When it comes to motorcycle accessories there are literally hundreds of things you can bolt onto a bike, from dress-up parts to performance mods and functional add-ons. If you’re a person that likes to tinker, it’s easy to go overboard. But if you’re the kind of guy who likes to keep things simple, you can spend weeks trying to decide the select few accessories you’ll install.
Choosing what styling and performance modifications to go with comes down to personal preference. However, when it comes to functional add-ons, these are usually chosen based on advice from other riders. So in a bid to help you enhance your daily riding experience, here are my personal recommendations for 5 essential motorcycle accessories you didn’t know you needed.
Essential Motorcycle Accessory #1: Heated Motorcycle Hand Grips
There was a time when I considered heated handgrips to be something only old men would fit on a motorcycle. Now I realise that they were just a lot wiser than me.
When Triumph released the water-cooled Bonneville T120, I was lucky enough to get one on loan for 3 months. When I was given that bike, my goal was to ride the hell out of it while I had the chance. The only problem was I was heading into another bitterly cold Melbourne winter. If it wasn’t for the heated handgrips that came standard on the T120, my plan would have been thwarted.
When you’re cold, your extremities (hands and feet) are the first to suffer. When you’re on a motorcycle and you’re cold, you can begin to lose feeling in your fingers. This is of course not a good thing. Heated grips will help prevent your fingers from going numb, which can be dangerous for riders.
I have heard people write off the effectiveness of heated grips, saying that they don’t warm the top of your hands, which is true. I don’t know if those people have actually tried heated grips or not, but I can assure you that having heat radiating from below is enough to prevent the cold from crippling your digits.
There are several brands out there offering both universal and model specific heated motorcycle grips. Some manufacturers also offer heated grips as optional extras for their motorcycles.
Personally, I went with the Premium Retro Heated Grips made by Oxford which are easy to install and very effective. But, as always, we recommend you do your own research before deciding which heated grips to buy.
Essential Motorcycle Accessory #2: A Motorcycle Phone Mount
Yes, I know looking at your phone while you’re riding is extremely dangerous. I also know that riding a motorcycle is a great way to disconnect from the devices that now rule our lives. But bear with me, because there are many reasons why a high-quality motorcycle phone mount makes sense.
For starters, a motorcycle phone mount provides a quick and safe place to store your phone while you ride. These days, most phones fill a back pocket and, as I’m sure you’re already aware, they tend to protrude out when you sit on your motorcycle. So to avoid the risk of your expensive gadget sliding down the asphalt at 60mph, you need an alternative storage solution.
Sure, you could stow your phone in your jacket pocket. But that means struggling with zippers with gloves on or removing your gloves to access the phone. With the phone sitting on your handlebars, you can grab it without any fumbling.
Then there’s the convenience of the features that a mobile phone offers riders. If you’re heading into unknown territory, using an app for directions can make life easy. Along with providing clear turn by turn instructions to your headphones, apps like Waze will alert you of upcoming hazards such as road works, debris or speed cameras.
There’s also music. If you like to have your favourite tunes playing as a backdrop to your ride, having the phone sitting right in front of you means your Bluetooth signal is nice and strong and less likely to cut out.
Again there are countless brands offering motorcycle phone mounts. My personal favourites are those offered by the Australian brand Quadlock.
Essential Motorcycle Accessory #3: A Motorcycle Side Stand Foot
We’ve all parked our motorcycles on a surface that made us feel a bit nervous, whether it was grass, loose dirt, or uneven asphalt. Like me, this would have left you feeling uneasy all day—fearful that you may return to your beloved steed to find it lying on its side. It’s times like these when a side stand foot is indispensable.
What do you think exerts more pressure per square inch? A 100lb person walking in high heels or a 6,000lb elephant? The answer is the person in heels, and it’s by a long shot (approx 20 times more). A larger surface area results in less pressure on the ground. Most motorcycle side stands have a footprint of maybe a couple of inches. Increasing that footprint will drastically reduce the chances of your stand sinking into the ground and your motorcycle tipping over.
This clever little motorcycle accessory attaches to the base of your bike’s side stand and will almost double the size of its footprint. More surface area equals less chance of your motorcycle tipping over—it’s as simple as that.
Essential Motorcycle Accessory #4: The Brake Free Helmet-mounted Brake Light
The Brake Free light is an ingenious invention that came to fame after appearing on the hit TV show Shark Tank. In a nutshell, Brake Free is a helmet-mounted brake light designed to increase your presence on the road and help keep you safe.
The reality is that motorcyclists are much more likely to be injured in an accident than people in cars. Rear-end collisions account for around 6% of recorded motorcycle accidents in the US. The Brake Free Light aims to reduce those statistics by raising your brake light to a more visible level and alerting motorists when you are slowing down—and it does it without wires.
The Brake Free Light attaches to a mounting bracket stuck to your helmet using a 3M sticky pad. Installing it doesn’t require any fiddly electrical work, and there’s no need to pair it with a device to activate it. All you do is turn it on and you’re good to go.
Using inbuilt gyrometers and accelerometers, the Brake Free Light unit automatically detects when you are slowing down (whether that’s from using your motorcycle’s brakes or engine braking). When the Brake Free detects you slowing down, the 100 ultra-bright LEDs in the unit illuminate to alert other motorists. And in the event that the unit detects an emergency brake manoeuvre, the unit flashes brightly to make you even more visible.
Along with its braking functions, the Brake Free Light also offers several running light functions designed to increase your presence on the road even further. The unit is rechargeable and will provide 8–10 hours of lighting from a full charge.
Essential Motorcycle Accessory #5: The Denali SoundBomb Motorcycle Horn
Are you embarrassed by the meek, high pitched squeal your motorcycle’s horn makes? Worse still, have you ever used it and other motorists in their heavily-soundproofed cars didn’t even bat an eyelid? If so, you may want to upgrade your horn to a Denali Sound Bomb.
There’s no tricks or fancy tech involved here; it’s all about volume. Denali’s SoundBomb is 4 times louder than the average motorcycle horn and twice that of the average car. At the push of a button, it produces a 120-decibel blast that’s sure to awaken even the most incognizant of drivers.
The SoundBomb does its thing using an electro-pneumatic horn that wires straight into your existing harness. Although the unit is much larger than your stock horn, it’ll blend in well when it’s mounted tactically.