top clamp (must be ½” O.D. max - larger diameter won’t fit the Joker Machine handlebar clamp cover) and longer handlebar clamp bolts (2”). If you want/need more clearance between the speedometer and the dash (on 2005 and prior models, perhaps?) you could use longer spacers and longer bolts. I happened to have several sets of stock risers in the shop and I was surprised to notice that one set was a bit taller (1/4"?) than the other set. I used the taller ones - sorry, but I'm not certain if these were the stock ones from this particular bike or not. I also had to cut a notch in the back of the speedometer cover to make clearance for the wiring.

Because the handlebar clamp cover protrudes forward farther than stock, the clearance is tight between the inner fairing and the handlebar clamp cover. I had to carefully adjust the angle of the fairing for clearance so it wouldn’t rub. Also because those indicator lights are tight up against the fairing they are a little hard to see. But it worked and I was happy with the results.

Parts list

 

Total cost: around $150

2002 Sportster Custom with "peanut" tank

Sportster Custom speedometer and risers

Sportsters with “peanut” tank except Sportster Forty-Eight

Most Sportster models with the “peanut” style tank such as the Nightster, 883 Iron, Hugger, etc. can be converted to the 1996-2003 Sportster Custom (1200C or 883C) style risers, top clamp, speedometer housing and handlebars, or similar, which mount the speedometer below the handlebars. You will need to extend the wiring for the speedometer and the indicator lights as well. I realize this is not for everyone, as it limits your handlebar options (won’t really work with apes, z-bars etc.) but it is an option worth knowing about. If you love your apes etc. and want to keep them and also want a Road Captain fairing with inner fairing I think your only options would be some sort of small digital speedometer or possibly a side-mounted speedometer.

NOTE: I do not believe that the 2004 and later style Sportster Custom risers etc. will work with the peanut tank as they mount the speedometer lower. They are designed for the later non-peanut style tank.

Basic parts list (all from Harley-Davidson)

  • 67084-96 bracket, speedometer
  • 56192-01 riser assembly
  • 68030-96 cover, front
  • 56074-96 clamp, handlebar

 

Sportster Forty-Eight speedometer

Sportster Forty-Eight

Harley got cute with the Forty-Eight and integrated the handlebar risers into the top triple tree. So you can’t change them out with taller risers unless you change out the upper triple tree with one from at 2010+ Sportster Custom. This adds complication and expense to a conversion to 1996-2003 Sportster Custom style risers, top clamp and speedometer housing. A side-mount or digital speedometer of some sort are other possible options here. (Update - I was told by our customer Chris Ross, who talked to someone at Joker Machine, that the way the speedometer for the Forty-Eight mounts to the bike is different from the other top-mount spedometers. Joker Machine told him he could get some parts from Harley to adapt it to their fork-mount bracket, which he said cost around $30 or $40. They also were able to tell him specifically which fork-mount bracket of theirs would work on the Forty-Eight.)

Softail Breakout

Breakout style handlebar risers, top clamp and speedometer housing

The Softail Breakout has a different style of handlebar mounted speedometer that looks pretty cool to me. I haven’t tried them but they look like they would be a good solution for Super Glides and might work in the Sportster peanut-tank case as well (although I wonder if spacers under the risers might be needed?) Note that the handlebar clamp has equally spaced bolts top and bottom, so if you were going to try these you would need the stock risers as well. Also because the risers are taller than stock they would bring your bars up and back and would likely require lengthening of your speedometer and indicator light wiring.

Sportster experiment

Conclusion

Certainly there are other options or combinations beyond what I've covered here, such as using aftermarket pull-back risers with the Joker Machine (or similar) top-clamp and early Sportster Custom speedometer bracket, or the 2004 and later Sporster Custom speedometer and riser setup on Super Glides. And if you don't mind giving up your stock gauge, there are reasonably priced aftermarket mini-speedometers available as well. I have also tried some other experiments, including one on my Sportster (with peanut tank) using 4 1/2" pull back risers and flipped stock speedo bracket mounted on spacers. I wasn't terribly happy with the appearance, but it worked and was very inexpensive.

In any case, I hope this article helps give you some food for thought in regard to relocating your top-mounted spedometer should you choose to do so. If you have other ideas or input please contact us and let me know - I'd be happy to add to this article or update it as more information becomes available.