Many of us get into motorcycling in the pursuit of speed. We buy bikes branded with numbers like horsepower and torque, and then do everything we can to make them better and faster. Here are the cheapest ways to get the most speed out of your bike.
#1 - New Tires
Tires are your connection to the road beneath you and need to grip the pavement on an incredibly small contact patch. High quality rubber compounds greatly increase both grip and feel for the rider. Plus, you never truly realize how uneven your tires have worn until you put on a fresh set of rubber and feel the perfect transitions in that first turn (after you’ve broken them in a bit of course).
#2 - Upgrade Brake Pads and Brake Lines
The ability to stop better and more rapidly gives you the ability to stay on the gas longer and therefore go faster. Too many bikes still come stock with inferior brake pads and rubber brake lines. Braided stainless steel brake lines resist flex and deformation far better than rubber lines, which means their response will be faster, more firm, and longer lasting. High quality HH-grade (ultra-high performance) brake pads grab better, hold longer, and fade less than the lower grade pads normally offered. We recommend the brand EBC as our favorite.
#3 - Add Frame Sliders
In the same way that protecting your body better makes you faster, so does protecting your motorcycle. You’ll feel much more free to push yourself and focus on your technique if a low side doesn’t cost you much. Frame sliders are a super cheap way to protect your bike from any mishaps.
#4 - Wear Full Gear
Even when wearing fully protective street gear, we still feel completely exposed hanging off a bike without full leathers. Knowing you are completely protected if something goes wrong gives you the confidence to push the bike and yourself closer to acceptable limits. You won’t get faster if you can’t afford to make a mistake.
#5 - Properly Setup Suspension
Stock motorcycles are not set up for your individual size and weight. RideApart contributor and Angel’s MLB pitcher CJ Wilson weighs 200lbs, while I weigh somewhere shy of 150lbs, because of that 50lbs difference, motorcycles will respond completely differently to us as riders. (This also is what makes his BMW S100RR pretty much unrideable for me). On many new bikes, you have adjustment options like preload or compression/rebound damping you can adjust at home with just a few basic tools to set the bike up for your desired weight preference.