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Dos and Don'ts of Motorcycle Customization

Dos and Don'ts of Motorcycle Customization

Motorcycle customization is a popular trend among motorcycle enthusiasts. People love to modify their motorcycles to make them look cooler. Many motorcycle custom builders can build a new motorcycle from scratch. Every biker wants their motorcycle to stand out from the rest. For motorcycle customization, it is up to you to decide how you want to transform your bike. Sometimes you only need to install a few aftermarket parts to improve your motorcycle’s look. However, most of the time, a standard motorcycle is transformed and built from scratch, which requires a lot of time and money. Most of the expensive motorcycles in the world are custom-made.

A simple cruiser can be transformed into a touring bike by installing heavyweight parts, including saddlebags, fairings, windscreen, and crash bars. Meanwhile, a bulky touring bike can be stripped down and customized into a café racer. Either way, you customize your motorcycle’s look by adding, removing, and upgrading several parts to improve their look and performance. This article focuses on the dos and don’ts of motorcycle customization.

1. Dos of Motorcycle Customization

1.1 Work with a Base Motorcycle

Work with a Base Motorcycle
Photo Credit: @re-psycle
Work with a Base Motorcycle
Photo Credit: @analogmotorcycles

It is better and more economical to modify a standard motorcycle. Building a motorcycle from scratch can be complex and expensive. Working with a standard motorcycle means the structure is already ready, and you can leave the integral parts you want unchanged, like the engine and frame.

1.2 Create a Design Plan

Customizing your motorcycle without a plan wastes time and effort. It is important that you have a clear idea about what you want to do with your motorcycle. Keep the design plan simple and break it down into multiple steps to make it easier to follow. This way, you can easily make adjustments and keep track of your progress.

1.3 Make a Budget

Motorcycle customization can require a lot of money, sometimes even more expensive than buying a new motorcycle. Therefore, it is best to lay out a fixed budget. Make sure to put aside extra funds just in case.

1.4 Do Research

Research what you want to do and how you are going to do it. Make a list of the parts you plan to use while customizing your motorcycle and check the prices of each one. Taking into account the overall cost of the parts can help you calculate your budget. You also should make a list of the cost of services if you lack certain tools and equipment. After compiling both lists, check the total cost to see whether it fits within your budget. If the overall cost exceeds the limits of the budget, consider taking out unnecessary parts.

Do Research
Photo Credit: @pinterest

1.5 Consult with Friends

If you have a friend with experience customizing motorcycles, ask for advice if you are having trouble. If your friend happens to be a mechanic, you can also ask for help with customization. It is best to have a second opinion to evaluate your work and progress.

2. Don'ts of Motorcycle Customization

2.1 Don’t Start from Scratch

Starting from scratch is the more difficult approach since you have to create a new motorcycle. There is no base structure, no frame, and no parts to get you started. You would have to order every part from the market yourself. Also, building from scratch requires expert engineering and craftsmanship skills. If you do not have these skills, you will have to ask for outside help.

2.2 Don’t Completely Change the Motorcycle

Do not give your motorcycle a complete makeover as this can significantly increase the budget. You can save a lot of money if you keep most of the original parts. Cleaning and maintaining the original parts can improve your motorcycle’s aesthetics and performance.

2.3 Don’t Make It All About the Looks

Your motorcycle’s look is one of its most attractive features. Custom motorcycles are popular for their bold and stylish looks. However, a cool look will not matter if your motorcycle’s performance is lacking. Do not spend most of the budget installing parts focused on improving your custom motorcycle’s look. If you are using the original engine, install upgrades and replace any defective components to improve performance. Suspensions also play a role in ensuring a comfortable riding experience and improving overall performance.

3. Detailed Motorcycle Customization Dos and Don’ts

3.1 Bolt-On

Bolt-On Dos and Don’ts
Dos Don’ts
Keep it simple Do not add too many parts
Keep it lightweight Do not use only chrome parts
Use parts with different finishes Do not install frame and parts unless they are painted
Make sure the parts suit the motorcycle style Do not install only parts with aesthetic appeal
Clean the chrome parts with a smooth cloth to avoid scratching
Be creative

3.2 Paint Job

Paint Job Dos and Don’ts
Dos Don’ts
Prioritize finish and look Do not pick a color scheme that clashes with the motorcycle and finish
Select a painter Do not select a painter who does not specialize in motorcycles
Check the painter’s previous work or portfolio Do not select a painter based on affordability
Combination of blacked-out and chrome finishes give an attractive look
Ask painter if a warranty is provided
Be creative

3.3 Wheels and Tires

Wheels and Tires Dos and Don’ts
Dos Don’ts
Use wheels from the standard motorcycle Do not put on tires before the whole wheel assembly is mounted
Make sure to get the wheels and tires that best fit The swept area of the brake discs should not be chrome
The wheels should complement the motorcycle’s overall design Do not use old tires 
Check the quality of tires before installing
Carefully install the brake assembly
If you are using larger wheels and tires, make sure there is room for the rear suspensionl

3.4 Saddlebags

Saddlebags Dos and Don’ts
Dos Don’ts
Install appropriately-sized saddlebags Do not install saddlebags if you do not need them
If you use leather saddlebags, make sure they fit your motorcycle’s look Do not burden your motorcycle with heavy luggage
Make sure the saddlebags are securely attached to the motorcycle Do not install anything that could get stuck in the rear wheel
Make sure the vehicle can staybalanced even with new saddlebags and parts installed Do not install fork bags as they could affect handling
Leather saddlebags must be cleaned regularly 

3.5 Windscreen and Fairing

Windscreen and Fairing Dos and Don’ts
Dos Don’ts
Install a large windscreen for better wind protection Do not install fairing just for aesthetic appeal
Keep it simple as windscreens and fairings can be heavy Do not install a windscreen and fairing if you prefer high-speed performance
Keep the motorcycle lightweight if you want to go for a café racer look

3.6 Fenders

Fenders Dos and Don’ts
Dos Don’ts
For a café racer or minimalist look, use bobber-style, lightweight fenders Do not install fenders unless they are painted
For a classic look, use long skirt fenders Do not use oversized fenders on lightweight custom motorcycles
Make sure to cover the wirings connected to the tail light and turn signals Do not leave out rear fender as it is difficult to mount the tail light, turn signals, license plate, and saddlebags without it
If you do not like the stock fenders, customize the fenders by cutting them into different styles

4. Takeaway

Customizing a motorcycle means improving its looks and performance. Aesthetics are an integral part of custom motorcycles, but their performance should also be taken into account. You can also customize your motorcycle to reflect your personality. While customizing a motorcycle, there are different steps you should take to keep the overall cost low, including making a design plan, doing research, getting help from friends, and keeping the changes simple. If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, customizing a motorcycle can be a fun experience and help you deepen your knowledge about motorcycles. Customizing your motorcycle also gives you an opportunity to maintain and repair your ride.

If you want to customize your motorcycle by adding aftermarket parts, you can find several on Viking Bags’ online store. For quality saddlebags, sissy bar bags, handlebars, sissy bars, crash bars, fairings, and other luggage options, visit the Viking Bags website.

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