Modifying Your Bike
When you first buy a sports bike, it's going to come with reflectors, a really large fender that looks terrible, and unfortunately, mirrors. This article is going to show you a few simple modifications that you can do which will make your sports bike look so much better. I guarantee your motorcycle will turn heads with these simple modifications. There are more expensive modifications that you can do, and we'll get to those, but first I'm going to start with the basics.
Those Mirrors Need to Come Off
The first thing I do when I buy a sports bike is take off the front mirrors. You don't ever want to look in mirrors on a sports bike anyway. Mirrors have blind spots, and you can't afford to take any chances. When you are riding, don't use your mirrors to see what's behind you. Turn around and look before you turn. Granted, there's going to be a couple of situations where you turn around only to see yourself staring at a police car right behind you. Believe me, that's an awkward moment, but not relying on your mirrors to tell you what's behind you will save your life.
You might be thinking, "Isn't it illegal not to have any mirrors?" That's true; it is illegal to ride without having any mirrors on your bike. This is where your first bike modification comes in. You'll need to purchase a "CRG Hindsight or Blindsight Bar End Mirror." It's a small mirror that attaches to the bar end of the clutch side, or the bar end of the brake/throttle side. There are different sizes that you can purchase such as 2-inch or 3-inch mirrors. I always go with the 2-inch mirror because it's small and doesn't get in the way.
Attaching this mirror is really simple. You have 2 pins on each side of a clamp that goes around the bar end. All you do is take out one pin, and loosen the other. From there you can just slip the clamp over the bar end, then put the pin back in and tighten it.
After you take off your mirrors, you'll notice that there are screw holes (where the mirror was) that are in plain sight. It doesn't look very good if you leave the screw holes plain, so you'll want to purchase "Billet mirror caps" so that you can cover up those holes. Vortex mirror caps are pretty well known, but you'll want to find the ones that work best for you.
Say Goodbye to Those Reflectors
You'll notice that new sports bikes come with different colored reflectors. Most of them are red and yellow; however, they could be other colors depending on the color of your bike. People who see reflectors on your sports bike will automatically associate it with an equivalent pedal bike. Don't let this happen to you. Take them off so people can see everything your bike has to offer. To be serious, the reflectors look terrible, and you should really remove them. I've even offered to take another riders reflectors off for him. Help a rider in need when you see one.
Fender Eliminator Kit
A fender eliminator kit is a must have for any sports bike rider. The stock fender is obnoxious and takes up the entire back end of your bike. There are different kinds of kits out there, and you'll want to find one that fits your bike. Some kits will remove all of the fender, and others will come with their own mounting system. Some kits will have your license plate really far under your bike, so you'll need to be careful how visible your license plate is otherwise you may receive a ticket. A police officer has to be able to read your license plate from 20 meters away (debatable depending on the state).
There are some nice kits out there from Targa and DMP which fit the majority of sports bikes out there. Keep in mind that there are lots of companies who make eliminator kits and some are better than others in terms of quality.
Rear Seat Cowl
An OEM rear seat cowl is a little on the pricy side; however, it makes your bike look so much better. The rear seat cowl eliminates the passenger seat. You actually take off your rear seat and replace it with the rear seat cowl. It snaps into place where the rear seat was, and it's meant for a single rider. IE: Your lady won't be able to sit on it. The piece conforms to the bike to make it look like it's a part of it instead of something cushioned you can sit on.
You may be able to convince the dealership you are buying your bike from to throw in one for free. I've done it before. I've also asked for a 5-10% discount on parts. I'd go with the discount though if you plan on buying some of these modifications. You'll save more cash.
Bike Protection Modifications
You will definitely want to purchase frame sliders at your first opportunity. This is not something that you want to wait on. Frame sliders will protect your bike fairing from being scuffed up or destroyed. Unless of course you high side around a turn, then there's not much these are going to do for you then; but in most cases when you low side, your fairing is going to be in better shape. If your buddy drops your bike by sitting on it (which has happened to me), then you may not even see a scratch. It depends on the scenario but 75% of the time these will save you hundreds if not thousands on replacement parts. Or stickers.
There's a lot of different kinds of frame sliders so again you'll want to make sure they fit your bike before buying them. Shogun and Vortex make good brand name frame sliders.
There are four kinds of frame sliders:
- Fairing sliders
The sliders go on both sides of your bike and attach to the engine mount bolts. You'll want these to protect your fairing.
- Axle sliders
The sliders go near the front wheel on the axle. You'll want these if you plan on using a front motorcycle stand.
- Swing arm sliders
The sliders go on the swing arm near the back wheel. You'll want these if you plan on using a rear motorcycle stand.
- Bar end sliders
The sliders go on the end of the clutch and throttle handlebars. Not really necessary, and they may not fit if you are using a CRG blindsight/hindsight mirror.
Cut and No-Cut Frame Sliders
In some cases, you may need to cut a hole in the fairing on your bike (on each side) to install the frame sliders. The frame sliders attach to the engine mount bolts, so it really depends on the frame sliders you purchase and if the engine mount bolts are easily accessible. If you don't have the tools or feel comfortable cutting into your plastic, then have your local shop do this for you. It's worth the money to have it done right. Axle sliders, swing arm sliders, and bar end sliders are easy to put on so you should be able to put those on yourself.
Slip-On or Full Exhaust System
If you really want to turn heads, then you're going to need an aftermarket exhaust system. You can get a slip-on or a full exhaust system. Basically, the slip-on replaces the stock muffler (end piece) while keeping the rest of the original stock pipe. Because slip-ons are usually only replacing the muffler, they are cheaper in comparison to a full exhaust system where you are replacing the entire stock pipe.
There are four major materials which exhaust systems are made from:
Kind of an "in the middle" material. Not as popular as the others.
- Carbon Fiber
Best looking, and the most heat resistant. The least durable exhaust out of the bunch. Your girlfriend will love you for having one.
- Stainless Steel
Very strong and will still be intact after a crash.
Heat resistant, and strong. Most likely intact after a crash.
In my opinion, it's not worth getting a full exhaust system for the amount of money they cost. The gains from them aren't very noticeable. You'll only notice significant gains from a full aftermarket exhaust system if you are using Bazzaz/Power Commander and fuel maps. If you don't plan on going that far and buying a fuel mapping system, then stick with a slip-on exhaust.
You'll need to do some research to find what brand of exhaust you want to put on your bike. There are a lot of brands which have a different sound to them. Some have a deeper sound, and others have a high-pitched sound. The best thing to do is to find out the brand names and use YouTube to search for that pipe to see how it sounds.
Here's a list of some good brands. There's plenty of others as well:
- Leo Vince
- Two brothers
- Vance & Hines
- CRG Levers
Stock clutch and brake levers can be replaced with CRG levers which offer you a way to easily adjust the brakes and clutch as they get soft from riding on the track or through a lot of twisties. As you use your brake and clutch more and more, you'll notice that you have to grab more clutch or brake to get any response from it. You can easily flip a switch on the CRG levers without changing the amount of pressure that's needed to pull in the clutch or brake. They also look a lot better than the standard stock clutch and brake levers.
Most people wonder why I have a windscreen on my bike. When they ask me why, I respond with "So you know who's about to pass you." In all seriousness, windscreens look great and not many people buy them. They aren't very expensive, and you can find some really sick designs that match your bike. You may want to avoid a windscreen if you are not looking to draw attention. You can't use a windscreen on the track so keep your stock one if you decide to buy an alternative screen for street riding.
- Steel Braided Brake Lines
If you are a serious rider, you'll want to get steel braided brake lines at some point. It's not mandatory for a street rider, but if you plan on doing track days or riding a lot of twisties, then you'll want to think about it. When you are doing a lot of hard braking with the stock steel lines, eventually you'll notice that you have to pull the brake in more to get more braking power. With steel braided lines, you ensure that you get the same braking power no matter how much you are using the brakes. This keeps you from having to adapt to how much brake you need to pull as you ride.
- Bazzaz or Power Commander
If you're looking to increase performance on your motorcycle with more horsepower, fuel injection tuning, traction control, etc. then these two tuning options will help you do it. Power Commander was the first fuel mapping solution that made a name for itself; however, Bazzaz is the best option to go with. Bazzaz outperforms Power Commander in just about every way possible.
Your local shop should be able to put your bike on a dyno and add a fuel map specifically for your bike. Bazzaz has pre-generated fuel maps, so you really don't have to fool around with the tuning if you don't want to. The really cool thing about Bazzaz is that with their Z-AFM addon, you can tune your bike without a dyno. You'll always need a dyno to get the most performance out of your bike, but you have the ability to configure your maps yourself if you want to. You will need to invest in a small laptop where you can download the fuel mapping application so that you can manage the different fuel maps available. Any fuel mapping solution is going to pricey, so this modification is only for those die-hard riders out there.
Keep an Eye on Your Bike
Now that you have an idea of what modifications are available, do some research to find the specific mods that will fit your bike. Adding mods to your bike can be addicting. Keep in mind that you've used your hard-earned money to enhance the performance or look of your bike. People will get jealous of what you have, and you may attract more attention than what you are used to with a regular stock bike.
My advice to you is to keep an eye on your bike, always. Professionals can steal your bike in 30 seconds flat, so be smart and don't leave your bike far from your view. If you go out to eat, park your bike where you can see it from a window. You could invest in an alarm system which may keep potential thieves from stealing your motorcycle. There are some really good alarm systems out there that will even give you a status report of what the thieves are doing to your bike such as approaching it, touching it, or lifting it. Either way, having modifications will make you more paranoid, and you should be. Your bike is now an amazing machine, so keep it close, and keep it safe.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 jamesmuia