The greatest appeal to motorcycles is, of course, that unrivaled sense of freedom and exploration you get while riding one. The second biggest appeal is the ability to tinker with your ride. Thanks to the rather skeletal nature of most motorcycle construction, you can get at the parts quickly and easily, allowing you to add, remove, swap, and mix-match parts as you see fit.
As Odessa’s favorite local motorcycle shop, we work with dozens of customers every day who, just minutes after purchasing their brand-new bike turn to us and say “Ok, so now what do I do to it?” We thought we’d give you our two cents on the matter. Take a look.
Just Ride the Thing
Ok, not really an upgrade, but hear us out. It’s really tempting to want to drop new bars, rear sets, seats, sprockets, and pipes on your new ride the second you bring it home, but go easy on the throttle here.
The best upgrade you can make to your bike right away is your familiarity with the machine. Take it out and ride it for a few thousand (yes thousand) miles and see how it feels. You want to have a strong sense of how your motorcycle feels and handles. You should also take the time to understand the maintenance schedule for your bike. How often should you replace essentials like oil, filters, and other fluids? Once you know about the basics of your bike, you can start to fit new parts to it.
Change The Tune of Your Bike
Should this be the first upgrade on your list? Not necessarily, but it’s usually the first one that owners think of. Swapping out your existing exhaust for new pipes is a time-honored tradition in the motorcycle community. Now more than ever, you’ve got a nearly endless selection of different styles and notes to choose from. You can embrace the term “silencers” and find some pipes that give your bike a delicate purr, or you can put on a set of slash cuts that give your bike that distinct “blat blat blat” noise you know and love.
New exhaust pipes are easy and fast to mount. Just be aware, you may need to remap your motorcycles power commander after fitting a new set of pipes on. Otherwise, you might end up with a motorcycle that sounds great, but can’t actually go anywhere.
A New Seat
With rare exceptions, most stock motorcycle seats are nowhere near comfortable. After all, these seats are designed with a “universal” fit in mind, meaning that they’re universally regarded as bad.
Fortunately, there’s a seat for nearly every riding style out there, offered in a range of colorways and materials. For those riding cruisers, you’ll want something that supports your lower back, allowing you to ride low in the bike for hours without discomfort. Sport riders want something that keeps their core supported as they tuck low over the tank to make tight turns and zip through traffic. ADV aficionados should look for a seat that helps keep them upright and alert. If possible, you’ll want to handle the seat in-person before you buy it, but we recognize that’s not always an option. Check out the reviews from other riders and purchase a seat that best suits your backside.
Protect Your Sides from Slides
No one really likes to think about tipping their motorcycle over, whether it’s in the garage, on the road, or in a collision. But staying ready for anything is part of being a skilled motorcycle rider. We’re big fans of frame sliders, which are simple upgrades that keep your frame and bodywork away from the unforgiving ground in the event of a crash or drop. Essentially, these are just metal and rubber plugs that stick up off the sides of your bike in critical areas, like the engine. They act as tiny, last-ditch kickstands in a sense.
Similar to frame sliders, you might look into engine guards. Typically, these are tubular pieces of metal that are formed to wrap around your engine. You’ll often find these on large capacity road cruisers and ADV bikes, but you’ll also find them on naked sports bikes and even dirt bikes. While frame sliders and engine guards might look pricey upfront, you have to remember that they’re still a lot cheaper than replacing the entire engine or body panels on your bike.
New Kicks for Your Bike
You might cringe at the idea of swapping out the tires on your bike, especially if it’s brand new. You’ve got thousands of miles left on those tires, why get rid of them? Well, the fact is, you paid for a great engine, frame, and suspension, less so great tires. Most manufacturers stick the cheapest tires they can on their production bikes to keep costs low. These general-purpose tires may get you from point A to point B on the road without issue, but that’s about all they’ll do. Your stock tires might not be well suited to the style of riding you want to do.
Instead, take some time to look for new tires that are made for the riding you’re interested in. Stock tires won’t do you any favors on a race track, so look for some tires with better handling. For road-warriors, you’ll need long-lasting tires.
Visit Us in Odessa Today
Of course, you can’t make any of these upgrades if you don’t have a bike to start with. Ruhnke’s Xtreme Cycles is your go-to motorcycle shop in Odessa. With a great selection of new and used motorcycles, parts, and trailers, we’ve got everything you need to hit the road. Visit us today!