Use winter months to improve your summer ride
Looking out the window this time of year isn't always the best view for those who ride. Riders often sit and wait for warmer weather to come so they can dust off their bike and go for a nice long ride. It's critical to remember the offseason is the best time to prepare for the upcoming riding season. Don't let your bike collect dust! Instead, here are some ideas on how to prep and upgrade your bike for the next great ride:
Prep your Bike
For those of us that do not have excellent year-round weather, and are required to put our bikes away last fall, (hopefully with stabilizers in the fuel tank, air in the tires, fresh lube where it belongs and energy feeding the battery, so your season can get started earlier). Even if you stored your machine correctly, you still have some prep tasks to perform.
Start by making sure your airbox didn’t become a nesting place for rodents often mice like to make that their new home. Then check the engine oil, top off the coolant and give your chain some fresh lubrication. Now is an excellent time to change your brake fluid and replace any worn or bent components. Also, be sure to inspect and air up your tires, if deflated while resting during the off-season months, it can result in a flat spot on the exterior of your tire wall. Plan on replacing tires that are five years old or older.
Improvements are not always performance based; often it's just how everything looks together. As the saying goes "it's not enough just to be good, if it doesn't look good or sound good then it's no good." Small things such as keeping your bike cleaned and maintained during the down months make a huge difference. Plus it's always nice to get a new addition to your bike.
You can start by getting a new windshield. A great windshield prevents any buffeting or wind hitting the rider in the face. While some riders prefer to have the wind on their ride, most prefer to have less wind which results in better control with higher speeds and clear views as you rumble down the pavement.
Motorcycle windshields generally sold are being made out of acrylic or polycarbonate plastics. Both are good, but the polycarbonate is the far superior product and often has a hard glass coating. The shield is more durable, scratch resistant and greater clarity for your ride. Plus, the stock windshield is quickly replaced by taking out a few bolts so you can slide your new shield into the fairing or bracket then replace the bolts for a secure fit.
If you do get a windshield or just want to add a custom look to your stock shield, look into getting a windshield trim. This option is an inexpensive addition to your bike that gives it a little style and pizzazz. It's the small details that help your bike stick out in a crowd, the little things like using Hogwash Windshield cleaner or finding the right type of wax coating to protect the body of the bike.
During the riding offseason, a lot of riders look into new handlebars or getting new seats for their bike. Stock handlebars are not made to fit the person riding the bike, more of a "fits all" mentality and can cause some back pain on long rides. New handlebars can help the rider sit with a better posture and relieve that strained back.
Let's be honest, better posture is one thing, but a comfortable seat will take your ride to another level. The last thing a rider wants to feel during their trip is that tingly numb feeling only a portion of the way down the road. Getting a new seat would result in a more relaxing and enjoyable ride on your bike.
Although these options for improvement may cost a little more upfront, each new upgrade extends the amount of time on your ride. They are allowing the rider to step out of their caged transportation and back on the open road with their motorcycle. Beside any improvements to your bike will up the value of your current cycle, so that you can have a better trade in for a new bike.