Top 5 »must haves« that aren’t factory fitted to your motorcycle
by Miha Ernstschneider STS
You are buying a new motorcycle, you checked the motorcycle reviews, and you have all the information about the appearance, price, performance and many technical specs. Let’s be honest, the decision which motorcycle to buy is often connected with the looks and performance, and if the price is right, we can quickly make a decision. But later, after the enthusiasm of riding a new bike gets blurred, we get to discover little things that we are missing. We often search for motorcycle aftermarket parts and accessories to fulfil those little needs for a confident, safe and comfortable ride and here is the TOP 5 list of motorcycle gear that I believe should be factory fitted.
#5 Smartphone –> motorcycle –> helmet connectivity
Nowadays, almost everything you need is probably already available as an app on your smart phone. By everything I mean the navigation, media player, route planner etc. If motorcycles would have a straightforward and practical solution to connect your smart phone and a Bluetooth communication system on your bike, you could definitely save a lot of money. A box where you could put away your smart phone with a 5 V charging cable and a connectivity system, a practical handlebar controller and a handlebar display that can mirror your phone. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, BMW just recently presented their solution than can be optionally added to some of their latest models and it just might be a step in the right direction.
#4 Gear indicator
All motorcycles have a »neutral gear« indicator light on the dashboard, but the majority of them don’t show you which gear you are currently in. Many riders say you don’t need a gear indicator since you can orient yourself by the sound of the engine and you can rely on the feeling. But since the communication sets are trendy nowadays, and many of them allow you even to listen to some music via Bluetooth connection with your smart phone, the sound of your engine may get blurred by other sounds. Did it ever occur to you, that you wanted to »take off.« but besides the loud noise from your exhaust and some strange looks, nothing else happened, and you didn’t even move? 😉 Well, a gear indicator wouldn’t be a bad thing to have from the factory and could only be of help and maybe even save you some fuel in the long run.
#3 Smart brake light modulator
Light modulators are quite popular for many reasons. Some add it to their motorcycles because it looks good and some do it for the safety features it brings. Regardless of the reason, the light modulator changes the light intensity in different patterns and what is important here, is that it attracts attention. As a biker, you want to get noticed on the road, and everything that increases your visibility adds to your safety. While braking, the brake light modulator makes your brake light flash with a pattern that will make you more visible to the motorists behind you. It is proven that the human eye reacts faster to changing patterns compared to constant ones. Even the speed of the flashing mode could give us an intuitive feeling on how much braking power you applied – in high-end cars they added the quick flashing brake light function when braking in an emergency, and this could be easily applied to motorcycles as well. But there is one more thing that has been left out – motorcycles decelerate quickly just by releasing the throttle. Braking with the engine is much stronger than in cars, but in such cases, the brake light doesn’t signal your deceleration to the motorists behind you. Turning on the brake light while braking with the engine is something that a smart brake light modulator can do, but the feature can only be added as an aftermarket device since the manufacturers don’t integrate this function from the factory. In my opinion, they should.
#2 Self-cancelling turn signals
A feature we take for granted in cars, a feature that was integrated into several motorcycle models from different brands for more than four decades but it never became standard equipment. The reasons were several, but the main reasons were the costs for the manufacturer, the unreliability, lack of precision and that the existing solutions never came up to the expectations of the rider. You can read all about it in one of my previous posts about »Turn signals in traffic« PART ONE and PART TWO and another post on »It’s not rocket science – or is it? Turn signal (R)Evolution!«. In my humble opinion, the self-cancelling turn signal modules should be factory fitted to every motorcycle, and since it can affect the riders safety and add to the confidence, it would make sense that the motorcycle industry would put a bit more effort into finding and integrating a viable solution. The Smart Turn System is already available as an aftermarket.device, and the customer feedback is more than amazing. In fact, several OEM’s are already testing it for a possible factory integration, and maybe the self-cancelling feature will finally become a standard equipment on a larger scale than it is today.
#1 Fuel gauge, Gas gauge
OK seriously, it’s 2017, and still, the majority of new motorcycles don’t indicate the level of fuel left in the fuel tank. Is it really necessary to always calculate how many miles were ridden from the last visit to the petrol station? What about if I don’t always fill the fuel tank to the fullest? Yes, there are several models with an odometer that counts the miles after the nasty yellow light starts to remind you that you should find the petrol station but you can never be quite sure if you are going to make it. Do you enjoy the »gambling« feeling? You just might, if you know exactly how far the next petrol station is, but if you don’t, it can become quite frustrating. It is definitely easier to plan your fuel stop with a fuel gauge.
The motorcycle industry is struggling to follow the development we see in cars, and it is about time to make some changes. Let’s face it, a lot is changing in traffic, and we can expect that in the next two or three decades, the transportation system will change significantly and from today’s point of view, daily traffic will be hard to compare to what we are used to today. I hope the development of motorcycles will follow automotive trends without taking away the fun in riding a bike but still enhance the usability, safety and connectivity to keep the two wheeled lovers a part of the road even in the future.
Let’s see what the future will bring us. Stay safe and enjoy the ride!