My journey from Road Glide Limited to Low Rider ST
by Axel Thill, May 2022
Let's talk Music
During my long career as international investment banker, my life got controlled first by a Nokia, then a BlackBerry phone, 24/7 for 365 days, even on holidays. I do not complain, I got paid for it. But after retirement 10 years ago, I had one important rule:
no phone in the bedroom or on the bike
Life turned very pleasant, and in the years on the Road King's only my trusted Garmin Zumo was allowed to entertain me. In later years on the Ultra and Road Glide, I continued to rely on the Garmin GPS navigator, as it was more accurate than the Harley GPS and map integrated in the Boom Box. Main reason was its very slow processor, which sometimes told me to "Turn left now" after I passed the junction. It got better with later GTS models, but my Garmin stayed, and I used the (heavy) BOOM box only as jukebox, playing my music MP3s or its Digital Radio.
This entertainment centre was one thing I was going to miss on the Low Rider ST, but right from the launch of the FXLRST Harley-Davidson joined forces with
and offered a fairing integrated Audio unit. So top of the wish list came part number 76200037, which you can find on page 140 of the 800 page Parts and Accessories catalogue. Let's not talk about money....
Taking a leap of faith I ordered it straight way. Since considering the FXLRST, I am following a group on Facebook called "Harley Davidson FXLRST Low Rider ST Owners". Long name, but already with 1,539 members as of 8 May 2022. To call it a "owners" group is not yet fully correct, as many are future owners, eager wannabees waiting for delivery. But those lucky few that have one are full of praise for the bike. Well, they paid good money for it and should not be disappointed on the first day ride-out.
But the Rockford Fosgate unit did get some mixed reports, mainly because it was not considered loud enough. The funny thing is that in this mainly US group the first considerations of most is to install loud pipes. Then they are surprised that they can't hear the stereo very well at speeds above 70mph. Luckily this community has a strong research strength, and users reported that some smartphone's Bluetooth signal produce less volume than others. For example, the Google Pixel 6 PRO is very quiet, while an iPhone SE or the Pixel 5 work well. Watch this interesting 6:32 analytics video made by "Motorcycle mishifts":
I have yet to decide how to how best to feed via Bluetooth music into the unit, through my Garmin Zumo XT with its stored MP3s or the iPhone in my jacket, as the iPhone (Rule No1) will not be attached to the handlebar, no, NO, NO.
I hope it works well with the ZUMO XT, as it has usable volume controls, even with thick winter gloves - try that on a iPhone! I am optimistic, and will report.
A final question will be if installing this Audio unit is a DIY job you can do in your garage, or something you should better let your HD dealership do? Watch this 9min video, posted by Harley-Davidson:
Nice and encouraging, but while I consider my DIY skills to be proficient enough to install the hardware, I am only confident for the first 4min of the video. When it comes to the jumper harness, I am very sceptical. Watch from 4:02 min, this is clearly not "plug & play" effort as advertised and requires specialised tools. Cavity 11 and later Cavity 9? Am I a dentist? They lost me, this looks more like a job for somebody with experience on these connectors, a technician who did the operation 10 times in the last week.