In the greasy realm of DIY customizing, changing foot pegs ranks high among easy tweaks that are fun to do and that add personal style and performance to your motorcycle. Among the myriad companies that make aftermarket pegs for Harleys, Biltwell is unique, but probably not for the reason many people think. Sure, investment-cast stainless-steel pegs like our Sanderson and MX-inspired Mushman pegs have the DNA to become classics, but even our Norman peg—an austere homage to the Bates peg of yore—and ubiquitous appliances like our CNC’ed alloy Rocker peg boast features and technology that make them stand out in a crowd. Today’s WTF spells out the technical differences and functional similarities that make our pegs unique, and offers some tips and tricks for choosing the right peg for your ride.
The feature common to every Biltwell peg is our adjustable clevis. This cast chromoly mount mates to the forked receiver on a broad range of select model-year Harley-Davidson foot peg brackets with the stock pin or a 3/8-inch O.D. bolt and nut to secure the peg on your bike. A 5/16-18 stainless-steel Allen bolt tightens the foot peg body to the threaded end of the clevis. The male end of the clevis that inserts into the female hole on the peg body has a conical base that pinches against the peg to lock it in place. This design allows 360 degrees of rotation so the peg surface can be oriented perfectly on forward-, mid- and rear-set locations. The black L-shaped washers that come with every pair of Biltwell pegs fit inside the assembled clevis to eliminate peg sag on severely bent or worn MoCo hardware—hey, it happens more often than the Motor Company would like to admit.
“Investment” or “lost-wax” casting is the manufacturing process we employ to create our mounting clevises and the bodies of our Sanderson and Mushman peg models. This ancient but proven and reliable technology involves creating an exact replica of the finished part using a thermoplastic material similar to paraffin wax. After removing this injection-molded wax duplicate from its metal cavity, the wax component is dipped in a ceramic slurry that looks like a banana smoothie. After repeated coatings in the highly heat-resistant slurry, the part is baked in an oven to cure the ceramic coating into a hard shell. The baking process simultaneously hardens the slurry and melts the wax “investment” inside, leaving behind a hollow cavity into which molten stainless-steel material can be poured. When the metal part inside the ceramic mold cools, technicians use chisels, sonic vibration and cleansing agents to remove the hardened material off the metal part inside. Judicious trimming, hand polishing, and/or plating yields a finished part. Investment casting may be time consuming and relatively expensive, but done correctly the process gives the finished part a rugged construction and a cool hand-made feel.
CNC is manufacturing-industry parlance for “Computer Numeric Controlled,” which simply means that a mill, lathe, screw machine or other metalworking device is automated and managed by computer. We use CNC lathes to precisely shape and knurl the 6061 T-6 aluminum core inside our Norman pegs, and the aluminum foot rest on our Rocker model. The rubber sleeve on our Norman pegs is injection molded with medium density PVC—a softer version of the black thermoplastic used to make schedule 80 pipe for plumbing. MD PVC is highly wear resistant, waterproof and UV protected—the perfect synthetic for motorcycle foot rests.
Now that you know more about the processes and technologies we use to manufacture our eclectic range of foot pegs, let’s explore the more subjective matter of which pegs look best on what bikes. Obviously, with little to no custom tomfoolery every Biltwell peg can and will fit on a wide range of different Harley-Davidson motorcycles: Sportsters, Dynas, FXRs—practically any model featuring the Motor Company’s pre-2018 forked mounting interface. Granted, some slight modification to certain model-year peg mounts may be required but our pegs work on almost every Hog manufactured from the AMF days onward. Certain Biltwell peg styles look better on some H-D models than others, and that’s what we’re going to spell out in the photos and captions that follow.
The styling of our Mushman pegs is reminiscent of the serrated steel units on vintage dirt bikes in the ’60s and ’70s. Less toothy and more rugged than their forbearers, Mushman pegs look great on Sportsters, and in the passenger position on bigger bikes like Dynas and FXRs. Available in polished raw stainless and black electroplated finishes. Mushman pegs take on a rich patina under foot over time to give your bike a well-ridden vibe.
Dirty Secret: the second peg in our line takes its name from Steve McQueen’s alter ego Harvey Mushman, the name he used during sign-up at the Lake Elsinore Gran Prix in the seminal documentary “On Any Sunday.”
Legendary aftermarket parts brand Bates did a masterful job replicating the rubber foot pegs that came stock on Triumphs, Sportsters and Hondas in the 1960s, and we returned the favor by repopping Bates in the 21st century. Given their antiquated lineage, we think our Norman pegs look best on unmolested Ironheads, Shovelheads and Evo Sporties. If you’re the fussy type who doesn’t want to scuff the soles of your period-correct boots, Normans are a great choice.
Dirty Secret: Our “Norman” name is an homage to Norman Bates, the cross-dressing killer in Hitchcock’s classic, “Psycho.” Bates, Norman, Norman Bates. Get it?
The first peg we introduced to the modern choppersphere and still an enduring top-seller, our Sanderson peg faithfully repops the surface styling and proportions of the legendary Anderson pegs that precede our design by 50 years. Whereas OG Anderson pegs were cast from somewhat brittle aluminum, our homage to the classic chopper peg are stainless steel—stronger, more durable and longer lasting in every way. The perfect peg for vintage Harleys. Also a great choice for highway pegs on big cruisers.
Dirty Secret: Clever modern bike builders repurpose bits and pieces from our Sanderson pegs to fabricate custom foot controls, brake pedals and toe shifters on show-winning choppers at Born Free, Mooneyes, and other big bike shows worldwide.
The most affordable peg in the Biltwell arsenal is also the widest and stickiest. Our Rocker pegs feature a simple lathe-turned shape with deep knurling to grip boots and sneakers like a vice. A little too wide to look proportionate on Sportsters in our opinion, Rocker pegs nevertheless look and work great on big bikes, and especially so on any long, low bike with a drag race or Land Speed Record vibe.
Dirty Secret: Our own Mike D. Ellis named these pegs after his uncle Sammy “The Red Rocker” Hagar.