As with all things, the devil is in the details. When it comes to Harley upgrades, it’s the details that are often left behind. Take the case for foot pegs. They’re usually not on the top of most riders’ buying lists, but it’s these smaller components that round out how your bike looks, feels, and rides.
Foot pegs aren’t just another glitzy accessory to get you noticed. They can fit the whole Harley aesthetic, but they also perform a vital function – having the ideal place for your feet. Anyone riding bigger bikes or doing longer rides knows how important this is. You want a foot peg that offers a decent balance of riding comfort, bike control, and some needed style. If the stock foot pegs aren’t doing it for you, it’s time to figure out what makes you happy with the hundreds of aftermarket options.
Why Change Out Stock Foot Pegs?
There are different bikes, riders, and riding styles. So, this is not just about choosing something different for the sake of it, but what suits individual riders. Rider height and reach are just two factors that affect how comfortable you are between the wheels. Another is the riding position, dictated by bike geometry or the type of motorcycle you ride. Big tourers and cruisers, for instance, are geared more towards straight-line fun and have the space for a few extras to make the experience more memorable.
Looking for quality aftermarket Harley Davidson foot pegs, or pegs on any other bike for that matter, is all about increasing comfort, improving control, handling, and manoeuvrability, as well as grip levels between boots or sneakers and the pegs themselves. Getting a pair that also look good is just a bonus.
Rumbling V-twins produce a lot of vibration that moves through the feet first. Dampening vibrations with decent-quality rubber inserts integrated into the foot pegs is a must. These also prove their worth with much higher grip levels.
Comfort is also a sum of things like riding position and the location of the pegs. Tourers and cruisers will have legs further forward and a slight bend to the keens. It largely depends on whether you go for forward or mid-controls.
Resting your feet will be better with more space on wider and longer pegs that allow for multiple foot positions. Feet can rest on the toes, balls of the feet, arches, or heels. And riders will change foot position with body position as the road changes.
Play with footpeg placement and angles to see what works best for you. Also, consider adapters and offset kits to get the pegs right where you want them. Ultimately, comfort inspires both confidence and safety.
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Control, Handling, and Grip
Look for designs that allow you to quickly and easily position the feet from pegs to controls for changes to braking or gears. Knurled, serrated, or spiked designs (inspired by motocross) have the highest grip levels and are all about ultimate control and handling in abrupt changes to direction. These, however, may be overkill on bigger bikes intended for long and leisurely highway rides with little footwork involved.
Going the opposite route with pegs that slip and can’t keep the feet planted is even worse. Again, choose a design and size that allows for a good balance between control, grip, and comfort.
Pegs brushed too often against paved surfaces and with worn rubber or dented metal will draw unwanted attention. You can outfit both vintage and contemporary bikes with a range of designs, from traditional cylindrical shapes enveloped in ribbed rubber or metal knurling to serrated models with or without rubber inserts or switchblade designs that accommodate both toes and heels.
How the pegs look will also depend on the materials. One-piece, machined aluminium billet is always a good choice, along with stainless steel or brass pegs. Metals can have chrome, polished or black finish and go well with foot controls and other accessories in the same materials. Mounts and bolts that attach the pegs to the rest of the bike are solid steel offerings. What you ultimately end up choosing, though, is down to personal preference.
What to Look for in Aftermarket Foot Pegs
With designs and styling out of the way, look for products that are the right size for you, don’t look out of place on the bike and are compatible with what you ride. While almost all foot pegs are of the folding design, sizing the pegs according to your feet is the way to go.
Foot pegs that are too small will impede handling and cause fatigue and cramping quite early. Those that are too big will hurt when turning angles. And you will scrape boots constantly if you usually ride with your toes forward.
The dozens of bike accessories makers that produce bespoke Harley Davidson foot pegs also have mounting figured out. Each pair is listed with the bike model and year with which it is compatible. If you find something you like, always check that it will fit the bike.
Lastly, look for dedicated bike parts stores to get the expected quality. It is often (though not always) reflected in the price. Go for established aftermarket brands with a wide selection and fitment options for most bikes. Brands that have a respected footing with riders include Kuryakyn, Bitwell, Joker Machine, Arlen Ness, Performance Machine, Avon Grips, and dozens of others.
Other Options: Floorboards, Highway Pegs, and Passenger Foot Pegs
Bigger bikes in the Harley range have room for floorboards. They’re attached further forward along the frame and allow riders to stretch their legs on longer rides. Floorboards are generally larger in all dimensions than footpegs, though smaller ‘mini’ boards are also popular. If you are worried about looks, get a pair with a matching design, materials, and finish.
You can mount highway pegs on highway bars, the floorboard, or the frame downtubes. They are even further forward than floorboards, mounted slightly higher, and accommodate fully stretched-out legs and feet in hours of highway touring. The three options of pegs, floorboards, and highway pegs provide the most choice for foot placement and something you’ll be looking forward to if you do the miles.
Finally, when travelling two-up, don’t forget pillion comfort. Passenger pegs are offered in the same styles, brands, and looks as rider foot pegs, and are of the same folding type, so you can fold them when not in use.