Tips For Customizing Your Motorcycle
You got yourself that brand new motorcycle and you have been riding the open roads at every opportunity. It feels great, doesn’t it, that sense of absolute freedom mixed with a healthy dose of adrenaline-inducing respect for the road? The right combination of weather, scenery, traffic (or lack thereof), and company (or lack thereof) can produce a high that rivals any drug. Soon that feeling dwindles a little bit. It is not your enthusiasm that has waned, you still can’t wait to get on that bike and go, but something feels off now. Something you cannot quite put your finger on.
One day you stop at your local motorcycle shop to get some service done and you spot a really cool set of handlebar grips. While you are there, you get them and install them before you leave. Loving the feel of the new grips and equally digging the look, you head back out feeling good. Better then you have in a while. Then you start to feel that waning in your excitement level again. Have you figured it out yet? You have ‘the itch’, sometimes referred to as ‘the bug’. It does not take long before the urge to customize your motorcycle. Do not worry, you are not alone. The worst thing for many bikers is having their ride look like every other bike on the road.
Now that we have pinpointed the cause of that pesky nagging, it is up to you to decide just how far you want to go with it. The first step you need to take is to decide who will be making these modifications. If you are mechanically inclined and confident in your abilities, by all means have a ball! Some of the happiest people are those that get their hands dirty. It would be suggested that you buy the owner’s manual for your motorcycle. That is assuming that you are simply adding to the original motorcycle. If you are modifying a “Johnny Cash”, the specifications that you need will be specific to the parts you put on it, even if they are custom made. It is advisable to keep all of this in mind before you go too far (not that I believe that is possible).
If you are more creative than handy, do your homework and find a qualified mechanic capable of transforming the image in your head into reality. If you do not know where to go to find one, there are several avenues you can take. Phonebooks are a good place to start. In today’s world, you might get better luck looking on line, too. Whichever way you go, the next step you should take is to ask around about them. Listen to what other riders are saying, word of mouth is usually a fair assessment of how good, or bad, a shop is. Just make sure you get more than one person’s opinion. A great mechanic can get a bad referral if the individual giving it has had a difference of opinion with them and a bad mechanic can get a good referral if the person did not know any better. Depending on your results, take a ride to the shop(s) you have found and follow your gut. You will know which shop is a good fit for you. Here are some great sources for tips on how to choose a qualified mechanic.
Once your homework has been done and you have found your mechanic, the next thing you need to do is decided what your are going to do. For this step, the possibilities are absolutely endless. You are limited only by your imagination-and your budget! Be prepared to be patient, depending on your plans, it may take a while to accomplish your ultimate goal. If you do not want to put your bike up for an extended period of time, you have two choices. One, you could ration the modifications, doing a little bit at a time. Two, you could make arrangements to get the work done during your off-riding season.
The next thing you may want to look at is the paint job. This, again, is something that you can do by yourself. It can be a bit more tricky if you do not have all the right equipment or have limited access to quality paint. Additionally, it may be difficult to find a quality painter in your area, depending on where you live, exactly what you want to have done, and, again, your budget. Of course you want to find somebody who can do quality work at a great price but you may find that easier said than done. More often you will find that the best painters come at a high price because they are worth it. Finding them can also be a bit trickier. Some of the best painters work solo and are best found via word of mouth. Asking your mechanic and other bikers is a great way to go. It is not uncommon to find that the most highly recommended painter is out of the way and not terribly cheap. Then again, you just might have that talented diamond in the rough sitting on the dusty outskirts of your county. When you do find somebody you are satisfied with, do not take his/her advice for granted. They know what can and cannot be done and they usually know a better way of doing things. If they are really worthy, they will help you to find that perfect balance between what you want and the most affordable way to do it.
Here is a good article on painting your motorcycle yourself. http://hubpages.com/hub/howtopropaint
What also matters is your privacy level. Regardless of what you have in mind, your decisions are likely to be influenced by how comfortable you are with other people being in on your plans. Some people are very private and would rather work behind closed doors until the finished product is ready. Other people are all too eager to share their brilliant ideas and even accept input. Neither method is better than the other. The most important thing to remember here is that this is your bike and, besides ensuring safety and legality, nobody can tell you what you can and cannot do with it. Get those gears rolling and go run away with your imagination!
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