Brown Sugar

27. September 2023

Brown Sugar – Rick’s Low Rider ST in Clubstyle

How come you ride so good…?

How come you ride so good…? Harley-Davidson FXLRST “Low Rider ST” premiering Rick’s 2023 “Clubstyle” parts.

With the premiere of the Low Rider ST in January 2022, Harley-Davidson reacted quickly and precise to the market development in the “Clubstyle” scene and the just growing popularity of the “King of the Baggers” racing series in the USA. Power-baggers and clubstyle customs have been quite popular for years, especially in Italy and France, but also gained interest and followers in Germany. Even in stock set-up, the Low Rider ST is an impressive powerbike. As the “original” from 1980s heritage, the fairing and bags are uniquely matched to this model – but that fact alone does not define a genuine “Clubstyle” custom. True “Clubstyle” riders are asking for a powerbike which is defined somewhere between a stuntbike and a kneesliding sportsbike. With the option for fast riding on twisting roads and a look that tells a clear message to every observer: “Here I am!”

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In terms of paintjob, “Brown Sugar” hits the mark: with almost 20 layers of base coat, metal flake, candy and clear coat, the paint achieves an extreme depth effect. Sunglasses are recommended for every observer! Candy paint trim stripes in the current “AMF look” from the seventies complement the base coat, which glitters in the sunlight. “Eyecatcher” is an understatement. Which makes the new Rick’s Clubstyle parts almost seem to fade into the background…?

However, anyone who knows the experienced Rick’s team is aware that the new Clubstyle components are both thoroughly developed and perfectly manufactured for their tasks: Design and function form an inseparable unit – as a perfect complement to already existing Rick’s parts.

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The distinctive Rick’s Clubstyle look starts with the massive CNC-machined risers, a lot of innovation in design and fabrication: Combined with Rick’s handlebars and elaborately designed Rick’s triple tree, these risers offer an optimum of function, steering stability, plus simple and fast installation. Made of 7075 aluminum, the risers fulfill several functions: The stable, even massive construction prevents any “twisting” of the risers. Both when mounted on stock HD triple-trees or in combination with the new Rick’s “Performance 2”. The lower part of the handlebar clamp is designed as a “Torquebar”. This allows an unrivaled precise and direct steering with maximum dimensional stability and stiffness. Even at the maximum possible riser height of 11.5 inches, there is no more torsion, no bending. Generously dimensioned cable ducts are hidden in both risers: They can accommodate wiring harness extensions as well as any additional cables that may need to be inserted for the exhaust system, air suspension or other accessories. The cables are fixed in the channels with clamps. All necessary holes in the Rick’s handlebars are already machined. In the handlebar clamp – pullback about 35 mm – the compact digital instruments of the ST are smoothly integrated. Versions for Low Rider S and without instrument mounts are available too.

Leading towards the triple-tree, cables are hidden by another cover. A super-clean solution, which routes the cables under the triple clamp into the wiring harness under the tank. Assembly of handlebars and cabling can therefore be carried out completely: only at the end the covers are installed and hide the cables. Numerous CNC-machined grooves give the new Rick’s risers a distinctive “technical” CNC look, repeated in other Rick’s Clubstyle components. Available in heights of 7, 8.5, 10 (installed on “Brown Sugar”) and a radical 11.5 inches, these risers come with TÜV approval for all sizes. Also available: An offset adapter or “Relocation Plate”, by which the Rick’s Riser can be moved by a whopping 40 mm towards the rider. For stock and Rick’s triple clamps.

Although the new Rick’s Risers can be mounted to stock HD triple-trees, the full effect will be achieved with the new Rick’s “Performance 2” triple-trees. In addition to the distinctive CNC-machining of the upper triple-tree, this part offers additional clamping surface for the upside-down fork, which can be pushed through 0-10 mm further down if wanted. Thus significantly increasing ground clearance and possible lean angles. The risers are rigidly bolted to the Rick’s clamp. For stock triple-trees, Rick’s riser kit already includes a “rigid kit” that integrates the lower bolt heads of the risers. Optimized for clean looks – and a perfect transmission of steering impulse. Available are already the Low Rider ST and S Rick’s bridges, other M8 Softail models can be ordered.

Matching Rick’s “Clubstyle handlebars” made of high quality aluminum are available in two sizes, clamp diameter is 32 mm (1 1/4 inch), the ends of the handlebars taper to 25.4 mm (1 inch) diameter. Of course, the rider grips “Brown Sugar” by adjustable Rick’s “Good Guys” hand levers with short end pieces.

Even those who don’t customize their Low Rider ST to “Clubstyle” look will be excited about Rick’s new turn signals for the ST fairing! Underneath the fairing and installed on the stock bracket, the tiny Atto Integral LED’s inserted into Rick’s housing are almost invisible. When they’re not flashing: then they can’t be missed. Of course with homologation. But for “Brown Sugar” the Rick’s team has another trick up its sleeve: The Kellermann “Dayron” LED auxiliary headlights shining forward from Rick’s “Clubstyle Crashbars” are additionally switched to “yellow” and flashing function when turn signals are activated. Rick’s is also considering additional color options for the installed yellow colored ST windshield.

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Even if the owner of this bike will probably not ride a stunt performance at the next Rick’s events: new Rick’s “Clubstyle Crashbars” protect “Brown Sugar” in case of a fall. And like so many Rick’s ideas, the crashbars are extremely well developed and multifunctional. Components of the front crashbar are laser cut, TIG welded and high-quality plastic coated. Attached to both frame tubes – at installation points top and bottom – the front crashbar frame also serves as a frame stabilizer. The end pieces are CNC machined from aluminum functioning as “crash pads” – quickly replaced if necessary. Here in black with engraved Rick’s logo, colored variants are already available. In addition to protection for engine and fairing, the Rick’s Crashbars can also be used as “Highway Pegs” on long distance rides.

The rear crash bars not only protect the bags, they can also be used as passenger rests. Or for stunt acrobatics…?

A complement to many custom styles are Rick’s “Wave” brake discs – two 300mm in the front, 292mm version in the rear. A combination of the best materials and design. The stated goal: to optimize braking performance while increasing durability. Rick’s Wave discs are styled less aggressively than those of competitors, therefore also offer more friction surface. Round holes instead of slotted holes underline this – and also reduce the noise. The discs are floating on 10-spoke “Steve” inner stars and 10 floaters each, which distributes braking forces and heat dissipation to more points than in stock. The inner brackets are specially coated, “floater” rivets are flattened on the outside and highly braced. Rick’s Wave know no wobbling or rattle, yet allow the brake discs the necessary expansion when heated by heavy braking. The construction of the disc featuring an stainless steel inner core ensures long-lasting and consistently reliable brake performance.

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Rick’s steel front fender is tighter and shorter over the front wheel than in stock and offers additional protection: The “baffles” integrated into the design divert dirt and moisture from exposed tubes and sealing rings, thus reducing wear and the risk of damage. The fact that Rick’s front wheel mudguards are visually perfectly adapted to the respective wheel sizes is “Rick’s standard” anyway.

Stock rear fender and the style-defining bags remained, the adaptation of Rick’s slide-in license plate bracket with Kellermann’s Atto combination is done via a mounting adapter for Low Rider S, ST and ST Touring models, taking the place of the stock taillight. The slide-in license plate can now also be installed in five heights and perfectly integrates the mandatory rear reflector – if you want to attach it. Angles and distances comply with EU homologation regulations.

The in-house dyno test bench at Harley-Davidson Baden-Baden is not only used to adapt Rick’s Good Guys air filters and accessory exhaust systems to the engine mappings – it also can activate a few more horses. The “Good Guys II” air filter in “Spoke” design already has Euro 5 homologation and is combined with the sporty 2-in-1 “Project 21” stainless steel system of Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde. In addition to the growling Clubstyle sound, the dyno adjustment delivers a whopping 122 hp and 180 Nm – allowing “Brown Sugar” to move considerably faster than stock on the winding country roads of the Black Forest and Alsace.

Approved and established Rick’s “Milwaukee Eight” Softail parts like Good Guys grips, adjustable hand levers, “Premium” cover kit, “Porthole” primary cover and AK 4.7 pegs with matching shifter knob complete the “Clubstyle” look. The “Saddlemen” seat gives the rider optimum support when accelerating – even when doing wheelies: if you want to take the “Step-Up” in the seat name literally, the step in the seat also gives you a solid footing when balancing on the rear wheel. “Clubstyle” of the very finest, with thoroughly constructed components designed for optimized function.

Typical Rick’s Motorcycles, as again the team has carefully analyzed the “Clubstyle theme” and traced it back to its “roots”: The “Clubstyle” trend originates from the FXR models introduced in 1982, when the 80 cubic inch Shovelhead engine was mounted in rubber blocks for improved riding comfort. In the 1983 model year, the FXRT “Sport Glide” followed with a frame-fixed full fairing – also available as a Police version FXRP – and became a “blueprint” for today’s “Clubstyle” designs. The FXLRST’s fairing is visibly a modern interpreted version of the FXRT fairing – and was introduced just at a time in 2022 when Rick’s Motorcycles had already finished developing its own modern version of a FXRT/FXRP fairing for mounting on modern Milwaukee Eight Softail models. So much is possible with the Low Rider ST – and Rick’s Motorcycles puts the icing on the “Clubstyle look” with the new parts!

To state it loosely based on the Mick Jagger of 1971: “Brown Sugar – how come you ride so good…?”

Foto: Peter Hillert
Text: Horst Rösler

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