Most motorcycles are great to ride right out of the box, but you can make them
even better. By adding motorcycle accessories you can personalize your bike to make it better fit
your riding needs. Many riders look to performance upgrades for making their bike better, but a
strong argument can be made that the right accessories can actually make the biggest impact to your
ride to make it even more enjoyable to ride.
So what exactly is out there for motorcycle accessories? A LOT. Over the past decade, the amount
of electronic motorcycle accessories available has exploded with gadgets like stereos, GPS's,
communicators and even smart phones. Then there are the accessories that don't necessarily rely on
the latest in the digital age, but they can still improve your riding experience. These accessories
range from being as simple as cup holders to the more advanced accessories like gauges that will
show you just how your motorcycle is performing.
Listed below are some of the more popular options for motorcycle accessories, all of which can
make your time on the bike more enjoyable and productive.
There are many riders that will argue that all they want to hear while riding is the sound of
their exhaust and the wind whistling by. For the rest, nothing beats a high quality motorcycle
stereo and speakers. Motorcycle audio systems allow you to take your favorite music with you on
your bike. Riders can choose to play their audio from multiple formats including XM/FM radio,
satellite radio, CD, MP3, and even by connecting to another device via an auxiliary cable, USB or
Because the openness of being on a motorcycle, motorcycle speakers must be able to contend with
wind and road noises. Motorcycle audio systems are designed to play audio at specific levels to cut
through all of the other noises. Car or marine speakers are just not designed to be played in that
One of the biggest concerns when choosing motorcycle audio is how you are going to mount it to
your bike. Some systems will mount right into the motorcycle's fairing to replace an existing
audio system. If your bike does not have a fairing, you will need to look into the handlebar
mounted options. The new audio system will need to be connected to your bike's power supply in
order to operate.
Getting lost on the back roads can be one of the best parts about a motorcycle trip, until you
need to get back but don't know how. That's where a motorcycle GPS navigation system can
save your trip. These systems are designed specifically for motorcycle riding to withstand the
rugged nature that it can provide. A motorcycle GPS is one of those accessories that are better to
have and not need than to need and not have.
GPS systems of the past may have been crude and difficult to use, but modern technology has made
them more than just an alternative to a map. In addition to the turn-by-turn directions, many
systems have additional capabilities like weather alerts, road condition alerts, and the ability to
find restaurants, gas stations and more. Some more advanced systems can even be integrated with the
bike itself to provide notifications for low tire pressure and gas and oil levels. Motorcycle GPS
systems with Bluetooth can be operated via voice commands so you can keep your hands on the bars at
all times. They can also be synched up with a music player to act as a stereo.
For many riders, sharing the ride with another person makes it a much more rich experience.
Before communication systems came around, riders were relegated to yelling or using taps on the
shoulder to try and get their point across. Motorcycle communicators allow riders and passengers to
communicate clearly with one another so that there is no confusion. Many communicators can also be
used for bike-to-bike communication as well. This eliminates the need to pull over to talk with
your fellow riders which can save you time and confusion.
There are two main styles of communication systems for motorcycles. The first system is a
complete unit that is mounted to the rider's helmet. The second system will only have the
microphone mounted to the helmet, while the rest of the system is mounted to the bike, usually the
handlebars. With both systems, there are speakers and a microphone that are mounted to the inside
of the helmet. Most systems now use Bluetooth in order to connect with one another. This also
allows the communicators to be synched with smart phones and audio devices.
Your bike is often a large investment for you and it is also a huge part of your lifestyle and
identity. You can help protect your motorcycle and give yourself a little peace of mind by
installing a security or alarm system. Thieves and vandals can often be deterred by the sounding of
an alarm. If not, the alarm could at least alert you or someone else that something is going
There are different levels of sophistication for motorcycle security systems. At the basic
level, there are motion detection alarms and ignition disablers. At the more advanced levels,
security systems can have features such as RFID hands-free operation, auto activation, impact and
inclination sensors, and battery back up in the event that the power source wires are cut. Some
systems will even alert you that your motorcycle is being tampered with by sending a message to the
The advancement in digital camera technology has made it possible for companies like GoPro to
produce small action cameras that can capture cinema quality video. These cameras are perfect for
riders who like to capture their rides. Plus, with all of the unique mounting options, the rider
can put their own unique perspective on the video to tell a unique story. The cameras are very
durable and can withstand just about all of the abuse a motorcycle ride can put on
Some riders use cameras that are connected to small digital screens as rearview cameras while
riding. Using a camera allows the rider to strategically place it to capture the areas that mirrors
cannot. These cameras can also double as action cameras to record the ride.
Motorcycle accessory lighting can have practical applications or it can be purely cosmetic.
Driving lights and light bars are often added to expand the light horizontally beyond the reach of
the actual headlight. Driving lights are often attached with clamps to either the handlebars or to
crash or highway bars. Light bars can be attached under the headlight with a pair of driving lights
or spotlights attached on either side of the headlight.
Cosmetic accessory lighting can be added anywhere on the motorcycle. These lights are often used
to accent certain areas of the bike like the engine, rims or any part that has been customized.
These lights can be individual or in the form of LED light strips. Some of these lights are
different colors and others still, have the ability to change colors, flash, blink and are operated
with a remote. They are a great way to add a unique flair to your motorcycle.
Motorcycle gauges are a great way to always know exactly how your bike is performing, especially
when you have performance mods installed. Some high-end gauges may come with any or all of these
sensors- speedometer, tachometer, gear indicator, oxygen sensor, temperature sensor, oil pressure
sensor, air/fuel ratio sensor and boost sensor. All of these sensors can be found individually as
A battery tender is a good idea for motorcycles anyways, but they are even more necessary when
you have electrical components added on. Many electronic accessories that are tied into the
bike's power, like a security system, will draw power all of the time. This can eventually
wear down the battery if it is not kept fully charged.
If you plan on running multiple accessories at one time, you may need to invest in an
alternator upgrade. Your stock alternator might not have the amount of output that is needed to
properly keep all of the electrical components running at once.
When looking at motorcycle accessories, make sure that they will fit
your specific bike. Pay attention to the clamp size if it is a handlebar mount. Speakers may need
an existing hole in the fairing to be mounted. Many accessories are universal, but you should
take the extra time to make sure that you are getting something that will work for your bike.