Spring is coming, I can feel it in my bones and what more of an excuse do I need to think about more upgrades to the bikes? Well if I were talking to my better half I would probably need a few more, such as, “it will make it safer”, “ it is a bargain, honestly” or that great stalwart “ I will do the gardening for the next month”....hey I really love my bike ok!
Anyway, upgrades, they fall into two main categories, stuff you can bolt on or stuff that you do to what is already on the bike, and sometimes it is a bit of both but for me the best ones are the ones that sort out the handling.
Lovely isn't it?
Ever since I owned a GPz600r I have liked steering dampers. Call me a wimp if you wish but after getting into my umpteenth tank slapper I decided that a steering damper would be a good idea, and it was. It transformed a bike that tried to kill me on any bend that wasn’t smooth into something that flicked and flashed its way through any twisty. Since then I have fitted them to every bike I own, and, as of today even the Speed Triple will have one, whether it needs it or not…tank slappers prove adrenaline is brown!
New tires are probably the best handling improvement you can make to your bike. We all know how different a bike feels after it has had some new rubber put on it so why do we insist on waiting until there is nothing left of our tires to change them? Ok there is the price, tires are not cheap, but the difference between good condition and heavily used is such that I wonder why I haven’t listened to my own advice and bought some! Of course there are tires and then there are tires. It always pays to invest in something that is quality and more important than that, something that you have confidence in. Personally I know Pirelli make great tires, but I just don’t get on with them and so they are wasted on me. That little black patch of rubber in contact with the road is the only thing between you and a horrible day, make sure it is the bit of rubber that you want there.
Another great way to make your bike handle better and eliminate unnecessary “oh shit” moments is to get your suspension sorted. Yes you can bolt on new shocks and upgrade your forks and it will make a difference. It will make even more of a difference if you buy from a company that sets up the shock to your weight and riding style before you buy it and bolt it on. The very best thing you can do is to spend some money and go to a suspension specialist and have them set your bike up for you. It is not cheap but it will transform your ride.
Of course another way of transforming your ride through suspension adjustment is to do it yourself. Learning about your suspension is a great idea, but be prepared for some pretty horrendous test rides until you get it just right…sometime in the next decade!
As always there is so much more to tell, but time is short and I have a steering damper to fit.