In many parts of the world, a motorcycle is nothing more than a mode of transportation that doesn't cost as much as a car, and can park in smaller spaces. But in the United States, it goes well beyond that. American motorcycles are an expression of the rider, spoken in a language that describes their values and personality. And motorcycle customization and aftermarket parts are the vocabulary they use.
A bike from the factory line can be a beautiful thing, but knowing your bike is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece is even more beautiful. Many manufacturers offer a number of factory motorcycle customization options, and aftermarket add-ons are very common for specific makes and models. With millions and millions of possible combinations, you can rest assured that the machine you ride is yours and yours alone.
Beyond the fact of simple individuality, what does your bike say about you as a person? What about color? Chrome? Lines? What about a muffler that can wake the dead? Customizing motorcycles is about more than just individuality for individuality's sake. It's a statement. It's a declaration. Find that perfect part, and put your soul on display.
And of course, motorcycle customization can have a very practical purpose: performance. A throttle and grips that respond just so. Horsepower when you want it. Jets and tuning that maximize your efficiency and power. Shocks, brakes, and seats for that perfect ride. Tires for every terrain. The list goes on and on and on...
But don't think you have to spend a fortune for that perfect bike. The Internet has made motorcycle customization easier than ever. Plan out the perfect bike, then shop around. Oftentimes you can buy motorcycle parts and accessories online for less than in a shop. And be sure to browse as many sites as you can -- you never know when or where inspiration might strike.
Nothing says freedom quite like a ride out on the open road on a motorcycle. Americans in particular have had a cultural fascination with these loud, mobile machines since the middle of the 20th century, partly because of how they came to represent infinite possibility.
Bike manufacturers used to only have a few templates to work from when crafting a cycle; now, the potential of each bike is dependent on what kinds of parts the rider decides to add onto it -- and what kind of budget he or she is functioning under.
Despite their immense popularity, only a small number of motorcyclists in the United States use their bikes all year round. Instead, owners also enjoy maintaining them like the specialty machines they are, swapping parts for increased performance and cleaning them regularly to ensure a smooth, carefree ride. Of course, how to customize a motorcycle can be an involved process, but there are a few key tips that'll help beginners learn the basics.
First, ensure your bike is up to par.
This is especially important for those folks who only take their motorcycles out in the spring and summer months. A dormant motorcycle collecting dust in the garage is subject to a number of operational problems, so it's best to check its vitals before getting it back in the highway. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends performing the TCLOCK test, which means checking...
- Tire pressure and wheel spokes
- Controls, including throttle, clutch and brakes
- Lights and other electrical equipment
- Oils, fuel and fluids
- Chassis and drive chain
- Kickstand and handlebars
Now, it's time to have some fun.
Obviously, dealing with safety concerns is always the primary aspect you want to address when prepping your bike for road time. After it gets a clean bill of health, you can get into the fun stuff -- namely, investing in aftermarket motorcycle parts to help boost your speed and performance. These don't always have to be the flashy, fancy parts you see in chop shops, either. A new exhaust system, for example, can help your bike tremendously without having to break the bank or any safety regulations.
How to customize a motorcycle depends a great deal on what you're looking for on the road. If you want to add more horsepower, look into upgrading your spark plugs or investing in synthetic oil for the bike. If your brakes could use a tune-up, examine the market situation for custom motorcycle parts that allow you to increase your steering and acceleration, as well as your stopping.
It's important to always remember your budget.
Though you might be tempted to buy new motorcycle parts and accessories every year you own your ride, that kind of spending could deplete your bank account quickly. Doing the right research before you purchase anything can significantly improve the longevity of the parts and the bike itself. Plus, you likely have mortgage and car payments to worry about first. Knowing how to customize a motorcycle requires a little reading and a lot of patience, but with some help, you can have the ride of your dreams in no time.