16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

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16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

What happened to innovation in bike design? Why aren’t modern technological amenities standard features? Where did the breakthrough design features go? Here are 16 ways to make the bike more enjoyable.

I remember being delighted by my first motorcycle, a 1984 Honda Interceptor VF700F my father gave to me. Its V-4 engine would fire it down the road at a terrific rate, and it cost next to nothing to run. The bike was surprisingly well-appointed, too. My 16-year-old self took that last part for granted, but as I ride more motorcycles, I find myself longing for many of the features that old bike had. The Honda engineers put great thought into making the ownership experience a good one, instead of focusing only on ways to move inventory off the showroom floor. The bike was so convenient and a real pleasure to live with.

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

At the beginning of this year, I wondered what a motorcycle manufacturer’s New Year’s resolutions might sound like, if the manufacturer were to focus on making bikes enjoyable to own by eliminating common frustrations. What follows is a list of useful features I’d like to see on every road going motorcycle that’s on sale today, and an explanation of, or reasoning for, each. From now on, every motorcycle will have the following things:

Helmet Holder:

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

Next to the seat and above the left exhaust, the Interceptor had a “Helmet Holder”—a glorified padlock that was operated by the same key as the ignition and fuel cap. The Helmet Holder answered the question of what to do with your helmet after parking your motorcycle, and took all of two seconds to use. It also made it easier to give people rides, since you could carry a spare helmet wherever you went.

Full Lock Steering:

The steering could be locked in either direction—either fully left or fully right. It’s good to have this option; parked with their rear wheels to the curb, bikes are sometimes happier with their bars locked to the right.

Underseat storage:

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

The Interceptor had under seat storage (and an emission control information label). It was enough for the factory toolkit and one of the following: a storage net, a lock, a pair of gloves, or a sandwich.

Passenger Grab Rails:

Useful for obvious reasons. While it is wonderful to have a lady friend hold on tight, if a good buddy happened to replace said lady friend it’s nice to know he has something to hold on to besides your love handles.

Mirrors that don’t move:  

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

Too many bikes have flimsy mirror mounts that get blown out of position at top speed. The Interceptor’s mirror arms were made completely of metal and held fast at speed.

Fuel Capacity:

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

Including reserve, the Interceptor carried a full 5.8 gallons of fuel, which puts the bike’s range over 200 miles, even when ridden aggressively.

Fuel Gauge:

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

Have any production cars ever come with just a low fuel warning light? I love to run out of gas as much as anyone, but why should we be forced to relegate the bike’s trip meter to fuel gauge duty? I should know how much fuel is in my tank the moment I fill it up and whenever I park it in my garage until the next weekend ride.

USB Ports:

Cell phones have terrible battery life, motorcycles have alternators. It’s a pity that every motorcycle today doesn’t come with a way to charge a phone.

ABS (with a caveat):

Various reports have proven the benefit of ABS in reducing crashes, but since we’re talking about New Year’s resolutions, let’s make it so the rear ABS can be disabled independently, and make sure the system allows stoppies too.

Bumpstartable / kickstartable:

DCT bikes and bikes with slipper clutches can be hard to bump start. Easy bump starts are one of the benefits of riding a motorcycle—let’s not forget it.

Center-stand:

Any motorcycle without true racing aspirations deserves a center-stand. With one, it is much easier to work on either end of the bike. They’re heavy, so let’s make it easily removable.

Powerful headlights:

Riding along a dark country road at night is one of the most enjoyable, surreal experiences to be had on a motorcycle. It’s fun to follow a patch of light over crests and around corners at great speed, but even more fun, not to mention even more safety, can be had if the patch is bigger and brighter.

Adjustable pegs, handlebars, and seat:  

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

Think about the parameters a bicyclist can manipulate in his quest for perfect fit—frame size, seat height and longitudinal position, stem reach and rise, handlebar width, and crank arm length. Seat height and stem rise, at least, are just a twirl of a wrench away. It would be nice to see at least two fit-centric adjustments on motorcycles—foot peg height and handlebar height.

Canceling turn signals:

I use a combination of hand signals and turn signals to alert fellow road users of my intentions, but from time to time I forget to cancel my turn signals.

Heated grips:

Once you ride with heated grips you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. They’re just a switch, a resistor, and two heating elements, and they belong on every bike.

Compelling gauges:

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

A handsome visual interface is a big plus. Nice needles and an appropriate font go a long way, even a clock would be a welcomed addition.

It is possible to enjoy a bare-bones bike simply because riding is such fun. However, once you’ve lived with a pleasantly practical bike it is hard not to get frustrated when you ride one that’s been built without you in mind. 

16 Ways To Make The Bike More Enjoyable

Look at that picture.  He’s got under seat storage, a helmet lock, passenger grab rails, adjustable suspension, mirror that stay put, a fuel gauge, and a 5.8 gallon gas tank. USB hasn’t been invented, and won’t be for another 13 years.

What do you think every bike should possess as a standard feature?

  • http://batman-news.com Aaron

    Fuel Gauge x 10000000.. Some of these items are on some bikes, and will never be on others. Maybe this list is for the “standard” bike? SFV650, FZ6, FZ8…etc?

    • Gerection Gerection

      Hahahaha, You gotta love the, “OH WTF…..” feeling when your bike starts sputtering and burping while you’re flying down the highway on your way home from work….. (This has never happened to me, I swear….even yesterday after work…)

      • eddi

        When dinosaurs roamed and the fuel switch was just under the tank, having the engine die on the first mile was not rare enough.

        • notfishing

          Yeah but reaching down to spin the valve to reserve is a real chore on the freeway. Those of us who ran from dinosaurs would like to see a gauge and a valve with reserve (It’s a belt and suspenders thing). Also it would help those of us who have “senior moments” as a little reminder that we didn’t fill up yesterday.

          • eddi

            Most definitely agree a gauge is not a luxury item.

  • http://www.pixel8.smugmug.com Beinggodisgreat

    I have a BMW R1200S with 80% of these features…

    • Stuki

      And the sweetest R bike BMW ever built, to boot…… Envy you that one.

      • http://www.pixel8.smugmug.com Beinggodisgreat

        Thanks!!!

  • Nathan Haley

    1) You can get every one of these on most bikes that are $12,000+
    2) Almost all of these are available on the aftermarket for almost any bike. Most would rather pay for the aftermarket goodies that they want than be forced to purchase them as part of the bike’s MSRP.

    • Justin McClintock

      Very good point. I have adjusted the pegs, seat, windscreen, and bars on my bike courtesy of the aftermarket. I’ve also put heated grips on it. I could put a power port on it really inexpensively if I cared to. If they went so far as to make all of these standard, they could. Then people would complain about what the upfront cost of the bike is.

  • BobasBounty

    I’ve always been sort of torn on this issue with any vehicle. I appreciate amenities, but I also don’t want thousands of dollars tacked onto the MSRP for things I will never use.

    If the “factory upgrade” prices are any indication of how much some of these added features would cost (aka 500 bucks for adjustable rearset), they can keep it and I’ll add what I want.

    I do definitely agree on the things that can’t really be upgraded though. After using a digital display with everything but the kitchen sink on it (save for which gear I’m in… Still baffled) I almost can’t buy a classic style speedo only bike. I also agree of the helmet lock. Some of the systems (or afterthoughts) they put on bikes now are terrible. I haven’t seen a newer bike with something that A) might resist a pair of sharp scissors and B) won’t scratch my paint because of terrible design.

    • Ryan Mayo

      I want a simple bike, I don’t need 4 way traction control, adaptive suspension. I just want fuel injection, ABS, electric start. However I want a display that shows everything, I want to know what temperature my bike is at, oil pressure, fuel range, gear indicator.

      • nick2ny

        Temperature and oil pressure are nice. Mmmmmm. It’s nice to know when the bike is ready for you to open it up.

  • Dan

    Bad idea to ride around with a spare helmet dangling by the helmet lock. Too easy for it to interfere with the chain or swingarm. Better to strap it to the (flat!) passenger seat via bungie net attached to the subframe’s integrated hooks. Flat pillion seat and integrated bungie attachments shuold be #17-18 on this list.

    • JamesM

      Integrated bungee is a must. I have saddle bags on my K1200 and the Bungee gets used more than the bags.

      • nick2ny

        Do you really mean integrated bungee? Sounds cool if so.

        • JamesM

          I just removed the seat and wrapped it around the Pillion area (using zip-ties on the bottom side). Stretches enough to hold my work/gym bag.

    • nick2ny

      But it’s not actually a bad idea on the bikes I’ve done it on (Ducati 900Ss, Honda Cub, Honda Interceptor). One look at the helmet’s range of motion and I knew it was fine. I’ve done it hundreds–if not thousands–of times with no problem.

      Comfy seat and handy tie-down spots were in the first draft, but I took them out for no reason, same way the manufacturers took away all the great little features from the bikes they made.

      Maybe I should add valves and cylinders to the list. How many valves did the old CBR250 have again?

    • Generic42

      My Z750S has a lock for when parked and a separate under-seat cable for toting an extra helmet while riding solo.

    • Piglet2010

      Spare helmet is a bad idea, unless you also have spare riding suit, gloves, and boots too.

  • Dave

    And that’s how you get

    • http://turnerart.la/ Justin Turner

      ants?

      • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

        Bees?

        • Piglet2010

          Crabs?

          • Mykola

            The Clap?

  • Strafer

    i agree with the article
    i have a 1985 honda that i got for less than $2000 and it has a fuel gauge showing how full the tank is as well as a display of what gear i’m in while i’m driving
    I “upgraded” to a bike from 2008 for 4x the price and it does not have these things
    I added some aftermarket stuff myself – sometimes this works out great – sometimes it ends up an expensive mess

  • Claude Lattin

    98 to 03 Yamaha FZS600 Fazer (not imported to the US) has nearly all of the above with the exception of ABS, including either a 18, 20 or 22 litre giving it a range of 200 +- and cavernous underseat storage. It also lacks an USB socket but that can be retrofitted to any bike easily whilst powerful headlights were only available on the ’01 onwards model, a problem that can be sorted with HID kits or Aux lights anyway. Probabaly one the last bikes that has this much practiciality whilst also being reasonably sporting, sort the suspension out and it’s great. Shame the US didn’t get it and few modern bikes are so practical.

  • eddi

    Kick starter, center stand, passenger grab rail, full lock steering. Why manufacturers ever stopped including them as standard I don’t understand. Don’t forget a decent passenger seat.
    Adjustable everything would be nice, but I’m not sure the extra cost would be worth it.
    Simple fuel gauge on the tank. Yes.
    USB connector. So small but so useful. Where to put it might be an issue.
    Compelling gauges. A matter of personal preference to define compelling. Analog or digital, a little of each? Best background color?
    Canceling turn signals. Even a loud clicking noise would serve.
    Helmet holder? No. Especially not for carrying a spare.
    A big fuel tank. Five gallons, no less and as much more as the design will allow.
    Mirrors, i’ve never had an issue with them. Ditto headlights.
    Heated grips. No thank you. But ready to go connections would be fine.
    Under seat storage. A space for tools and a compartment for the registration and insurance card. And while we’re there, how about hinging the seat to the frame? The worst feature on my V Strom is that lack.
    ABS with an off switch. I don’t know enough to form a useful opinion.

    • RyYYZ

      Consider yourself fortunate that the seat comes off without tools, and actually has some useful storage under it. But I know what you mean. Seems like more thought was given in the 70s and 80s to how bikes would actually be used in the real world. But maybe that reflects how bikes are actually getting used these days – fewer youngish guys commuting on them or using them for transportation, and more older dudes using them for recreation on weekends and holidays.

      • Charles Quinn

        You hit the nail on the head.

      • E Brown

        Exactly. I ride a 1978 Honda and owned a 2006 Honda recently, and the older bike is better (and clearly made for) daily transportation, while the newer bike was more toy.

    • nick2ny

      It’d be nice to have replaceable, integrated frame sliders too:

      • Piglet2010

        Honda ST1300 and Deauville have these (the black triangular wedges on the fairing).

    • Piglet2010

      Only time I use a helmet holder is for a quick run into a C-store – too much vandalism potential otherwise.

      • nick2ny

        I’ve hung helmets from bikes for over a decade in New York, Marseille, North Carolina, and Michigan. Never one incident of vandalism.

        When I’ve taken helmets with me, they’ve very rarely fallen of tables, scraped against railings or doorways.

        Still, damage is much more frequent, in my experience, when you take a helmet with you.

  • http://motocynic.wordpress.com/ Scott Otte

    I would love to have almost all of this on my next bike as standard.
    Not so sure about the heated grips, they never seemed to do enough to keep my hands warm to make it worth paying for.
    It really is hard to understand why so many of these get left off most new bikes.

    • Ken Lindsay

      You just need a larger element or a dual stage setup… Ever ride a snowmobile without heated grips?

      • http://motocynic.wordpress.com/ Scott Otte

        They were on my BMW… just not sure they did enough.

        Don’t ride snowmobiles… so no.

    • Piglet2010

      Heated grips are the difference between being able to ride 200 miles between fuel stops when it is below freezing out, or stopping every 15 minutes and holding the headers with one’s gloved hands. I have done both, and prefer the heated grips by far.

      • http://motocynic.wordpress.com/ Scott Otte

        This is why I love living in the SF Bay Area. No reason to know this. My experience with heated grips was cold finger tips and thumbs and hot palms.

  • Waldo Lost

    For myself, the most important comfort factors on a bike are ergonomic, weather protection and vibration!

    • nick2ny

      May I suggest a KLR650.

  • RyYYZ

    Yes, we’ve gone backwards in this regard. Probably happened with the increasing specialization of bikes. I mean, it’s not a big surprise if a bike which is a race replica doesn’t have a fuel gauge, clock, helmet holder, or any usable storage space. My ’02 V-Strom has all those things.

    Any chain drive bike intended for street use should come with a centerstand, or at least the option for one.

    Self-cancelling turn signals were common on even fairly pedestrian models in the early 80s.

    My ZX-6(E) had a small locking glove box, and also flip-out bungee hooks on the rear bodywork.

    • nick2ny

      Yeah but people use race replicas for other things too. Old racing road bicycles used to come with pannier eyelets and pump bosses, and as many as three water bottle mounts.

      • JamesM

        I would kill for a coffee mount! Kickstarter?

        • nick2ny

          My kingdom for grill-shaped headers with a little BBQ hood so I can cook steak and veggies while I ride or sit around.

          • eddi

            Best suggestion yet.

    • Piglet2010

      If a race replica has a low fuel warning light and a multi-function electronic display (like many do these days), adding a fuel gauge is a few lines of software code.

  • Flying Couch

    The tendency toward small fuel tanks lately is infuriating. It wouldn’t be such a problem if they were putting them on bikes getting 50 MPG or more regularly, but they’re not – they’re putting them on bikes like the FZ-09, which I’ve actually seen criticized for it’s unimpressive fuel economy. Is an honest 200 mile range that much to ask for?

    • nick2ny

      With the lower energy density of E10 and E15, you’ll give us bigger tanks, or else!

      • Scheffy

        Or if you’re Ducati, you’ll just use a type of plastic that swells because of the ethanol, therefore automatically giving you increased capacity. You’ll be amazed at the extra range you had on the last tank just before it leaked all over your headers and set you on fire.

        • MarktheV

          Ha! Makes me miss my Monster, and making smokes…

    • bammerburn

      It’s odd, too, it’s as if motorcycle companies are actually expecting gas engines to be getting better MPG over time, thus explaining the smaller tanks (they aren’t, sadly, which is why we should be focusing R&D dollars wholly upon electric motors). Screw gas engines.

    • HeDidn’tWeDid

      Funny you should mention the FZ-09. I own one and even in Arkansas I have to seriously consider my rides and where the gas stations are located. As I ride mine now, I only get about 120miles/tank and you can easily find yourself 50 miles from the nearest gas station on some of the more rural roads. Riders out West have even greater distances between fuel stops. However, you could also argue that it is a naked bike and you should be stopping to stretch, ect. I always wanted a pneumatic center-stand like they use on F1 racing cars…nothing dangling underneath or to the side of the bike, just press a button and the center-stand would lower and lift the bike.

  • William Connor

    Buy any ADV themed bike and these are all standard. Whether its the smaller NC700 or the big GS. Touring bikes all have this as well. You pay for these features and the relative cost of the bike reflects this.

    • nick2ny

      I find it hard to believe that these features would add to the cost of the bike. The adjustable riding position, for sure. But the others don’t seem particularly expensive. Certainly not underseat storage, good headlight, both-way bar lockability, fuel gauge, and helmet lock. Maybe a mcy accountant can chime in.

      • William Connor

        Both way bar lock ability requires the mechanism in the steering head and triple clamps to make it work. Fuel gauge requires a fuel level sensor or float along with the corresponding display mechanism. Good headlight is very subjective. Let’s assume brighter wit a better field of vision. This definitely should be included, but it does add cost. Ballast for an HID setup is one cost. LED has their own additional price for the component and load. Most of the time it’s harder to mix LED and incandescent lighting without load equalizers, then if you go all LED the additional cost of all the lights being upgraded. Under seat storage sounds easy, and on some bikes it is. Anything with an under seat exhaust is out, that area is heath shielding. Some of these items get left out for packaging reasons, not just cost of the component but space it would take away from the bike or additional weight it adds to a sport, super sport, or even a naked bike. ADV bike or cruiser for example weight is an issue but not the ultimate goal like on the other more focused bikes.

        • nick2ny

          I agree with everything (except the steering lock, if it locks one way, it’s easy to make it lock the other). I guess the more worrying point is this: in the motorcycle industry, inflation gets camouflaged through gradual removal of once-standard features, outsourced manufacturing, and lower quality parts, fit and finish. Features are disappearing, but so is general caressability.

          • William Connor

            Caressability?

            • nick2ny

              I dunno, like if you look at an old Ducati, and the logos are hand-painted and under lacquer (caressable), and today they are just die-cut stickers. Or the plasticy hand controls on bikes today, or the hideous gauges (shameless cost-cutting).

              Caressable: the green gauge in the article, the interceptors gas tank (painted, sanded, and clear coated stripes) the machined (?) petcock, or the passenger footpeg trusses.

              • William Connor

                Gotcha. I call it “soul” but same idea. It’s what people talk about when describing bikes like the Ducati 916 versus a clinical seeming Honda CBR.

                • nick2ny

                  Yeah but I bet the first CBR900RR feels like an aircraft compared to it’s modern equivalent.

              • Dennis Hightower

                That green gauge is incredible. Started with a blank page there…

                • nick2ny

                  If you like that, check out this old ADVRider thread. Warning, posts 8 and 16 are hideous.

    • RyYYZ

      I think you would find most touring and sport touring bikes have many of these features standard, too. But race replicas don’t have them, because they’re supposed to be just like the race bikes (which is what makes them cool and desirable, right), where the only real objective is winning races. And cruisers, well, judging from the designs of a lot of popular cruisers, practicality just isn’t on the mind of their buyers (’cause “chrome won’t get ya home” – witness the typical tiny gas tanks, horrendous seating positions, almost complete lack of rear suspension, etc.). And no, most of these things would not add considerable to the cost of the bike. But most buyers are not like me and don’t make long-term comfort, practicality and usability major items when buying a new bike. Most are more interested in bench racing cred, or looking cool, or whatever. This is why so many of us (people like me) have ended up on “adventure” bikes, because they’re the closest thing to an all-around street bike sold today, despite their (mostly unnecessary and unused by most people) off road pretensions.

    • Eric

      Sounds like my Versys 650 has most of this covered and it was dirt cheap. Coming from a banquet of budget cruiser ownership prior to I had a pretty defined list of features I wanted. I wanted my bike to have a bit more bells and whistles than a riding mower, and ironically I wish my 4 wheel vehicles could be as simple as they were in the 50s.

  • Generic42

    My ’05 Z750S has 90% of the list and I love it for that. Added a battery tender 12V cigarette adapter and I’m good to go for potential charging needs now.

  • jpan08

    Traction control and wheelie control, active dampening, active adjustable wind shield, full color displays but that just sounds spoiled

    • jpan08

      and 2 year inclusive service and warranty please

    • nick2ny

      I’ll bite, when do you enjoy traction and wheelie control? To me they feel more like fun control.

      • Piglet2010

        Dani Pedrosa says traction control is good, no traction control is bad.

      • eddi

        They keep your wheels where they belong. On the ground, steering and powering you through the ride.

        • nick2ny

          Do you have a specific example? The rain? Really going for it on the track?

          • eddi

            If you really don’t like them there’s no law requiring them. Calm your self down.

            • nick2ny

              I am curious if people think of them as a safety net or if they actually employ them.

  • http://turnerart.la/ Justin Turner

    A clock? I’m ready for gauges to be fully replaced by an iPhone app and standardized dongle.

    • nick2ny

      The app should have a clock.

      • http://turnerart.la/ Justin Turner

        Totally.

      • BobasBounty

        I think all of my friend’s bikes with a digital instrument screen have a clock, including mine. Is that not standard if it’s digital?

    • Chris

      I guess you want a Piaggio scooter then.

      http://www.multimediaplatform.piaggio.com/eng/come_funziona.htm

    • BobasBounty

      I would LOVE to have a fully customizable info screen. Not too keen on having to use my phone for it, as I already use that for gps, but having a separate screen that might be removable for updates/widgets would be epic!

    • Piglet2010
      • eddi

        Oh Lord. What will the mad geniuses at Aerostich come up with next?

  • Davidabl2

    ODB11 code readout somewhere on the instrument cluster on any bike that has an onboard computer. Readout in human language of course ;-)

    While I’m on the subject of instrumentation,Ideally you’d have-or could get as an option-the functionality of these aftermarket units:

    http://www.veypor.com

    • BobasBounty

      That thing is actually pretty cool, and not astronomically expensive. I looked at some of the installation examples, and, while it isn’t quite plug and play, it doesn’t looks like you have to tear the bike apart to install it or run 300 feet of wiring. Might look a little goofy depending on the bikes set up though.

      • Davidabl2

        Goofy,yeah. I’ve always thought that if I got one I’d have to fabricate a instrument bucket for it out of a stainless mug or carafe or something.
        I believe that a lot of people put Veypors on their track bikes..where appearance isn’t important, and they have fairings anyway.

        • BobasBounty

          On my cb, the single digital screen is center mounted, so while this isn’t the same shape, it might not look too terribly out of place. Kinda hard to know without measuring and such though.

  • kawatwo

    Yes, a centerstand and grab handles on every bike please except pure superbikes. Why shouldn’t sporty bikes like the Ninja 650 that are not supersports NOT have these things? They make the ownership experience so much better. Real usable Helmet locks too please, those little hook things are a pain and the helmet strap is never long enough to easily use them. USB chargers would be awesome too, just not sure where to put them. Under the seat or on the dash or both. Also, a place to hold your phone built into the dash would be awesome.

    • Davidabl2

      At one time some bikes actually had lightweight alloy center stands. Sturdy enough to be kickstarted with the bike on the stand.

    • Tupack Shackur

      Haha. I had the exact same thoughts as a recent 2012 Ninja 650 owner. I came from a 2002 Bandit 600, and that thing had a centre stand and a helmet hook that didn’t require me to take the seat off. Now I have neither :(

    • Piglet2010

      A waterproof under-seat compartment with a USB charging port is the ideal place for a smart-phone on a bike.

      On my Honda Deauville, I keep my phone in the locking glove-box that has a 12-volt power outlet in it.

  • taba

    Tank protector and pads.

  • Davidabl2

    “Have any production cars ever come with just a low fuel warning light?”
    Nick, man, you’re showing your age… early VW beetles didn’t even have a warning light, just a switch to open the reserve tank when the main tank ran dry and you began to lose power :-) There were probably many other cars that used the same system, but they’re either very obscure. Or before MY Time ;-)

    I still ride a couple of bikes built around the turn of the millenium that are set up the same way…

    • SneakyJimmy

      I ride a 97 BMW f650St. No low fuel light, no fuel gauge. Just an odometer which is essential for fuel use planning.

    • Mister X

      In another lifetime I had an insane ’59 VW w/a Corvair engine, that had a mechanical lever
      on the firewall floor that opened a valve for ‘reserve’, no light, no switch, involved

    • nick2ny

      On bikes, sure. I owned a TW200 and Honda Cub, and a couple of mopeds that all used an On (drinks from a straw) / Off / Reserve (doesn’t drink from a straw) petcock as a way to discourage running out of gas. But no, I never knew that cars did the same thing, though so many cars have been produced that I would have bet that at some point someone did it. Did Beetles really have a “reserve tank” or did reserve just indicate to the car to drink from the bottom of the tank?

      • Piglet2010

        “I owned a TW200…”

        Why the past tense? :(

        • nick2ny

          I became tired of trying to convince my ex-girlfriend to take up motorcycling.

          • Piglet2010

            No reason to give up the TW200.

            • nick2ny

              I don’t like small four-stroke singles or budget suspension.

  • Jim Keane

    From your mouth to God’s ear!! In previous generations of motorcycles, aiming for the pinnacle of performance/tech didn’t mean you could leave off features that every rider considered to be “given”. This list should be a loud warning blast to manufacturers. My only addition might be a dipstick. How one can check the oil level, single handed (ESPECIALLY without a center stand!) is beyond me. (The helmet locks are very handy, but should only be used on a parked bike, big potential risks riding around with them dangling)

  • Jack Meoph

    I think any bike that comes with a digital instrument cluster should have a gear indicator. I don’t want a smart phone interface, ever.

    • nick2ny

      I don’t want a smart phone interface or a digital panel or a gear indicator! But I do think we can agree on a fuel gauge and a compelling design.

    • clasqm

      Interface, no. Charger, yes.

  • Sentinel

    Such a great and much needed article and conversation we need to be having today. Many of the younger generation riders have no idea what they have been missing out on with these newer bikes these days. I’d love ti see the manufactur3e4s get back to making truly functional street bikes again.

  • KC

    Easily adjustable suspension – front and rear, helmet holder/lock, bungee hooks, fuel gauge, USB and accessory ports, self canceling turn signals, adjustable pegs, handlebars, seat – and levers, bigger fuel tank, heated grips option, security options, more lighting front/sides/rear, a place for a toll pass, flash to pass, better horns, breathable seat covers. Given time I can think of more.

    • Piglet2010

      Built in programmable garage door opener.

      • nick2ny

        Would be very nice.

  • Piglet2010

    Along with under-seat storage, seats should lock to the bike with the same key as the ignition, and not require tools to remove – do you hear me John Bloor?

    • Davidabl2

      Like vintage Triumphs…and maybe should have an alloy center stand as well.

      • Piglet2010

        Yes, and the Modern Classics could use a diet there and a few other places too to get the weight in Moto Guzzi V7 range – but at least the Bonnie is 70-odd pounds less than a Sportster 883.

        • Davidabl2

          70 lbs..Wow. That there’s one shocking factoid…
          I’d never consider an 883 unless I was planning to up it to 1200cc. And it sounds like it’d still need to “go on a diet”

  • David

    That was awesome…. I ride a 91 cbr 600 and it literally does not have a single thing on the list. I would love a helmet lock, locking steering, center stand, storage space, and especially a fuel gauge!!!!! Looks like i need to start looking at interceptors!

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      Or upgrade to an F3. Mine came with the euro=spec center stand.

      • David

        I took the bolts off the seat and just use a string tied around underneath the seat as a quick release… works fine but sometimes it comes undone when i hit bumps so i always have a cargo net on the back haha. But a euro spec f3 isnt the easiest bike in good condition, and neither is a f2. I still love the bike, just not very practical for everyday use but pretty fast for what it is

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          I think we’re both doing well with what we’ve got. Ride old sportbikes, live forever.

  • labradog

    Heated grips and self-cancelling turn signals? Pfft.

    • nick2ny

      Heated grips are nice because you can get away with thinner gloves. I don’t have a car, so I ride every day. In NY, that can be 20 degrees, and heated grips are nice.

    • clasqm

      Self-cancelling turn signals work. They were standard equipment in the early 80s

  • randybsinger

    I’d like all motorcycles to come with truly loud and authoritative sounding horns, so that when the 100 year old lady in the block-long Cadillac decides to change lanes and occupy the same physical space that I’m already using on the freeway, she’ll hear my horn, momentarily think I’m a truck, and back off.

    I’d also like sport bikes to have enough steering lock to be able to back them into the garage without doing the “rock-back, turn, rock-forward” a bunch of times.

    • Jack Meoph

      My 2008 Genuine Buddy Italia 50cc scooter came with a Stebel Nautilus as OEM. LOUD! Also has a fuel gauge, underseat helmet storage, center stand, front storage bin, hook for those plastic grocery/shopping bags, grab rails, electric AND kick start, power outlet, and a secure underseat hook for an extra helmet.

      I was coming around a blind corner on my Ducati Monster, and a bicyclists was struggling up the hill in the middle of the road, I have a hit from my horn and barely heard it, but the guy on the bicycle obviously did because he move to the right.

  • eddi

    Some of these are what keeps the after-market businesses open. Factory parts are the most expensive version of any of these. At least what I’ve been looking at. Given that, putting the whole list on a bike as standard would price it right out of the market. I don’t agree with what the manufacturers have left out, but I guess something had to give. Nothing is as cheap as it was when I was 21. Even adjusting for inflation. (The money’s not mine)

  • clasqm

    Firm, flat seats that let you move around instead of confining you to a single position. See Moto Guzzi Spada, Suzuki GS850, BMW airheads.

    • nick2ny

      Mid-seat bumps are the worst. I’m looking at you, new Hyper.

  • Luis Fernando Ponce

    my monster 796 has almost everything

    • nick2ny

      except power

  • http://ericrshelton.com/ Eric R. Shelton

    Couldn’t agree more on the under seat storage! The old airhead BMWs had it, but for as tall as the tail section is on my ’11 R1200R it’s freaking impossible to put anything under the seat except documentation. So maddening!

    • Piglet2010

      Of course, there is an unfortunate trend in modern motorcycle design to have as little back end as possible, which not only eliminates under-seat storage space, but is ugly and leads to the use of those ugly trusses to mount the rear lights and plates in a legal manner.

      Did I mention that the lack of a proper back end on a motorcycle is ugly?

      • http://ericrshelton.com/ Eric R. Shelton

        Hear, hear!

  • Charles Quinn

    Having a sightglass to read oil level on a bike with no centre stand should be illegal under health and safety law everywhere.

  • Nate Terrill

    Items I miss most on my current ride: Helmet Lock and that the exhaust precludes the ability to add a center stand.

  • http://gr.linkedin.com/in/yiorgisalexakis/ Yiorgis Alexakis

    has anyone in here mentioned “traction control”?
    it’s a life saver

    • nick2ny

      Is it a life-saver? Seems like traction control may helpful on the track, while ABS is more helpful in real life…

      Plus this is more about inexpensive-to-implement features that have disappeared over the years (with the obvious exception of heated grips. That’s just a wish).

  • GoodJudgementIsItsOwnReward

    “What do you think every bike should possess as a standard feature?”

    the ability to throw the finger to every ahole who offers their opinion on what it should have