When putting down hundreds of miles at a time, people will put their feet in all kinds of positions to help stretch their legs and keep the their feet, legs, and even derriere from going numb. Items like highway pegs, forward controls, and even passenger pegs can provide relief, especially for guys with long legs/inseams. Some other options for varying foot placement are floorboards with pegs that spring out from the side and hidden or flushed pegs that spring or fold out from the highway/crash bar.
One of the latest innovations we've come across is a completely unique and rather ingenious product from Randy Reading of Reading Design, with his Road Rails Motorized Floorboards. Designed as sort of a one-size-fits-all type of product, with the push of a button the floorboards and their accompanying shifter/brake lever travel forward and then upward from their stock position and give riders about 10 inches of travel from the stock heel position to the fully stretched-out heel position. Best of all the boards can be stopped anywhere along their travel distance which allows them to be very useful for riders of all heights. Basically they are remotely adjustable floorboards/foot controls/highway pegs all in one.
The floorboards are CNC-machined out of aircraft-grade polished aluminum and feature a two-piece design that allows the front section to articulate to an upward 25-degree angle. The upward angle allows for a more natural footing position when stretched out. On top of the aluminum floorboards is Elastilon, an elastic closed-cell polyethylene material that moves and stretches with the boards as they articulate down from the upright position. The Elastilon also provides solid footing while helping reduce vibration. Aside from providing a natural foot position when fully extended, the designers found that with the front of the boards articulated up, they provide wind deflection, which means less wind buffeting off the bottoms off your feet as compared to traditional highway pegs. And also unlike highway pegs, the fact that the shift/brake levers travel with floorboards means you can quickly and easily manipulate either lever with minimal/if any leg movement. The Road Rail Floorboards are currently available for '96-present FLH/FLHT models and have an MSRP of $1,795. There is a list of dealers who can professionally install the Road Rails on the company's website. While it might sound like a steep price, when you start shopping around and compare prices of say, installing forward controls, floorboards, and highway pegs, it comes out to be pretty comparable, plus you get the benefit of having one clean design. We stopped by one of Road Rails newest dealers, Wright Brothers Customs in Redlands, California, to watch the installation as Wright Brothers owner Dennis Wright and Randy installed a set on Randy's 2002 Ultra Classic Electra Glide.
01. Also included is a handlebar mount switch that replaces the stock clutch clamp. The switch comes with the wire leads, which are split half way down so power can be connected to the motor and to the bike's battery.
02. When installing the floorboards, the stock floorboard supports are utilized. Looking at the underside of the floorboards you can see how the front brackets mount to the boards. The front mount has a slot cut into it allowing you to adjust the floorboards forward or back. The rear mounts (red arrows) are adjustable too and can be set in the rear position or rotated 180 degrees forward. Depending on how you install the boards, the rear mounts will either bolt to the front side or backside of the rear fender supports. The difference between the rear and forward positioning will move the floorboards 1-3/8 inches forward or backward. This is where the flexible drive shafts fit into the right angle reduction gear gearbox (blue arrows) that spin the worm shaft and move the floorboards forwards and backwards.
03. Looking at the inside of the brake side floorboard, you can see how the billet brake lever has a machined groove in it that allows the lever to move with the floorboard along its path. The shift lever has a similar machined groove as well. You can also see the pivot point, which allows the front of the floorboard to articulate upward.
04. To begin installation, the stock floorboards were removed. On the right side the stock brake lever was also removed.
05. Placement of the 15-amp floorboard motor depends on the year of the bike and whether or not you have an oil temp sensor gauge. Reading Design supplies a cross member support, which allows you to mount the motor between the frame rails between the transmission and engine. However, if you have an oil temp sensor gauge like Dennis does on his bike...
06. ...the support bracket for the motor can be mounted to the bottom of the front lower engine isolator bolt. In this picture you can see the power leads coming off the motor.
07. With the motor being mounted in this position, Dennis had to drill two small holes on either side of the frame (in the gusseted area between the upper and lower frame rails) so that the drive rods could be routed from the motor to the floorboards.
08. Here you can see the front mount bolted to the floorboard support and the multiple adjustment points the mount provides.
09. The flexible drive rods are similar to those used in the auto industry for power adjustable seats. The rods were lubricated, slid into nylon sheaths for protection, and then the ends were slid into the motor.
10. The ends of the drive rods are squared off and fit into the square fittings in the motor and the gearbox on the floorboards. With the motor mounted at the front of the bike, the flexibility of the drive rods allows the ability to bend the rods and route them to the floorboard gearbox.
11. The stock shift lever is utilized, though the peg is removed and a delrin bushing is installed. The bushing fits within the groove on the inside of the shift lever connected to the floorboard and allows the lever to smoothly move with the floorboard.
12. Here we see the bushing on the stock shift lever being fitted into the groove of the Road Rails' shift lever.
13. On the right side of the bike the new brake lever was bolted in place.
14. Due to the downward and horizontal motion applied to the brake pedal, instead of a delrin bushing the front tip of the brake lever has a more durable stainless steel bushing that resides in the groove of the brake lever connected to the floorboard.
15. With the floorboards in position and properly aligned, they were secured to the floorboard brackets.
16. After completing installation of the floorboards and motor, the switch had to be installed. The stock clutch clamp was removed...
17. ...and it was replaced with the Road Rails clamp/switch. Dennis then routed the electrical leads down to the motor and the battery.
18. Ring terminals were soldered onto the battery leads and then connected to the battery.
19. The connection was made to the leads coming off the motor. Once the wiring was zip-tied out of the way, installation was complete.
20. Here's the left side installed...
21 ...and here is the right side. Notice how the outside edge of the floorboard flares out towards the front...
22. ...Randy noticed that when riding stretched-out, the feet naturally want to go to more of a duck foot position with the toes pointing outward. So he designed the floorboard specifically with that wider section to provide full support for your feet when fully extended forward and up.
23. Here is the floorboard in the stock position. Notice the placement of the heel and the nearly 90-degree angle of the upper/lower leg.
24. This is what the floorboard looks like in the full forward and angled position. The heel has moved about 10 inches forward and the rider's leg is now stretched out to about a 130-degree angle. Also notice how the rider's toes naturally angle outward yet the brake lever can still be quickly and easily manipulated. The floorboards move in unison so your feet/legs are always together in the same position. This much mobility for your feet/legs can really help keep you comfortable on long rides.
11 Myra St.
Wright Bros. Customs
31798 Outer Highway 10