Everything in the life of a motorcycle rider is an adventure, a trip. Lately, an increasing amount of new brands came out to the market with an enormous amount of diverse accessories. This, I figured, might be daunting for people starting in this journey. That is the reason why I decided to create a post telling my own story on accessories. I have been accessorizing my rides since the late eighties. Don't worry, I’m not going to suggest any spandex or leather add-ons with spikes. I'm about to tell you about the current accessories you can add to your ride to make it better, safer, more comfortable and fun.
Strap on that helmet and let´s do it!
Let’s start with a fun one. I’ve been riding motorcycles for over three decades. Yes, if you do the Maths that will take you back to the sweet and wild 80s. Back then, I would wear a leather jacket with a little radio inside that was battery-operated. I would race over the hills listening to glam rock like Whitesnake and Van Halen. Well, it was the eighties! That was the cool, hip music back then. I know that it didn’t age right, and now my children laugh at me. What did stick with me besides the music was the idea of riding my bike with my favourite tunes? That was an effort I pursued during my whole life. I love taking my chopper for some weekend fun in the open road, but it is not the same without Neil Young singing to me.
My first attempt was to wear headphones as I was riding. You see, when they started making them small enough to fit my ears under my helmet, I was delighted and started doing it. The problem was that all I could hear with that strategy was the music itself. No complaints about that, but I think it is kind of dangerous to ride without hearing traffic. Next in line were the wireless earphones, better known as ear pods. Those didn’t work either because they would fall off every time I removed my helmet.
Finally, my daughter gave me the best dad’s day present in the history of our lives together. She bought me an interesting motorcycle accessory – the Domio Moto Helmet Audio System and boy was it a revelation for me! She handed me the box, and I looked at her, not knowing what I was getting. “This is something that will make you happy”, she said and hugged me. She was not mistaken for an inch; this little gadget did change my riding life.
I opened the box and inside was the Domio and two mounting bases with all I needed to get it done on the spot. I put one on my daily commuting helmet and another one on my big highway matte black one. Then, I charged it up as we were having lunch and decided to go for a Sunday spin to try it out. I hooked it up with the Bluetooth on my smartphone, and off I went.
The result was just astonishing. I had to go and google it because I couldn’t understand how the sound was getting in. You see, the Domio is not a speaker; it generates vibrations and creates this musical surround sound inside the helmet with them. It is like listening to Pink Floyd in a 5.1 system at home. I also tried some old school hip hop and of course some Bon Jovi and Whitesnake and it all sounded amazing. You just can’t believe the bass in this thing! Last but surely not least, you can hear the Google Maps lady loud and clear all the way long.
My face, when I got back, must have been quite something because all my family instantly knew that I had liked it a lot.
There is only one thing I would change from it, and that is the mounted-in volume control. If you are not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of person, then you are going to have a hard time adjusting it. Moreover, if you mount it on top of your head, you have to do a dangerous chimpanzee manoeuvre to reach it. Other than that, it is the best musical addition to all of my trips since that beautiful Sunday.
Ok, the first one was fun, wasn’t it? Now it is time to get a little serious and talk about motorcycle safety. This is the second row of motorcycle accessories that I think are becoming a need for most riders. The numbers on motorcycle theft are sky-high and if you have, as I do, a couple of collector’s bikes, you are concerned about them. I live in an apartment building and have three bikes in the parking lot. I used to be at work worrying about my original ’53 Royal Enfield in custom colour sparkle red that was parked in the basement. Most days I would go and check that first and then go up to my home.
I tried several devices to track it and bought a big padded lock but wasn’t completely satisfied. Either they would drain the bike’s battery, or I would lose signal or both. That was until I found the Vigo Smart Track. It was a long way to get to it, but finally, a manufacturer has thought of everything a rider needs. To be honest, it seems as if the designers were riders and I was buying accessories made by motorcyclists for motorcyclists.
The Vigo Smart Track is the essential motorcycle accessory under motorcycle accessories for the following reasons:
In addition to that, Vigo will record your every ride. In that way, you’ll always have access to all of your amazing trips, and will also be able to share them with your friends on Social Media. Finally, installation is a breeze, and it can surely be a DIY project. Oh! And I almost forgot! Now I can check on the Royal from work just opening the app. Peace of mind is the name of the game for me.
Speaking about safety, these next two accessories are a fantastic discovery. To begin with, they are super easy to attach to any bike. Second, they are game-changers in terms of safety while on the road. Finally, they are not an expensive addition to your motorcycles.
Let’s get right to them!
This is a fantastic addition for those of us who happen to drive a car as well as ride a bike. I take my youngest son to school still, and for that, I use the family car. Although he always wants me to take him on the biggest, most noisy motorbike I own, the car is safer. What does a car do that a motorcycle doesn’t? It disengages the turning lights automatically after you’ve finished the turn. This is a significant difference because I always end up leaving them on, and that is giving fellow riders and drivers false information. This is to say that because of my negligence, I can easily cause a traffic accident. With this little device installed, I feel safer than ever.
To be honest, I wasn’t looking for something like this, and I came across it just by chance. A friend of mine had it on a bike he lent me for a ride. I was trying out the RPM, and the engine like any of us would do until I noticed that after taking a turn, the turning light popped out on its own. I tried it again, and it did it again. Needless to say, it is installed even in the Royal now.
The same company manufacturing the Vigo and the Smart Turn System has yet a third gadget that is amazing. I think they have to be riders because each of them addresses a need long forgotten by most companies. For starters, I am not only a commuter, so I ride in the city, but I also love big bikes with massive engines for the highway. I don’t mean the Royal; I mean 1000cc engines in the open air. With such an engine pushing you forward, you just tend to use the gearbox to slow down. It is a fact; it just makes transitions smoother. Moreover, staying away from brakes in the open road is, I would say, the way to do it.
If you’re interested in the STS and SBM, you can easily check if they are compatible with your bike. Just fill in the form below and find out 😉
The thing about that is that the stoplight will not light up. If it doesn’t, you will not be telling others of your intentions. You can get into serious trouble for it and maybe even cause an accident. It is safe to say that the stoplight is there for a reason, right? Well, this little gadget does precisely that: it engages your stoplight as soon as it senses you lost speed. It was like discovering gold under a rock. I installed it on every big bike I have. Combining the three accessories makes you feel as safe as it is humanly possible.
Let’s face it; smartphones today carry 80% of all our lives in their guts. We have our maps, music, camera, social media and contacts all in one place. If you follow my advice and get yourself a Vigo Smart Track, you will also have a GPS for your bike there.
This accessory I’m telling you about comes in two different versions: one for the rearview mirror and one for the handlebar. In fact, I tried both and can say that I prefer the handlebar one, but they are both excellent. They come with everything ready to install in several sizes to fit any handlebar, and you’ll be out and riding in no time.
The best thing about it is the extension arm that allows you to position it in such a way that you can see the road, the speedometer, and the cellphone too. Whenever I am rolling around with my Domio on, and I don’t understand the instructions, I go for the screen. It is also handy for the moments Spotify, and I have a taste disagreement.
If there is one thing I love is recording the road as I go. I started doing it way before modern technology ever hit the market. I used to take my Sony Videocam with me everywhere, strap it to the bike and press the record button at certain spots.
With that in mind, I always go through the new helmet cameras. Although I tried many, I always go back to Go Pro. I think I must have gone through five or six of the seven models that they put out in the history of the brand. Let me tell you why I choose it.
Once I was lucky enough to be making a field trip in Myanmar at a place called Inle Lake. I noticed something shining with the midday sun. I rowed to it with my canoe and found a Go Pro someone had dropped. Although it had been submerged for days and covered in green must, I plugged it in and voilà! It is now part of my collection (I tried locating the owners through social media with no luck).
The sort of fish-eye lens in the Go Pro is impressive to capture the entire landscape. Many times I stop at someplace and just take it off the helmet to make the best pictures.
It is such a great product that if you are like me and travel around a lot, you can buy replacement parts virtually anywhere. The only con I find for it is the size: it is too small. Although most people think of it like a pro, I think it makes it very easy to get lost or stolen.
Being a rider is supposed to be fun. Accessorizing your rides to make them safer and more comfortable is a great way to make them even more enjoyable. Although I have gone through that path with ups and downs, it taught me some precious lessons. I hope I was able to share them with you, and you can start accessorizing your journey the right way. In sum, if riders unite and divide this kind of knowledge, we can make everybody’s life better.
Feel free to let us know about any accessories we missed here and to share this post with fellow riders. Maybe you can answer a lot of questions with just a couple of clicks.