There are plenty of motorcycle accessories on the market these days. Of course, your motorcycle is your pride and joy, but no machine comes with all the extras that you actually need. Many motorcycle accessories are not even optional because they are essential to keeping your bike safe and to you staying alive.
So if you're new to the world of bikes and motorcycle accessories, then what are your options, and what should you be looking at investing in? We're here to tell you all you need to know, so keep reading!
Personal Safety Motorcycle Accessories
As a bike rider you are vulnerable to other road users’ mistakes, and since you're on a bike rather than safely inside the metal cage of a car, you're even more vulnerable than most drivers are. We all know the terrible standard of driving in South Africa and we need to protect ourselves as far as possible. Most motorcycle accidents are the result of errors by other drivers, so we all need safety equipment and bike accessories that will allow us to survive a fall or crash. These motorcycle accessories are the ones that should be at the top of your list!
The most important of all motorcycle accessories for any motorcyclist is a helmet to protect your brain. Your skull does a reasonable job when you're walking, but it's not so good at protecting you at speeds above 5 km/hr, which is is why motorcycle helmets are compulsory for anyone riding a motorbike.
A good helmet is your only hope of walking away with your brain intact if you have an accident at 80 km/hr (22.2 metres/sec) and it is never something you should compromise on. Buy the best helmet you can afford with a scratch-resistant visor to keep dust and stones out of your eyes even at low speeds. If you have an accident in your helmet then you should destroy it and buy a new one because it will only save your life once! By the same logic you should avoid buying second-hand helmets because you don’t know how many knocks and bangs they have had.
The best brands on the market that you should be looking out for are Scorpion and Shoei, and you can expect to pay anywhere from around R1,000 to R10,000 depending on brand and features. You can find out more by reading Our Guide to Buying Motorcycle Helmets.
Only a naïve novice rides a motorcycle wearing street or running shoes because wearing biker boots is the only way to protect your feet if (when) you come off your bike. Even in our climate your feet will get cold on a motorbike, so boots are also lined to protect your feet from hypothermia, meaning that good motorcycle boots are one of the necessary motorcycle accessories that you have to invest in. You should find that you also have better grip on pedals with real motorcycle boots.
As for brands, look out for TCX, RevZilla and Sidi (who also have a range of motorcycle shoes should you prefer shoes to boots). A decent, mid range pair of biker boots is going to set you back around R1,600.
Jackets and trousers for riding motorcycles are made of leather or synthetic fabrics, but are all designed to protect you when you hit the road. If you are wearing a tee-shirt and shorts when you come off you aren’t going to have much skin left after you have skidded along the tarmac for 20 metres at 20 metres/sec. This might sound harsh, but it's true, and good leathers are an absolute necessity for riding, no matter how hot the weather is.
If you want to know just how effective (and necessary) good bike leathers are, then check out the below video. After watching this, you might want to go buy yourself some. In terms of brand names, RevZilla and Spirit are both reliable names. A decent jacket will set you back around R1,700, and pants around the same. Some people prefer to wear kevlar reinforced jeans or pants, rather than leather, to combat the heat, but prices remain about the same as for leather.
Anti-Theft Motorcycle Accessories
Any motorcycle is an expensive piece of kit, so you are at risk of theft and armed hijacking. Motorcycle accessories like wheel locks and GPS trackers will reduce your risk of loss. If you're interested in protecting that investment that you've made, then here are some motorcycle accessories that you might want to think about buying.
Padded chains that thread through your front wheel and attach to a fixed anchor point are your first line of defence against thieves. They are highly visible and a casual thief will probably just look for another bike that is easier to steal. High quality locks are the only ones you should consider because they will be more difficult to cut using bolt-cutters than low-quality mild steel or aluminium wheel locks are. Kryptonite and (again!) RevZilla are both reliable brands, and you can expect to pay a minimum of about R2,000 for a solid, secure wheel lock.
If someone does manage to get your wheel lock off and to ride off on your bike you will want to be able to get your dream machine back again as quickly as possible! A GPS tracker hidden inside your motorcycle is the best way to prevent hijacking or theft, as well as being the only way you are ever going to see your bike again. You should talk to your insurance company about a discount for fitting an insurance-approved tracker, since some companies do offer this!
You can, of course, buy and fit a tracker yourself, but it's a far easier process to hire a tracking company and have them do installation and monitoring for you. There are many tracking companies in South Africa, including Pulsit, neo-trac, and Bike Spy. You'll need to get quotes from different companies and compare them before deciding which is the right option for you. Expect to pay a monthly fee for this tracking service, which will start from about R120, depending on which benefits you opt for.
If you prefer to fit your own tracking device, you may save money. But you'll need to be tech savvy enough not only to install the device, but also to monitor it. The below video shows you approximately what to expect should you choose to do this yourself.
Motorcycle insurance is not yet compulsory in South Africa, but that situation is likely to change in the next few years. The Road Accident Fund (RAF) will not pay to repair your damaged bike, nor will it pay for the damage to any vehicle that you collide with. The only way to avoid being sued for damages is to have a suitable insurance policy.
A Third Party insurance policy will pay for damage to any vehicle you hit. Adding Fire and Theft cover to that normally costs very little and that will add cover for theft or hijacking of your motorcycle. A Comprehensive policy will add cover for damage to your machine. In short, good motorcycle insurance is one of the best motorcycle accessories you can have if you've made a big investment in your bike!
Navigation Motorcycle Accessories
In addition to motorcycle accessories that keep both you and your bike safe, you might also want to consider navigation accessories to stop you getting lost! Your phone might well have a map application but it's impossible to use a phone when you are driving a motorcycle, so you need a stand-alone GPS Navigation System that delivers driving instructions to earphones inside your helmet, usually by a Bluetooth connection.
These can get pretty pricey, and they're not necessarily a must have for those who only drive in familiar places. But if you want to take your bike touring, or to travel around the country, then a good bike GPS system might end up being one of the most useful motorcycle accessories you ever buy!
The big names in car navigation systems also produce motorbike GPS systems, so you're looking at well known brands such as Tom Tom, Garmin and Zumo. Two features that you're definitely looking for are that the unit should be waterproof (since it will likely be exposed to rain), and that the touchscreen can be used with gloves (most motorbike specific units can, but do make sure of this, since you don't want to take your gloves off on the road). Prices vary quite a bit, though cheaper versions tend not to have a full set of maps (which you'll then need to pay to download later should you need them), so watch out for that! You're looking at paying a minimum of R5,000, with good devices, like the Zumo 590LM, for example, costing around R11,000, so this is a big investment!
Motorcycle Accessories in Conclusion
As a motorcyclist you know that the cost of your bike is only the first item on your bike-related bill. Motorcycle accessories and bike gear such as safety equipment, insurance and anti-theft equipment all have hefty price tags, but you would be wise not to try to skimp in any of these areas because of the high cost of the consequences if things go wrong.
Riding a motorbike can be cool, fun, fuel efficient and cheap too. But you do need to factor in the costs of motorcycle accessories when looking at buying a bike. With all the right kit you'll be safer, and so will your bike!
Main Subject: motorcycle accessories
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