How to Choose the Right Motorcycle Gadgets for You


Do you own a motorcycle? If so, it’s probably a good bet you know how to ride one. But what kind of riding do you do? What kind of terrain do you usually go through? How fast are you going through the paces? If you don’t already have a set of motorcycle gadgets in place, here are seven suggestions on how to make the act of driving less intimidating and more fun for yourself and your passengers. Motorcycle geeks can take an isolationist approach and feel comfortable having only their favorite gadgets with them at all times. Or they can embrace the freedom that comes from being able to play with whatever toys come their way. They can either stick to specific sets that enhance their abilities as a rider, or create new (and often specialized) sets for different terrains and weather scenarios. From side handlebars to windshield wipers, these tips will help guide you toward choosing the right motorcycle gadget for your riding needs.

Train your eyes first
If you’re buying a GPS device for the first time, make sure you get on the same page with how it works visually. It may seem like a no-brainer, but many people are left feeling overwhelmed or confused by the array of colors, graphics, and features on the device they end up buying. If you have difficulty imagining how a certain gadget works, there’s a good chance it will feel equally daunting when you first try to use it. Some of the most useful aspects of GPS devices are the pop-up instructions and the clear picture instructions that are provided. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the color-coding system so you understand which buttons do what. Once you’ve got the basics down, move on to the next step: jig up your stopwatch.

Jig up your stopwatch
If you’re the sort of rider who likes to let the road do the talking, you’re in for a treat with a standard stopwatch. These usually keep excellent time and are easy to program. It’s a good idea, though, to jig up your stopwatch so you have a reference point. If you’re not used to your stopwatch being jiggered, you may find it more difficult to control your speed and keep your distance from other riders. If you own several different types of motorcycle gadgets, jig up your stopwatch for each of them so you’re well-versed in how they time.

Make a lap chart
After you’ve set up your stopwatch, the next thing you need to do is chart the ride. This is where the useful and beneficial aspects of your motorcycle gadgets come into play. Not only do you want to keep track of your speed and distance traveled, but you also want to record the weather conditions, the traffic conditions, and the state/province you’re riding in. It’s a good idea to keep a lap chart on your dashboard or dashboard-mounted display so you don’t have to constantly re-read the same text information. This will help you stay focused on the road and avoid getting side-tracked. It will also help you stay informed about the most recent conditions and your location in the world.

Keep a weather eye out
You might not want to take the weather into consideration when choosing the right motorcycle gadget for your riding needs. But trust us, it’s an important consideration when it comes to choosing the wrong one. The main purpose of most motorcycle gadgets is to help you stay safe on the road. After all, riding a motorcycle is potentially dangerous. And with so many potential hazards out there, it’s good to have an extra set of eyes and ears out on the machine in your arsenal. Because of this, we have a much better understanding of the weather in the Western United States than we do in the rest of the world. When you’re on the road, it’s essential to keep an eye out for signs of weather phenomena such as thunderstorms, fog, drizzle, and snow. If you see these weather conditions up close and personal, you may want to slow down to avoid getting stranded.

Ditch the clutch
If you’re a beginner rider who’s just learning to apply the clutch, you might want to stick to a standard manual transmission whenever possible. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably want to experiment with shifting gears and applying the clutch manually as well. And for many riders, the best-selling and most versatile motorcycle gadgets are clutch-dishonoring remote control machines. These allow you to slow down, stop, and even reverse while retaining the power to move forward at full speed. Simply press a button and the machine will do whatever you set it to do. If you want to take your riding experience to the next level, you should definitely consider adding a clutch-dishonoring remote control machine to your riding set-up.

Side handlebars for less resistance
If you prefer to ride your motorcycle with your back to the wind, there are few things more liberating than getting behind the wheel of a side-handlebar setup. Just be aware that because of the way that many motorcycles are designed, riding with them in this position will result in less power, less efficiency, and less outright speed. The handlebars on a side-handlebar setup are generally lower and wider than those on a front-handlebar setup while being parallel with the ground. So while the machine will be able to move more quickly when driven with just one hand, it will have less top-end power, efficiency, and outright speed. This is especially true when you’re riding on bumpy, sandy, or icy roads. If you’re looking for a set-up that will allow you to have more fun while riding, this is one option to consider. However, it’s important to jig up your stopwatch before making a purchase or accepting a set-up.

Adrenaline button: When fear sets in, press it!
If you’re like most people, you’re going to feel a little anxious when you’re on the road. Whether you’re dealing with traffic, riding in inclement weather, or just driving in general, traffic jams and inclement weather cause riders to sweat. But there are a few things that the average rider can do to calm the nerves and ease the muscles. On a standard bike, engage the clutch to reduce the speed of the machine and allow for greater traction when stopping. On a side-handlebar setup, use your momentum to push the machine forward and engage the clutch as needed to maintain your speed. This is one instance where jigging up your stopwatch is helpful.

Final tip: Get a feel for your gearshift before you buy it
The gearshift on a motorcycle is a complex machine. Every time you change gears, you’re changing the engine’s direction, the power it’s generating, and the transmission’s direction as well. This is because each gear has a specific purpose and works in tandem with the others to create the most efficient and powerful machine possible. As you get more experienced on the road, you’ll notice you start to notice shifts in the weather and traffic conditions. For example, when it’s very hot and humid outside, it may feel better to put your foot in the clutch than it would be to put it on the footpegs. This is because your body wants to cool off, but the clutch is keeping your engine from getting too hot. However, if you’re riding in cold or windy weather, it’s best to keep your foot on the footpegs so you can use the extra traction to keep your balance and avoid avalanche-like slides.

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