xorl %eax, %eax

How-to: Flipped Mirrors on a Harley-Davidson Sportster

with 46 comments

Although the following information can be applied to other HD models as well, I will be focusing specifically on sportster models. So, since the introduction of the Black Line of Dark Custom, many sportster owners did this modification which completely changes the style of the bike making it more aggressive and bobber-like.

This was so successful that even Harley-Davidson now ships its 2011 Forty-Eight model with this design. Here is a photograph of the 2011 Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight.

Here we will be using my 2011 Harley-Davidson XL883N Iron. To begin with, here is how this motorcycle looks with the stock mirrors…

A closer look reveals that the mirror is bolted underneath the handlebar using a single 13mm nut close to the turn signal. Here is a close-up of this nut.

Starting with the left mirror (from riding position), I used a small ratchet with a 2″ extension and a 13mm socket you see here:

After removing the left mirror (as seen from the riding position), we can see that apart from the 13mm nut, there is also a washer of the same size. Pay attention not to lose it because it is used to securely lock the nut.

I have intentionally started from the left one because the right one is more tricky to remove. The right one is harder because of the brake and throttle lines as well as the turn signal which is very close to the mirror’s bolt. To avoid scratching your paint or having difficulties removing the nut, I suggest using a 13mm open-end wrench.

Now that you have both mirrors out, start by installing the left (from riding position). To do this, take the mirror you removed from in the previous step from the right side and flip it over. Yes, it is as simple as that!

Moving to the right side, it is more tricky due to the previously mentioned lines and turn signal. Because of the position of the right turn signal it is impossible to insert the mirror underneath the handlebar. To do this, you simply remove the turn signal temporarily which is a very straightforward task.

Locate the small hole shown in the following picture.

In this hole, there is a 4mm Allen (hex bit) bolt. Use an equivalent wrench head to unscrew it.

You don’t have to completely remove the bolt. Just loosen it up enough to release the signal light.

With all the required free space, just install the right mirror and adjust it to the vision field you’re comfortable with. Then re-install the signal light.

If you happen to have a torque wrench which I highly recommend to get one if you don’t have, you must tighten the mirrors’ nuts to 16 Nm. Hopefully, the end result should be something like this:

Apart from the aesthetics improvement, this modification also assists on a better vision field. The stock mirrors are short and most riders (including myself) do not have clear view due to the arm’s (more specifically elbow) position.

Remember to check that there is enough clearance space between the gas tank and the mirrors when flipped. This modification cannot be applied to some bikes with large gas tanks. Just turn the handlebar left/right to make sure it doesn’t hit the gas tank.

Anyway, I hope you find it useful. :)

Written by xorl

May 28, 2011 at 17:34

Posted in motorcycles & cars

46 Responses

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  1. Hello there, I had the same idea, to flip down my Nightster’s mirrors. I just have a question. There’s no so enough space from the mirror down hole and the directions lights. I mean, the direction light is oval and is touching the mirror attach. How did you manage this problem?


    August 30, 2011 at 20:32

  2. As you can see above, I temporarily removed the directions/turn signal lights and then placed them back with a small angle in order to fit the mirror.

    My last photo is not a good example since it appears like the left turn light (as we see it in the photo) has some weird angle while the right one is straight. In fact, I moved both and if you look at it straight they are identical.


    August 30, 2011 at 20:44

  3. Great how to. I just did it to my oneyearold iron.


    November 16, 2011 at 22:22

  4. Hi, i just flipped my mirrors on my custom sportster. Cant seem to see anything, as mirrors cannot be qligned to required angles. Is it becaus the gas tamk is laher than reg sportsters?


    November 20, 2011 at 16:07

  5. Hi Berkin,

    It would be nice to see some photos of your bike to understand the problem. Now, the gas tank (in most cases) can only affect the turning of the handlebar. Please check that there is enough clearance so that the mirrors do not touch the gas tank even with fully turned handlebar.

    So, if you can’t see anything the most common thing is the riding position. This involves everything from type of handlebars (drag, mini apes, ape hanger, Z bar, etc.), suspension, seat, etc. as well as your height. On final thing is the mirrors themselves.

    Hope this helps but if you can send some photos it would be much better.


    November 20, 2011 at 22:03

  6. Great post. Thanks. Just a small comment: if you’re going to remove the signal light, why don’t you do it at the beginning and make removing the mirror easier :)


    November 27, 2011 at 19:37

  7. Yeah, you’re right.
    I did this after I saw that you had to remove it, that’s why it’s with order in the blog post.


    November 27, 2011 at 19:55

  8. Great post, thanks. Nightster now has upside down mirrors. Only minor comment – I figure the socket/spanner size should be 1/2 inch rather than 13 mm – at least that’s what worked on my mirrors.

    Ride on

    Richard Davies

    March 31, 2012 at 21:28

  9. Hi Richard,

    You’re correct but I was not using metric sockets. In fact, 1/2″ is 12.7mm so it was pretty close to the 13mm one that I used.

    Thanks for the correction! :)


    April 1, 2012 at 11:18

  10. Great write up! Thank a bunch, I just finished mine thanks to you.


    April 10, 2012 at 05:05

  11. Hi there. Thank you for the write up. I am going to attempt it this weekend on an 08 nightster. When I was looking at the mirrors and the signal lights it didnt make sense to me the it would fit but now after seeing your post I am sure it is doable. Hope it works for me as well because I really like what I am seeing on your ride. Thanks again.


    April 27, 2012 at 17:23

  12. Hi Andy,

    I think that it’ll work on your nightster just fine. Please let me know if you have any issues.


    April 28, 2012 at 21:39

  13. Hi there i have been thinking of doingthe same thing but what i want to do istake all that crome stuff off my 2011 customand go black lookingfor any one who wants to sell there stock blk bars off nighster or fortyeight


    May 3, 2012 at 15:08

  14. Trying this today when i get home. I have a 2012 883 and my turn signals are on a swivel so this should be rather quick and painless i hope.


    July 5, 2012 at 20:08

  15. I did it on my 2007 sportster 1200xl and i had to change them back to normal. I didnt have enough clearance between inverted mirror and gas tank on some Sharp turns mirrors Hit on the gas tank.


    July 8, 2012 at 22:29

  16. Hey actually I just bought a Honda Black Widow and trying to figure out how I can get some mirros under the steer. But I’m afraid that the tank is a bit too big, certainly for the standard mirrors.

    And if I want to mount them on the end of the handle bar, my bike gets too wide to get trough traffic easily…

    Steven Wijns

    July 30, 2012 at 01:05

  17. Nice how-to. I wish I had a HD in order to do this! ahah


    August 16, 2012 at 08:10

  18. Hi. I just did this to my 08 Nightster and it seems to take some getting used to. For starters the mirrors dont tilt up enough they tilt down great.. but cant get them to tilt up so i can only look at the grill of the cars.


    August 19, 2012 at 03:52

  19. Just did this on my Nightster and it worked fine. The mirrors are super close to the turn signal but if you angle the signals slightly they won’t rub.


    August 19, 2012 at 20:57

  20. I think I must have done something wrong as I didn’t even get to the re-attachment of the turn signals yet. The actual flipping of the mirrors was simple enough but I noticed that when they are installed I still can’t see anything. I’m actually looking at the handlebars instead of the mirror. Granted my bike is a 2010 Iron 883 but it seems like your mirrors are longer than mine or it appears that way in the picture. I’m kind of at a loss right now because the whole install seems very very simple.


    August 21, 2012 at 03:45

  21. I just flipped my mirrors on my 883R 2012. Very straight forward thanks to your step by step directions. Took me about 15 minutes. Looks gourgeus!!! Thanks Dude…


    October 27, 2012 at 15:45

  22. I want to do the same to my wifes Iron 883N but on my sportster 48 they have a black nut on top instead of the lock nut and washer. But I can’t find online anywhere for it. I can try my HD dealers but you end up paying big bucks for stuff. My question is have you thought of doing so for better looks? and if so where? thanks.

    Shawn Rogers (@2010Sportster)

    December 8, 2012 at 23:16

  23. Hi I’m trying to flip my mirrors on my xl883c. I bought this bike last Spring and the person who had this bike before me, installed lighted/turn signal mirrors. So I started to take the mirror off and saw that there is a wire running up into the mirror which makes taking the mirror off very difficult. I don’t know what I should do. Any thoughts?


    January 7, 2013 at 02:06

  24. I have a 2003sportster XL 883C . My right side I got the mirror fliped but no place for the turn signal. Can anyone help!!!!!


    February 17, 2013 at 16:35

  25. Excellent, I’ve been willing to do this for a while now on my nightster but I was not sure how to get around the signal lights. Took me 10-15mn after reading your how to. Looks great and know I can see what’s happening in my back. Thanks


    April 24, 2013 at 09:16

  26. Thanks for this. It’s obviously not too difficult but the picture and descriptions helped make it a no brainer!


    May 10, 2013 at 18:28



    May 11, 2013 at 00:19

  28. JOSHUE: I don’t have any. Sorry.


    May 18, 2013 at 12:40

  29. You need to install your turn signal with a slight angle.


    May 18, 2013 at 12:45

  30. I have no idea how the wires are routed on your bike, it might still be easy to do but it depends on how the wires are held in place.


    May 18, 2013 at 12:47

  31. You’re very right. You can find on ebay such nuts really cheap. Look for: “1/2 closed end nut”, “1/2 acorn nut”, “1/2 bullet nut”, etc.


    May 18, 2013 at 12:53

  32. Just followed your step by step instructions and was done in less than 10 minutes. It’s going to be nice to finally see behind me. Thanks a lot!


    May 31, 2013 at 06:16

  33. thanks for this…i just changed out my 2013 iron mirrors.


    June 5, 2013 at 19:46

  34. Xorl thanks for your tutorial. Just flipped my mirrors on my 2012 HD883. Very easy to do, thanks to you!


    June 6, 2013 at 00:47

  35. Worked with my HD 883 IRON (2013). Thanks for the “How to”, Mike

    Die Rückspiegel bei der Iron sind im Auslieferungszustand über dem Lenker montiert. Beim Blick nach hinten sieht man…

    Posted by Michael Daehne on Saturday, July 27, 2013


    July 27, 2013 at 13:58

  36. This is perfect and very clear instructions. Very much appreciated! My Nightster is going to look like a sexy beast!


    August 20, 2013 at 22:21

  37. You get it Dude. Worked perfectly.


    October 15, 2013 at 06:54

  38. Hi there!!! This worked fine on my 2014 883 Iron. Thank U for sharing your know-how. Greetings from Madrid, Spain.


    December 20, 2013 at 22:02

  39. Thanks, I didn’t think I could do it on my 12″ apes as I thought the turn signal would block the stem of the flipped mirror. I didn’t realize the turn signal could be angled away and still be securely tighten.

    after reading your how too, it only took about 5mins to do the flip.

    very nice how too.

    thanks for posting it.


    February 4, 2014 at 21:41

  40. Just done this on my 2005 883R – Works really well. Instead of sub-optimal but detailed views of both my elbows, I now have excellent views of the road and pavement behind me, as well as knowing at a glance what it was I just reversed into. I have hedge deflectors fitted (http://www.customcruisers.com/Custom2005/customshop2005/contents/en-uk/p6544.html) and it all fits together well. One tip I can offer is to take the deflectors apart, rather than remove them as one unit, as they make access to the Allen grub screw difficult when you’re reassembling everything.

    I had a Pan European for a few years which has a similar arrangement, with the exception that your sightline to the mirror is over the handlebar clusters, which keeps your eyes nearer the road, but the mirror housings deflect wind onto your hands which makes them bloody cold in winter. This is a better arrangement.

    A zero-cost cosmetic improvement that is far more functional than the original? I suppose it had to happen one day…

    Many thanks for the post.

    Old Fart Biker

    April 2, 2014 at 18:13

  41. thank you very much,
    my husband is busy now, maybe i can repair his harley davidson
    – thx


    May 31, 2014 at 15:52

  42. Thank you very much, did my sportster iron this morning. view from mirrors is unrestricted, brilliant, thank you for sharing

    David Gill

    June 7, 2015 at 15:33

  43. I just flipped the mirrors on my Iron883N -2014 model. No need to remove the turn signal on that model. Just unscrew and flip sides. Took less than 10 minutes. Thanks for the how-to anyway.


    June 14, 2015 at 16:33

  44. Man thanks for this write up! Stumbled onto this earlier and still have no clue how I’ve missed this! Much better viability that having to move my arm every time to look around me!! Thanks again!


    May 3, 2016 at 23:29

  45. Thank you for sharing this informative article!

    richard peter

    November 22, 2016 at 14:45

  46. Nice post , But i need to know more about it.


    February 10, 2017 at 08:19

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