Want to enhance your riding? Here are five essential motorcycle accessories, and five that are just nice to have
So, you’ve got a motorcycle, and – if you’re doing things the right way – the best safety gear you can afford. The piggy bank raiding doesn’t stop there, however, as there are all sorts of bike-specific products out there that can enhance two-wheeled life massively.
Some are more necessary than others, so we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite bike accessories with a little help from eBay and split them into two camps. The first five we’d consider essential, while the rest are more ‘nice to haves’.
Posted in partnership with eBay
It doesn’t matter how loud or quiet your bike is – every rider should have a good set of earplugs. Wind noise often exceeds intake and exhaust noise, reaching up to 95dB at cruising speeds. Permanent hearing damage can occur above 85dB, and you might be sitting on a motorway for many hours experiencing loudness over that level.
The price for keeping your hearing intact? Less than £20. These Auritech plugs are £18.89 and are specifically designed for motorcycle use. They filter sounds to ensure volume levels are effectively lowered while noises like sirens and horns are clearly heard.
Essential: lock & ground anchor
Sadly, motorcycle theft remains a huge problem in the UK. Stealing a bike that could be worth five figures is all too easy, so it’s important to do all you can to make it trickier for criminals to make off with your pride and joy.
At the very least, buy a disc lock. If the bike is stored on a driveway or garage, consider getting a beefy chain and installing a ground anchor to loop it through. Chains with links that are 12mm or wider are generally too thick to be cut with bolt croppers, making this brilliantly named Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 150cm chain with its 14mm links a good bet.
Essential: neck tube
Neck tubes are one of those bike accessories that give great bang for buck. They’re cheap and hugely effective, protecting your neck from debris (yes, that includes fly splats) and keeping you warm in the process. This fleece tube from Alpinestars should prove to be comfortable while appeasing brand snobs.
Whether you need to pack some things for the commute or an awesome bike tour, luggage is essential. As far as we’re concerned, in this realm, the tail pack is king. Tail packs don’t get in the way, and if not too large, one of these won’t alter the bike’s centre of gravity too much.
The not-so-catchily-named Givi EA107B is a good bet, with a handy 35-litre capacity and a shoulder strap for easy transportation of your stuff once at the destination.
Essential: phone holder or sat-nav
Getting lost on a bike can be even more annoying than taking a wrong turn in a car, so it’s good to have some sort of navigation. Unless you’ve splashed out on one of the few bikes that has in-built nav, there are two main options for you, the first one being a phone holder to use in conjunction with an app like Google Maps.
Quad Lock makes great mounts that attach to either the bike’s handlebars or stem. These attach to a special phone case with integrated clamps, or a ‘universal clamp’ that sticks to the back of an existing case with a sticky 3M pad. It’s worth getting a vibration damper too, as it’s thought the ‘vibes’ from a motorcycle’s engine can cause damage to internal smartphone components.
Alternatively, the ‘luxury’ option is a dedicated motorcycle sat nav like the Garmin Zumo XT. It’s waterproof, has a 5.5-inch screen, and can be operated with a gloved hand.
Nice to have: stand
Lifting a bike’s rear wheel off the ground is handy for maintenance and also good for storage. Paddock stands however are tricky to use and if you get it wrong, there’s a risk of dropping the bike. An Abba Superbike Stand, on the other hand, attaches at the swingarm pivot and can be safely and easily operated solo no matter what your upper body strength.
There’s also an optional front wheel lift arm that works in conjunction with the main stand, and a wide range of fittings to suit many bikes.
Nice to have: heated grips
Heated grips are one of the best options to tick when speccing a new bike. But if your bike does without, don’t fret – there are aftermarket options out there. Oxford Hotgrips are reasonably affordable and relatively easy to fit at home. With these, your hands will be toasty in no time.
Nice to have: tank protector
Not everyone is keen on the look of tank protectors, but if you’re worried about damaging your bike’s pretty tank, these are an affordable and easy way to do so. A ‘spine’ protector along the top will stop things like zips or buckles causing ugly scratches, and side pads further shield the paint from damage while also providing a grippy surface for your legs during cornering.
Nice to have: maintenance charger
As mentioned earlier, a lot of bikes spend much of their lives laid up. To ensure your bike is good to go at the drop of a hat (for those glorious unseasonably warm winter days we occasionally get), an Optimate maintenance charger keeps the battery topped up and ready to bring the bike to life while keeping the cells in good health. Admittedly, for some bikes (particularly ones with trackers), this might need to be in our essential section.
Nice to have: loading ramp (and a van)
Track days are a great way to take your riding to the next level. You are, however, going to need to think carefully about how to get there. Riding to the circuit and back is heroic and all, but the return leg might not prove so fun after a hard day in the saddle. Plus, there’s always the chance of crashing what’s supposed to be your transportation home.
The ideal way to do things is to bung the bike in the back of a van, a task made much easier with a loading ramp. You are, of course, going to have to think about buying a van too, unless you have a very generous mate willing to lend.