How to Install Passenger Foot Pegs on Harley-Davidson Softail


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How To Install Passenger Foot Pegs On Harley-Davidson Softail

Are you a Harley-Davidson Softail owner looking to change passenger foot pegs, but you don’t know how to install them? If so, then you are definitely in the right place.

Installing passenger foot pegs on Harley-Davidson Softail bikes is easy if you know the right method. To install the passenger foot pegs, you will first need to remove the old foot pegs, check the setup by inserting the new peg into the foot control clevis, and mark the longer of the clevis forks using a sharpie.

After that, shorten the clevis fork so that it is the same length as the opposite fork, and insert the assembly into the open fork on the foot control mount. Now, use an Allen wrench to tighten the mounting hardware to secure the clevis, and finally insert the passenger foot peg onto the clevis. Hold the foot peg at the desired angle and torque it so that it is secured.

In this article, you will get to learn about Harley-Davidson foot pegs, why you should change foot pegs, how to install passenger foot pegs on Harley-Davidson Softail, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Install Foot Pegs on your Harley-Davidson Bike

It isn’t wrong to assume that changing passenger foot pegs isn’t a top priority in the extensive to-do list most bikers have for their bikes. However, considering that they’ve got a significant impact on off-road riding, this isn’t the correct mindset.

You should accept that there’s a slight chance that your new passenger foot pegs are the correct ones for you. In the Harley-Davidson community, you need to adjust your view of things. Acknowledging the importance that foot pegs have in riding, especially with passengers, every biker must have them installed. Before learning how to install passenger foot pegs on Harley-Davidson Softail, you need to learn a thing or two about foot pegs.

Different Foot Pegs have Different Goals

It might seem redundant to say that different foot pegs are meant for different uses, but with so many bikers assuming that their stock foot pegs are perfect, you must learn about this topic.

If you own a Harley-Davidson Softail, you will be familiar with the kind of foot pegs that come stock on your bike. If you buy a bike, you’re generally greeted with a slim in width and length foot peg, generally with a rubber mount that might or might not be detachable. Further, they are of dubious comfort, both when sitting and standing.

There are bikes capable of performing on and off-road, the idea of a hybrid peg will be excellent. It is rare to find a biker that religiously removes and installs the rubber attachment as the terrain changes, eliminating the foot pegs’ hybrid nature.

Different foot pegs come with different goals. There are longer pegs, wider pegs, pegs that have a hump in the middle, or pegs that are angled that are available. If some of them are suited to tall speedsters, the others are intended to compensate for body size limitations, and more. Basically, what is right for your friend might not be best suited for you.

Why do you Need to Change Foot Pegs

Stylistic choices aside, there are three primary reasons why a Harley-Davidson biker might want to change foot pegs and install new ones. Even though the reasons might differ from biker to biker, a combination of them is possible too. The common reasons include –

  • To improve grip/maneuverability
  • To improve comfort/ergonomics
  • To improve handling/weight distribution 
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When you’re driving a powerful bike at high speeds, grip on the foot pegs will be vital. This is one of the reasons why the foot pegs come with rubber. Moreover, this is why some foot pegs come with either spikes, stubs, serrated teeth, or any variation of it as it promotes a more sustainable connection between your boot and the foot peg.

The more aggressive your foot pegs grip, the more often you’ll have to re-sole the boots and the less you need to ride around with anything other than off-road soles.

If you’re trying to improve your comfort, ergonomics, or your weight distribution and handling, you’ll need to work around a slightly different principle. It’s the one that says that foot pegs cannot just be replaced, but also moved around. But why would someone want to move their foot pegs to a different location?

Moving your foot pegs will effectively change your center of gravity, and this can be a huge plus, both when you’re speeding on the highway or when cruising around on long drives. Little tweaks like foot peg placement can play a major role in your comfort and confidence. 

It is important to know that for the most part, these tweaks and adjustments are small, generally between 0.5 to 1 cm. 

Improve the Comfort and Ergonomics of your Bike

Unless you’re going to be racing, Harley-Davidson bikes are designed with a specific type of rider in mind. This is nothing to do with the skill of the rider, but with rider size. It means that a 6 feet biker and a 5 feet 7-inch biker on the same bike could have very different comfort levels.

Cramped legs, different foot sizes that clash with the ability to brake or shift, or having their knees outside the designated tank area are some of the common problems observed. These can be easily solved by adjusting the foot pegs slightly. 

Changing the placement of the foot peg can have benefits on your ability to move comfortably. Your riding style should be taken into consideration as well. If you’re having to change the placement of your foot pegs for solving any of these issues, you might have to revisit your riser choice, and potentially your shifter and brake positions too.

Further, you shouldn’t stop yourself from purchasing the bike of your dreams if you don’t feel comfortable during the test ride. Making adjustments and changes to the foot legs can do the trick. Further, you should make a plan, consider different outcomes, and verify if changing the foot pegs can make the driving experience enjoyable.

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How to Install Passenger Foot Pegs on Harley-Davidson Softail

Now that you know a lot more about foot pegs, it will be time to get your hands down and dirty with the simple installation. As long as you know the right instructions, you can easily install passenger foot pegs on your Harley-Davidson Softail. Before you start, you need to disassemble the passenger foot pegs by loosening the 5/16-18 Allen cap screw inside each foot peg and remove the clevis from the peg body. Also, remember to keep all the safety considerations in mind.

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Step 1

Remove the old passenger foot pegs from your Harley-Davidson Softail. Remember to be careful that you don’t end up losing the wave washer/spring device between the peg clevis and fork on the model-year Harley-Davidson foot controls. 

If you intend to re-use the stock pivot pins after you have installed your new foot pegs, don’t reuse the split cotter pins. You should throw them away and then replace them with new ones. Better yet, you should consider replacing the pivot pins and the associated hardware with 3/8-16 t.p.i. stainless-steel Allen Cap screws or even button-head Allen bolts with washers and nyloc nuts.

A few years back, Harley-Davidson introduced the asymmetrical clevis on certain model-year forward controls. It can be easily identified by the longer tab on one side. If your stock Harley-Davidson Softail features this clevis, you should follow steps 2 through 4. In case the mounting forks on your foot controls are the standard equal-length design, you should proceed to step 5.

Step 2

The longer clevis fork will prohibit the male clevis from sliding all the way into the Harley-Davidson Softail’s stock clevis fork. You must check your bike’s setup by inserting the new foot peg in the foot control clevis. If the holes line up, you’ll be good to go. If the clevis fork prohibits your new foot peg from seating completely into the mount, you should proceed to step 3.

Step 3

Use a Sharpie to mark the longer of the clevis forks. You’ll need to keep your mark in the same place as the opposite fork such that the new foot peg will fold properly.

Step 4

Use a hacksaw or a cutting disk on the 4-inch die grinder and carefully shorten the clevis fork that you just marked such that it is the exact same length as the opposite fork.

After cutting the fork to the appropriate length, you’ll need to radius the top edge of the shortened clevis fork using a hand file or a flap disk on the 4-inch die grinder such that the male clevis on the foot peg can fold upward.

Execute the grinding and shaping in small increments such that you do not remove too much material from the original peg. Double-check the work before this step by answering the hinge pin through the clevis fork and into the male clevis, before folding the clevis upward. Once the foot peg folds upward properly without binding, the shortened mounting fork will be complete.

Step 5

Hold the wave spring against the male clevis on the foot peg, and then insert the assembly into the open fork of the foot control mount. If you’re re-using the pivot pin, you should put a light coating of grease on its surface and then insert it into the hole of the mounting fork through the peg clevis or wave spring assembly.

Further, you will need to put the washer onto the end of the pivot pin before inserting a new cotter pin into the hole of the pin. Now, bend the cotter pin open for securing the assembly. Now, repeat this step for the other clevis too. 

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Step 6

If you’re using nuts and bolts for securing your foot pegs, you should put a few drops of blue Loc-Tite to the threads of a 2-inch long x 3/8-16 bolt and then insert it into the fork on the foot control mount and through the foot clevis/wave spring assembly. Use an Allen wrench and box-end wrench for tightening the mounting hardware to secure the clevis. You need to repeat this step for the other clevis too.

Step 7

Put a light coating of grease on the outer surface of the peg clevis. Now, insert the foot peg onto the clevis. Then, put a drop of blue Loc-Tite on the 5/16-18 Allen cap screw and thread it to the end of the foot peg. Hold the foot peg at the desired angle and then torque the 5/16-18 bolt to 12-18 ft. lbs. Repeat this step for the opposite peg.

Before you ride your Harley-Davidson Softail, you need the double-check the pins, if you used stock pivot pins for installing the new foot pegs. Check if they are bent open correctly for ensuring that the pins remain tight. If you made use of bolts and nyloc nuts, ensure that the threads pass all the way through to each nut for fully engaging the locking function.

Also, check the torque specs on the 5/16-18 Allen cap screws holding the foot peg onto the adjustable clevis – 12-18 ft. lbs. Once everything is correct, you should fire up your Harley-Davidson Softail and give your bike a 10-mile trip. Return home and check everything once more.


What are passenger foot pegs made of?

There are aluminum, steel, and titanium foot pegs that are cast, machined, stamped, or forged. Some of them are anodized or heat-treated while others are drilled, ground, sawed, or polished with the pieces bolted or welded together.

Are foot pegs adjustable?

If you want a more sport driving position or if the placement of the foot pegs seems uncomfortable, you can always adjust the foot peg to your liking in a matter of minutes. To have adjustable foot pegs installed, you need to purchase the adjustable foot peg adaptor with the displacer.

Is it better to have sharp foot pegs?

Sharp and grippy foot pegs are definitely a great option. But remember, they can wreak havoc on the sole of your boots. The sharper the foot pegs, the better your grip will be, but the less amount of time you will get out of your boots.

Why do bikers go for aftermarket foot pegs?

There are many reasons why Harley-Davidson bikes often go for aftermarket foot pegs. One of the main reasons for that is increased grip. Stock foot pegs are good enough for most riders out there, but there are some who prefer a more planted feel and opt for an aftermarket foot peg.

Aftermarket foot pegs are lighter yet stronger than stock foot legs. Moreover, they come in a number of variations in terms of size and shape. They also provide a better grip on the sole of the boot.

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