The word “customization” is overused in the biking community. Most of us like to do some work here and there to give our bike a unique look or feel, but few of us lack the skill to do it like the professionals. You may put blood, sweat, and tears into making your bike look like the ideal ride to you, but keep in mind you may be the only one who appreciates it.
Worse still, you may find that your customization decreases the value of your bike. Excess modifications may adversely affect the ride, leaving you with rumble and bounce instead of a smooth ride. You may put hundreds or even thousands of dollars into “improvements” only to find out your bike is worth less than before you started.
Don’t worry – you can still customize your bike and make it your own without too much stress about losing value. Below are several suggestions to keep your bike looking great and holding its value.
Tips for Great Motorcycle Customization
1. Consider what the OEM intended when customizing your bike. No one wants a bike that looks like some sort of Frankenstein creation. Keep the style of your bike in mind. Your bike’s customizations should serve to increase functionality and appearance- not convert it to a different style of ride altogether.
2. Improve functionality first. Before you go sticking on chrome pieces and adding some crazy pipes, think about what you NEED. Does your bike need a luggage rack? Do you take it out for long rides and need a better seat? Would grips improve your ride? Think about how your customizations will make your ride more enjoyable.
3. Budget for your mods. Have you ever seen a car on the road with amazing wheels, yet it’s covered with rust and dings? There is no sense in putting crazy pipes on a bike that is falling apart. Calculate the total costs of improvements for you bike, taking into account any repairs and maintenance it may need, and budget accordingly. Do not take on projects that you cannot afford.
4. Before you buy – think! I’m often guilty of shelling out money for some new feature for my bike without giving it much consideration. Before you make a purchase, consider what you are buying. Is it legal? Will it work well with your bike? Will it possibly burn you, interfere with current mods, or even cause you to need earplugs? It may look great, but if it destroys your ride, it’s not worth it.
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With a little forethought, you can customize your bike and even ADD value! Take your time, check out what others have done, and get the opinions of your buddies. Ultimately you’ll be happier with your bike. And finally, keep safety in mind. As a motorcycle crash lawyer, I’ve seen firsthand the damage that can occur when people are more worried about image than safety. Ride safe!