When you buy your first motorcycle, you probably think it’s perfect just the way it is—but if you’re anything like I was, it won’t be long before you start dreaming of ways to mod it out and make it your own.
That instinct is only natural. After all, any passionate rider will tell you that their motorcycle is an extension of themselves. So if you care about keeping yourself healthy and maintaining your appearance, why wouldn’t you do the same for your bike?
But here’s the catch: as a beginner rider, you’re likely to be a bit limited in terms of what motorcycle modifications you’re capable of making. Fortunately, that’s where we come in.
Below, you’ll find a list of 5 easy motorcycle modifications that are perfect for new riders. These custom jobs are simple, practical, and they won’t break the bank. Gear up and let’s go.
Motorcycle Mod #5: New Tires
You might think of this as being more in the ballpark of routine maintenance than custom bike modifications, but make no mistake—changing out the tires on your bike can make a hell of a difference.
It’s not just about having fresh rubber, either. Yes, new tires with more tread will grip the pavement better (once you break them in, obviously), but different tire brands will also affect your bike’s balance and handling.
Some riders even experiment with tires that are slightly wider or more narrow than their bike’s stock tires. As long as they fit your rims, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem—just know that while wider tires can make your bike more stable, they’ll also reduce your maximum lean angle on either side.
Also called crash bars, motorcycle engine guards serve an extremely important purpose: if your bike goes over, they hit the road instead of your precious motor. Since most crash bars only cost a few hundred bucks versus the thousands it could take for an engine rebuild, this is an extremely practical upgrade every new rider should invest in (assuming your bike didn’t come with guards when you bought it).
There’s one more vital reason to buy crash bars for your bike, and it’s this: they’ll help prevent the bike from crushing one of your legs if it goes down on top of you. I learned that lesson the hard way—my first bike didn’t come with engine guards, so when I got in my first accident, I paid the price with two ligaments in my right knee. Don’t make the same mistake I did, kids.
Although it’s called a windscreen, this part of your motorcycle actually protects you from numerous hazards while you ride—errant bugs, pelting rain, and the occasional rock kicked up by the traffic in front of you are just a few examples. It also goes between you and the road, so it’s vital that your bike’s windscreen is both sturdy and clear.
Unfortunately, the stock windscreens on a lot of beginner bikes frequently fail to live up to both (or either) of those criteria. Some are too small, whereas others are made from cheaper plastics that compromise the clarity of the rider’s view.
There are a couple of exceptions—the stock windscreen on my Vulcan is pretty good—but I’ve heard complaints from a lot of other new riders about the windscreens their bikes came with. Doing some research to upgrade your windscreen with an aftermarket model and bolting it on yourself can be an easy way to improve your riding experience.
Motorcycle Mod #2: Replacement Mirrors
Like windscreens, not all stock motorcycle mirrors are terrible. Unlike windscreens, though, you can pretty much separate the decent stock mirrors from the lousy ones by looking at the type of bike they come with—stock cruiser and standard bike mirrors tend to be okay, whereas stock sport and adventure bike mirrors are often next to useless.
Luckily, there are many aftermarket mirror manufacturers out there who are happy to capitalize on this common oversight. You can find plenty of universal-fit replacement mirrors online too, so swapping yours out for a new one should be as easy as shoulder-checking (please, tell me you shoulder check).
Motorcycle Mod #1: LED Light Kits
Most of the mods on this list are practical rather than aesthetic, but I thought I should include at least one upgrade that’ll improve your bike’s looks as well as its safety. Aftermarket LED lighting kits offer one of the easiest ways to make your bike glow (literally)—and they can increase your visibility in the dark, too!
Installing these kits on your bike is typically an easy job, since they’re built to replace the standard 4.5” halogen driving lights that come stock on most motorcycles. Some products, like the Motorcycle LED Passing Lights Kit from industry leader XKGlow, also come with a high-powered amber LED halo that can complement your factory turn signals, further increasing your visibility during lane changes or while cornering.
Final Thoughts on Motorcycle Mods
Modifying your motorcycle doesn’t require you to make giant, dramatic changes—in fact, keeping it simple is usually the easiest way to see meaningful results (especially at first). Simply swapping out your tires or upgrading your lighting can have a profound impact on the way your bike looks and your ability to ride safely.