Babes Ride Out

Simple Modifications and How To's via Biltwell

Sponsors, DIY TipsAshmore Ellis

Modifying your own motorcycle can be one of the most satisfying things a rider can do. Here’s a quick rundown on a few bikes that have primarily bolt on modifications that the novice customizer should be able to tackle.

The 86-03 Harley-Davidson Sportster is a favorite of ours to start from when it comes to modifying a bike. With dozens of companies offering hundreds of various bolt on products, these motorcycles can be made into anything you desire with a quick google search for the part of mod you are looking for. Below is Bill’s EZXL that he refurbed a few years back.

Bill’s EZXL

Bill’s EZXL

 

This bike features mainly bolt-on parts and accessories and some refinishing. Here’s a brief list of the mods and what it takes to accomplish them.

 Handlebar, Riser, Throttle Tube & Grips

o Time to complete: 2-5 hours

o Tools needed: 

 US socket and wrench set 

 US allen key set

 Torx Socket Set

 WD-40 (for installing rubber grips)

o Install tip: Understand what the “dimple” in the handlebar does before tackling this project.

 Seat

o Time to complete: 1-2 hours

o Tools needed: 

 US socket and Wrench set 

 US allen key set

 Phillips screwdriver

 Drill & drill bits

 File (to clean up the hole)

o Install tip: Put a piece of wood in between your tire and where you are drilling your fender. If you don’t you might punch a hole in your rubber. 

 Air cleaner, carb mount, and breather bolts

o Time to complete: 1-2 hours

o Tools needed: 

 US socket and wrench set 

 US allen key set

 Phillips screwdriver

 Snap ring pliers (for breather bolt install)

o Install Tip: Make sure to buy a carb support if you get an air cleaner like this one. The air cleaner will bolt directly to the carb, but without the support, your carb can come loose and fall off. It’s an easier mistake to make than you think. 01-15 Triumph Bonneville’s are another platform that don’t need much help if any. Here’s Corinne’s Bonnie that she lightly modified into the adventure machine you see today.

Corinne’s Bonnie

Corinne’s Bonnie

She went with some performance mods on this thing that might be a little intimidating to some, but if you ever have issues, a shop can always bail you out. By doing the install on things like the exhaust system, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars rather than having the local tune and serve do all the work. You may even get lucky and not even need additional calibration as many modern bikes come with smart EFI and carb systems that will self-tune to work with various intake and exhaust mods.

 Exhaust System

o Time to complete: 2-5 hours

o Tools needed: 

 Metric socket and Wrench set 

 Metric allen key set

 Pipe spring puller (depends on pipes)

o Install Tip: Always replace your exhaust gaskets when installing new exhaust. Many bolt on exhaust systems do not come with these, so make sure to plan a trip to your local dealer to get them before you dive into this. 

 Footpegs: Rider & Passenger

o Time to complete: 1-2 hours

o Tools needed: 

 Metric Wrench set (depends on specific model)

 Metric allen key set (depends on specific model)

 Snap ring pliers (depends on specific model)

o Install tip: Make sure the foot pegs are installed so that if the motorcycle falls over, the pegs are oriented so they can fold up. This is also so that if you are dragging your pegs that they can fold up rather than catch and edge and put you down.

 Seat

o Time to complete: 15-30 minutes

o Tools needed: 

 Metric socket set (depends on specific model)

 Metric allen key set (depends on specific model)

o Install tip: Make sure the front tab is hooked in place or your seat will not be secure in the front and/or it won’t mount properly.For those seeking a slightly bigger bike, late model 06+ H-D Dynas are a solid choice to eat up big chunks of miles on the freeway and open roads. Our favorite local mechanic, Chris Hardwick of Temecula Motorcycle Service, owns this black beast. 

Chris Hardwick

Chris Hardwick

Since this bike is fairly powerful and capable of going long distances right off the showroom floor, Chris mainly stuck to aesthetic changes to dial this thing in. Here’s some of the mods he made.

 Shocks

o Time to complete: 1-4 hours

o Tools needed: 

 US socket and wrench set 

 US allen key set

 Motorcycle jack (Harbor Freight sells these for $100)

o Install tip: Depending on what exhaust system you have, you may need to remove the rear portion of the exhaust prior to removing and reinstalling the shocks. Just check to see if the lower shock bolts will clear the pipes prior to starting in order to a lot the right amount of time for this project.

 Seat

o Time to complete: 15-30 minutes

o Tools needed: 

 US allen key set (depends on specific model)

 Phillips & standard head screwdriver (depends on specific model)

o Install tip: Make sure the front tab is in the right place or your seat will not be secure in the front and/or it won’t mount properly.

 Powdercoat

o One of the easiest ways to make your bike a one of a kind is to paint or powdercoat parts of your bike. Your local powder coater will have hundreds of colors to choose from and just about any metal surface on your bike is a worthy candidate for the finish. Wheels, bolt on covers, heat shields, etc are just some of the parts people will powdercoat. 

o Tip: Fuel tanks and oil bags that have been used are not good candidates for powdercoat unless they have been thoroughly cleaned.

To see a ton of affordable and clean looking parts to modify your bike with, head over to Biltwell and also check out their youtube channel below to see all the modifications you can do from home.