This year I purchased a 2009 Harley Davidson XR1200. I had saved my money for several years, knowing I wanted to buy an American made bike. Its a luxury that I've been fortunate enough to enjoy.

One of the traits of Harley owners is that they like to "tweak" their bikes. And by that I mean that once you've been on your bike for a few months, you start to identify the things that don't necessarily work right for you. Mirrors, foot shifter peg, seat, handlebars, exhaust, turn signals, and the list of improvements you'd like to make goes on and on.

The key to being able to upgrade and replace your own motorcycle parts is to own the correct service manual. I never understood why a service manual didn't come with a bike when you purchase it, but alas it doesn't. So, where is the best place to buy a Harley Davidson Manual? I've found a couple of tricks to finding places online that I thought might be helpful to share with you.

The most obvious place to start is with the dealer you bought your motorcycle from. This is the most sure way of getting the correct manual, although most of the time its the most expensive and least consumer friendly. I'm not sure what it is about Harley dealers, but everytime I go there I feel like they are doing me a favor by ordering my parts. Ummm...hey guys, how about a little more friendly customer service? Anyways, I knew what I was getting into when I bought the XR1200, so lets move on.

Another great option for Harley owners is to use the internet. Google specifically can dig up a treasure trove of information, although in my experience, it takes a little extra digging and time to make sure you find exactly what you need. Here is the way I approached finding my XR1200 service manual. Maybe if you just substitue your model number or harley bike type, you can have the same success.

1) Start with a general broad based search for my model and the words "service manual". ex. xr1200 service manual

NOTE: I didn't use the word "harley" or "davidson" because it returns too many unrelated results. Stick to your specific model number and you'll have better success.

2) Look through the results of your search and you may see a few types of listings. Hopefully if you dig through the first couple of page results, you'll see 1 or 2 specific types of results.

  • Ebay or Amazon results. These are good places to look. You may see specific listings on Ebay for your exact manual. Score! You could at this point, buy it and be done. Most likely you'll save 10% over the dealer after you factor in shipping costs.
  • Owners group forums. This is the BEST place by far for your bike model's specific information. For me, this is where I found the exact Harley Davidson Part number for my service manual. (it was 99484-09 if you are curious) That now allows me to do more detailed searching.
3) Now I go back and do a Google exact search for the part number. An exact search is where you put quotes around your search term. Type this : "99484-09" Ahhhh... Beautiful.

The results that came back from this search were all the online dealers and stores that sold this exact manual. Now its just a matter of finding the lowest price and buying it.

Obviously this article is about how to find your Harley Davidson manual. But it should be noted, that you can use this technique to find each and every replacement part that you're looking to upgrade. It takes time, I'm not going to kid you. But if you can save hundreds of dollars (which is entirely possible) it makes sense to do the legwork and find the best prices on the parts you are looking to buy.