Top 5 Simple Tips For Improving The Performance Of Your Street Bike

This article discusses popular and simple modifications you can make to your motorcycle. These easy and inexpensive changes will dramatically improve your street bike.

The title of a popular play "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" could describe how many of us feel about our motorcycles. The honeymoon doesn't last long for many motorcyclists, and it's difficult to resist the urge to tinker on a bike, especially if you understand how easy some performance modifications are.

This article will discuss some of the most popular and simple modifications you can make to your motorcycle. These changes will dramatically improve your machine, but be forewarned: It's difficult to stop tinkering on your bike once you've begun, and most costly modifications often do not show the same benefits as these simple, inexpensive performance upgrades. And some mods may even reduce the life of your engine, transmission, or suspension!

When it doubt consult your local mechanic or a representative from your bike's manufacturer.

"" Switch over to stainless steel lines and high-performance pads or shoes: Most motorcycles come standard with rubber brake lines. Because of the nature of rubber, these lines swell under pressure, which results in a squishy or soft brake. Stainless steel lines, on the other hand, do not expand, which will give your brake a more solid, confidence-inspiring feel.

It is possible to buy the same brake pads and shoes as professional races use on their motorcycles. These pads improve braking dramatically, but be advised that many performance aftermarket pads and shoes wear faster than non-performance units.

"" Install a high-performance exhaust system, filter and jet kit: Many motorcycles come with highly restricted exhaust systems to meet a wide range of pollution and noise-level regulations throughout the world. A high performance muffler or exhaust system will greatly improve most motorcycles, but you should pick a system that does not violate your local regulations.

Whenever you change your exhaust characteristics you should also adjust your jetting and air filter, since altering any one part of your intake or exhaust system without changing the other parts can negatively affect performance if you do not fine-tune your bike. High-performance air filters, such as those made by K&N, also have a positive effect on performance, and are reusable, which often saves money on the long run.

Jet kits are available off the shelf for many motorcycles through the factory, but when in doubt consult your local mechanic. Jetting a motorcycle is a fine art: If you run too big a jet your engine will bog down on acceleration, but too small a jet will make your machine run lean and hot.

"" Run high-performance street tires: Not all motorcycles came from the factory with top-of-the-line rubber. Many are shod with tires that do not take advantage of modern motorcycles' excellent suspension characteristics. When choosing a replacement tire, be careful to match the front to the rear and determine which sort of rubber best fits the type of riding you do.

"" Change to heavier fork springs or fork oil and install a high-performance shock or shocks: Fork springs are, like exhaust systems, often a compromise, and very few bikes come out of the factory with stiff, high-performance springs and oil. A soft front-end will give you a plusher ride, but it will also compromise feedback from the road and cut down on responsiveness.

Most suspension companies - like Progressive or Race Tech - sell springs adjusted to your specific weight and the type of riding you do. These springs take little time to install and offer substantial improvements over stock. Changing to heavier fork oil while swapping over to stiffer springs can also improve your bike's handing.

As with high-performance exhaust systems, a filter and jet kit, it is advisable to change all parts of your suspension at the same time, so that the front-end of your bike responds in concert with the rear end. A quality multi-adjustable rear shock or shocks will greatly increase your turning time, improve ground clearance and allow you to fine-tune your bike to your needs.

"" Improve your skills, do track days and lose weight: The most crucial performance upgrade you can do for your motorcycling it to become a better rider. Ride often and take note of panic situations, where you feel you're losing control of your machine. There are many books available to help you assess your riding habits, and you would be surprised at how poor driving habits affect the performance of your motorcycle.

Do you accelerate smoothly through the corners or lock up your brakes and freeze in terror? Do you look through corners or do your eyes fixate at the apex point? Are left-hand corners more difficult than right-hand corners? How do you draw your line when entering a switchback corner? These are important questions, and it's vital that you understand your own driving habits and how they relate to your safety and performance.

Sign up at your local track for advanced rider training. A qualified trainer can spot your weaknesses quickly and offer real-world help to remedy your bad riding habits. Many training schools offer in-depth evaluation and analysis of your riding, and you will be more confident and competent afterward.

Many motorcyclists waste money trying to reduce weight on their machines when it is cheaper, easier, and healthier to work off weight on their own bodies. While it is true that a lighter bike will respond faster and brake better - particularly if you reduce unstrung weight on or around the wheels - the performance payoff of changing over body parts to costly carbon fiber or using lightweight titanium fasters is negligible.

Over 60 percent of Americans are currently considered overweight. It is often easier to lose 10 pounds from your gut than cut that same weight from your bike, and you will feel so good without that added fat that riding your bike well will seem like second nature.

Working on a bike can be an exhilarating experience as riding the machine, and many people report a deeper satisfaction with their bikes after they understand how it works, but be careful, study your work manual, and never take on a job you don't thoroughly understand.

Always budget plenty of time to work on your machine and don't rush through jobs without performing a complete safety test, particularly when dealing with brake or suspension parts.

If you're like most people, you will discover a deep and lasting sense of satisfaction out of making improvements on your own machine. And just when your bike is exactly the way you want it, you'll inexplicitly decide to get something new, beginning the cycle all over again.

© High Speed Ventures 2011