We added the protection of engine and luggage guards to go along with leather covers on the front fairing and saddlebag lids on our 2011 Stratoliner Deluxe Project Bike. We also made it a better two-up tourer with the addition of a taller windscreen, a passenger backrest and floorboards.
The fairing cover for the Star Stratoliner Deluxe is an excellent investment. It keeps rocks from dinging up the front fairing and keeps bug guts from caking up on the deep black paint.
We witnessed first-hand the customizing potential of the Star Stratoliner Deluxe when we rode one decked out by Jeff Palhegyi during our Chasin’ Key West Sunset on a Stratoliner Deluxe
adventure. Wicked bronze paint, yellow and burnt orange accents which pop in the sun, tons of classy chrome trim, pipes that bark loud and give the already potent 1854cc V-Twin an extra kick in the pants. And though we’re no Palhegyi, many of the accessories he used are available through Star Motorcycles
, so we set out to see what we could do to dress up our 2011 Strato Deluxe. My wife enjoys riding as much as I do, so some of the changes were to make her two-up experience better as well.
The front fairing on the Stratoliner Deluxe is plenty wide but its windscreen is somewhat short, subjecting riders to a fair amount of head buffeting, so we decided a taller windshield was in order. Palhegyi has designed some fairing lowers which will shield riders further. We decided a touring handlebar would be helpful, too, since our shakedown of the bike with its new bits and pieces would be a 2000-mile run up to Idaho and western Montana. The addition of auxiliary lights will give us a wider range of view and make us more visible at night. For my riding partner, a tall backrest, floorboards and a luggage rack should make her riding experience more enjoyable.
Seeing as how we needed to swap out bars and install the cruising lights, we decided to take off the front fairing to access everything a bit easier. Good thing we did because the fairing needed to be removed to access the wiring for the handlebars and to remove the headlight so we could install the cruising lights. Poor placement of the wiring connector meant we had to disconnect all the wires running to it. The fairing brackets also had to be removed. This all had to be done prior to starting on the instructions provided with the passing lamp kit.
The handlebar wiring is accessible through the headlight bucket, so it’s smart to install the bars before finishing assembly of the cruising lights. First you must remove the plate in the headlight bucket to access the handlebar switch connectors. We disconnected the left and right switch connectors from inside the bucket and rerouted them outside above the headlight bucket. The corresponding connectors are color coded either by the connector housing or by tape on the connector wires and have to be matched up properly. After that, all inner shell bolts to the upper fairing should be installed before adjusting the bars for clearance and comfort. Finally, tighten the fairing’s inner mounts to the bars then tighten the remaining fairing fasteners.
With our passing lamps on, our bars swapped out, and our fairing back in place, we went ahead and swapped out the shorty windscreen for a tall windshield. Four bolts later the job is done. While we had the windscreen off we went ahead and clipped in the Stratoliner Deluxe windshield bag. The taller windscreen is a big improvement. It provides a much better buffer against the wind now. The windshield bag isn’t wide enough to hold my bulky leather wallet, but its compartments are great for cell phones and extra change. We also slipped on a leather fairing cover built exclusively for the Strato Deluxe. The cover dresses up the front end nicely. Not only does it look cool, but the cover is doing a bang-up job of saving the Raven paint on the fairing. We recently rode the 2012 Victory Cross Country Tour
to Sturgis, and after only ten days there were already numerous nicks in the paint of the front fairing from rocks kicked up from the road. It killed me to see the fresh paint already nicked up. No such worries with our Stratoliner Deluxe project bike. This cover is killer. And it comes off easily when it’s time to wash the bike.
With our front end looking sharp, we went ahead and began working on installing the Jeff Palhegyi fairing lowers. Ours came in color-matched Raven paint, a black with metallic highlights that shine in direct sun. The fairing lowers also provide a little more storage space courtesy of cubby holes sitting behind a leather panel which snaps tight. The install
The Hot Rod collection of engine, clutch, ignition, starter and cam covers complement the Art Deco vibe created by the ribbed fuel and oil tanks.
We swapped out the stock passenger pegs for floorboards.
is pretty basic, but be aware that you can only mount the JPD fairing lowers on the Big Bar Engine Guards, which tack on $215 to your bill. Extra tip-over protection is worth it, though. The lowers are in two pieces which are then screwed together onto the bars and the bars bolt onto the frame. We found longer fasteners help to bend the bar clamps to fit, then swap them out for correct fasteners during the final install. We’re definitely enjoying the added wind deflection on our lower body during cool morning rides.
We turned our focus next to the passenger’s accommodations. The saddlebags need to be removed to screw on the passenger backrest side arms. Luckily, Star has made this process hassle-free because it takes all of ten seconds to unfasten the three tab screws and have the saddlebag off. The rest is a simple bolt-on process with the side arms serving as a mount for the tall upright backrest. Screw the backrest pad and the rear luggage rack on and you’re good to go. We also swapped out the passenger pegs for floorboards, a process which also utilized preexisting mounts and hardware. But the new accommodations still had to pass final inspection. My wife said she liked the security of having the tall passenger backrest. It was comfortable but she couldn’t lean back fully because of the back armor in her jacket. She was able to relax more during the ride but there are a lot of vibrations in the passenger floorboards and it made her feet feel like they were falling asleep. Overall, though, she said that with the new passenger package she could easily go for day-long rides whereas with the previous arrangement she was only comfortable for a few hours at a time.
While we had the bags off we went ahead and bolted on the chrome saddlebag guards and put on the leather saddlebag lid covers. A few leather accents are the perfect complement to the shiny chrome of the engine and trim and the glossy black of the fenders, tank and fairings. Saddlebag lids also have a habit of getting scuffed easily, especially when kicking a boot over climbing onto the bike, so the extra layer of protection is appreciated. Inside the bags we installed lid organizers, a multi-pocketed bag with zippered pockets. We’ve got our owner’s manual and registration stuffed in one and a few tools stored in the other and everything’s contained in the lid area, so we’ve still got the full capacity of the bags to stuff things into. With the new engine and saddlebag guards, we’re better prepared to minimize damage to our investment in the dreaded case of a tip-over.
A tall, upright passenger backrest gives riders a greater sense of security on two-up rides.
The final round of updates to our 2011 Stratoliner Deluxe project bike dealt primarily with assuaging our ego. We decided to dress up the engine compartment with the Hot Rod line of custom accessories, a set created by who else, master builder Jeff Palhegyi. The seven piece collection includes a Hot Rod Drive Pulley Cover Insert and chrome covers for the starter, clutch insert, ignition, generator, cam and a set for the master cylinder. All the covers are styled with the same ribbing as the fuel and oil tanks and blend right in with the bike’s aesthetics. The covers are a simple swap, but we’re very pleased with the end result. The Stratoliner Deluxe’s engine is one of its strongest features, so now it looks as good as it runs.
The total for our 2011 Stratoliner Deluxe project bike is $3933.75 with the biggest chunk of change going toward the JPD Fairing Lowers at $875. Dealing with the wiring for the passing lamps and handlebars was by far the most challenging aspect of the build, but there’s nothing we put on that couldn’t be done by just about anybody with a little patience and a lot of common sense. As a result of our efforts, we’ve got an even classier looking bagger that’s better prepared against the hazards of the road. It’s much more accommodating for two riders to take longer rides. No sooner did we get everything on then our Editorial Director, Ken Hutchison, was off and away on a 2000-mile road trip through Washington, Idaho and Montana. The odometer just tripped over 5000 miles, and the only maintenance it’s needed so far is an oil change. The tires a thinning a bit, too, but they’re still good for a few thousand more miles at least. The bike is a real looker, though, and even people who aren’t Art Deco fans dig the Stratoliner Deluxe’s styling. After thousands of miles in the saddle, we’re fans, too. Now if only we could get some of those Speedstar Competition Long Drag Pipes Star had on the Jeff Palhegyi-customized Strato we rode to the Florida Keys…