Forged magnesium wheels, big bore kits and carbon fiber bodywork are fantastic upgrades for the independently wealthy, but what about the rest of us? This month's GEAR is dedicated to sensible stuff to actually improve your ride without breaking the bank.
Traxxion Dynamics Fork Springs
Unless you're a jockey, odds are your bike's OE springs aren't the ideal rate. Thankfully, better handling is just a spring swap away. Traxxion Dynamics straight-rate fork spring kits are available for all popular motorcycles and are manufactured from lightweight chrome-silicon steel that's guaranteed for life to be within 2% of the claimed rate. Kits cost $109.95 and include spacer material and installation instructions. Ride something peculiar? Traxxion will wind you your own custom springs for a nominal fee.
Vance & Hines Fuelpak
To many motorcyclists' chagrin, sport bikes are tuned as much for emissions as for power. The $279.95 Fuelpak from racing legend Vance & Hines provides your FI bike with the optimum fuel/air ratio for precise throttle response and maximum power. Set-up is simple: plug the unit in, select your bike and any applicable modifications, enter the settings, and hit the road. No computer or dyno runs needed. Programmed settings are the result of extensive dyno and road testing. Upgrades don't get much easier.
Autolite Xtreme Sport Iridium Spark Plugs
Time to replace your spark plugs? Deposits and deterioration can slow spark formation and keep your engine from performing at its best. Autolite's new Xtreme Sport plugs are engineered with a tapered iridium-coated center electrode for a more focused spark and better ignition - an easy way to get more muscle and miles per gallon. The iridium-enhanced electrode also resists erosion better than standard materials, so your plugs will last longer. The plugs retail for $9.95 a piece.
Galfer Braking Components
Upgrading your braking package is an easy way to increase your bike's performance, feel, and safety. Galfer stainless steel brake lines feature 64-count braiding and a PVC coating in your choice of 10 colors for about $90 a set. Hoses are made on-bike with pre-positioned fittings, and come with banjo bolts and crush washers for quick and easy installation. Galfer's brake pads run the gamut from everyday street pads like the G1054s (starting at $58 a set) to the recently released G1003 race pads that have been used by the likes of Mat Mladin and Ben Spies.
Motion Pro Tire Gauge
Inflating your motorcycle's tires to the proper pressure is as important as making sure there's oil in your engine. Crummy pencil gauges and crummier gas station varieties offer rough approximations at best. At $92.95, Motion Pro's professional-grade tire gauge is a worthwhile upgrade. Its large liquid-filled face reads in 1 psi increments and is accurate to within 1.5 percent of its 60 psi maximum. An integrated pressure relief valve makes easy work of dropping tire pressures for time on the track.
Changing your bike's gearing is the easiest way to improve performance, and Driven Racing has everything you need to upgrade your drive train. Bolting on a larger rear cog or smaller countershaft sprocket (or some combination thereof) will improve acceleration and lets you set your bike's gearing for the roads you ride most. Driven's case-hardened steel front sprockets start at $24, and their hard-anodized aluminum rears start at $55, and can shave over a pound off your rear wheel compared to the stock steel ring. Rear cogs are available in gold, red, blue, green, black, and chrome.
Gilles Tooling X-Treme Levers
Professional racers know the importance of an ergonomically correct cockpit. That's why so many choose Gilles Tooling X-Treme levers. Properly adjusted hand controls yield better feel for more precise, relaxed riding, and the X-Treme levers offer up to 50 adjustments. German engineered and beautifully machined from billet aluminum, the Gilles levers feature a compact adjustment wheel and an integrated hinge that reduces the potential for breakage in the event of a crash. X-Treme levers are available in several ergonomic variations and anodized colors for $189.95.
Zero Gravity Corsa Screen
It may not be a direct performance upgrade for street riders, but a Corsa screen from Zero Gravity sure will make your bike look faster. Superior clarity, excellent fit, and superb strength and flexibility make the Corsa a favorite with racers at all levels. Made from the finest grade acrylic plastic, the Corsa screen has a steeply tapered shape that provides excellent aerodynamics and a distinctly MotoGP appearance. The Corsa is available for late-model sport bikes for under $100.
Leo Vince GP PRO Slip-On
Bin that boat-anchor of a stock exhaust can and strap on one of these MotoGP-inspired slip-ons from Leo Vince. Lighter, louder, and tuned for power, the GP PRO slip-on is TIG welded in typical Italian style and is supported by a beautiful carbon fiber bracket. Built with experience garnered from years of racing, the $519 GP PRO is said to increase power and torque by up to 5% across the board. The removable dB killer insert cuts the exhaust volume without squashing its character, keeping you and the neighbors happy.