2006 Heritage Softail







Heritage Softail Custom Fenders

This was my first bike, and I got it when I was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. I wanted to do something to make it a bit less ordinary, so I did what (I think) everyone should do before embarking on a custom project - I did nothing. I just rode the bike for a while and began to fish around for some inspiration before I began the project.

I didn’t have to fish for very long. One of the interesting aspects of the 2006 Heritage is the paint scheme. This was the only year for that distinctive tank decal that evokes the swoopy scimitar tank logo on the 1956 Model KH. It’s a classic look on a classic bike, so I began to look at similar rides from this era for some inspiration.

This project was not actually a full-blown build but more of a custom fender project. When I owned this bike I was on active duty and traveling a bit, and I was just lucky to find enough time to ride. North Carolina is a beautiful place to ride, and I rode a lot! But the winter can be harsh, so I made the best use of that downtime to do some performance and style upgrades.

The bike came with mini-ape hangers and Vance & Hines Short Shots. I didn’t like the handlebars and the pipes were loud and untuned, so I replaced the chimps with Milwaukee Twins 1¼" beach bars (dimpled and drilled for internal wiring) along with length-appropriate cables, Deuce risers and better handgrips for a nice, beefy upper front end. I installed a Power Commander, giving it the downloaded profile as a temporary fix. The pipes were eventually replaced with Samson True Dual fishtail pipes and a Screamin' Eagle intake, then dyno tuned, which gave me the look and the performance I was after.

The installed Fat Boy saddle was OK, but for some reason the seat pan cracked in a few months and I replaced that with a Danny Gray Butt Crack saddle, which was very comfortable (even on long trips). Aside from that, the only other touches were an extended tank console and a chrome H-D toolbox.

The fenders were both from Klock Werks. The rear was the Softail fender they make as a direct replacement for the stock fender, but a bit longer with a 4” stretch. It has the cutout for the ECM and I can tell you that this went on to the bike like a dream! Perfect fit and made of nice, thick steel. Same with the Benchmark front fender, also a direct replacement that bolted up as sweet as a mother's love.

The rear fender is a builder’s item and has no holes for any taillight or signals, so it was modified to accommodate a Softail Deluxe tombstone taillight and signal bar. I wanted to clean up the clutter and use a lighted license plate frame instead of the traditional plate mount over the taillight, so I got a replacement tombstone housing from SoftBrake that has no license light window. I selected a stock Harley Davidson Deluxe turn signal bar and off we went to paint.

As I said, I did this project when I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, so I looked around and settled on a local hotrod custom shop in Fayetteville. I won’t name them, because the experience was a bit challenging and there’s no need to embarrass them. Let’s just say that I got both excellent and crappy work out of them, but in the end and after all the heartache the project was a success.

First, the fabrication. This project didn’t need much fab as the fenders were bolt-on ready, but the tombstone light needed a box-like appendage on the fender to provide screw holes and a mount for the lamp holder. The fab guy also mounted the lighted license plate holder and routed the LED leads. Done and done, beautiful work and no complaints. Then, off to paint, and that’s where things got squirrely.

I’ll save you from sharing my pain, but let’s just say that the paint guy listened carefully as we discussed the concept, took my sketches and photos I brought to show him what I had in mind, and then went and did his own thing. It tuned out fine and looked great, but it was what he thought the bike should be and not what I wanted. Worse, when the tins were done the shop called me and when I went to pick them up the rear fender had a huge paint run on the trailing tip. The shop owner was right there and didn’t even flinch when I asked him why I was called to pick up the work when it clearly wasn’t done properly. He sent it back for a redo, and when they called me a week later I went in and got a repeat of the very same problem (but with a new run to replace the old one). They finally got it on the third try, but it was like pulling teeth to get them to get it right. I can’t believe the shop owner didn’t have more pride in the work that came out of his shop. No matter. It’s in the past and the shop seems to have gone out of business. The whole thing was a good, if troublesome, learning experience.

Afterwards I took it all home to wire the rear lights and put it together and install everything. That’s when I discovered that the Klock Werks license plate holder had an unusual design feature – it’s an inch shorter in width than a standard license plate. Oh, it’s a very high quality piece of gear, but it’s short. No doubt it fits beautifully into the frenched fenders they make, but I had a smooth fender and a license plate that didn’t fit the frame. So, I ended up recreating the plate in Photoshop and sending the art off to someone I found on the internet who makes reproduction plates. I got the plate back soon afterward and finished the install, and it all looked terrific!

So that’s it. Like I said, not a comprehensive build but it was enough to get me started on the road to future builds and the next project, which turned out to be a Sportster 1200C.