Through the Looking Glass: 19 Custom Mirrors for Cruiser Motorcycles

Who's the fairest of them all? A look at aftermarket mirrors for your metric motorcycle. From the October 2003 issue of _ Motorcycle Cruiser_ magazine. By Andy Cherney.

Custom mirrors are one of the simplest ways to crown your cruiser motorcycle, providing a quick and easy style upgrade. The only intimidating factor you might face is the staggering selection currently available for metric motorcycles.

Swapping mirrors isn't completely idiot-proof, however; there are a couple of variables to consider. For instance, many riders don't realize that custom mirrors often won't provide the same coverage as the stock version. Mirror arms can also be significantly longer or shorter than the original equipment, and may thus hamper your rear view. There's also the question of choosing flat ("plane") mirrors, which offer a narrower angle of rear view versus reduced-image convex glass. So what's the difference?

Simply put, flat glass gives a more accurate representation of the distance of objects behind you, while rounded, convex mirrors take in more of the road, but yield smaller images in the process. The advantages of convex mirrors are twofold. First, though reflections are smaller, the lenses provide a wider field of view and let you take in more of the roadway behind you without turning your head. This can be very useful in a quick-changing traffic scenario when you need to make a quick lane-change. Second, on bikes with some shake, these mirrors lessen the distorting effects of vibration thanks to a reduced image size.

Not surprisingly, convex mirrors get a thumbs up from Motorcycle Cruiser staffers because of these qualities, but newcomers should also understand the distortion effect of this kind of glass -- it can make cars seem farther away than they really are. If you aren't used to it, get familiar with the distance-distortion before riding. However, since most motorcycles and cars come with convex mirrors, most riders are already used to it.

Finally, when installing new mirrors, remember to measure their position on the handlebar first (master cylinders can be tricky), and don't forget to apply red Loctite or a similar product if using threaded studs, so all your hard work doesn't back right out of there. The mirrors shown here are a representative sampling or what's available but is not the entire metric-motorcycle-mirror universe by any means. Since there's such a wide variety of glass available for metrics, we elected not to include signal mirrors (though we think they're a good idea). Custom World International, a perennial supplier of aftermarket accessories based in Canada, told us it was in the process of rethinking its lineup of mirrors, and opted out of our listing. Pro-One also offers dozens of mirrors, but could only supply us with images, not actual products. Likewise, Highway Hawk could only send us a couple of samples even though it offers more than a dozen styles. But we're sure there's enough here to whet your appetite.

**Aeromach **

California-based Aeromach is known for its radically designed custom cruiser accessories, and its mirrors follow the same unique aesthetic. The company offers six mirror styles for metric cruisers; all are made from polished, chrome-plated billet aluminum, and feature flat glass. You have a choice of two arm styles, the standard straight arm or the curvaceous Sidewinder. The arms come with a 10mm bolt to thread into your stock hand controls, eliminating the need for clumsy adapters; they'll fit Buell, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Victory models. Yes, they work on Yamahas, too, but you must specify this so they send the right adapter for Yamaha's unique reverse threading on right-side mirrors. The four items we received are well-built and sculpturally cool in design, but lean toward the custom (read: narrow) side of the viewing spectrum. (Not shown: Large Oval Mirror/Straight arm, $204 a pair; Large Oval Mirror/Sidewinder arm: $204 a pair.)

**Arlen Ness **

Arlen Ness used to occupy a comfortable niche squarely in the American custom market, but the times they are a-changin' -- this bike builder has grown into a full-fledged accessory company that offers a slew of mirrors for cruisers of all types. It stocks 12 high-end billet mirror styles and 13 affordably priced die-cast models, all in a choice of grooved, smooth and stepped finishes, with several different arm designs.

The company's selections for the V-Star are all die-cast, solidly built items with nice chrome finishes and flat glass for a true image size. Except for the Large CatEye and Stocker styles, however, these attractive accessories feature relatively small viewing areas.

Kuryakyn

Kuryakyn's metric accessory selection has swelled in recent years to include a full complement of fresh cruiser styles, especially in mirrors. Dimensions vary from stock size to smaller than stock: the rugged Magnum line comes in a choice of large or small mirror heads, with options for a long or standard stem, and the wider Magnum Plus series offers a choice of flat or convex glass. All stems and heads are available in chrome only.

The Kuryakyn entries offer a good finish, solid construction and an adequate viewing area, and are suitable for use with flat or drag bars, but it's necessary to purchase mirror adapters separately for installation on metric cruisers; these will run you $9.95 a pair. (Not shown: Convex Magnum Plus Mirrors/Small Head/Long Stem, $40 each; Convex Magnum Plus Mirrors/Large Head/Long Stem, $45 each)

**Highway Hawk **
Hardsteen Motosports

Riders familiar with this European company know what a vast selection of cruiser booty it stocks. The current North American distributor for Highway Hawk is Hardsteen Motorsports in New Mexico, and though we spotted more than a dozen styles of mirrors on Hawk's Web site, Hardsteen could only procure two samples out of the lineup.

The chrome square mirrors we did receive have an ample viewing area and feature the popular "Live to Ride, Ride to Live" slogan on the back in a gold and chrome combo as shown. The Techglide mirrors are sturdy, adjustable and feature a triple-chromed finish with a sleeker, smaller viewing area. Both styles are reasonably priced, but be sure to check the Web site for an even larger menu of mirrors.

Pro-One

Pro-One is a huge player in the cruiser aftermarket and offers several mirror styles for metric cruisers. They feature a Chrome Billet Mirror Head for Yamaha's Star line, which installs easily on stock mirror stems. They're available in smooth or ball-milled styles.

Roadhouse Brand

Perennial cruiser favorite Roadhouse supplied us with its solid, one-piece aluminum Billet Cruiser mirrors. The tough, chunky items feature flat glass, and are available in a Teardrop style with a curved short stem or the new Royal style -- a square version of the same mirror with a straight arm. Both designs offer a choice of diamond, smooth or flame finishes on the back and fit Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha cruisers or standard fitment American bikes; specify your model when ordering. (Not shown: Royal Billet Cruiser Mirror: $99 each.)

**Show Chrome Accessories **
(Big Bike Parts)

Show Chrome offers a host of bolt-on accessories for American and metric bikes, and their mirrors offer a good combination of style and function. Most designs have clean back surfaces with no visual assembly screws to spoil the smooth look, and come with a 10mm mount.

We received two of the company's most popular styles. The adjustable Large Oval set is made of die-cast chrome and provides a larger viewing area than most stockers, while the Oval Stealth model is a sleek design with a smaller viewing area. (Large Oval mirrors also include mounts for Harleys, Hondas and Yamahas.) Be aware that Show Chrome sells through dealers only.

RESOURCES

Aeromach
(800) 990-9392
www.aeromach.net

Arlen Ness
(925) 479-6350
www.arlenness.com

Highway Hawk
Hardsteen Motorsports
(505) 770-6821
www.highwayhawk.com

Kuryakyn
(715) 247-2184
www.kuryakyn.com

Roadhouse Brand
(888) 700-5979
www.roadhousebrand.com

Pro-One
(909) 445-0900
www.pro-one.com

Show Chrome Accessories
Big Bike Parts
www.bigbikeparts.com

For additional evaluations of, comparisons of, and shopping advice for motorcycle gear and accessories, see the Accessories and Gear section of MotorcycleCruiser.com.

Photography by James Brown, who lives on an Atomic Ranch
_Aeromach Flame Mirror, Sidewinder arm: $230 a pair _
_Aeromach Fun House, Sidewinder arm: $212 a pair _
_Aeromach Extreme Oval, Sidewinder arm: $212 a pair _
_Aeromach Tribal Cross, Sidewinder arm: $228 a pair _
Arlen Ness Die-cast CatEye Mirror, Softbend arm: $45 each (two photos above)
Arlen Ness Die-cast Large CatEye Stepped Mirror, curved arm: $45 each (two photos)
Arlen Ness Die-cast Slingshot Mirror, grooved/curved arm: $45 each (two photos)
Arlen Ness Die-cast Mini Oval Mirror, curved arm: $45 each (two photos)
Arlen Ness Die-cast Stocker mirror, grooved curved arm: $45 each (two photos)
Arlen Ness Die-cast Pocket Turbo Mirror, smooth curved arm: $45 each (two photos)
_ Arlen Ness Die-cast Upswept Mirror, curved arm: $45 each (two photos)_
_Highway Hawk Chrome Live to Ride Mirror, Square/Adjustable Stem: $31 each _
Highway Hawk Chrome Techglide Deluxe Mirror, Adjustable Curved Stem: $60 each
Kuryakyn Ellipse Mirrors, Flat Glass: $95 pair
Kuryakyn Magnum mirror, Small: $59 a pair. Magnum Mirrors, Large: $60 a pair (two photos)
Pro-One Chrome Billet Mirror Head: $45
_ Roadhouse Brand Teardrop Billet Cruiser Mirror: $99 each _
Show Chrome Accessories Large Oval Cruiser Touring Chrome Mirrors: $90 a pair
Show Chrome Accessories Oval Stealth Mirrors: $77 a pair