Motorcycling is about the open road, the feeling of wind on your face and the sound of exhaust in your ears…or at least it starts that way. Some of us secretly find that, after a while, we miss some of the creature comforts of our cars. Here’s 10 ways to turn your bike into a car by adding that little something extra.
Heated grips go a long way to keeping your entire body warm when temperatures drop. When your body gets cold, it circulates less blood to your extremities to keep your core warm. Grip warmers won’t keep your hands toasty in all weather conditions, but they will keep your hands warm enough to make any ride bearable.
It used to be a fun brain exercise, having to remember directions, but lately it’s seen as too “mentally exhausting” to have to remember all of those street names every time you go somewhere new. Adding a GPS can solve all of that, while giving you tons of extra data to think about when out on the road. I never knew I needed to know my estimated arrival time until it was right there in front of me. We're big fans of the Garmin zumo 390M.
Those exhaust sounds you once loved just aren’t as stimulating anymore and, while you started riding a motorcycle because you enjoyed the solitude, it would be really nice to tell your buddy he’s about to miss the exit instead of having to flag him over and then turn around. The Sena systems work great.
Most stock headlights are absolutely pitiful, the average producing about 1,000 lumens. In addition to being woefully underpowered, they’re also often aimed poorly for lighting the road you’re about to ride on, often choosing to light the ground near your feet or some point in the sky instead. Aftermarket auxiliary lighting is far more powerful and affords you the opportunity to aim that power right where you want it. We recommend anything by Denali or Baja Designs.
12v Power Outlet
Now that you’ve added a Bluetooth headset, GPS device, and are playing podcasts while you ride, you’re going to need a way to charge all your stuff. Some bikes come with a power outlet as stock, but it’s extremely easy to add an aftermarket option yourself by just attaching leads to your battery. Just be careful where you run the wiring as you risk water damage if not done properly.
Motorcycles with built in electronic cruise control still sort of scare us. Hand and wrist fatigue is a real issue, especially on multi-day treks, but we just aren’t comfortable giving up that much control of our motorcycles. That said, those little adapters you attach to the grip of your throttle, which allow you to operate the throttle without having to grip throttle tightly, are an absolute godsend.
Heated Seat Pads
For those of you in really cold climates, or those of you who just can’t seem to stay warm but refuse to take your car, there’s the hallowed heated seat pad. When used in conjunction with proper layering and heated garments, the heated seat bad can keep you toasty in pretty much any climate.
You scoff, but we’ve seen it. Sometimes you just don’t want to pour that coffee or soda in your camelback because it will be a hassle to clean, and yet you still want to cruise down the road with a drink. We don’t really recommend it, but they’re available for purchase so knock yourself out.
One of our favorite things about scooters is the massive trunk space that’s often included. Whether it’s picking up take-out, stashing your helmet while you run into the market, or packing an overnight bag; the space is always useful. Most motorcycles don’t have this so many of us have gotten used to packing light and strapping it to our backs or our bikes. For those of you unwilling to either pack light or strap that pack down, there’s always the trailer….
A Third Wheel
Some people say that having to balance a big heavy touring bike is either too much work or too difficult. Their friends go on amazing long trips on their Harleys or Goldwings while they stay home, feeling left out. Other people say that adding a third wheel ruins the handling and all of the joys of riding a motorcycle and you may as well just take a car. We’re trying to stay out of it. But again, the third wheel is an option.
How far is too far? What lengths are you willing to go to in order to make motorcycling a little more comfortable? Are the people who pursue these options pragmatic or ruining the experience of being on the open road?