Tag Archives: Motorcycle Accessories

Enhancing the Africa Twin | Stage 1: Minimal Weight Gain, More Protection

Our Editor-in-Chief got the farkling bug, and outfitted his Africa Twin with enough crash protection to cover any unexpected dirt naps, plus hard luggage and more. Photos by Kevin Wing.

It started innocently enough. At 507 pounds ready to ride, Honda’s CRF1000L Africa Twin is the lightweight among the liter-class ADV machines, and given my short legs and lukewarm off-road riding skills I had little desire to make it any heavier. What goes down must come up in order to carry on, and much beyond 550 pounds or so there’s little chance I’m picking it up by myself.

But before riding off into the sunset, every proper ADV machine should have a centerstand and heated grips, right? Both are Honda accessories and were easily installed. Hard saddlebag mounts were next — Honda’s bags are good-looking and convenient since they drop and lock right onto the bike’s built-in mounts, but aren’t quite sturdy enough for the adventures I have in mind. Wanting to mount either soft waterproof saddlebags to save weight or locking aluminum panniers for riding behind enemy lines, a good option is the Hepco & Becker Fixed Side Carrier ($281.18), distributed in the U.S. by Moto Machines. This adds just 10 pounds and carries my Hepco & Becker Alu-Case Xplorer 30-Liter Panniers ($821) quite securely, providing some tipover protection as well as storage. The bag/carrier combination on the bike is about an inch wider than the handlebars, and asymmetrical since neither the carrier nor right bag wraps around the muffler, but the offset is only two inches (which can be symmetrized by mounting a 40-liter Xplorer on the left). 

Here is a good view of the National Cycle VStream Sport/Tour Windscreen, Touratech Headlight Guard, Hepco & Becker Tank Guard and BDCW Connector Rods, Lower Engine Bars and Ultimate Skid Plate.

Now, I swear I was going to stop there, but the Moto Machines website sucked me in and before I could tame the mouse it had clicked on Hepco & Becker Handlebar Protection bars (2.75 pounds, $163.33) and its Tank Guard (8 pounds, $301.68) for the Africa Twin. I like the style and wind protection of the stock plastic hand guards on the AT — the sturdy steel Protection bars beef them up like an exoskeleton and install in about 10 minutes. And Tank Guard is kind of a misnomer — it protects far more than just the tank by mounting the tubular-steel bars solidly to the bike’s frame at top and bottom and wrapping around the front and sides of the AT’s fairing. Should make a good grab point as well.

K&N air filters are washable and last up to 100,000 miles; oil filters often come with a nut on top for easy removal and installation.

When I was installing the Tank Guard, I noticed just how exposed and vulnerable the Africa Twin’s radiators are to flying rocks and such, and that the thin plastic grates Honda has installed over them aren’t much better than soft cheese. That led me to Black Dog Cycle Works (BDCW), which offers a pair of well-made aluminum Radiator Guards ($95) that bolt on over the stock ones and don’t impede airflow. Turns out BDCW has lots of nice stuff for the AT, including tubular-steel Lower Engine Bars (6.5 pounds, $285); lightweight aluminum Connector Rods (1.75 pounds, $160) that link its Engine Bars to the Hepco & Becker Tank Guard; an aluminum Rear Rack (3 pounds, $149) extension; and large aluminum Traction Footpegs ($229). All of this stuff somehow found its way onto my bike in about 2.5 hours, helped by good instructions, well thought-out design  and an underpaid second pair of hands.

Mark’s Gear
Helmet: Arai XD4
Jacket: Olympia Dakar
Pants: Olympia Airglide
Boots: Sidi Canyon Gore-Tex

But what really blew me away was BDCW’s Ultimate Skid Plate (11.5 pounds, $349). Not only because it covers so much more of the bike’s tender underbits with tough 3/16-inch-thick aluminum than the stock 3-pound unit, but because its clever design takes less than 10 minutes to install, and it comes off for oil changes and such with just two bolts. The smooth bottom lets the Skid Plate slide over obstacles, and it’s contoured to the frame for maximum ground clearance.

Add combo wrenches for axle nuts and tire repair tools to this CruzTools RoadTech M3 Tool Kit and you’re good to go.

Oh boy, I was on a roll now. More wind protection: National Cycle’s VStream Sport/Tour Windscreen ($159.95) is about 3 inches taller and wider than stock, and quiets wind noise down quite a bit. Protection for that expensive LED headlight: Touratech’s Quick-Release Clear Headlight Guard ($139.95) is like a pair of safety goggles, straps on and can be removed in seconds. It doesn’t seem to affect the headlight beam either. More aggressive DP559 and DP121 Brake Pads from DP Brakes, a Nelson-Rigg Adventure Tank Bag ($101.95) and Sahara Duffel ($112.95), and I was nearly finished except for suitable rubber. We gave Michelin’s new Anakee Adventure Tires (MSRP front $202.95, rear $287.95) a thorough review in the June 2019 issue, and found them to be an exceptional choice for 80/20 ADV work. In addition to greater grip off-road than the Africa Twin’s stock tires, the Anakee Adventures sacrifice very little wet or dry on-road performance, and don’t make any noise riding in a straight line, just a mild hum in faster bends.

DP Brake Pads give the AT’s brakes more feel and bite.

All told I ended up adding about 50 pounds to my 2018 Africa Twin (not including the Xplorer bags), but now it’s ready for almost any adventure, and some of that weight should pay for itself the first time it takes a dirt nap….

Keep scrolling for more detailed photos.

BDCW Rear Rack.
Hepco & Becker Alu-Case Xplorer 30-Liter Panniers and Nelson-Rigg Sahara Duffel.
Trails End Adventure Tank Bag.
National Cycle VStream Sport/Tour Windscreen.
BDCW Traction Footpegs.
BDCW Skid Plate.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Delayed Aldi motorcycle gear sale coming

The annual Aldi motorcycle gear sale, normally held in the first couple of Saturdays of August, has been delayed this year until 31 August 2019.

Riders who want to snap up one of the many Aldi motorcycle bargains is advised to line up early for the store opening at 8.30am or they risk missing out.

However, we find that after the sale has passed and the gear has been removed from the shelves, riders can still buy some of the gear that has not been sold out.

You simply need to ask the manager if they have any left as it may be stored away. I once bought an $59.99 Aldi Bluetooth unit on behalf of a friend some months after the sale.

aldi motorcycle gear sale
Bluetooth Kit – $59.99

2019 Aldi motorcycle sale

The catalogue of motorcycle gear on sale this year will be available tomorrow by clicking here.

But we have a sneak preview of what’s literally in store!

As usual, the range of Aldi motorcycle goods for sale will include jackets, pants, balaclavas, thermals, bike covers and gloves.

Plus, there’s our perennial favourite – $9.99 Aldi motorcycle socks!

New this year are three types of $19.99 locks and chains to secure your bike and/or luggage.

aldi motorcycle sale theft stolen locks
Locks – $19.99

There is also a range of $39.99 tail and tank bags.

Riders urged to support dealers

However, riders have been urged by the Australian Motorcycle Dealers Association to support their local motorcycle dealer who {“deserves rider loyalty in tough times“.

They point out that motorcycle retailers offer a lot more product choice and all-year round availability.

However, they do not dispute the standard of gear sold at Aldi which has, in the past, been selected with the help of Neuroscience Research Australia’s Dr Liz de Rome.

Liz, a rider since 1969, also helped develop MotoCAP, motorcycle clothing ratings system. So far, MotoCAP has not tested any Aldi products.

Supporters of the Aldi sale say it promotes the wearing of good quality gear because it makes it affordable to more riders. 

In our coverage of the annual Aldi sale, as well as MotoCAP’s testing of products, we find readers claim Aldi products are good quality and value.

We have also tested Aldi gear and find it is up to par, including that cheap Bluetooth unit that is still working just fine after three years.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Replacing poor quality motorbike levers

Contributor Todd Parkes replaces the levers on his Honda CBR500R

Standard levers supplied with most motorcycles are ugly, generic, mass-produced, chrome, longish and cheap. Many are not adjustable, so people with big or small hands never feel quite comfortable and most just feel cheap to handle.

And they will break even if you just drop your bike off its sidestand. Even if the lever just bends it will probably snap if you try to straighten it.

Whether your taste is sports bikes and you want to feel racy and have a look not dissimilar to Marquez’s bike, or if you are on a laidback cruiser and want a bit more of a custom or stylish look, those levers have got to gain some attention.

While my bike is only entry level, I do enjoy it and want to personalise it.

The more I looked at those levers, the more I thought they looked all wrong.

The Gold Coast hinterland has a heap of attractions for riders including winding roads, a Red Rattler with an Iron and Resin finish, writes local rider and MBW contributor Todd Parkes.
Todd and his Honda

Searching for levers

So I googled “levers” and found the cheapest were just $25 and they went right up to $400-plus.

My local stores on the Gold Coast didn’t have much in stock would only order them in. Most did not want me to look at anything under $300.

I’m all for supporting the locals but they have to be helpful and stock the parts affordably. 

Back to the net and I came across Aussie company Rad Guard who also make great radiator protector guards.Levers

They carry more than just radiator guards and their stock included sets of Evo1 brake and clutch lever sets for many popular models.

Their prices were very competitive with them sitting on a special at the moment for $189 (normally $230) plus postage.

I’d dealt with Radguard before for various bikes I had and their willingness to help and go beyond impressed me great.

I bought the extendable and foldable set for my CBR500 and they arrived via courier in three days at less than $1 dearer than standard mail.

I was impressed by the packaging, a labelled boxed set with bubble wrap and foam balls as well as a future purchase discount, a brand sticker and a gift stubby holder.Levers

Fitting the levers

I watched a couple of YouTube clips on how to change the levers and thought it wouldn’t be too difficult.

It is a good idea to have a can of silicon lube at hand to squirt down the clutch cable as it often gets neglected, also to lightly lube the pivot points of the levers and mechanisms.

Be careful with the tools so as they don’t slip and mark those new levers which look beautifully coated.

The brake lever went on smoothly, no dramas.Levers

The clutch one was a lot trickier.

Make sure to loosen off the lever adjustment to provide some “play”. It was really like replacing a brake cable on the old Malvern Star in a sense when hooking and unhooking the cable.

Have the manual nearby or the most relevant website to specify the freeplay you need. Check at both ends and don’t forget the locknut.Levers

You will need to fiddle around with the freeplay to get it right, so don’t rely on a straight swap without adjustment. 

Take it for a test ride and you might find they need another adjustment tweak to et them just right.

You can adjust the length of the levers through quite a range. The six-stop wheel adjusts the reach of the lever to suit your hand size.

My first ride with the new levers provided a noticeable improvement in feel over the original levers. The only negative was that the brake lever had some up/down freeplay in its mounting. 

Personalising your bike is fun and this is one of the simplest and low-cost mods you can make to the look and feel of your bike.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

New Gear: Helibars for BMW K 1600 B and Grand America

Helibars on a BMW K 1600 B.
Helibars on a BMW K 1600 B.

HeliBars, maker of adjustable handlebars and risers, has developed a new handlebar for the BMW K 1600 B and K 1600 Grand America. Made of 28mm seamless German tubing, HeliBars uses its in-house, five-axis CNC mandrel bender to shape the handlebars with minimal distortion to the tubing. The handlebar is 2 inches closer to the rider and 1 inch wider than stock, retains stock lines and cables and has no crossbar for easier refueling. Available in black or silver powdercoat for $349.

Call (800) 289-1047 or visit helibars.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Gear: Corbin BMW R 1200 or R 1250 GS Saddle

Corbin front and rear saddles on a BMW R 1250 GS.
Corbin front and rear saddles on a BMW R 1250 GS.

Improve your 2013-2019 BMW R 1200 or R 1250 GS model’s comfort with a new Corbin saddle. Its more sculpted seating area and Comfort Cell foam will keep you comfy all day. Front saddle options include three heights, low, standard and high, all of which are compatible with the factory rear or can be matched with a Corbin passenger saddle. They’re all easy to install and work with your bike’s key lock. Prices start at $433 for non-heated saddles and $493 for heated options.

Call (800) 538-7035 or visit corbin.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Gear: Scorpion Red Power Exhaust

Scorpion Red Power Exhaust.
Scorpion Red Power Exhaust.

Moto Machines is now the exclusive U.S. distributor for English exhaust manufacturer Scorpion, and it has a new “Red Power” system that’s designed with a shorter, more circular silencer with a subtle taper, a machined billet end-cap and a laser-engraved logo for a classy appearance. Red Power exhausts are available in brushed stainless steel, matte black ceramic and satin titanium finishes, and fit a variety of European and Japanese sport, ADV and sport-touring bikes. See website for fitment and pricing details.

Call (703) 372-7241 or visit motomachines.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Race Tech Suspension Upgrades

Race Tech's G3-S IFP shocks and fork kit with new springs and Gold Valve Emulators
Race Tech’s G3-S IFP shocks (center) and fork kit with new springs and Gold Valve Emulators (left and right) that effectively emulate the cartridge fork on newer, more sophisticated bikes.

Twelve years after buying my 2006 Triumph Bonneville T100, with 38,000 miles on the odometer, the very conventional suspension was showing its age, the 41mm fork feeling somewhat less springy, the shocks a bit unbouncy.

I whined to EIC Tuttle, and he called up Race Tech, which happily offered to bring my bike up to date. Race Tech sent a pair of its G3-S IFP shock absorbers, a fork kit with new springs and its Gold Valve Emulators, which would effectively emulate the cartridge fork on many more sophisticated bikes.

2006 Triumph Bonneville T100 with the new Race Tech suspension
The author’s 2006 Triumph Bonneville T100 with the new Race Tech suspension upgrades.

To do the necessary wrenching I went to my local technician, Herb Varin at C&H Motorsports here in Central California. He pulled the fork apart and enlarged the holes in the damping rods, and drilled four new ones. The original holes would no longer be responsible for controlling the flow of oil, as the emulator deals with the compression damping, while the rebound damping is done by the oil viscosity. The emulators are held in place by the new springs, which are rated at 0.8 kg, suitable for my 230 pounds. The neat thing about these emulators is that they can be tuned by controlling the flow of oil; Race Tech advised me to use 15 weight. However, adjusting means pulling off the fork tops and fishing the emulators out, so it is not the simplest of tasks. And a bit messy.

Along with the fork kit, Race Tech sent along a pair of G3-S IFP shock absorbers, which come with preload and rebound damping adjustability. These have Internal Floating Pistons in their reservoirs, and preload was preset for my weight; a pinwrench is needed to alter the preload. The rebound damping has a hand-turned adjuster knob, one way for stiffer/slower, the other for softer/faster. Sag was set at the factory at about 30mm, and the spring rate is 2.2 kg.

Race Tech springs and Gold Valve kit
The Race Tech springs and Gold Valve kit will run you about $300.

The Bonnie is not going out on any racetrack, but the improved comfort and handling on my county roads has made a major difference. When leaning into a curve the occasional ripple seems to even out, and less harshness is evident on a rough road. Cruising around town the fork provides an excellent feeling of control, even when bouncing over manhole covers. I went out with several friends who have stock Bonnevilles, one who rides slightly more aggressively than I do, the other, less, and I like to say they were both a bit envious.

The springs ran $130, Gold Valve kit, $170, shocks, $900. If you send the fork off to Race Tech, the cost of installing the kit will be about $175. Of course, most riders, including myself, have the ability to change the shocks.

The only problem is that while I am happy with the settings that Race Tech advised me to use, I’m wondering what might happen with a little bit of fiddling. Who knows?

For more information, see your dealer or visit racetech.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Anderson Stands struggling with demand

After reopening in 2018, famous Australian motorcycle stand business Anderson Stands has been struggling to keep up with the strong demand from customers.

New owner Michael Jeffery has replied to several of our readers who have expressed concern that they cannot contact the company and feared they had gone out of business again.

“We are still in business and the business of Anderson Stands is growing from its new start up quicker than I have been able to keep up with,” says Michael, a passionate Sydney-based motorcycle racer.

The mechanical engineer, fitter, machinist, welder and fabricator bought Anderson Stands more than a year ago after founder Chris Anderson decided to wind up the business.

Michael says he wanted to keep alive the iconic Australian brand and its quality product line.

“These are a quality made stands and a staple in the Australian marketplace,” he told us.

Anderson Stands struggling

Struggling to keep up

However, it has been hard work and the company is struggling to keep up with the flood of orders.

“The unfortunate result of this is we have not yet been able to get ahead in our manufacturing and the stands are selling quicker than we can produce them,” Michael says.

“The fallout from this is we have been unable to engage with every customer enquiry as we look to find the balance between the manufacturing and our customer service.

“Please let people know that we are working day and night to get ahead and re-establish Anderson Stands back into the motorcycle market place.

“I had intended to re-establish Anderson Stands initially with a low profile so that I could get some products into productions.

“The unfortunate result has been our low profile has only generated more interest towards Anderson Stands and everyone is chasing to have one.”

Anderson StandsAnderson Stands struggling

Bright red powder-coated Anderson Stands have been used by road riders, professional racers and race teams for more than 30 years.

They have an enviable reputation for quality and performance.Anderson Stands struggling

The original stands claim several firsts: adjustable width and interchangeable attachments; Big Wheel design; height adjustment; Castor stands (dubbed the Spacesavers); and a front Under Fork stand.

“They are Australian made with Australian steel and Australian quality and manufactured right here in Sydney,” Michael told us last year when the company relaunched.Anderson Stands struggling

“Chris designed, fabricated and manufactured these stands to be functional and lifelong, with no compromises and we will continue to manufacture Anderson Stands true to these values.

“We are not going to compete against the Chinese market, we do not build Flat-Pack stands.”

All their stands are fully seam-welded and powered-coated.

Click here to see their product list and prices.

And please be patient!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

New Gear: Spectro Performance Oils’ Spectro Shine

Spectro Performance Oils' Spectro Shine.
Spectro Performance Oils’ Spectro Shine.

Spectro Performance Oils’ Spectro Shine is a silicone-based spray-on cleaner/polish that gives your motorcycle, ATV, UTV, scooter, automobile, snowmobile or watercraft a showroom finish. It creates a protective barrier that keeps road grime, bugs, grease, dust, dirt and mud from sticking to polished surfaces. For the best results, first clean your vehicle with Spectro Motorcycle Wash and then finish with Spectro Shine. An 18-ounce can retails for $10.99.

See your dealer or visit spectro-oils.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

4 Motorcycle Trends in 2019 That Can Make You Some Serious Money

(Sponsored post)

What do bikers believe in the most? I’d venture a guess that the most common answer is freedom. When you’re going down the highway at 130km/h, you get the impression that the world is your playground. Nothing can stop you when you’re moving that fast, with the wind blowing in your face and all is right with the world. That feeling you get is freedom, and that’s what a motorcycle represents.

Even if you’ve never thought about it as such, your love of motorcycles can also be your pipeline to financial freedom. The motorcycle industry is currently experiencing some interesting changes. With those changes come a stream of new trends that a savvy entrepreneur with a love for two wheels and a motor could take advantage of.

If you want to make money with your love of riding, tap into these four trends that the motorcycle industry is experiencing.

1. Shifting to a Younger Demographic

The motorcycle industry was built by the Baby Boomer Generation. Their desire to get on the open road and enjoy all that life had to offer meant that the motorcycle lifestyle was a perfect match for them. However, as the Boomers grow older and start to retire, they just aren’t investing in the industry like they used to. That’s a problem in and of itself but it gets worse: there aren’t as many young riders to take their place.

That’s quickly changing. Execs of motorcycle manufacturers all over the globe are slowly starting to realise that they’ve failed to reach a younger, progressive, more diverse audience. And they’re working to change that. Gone are the big, flashy, $30K Harleys of yesteryear; in are the vintage cool models that harken back to the 50s and 60s, when motorbikes had their own unique edge. That, and they cost under $10K.

How You Can Bridge the Generational Gap

One of the biggest reservations Millennials have about getting into motorcycles is the cost. Already rattled by record levels of student debt and ever-growing inflation, Millennials are more frugal, whether they want to be or not. Buying a big, expensive Harley just seems like another unnecessary debt.

What they’re asking for is an easier, more inexpensive way to get into the lifestyle. Ride-sharing, which has been popularised by the Uber and Lyft models for cars, could easily be extended to motorcycles. You could rent out your own bike, or even develop your own mobile app centred around motorcycle ride-sharing.

2. The Rise of the Electronic Bike

(Image: Intermot) E-Scooter electric scooter women female plug money
Electric scooter/bike from E-Scooter (Image: Intermot)

There was a time when vehicles powered completely by electricity was the stuff of science fiction. With a greater emphasis on environmental conservation against the rising cost of fuel, automotive manufacturers across the globe are trying to turn science fiction into science fact. The motorbike industry is no exception.

A Super Charge for Your Bank Account

As the demand for electric bikes grows, manufacturers are going to invest more money into R&D and marketing towards these electric bikes. Many sources from within the industry and those who watch it closely say that electric bikes will be what saves the industry. By investing now, when giants like Harley Davidsons’ stocks are at their lowest point, you can enjoy a big return on your investment when those stocks grow.

3. Growth in Motorcycle Accessories

While actual sales of bikes have been slowing for the past few years, sales of motorcycle accessories have continued at a healthy pace. It may not seem apparent why at first, but consider the following:

  • As technology advances, helmets, pads, gloves, and the like become more lightweight and more supportive
  • Old accessories wear out and need replacing
  • Bikers who’ve lived their entire life riding on two wheels can’t ever have too much gear

When you consider all of the above it makes perfect sense. People may struggle to drop $15K on a new Ducati but it’s not too hard to get a $50 jacket with the logo of a beloved brand.

Give the People What They Want

No big mystery about how to tap into this steady source of revenue. If you want to make some good money through accessories, you need to start up an online business that sells them. The advantage of using a web-based platform is that you can opt for a drop-shipping model. This means that you don’t have to maintain or ship your own inventory. When you do get an order, you contact your supplier, and they ship the product directly to the customer. You make money, your supplier makes money, your customers get great products – everybody wins.

4. Women Want to Ride Too

Harley Days 2016 - Wollongong, Australia. money
(Image: Harley-Davidson Australia)

If there’s one demographic that the motorcycle industry is kicking itself over, it’s women. Back in 2015, the number of women riders reached a new all-time high. The Motorcycle Industry Council reported at the time that women accounted for around 14% of all riders on the road. The issue is that companies are marketing to the same group they have been for close to 40 years: Baby Boomer men. As far as women go, the industry’s outlook has been way out of touch – make it smaller, make it pink.

The awesome thing is that women riders, especially in Australia, are gaining traction, whether the industry pays them any attention or not.

Make the Ladies Feel Welcome

Because it’s good business, and because it’s the right thing to do, you need to start looking at ways to encourage more female ridership. One thing you could consider doing is to start your own motorcycle rider’s training service. As more young riders get into the life, especially young women, they’re going to want mentors who can help them get into the lifestyle, choose the best gear, and of course, learn to ride.

It’d also be an awesome idea to start your own women’s motorcycle club. There’s plenty of MCs out there that cater to men exclusively. It’s way past time that the ladies had their time to shine.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com