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Featured Member: Mike Callery
When I bought my 2000 Honda Shadow Spirit just under two years ago, I had no idea that I would develop it into the “Spirit Tourer” that it is today. As I look back upon this trek, and as I look at the bike today, I feel that my love of the Harley Davidson Road King, undeniable had an influence on the development of this bike.
I always felt the Road King was the ultimate example of what a motorcycle should truly be, however, I was not going to invest my money in a motorcycle twice as expensive as a Honda and half as reliable, but then, that’s a personal opinion.
Though I bought the bike as a Spirit, I knew that I wanted to change it. I didn’t care for the look and was simply enamored by it when I first bought it.
The first few changes were typical of most riders: Leatherlyke bags, a Mustang seat, and a variety of Cobra chrome parts. As the additions progressed and I began to read of others modifications, I began to seek out new fenders, purchasing the front one first and the rear much later (I’ll get back to this).
Although there are a variety of aftermarket fiberglass type fenders, I was lucky enough to find an Ace fender at my local Honda dealership. A quick paint job and it was a straight swap. The rear, however, was another story.
When I went to do the rear fender change, I had no desire to simply do a status quo Ace fender and hardware look. Nothing against that, but I wanted to be different. All the original OEM holes were welded shut and the fender painted to match. Afterward, I went on a search for some hardware that would give me a different look. What I found is shown in the picture. The rear taillight and turn signal combination is the Aurora unit available from J&P Cycles. I modified it by adding Signal Dynamics 3” LED units on the turn signal stems. The stems are hollow which allowed me to drill into them and run the wires completely hidden.
Above the license plate, I installed a Badlands Whiskers license plate holder on a Chrome World lay down license plate mount, although I didn’t use the lay-down style, but more upright. The Badlands Whiskers plate incorporates halogen bulbs for turn signals. I then added a six-inch Signal Dynamics LED to the top of the Badlands, running the wires behind the plate and through the mount to the backside of the fender. All of the wiring for the Badlands Whiskers plate and LED were run down the inner fender and into the Aurora taillight housing. This allowed me to tie the running light and brake lights into the LED’s and also allowed me to tie the turn signals from the Aurora into the turn signals from the Badlands Whiskers plate.
The end result is a strong presence of rear lighting. While running, one sees the Aurora running light and the three LED’s. When braking, in combination with the Signal Dynamics brake modulator, one gets the brake light and the high side of the LED’s flashing at a 3 second pulse. The turn signals are a bit unique in that the display provides for a lower, red, rear turn signal and then the yellow halogen turn signal from the Badlands Whiskers.
With the fender project behind me, it was time for an overall change again. I had seen a bike with studs and conchos and liked that look, so that was the next change. With that, a quick sale of the old seat and bags and a switch to a new Mustang studded seat and new Leatherlyke studded bags.
The next few projects were relatively significant in nature because they have since become relatively popular and many have followed in my footsteps.
The Spirit has a small 5 ¾” headlight that does not throw much of a beam. I wanted something big, something that would not only light up the road at night, but something that would let you know I was coming. With that in mind, I opted for a Harley Davidson Road King headlight with a Diamond Star replacement light. This is a 7” light and is really a breeze to change out. It does require some specialized nuts, bolts and spacers to mate the Harley bracket on the light to the Spirit fork mounted bracket, but once done, the Spirit takes on a slightly larger front end appearance and has a much brighter beam hitting that road.
I still felt the front end needed some cleaning up so the next project was the most extensive that I undertook – bringing the electrical wires from the switch housings through the bars and down into the wiring harness.
This procedure is documented in full at: http://www.mikecallery.com/BarWiring.htm
The procedure is not all that difficult, but it is one that is very time consuming. It does require a moderate degree of electrical experience in order to cut, solder and re-test your connections. The process is as simple as cutting the wires, drilling the handlebars, running your lubricated wires through the bars and re-soldering them on the other end.
Although currently I have a fairing, when the fairing is off, the combination of the non-visible electrical wires, along with the stainless braided cables and new Dakota Digital speedometer gives the bike a very clean appearance.
Having been influenced by the looks of the Road King, my thoughts turned to a fairing. I had been running with a Memphis Fats windshield, however, I liked the fairing look and started to toy with the idea. When a fairing became available on the forum, it seemed like an opportunity waiting to happen so I jumped!
When the fairing arrived, I wasn’t impressed, but I knew that with the right amount of work, it had potential!
After a trip to my local auto supply store for some fiberglass repair material and then a trip to my painter, the fairing was back on my door with a gorgeous high-gloss black finish that brought tears to my eyes.
Mounting the fairing is a lesson in patience. There are quite a few nuts and bolts that allow for anything from a minor amount to a large amount of variance to the mount. It takes time to change all this around.
All in all, the Spirit is a very sweat ride and having had two years to personalize it, I feel the bike has truly matured into what I feel a bike should be. All bikes are an extension of one’s personal feelings and desires in a ride – this one is mine!
As I approach two years with this bike, however, the time has come to sell this pride and joy and move on. Although the Spirit Tourer is a gorgeous bike, it simply does not have what is necessary to provide good quality two-up riding and touring. As such, the Spirit Tourer has been put up for sale as I look at moving to a new 2002 GoldWing.
Questions about this article, or about any of the procedures listen herein may be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org