Motorcyclists are generally an innovative bunch of people. We love to tinker about with our ride, adding this, taking this away, putting a better “this” on because it looks prettier. This last one is usually proceeded by “ But dear, those $200 whatevers will make my (please insert thing that will be replaced ) better and me safer on the road”. Sometimes however, for our own good, we should be stopped……
A custom paint job may seem like a good idea, and it can be, in certain situations, but generally a custom paint job on a bike that is basically original is a no no. A good one can cost you upwards of $2000, but the instant you spend those $2000 your bike has lost resale value. People don’t want to buy YOUR bike; they want a bike that is theirs. Even more importantly a paintjob on an otherwise standard bike is a sign that the bike may have been crashed. Unless you are going to go the whole hog and customize your bike completely, stick with the original paint scheme.
The same can be said about aftermarket bling. Sometimes it is a good idea, most people would be happy to pay more for a bike that has an Ohlins suspension set up or a beautiful carbon fiber MotoGP exhaust. Unfortunately not everyone wants death’s head mirrors on their R1 or a grim reaper seat cover on their VFR. Worst of the worst, for me, however are those horrible anodized aluminum bolts. I don’t want purple and green bolts holding my bike together and definitely not ones that are weaker than the originals.
I believe that it is a great idea to work on your own bike. It brings a new dimension to your relationship with your bike and to your life as a biker. What you should not do however is to try and bite off more than you can chew. Start slow, start small and start something that you can easily finish. I am certain that around the world there are more bikes in sheds undergoing rebuilds that will never be finished than bikes that have been taken into the shed and actually rebuilt and then been ridden.
Torque about it (sorry that was bad)
Another thing you shouldn’t do is try to do maintenance without the proper tools. I am not talking about special pullers and the like, although if that is what is needed don’t attempt a job without them. No, I am talking about quality tools, good screwdrivers, spanners and a torque wrench. The amount of bikes that end up at the local workshop because of rounded off, snapped off or otherwise “offed” nuts, bolts and screws is amazing. Something that was aimed at saving you money and adding to your enjoyment has become a frustrating pain in the ass and all because you didn’t invest in some decent tools. I am not saying buy the most expensive “snap on” kit you can, just something good, it will make maintenance so much more enjoyable.
Satan's little helper
Luggage on a bike is never something you actually want …ok, I take that back, you do want it if you are going away for lots of fun and frolics. If you find yourself in that pleasant position then the important word is “ON” . The last thing you want is your luggage spread across the highway at 100 mph, or you spread across the highway at 100mph because of it falling off and into your back wheel. When you pack your bike give yourself plenty of time to do it, don’t rush and don’t be pressurized by mates wanting to get moving. Luggage is not good, but it is an evil necessity at times. Just make sure it is only a pain in the ass and not a much more important collection of pains altogether…..oh and elastic bungee straps are the spawn of the devil. If you have to use them I recommend wearing your crash helmet with the visor down when you are stretching them that last millimeter, after all what is your eyesight worth to you?