Twisting the throttle leaving you underwhelmed these days? Feel like you could use a little something extra?
I know how you feel. You’ve had your current ride for a few years, and things are starting to get, well, a little boring.
So how do you scratch this 7 year itch? Change out the rearsets? Maybe a go faster bubble screen? Yellow tape on your wheels?
Nah. What you really want is the same thing we all want.
This Stuff Doesn’t Have To Cost A Lot
They say the best things in life are free, but it’s been my experience that actually, they’re not. I don’t know who came up with that saying, but I’m guessing it was someone who didn’t have any money, and who lived in a time when a lump of coal made a pretty good toy.
These days, lumps of coal have been surpassed by cnc’ed aluminium levers and hand welded titanium exhausts. The fact is, nice (aka fast) things cost money, and lots of it.
But maybe you don’t have a huge wad of cash to blow on more power. Wat do?
Way Number 1, Sprockets
One of the easiest and well known ways to pep up your low end is to drop down to a smaller drive sprocket. By dropping a tooth or two in your sprocket you’re going to get more torque, at the expense of top speed.
For most of us that’s a no brainer. How often are you bouncing off the redline in top gear on your daily commute? (If you are doing that, chances are you’re a no brainer, so none of this applies to you.)
While you’re at it, you may as well get a lighter chain. Chains come in 3 sizes. From lightest to heaviest they’re 520, 525 and 530. You can find kits that come with a new sprocket and chain, or you can just mix and match your own parts.
Just make sure to do some research first. Chances are anything you are thinking of doing has been done before, so why not learn from their mistakes if it all went horribly wrong?
Way Number 2: Air Filter
You know the feeling you get everytime you try and go for a run? That burning in your chest like you’re about to die, that feeling that if only you had a bit more oxygen you might just survive?
Well, if your air filter is less than new and well cared for, that’s the way your bike feels everytime you crack open the throttle. Let’s fix that.
Open the airbox and have a look at your filter. Blow it out and clean it with compressed air if its a paper filter. If it’s a foam filter you’re out of luck. In both cases, the best thing to do is buy an aftermarket high performance air filter to fit your bike. Cleaning out your existing filter, or buying a new performance one will let more air flow into your combustion chambers. More air = more bang.
And don’t underestimate human psychology. The mental effect of cleaning your air filter has got to be worth at least a 25kph gain in top speed right? 😉
You can get a good performance enhancing air filter for under $100, and it’s one of the cheapest, and easiest ways to find a performance boost.
Way Number 3: Tire Pressure
I know, we’ve all been told to check our pressures regularly, but we don’t do we? Well I don’t anyway. It’s a pain in the ass getting in around the brake discs and other bits and pieces trying to get a gauge on the valve.
The truth is, tires are the single most important component of your bike. They are the mechanical interface from machine to road, so it only makes sense their condition is going to have a huge impact on performance, not to mention safety.
Under inflated tires lead to poor handling, bad fuel economy, and quite literally, drag. Over inflated tires will leave you with a smaller contact patch than you’re supposed to have, resulting in a less than desirable reduction in traction, and twtichy, schizophreic handling.
Every time I check my pressures and adjust them to the recommended specs, it feels like a whole new bike. More stable, but eager to turn in, and generally more fun to ride.
The Rest Is Up To You
For less than the cost of a night out with the significant other, you can add a few more horsepower* to your ride, and make it feel like a new(er) bike.
What are you waiting for? Finish your donuts, head out to the garage and try some of these out for yourself.