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'Virtue' - Performance Machine's 2007 Fat Boy

Friday, January 25, 2013
They call it ‘Virtue.’ Of the multiple definitions for virtue, ‘goodness’ fits the case of Performance Machine’s Fat Boy called ‘Virtue’ best because there is plenty of goodness on this motorcycle.

It starts with the stunning seven-spoke chrome ‘Virtue’ wheels. PM and killer custom motorcycle wheels have been synonymous since the Morris Mag 7-spoke and the Invader 6-spoke hit the scene in the ‘70s. Touted as the “crowning jewel” of the Performance Machine R&D department is this
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2007 Performance Machine Fat Boy Virtue Video
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Performance Machine has everything you need to turn your Harley Fat Boy from a stock machine to a show-quality bike, from its new Virtue Wheels to its Phatail 240mm Conversion Kit. Find out what it takes to make the 2007 PM Fat Boy stand out in the crowd in our 2007 Performance Machine Fat Boy ‘Virtue’ Video.
new hoop that pays homage to the Contour Wheels, “A modernization of the Contour wheel using everything we’ve learned over the past 10 years,” according to PM’s Jason Tiedeken. For the 2013 Virtue Wheel, Performance Machine used a little wider blank that allowed them to make the long, drawn-out rim cuts and to get the 3-D effect they were looking for. Rollin’ 21 inches tall up front and 240mm wide out back, there’s a lot of highly polished goodness mounted beneath the thick black chunks of Metzeler ME880 rubber.
It’d be a shame to have a wheel that looks as good as the Virtue hidden beneath a bunch of bodywork and frame rails. Fortunately, ‘Virtue’ sports PM’s Phatail 240mm Conversion Kit that really opens up the bike’s right side so you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the shining chunk of chrome. Pairing it with a set of Vance & Hines Staggered Short Shots was a smart move because the pipes stop short of the tail section, further enhancing the view of the backside. Even though you’ve got the pulley and rotor on the left side, it has a matching PM Series 9 Virtue Pulley and a clean drilled-out belt guard so it shines in its own right. The Performance Machine Phatail Kit comes with a wide swingarm and rear axle assembly, a one-piece formed steel fender and billet aluminum fender struts. In the case of ‘Virtue,’ they split and widened a 2011 H-D Fat Boy fender and fobbed in a recessed taillight. The struts, all the hardware you’ll need, taillight and tag mount are all part of the PM Phatail kit.

PM is expanding its repetoire with the addition of its new Lugged Handlebars  the ones on the 2007 Fat Boy powdercoated black.
PM is expanding its repetoire with the addition of its new Lugged Handlebars, the ones on the 2007 Fat Boy powdercoated black.
The tall PM Virtue Wheel and thick Metzeler give the Harley cruiser a stocky look to its front end. With a name like Fat Boy, running a skinny front tire is sacrilegious. PM did swap out the bike’s fork for stock 2008 FLST legs and dressed them up with Merc Slider Covers. Another improvement to the front is the addition of new Performance Machine Lugged Handlebars. That’s right, PM is bending its own bars now, and with their track record of producing quality parts, this doesn’t bode well for the competition. The PM Lugged Bars bring the reach up a good ten inches before the Merc Grips bend back to the rider. Combine this with the Phatail kit that situates riders down and in the bike more, combined with a good stretch to the forward controls, and you’ve got an aggressive, open rider’s triangle. The bars not only inject the Fat Boy with a little extra attitude, they allow for plenty of leveraging when it comes to hustle the bike through turns, too. The PM Lugged Handlebars will soon be available for Harley Softails, Dynas and Touring bikes in either chrome or black.

Another new series of 'virtuous' products on the PM Fat Boy is the new Scallop line of covers. A lot of time went into the high quality machining of the Scallop line to get the desired 3-D effect. Contrast cut with a hot rod look, the stock horn cover, cam, derby and timing covers and the rocker boxes on the PM Fat Boy have all been switched out. The edgier new covers are direct replacements for the OEM ones and are shipped with all hardware and gaskets. With ‘Virtue’s’ new high bars and wider backside, the industrial-design of PM’s Scallop line injects the Fat Boy with even more attitude.

“It took a lot of expertise to get the finishes that good so we like to show it off,” added Tiedeken.

The Scallop design extends to the new PM Max HP Air Cleaner, too. The best part about the one-piece cover used on the air cleaner is its slim design. It’s one of the most compact performance air cleaners for V-Twins around, its K&N air filter tapered to match the design of its contrast cut cover. We love how the shape allows riders to easily place their foot flush on the floorboard, a feature that especially comes in handy for forward controls. Its goodness is tri-fold. It looks fantastic, boosts performance and gives you great knee clearance. Definitely one of the hot new products to be looking for coming out of PM this spring.
Performance Machines new Max HP Air Cleaner with the Scallop design not only has a killer look  but its trim design allows riders to snug up tight to the bike and place their feet confidently flat on the floorboards.The 2007 PM Fat Boy features the PM Phatail 240mm Conversion Kit that matches up to its new PM Primary.Performance Machines new Scallop line of covers have a great 3-D look to them.
(R) Performance Machine's new Max HP Air Cleaner with the Scallop design not only has a killer look, but it's trim design allows riders to snug up tight to the bike and place their feet confidently flat on the floorboards. (M) The 2007 PM Fat Boy features the PM Phatail 240mm Conversion Kit that matches up to its new PM Primary. (R) Performance Machine's new Scallop line of covers have a great 3-D look to them.

The Performance Machine Fat Boy serves as the launch vessel for other slick new products as well. One is its new Merc Fuel Level Gauge, an LED unit that displays fuel level in little green and red lights. The Merc gauge fits a variety of Harley tanks and in the case of ‘Virtue’ is matched to a Merc Contrast Cut Gas Cap to keep the appearance of the tank clean. Another complementary detail that adds to the custom look of the PM Fat Boy is its Vision mirrors. The new Small Leaf Mirrors have been redesigned and have a hidden pivot so they easily adjust forward and back. Compact and chromed out, they mount to PM hand controls as well as stock units.

And while Performance Machine has done plenty to spread its brand of goodness upon the 2007 Fat Boy, there are a couple of finishing touches like the paint and seat where PM enlisted the services of outside sources. The man responsible for the red metal flake paint and gold leaf trim is Matt Polosky at ColorZone. We dig how Polosky patterned the flat dark grey paint, especially on the tank, to give it dimension. The PM Phatail conversion sees the addition of a Corbin seat pan, too, that was then custom covered by Mauricio Aguilar of Azteca Customs.

Its amazing how simple upgrades like a new intake  pipes  and cables can boost the performance of Harleys Fat Boy.
It's amazing how simple upgrades like a new intake, pipes, and cables can boost the performance of Harley's Fat Boy.
So we’ve come to the conclusion that the sum of the parts of the PM Fat Boy has achieved show quality, but the big question is how these changes add up to real world performance. Fortunately for us, Performance Machine let us take the Fat Boy out for a day. Thumbing the electric starter, the first notable change is its exhaust note. The Vance & Hines Short Shots have been dialed in with the addition of a V&H Fuel pak and the burble is rich and deeper. Pull at the clutch lever has been reduced a touch and we like the action provided by the PM Contour Dual Cable. Gears engage earlier in the release and it gives riders an immediate connection and control over what’s going on at the back wheel.

Speaking of that back wheel, it’s amazing how a new intake, set of pipes, and a couple of fresh cables can get it spinning even quicker. The combo evens out the powerband of the Fat Boy’s Twin Cam 96, providing more mid-range punch and allowing riders to wind out gears longer. The torque-filled first hit Harley’s are known for is still there but overall the power is distributed in a much more linear manner. Though we didn’t get a chance to throw it on the dyno, the seat-of-our-pants impression we got while blasting down LA highways confirms ‘Virtue’ is definitely up on power over stock.

LA traffic keeps riders on edge. When the inevitable traffic jam brings six lanes to a standstill, we’re grateful for the firm, even pressure applied by the PM 4-piston differential bore brake calipers. Besides being more powerful than the stock units, they’re not grabby at all but still provide plenty of feel at the lever. The high-powered PM binders are paired with an 11.5-inch Virtue front rotor so you’ve got style to go along with improved performance.

We shot over to our buddy Taber Nashs shop in West Hollywood to hang out and cruise Sunset Blvd.
We shot over to our buddy Taber Nash's shop in West Hollywood to hang out before cruising the Sunset Strip.
Performance Machine has the parts to turn your Harley Fat Boy from a stock ride to a rock star.
After that, it was time to tear it up in the Hollywood Hills.
We take a ride on the PM Fat Boy out to visit our friends at the Perri Ink. Cartel and bring a little ‘Virtue’ to West Hollywood. The motorcycle fits right in with the crowd on the Sunset Strip, the depth of its red metal flake paint popping in the sun and its gold leaf glimmering like bling around P Diddy’s neck. Men in high-dollar suits driving Mercedes with tinted windows crane their necks as we roll by, shoot us looks that blend disgust and envy. The dolled-up Fat Boy fits right in, whether it’s parked in front of Pink’s Hot Dog stand or on the sidewalk in front of the Perri Ink tattoo parlor. The PM Fat Boy draws stares and head nods of agreement wherever we roll, testament to the job Performance Machine has done giving this bike an identity unlike any other Fat Boy out there.

Before busting out of Hollywood, we head for the hills. Hollywood Hills, that is, the winding road to the Griffith Observatory on Mount Hollywood perfect proving grounds for the Phatailed Fat Boy. The road is bumpy and uneven at times but the new Progressive shock for Softails they’re running on the PM Fat Boy is saving our kidneys from a beating. Better yet, it has a remote preload knob located externally on the left side just behind the primary so riders can easily dial in ride quality to their personal preference. The tall PM Lugged Bars provide solid leverage when the bike is leaned over hard and the boards allow for decent clearance despite its lower stance. The 240mm wide tire will push riders out wider than the stock 200mm tire in turns and wants to stand up more, but that comes as no surprise. The road has a steep grade in places but the PM Fat Boy has plenty of useable torque low in the rev range without lugging, so we seldom get above second gear. Once we acclimate ourselves to riding on a 240mm rear and the lower COG we’re able to flow into the turns, gracefully dipping into bends before twisting the Merc Grip to accelerate out. The bike cuts fluid lines as we climb and hit the parking lot of the observatory way too quick for our liking.

After a short break, we’re on I-5 headed back toward the LBC. It’s the five o’clock rush hour and we’re darting between the breaks in traffic before it grinds to a stop. Fortunately, the clutch action provided by the new cables on the PM Fat Boy makes it easier to stay in the friction zone when we start splitting lanes. The bike has enough bark to let cagers know we’re coming, it’s slim enough to filter between cars and has plenty of braking power when all else fails. For some reason, cars seem more apt to give you little wider berth when they see someone rolling up on them grabbing a set of apehangers.

A set of Vance   Hines Staggered Short Shots jut off the Harley Twin Cam 96 thats been dressed up with Scallop Rocker Box Covers and AB Tech Pushrod Tubes.
A set of Vance & Hines Staggered Short Shots jut off the Harley Twin Cam 96 that's been dressed up with Scallop Rocker Box Covers and AB Tech Pushrod Tubes.
We head for the hills to see how well Performance Machines Virtue handles with its new 240mm rear.
We race the sun to Bolsa Chica State Park to catch the last rays dropping behind the Pacific. Bonfires are beginning to pepper the beach as families break out the hot dogs and S’more fixings. As a cool breeze blows in over green waters, we reflect on the ‘Virtues’ we’ve encountered during the day.

It starts with the virtue of Perry and Nancy Sands. Were it not for their talent and determination, there would be no Performance Machine. But thanks to their commitment to the SoCal chopper scene in the ‘70s and the passion they put into every sissy bar or front end that came out of their shop, Performance Machine is the industry powerhouse it is today. They pushed motorcycle wheel manufacturing to new heights and provided breakthroughs in braking performance with the release of its CNC-machined billet calipers made of aerospace grade solid aluminum bar that had never been seen before on Harleys.

The company has pushed testing methods forward with exhaustive procedures like its cornering test for wheels where the stresses applied on a wheel is duplicated and repeated for 1,000,000 cycles. Radial, torsional, and impact tests await after that, and if they don’t pass any of these, they’re thrown out and redesigned. This criteria is the reason most PM wheels and its Phatail Kit meet TUV requirements.

Virtue comes through the people you surround yourself. Performance Machine has one virtuous dude heading its research and design department as Jason Tiedeken has a keen eye for design. He’s paid his dues, learning the engineering ropes from old hard-liners in the railroad industry which gave him a strong foundation in strict engineering principles. He’s blended his passion for mountain bikes, motorcycles and hot rods into a profession and now helps steer PM into the future.

We’ve had the privilege to see bulk rods of billet trimmed down to size before being whisked off to various stations where it’s cut, stamped, grinded and pounded until it takes on new life as engine covers, brake calipers and wheels. We’ve seen the rock stars of the company, the polishers who hide their faces behind masks and goggles all day as they polish and buff parts to a lustrous sparkle. We’ve witnessed the parts being packaged before they’re whisked away to shipping headed toward destinations across the country and have seen the final product and the way it transforms the standard to stupendous, converting stock to custom. Finally, we’ve had the pleasure of testing the products in the real world, witnessing the ‘Virtue’ wheels in motion, squeezing the Merc Grips and pushing the PM Lugged Handlebars. We’ve seen how a combination of Performance Machine parts can turn a Harley Fat Boy into a rockin’ ride that turned heads wherever you go. After a day in the life of Performance Machine, we’re sold on their ‘Virtue’ and are now helping to spread the gospel about the goodness we’ve discovered.
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PM 2007 Fat Boy Parts List
A lot of time went into the high quality machining on PMs new Scallop line in order to acheive the 3-D effect it was shooting for.
PM Lugged Bars w/ black powdercoat
Merc Grips Contrast Cut
RSD Nostalgia 1” Riser
PM Contour MCYL 9/16 Brake Master Cylinder
PM Contour Dual Cable
PM 3 Button Switch brake-side housing
PM 3 Button Switch clutch-side housing
Clutch grip spacer
Stock 2008 FLST legs. Merc Slider Cover
PM 4-Piston Diff. Bore Brake Caliper
11.5” Virtue Rotor front
12 pt. Rotor Bolt Kit
Vision Arrow Mirrors 
21 x 3.5” Virtue Chrome ’08 FLSTF to fit the converted legs.
Metzeler ME880 Marathon 140/70R21 front
Scallop Rocker Box Contrast Cut Cover 
Scallop Contrast Cut Cam Cover 
Scallop Contrast Cut Derby Cover
Scallop Twin Cam Timing Cover 
AB Tech Pushrod Tubes
Scallop Max HP Air Cleaner
PM Primary for Phatails
Scallop 6-speed Hydraulic Clutch Cover Contrast Cut
Vance & Hines Short Shots Staggered Black
Vance & Hines Fuel pak
PM Phatail 240mm Conversion Kit for PM Primary`
New Progressive Softail Shocks with remote preload Knob on left side.
18 x 8.5” Virtue Chrome Rear Wheel
PM Phatail DSB Rear Brake Caliper -
66 x 20mm PM Series 9 Virtue Pulley
12 pt. Pulley Bolt Kit
11.5” Virtue Disc for PM DSB
Metzeler ME880XL 240 Rear Tire 
Modified 2011 H-D Fat Boy fender, split and widened w/ recessed taillight
Seat Custom Covered by Mauricio Aguilar of Azteca Customs
Corbin Seat Pan for PM Phatail
Merc Contrast Cut Gas Cap
Merc Fuel Level Gauge
Scallop Horn Cover 
PM Brake Lever for FL Models 
PM Single Shift Lever for FL Models 
PM Rider Floorboard
Merc Passenger Pegs

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sololobo   January 30, 2013 08:33 AM
If I could afford it I'd already own it! I'd bet the parts and paint cost way more than the used 07 Fatboy! Throw on some pullbacks and you've got an awesome bike.
Kropotkin   January 30, 2013 07:14 AM
Racer 1, I hear you. I know that the type of riding you are describing would be a blast. But mostly, a lot of riders just ride the highways and byways, avoid death and cops, don't speed much and enjoy the feeling of the machine. Anything over 110 mph really isn't in the cards. Plus, you'd be surprised, if you aren't aware of it, at how much comeraderie and involvement comes with Harleys. No, Harley riders are not all half-breed wannabes. More than that, though, it's just a motorcycle forum. People are often too sensitive or percieve the writer's drift in too narrowly focused a fashion. Everyone seems to get alienated. This was the last forum I'd been posting to. I won't anymore, I'm done with forums, but I think people need to be able to vent on these forums without being ostrascized.
Racer1   January 30, 2013 05:54 AM
Kropotkin - I race Superstock 600s. I'm sure a Harley would not be "twice the motorcycling fun" that I have in that series LOL! I also instruct Ducati days - which are, quite frankly, the most fun you can have with your clothes on - not a Harley in sight. Riding trails in Baja is an absolute blast - technical, gorgeous scenery and a constant adrenaline overload at speed - whoops, jumps, slides, WFO across lake beds and astonishing camaraderie, for me the XR650 is the right bike for the job (what Harley would you suggest?). While Harley's are decent bikes, ANY cruiser does not equate to fun for me. Slow, heavy and limited ground clearance leads to a distinct LACK of fun for me (I have ridden countless Harleys and other cruisers - I'd rather drive my car). I get that you like HD's, it must be nice to be a corporate shill, but no need to shake me, I now what I like and don't like - I just don't see the need to bleed it all over every article!
Poncho167   January 29, 2013 03:42 PM
I don't get it.

Crotch rockets are hate words that bikers use. They are properly called sport bikes.
Kropotkin   January 29, 2013 07:49 AM
Racer1 - I understand your frustration with my Harley raving. I get it a lot. What happened was, after 30 years of riding metrics and dismissing Harleys because of the usual criticisms, I came into a Wide Glide last spring. It opened my eyes, WIDE. It is, without a doubt, the most fun, involving, rewarding motorcycling I've ever had. It blew me away and I can't believe I wasted 30 years on crotch rockets and standards. It even beats my Tiger. And I loved my Tiger. So when I see the phrase "I would never buy a Harley, because blah, blah, blah ... " I just want to take the person and shake them and stick their heads in the belt drive. Harleys are twice the motorcycling fun that anything else is, for two dozen reasons. I can't help it.
wildpig   January 29, 2013 06:24 AM
harley davidson- day n an day out, decades go by, rain or shine -- the finest motorcycle on planet earth-- and i have had and ridden all the major brands..........
wildpig   January 29, 2013 06:21 AM
Just one other thing, not to be negative, like I say, it's a wonderful article, but the phrases "pay homage" "harken back" and "iconic" should be stricken forever from motorcycle reviews. well that comes from gushers{relatively new journalists} who quite frankly dont know any better.....
Racer1   January 29, 2013 05:53 AM
Kropotkin -must you turn every article, on any brand, into your own blinkered commercial for HD? We get that you like their bikes, they make OK bikes with great fit and finish, and suit some people to a T. Other brands and styles of bikes suit other people much better. I have owned eight different brands of bikes and currently own two Yamahas and a Honda. I would never buy a Harley, they just aren't my thing - but then no cruiser is. However, I won't act as an unpaid PR for Yamaha or Honda and if a bike better suited to my purposes comes along, I'll buy it regardless of brand. Over 90% of the restaurants you see are fast food joints by the way - I'm not "aware of the goodness" though... think for yourself, remove the blinders and unless you work for HD, maybe stop posting ads in every thread, OK?
Kropotkin   January 28, 2013 07:30 AM
It's a lovely review and a lovely motorcycle. But what's this about "the goodness we've discovered"? 95% of the goodness you've discovered is present on any Harley Davidson with common modifications from the dealer or the factory. Haven't you been aware of the goodness that comes with Harley Davidsons before this? Why did you think 90% of the motorcycles you've been seeing in the other lanes are Harleys? Just one other thing, not to be negative, like I say, it's a wonderful article, but the phrases "pay homage" "harken back" and "iconic" should be stricken forever from motorcycle reviews.
ckandarian   January 25, 2013 09:22 PM
One of the cleanest looking HDs I have ever seen EXCEPT for those STUPID Apes!!!