With the gift-giving season on the horizon, we thought you’d appreciate a few ideas to get you started. To learn the most popular choices, we reached out to readers for recommendations. Although the respondents had diverse experiences, ranging from industry experts to casual riders, definite themes emerged.
Here are the top selections. From stocking-stuffers to larger items, they add comfort, enjoyment, and convenience, reduce fatigue, and ultimately, enhance safety.
- Multi-tool. You can make many quick roadside fixes with the bike-supplied tool kit. However, a quality pocket-sized multi-tool can give you that bit of added convenience to help you out of a bind. Select a model with a variety of hex wrenches, open-end wrenches, sockets, and a socket driver—in sizes to fit your bike.
- Heated grips. Warning! If you haven’t experienced the comfort of heated gear, this could get you started. Numb fingers make braking and shifting more difficult, reducing response times and potentially compromising your safety. Heated grips extend your season and they feel so good in cold weather. Even if your gloves get wet, keeping your palms warm minimizes discomfort. Bear in mind, however, that cold hands indicate your core is trying to conserve heat by drawing blood from the extremities. Prolonged cold-weather riding requires other solutions to stay warm.
- Luggage. One of the most convenient, efficient, and versatile pieces you can have is a waterproof, durable tail bag. Look for a product that can be securely mounted to your rear seat and is easy to remove and carry around when you’re off the bike. Whether you’re commuting or touring, tail bags add a great deal of utility.
- Saddlebag liners. You can stuff an astounding amount of clothes and things-you-can’t-do-without into your motorcycle’s hard bags. But luggage can be a pain to remove, even if it’s not permanently mounted. Nor do you want to have to root around for what you need and trail it to your room. Removable saddlebag liners help keep things organized, can be easily removed, and with built-in handles or a shoulder strap, are easily carried.
- Auxiliary lighting. Stock lights are adequate but there’s no question that adding bright lights helps you see and be seen. Beware that not all are created equal and it’s important to choose wisely to suit your riding style and location. You’ll need to consider factors like light colour, intensity, beam pattern (flat/cone-shaped), fog or amber lenses, heat dissipating housing, and dimming options (annoying blinding oncoming traffic at night defeats any incremental safety). Lastly, check local regulations to minimize attracting unwanted attention. LED headlamps An Illuminating Lesson – Choosing the Right Light. https://adventuremotorcycle.com/gear/an-illuminating-lesson
- Auxiliary power supply. Small enough to fit in your pocket, portable jump starters and battery packs can charge any USB device, including phones, tablets, and speakers. They even come with a built-in LED flashlight and jumper cables that can be used to charge your motorcycle’s battery. Alternatively, a permanently mounted direct lead to your battery enables you to power other gadgets.
- Satellite communicators. One of the biggest calls of the open road is that feeling of freedom and independence. However, there can be a price to pay if things go awry, especially if you’re travelling solo, or in remote locations. GPS trackers offer peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Depending on the device, you can communicate with those back home, share your location, post to social media, and navigate. In case of an emergency, you can use it to trigger an SOS call.
- Appropriate windscreen. It’s fantastic to feel the wind on my face, but I can do without the bugs, gravel, rain, cigarette butts, and other debris. A correctly designed, measured, and installed windscreen cuts down on the assault from wind gusts and buffeting, thereby reducing fatigue, especially on long days in the saddle. In inclement weather, they dramatically reduce wind chill and rain blasts. https://www.bikebandit.com/blog/post/the-buyers-guide-to-motorcycle-windshields
- Air horn. These will almost certainly get the attention of the driver who’s wandering into your lane or about to turn left in front of you. The decibel scale is exponential, so a horn rated at 120dB is four times louder than a standard motorcycle horn. Purchasing a unit with a separate compressor and horn assembly gives you more flexibility for fitting it to your bike.
- Throttle lock. This little gadget makes a huge difference in increasing comfort and reducing fatigue on long-distance rides. I purchased one for $20 and used it very effectively during the 80,000 km. I put on my big dual-sport bike. The electronic cruise control on my Triumph Tiger makes it obsolete, but I’ve kept it just in case. Most are super easy to install, use, and override. They give your arm a rest without taking your hand off the handlebars. Just don’t use them in traffic.
- Ergonomic improvements. Motorcycles come in fairly standard, consistent configurations. Riders do not. Finding the motorcycle that’s best for you, then making sure it fits you properly is crucial to your safety and comfort. Ergonomic modifications, under the guidance of a professional, involve customizing anything from your bike’s seat, to foot pegs, handlebars and earplugs. Changes can enhance your body positioning, affecting your line of sight, ability to react quickly, and comfort.
- Skills training. Completing a basic skills course is just the beginning. Keeping your skills sharp and staying safe requires life-long learning under the guidance of a professional instructor. There are many alternatives to bring your riding to the next level. Off-road riding schools teach road riders how to deal with loss of traction, react to road obstacles, and adapt to changing conditions. Advanced rider training is designed for experienced riders who don’t need to go to the race track but want to enhance their skills in a controlled environment with expert instruction. It almost doesn’t matter what you take. Just take something from a recognized organization! Many schools sell gift certificates.
Now it’s up to you to get your list written and communicated. Happy shopping!