Motorcycle.com is no fashion rag, but maybe the fashion maxim of “Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!” has some merit here after all. That’s because changing the looks and capabilities of your bike can be just as important to a happy ride as is changing apparel for your work or social life. Just for instance, adding a taller or shorter seat tailors the bike to your proportions better, thereby improving ride comfort. Adding a windscreen, a USB adapter, and a tail bag turns it into a light tourer. Getting front and rear shop stands make cleaning and servicing the wheels way easier and more fun. And then, adding custom-style anodized parts adds a bit of bling that really stands out.
There’s an undeniable appeal to the Honda Grom and other little bikes like it – the Kawasaki Z125, Kymco K-Pipe 125, SSR Razkull, and Benelli TnT135 come to mind. All of these little tikes offer silly amounts of fun for a relatively small ding to your wallet. Of course, gearheads being gearheads, we can’t leave well enough alone, and it was only a matter of time before the aftermarket had gone crazy modifying these things. It’s madness to see this little 125cc, two-valve Single, meant for simple mass transit especially in the Asian market, get transformed to fire-breathing racers with five-speed transmissions and carbon fiber wheels costing more than the bike itself! We’ve even seen some making double their stock 10-ish horsepower! Imagine taking your bike and bolting on twice the power.
For this four-part series, we take a look at five easy bolt-on parts that will transform your ADV bike from a Starbucks-destined road queen, to a Dakar-ready desert blasting rally winner. Or something like that. This series is designed to show how much of a difference a few well-thought-out adventure bike upgrades can make to the off-road prowess of your big ADV bike.
[Frequent MO readers will know that our friend, Thai Long Ly, is not a man of few words. Consequently, we should’ve known what we were getting into when he offered to write up his experience with Tuono modifications. Still, we never expected an 8,400-word opus. So, we decided to break the story into easier to digest pieces. Here is Part 3 for your reading enjoyment. If you missed it, catch up on the part one and part two. –Ed.]
[Frequent MO readers will know that our friend, Thai Long Ly, is not a man of few words. Consequently, we should’ve known what we were getting into when he offered to write up his experience with Tuono modifications. Still, we never expected an 8,400-word opus. So, we decided to break the story into easier to digest pieces. Here is Part 2 for your reading enjoyment. If you missed it, catch up on the first part here, and check back later for the third and final part. –Ed.]
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, we – err, at least I – really love the Kawasaki Ninja 400. Ryan came off the bike at its press intro and was happy as could be. He’s such a fan that he pointed out the 10 things he specifically likes about it. Then, once we stacked it up against the KTM RC390 and Honda CBR500R in our 2018 Lightweight Sportbike Shootout, the Ninja 400 came away a winner, yet again. As far as lightweight sportbikes go, this one is sweet. It’s a great entry-level motorcycle for the new or returning rider, but has plenty of performance for the experienced rider to exploit.
[Frequent MO readers will know that our friend, Thai Long Ly, is not a man of few words. Consequently, we should’ve known what we were getting into when he offered to write up his experience with Tuono modifications. Still, we never expected an 8,400-word opus. So, we decided to break the story into easier to digest pieces. Here is Part 1 for your reading enjoyment. – Ed.]
Every Harley-Davidson owner and just about every motorcyclist knows that the Motor Company’s line of performance products is called Screamin’ Eagle. However, many may just look at the upgrades as being mostly the same as the multitudes of aftermarket hop-up parts available. Since the release of the Milwaukee-Eight engine in the 2017 Harley-Davidson touring models, the engineers and media people behind Screamin’ Eagle thought that now would be a good time to explain – in detail – what they feel sets these components apart from the others on the market. So, we were sent out to Milwaukee to learn about and experience first-hand how the Screamin’ Eagle kits can improve the ME’s performance without many of the compromises required by aftermarket kits.
What is it about motorcycles that makes riders immediately want to modify their bikes? Sometimes, they don’t even make it out of the dealership before some of the OE parts have been replaced with “performance enhancing” upgrades. Back in the days when tires seemed to made out of stone, swapping out the stock rubber for something stickier truly was a way to earn street cred (assuming you scrubbed off the chicken strips) and improve the bike’s performance. Of course, this was during the Pleistocene epoch, when aluminum was considered an exotic material, and swapping out steel parts was another easy path to a sportier motorcycle.
We last left you hanging November 1 with Part I of our Evan Steel Performance-built 2000 Yamaha R1 project bike, wherein ESP took our hard-knock $1,500 Craigslist R1 and turned the old girl into, if not quite a beauty, a liter-bike packing enough performance to run with a much younger crowd. A little cylinder head work and a little bump-up in compression, a little crankshaft lightening, a little expert Dynojet carb-kitting and Akrapovic race-pipeage – nothing really radical, in other words – and here’s what we’ve come up with.
I bought my $1,500 mongrel 2000 Yamaha R1 during a sad period of my life when people weren’t giving me new motorcycles every week or two, and I needed a project I could ride. A couple years later, I bumped into Evan Steel ( evansteelperformance), who trained under the great Kaz Yoshima of Ontario Moto-Tech fame, and worked with Jeremy Toye at Lee’s Cycles in San Diego for some time. A few years ago, Evan and business partner/ fellow moto-wiz Phil Allison (Toye’s ex-Superbike mechanic) set off to open their own shop in Tucson, Arizona, where they love the warmth. More recently, Evan has been off in Italy tuning Aaron Yates’s EBR World Superbike, yet another thankless task … Before all the EBR stuff transpired, though, Evan said I should drop off my old R1 at his shop so he could build a beast like the first-gen R1 he and Kaz and Phil built for multi-time Willow Springs Champ Curtis Adams back in the Formula USA days. Why not? By then, people were giving me new bikes again, thank God.