When your motorcycle first comes off the assembly line, it can feel awesome. However, there are usually a few upgrades that can turn a good bike into an amazing bike. And these upgrades don’t have to set you back too much money; in fact, a lot of the best upgrades can be done very cheaply. You don’t even have to go to a mechanic’s shop to perform simple yet impacting changes to your motorcycle. Here are a few of the best tweaks and upgrades that we have found to perform on your motorcycle:
1. Upgrade the Forks
Upgrading the forks on your motorcycle can be the fastest way to see a large improvement in bike performance over a very short time. For around $150, you can upgrade the forks and the springs, which are often cheap in budget-priced motorcycles, and have a huge gain in performance for the motorcycle. We recommend Race Tech’s Gold Valve Cartridge Emulators, as the suspension will be helped a lot from this upgrade. Their website has an online calculator so that you can also check what the ideal spring for your weight would be.
2. Adjust Your Suspension.
Often, bikes come off the assembly line with the suspension calibrated to a rider that is right around 150 lbs. However, the obvious problem that can arise is that not everyone weights that much. The best way to fix this problem is to measure how much the bike sags when you’re on it vs. when you are not aboard it. Measure between the front axle and the back axle to a piece of bodywork above the axle. Take this measurement without you on the bike, and then have a friend measure it with you on the bike in full gear. You’re going to want to have around 27mm of difference between these two measurements. If you’re not getting this, check your owner’s manual for the proper way to fix this on your bike. However, you should only make on adjustment at a time, otherwise you may damage the suspension.
3. Change the Brake Pads and Lines
Yeah, this one can mean the difference between life and death. This is not a very expensive change at all. You can upgrade the lines for a bit over $80, and you can change the brake pads for around $40. Brakes are the parts of the motorcycle that you should NOT skimp on. Once again: This is one of the most important parts of the motorcycle. This upgrade will not only add to the overall safety of the bike, it will help the feel of your bike by leaps and bounds. While you are working on the brake pads and lines, change the brake fluid as well. The whole brake system is worth making upgrades to.
4. LED Lights
One of our writers at fullcirclebikes.com decided to upgrade to LED lights from BlackOakLED he got from this place. The difference in LED lights vs. the old style lightbulbs is that of night and day. LED lights are brighter and illuminate further ahead than old incandescent bulbs. Also, LED lights have a huge lifespan, with some lasting around 7 years, even under heavy constant use. Although this option can be more premium, it is worth the extra cost (only around $215 or so) to add the visibility at night.
5. Regear Your Bike
Now this one sounds scary. We get it. However, it’s really not that bad, and for the value it is not bad on your wallet at all. The non-mechanic version of this is that you take a tooth or two out of your gear to shorten the gear. What this does is give your bike the ability to accelerate way faster than the stock gear system lets it. This is a change that can be done with a sprocket wrench and less than $20, and it gives your bike amazing upgrades in acceleration speed and handling. This will cost your bike a bit of speed at the very top end; you can still go REALLY fast with this upgrade. It’s totally worth it.
6. Get New Tires!
New tires. Now that one takes almost no convincing. If you’ve ever driven any vehicle right after the tires have been replaced, it feels like flying. And with a motorcycle, replacing the tires holds a special kind of magic. The feeling of flying down a long straight road, gripping the pavement tightly as you speed on your way is a feeling that has to be felt to be believed. Replacing tires costs around $250 to replace both. UV light can be a damaging factor to rubber tires, so your tires can be damaged even if you haven’t been riding them too hard. You need new tires every few years to keep that road-ready, smooth feel and grip to the concrete.
7. The Obvious One: Ride Your Motorcycle!
At the end of the day, one of the best possible ways to keep your bike in top running condition is to ride it a lot. And that’s why you got it, right? Leaving your motorcycle in the garage for years on end will do you no favors in the engine or tires department. Motorcycles were meant to be ridden. Get out and ride yours! That is the best way to keep the engine in tip-top condition and make sure that the fuel lines and brakes stay working.
As I hope you’ve seen, upgrades to your motorcycle are not reserved for expert mechanics and gearheads. You can do great things to your bike from your own garage without having to break into your 401K to do so. Your bike rarely comes exactly the way you want it from the dealer. Everyone’s riding style is different, and it is up to you to choose just the right way that you want your bike to run. That’s part of the fun! Now it’s up to you: Get in the garage, and make your bike the way you want it!