New Bike Fever: Part 1

By Iain Glynn

It’s that time of the year again when one of your buddies buys a new bike and that gets you thinking. You start visiting dealerships and snooping around the new models, you read reviews online until your eyes burn but you haven’t taken that fateful last step yet… The ‘kiss of death’ to your self restraint and bank account is riding that brand new bike. A new bike just feels so fresh and clean and new. That mix of sharp handling, new ergonomics, quick power, and tight controls just reminds you of how worn out your current bike is and there is just no going back. The good news is that there is an alternative to falling under the spell of that new model and Touratech is here to help!

The most eye opening thing about riding a showroom fresh bike is how new everything feels. Components of any machine wear with use and time but this wear accumulates slowly enough that most riders cannot perceive the gradual performance decline of their bike. When you jump on a brand new bike the stark contrasts between it and your current ride are highlighted by the immediacy of the change. The secret that most people don’t know is that you can upgrade your current bike to be even better than that new model in most ways by replacing everything that you feel with new parts. It sounds crazy but it’s true and if you check out what most motorcycle mechanics are riding you won’t see the brand new model, you will see older bikes that have been upgraded and tweaked to near perfection. These tweaks and upgrades fall into two categories: what you can feel and what you can measure.

Helas Hi-Rez copy

Feeling Right

The parts of your motorcycle that you touch and interact with are all critically important to the feel of riding. Every touch, push, pull, and twist is what you experience on your bike and a brand new bike feels so crisp because everything is working as designed. You can service and replace specific items on your current bike to get it feeling great again. Here is a specific list of the highest reward items to get you started:

Service all pivot points and the throttle tube. The first touch with any new bike in the showroom is always either a twist of the throttle or a squeeze of the brake lever. Chances are good that your current bike has collected some dirt in the parts that move and that dirt makes the controls feel less smooth.

On most bikes it’s very easy to pull the pivot pins for the brake and clutch levers for inspection. If you find the pins too dirty or corroded, you can put them in an electric drill and spin them in sand paper to clean up the metal. Run a paper towel through the pivot points in the levers and where they rub against the perches to remove any built up grit. Apply a thin coating of waterproof grease or anti-seize and reassemble. Apply this same treatment to the rear brake pedal pivot and the folding tips of the brake and gear levers (if so equipped). For older bikes you should do the same with the foot peg pins because its very likely they are sticky and squeaky by now.

The throttle tube on most bikes actually slides against the handlebar and when dirt accumulates between the two your throttle will get harder to turn and may not snap back closed quickly. You can simply remove the cable housing and slide the throttle tube off the end of the handlebar to clean up both surfaces. Use brake cleaner and a paper towel on the bar and then push that towel through the throttle grip to collect the dirt. Reassemble these parts dry and your throttle should now snap closed crisply like new.

Hand grips on bikes are quite similar to tires in their function. You can get HARD grips that last a long time but don’t offer much traction or you can get grips that offer lots of traction and vibration absorption but wear more quickly. Simply changing the grips on your bike can have a huge effect on what you feel while riding. Be sure to glue your new grips on, or use safety wire to hold them in place. If your bike has factory installed heated grips, you probably don’t want to install a new set but you can add a set of neoprene grip covers. The grip covers are a cheap and easy way to add vibration absorption to factory heated grips and stop the wear that will eventually work through to the heating element and require replacing the expensive heated grips. In my experience the grip covers must be safety wired because the porous material soaks up rainwater and they will spin on the grip when wet even if they fit tightly in the dry.

A motorcycle seat isn’t forever and chances are, that your seat is beyond broken-in at this point. Aftermarket seats or replacement seat covers are a great way to update the look of your bike and really change the fit and functionality of the machine. Maybe you want an easier reach to the ground so you buy a new lower seat, maybe you want more highway comfort so you buy a taller seat that is wider in the sitting area. There are even some high tech seats like the Touratech DriRide seats that have a mesh cover with a built in vapor-flow membrane that allows water vapor to be wicked away from your Goretex pants and through the seat cover to eliminate ‘monkey butt’ on hot days. Suede covers were used decades ago for this same reason but the DriRide seats are waterproof (unlike suede) so they don’t absorb rainwater and turn your bike into a wet sponge.


The old windscreen on your bike is likely scratched and chipped from cleaning or off-road use and bolting up a new screen can help the bike look new again as well as really changing the riding experience at speed. Touratech’s rally inspired screens are wind tunnel tested, available in many different sizes, and all feature a turned back lip at the top of the screen. This lip at the top is VERY IMPORTANT when using the bike off pavement or riding in a standing position, just ask anyone who has been hit in the face by a windscreen! The turned away lip at the top of the screen creates a blunt surface where you may hit it rather than the sharp edge that can come at you in a crash.


Don’t forget to treat yourself here too! Maybe you could us a new helmet or a new set of gloves. A lightweight helmet that moves through the air smoothly like the Aventuro Carbon 2 can really change how you feel on your motorcycle. The constant wind noise or strain on your neck can be fatiguing or cause headaches after long hours on the road. If you aren’t spending all your hard earned money on a new bike you can upgrade your riding gear while you are doing all this work to improve safety and overall riding experience.

KW0_7265n Digital