Tips For Before You Start Bolt-On Modifications

Contemplating modifying your ride? Check out these tips first.

Tips before you start bolt-on modifications
Before you start wrenching away, be sure you have the proper tools it takes to make those modifications happen.Cruiser

A surprising number of motorcycle riders tell us they'd like to take a shot at customizing their bikes, but they are unsure of where to start, and are intimidated by the process, even by simple bolt-on additions. The fact is, you can make some pretty significant changes to your bike's appearance with a pile of custom pieces, a few basic tools, and about an hour to apply them.

Here are a couple of general hints for anyone contemplating a bolt-on modification. First, read the instructions carefully before you start. Be sure that you understand fully what's involved and that you have the correct tools. This means the correct sizes of screwdrivers, wrenches and sockets. Pliers are not a substitute for the right wrench. Tighten all the fasteners finger-tight before snugging the first one down fully. Check that all the fasteners are tight when you're done, perhaps reviewing the instructions in the process. After a few hundred miles, go back and check the fasteners again. Don't sacrifice function for form or fashion. A bike quickly loses its appeal when it's no longer fun to ride. Make sure that the changes you make don't make it harder, less fun or less comfortable to ride your bike. They should make your motorcycle more fun. It's better to swallow the expense and re-install the stock part than to let it ruin your motorcycle. When installing billet pieces, leather, studs or fringe, stay within one maker's line—and one design—so everything matches.