Print this page

10 Things To Know Before Building A Custom Softail Harley-Davidson

Nothing is better than advice from the experts, so when Clutch and Chrome saw an excellent article on customizing a Harley-Davidson softail from Demon's Cycle, we knew it should be passed along to our readers.

Bringing new and innovative ideas to custom motorcycle design, Demon's Cycle were kind enough to allow us to reprint their tips in the pages of Clutch and Chrome. Demon's Cycle started as a custom built motorcycle company over seventeen years ago and quickly established its reputation as a pioneer of radical motorcycle designs, euro style bikes and custom chopper concepts. Putting their custom bike building experience to good use, Demon’s Cycle offers affordable and well-designed custom motorcycle parts.

Who better to offer ten tips for building a custom Softail Harley-Davidson?

If you think the Fat Boy pictured above is beautiful, imagine giving it your own custom look. To help with that, we hand Clutch and Chrome over to the talented hands of Demon's Cycle.

The age of the do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiast is upon us and we are constantly challenging ourselves to build something unique, something custom.

Harley-Davidson enthusiasts may consider a custom bike build as the ultimate DIY project. But it’s a lot of work, time and money to build a brand new motorcycle and without the right preparations you’re sure to run into even more issues than expected. Here are 10 tips on how to avoid mistakes when building a custom Softail.

1. DIY: Do-It-Yourself doesn’t just mean the bike build, it includes every aspect of the project including ordering, measuring, installation, finding the right people to do specialty work on it and so much more. You could spend tons of hours just researching the different custom parts to get. So give yourself a lot of time.

2. Follow who you shop with: Yes, eBay has a great selection of motorcycle parts but that doesn’t mean you want to leave it up to the random searches on the site. Let’s say you find a great deal on a frame and set of wheels you like from the same store on eBay. Follow that company and see what else they sell, not only to get good prices on other things, but because you like their products and service and that goes a long way when doing a custom build.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: Even the most experienced Harley builders can have questions and if you don’t ask, you're setting yourself up to make mistakes.

4. Keep records: When ordering something, don’t assume that it's saved in your email account or even in an online account. If you have access to printing out something make sure to print it out and keep it on file. This is the best way to keep track of what's been ordered in case something needs to be returned or you need to double check measurements.

5. Speaking of measurements: If you only measure twice you’re asking for trouble. Measure at least three times before placing every order. Forget that the wrong size part won’t work, when ordering the wrong size you have to return it to the seller, pay a restocking fee and then reorder the correct size. Not only does this waste a lot of money but also valuable time.

Want more help? Demons Cycle sells a DVD as well as the custom parts!

6. Is this softail friendly? There are thousands of different parts to pick from, but don’t forget that you're building a softail Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Make sure that you are buying the right parts that will work for the right bike.

7. Make new friends: If you find a seller you really like on eBay contact them. Maybe they can cut a deal on the shipping or throw in something extra because you are buying so much from them.

8. Take plenty of pictures: As great as your memory may be you won't remember everything. Make sure to take plenty of pictures of the parts as well as the bike during the build. It’s important to have these on file.

9. DO NOT SEND IT TO THE PAINTER, YET: By now your DIY custom softail Harley Davidson motorcycle build has probably taken longer and cost more than expected. Now you have all the parts and you are ready to send them off to the painter, but wait, that’s a big mistake! Don't send anything to get painted until you have assembled it all on your motorcycle and have confirmed everything fits correctly.

10. Did you forget something? You finished your bike and are ready to ride it, sell it or do whatever you want. That’s great, but don’t forget to keep all the information you've collected during the build. Keep the pictures stored along with all your notes and paperwork so there's a record of how long it took, how much was spent and so on. If parts need replacing down the road you have all the sizes, where they were bought and anything else you might need.

Always remember to keep track of everything, be patient and have a big budget when doing a project of this size. Yes, you want to stay under your budget, but building a motorcycle is expensive so you have to be aware of that.

Any DIY project takes time, but when building your own custom Harley-Davidson softail motorcycle leave time for creativity because you have a lot of options you can go with. 

Share this article