America has a new president, Britain has voted to leave the European community and now in France the elections are beginning and already throwing up surprises. The past few months have certainly changed the face of the world as we knew it. Whether we agree with the choices made or not it doesn’t matter, what does matter is that people obviously want change and that is never a bad thing. If we were all content with what we have no progress would ever be made. Sure there are dead ends and cock ups along the way, but unless things are tried we will never know if they are possible or not.
Same with bikes; there is nothing wrong with a standard factory bought bike, they are wonderful machines but how many of you have ever bought a bike and been totally happy with it? Maybe it is a bit too tall, lacks a bit of power, the tail piece is just not as aesthetically pleasing as you wish or it is just not quite the right shade of pink. Whatever it is, after the initial wow factor has worn off, it will start to niggle you. There is nothing worse than riding a bike that is 95% perfect and knowing what that other 5% is….except riding one that is 90% perfect! This is the point that you will either sell it and try something new, or think about making it how you want it, and, if you chose that option, welcome to the world of customizing motorcycles!
They said they wanted a hairy ride.
Most people think of custom bikes as Chops, Bobbers or Street fighters, but the truth is, as soon as you replace any factory part with something new then you are customizing. That is the basic origin of the custom bike; it was all about building something for yourself. Maybe it was covered in shiny chrome, but that is because you wanted it to be, you wanted to show off, but for others it was about going faster, making it handle better, or just trying to get it back on the road after an accident for the cheapest price possible.
You can't pay for a manicure like this
Customizing your bike is as easy or as difficult as you wish it to be. There are stacks of great aftermarket parts out there that are just bolt on replacements for the originals, be it a $10 cap for the brake reservoir or a $900 Ohlins shock and there is nothing wrong with that. Then of course you can enter into the world of breakers and start searching for parts off other bikes that fit or can be made to fit yours. This is the beginning of a slippery slope that will find you on the internet at 3am searching through forums and picking the brains of some guy or gal the other side of the world from you….and then things can get bad, the moment you think “ I could just build that myself” is the point that your life becomes the inside of the workshop, your deodorant is grease and a manicure is clipping the split nail off with wire cutters…they are better than tin snips, trust me!