9 Best Ways To Make Your Motorcycle Faster
Still not fast enough? Here are nine more things you can do to make your bike quicker
We’ve looked at the 10 cheapest ways to make your motorcycle faster, but for those of you still not riding fast enough and with money in your pocket, we present the nine best ways to make your motorcycle faster.
1 – Change Exhaust and Add a Power Commander
Adding a full aftermarket exhaust system, including the headers, and then tinkering with the fuel mapping on your motorcycle drops a significant amount of weight from your bike while improving throttle response and adding power and torque. It also makes your motorcycle sound awesome, which will at least make you feel like you’re riding faster.
2 - Suspension
If your bike doesn’t already come with fancy adjustable suspension, adding this will completely change the way your bike handles. Being able to adjust the compression and damping settings for your weight help tailor how your bike responds to your inputs perfectly. You can buy a nice suspension setup from a brand like Race Tech or, if you’re on an older and cheaper bike, just buy the front end off a crashed GSX-R and swap it for the front on your SV650 and call it a day.
3 – Have Your Suspension Setup Professionally
You spent the money on the nice bike or bought the aftermarket suspension, but your bike still doesn’t feel right. No matter how much you’ve read about suspension setting on the internet, having your suspension setup by a professional will always be the way to go when chasing that last ounce of speed. Call around or ask the guys are your local dealer or mechanic shop for who they recommend with your specific brand of bike.
4 – Swap for Lighter Wheels
Wheels are one area where a lot of companies go cheap. Heavy wheels are un-sprung mass which means your fancy suspension can’t even help diminish their negative effects. Buy a nice set of super-light aftermarket wheels and you’ll feel a noticeable difference. We're big fans of Marchesini wheels, but there are plenty of great options.
5 – Buy the Right Tires
Now that you have super light Marchesini wheels, you need to wrap them in with really nice rubber. All tires have a different purpose, and those tires you bought because they last 10,000 miles probably won’t grip the road all that well at extreme lean angles. Every motorcycle forum will have a whole section devoted to tire talk, so spend some time learning from people’s experiences and then use trial and error to find the ones that you like the feel of best.
6 – Aftermarket Disc Brakes
Adding new brake pads and steel-braided brake lines are a great start but, if you’re going to push it hard, you’re going to need to also be able to stop really hard and that requires new, upgraded disc brakes. The bigger and lighter the better. Galfer make great rotor replacements.
7 – A Built Motor
Still need more power? Find a specialist and have him re-build the engine. Taking a BMW S1000RR out to 1100cc’s produces a 235 bhp beast. We don’t recommend this for anyone except the best of the best, but it’s an option should you need it.
8 – Buy A Dedicated Track Bike
Want to be really fast on that new shiny Ducati in your garage? Go buy a used SV650 or old CBR600RR and turn it into your track bike. Most of us have a severe aversion to crashing our two-wheeled soul mates, which keeps us from being able to really push our abilities on the track. Chances are, that soul mate probably has far more power than we’re proficient with as well. Buying a cheap and low-powered track bike helps us focus on our technique and gives us the mental permission to crash it. Read about how to buy a used bike here.
9 – Attend Track School
Motorcycles are really fast. Motorcycle riders are not. If you want to be fast, focus on your abilities instead of worrying about dropping another ounce of weight or adding power. Sign up for a track school and learn body position, throttle control, corner entry and everything else you’ll need to know from guys who have made a career out of taking n00bs and transforming them into Rossi replicas. If you live in Southern California, we recommend Jason Pridmore's STAR School, California Superbike School, and SoCal Supermoto.
What improvements made the biggest difference in making you and your bike faster? What are some advanced riding courses in other parts of the country you can recommend?
Note: This story was originally published November 1, 2013.