If you like to customize motorcycles, you should know how to do it properly. Modifications come in many different forms, but you may have to understand a few important basics before you can even start planning a major refinement.
Whether it’s adding small details or doing a major makeover, customizing your motorcycle takes time and money to pull off. That said, here are a few tips to make the most out of giving your bike an upgrade:
Change the seats
Over time, the leather of the seat can wear out with cracks appearing on the surface. You can always by replacing the seat altogether and choosing a more comfortable alternative that firmly supports you. The new seat should have the right amount of softness so you can avoid straining your back during a long drive.
Pick heavy duty tires
Performance-wise, your tires would make all the difference in keeping your motorcycle on the road and preventing it from slipping. If you want tires that are perfect for any road condition, look along the lines of all-weather tires for optimum stability on both dry and wet roads.
Create a laser engraving
Nothing says you’re the sole owner of your bike quite like a custom engraving. An emblem or a coat of arms could be added to your bike to give it a touch of added coolness. You can always create engravings by hand, but this usually takes a lot of time to pull off. To save time and create intricate patterns and designs to add to your motorcycle, you can use a laser that’s capable of engraving different metals accurately.
Add some lights
If you’re looking to be more creative when it comes to customizing your motorcycle, you might as well add some LED lights like those from XK Glow, especially on the bottom. Not only will this make your motorcycle look cool, but it also enhances your visibility at night. Don’t overdo it though as too much unnecessary lighting can actually distract you, other motorists, and pedestrians.
Add some custom stickers
Stickers are like tattoos to your motorbike. Each one tells a different story. So, if you’re feeling adventurous, start by adding stickers that could give your bike a boost in appeal. If you don’t have a thing for stickers, you may want to overhaul your color palette and update the paint job.
Look for hi-tech gadgets and features
There are a lot of gadgets you can attach to your motorbike. You just have to choose which ones to install. A GPS tracker, for one, is a good gadget to have, especially when it comes to traveling unfamiliar roads. You might also consider adding a GoPro mount to prepare your motorcycle for an adventure.
Conquer the road by riding a bike that’s fully equipped for any journey.
Use these motorcycle customization tips to finally give your ride the upgrade it deserves and impress anyone who might be dying to take it for a test drive!
Do loud pipes really save lives or is it more about machismo and attention-seeking behaviour?
This hilarious video lampoons the latter theory.
Loud pipes theory
I won’t be popular for this, but “Loud Pipes Saves Lives” is a theory, not a proven fact.
I’m sure many readers will provide examples of how they reckon a loud motorcycle exhaust saved their lives.
But let’s look at this scientifically.
Supporters of this contention say that loud pipes alert motorists that there is a bike somewhere about.
In a situation of impending collision, the bike is approaching the vehicle it is about to collide with, right? It’s not going in the opposite direction, is it?
They may be approaching from the side, from in front or from behind, but they are not riding away from the vehicle with which they are about to collide.
So the noise of the bike really needs to precede the bike to alert the impending collider, right?
But exhaust pipes don’t face forward. They face backward with the bulk of the noise trailing behind, not going out in front of them.
High frequency sounds are easy to discern direction. However, low frequencies such as exhaust noise can be omnidirectional.
That makes it difficult for a driver in an air-conditioned cabin with the radio on to discern where the noise is coming from.
I have been guilty of driving a car and having no idea that a motorcycle is rapidly riding into my blind spot. Not until they are alongside or already past do I actually hear their exhaust pipe.
Just how loud would exhaust pipes have to be for people in front to hear them clearly and be a truly effective safety alert?
Rather than adding to the already cacophonous state of our urban traffic, wouldn’t it actually be better and safer for riders to alert traffic with a short blast on the horn?
If you are riding along a street and see a car sitting at an intersection and you are not sure they have seen or heard you, wouldn’t it be more effective to give a couple of quick taps on the horn to gain their attention?
A horn blast surely has more of an alert tone than the gradually increasing rumble of an exhaust pipe facing the wrong way. (Be aware that in some jurisdictions, blowing the horn may be illegal, except for emergency warnings.)
There are other things you can do to get yourself noticed such as changing speed and moving around in your lane. (Dare I say, bright riding gear may help, but certainly not your machismo.)
All these proactive safety measures are much better than the ingrained and misguided trust in the safety values of a loud pipe.
In fact, reliance on a loud pipe could be hindering your active safety avoidance measures and placing you and your machismo in greater danger.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of a baritone exhaust note. Not that gets my machismo going! That rumbling sound is music to my ears and motivation to my soul.
However, I detest those barking, angry pipes that give me a headache and only serve to upset most of the population.
In fact, noise (barking dogs, traffic, trains etc) is the most complained about issue in suburban life. Do we really need to attract more anger against bikes and bikers?
While loud pipes may not necessarily save any lives, they most assuredly are bad PR for a minority group that gets enough bad press as it is.
Let’s be honest, the people who advocate loud pipes love the sound of the pipes and/or love people hearing them and being intimidated.
Just go back and watch the video again.
While I’ve never witnessed a loud pipe saving my life or anyone else’s I have witnessed loud pipes causing dogs to start barking and horses to run into barbed wire fences.
My favourite bike noise is actually the roar of the bike inhaling, rather than exhaling. The MV Agusta Brutale has beautiful “organ pipes”, but it’s the induction roar that is absolutely glorious.
And best of all, it sounds like a Singer sewing machine when it goes past pedestrians, motorists, dogs and horses. That’s because the induction sound is cleverly pointed at the rider and not the passerby.
Motorcycle and car manufacturers have been spending millions of dollars on research into how to best channel these “good” sounds toward the rider/driver rather than at the passing scenery.
This has mainly been forced on them by increasingly stringent noise limitation laws, but the byproduct is that we get more entertaining motorcycles to ride and we cheese off fewer motorists, pedestrians, dogs and horses.
What do you think about loud pipes? Leave your comments in the box below.
An American inventor who has been working on a “miracle” exhaust pipe cleaner for several years has revealed his secret formula on YouTube after it was “stolen” and marketed by a rival.
Neil Stern contacted Motorbike Writer in 2015 after we published an article in which the World Patent Marketing issued a patent for his “Rid a Blue”, a quick-cleaning product designed to take the bluing out of stainless steel or chrome exhaust pipes.
It was claimed to comprise detergent oil, white diamond Polish and an “anti-oxidiser chemical”.
Neil told us he was the inventor of Rid a Blue and was working on getting it to market.
He asked if we would like to try it and we accepted.
When it arrived in some dodgy looking bottles with hand-written directions and an old rag, we were immediately dubious.
It didn’t work on an old bike we had and Neil said it was probably not real chrome or stainless steel.
So he sent another dodgy package and suggested we try it on the badly oxidised pipes of our Triumph Street Scrambler.
This time the results were amazing and immediate.
With only a small application of the solution and without much rubbing it immediately removed the ugly oxidation spots.
In fact, he emphasises you have to be quick and not leave it on for long as it is “strong and fast acting”.
He said it consisted of an “activator” to shift the stain and a deactivator to stop the process. You then use a normal chrome polish such as purple to finish the job.
Neil ran in to all sorts of dramas in getting his product to market, so he gave up.
However, when he found someone selling his formula this year at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, he decided to reveal the secret formula in this crude video on YouTube.
It turns out the secret ingredients in the formula are one-third muriatic acid to two-thirds plain old polish.
(Sponsored post on bike security for our North American readers)
Motorbikes are excellent travel options for those who cherish adventurous trips on and off the road. Moreover, it is one of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly ways to beat heavy traffic in highly populated cities. Therefore, your motorbike is an investment that you need to protect against criminals who target to take this asset away from you.
In the recent past, bike theft has been on the rise with thousands of bikes stolen in the US every year. Even though there are ways to track vehicle history to prevent buyers from buying stolen motorbikes, most of the stolen bikes are never recovered. Thieves will quickly piece out the bike and sell the parts or reassemble it on a different frame. In this article, we have compiled 5 best security gadgets to help you secure your motorbike.
Thieves do not steal any motorbike; they usually spy around to identify particular models to go for. Keeping a cover on your bike hides most of the important details that the criminals could be looking for, thus making it a less attractive target. Besides, there is a time-consuming hindrance for the thief. Though the cover is a basic accessory to keep your scrambler in good condition, it also provides security benefits.
Motorcycle Anti-Theft Lock and Alarm
A bike lock is one of the most effective preventive gadgets, making the job of a thief more risky and harder. However, with the right tools and techniques can break any lock or even carried in a track but using a strong lock along with other security device or mechanism is a great way to secure your bike. Some of the recommended anti-theft lock devices include:
Fork (Steering) Lock – This makes it impossible to steer the motorbike, so the thief cannot wheel it away.
Disc Lock – A small type of motorcycle lock fitted on the brake rotor to prevent the wheel from turning.
Digital Smart Locks – It can either be the steering or the disc lock that integrates it with the alarm system. Whenever a thief tries to break the lock, it activates the alarm scaring away the thief. Some smart locks in the market like Lock8 have a Bluetooth feature, which detects when you are away from the bike and automatically activates the alarm. Additionally, the device has a motion-sensing feature that activates the alarm when it detects motion. Some even have mobile apps that will alert you when the alarm starts.
A motorcycle kill switch disables the connection to the ignition circuit stopping the bike from starting even if the thief has keys. Not even hot-wiring will start the machine. However, some criminals know how to flip the kill switch and can easily wheel away with the bike. Hiding the kill switch is an extra step to help you prevent theft of your motorbike.
Motorcycle Chain/ Cable
Some intelligent thieves have the techniques and powerful tools to break the steering or disc lock to escape with your machine. Combining the lock with a chain or cable enhances the security of the bike, making it harder to steal. The best way to use the chain/cable lock is on the back wheel as the front can be easily removed. Additionally, it is advisable to anchor the chain on an immovable object such as a street lamppost. You may also chain through the back wheel and the bike frame.
Motorbike GPS Tracking Device
Though the above gadgets can prevent bike theft, it is never a 100% guarantee. A GPS tracking device does little to nothing in preventing your ride from being stolen. However, it is a clever investment to help you recover your scrambler in the event it is stolen. Mostly the GPS tracker is attached in a hidden part on the bike. The device transmits the live location and other details about the bike such as movement and speed to a service which you can track online from a web-based or mobile app.
Losing a valuable possession like a motorbike can be a painful experience for anyone. While the unexpected may happen to you at any time, investing in advanced bike anti-theft gadgets can save you from this pain. Other bike safety measures include removing the keys from the ignition even when you are a few metres away from the bike, locking it in your home garage and parking within your sight whenever possible.
A short sit on a motorcycle in a showroom (if they let you!) also won’t provide any answers. You would have to sit there for a couple of hours and the bike would need to be vertical, not on its side stand.
We suggest trying a few bikes, maybe try your friends’ bikes, and don’t just opt for a cruiser because it looks comfortable!
Using a premium fuel with a higher octane than specified by the motorcycle manufacturer will not improve engine power or economy, RACQ technical officer Steve Spalding advises.
He says the energy content of fuel is the same no matter what octane rating it has.
“We see a lot of claims made about using premium fuels over standard and often motorists/riders believe they get a benefit from their use,” he says.
“The reality is by using a fuel with a higher octane than specified, there is only an economic or performance benefit if the engine management system can utilise the higher octane. Some will and others won’t.”
The anecdotal evidence of riders saying they get more power and higher range from a higher octane than their bike needs may simply be justifying to themselves the extra expense of PULP, Steve suggests.
However, there are other advantages to using a PULP fuel over ULP.
“Some premium fuels such as Caltex and BP advertise they have additional cleaning additive packages that can offset the need to periodically buy fuel cleaners,” Steve says.
However, riders would have to work out if it is cheaper to pay the extra price for PULP over ULP rather than buying the occasional cleaner additive.
It may have been an economically wise decision about a decade ago, but the price differential between ULP and PUP has crept up and is now about 12-14c a litre.
“Fuel makers have worked out that people will buy it, not often on an evidence-based reason,” Steve says.
Steve says fuel companies and retailers make the most profit from the sale price of PULP.
Steve also points out that while ULP also has cleaning additives, it just doesn’t have the additional cleaners in some of the higher octane fuels.
However, it is certainly more convenient to have the cleaner additives in the fuel than having to periodically buy and add the fluid separately.
Steve also says PULP has lower levels of sulphur.
“While these are beneficial in reducing the build-up of engine internal deposits, they won’t make the bike travel further for each litre of fuel purchased,” he says.
“The best advice is to use the fuel specified for the bike.”
Low octane risks
Most modern motorcycles recommend a minimum of 95 or 98 RON.
If you fill up with a lower octane rating you run the risk of harmful engine detonation and pinging, Steve warns.
Also the higher sulphur content in RULP can damage catalytic converters and prevent them from working properly.
Some motorcycles have knock sensors that sense detonation or pinging and alter the ignition timing to effetely down-tune the engine.
Knock sensors are a preservation measure in case you are stuck at a remote service station that doesn’t have premium fuel.
Lastly, with E10 being common in services stations, ensure your bike is compatible with it before using, older carburettor models shouldn’t use an ethanol-based fuel.