One of the real joys of owning a motorcycle is the freedom to modify it to your own specifications. After all, you don’t ride a mean machine because you’re interested in blending in with the crowd.
Customisation is a never-ending project, and that’s half the fun: there are countless ways to get more performance from your bike as well as to fine-tune its aesthetics. So here are just a few ideas to get you started.
This is the surest way to put your own individual stamp on your bike. But be warned: only attempt this part of the customisation yourself if you have the right skills, experience and equipment to pull it off.
If you look around for new workshops that are in search of a profile for their work, your custom paint job won’t have to break the bank. And a good artist will be able to tell you what sort of design will work best on your bike.
A replacement set of handlebars can totally change the look and feel of your bike and is simple enough for you to do by yourself. Before you decide on your new set of bars, have a think about the impression you’d most like to create. Are you riding a half-wild beast, or smoothly handling a suave piece of retro technology?
But don’t overdo things. It’s generally also a good idea to try and stick to the maxim of ‘less is more’, for fear of creating an unintentionally tacky or over-the-top impression.
It’s not all about looks – sometimes comfort has to be a priority. If the seat on your bike is an excruciating experience because it has degraded, it’s quite straightforward to replace the foam and re-fit the cover.
But if you’re looking to replace the OEM seat on a new bike with something easier on the posterior, you’ll find a lot of choice and support online which will help you keep your spending within budget.
A change of lighting can be a cheap and effective way of personalising your bike. LEDs are a great safety feature, too, because they’re a whole lot brighter and draw less power than traditional incandescent bulbs.
And you can choose from kits in all the colours of the rainbow or just stick with plain white. Go for LED headlights, brake lights, turn indicators or even all three to really make your ride unique.
As you almost certainly already know, the capacity of your bike’s air filter is related to its power. You can think of the air filter on a high performance motorbike as being like Mo Farah’s lungs: if Mo can’t move enough air, he’s not going to be able to make his trademark final winning spurt.
So fitting a higher capacity air filter is an essential first step to a performance upgrade for your motorcycle.
If your upgraded air filter does the equivalent of enabling Mo Farah to take a bigger lungful of air, a custom exhaust muffler enables him to exhale more completely. OEM mufflers are designed to minimise noise, and do this by running the engine noise through a series of baffles.
Unfortunately, the technology used for noise abatement ends up reducing airflow through the engine, thereby also reducing your motorbike’s power.
Replace the exhaust muffler with a custom version and you improve that process almost immediately. But don’t forget: you also need to re-jet your bike’s carburettor for an all-round performance boost.
Amidst all this joyful talk of getting more power out of your motorcycle, we feel duty bound to add a sober note to the proceedings. Whatever kind of bike you favour, please remember to ride it responsibly. That includes wearing a properly specified helmet.
And when you’re customising features in the workshop, don’t forget to take all the necessary health and safety precautions. Wear a facemask if you’re spray painting, and if your bike is lifted on a hoist, ensure that it’s securely fixed.
For more information on selecting the correct metal types for your motorcycle restoration, get in touch with us today by calling 02476 645 551 or contact us online.