Thursday, September 26, 2013

Does an Aftermarket Motorcycle Seat Really Make a Difference?

I have the Sargent seat on my touring motorcycle and it makes a huge difference in the amount of time I can spend in the saddle. Never the one to complain about a motorcycle I'm still paying for, I try to cope with the stock parts on the machine for as long as possible. Most people can't go out and customize their bikes after spending their budget on the bike itself. When it came to the seat, I was conflicted with how much of a difference it would actually make. One 4,000-mile ride answered that question for me!

My experience with the stock seat wasn't all that bad. It wasn't until I was spending day after day on the bike when I started to have problems. I ended up shifting my weight to one side, then to the other, and eventually just had to stop to stretch and take a break. That's not what riding is about to me. I bought the bike to ride do cover some miles, and I’m old enough to realize that suffering is not always a necessity. There are only a few locations that your body actually contacts the bike so I decided to remedy the most obvious contact point with a product I’d heard so many good things about: the Sargent World Sport Performance Motorcycle Seat.

Sargent seats are well known for their comfort and superior fit on every popular touring motorcycle out there. This became apparent as soon as I popped the seat on the bike. The fit was just as good as stock and it even had an additional storage compartment under the seat. The finish is actually a lot nicer looking that the stock seat which is a bonus. I've had the seat in rain, mud, dirt and dust, and it still looks awesome after thousands of miles. I can ride a looooooong way on this seat. Much, much further than I ever could on the stock seat, that’s for sure.

So, in summary, I would highly recommend the Sargent seat for any motorcycle you’re looking to put some miles on. It will be a noticeable improvement for someone commuting or just putting around on the weekend as well. My friend sat on my bike over the weekend and exclaimed “nice seat!” So, it does make a difference, and I’m glad I have one on my bike today so I don’t need to turn down long rides to places that I've always wanted to go. This is an upgrade that allows you to do more with your motorcycle, which is the whole point, isn't it?

Look Good, Perform Better with Slip On Exhaust

Exhaust systems are an enormously popular upgrade for every type of motorcycle out there. I've owned and ridden dirt bikes, dual sports, track-only race bikes, touring bikes, cruisers, scooters—just about anything with two wheels, and people buy and use aftermarket exhausts on all of them. The most popular exhaust application for any segment of motorcycle cycle riding is the slip on exhaust.

A 'slip-on' basically consists of a muffler or silencer with a connecting pipe that fits into the rest of the stock exhaust. This replaces the end of the exhaust pipe where the exhaust exits the motorcycle’s engine. There are a few reasons why this is such a popular upgrade. First, it's easy to do. All that's required to install a slip-on is to unbolt the stock muffler/silencer and bolt on the new one. All exhaust manufacturers make model specific slip-ons in a variety of styles for all different types of motorcycles. They essentially slip onto a stock exhaust pipe.

Another reason a slip on exhaust is so popular is because of its visibility. The muffler is typically right out there in plain sight for the world to see. Often times, the stock muffler is much larger and usually much uglier than its aftermarket replacement. You can save a lot of weight if you're focused on performance, but the bike night guy is just as pleased with his new carbon fiber, aluminum, or titanium pipe on his bike for everyone to ooh and aw over.

Sound is a major reason for the upgrade as well. A lot of riders will describe their motorcycle as having a sewing machine sound when they buy it and that they would prefer a deeper growling sound. Many mufflers use different baffling from the stock exhaust or even none at all. That's why it's also important to know what the law is for your state or region so that you are not making an illegal upgrade to your motorcycle that will get you in trouble later by law enforcement.

A lot of off-road vehicles are required to have a spark arrestor in the muffler/silencer. This doesn't mean that the motorcycle has one if you bought it used or if you are attempting to re-purpose the motorcycle for use in different areas than it was intended. There are also sound requirements for a lot of off-road motorcycles and track-only motorcycles so the muffler/silencer becomes an important aspect of the bike to consider. All the best exhaust makers have exhausts that you can bolt right on to your motorcycle that have all the legal spark arrestors and noise requirements but still offer improved performance. Stock sucks. Why not have your cake and eat it too?!

5 Staple Streetbike Mods

With so many options available, it's sometimes hard to find a good upgrade path for your streetbike. Well, dear reader, here's a quick and dirty list that will apply to most street riders:

1) Fender eliminator kits clean up the tail end of your motorcycle and have been a popular sportbike upgrade for some time now. These are great first additions to your sportbike as most OEM license plate fenders are awfully ugly. You'll be road ready to no time!

2) A new windscreen is a staple upgrade born on the race track. Puig and Zero Gravity dominate the sportbike windscreen market. For less than a $100, you can drastically change the look and feel of your sportbike with various windscreen shapes and colors. The full tuck friendly 'double height' or 'double bubble' profile sell best.

3) Frame sliders are a very popular upgrade as well but have taken some heat over the years (usually when people expect them to protect the bike in any crash scenario). Frame sliders work well in most tip-over incidents. They'll save your precious (and expensive) bodywork from taking a beating when your bike hits the pavement but don't expect them to do much if you experience a highside crash. Remember to round out your bike protection with bar ends and spools!


4) Get some levers! Now-a-days, aftermarket levers are adjustable and are designed to improve rider comfort as the stock levers are not adjustable or are not adjustable within a wide enough range. Pazzo levers took the US by storm when releasing their levers with multiple color options and in shortly and long variety. People flocked to them and a revolution was started. Lever combinations are near endless and will fit into most budgets at around $170 (street price) a set.

5) Nothing culminates the motorcycle riding experience quite like the ubiquitous slip-on exhaust. It's popularity is gained by the relatively affordable price (as compared to a full system exhaust) and, generally speaking, additional fuel management (via a Power Commander or similar device) won't be necessary. Rev happily through the urban jungle while setting off car alarms and frightening the occasional pet -- oh, my!

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