So you’ve got the bike and you’ve got the gear, now you can spend some of your time off the bike looking at different accessories to help make your ride more comfortable, convenient, safer–better. Making your bike and your setup just right for you is one of the many joys of bike ownership, so it’s time to start thinking about what could enhance your daily ride routine. Take a look at our list of the top 5 accessories for new riders for some ideas.
Your old backpack is probably working just fine for now, but having a bag that’s been designed just right for bikes and their riders can make packing up and getting out the door that much quicker and easier, not to mention improve your comfort while you’re toting all your stuff around.
For short rides like a weekend lunch run, a tank bag might be all you need, and there are tons of different styles and sizes to suit different tanks and trips. For the quickest grab-and-go solution, look for a magnetic tank bag, just be sure you attach and remove it with care each time to prevent damaging the surface of your tank. Strap-mounted bags are available for plastic tanks or ones covered with a fairing.
Sometimes you just want to roll with a backpack, and that’s why we have packs that are going to stay put and stay comfortable, even at 80 mph. Need to carry your helmet around from class to class? Choose one with a helmet carry like the Icon Urban Tank Bag/Backpack. Have a dual sport ride in your future? Choose one with a hydration pack, like the Deuter Race X. Zipping around the Bay Area with a laptop? Go aerodynamic with the Ogio Mach 3, and a laptop sleeve is a must.
Saddlebags and Sissy Bags
You’ve got the cruiser, now the only thing between you and an unforgettable trip through the Sierras is some good storage. A duffel and a bungee cord might get your stuff there, but there’s a better way! Keep everything organized and accessible in a sissy bar bag or a pair of saddlebags. Choose a heavy textile outer or go with leather and customize as much as you want with details and colors. Either way, your luggage will hold up to the elements so you can leave it on for the Monday morning commute, too.
If your destination is down the street, not in the mountains, throw your wallet and keys in a tool bag. A tool bag is like a fanny pack for your bike, but cool. So really, having one around makes a lot of sense.
If you’re feeling ready to make a commitment to storage, consider starting with a Givi top box. Boxes can mount either to a simple base plate (included) that can be attached to any rear rack, or sturdier, higher capacity boxes mount onto a bike-specific Givi luggage rack. Stylish and functional Givi hard luggage is Italian-made and Italian-designed, and we’re proud to say that Road Rider was Givi’s very first dealer in North America.
Bluetooth Headset System
You know that feeling of freedom, exuberance, adventure, and exhilaration you get when you’re riding your motorcycle? It really can get better than that, and it does when you add a Bluetooth headset communicator. Not exactly a necessity, but it is the most fun accessory on our top five list and the one you might be least likely to give up once you’re hooked. Fit a Bluetooth system on any helmet and you can stream tunes and navigator directions, listen to the radio, make and receive phone calls, or intercom with other riders in your group or with a passenger. Today’s Bluetooth units are so well engineered that you’ll fall in love with your headset even if you only use one or two of its features. When you’re ready to shop, we’ve got the world’s best systems right here, and we can help you choose the right one for you. And don’t worry, our systems are designed to fit beautifully on any helmet; we even have special systems for half helmets.
CE Back Protector
Replacing the foam back pad in your jacket with a CE-certified back armor insert is an easy way to give your jacket an extra dose of impact protection. Back protectors aren’t the heavy, rigid boards they once were, either. With a wide variety of brands offering better protection with wayy more comfort and flexibility these days, it’s just a matter of picking the one that fits your jacket and feels great. If you’d like to upgrade your current jacket of any brand, bring it in to Road Rider to test out the feel and fit of a variety of CE-certified back inserts. If you’re not sure what CE ratings are, head over to our Guide to Back Protectors and Replacement Armor for the 4-1-1 on impact protection.
Everyone’s got something–a guardian bell, rim tape, aftermarket mirrors or grips, a fender eliminator, even an aftermarket exhaust will give your bike a unique look and sound. However small or subtle or in your face, eventually we all put a few personalized stamps on our bikes that say, “This one’s mine”. It doesn’t hurt when those little additions are functional, as well. Check out what other riders are doing and then visit Road Rider for universal and bike-specific parts and accessories.
Okay, a battery charger doesn’t exactly end our list with a bang, but if want your battery to live a full and long life, it’s a must-have. Even if your bike doesn’t sit for long periods without being ridden, it’s a good idea to give your battery a full charge once a month on a trickle charger like a Deltran Battery Tender or a Yuasa SmartShot. Keep the bike plugged in if you haven’t been able to ride for a few weeks and your charger will keep it fully charged and ready to roll. Bought a used bike and suspect it might be time for a new battery? Check out our Battery Buyer’s Guide for some basic info about your power supply.