One of the greatest thrills of motorcycling is the immediacy of the experience. Improving your connection to the bike improves your ability to handle, brake and accelerate whether you’re on the road or the track. Read on to learn how you can improve the major points of contact with your motorcycle.
Sorting out ergonomics is one of the most important parts of motorcycle ownership. If your hands don’t fall in a natural position that works well for your style of bike, you won’t be comfortable, and your bike control will suffer. Likewise, if your feet aren’t secure, or you are slipping and sliding around your seat when you should be planted, you won’t be getting the most out of your bike. Upgrading just a few key points will drastically improve the quality of contact that you’re making with your bike, making you faster and safer.
Improving this can be as easy as rotating a handlebar in the clamps, or replacing it altogether. For riders with clip-ons, rotating them outward improves leverage, but increases reach. An adjustable set can offer tremendous versatility, allowing you to lower your bars for track days, then raise them back up for the ride home. Check out these from Apex Manufacturing.
Stock grips on many bikes leave a bit to be desired in terms of feel and feedback. Many companies seem to prize smooth and black for showroom appeal, and leave it to the rider to determine if they want better hand traction. Options are extensive, so spend time shopping for something that will fit your needs and pocketbook. A good set of grips like these from Renthal can help dampen vibrations, and improve feel substantially.
Adding a square foot of textured polyurethane to your motorcycle’s tank will give more positive traction, helping your support your body weight with your legs while riding, leaving your hands free to control your bike. Sliding around while hanging off feels awful, and a distracted rider isn’t smooth, and won’t be faster or safer because of it. Stomp Grip, TechSpec, and several others offer grip pads for your tank, that won’t erode your riding pants or track gear like grip tape.
Pegs and Rearsets
Another great candidate for increasing rider-bike interface is to change your pegs. Slick pegs aren’t going to help you stay planted on your bike. Dirt riders have a vast aftermarket that caters to improving foot traction as having a slippery peg that won’t clear mud or debris is unacceptable when you spend so much time standing on them. For road-oriented riders, switching from your stock pegs to a knurled peg or (even better, an adjustable rearset with a knurled peg) gives you a chance to hook your boot into something really assuring. Also, the increased adjustability of a rearset allows the rider to fine-tune their pegs in relation to the rest of their riding position.
Even the nicest of bikes can come with lower-spec levers and limited adjustability. As bikes are designed around an imaginary average rider, we’ve got to look out for opportunities to fit our bikes to ourselves. Since so much motorcycle control is done with our hands, it’s important to have levers that you can reach and use effectively. Whether you prefer short or long levers is always subjective, but if you don’t fall into the happy medium, or want something with a wider range of adjustability/durability look into some good aftermarket levers. Folding levers add an extra amount of breakage prevention so you can make it home after a minor lowside.
What are you using to improve your relationship with your bike?