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"Baggers", December 1, 2012

LOOK IN STYLE

AeroView Motorsports’ Mirror Cowling

WORDS: Eric Ellis

Here is what the Mirror Cowling looks like from the front view. As you can see the mirrors at either end are hidden behind the aerodynamic flow of the cowling. Looking at the underside you can see the mirror mount molded into the hand-laid FRP.

PHOTO: Eric Ellis

It’s pretty hard to get excited about something as simple as a motorcycle mirror, but when we came across AeroView Motorsports’ Mirror Cowling for Road Glides, our blood began pumping. Form and function in one easy-to-install product, what’s not to like? It wasn’t until the MOCO came out with the Street Glide did they offer a touring bike that moved the unsightly rabbit ear mirrors off the handlebars and onto the inner fairing. This simple change really helped make the Street Glide the sleek tourer Harley was aiming for.

As a Road Glide enthusiast, Bernard Gibson, owner of AeroView, was disappointed with the mirror options for his bike. Sure there were plenty of aftermarket choices, but none provided the stylish looks to flow with the streamlined design of the shark-nose fairing and provided a more functional viewing area. So he took matters into his own hands and began working on a solution. After coming up with a concept, Bernard turned to his friend Mike Wakeman for the R&D. Mike had been in the motorcycle industry for quite some time as a custom painter, but more importantly, he had an extensive aerospace background.

The Road Glide Mirror Cowling was finally developed in 2011 and the first units went on sale in January of the following year. A totally unique design, the cowling is made of aircraft-grade fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), which is hand-laid in the USA. The cowling features two 4-inch convex mirrors with their mounts molded into the inside outer ends of the cowling. The unit is offered in a gel-coat, ready-to-paint finish and is available with or without flush-mounted LED modules to operate as turn signals. The non-lighted version sells for $295 while the lighted version can be had for $395. For an additional cost and cool factor you can even get a unit with a mini video camera molded into it to record all your bagger shenanigans while riding. Both versions come with all necessary mounting hardware and weather stripping, and the lighted version comes with a plug-n-play wiring harness. Installing either version is a breeze and can be done with basic tools in the average home garage. The company currently only offers a Road Glide version, but don’t fret my batwing loving brethren, while visiting the shop for an install article I was informed they are working on a unit for batwing fairings.

01 The cowling mounts directly over the top of the outer fairing and bottom of the windscreen and utilizes the three stock mounting points in the center. Two new holes at either end of the outer fairing need to be drilled. Before installation, the seven holes on the cowling were drilled out. The mounting points on the cowling are easily identified by their slightly indented patterns. A step drill was used to drill out each point. The holes were drilled out slightly larger than the mounting hardware to allow room for adjustment.

02 Once all the holes were drilled out of the cowling, two pieces of painters tape were applied to the outer edges of the stock fairing. The tape is used to help protect the paint and provide an easy way to line up and mark the new holes to be drilled.

03 With the tape in place, the cowling was mocked up using the three center windscreen mounting points. You may recognize that this is a Klock Werks windscreen — AeroView says its cowling will work with all H-D windscreens and most aftermarket windscreens. Check with them for compatibility.

04 At the outer edges, Bernard and Mike made sure there was some space between the bottom of the mirror and the top of the fairing. This gap is important for mirror adjustment. You only need about a 1/4-inch of space to be able to properly adjust the mirror. As he was adjusting the gap, Mike also made sure to keep the outside edge of the cowling flush with the outer edge of the fairing.

05 Once everything was aligned, a pencil was used to transfer the cowling hole locations onto the tape.

06 The cowling was then removed and a step drill was used to drill the four new holes (two on either side). All the holes were drilled slightly larger than the mounting hardware for easy alignment/adjustment.

07 The tape was then removed, and the cowling was mounted to the fairing.

08 Here is what the black gel-coat cowling looked like once mocked up. Once satisfied with mockup, the cowling can be sent out to Mike who owns Mike’s Hawg Paint and he can paint it to match your stock colors or custom paint to match your paint scheme. Or of course you could send it to your local painter.

09 Here is a cowling that Mike painted to match their R&D fairing. This a lighted version of the cowling with the LED strips flush mounted into it.

10 Here you see the backside of the LED strip mounted into the fairing and the wiring harness that comes with it. AeroView wanted to make installation of the LED cowlings as simple as possible so they come with a plug-n-play harness that plugs right into your stock wiring.

11 We shut the garage door and turned off the lights to get a better view of the LED turn signal. With 10 LEDs built into each blinker, it provides plenty of flash for oncoming traffic to notice you.

12 Here’s the cowling on Bernard’s personal Road Glide. Even in the daylight, it’s hard to notice the flush-mounted LEDs when they aren’t flashing. With its slick, streamlined design, it looks like the bike should have rolled off the showroom floor with this cowling.

13 Not only do the mirrors look good but they work well too. Moving the mirrors off the handlebars and forward onto the fairing gives you a broader view of the road and a larger scanning area; it also helps reduce your blind spots. It does take some time to get used to the mirrors going from moving with the handlebars to being mounted to a fixed point, but then again, the rearview mirror in your car doesn’t move as you turn does it? Also, the convex design of the mirrors widens your viewing area for a better field of view.

SOURCES

AEROVIEW MOTORSPORTS

aeroviewmotorsports.com

(916) 765-3685

MIKE’S HAWG PAINT

mikeshawgpaint.com

(530) 651-3114

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