Many motorcyclists take a lot of pride and joy in their ride and enjoy making aftermarket modifications to their ride. Many times, this can enhance the physical appearance of the bike and the safety of the bike, but some modifications are more dangerous than others. Most people overlook the dangers of some common modifications simply because they aren’t aware. Below are some of the most risk modifications that are commonly made to motorcycles and increase the risk of a motorcycle accident.
Modifying the Handlebars
Many riders like to change the shape and style of their handlebars. This makes sense because it is a distinguishing feature and it’s something that is relatively easy to change. A common example of a modification is simply changing the original handlebar weights to make their bike look more aesthetically pleasing to their style.
The problem with this is that the original handlebars were designed to meet the performance of the rest of the manufacturers design. They are a specific weight and shape in order to balance certain aspects of the bike including absorbing engine vibrations. They are also frequently used to provided extra safety by providing cushioning in the event of a motorcycle crash.
If you decided to switch out the handlebars in your bike, make sure that you aren’t putting yourself at risk by throwing off the balance of the bike. It’s recommended that you contact the manufacturer of the bike or at least a shop that makes these types of modifications regularly and seek their advice.
Another issue with modifying the bike with aftermarket parts is that some handlebars are made with sub-par materials that are designed for outward physical features and not for protection. Just remember to not make this decision lightly and think about protection if and when you decide to make this modification.
This is another popular mod that many riders tend to make. Some manufacturer hand levers look somewhat boring and it’s easy to change these to give your bike a more custom appearance. Some other common related parts that motorcyclists change out and customize frequently are shifters, cables, and throttles. Unfortunately, a lot of the aftermarket products are made cheaply and are comprised of low-quality aluminum and made overseas where quality control is not as strict.
If you decided to customize this part of your bike, make sure that you buy quality products that will not break or be defective. Cheaply made hand levers and related parts are an integral part of safe riding and any malfunction on these parts puts you at increased danger for accidents. For example, you might be pulling on your brake lever at a high-traffic area and the lever simply crack. As you can imagine, either stopping abruptly or not stopping at all will have dire consequences for a vulnerable motorcycle even if you are wearing a helmet.
Customizing Handlebar Grips
As you can see, there is a trend with customizing handlebars and increasing the dangers of driving. Changing out the grips is no different. Most think modifying something as simple as the grips would have no effect on the handling of the bike, but studies have proven otherwise. Grips tend to wear out quickly and it’s tempting to switch to a different style to give your bike a different look, but you should always choose OEM replacement parts.
Many of the aftermarket options are too soft and this can substantially affect your ability to control the bike when maneuvering through traffic or more dangerous roadways. Once again, many aftermarket parts simply don’t have the same quality and use cheaper materials with less stringent quality controls. There have been numerous studies pointing out this very fact.
Windshields are one of the most prominent parts of a motorcycle and they tend to wear out quickly. Just a few years of debris hitting them can cause normal wear and tear. It’s very tempting to make a custom modification to this part of the bike because there are some cool looking options available.
If you decide to replace the windshield of your bike, make sure you stick to a OEM replacement or at least a very high quality replacement that is comparable. Getting a cheaper or drastically different style can severely affect the ride of your bike. Windshields are a very important safety feature and its critical not to cheap out and buy a poorly manufactured one with low-quality materials. Simply spending a bit of extra money to ensure the integrity of your windshield will pay off if you are ever in the unfortunate situation of getting into an accident.
Aftermarket LED Lights Can Be Dangerous
There is nothing wrong with changing out original equipment turn lights with LED, but you need to make sure that other drivers can clearly see them. Some people decide on looks rather than function and this can make your turn signals more difficult to see during both daytime and nighttime hours.
Some riders don’t like the look of oversized turn-lights, but you must remember they are made that way for a reason. It’s critical that other drivers can see what direction you plan to go. Motorcycles are inherently smaller and lower to the ground than most vehicles and many accidents happen because they do not clearly indicate which way they plan to go. Any accident is amplified in a motorcycle simply because of the lack of exterior protection, and you should do everything in your power to avoid any mistake at all.
The best way to go is to purchase lights that are brighter and bigger than the original. While some lights with under glow would seem to help, they make the turn signals more difficult to see. Just make sure you take care in your decision and always have a friend check the result to make sure the new lights work properly and are EASIER to see!
Finding a Lawyer to Help If You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Crash
Not all aftermarket products are dangerous, but the above modifications commonly contribute to motorcycle accidents. The owner of the bike is trying to improve their bike and unknowingly can make it more dangerous. Beyond the modifications listed, aftermarket tires, a new chassis, and even replacing something as simple as a kickstand can increase driving risks.
If you have been in a motorcycle because of a defective aftermarket product, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer and see what legal options you have available to you. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and more.
Contact us today at (517) 347-6900 for a free consultation and to discuss the specifics of your defective aftermarket specifics. We have experience representing injured motorcyclists all over the country and we can help you. No fee unless you win!