Motorcycle Customization – Shared Passion and Individual Style

One of the key parts of motorcycling is making your ride unique to your taste. Motorcycling is all about the shared passion and individual style. Motorcycle customization has become big business driven by this need to take a showroom stock motorcycle and “Pimp” it out if you will. The demand for aftermarket parts has created a huge startup with ma and pa stores. Small time fabricators are designing custom pieces for their favorite motorcycles and offering them to the masses. This is not to say that the major motorcycle corporations have not taken notice.

Honda offers their very popular VTX motorcycle models in 13 different customization styles. You can mix and match to your heart is content. Victory motorcycle has also jumped into the customization game by offering customer a Custom Order Program. Victory basically lets the customer build the bike online the way the customer wants it by picking from the various custom options. Victory started this program back in 2004 and have been running it ever since. Most notibly with the Victory Hammer and now the extreme custom Victory Jackpot model. With the Ness team providing styling input for the Victory line, the customer ends up being the real winner here.

Victory is a breath of fresh air on the popular V-Twin cruiser market. They offer sharp stylish looking machines that actually are well built and perform really well. Harley-Davidson needs to take note. While Harley-Davidson business model has switched to making dealerships have multi-acre showrooms selling nothing but clothing, Victory came in under the radar and listened to their customers and provided them what they want — a stylish reliable high performance machine. Harley Davidson owners are quickly trading in their motorcycles for Victory Hammers, Vegas, Jackpots, and Kingpins. You will find it very difficult to find many Victory motorcycles on the showroom. No it is not that they are now just selling clothing like Harley dealers, but that they cannot keep the Victory motorcycles in stock.

Motorcycle Theft

The market for stolen bikes right now is so big, it is ridiculous! Most bikes get taken around 2:00-3:30 am when no one is up looking out the windows. The thieves will first drive around and look for bikes they and/or their customers want. Then they will return with their van and three or four other guys to help throw the bike in the back of van. It is a one, two, three process taking no longer than 5 minutes. Once the thieves have your bike, they take it home, pop the ignition, get a new ignition done. Get the bike stamped up through the junk yard, get a new salvage title, new numbers and that’s it.

Thieves are looking at: R1s, R6, CBR600. Looking at anything that is fast. Most thieves are into the fast Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki bike. Not the Harley, Buell, Triumph. Why? because that is the bike scene. The customer will tell the theif what they want. Most will charge $100 per cc of engine the bike has. The Hayabusa is $1500 on top. R6 will cost you $600.

Easiest place to snatch a bike is from an apartment complex. Thieves have cutters for all the high-end cable locks. A screw driver will pop any Kryptonite lock. People think that gated communties are safe. They are not. The keypad entry sequence is easy to compromise. A decoy will enter the complex and get the security guard to work with him while his accomplices take the bikes while the guard is distracted. The bikes and thieves are gone and the guard loses his job the next day. This won’t happen if you’ve gone through Car Workshop Coorparoo they the latest locks to protect your bike from being snatched.

The next easiest place to steal a bike is at hotels. Alot of people attend bike events and leave their bikes parked in a dark-ass corner. Thieves love this. This is not very smart. This is the first place they are going to look.

The next easiest place is the track. About 6000 bikes at these tracks. The bike owners will leave their bike to go watch the events. The thief is watching your bike and watching where you are at. Their accomplice will make sure you stay at the track while the thief takes your bike. Thieves communicate by Nextel and keep each other informed as to the best opporutnity to steal your bike.

The safest place to put your bike to prevent it from being stolen is inside your house or your garage. Thieves will not waste time trying to break into your house to get your bike. If you have it in a complex or a storage unit, Yes, they will get it. If it is in your garage, they will not try to take it. Not worth taking the chance to get shot for your bike.

I thought this was a very interesting broadcast on bike thieves. When I lived in Sunnyvale, CA and owned my 1987 Kawasaki EX-500. I lived in an apartment complex. I had a car port. No garage. I had my bike locked to the support pole of the carport with a $80 high-end cable lock. I also had a $2 two-inch Masterlock on the front rotor of the bike. The Theives enter my complex with their pickup truck around 2:00 am. The bastards cut through the expensive cable lock with no problem at all. Do not waste your money on this crap. Next the thieves try cutting off the 2″ Masterlock on the front rotor. The bastards could not get a good angle and make enough noise to wake me. I look at and yell, “Your Busted.” They scatter like roaches. I call Sunnyvale’s finest, they catch the idiots speeding at 2:00 am down the expressway, find bolt cutters in the back. A clean bust. I go to court, the punks get sentenced, I get restitution and learn all the personal information on the theives. Go by where they live. Guess what? they live in a high-security condo complex. Go figure.

What have I learned from this:

Do not waste your money on expensive locks! — especially those crap cable locks.
Get a 2″ MasterLock and put it through your disk rotors. Those Kryptonite locks suck. Thieves make them so they can easily steal bikes.
Cover your bike. Out of sight, out of mind. If you see a van driving around your neighborhood at night, get the tags and report it.
The thieves that were after my bike could have easily picked the bike up once the cable was cut, despite the 2″ padlock still on the front rotor. I guess they were too stupid to realize this and paid for it by being gang raped in jail.

Minimizing the Cost of Motorcycle Insurance

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle riders face higher accident risks than passenger car occupants. Even the most cautious, experienced bikers have at one time or another dealt with adverse weather conditions or careless drivers sharing the road. Depending on the level of coverage selected, insurance can protect riders in the event of an accident, including losses from injury, medical bills, vehicle damage, and theft. In fact, insurance is legally required in most states before operating a motorcycle on the road, with some states requiring proof of insurance prior to purchasing a new bike.

Due to a higher possibility of injury, motorcycle insurance tends to be more complex and can be very expensive. However, finding the best possible coverage while minimizing costs does not have to be a tedious process. The key to finding the right coverage for the lowest cost is to shop around. Paying to protect against losses can be affordable if an individual takes the time to research and compare companies, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult task. There are many insurance companies to choose from with rates varying widely, so it pays to take the time and compare quotes, both by calling agents and searching online.

The following are some useful tips to lowering motorcycle insurance costs:

Maintain a good driving record

A key factor in getting cheap motorcycle insurance is maintaining a good driving record. Insurance companies check individuals’ points on their record for previous auto accidents and speeding tickets. Those with a clean record generally pay cheaper rates for motorcycle insurance, and may qualify for additional discounts.

Research rates before purchasing

Some bikes are more expensive than others to insure. If cost is a consideration, consider purchasing a bike that does not carry a premium surcharge, such as a sport bike. Also, buyers can inquire as to which motorcycle models may be more prone to theft, avoiding models which result in higher rates.

Invest in a motorcycle safety course

It pays to learn to be a safer rider and reduce the risk of having an accident on the road. Most insurance companies offer discounts to riders who get extra certification beyond a motorcycle license from an approved safety course, such as through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or through an independent company. Once the course is completed, it is important to keep any proof of certification to provide to the insurance company.

Consider riding frequency and seasonal insurance

Rates are affected by the frequency that an individual rides. It usually pays to inform the insurer if mileage is low because the bike is not used often. Seasonal insurance, or insuring your motorcycle only for the months that it is actually ridden, can also be considered if the motorcycle is only used a portion of the year. For instance, riders living in cold climates can opt for a lay-up policy, paying only for comprehensive coverage during the winter months.

Security matters

Keeping the motorcycle secure at all times can result in cheaper rates. Installing anti-theft systems such as security alarms and immobilizers on the bike may reduce the risk of theft or vandalism. In addition, parking the motorcycle in a garage or shed also increases security and may lead to discounts on rates.