15 Great Additions to Your Motorcycle
Whether you have a classic Harley Davidson motorcycle or a new sporty Kawasaki, there's always something cool that you can add to your motorcycle, no matter if it's a performance upgrade or just a simple accessory. After all, one of the best things about owning a motorcycle is the ability to tinker with it and really make it your own.
There are all kinds of parts and kits on the market that allow riders to turn their bikes into something unique that stands out from all of the rest. For those looking to enhance their bike, we've compiled a list of 15 various additions perfect for any bike and any rider.
1. Tail Bags:
You don't have to be planning a road trip in order to need some storage on your bike. Tail bags are a great way to add just the right amount of storage without taking up room on your bike or detracting from its looks. Bags, like the Cortech Dryver Tail Bag, are streamlined so as not to hamper speed and mobility but still provide enough storage space for all of the things you carry with you on a day-to-day basis.
2. Improved, Adjustable Suspension:
If you're trying to achieve the optimum riding experience, then having a top-notch suspension system is key. Having an adjustable suspension system is great because you're able to adjust settings according to the weight that's being placed on the bike at different periods. This allows the bike to maintain proper handling and cuts down on things like drag and bad shock absorption. Suspension systems can be a little tricky, especially if you're working with something more complicated than your run-of-the-mill system, so it might be a good idea to let a professional handle this particular bike addition.
3. Upgraded Tires:
Standard tires can do their job well enough, but not all tires are made alike and not all tires are designed for the same type of performance. The type of tires that you upgrade your bike with are going to depend on the way in which you use your bike: i.e., the sort of terrain and weather conditions your bike is typically exposed to.
Some tires are better designed to grip on sharp turns or get better traction in specific terrain. If you live in an area that has a lot of winding roads, then you may want something that – even if it doesn't have as long of an expected life as some standard tires – has an enhanced ability to grip the pavement where other tires fail.
4. New Controls:
Not every bike comes with the sort of controls best suited for each individual driver, so you may find it beneficial to switch out existing controls with something else. This is especially true if you decide to switch out basic controls for those that do more, as this is going to give you even more handling and control opportunities. That means you'll not only experience better performance but you'll have also added something to your bike that increases its value.
When adding handle controls, as well as rear controls, you'll want to make sure that everything works with the angle in which your hands and feet normally rest while riding. This means picking out controls that aren't going to be awkward to handle – something too small or too big – and also making sure that you install things the right way, with nothing at odd angles that make usage awkward.
5. LED Headlights and Taillights:
Halogen bulbs can offer pretty decent performance and, if you have a classic bike, they may feel more in keeping with your motorcycle's style. However, high performance is going to come in the form of LED lights. LEDs are brighter than halogen bulbs and – particularly important for motorcycle owners – they respond a lot better to driving conditions than halogens do.
LED lights deal with shock a lot better than halogens, so vibrations and even direct hits to the bulb are far less likely to cause any damage than would be expected with halogens. They'll also draw less on this energy than halogens, meaning they'll pull less energy from your battery and help extend its life.
6. Ambient Lighting:
LED lighting kits for motorcycles offer great opportunities for enhancing the style of your bike as well as let you truly personalize it. These lighting kits will come with various light tubes – depending on the size of the kit you get – and can be concealed throughout the body of the bike.
Some kits will feature just a single stationary color, while others will offer multi-color options as well as scan and fade options; it just depends on the kind of look you're going for. Kits are small and maneuverable enough that you can install them yourself and avoid having them interfere with any of your bike's moving components. You can even control such kits through the use of a smartphone app.
7. Fan Controls for Radiators:
Keeping a bike cool on hot days is integral in ensuring that the engine doesn't overheat and the bike runs as smoothly as possible. Radiator fans come on automatically once the bike starts getting really hot but, if you're driving around on a day that's hot – so you know your bike is definitely going to be hot, then fan controls will allow you to turn the radiator fan on automatically as well as introduce coolant to the system. This lets you get the bike cooled before it gets to the point where the heat is causing noticeable performance issues.
8. Upgraded Brake Pads:
Obviously, your brake pads are going to wear down over time, especially if you tend to do a lot of hard braking. While the engine and suspension systems may get a lot of attention in terms of improvements for performance purposes, your brake pads are going to have a bigger impact on overall performance than you might think.
As they get worn, braking faster gets harder, and the handling of your bike starts to suffer for it. Standard brake pads might cost a little less money but performance pads will seriously hold up a lot longer against the requirements you throw at them.
These are particularly great for those that travel long distances, but even driving around the city can be a much-improved experience through the addition of a windscreen. While a windscreen, of course, is designed to help reduce the pressure of wind hitting your face as you drive down the road, it's also great at deflecting bugs and all manner of grit and debris you're likely to come across. This might be especially important for drivers who deal with a lot of traffic in a city and are constantly stuck behind other vehicles throwing all kind of debris into the air.
10. Flush Mount Taillights:
Altering the rear of a motorcycle is a pretty common occurrence for owners, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that it's an area that everyone else on the road is going to be looking at. Opting for flush-mounted taillights creates a more streamlined look that tends to be more complementary to the overall look of the bike. You can easily find flush mounts for a little over $20 but you can also spend closer to $100 for something more custom and a little less plastic.
11. GPS Navigation:
Every driver, whether a car driver or motorcycle driver, wants a good navigation system. The problem is that most GPS Navigation setups are designed for cars and are therefore a pain to try to mount to a motorcycle. The Garmin Zumo 350LM GPS is, therefore, an awesome addition to your bike because it has a motorcycle-specific mount perfect for any bike. The touchscreen works great whether you have bare hands or you're wearing gloves, and the device even allows you to keep up with scheduled motorcycle maintenance.
12. Motorcycle Locks:
While not as easy as grabbing a bicycle and taking off, stealing a motorcycle is still considerably easier than stealing a car, and it's something that motorcycle owners tend to stay worried about. This is precisely why you need a high-quality bike lock that's going to make it extremely difficult for anyone thinking about snatching your bike.
The Xena XX15 Alarm Disc Lock is comprised of stainless steel and features an alarm that makes it very clear that someone's tampering with your bike. Rather than relying solely on a connection that has to be broken in order to set off the alarm, the lock has various sensors that will trigger the alarm if a certain degree of shock is detected. This means that someone will be alerted to the situation long before a thief can even think about getting the lock off.
13. Frame Sliders:
Even with the best kickstand, there's still the chance that your bike could get knocked over. Motorcycles can be pretty heavy and, when you have something with that kind of weight behind it, and you throw gravity into the mix, a bike falling over can cause some significant damage.
Frame sliders help to deflect the impact of a bike hitting the ground and, therefore, reduce the amount of damage your bike endures. With this in mind, you can think of frame sliders as an extremely worthwhile investment because they'll likely save you a lot more money later down the road when they help you avoid having to make body repairs to your bike.
14. Fender Eliminator Kit:
One of the most common modifications that motorcycle owners make to their bike involves the rear fender. Many don't like the way it looks and decide to cut it off sections altogether, but this pretty much always involves some kind of saw and a very manual application that results in a really rough, unattractive look.
You don't want to spend a bunch of money on a nice bike just to make it look cheap and rundown by hacking away at the rear fender. Fender elimination kits will allow you to modify the fender by eliminating the surface area you want, and then providing you with the taillights and license plate lights necessary to replace those removed by your fender modification.
15. Battery Tender:
There may be long stretches where you're not able to get your bike out on the road, maybe because seasonal weather has gotten in the way or you just haven't had the time to ride in a while. These long breaks can result in a dead battery – something that can be particularly annoying to owners if it's a battery that should have lasted a lot longer than it did.
Battery tenders help to remedy this issue by ensuring that your bike's battery is still getting the energy it needs to stay active. Battery tenders are very simple to hook up and don't require different connectors and intermediary parts.
Additional Accessories Every Motorcycle Owner Should Have:
While we've focused pretty much on the modifications you can make to your bike, there are still a lot of different accessories that a rider can have to make their experience a lot more enjoyable. One accessory to pay major attention to is the helmet.
High-quality helmets will not only feature more padding but will likely come with a built-in audio system. Some even have displays set into the helmet's visor. If you don't have the money for this kind of accessory, you can always invest in a hands-free Bluetooth setup.
If you like to take your bike for road trips – something we highly recommend every rider do at some point – then it's great to have a set of motorcycle luggage for your bike, especially a set that matches it. Another great accessory for road trips is an action camera. These let you record the sort of scenery you're passing and will come with weatherproof features and mounting options that will let you either mount the camera to your bike – typically on the handlebars – or even to your helmet.
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