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There you are… riding down the road and all the day long you are looking right past the hand controls of your motorcycle. While you are thankful for the functions they provide, you just might often wonder why the manufacturer spent so little time making this section of your motorcycle as aesthetically appealing as the rest of your bike... No fear, help is here!
There are many key manufacturers who make beautiful and functional hand controls for all Harley and Metric cruisers. Before we dig into the brands themselves, just what makes up “motorcycle hand controls” and just what is a “switch box housing?”
Switch Box Housing: The housing or shell that holds the starter switch, turn signal indicator switch, headlight switch, kill button and more.
Levers: Brake and clutch levers are easily replaceable and make a huge visual upgrade! While you can get a chrome or black direct replacements, why not go for the gusto and upgrade to adjustable levers, wide blade levers, or even themed levers!
Clutch Perch: This very simple and often plain looking mount has the very key role of holding and providing leverage to your clutch lever and can be simply dressed up with a Kuryakyn clutch perch cover.
Master Cylinder(s): These reservoirs on the handlebars hold the hydraulic fluid for the clutch (if not cable operated) and the front brake of most modern motorcycles. Reservoir caps and reservoir covers are available in either chrome or black to suite most motorcycle themes.
Hand Grips: Stock grips are miserable… and the sooner you upgrade to a comfortable set of aftermarket grips, you will kick yourself for waiting so long! Check out all the options in this Hand Grip Buying Guide: http://www.cruisercustomizing.com/motorcycle-guides/why-buy-aftermarket-...
- Switch Box Housing replacements offer you chrome and black “replacements” for your stock housings. These can have the identical shape as stock, Show Chrome Accessories and Drag Specialities for example, but the appearance is 10 fold better! If you are looking for a totally custom look, check out Arlen Ness, Pro-One, and Joker Machine for Bad Ass switch box offerings.
- Switch Box Covers are just that… they are clam shell type covers which slip over the stock or OEM switch box housing giving it an updated and custom look.
1) Ease of Installation: On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the easiest) the covers will be a 1 and the replacement housings will be a 3 or 4 depending on skill level. The covers slide over the existing housing and have just a few screws holding them in place. Conversely, the replacement housings require you to completely disassemble the stock housing and swap all of the electrical components, wires, switches, as well as the throttle cables. While it sounds “in depth” the process is fairly simple and can be done in an hour or so with common hand tools.
2) If your stock or OEM housing has been damaged, a replacement housing is a cost effective and aesthetically pleasing alternative to a stock replacement.
3) Style. Covers will increase the size of the housing and can look bulky whereas complete replacements are available in all shapes and sizes.
At the end of the day, the look, the style, and the amount of effort you want to put into the controls of your motorcycle will dictate the route you will take here. I can attest to the fact that upgraded controls on my VTX have dramatically improved my riding experience! Kuryakn ISO Grips, wide blade levers, clutch perch cover, master cylinder cover, and Show Chrome Accessories switch box housings have totally cleaned up the look of my handlebar control area.
We hope that this Switch Box Housing and Hand Control Buying Guide was helpful and informative. Until next time, take care and ride safe!
Kyle & the CC Team