Blinging Out a Fat Boy: H-D 6-Spoke Rear Wheel & Pulley Install (Intro)

Harley 6-spoke wheel rear wheel and pulley install

Here’s Dan from Rob’s Dyno Service installing the new metal valve from the H-D wheel installation kit into the new chrome H-D 6-spoke rear wheel using a ½” deep socket he ground down for this purpose.

By Chris Maida

Part I: Installing a new chrome Harley-Davidson 6-spoke rear wheel and pulley, with a new H-D polished rotor and Shinko 150/80-16” rear tire

Want to add some instant flash to your bike? Bolt on a nice set of custom wheels! When I had my bike shop, back in the day, guys would come in before the new riding season and ask how they could change the look of their bike without going for a complete overhaul. My answer was to change the wheels and paint job. After all, once the front end and engine are chromed or blacked-out, you’re done there. But bolt on a slick set of wheels with matching rotors and pulley, and you’ll totally change the look of the bike. And, though not cheap, you get a lot of bang for your buck!

Mounting a Shinko tire on an H-D 6-spoke rear wheel

After checking the directional arrow and locating the balance dot alongside the valve stem, he installs the new Shinko 150/80-16” tire onto the H-D 6-Spoke wheel.

And that’s exactly what we decided to do to step up the look of a 2006 Fat Boy. Though those iconic solid wheels are a trademark of the Fat Boy, the stock units were dull, pitted, and, in short, needed replacing after many miles of hard service. Since the original Harley-Davidson components had served the owner well, he decided to go back to The Motor Company for its replacements. He selected a set of H-D’s Slotted 6-Spoke wheels that feature a combination of polished and textured chrome finishes on the spokes, rim, and hub. We also got a matching rear pulley and new standard rotors all around. In this article, however, we’ll just be installing the rear wheel setup, and we’ll do the front wheel in a future issue.

This cast aluminum 16″ rear wheel (#43930-08/$559.95) requires, as all Harley P&A wheels do, the purchase of a separate H-D wheel installation kit (#43854-08A/$89.95). These kits are specific to year and model bikes, so be sure to order the correct one for your bike. However, the installation procedure is the same. For our matching cast aluminum textured chrome rear pulley (#40447-01/$399.95), we also got a set of chrome bolts and flat washers (#94773-00A/$29.95). There’s no way we were going to reuse the old, beat-up hardware. When installing this pulley onto the wheel, make sure you properly align its spoke pattern with the wheel’s pattern. Our rear rotor (#41832-05A/$149.95) is a polished version of the stock unit since, like the hardware, the original had seen better days and would ruin the look of our new wheel package. Of course, we went with a set of new chrome rotor hardware (#46647-05/$13.95).

H-D 6-spoke rear wheel install

With the rear wheel in a lift’s wheel chock, he uses a wheel bearing installation too to install a wheel bearing (both the same) from the H-D installation kit into the right (primary) side of the wheel, as indicated by the lines on the wheel hub.

When it came to getting a new set of tires, the bike’s owner decided to go with a pair of Shinko 777 tires, which are available exclusively from the HardDrive catalog. We got a 150/80-16″ (#87-4597/$129.95) for the rear wheel. This tire features a newly redesigned carcass that has a higher load rating thanks to heavier nylon belting. This results in ample load capacity, while also giving more stability and longer tire life. The 777 series is specifically designed for cruiser machines and is available in a multitude of sizes for many V-twin models.

We went to see our old buddies Rob and Dan at Rob’s Dyno Service to do the install. We’ve done many articles with these guys, and they always do the job right, the first time. Check out the photos and captions to see how to do this installation in your own garage. In a future issue, we’ll bolt on the new matching front wheel and new rotor, as well as another new Shinko tire. AIM

H-D wheel bearing and center wheel spacer H-D installation kit

Dan slips the new wheel bearing and the proper center wheel spacer (spacer C #43608-00 for our application), both from the H-D installation kit, onto the shaft of his wheel bearing installation tool.




Harley-Davidson –

Rob’s Dyno Service –  978/895-0441

Like what you see? The full article with all the steps, tips, tricks, and tools needed is in American Iron Magazine issue # 340! To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit
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WIN THIS HARLEY! Dennis Kirk Sweepstakes Update IV

This 2009 Fat Boy came to us relatively bone stock and ready to revamp. Now, it leaves our hands a new bike, ready to be ridden by it's a new owner, who can be you!

This 2009 Fat Boy came to us relatively bone stock and ready to revamp. Now, it leaves our hands a new bike, ready to be ridden by it’s a new owner, which can be you!

Centuries of poets, bards, and musicians have long serenaded the masses with the wonders of the world shaking the cold of winter and embracing a rebirth in spring and summer. So, too, are we excited for the changing weather, albeit with less pretty wordification. As we move into the riding season for much of the country, our American Iron Garage Spring issue is in still circulating the newsstands, and Summer will be hitting the shelves at the end of May. There’s still much to be seen on our Dennis Kirk/American Iron Magazine giveaway Fat Boy, with the upcoming issues of AIG rife with installs and how-to guides, and there’s plenty of time for you to enter to win. Head over to to order any and all back issues of AIG, and keep your eyes peeled for these Fat Boy installs, as well as many others, in the our Summer issue.

We got our hands around some Love Jugs Cool Masters, a pair of external cooling fans that promote efficient air flow over those hot twins while crawling through traffic. It was a fairly straightforward install, and we were even able to complete a Klock Werks project from Spring that required an ignition relocation. The exhaust system also received some TLC in the form of blacked-out 2-into-1 Freedom Exhaust Outlaws, and we noted some tips and tricks to get through this install properly. Lastly, we cleaned up the stock coil and hanging wires with an ACCEL Stealth SuperCoil install, a project that might sound daunting but was actually finished with relative ease. The winner of this sweepstakes will surely be a happy new owner.

The Love Jugs assembly mounted right onto the left side of the Fat Boy, where the horn used to be. Who needs that thing, anyway? (To be relocated!)

The Love Jugs assembly mounted right onto the left side of the Fat Boy, where the horn used to be. Who needs that thing, anyway? (To be relocated!)

Love Jugs Cool Masters will keep the future owner's skivvies a little drier this summer.

Love Jugs Cool Masters will keep the future owner’s skivvies a little drier this summer. Notice the Klock Werks ignition relocation mount, too!









And how can that new owner be you? Be sure to check out our Summer (On sale 5/31) issue to get a peep into the American Iron ossuaries where all the handiwork gets did, and purchase the coming issues to follow along with in-depth articles and close-up photos of the modifications. And how can this Fat Boy be yours? Subscribe to American Iron Magazine(877.693.3572) and you are automatically entered to win. So subscribe today. Or, you can enter with no purchase necessary at

Dangling wires be gone, this stock coil setup hits the bricks.

Dangling wires be gone, this stock coil setup hits the bricks.

Off comes the incumbent exhausts! Impeach!

Off comes the incumbent exhausts! Impeach!

Notice anything different? ACCEL Stealth SuperCoils clean up the left side reaaal nice.

Notice anything different? ACCEL Stealth SuperCoils clean up the left side reaaal nice.

On goes the Outlaws. Draw!

On goes the Outlaws. Draw!

Problem Child, Custom 2002 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Have you ever known somebody who always seemed to be down on his luck, some-one who lives under a perpetual gray cloud? When I was in high school, we had a guy like that. If he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. Fittingly, we nicknamed him Chief Gray Cloud. Another friend owned a car that might as well have had bull’s-eye targets painted on its hood, trunk, and doors. It was constantly picking up dings, dents, and scratches in the parking lot when it wasn’t ground zero for minor fender benders. We dubbed that cage Bumper Car, and it gave true meaning to the phrase joy ride.

Motorcycles are prone to the same demonic possession, too. Case in point is — or, hopefully, was — Jay Bartz’s 2002 Fat Boy. The demonic episodes began shortly after Jay, who calls Fridley, Minnesota, home, bought the bike new back in ’02. One night, after enjoying the camaraderie of his friends and fellow bikers at The Joint, one of the Twin Cities’ favorite biker hangouts, he concluded it was time to shove off and head for home. “I went out to the parking lot, and there were five other Fat Boys besides mine parked in a cluster,” recalls Jay. “They were all stock and looked the same, I didn’t know which one was mine.” A brief bout of playing musical keys narrowed the choices until he finally located the right bike. “That’s when I decided it was time to do a little customizing,” Jay said. The most obvious fix was to replace the big Boy’s iconic disc wheels with a set of custom rims, so that his FLSTF wouldn’t blend in with the other Fatties in the parking lot.

“I took the bike to a guy who had just opened a new shop in the area,” Jay said. His prices were right, so Jay elected to do more than just mount new custom wheels. They tore the Fat Boy down for a major rebuild and makeover. That’s when the demons returned. “The bike just sat in his shop with no progress being made,” Jay recalled. The easy part — disassembly — had been taken care of. The hard part — finishing the custom work — was yet to be tackled.

But that was only the beginning of Jay’s woes. “I went to the shop one day, and it was closed — for good. I had to call the cops to get my parts, and when I finally got them, about half were missing,” he said. Other casualties included a bad job of powdercoating to the engine cases. “It started flaking off,” laments Jay. The gray cloud just got grayer.

But, as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining, and here’s where Jay’s story takes a turn for the better. “I took the bike to Donnie Smith’s,” Jay said. “Something I should have done in the first place.” Jay confesses that he’s always been a Donnie Smith fan, but he figured at the time that he couldn’t afford the seasoned builder’s prices. “I was wrong,” Jay continued. “The moment I walked into his shop, he treated me like I was a really special customer.”

So the exorcism of Jay’s Fat Boy began with Father Smith, in effect, splashing holy water on the bike. “They went right to work,” Jay said. “[Don]Tima [who works for Donnie Smith] and everyone started chroming parts that I would have never considered. They gave the bike a really
special look.”

Yet that powdercoated engine remained a major concern for Jay. But Donnie had a solution, and he knew just the shop to make it right. So, S&E in nearby St. Paul, got the call for fresh powdercoating. Donnie used the downtime to build up the engine’s internals, too. Head Quarters heads now sit atop Screamin’ Eagle 95″ cylinders, and a S&S Cycle gear-drive cam assembly was installed, along with S&S pushrods, rockers, and lifters. A Feuling high-performance oil pump found its way into the engine as well. Donnie’s crew crafted the swoopy exhaust system, and a conical D&M air cleaner fits onto the Mikuni 45mm slide carburetor. Additionally, the stock five-speed transmission was disassembled so that a set of BAKER’s smooth-shifting cogs could be inserted.

Those various parts that Tima and the crew had earmarked for chroming were sent to Pat Obinger’s shop in Blaine, Minnesota, and Mike Bailey in nearby Coon Rapids got the call to splash on the deep black paint job. It was just the touch to complement the engine’s orange powdercoated cases.

But, for the most part, the custom fabrication and assembly took place at Donnie Smith’s Custom Cycle in Blaine. The Softail frame received the typical lowering treatment, and Donnie applied his signature extended fenders front and rear; the rear sheet metal was based on a modified B’Cool fender while the front is from Donnie’s fabrication shop.

You won’t mistake that stylish gas tank for a typical Fat Boy’s fuel jug, either. Ditto for the headlight assembly that combines a Harley-Davidson Night Stalker nacelle with some subtle changes by Donnie Smith. Indeed, a who’s who of custom component suppliers highlights the parts manifest bolted to the 2″-under stock front end. The mirrors hail from Paul Yaffe’s catalog, and Performance Machine supplied the hand controls that mount to the Carlini handlebar. Keeping with the high-tech theme, the familiar, tank-mounted speedometer was nixed in favor of a cleaner-looking Dakota Digital gauge.

About a year after Jay first rolled his Fat Boy into Donnie’s shop, the bike was nearing completion. Which brings us full circle to the custom wheels that Jay had decided to put on his bike in the first place to help distinguish it from any other Fat Boy that happened to be in the parking lot or on the road. His final choice: a set of Performance Machine’s Wicked Image hoops, both 18-inchers. Metzeler rubber was wrapped around the shiny wheels, at which point the bike was deemed ready to roll.

But Jay wasn’t. “I had some health issues at about the time the bike was finished, and I really didn’t have enough money to pay Donnie,” Jay said. Now here’s where the gray cloud’s silver lining might as well have turned to gold. “Donnie worked with me on that, too,” he said. And so our tale of woe has a happy ending. AIM


Words by Dain Gingerelli, photos by Bob Feather

Story as published in the November 2011 issue of American Iron Magazine. To order a copy, visit

2010 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo Review

Dark Custom Harley Fat Boy Lo Motorcycle

If you’re torn between buying a Softail or one of H-D’s line of Dark Customs, stress no longer. The Motor Company has felt your pain and delivered a machine that fits the bill on both counts. And if you’re also a rider with leg length issues, like me (29″ inseam), you’re going to feel like you just won the Triple Crown!

The Fat Boy Lo, as you can see, is the newest model in Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom series. Decked out in satin chrome, Denim Black, gloss black, and flat black, it has just the right amount of shine popping up here and there against the otherwise all-black machine. Black Denim paint is sprayed onto the frame, swingarm, front shock covers (cowbells), derby cover, horn cover, coil cover, oil tank, and air cleaner. Gloss black is on the triple trees, headlight nacelle, headlight bucket, rear fender supports, footboards, and air cleaner cover trim ring, just for contrast.

Flat black covers all the other blacked-out components, such as those over and under shotgun exhaust pipe header shields. The Lo also boasts a few other special treatments not given to the standard Fat Boy. It rolls on a set of Bullet Hole cast-aluminum 17″ wheels with blacked-out centers and machined outer edges. In keeping with the Fat Boy image, 140mm rubber wraps the front while a fat 200 takes care of the rear. Road contact was good in all kinds of weather, which is what I hit coming over the Rockies in Colorado, including heavy driving rain and hail. (I hate hail!) And let’s not forget the high winds that were thrown in for good measure! I had to work a bit to keep my place in my lane, since those solid wheels tend to act like sails if a strong gust gets a hold on them. But don’t get the wrong impression: I loved riding the Fat Boy Lo; I just didn’t like some of the weather I had to ride in. (Guess you could chalk that up to earning my pay for the day.)

Harley Fat Boy Motorcycle Logo

The 5-gallon Fat Bob tanks have a satin chrome and flat black console housing the speedo and ignition switch. The gap between the tanks just below the console is covered with a black leather insert, complete with H-D medallion, which finishes this awkward part of the cockpit nicely. To break up all that black, the handlebar is a fat 1-1/4″ stainless steel unit (with internal wiring), which is narrower than the standard Fat Boy bar. I liked where it put my hands, and had no trouble spending hours in the saddle.

So how does the Fat Boy Lo get to have the lowest seat height in the entire Harley-Davidson lineup? You can thank the 1.15″ lower front and rear suspension, resulting in a 24-1/4″ seat height. By the way, this seat is also narrower than the standard one, which gives you more leg to send down since less has to get around the edge of the seat. And though it’s not in any of the literature put out by H-D, I think the seat also places you a bit lower in relation to the rest of the bike. I based that on the fact that those slick, gloss black, half-moon floorboards kept my feet at a different angle than a standard Fat Boy board, which put my ankles at a slightly odd angle. Nothing major, to be sure, but it was something I noticed after 100 miles.

As for the go, turn, and stop characteristics, we’ll start with go, my favorite one. The Lo is, of course, powered by the same counterbalanced, fuel-injected Twin Cam 96 motor that resides in the rest of the Softail lineup. So I was not surprised when the crisp throttle response, smoothness, and power of my test bike matched what I’ve experienced in other Softies. Ditto for the six-speed Cruise Drive transmission and enclosed, oil-bath, chain-driven primary system. Shifts were good, although once the bike was at operating temperature finding neutral was a chore, which is something I’ve also experienced on a 2010 Road Glide. When stopped, I kept bouncing between first and second. Getting into neutral while still rolling was the way to go. Clutch action was smooth and predictable, so the neutral issue was not clutch related.

In the turn department, the Lo handles very nicely. I had no problem with it in all riding situations, such as slow parking-lot speeds, highway blasting, twisties (just remember you have floorboards!), and no hands on the highway. The Lo took it all with ease. (To keep the Lo tracking true during no-hands, I had to move my butt about 1″ to the right.)

Stop is via a single four-piston caliper up front and the same out back. These calipers and fixed rotors do their jobs well, since I could rein the Lo in at will.

I let a number of people sit on the bike while I had it and all liked the new, lower stance. This was especially true of women, who said the lower height made it easier to lift off the sidestand.

Bottom line: it looks like the Motor Company has another winner on its hands. I definitely didn’t want to give the Lo back! AIM

Chris Maida as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.