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Tips for Riding Safely on the Streets


Motorcycle riders (and riding) ROCK! While we believe there's nothing as invigorating as blasting down the street on a bike with the wind in your face, we're still all about safety first and foremost because, you know, crashing hurts.

While riding a motorcycle is perhaps the most exhilarating mode of transport out there (that is... until hovercrafts become a reality!), it is also notorious for being the most dangerous. But we get it. We do it for the adrenaline and thrill factor too.

For one, motorcycles don't have an exterior frame or seat belts like cars do (obviously). So in the event of a collision, the bike and the rider absorb all the forces of the crash, which means a high risk for the rider of being thrown off. Seriously, just ask Aram how badly it sucks to get flung off your bike (twice!). Ouch.

Chances are, if you're reading this, you're thinking about riding or are a novice rider. Don't be scared off by the statistics out there. Riding a motorcycle is not the suicidal affair that your mother would like you to believe. All you have to do is practice some safety guidelines. Here are our most important tips for safe riding on the street!

First and foremost, don't ride above your ability!

start with a smaller bike like YZF-R3
We know riding a motorcycle is one of the most adrenaline-pumping activities, and once you get a first taste, you can't wait to get to do "big boy" stuff! But if you're a beginner, don't be tagging along with your experienced buddies for a highly performance-based ride through twisty mountain roads. Don't be speeding down the highway weaving in and out of traffic (actually, even if you're experienced... we don't recommend doing this either!). And also, don't be starting out on a powerful 1000cc bike. It's best to start with a smaller 250-300cc road bike (you may be surprised at just how powerful the engines on these could be!), and one that you can rest both feet flatly on the ground.

It's okay, there's no shame to start smaller and safer. We all start from somewhere! Nobody was born being awesome at sex either. Once you've got enough experience, you  can be twisting and turning along those cliff hugging roads with the best of them!

So as a beginner, how can you grow your skills? Consider taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course in your area. MSF is a national, not-for-profit organization sponsored by the major motorcycle manufacturers including Honda, Yamaha, BMW, and Kawasaki. It offers a variety of courses, from basics training to more advanced fine-skills courses designed to develop a novice rider into an excellent rider. Find a location near you on their website!

Before hitting the road: 

Always wear the right gear

We cannot stress the importance of wearing the correct gear, for yourself and any passengers you may have! It may look (and sound) cool to go cruising along with beach in a T-shirt and Ray-Bans, with that salty seabreeze in your hair, but it is definitely not cool to end up on the pavement with your head cracked and half the skin scraped off your arm (trust us, we know from a real life example).

At the very minimum, we recommend that you gear yourself up with:

A helmet: We know some states have abolished the helmet law (which is just plain crazy....), but please still choose to wear one! Statistic show that riders without a helmet are 40% more likely to die in a crash due to head injuries. Don't become part of that statistic! We recommend a full faced helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation (this is very important!). Not only will a helmet keep you safer, it also aids your riding experience by reducing wind pressure and fatigue. And remember, helmets do deteriorate over time, so it's best to get them replaced every 5 years or so.

A riding jacket: A leather jacket is always the best option, or if not, a textile riding jacket is also a solid choice. Leather jackets are classic and are extremely durable and abrasion resistant, while textile jackets are more versatile, lightweight, and less expensive. With the modern advanced materials used, many textile jackets even rival leather ones in terms of abrasion resistance! We recommend riding jackets with built in armor and reflective materials.

Check out our beginner's guide to motorycle jackets.

Riding gloves: Aside from the helmet, this is probably the next important gear to get suited up with! What happens when you fall? Your first instinct is always to catch yourself with your hands. Right... and now think about how well that would go over if you're hitting the asphalt at 20 mph. Ouch! A right pair of gloves will not only ensure that you keep these hands nice with all skin intact, but also offers protection against weather and road rash.

Check out our beginner's guide to motorcycle gloves.

The right foot protection: Obviously, this means no flip flops or sandals! While you don't necessarily haaaave to buy special motorcycle boots, the right shoes should be closed toed, sturdy, and with a rugged sole, something that won't burn your feet or slip off the foot pegs.

These are the gear items we absolutely 100% recommend you slip on before any ride. To complete your head to toe protection coverage, consider riding pants (there are plenty of reinforced riding jeans that are available if you're worried about looking like a power ranges), and motorcycle boots. It is always better to invest in protecting yourself because you never know what kind of riding situation you may get in and there's always that learning curve period where stuff can happen.

Check your bike

Perform a quick pre-ride check to make sure that the tires, brakes, chain, drive belt, lights, horn, and turn signals are all functioning properly. Under-inflated tires and worn brake pads are common no-nos and significantly drive up the risk of crashing. We know expecting anyone to do this on every ride is near impossible but I'd keep an eye on these things at least once a month.

On the road:  

everything in this picture are definitely riding DON'TS 

Practice situational awareness at all times

Watch out for cars: The most common cause for car/motorcycle crashes is because the driver did not see the motorcyclist. So unfortunately, this means that as a biker, we have to do both jobs: watch out for the cars and also make sure they see you. Be aware of cars suddenly changing lanes or pulling out from the side. Use your mirrors to check behind you. Never ride in someone's blind spot and check around you often too.

Don't tailgate: Leave enough stopping distance between you and the car in front, not only for in case the car stops suddenly but also to avoid obstacles in the road. Sand, gravel, potholes, or bumps are no biggies to a car, but can all be hazardous to a motorcyclist. Practice stopping to know just how much distance you would need for your bike - you'll need lot than you think!

If you do encounter road obstacles, it's best to slow down as much as possible and be very gentle with the steering. It can be easy to over-countersteer, resulting in skidding and crashing. Braking and steering are the two most important skills to master to keep yourself safe on the road in case of emergency situations.

Don't be distracted!: Practicing a heightened sense of awareness will save your life on the road. So don't allow yourself to be distracted with headphones or even worse, the phone! If riding with a passenger, don't always turn your head to talk with the person behind. If you must communicate, do so safely with products such as Sena's bluetooth communication devices.

Try not to ride in bad weather

This one seems self explanatory enough. If you're planning on a Saturday morning jaunt through the mountains but woke up to rain, cancel! If you're a commuter and you see rain (or heavy snow) on the forecast, don't take your bike to work that day! Rain makes the roads slippery and thus harder to get traction on your tires. And unlike cars, motorbikes also lack the windshield wipers so you'll also have the added problem of not being able to see the road too well (trust us, this isn't fun!).

However, we do understand that sometimes it is completely unavoidable to ride in bad weather. If you do find yourself out in the rain with your bike, it's best to wait it out a bit. The most dangerous time is when it just starts to rain, as the water brings oil residue to the top of the asphalt, making roads very slippery. And then when you're ready to go, practice extra caution, be extra gentle with the brakes and throttle, and leave extra space in between you and other other vehicles.

And lastly, ride with confidence!

Yes, confidence makes a huge difference in how you ride! So get out there, be safe, and have fun! 

These are our top tips for riding safely on the street! What else would you add? 

By Daniel Relich


Green with Envy: Kawasaki 2016 Motorcycles


It's time for another installment of our favorite new 2016 bikes (aka. what we would buy for ourselves should we happen to come into a large sum of money)! We're going to focus on Kawasaki this week and a few models we're hot on because, hey, you gotta have dreams!

Seemingly quietly, Kawasaki hasn't missed much of a beat by releasing a strong line-up of sport bikes over the past 5-8 years. Although I can't seem to mentally cheat on Yamaha, it's hard to ignore the impressive models being cranked out by Japan's team green. 2016 isn't full of all-new models but there are a few that are tried and true and have been seen vast improvements through the years.

Here we go...!

Ninja ZX-10R 

Kawasaki Photo
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is already one of the fiercest bikes out on the racetrack (with two World Superbike Championship titles!), so this version definitely has got us drooling! Made using all the racing technology that propelled the Kawasaki Racing Team to stardom, this is a machine that dominates from the track to the street with looks to boot.

When this electronically assisted superbike platform first arrived on the scene a few years back, it was a grand debut from any Japanese manufacturer. With Honda still a bit in the stone ages as far as superbike electronics and power goes, Kawasaki was sitting at the top of the mountain for a bit...only to be challenged by S1000RR, Panigale and the new R1.

The Ninja ZX-10R features a 998cc four-cylinder 16-valve engine, delivering incredible power. It boasts an electronics package carried over from Kawasaki's World Superbike experience and is exclusive to this bike, including a sophisticated traction control that automatically adjusts according to conditions and a new Bosch five-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that allows for even more precise control. The new launch control modes and power modes allow the rider to control the power delivery to suit different rider abilities and conditions.

Other new features include a lighter crankshaft that allows for quicker revving and increased low-mid-range power, a computer controlled electronic throttle valve, lightweight titanium alloy exhaust system, and World superbike-derived Showa suspension (a first on a production bike!).

At a US MSRP price of $14,999, it's certainly more in the splurge category, but we feel like this bike is a great choice for those looking to buy a high performance liter bike that offers high performance suspension and a strong electronics package.

Z1000

Kawasaki Photo
The Z1000 is the ugly sibling everyone loves to hate! This is a beyond powerful naked style street bike wrapped up in a compact chassis and minimal bodywork. It features an impressive 1,043cc inline four-cylinder engine, which out-cranks a lot of sportbikes even! The engine provides a wide range of power and delivers impressive low and mid-range torque for street riding. It also has a more comfortable, upright riding position for greater leverage on the handlebar and better control at those corners.

The Z1000 is designed for a high degree of mass centralization, which results in crazy light, sharp handling and it is a blast to ride! This is achieved with an exhaust system design of a large pre-chamber and short silencers, lightweight aluminum rare frame, horizontal back-link rear suspension and the use of downdraft throttle bodies. Most of us will be slapping on an aftermarket exhaust system but it's good to know manufacturers are keeping this in mind during development so we can still enjoy a good 'ole time in stock trim.

As an off-the-showroom-floor hooligan bike from Japan, Inc., well, this would be our choice for a fun weekend bike and low mile commuter - given the lack of a fairing. If you're looking to put on the miles and do a little light touring however, Kawasaki offers the near identical platform Ninja 1000 for just that purpose!

It's priced as a non-entry level machine at $11999 for the US market. It's definitely a lot of a bike but in the hands of an experienced rider, there can be endless fun (...and speeding tickets). The look of the Z1000 leaves some scratching their heads but we really love the bike's presence - even when sitting alone in the parking lot. There's a little bit of mystery behind it. And we like mystery.

Ninja 300

Kawasaki Photo
The Ninja 300 is every rider's bike! Whether you're a beginner, a track enthusiast, a commuter, or leisure rider, this lightweight and nimble sportbike has enough cool features to perform in any situation at any level of experience.

Unfortunately, in a macho, over-hyped US marketplace where cc's and horsepower are king, the Ninja 300 (and most 300 class motorcycles) are often scooted into the dark corner of 'beginner land' and mocked. Recently however, with the introduction of Honda and Yamaha's 300 class sportbike choices, the segment has opened the way for more new riders to get into motorcycling. Back in the day (oh, say 2004), the majority of the options from a major Japanese manufacturers was either a 600 or 1000cc sportbike. Today, we have so many choices that the industry has us eyeing more than one machine.

This little bike is powered by a compact but potent liquid-cooled 296cc parallel-twin engine, delivering strong low and mid-range torque, as well as excellent high-RPM power on the open road. Its advanced Digital Fuel Injection (DFI) helps manage cold starting while providing excellent throttle response and great fuel efficiency. Experienced riders will have a hoot with this thing!

The beginners will find the six-speed sequential transmission helpful, and the premium race-inspired FCC clutch offers assist and slipper functions to provide a lighter lever effort and reduces the effect of back-torque. All this makes the Ninja 300 a super agile little sportbike that's easy and great fun to handle.

The Ninja 300 goes for a US MSRP of $4,999, making this powerful nimble little number one of the best deals out there. It was the first of its kind in the US market, basically setting the stage for 300 class machines, and it is still a great option whether new or used. Don't rule it out!

KLR650

Kawasaki Photo
This is the ultimate adventure bike that will take you from the street to twisty canyon roads! The KLR650 features a solid torque pushing 651cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine for smooth power delivery. The bike offers superb balance with a long-travel 41mm telescopic front fork and Uni-Trak rear suspension, which can take you comfortably across any terrain. The large 6.1 gallon tank provides an unbeatable fuel range for long distance touring.

The KLR650 is a well rounded choice for a basic dual sport and adventure bike since its been around from what seems like forever. It isn't going to have crazy power or all the fancy electronics or a fancy shaft drive but it'll do what you need it to do. Take it across the street or across a continent, the KLR650 is easy to maintain, easy to repair and easy to ride. There's a lot of aftermarket accessories available so the bike is easy to customize for any kind of riding.

Other features include a multi-contoured seat for long-range comfort and stability,  a taller windshield to reduce buffeting, an engine guard to protect against loose rocks, and a lightweight sturdy rear luggage rack. This is a bike built with the adventurer in mind but it also commutes around town or to your local Starbucks juuuust fine.

The KLR650 goes for a US MSRP of $6,599 - a great value for those looking to get into motorcycling but aren't interested in a sportbike. On the road or off, new or used, the KLR650 is a strong choice for a basic do-it-all kind of a workhorse.

Which of these are you favorites? Or are you eyeing some other models? Do tell! 



* images courtesy of Kawasaki
By Daniel Relich


Rocking Stock Brake Pads? No Bueno!



Bike enthusiasts are quick to spruce up their new toys with all sorts of aftermarket upgrades, from exhausts to windscreens to frame sliders. However, one of the most overlooked parts is the brake pad (yeah, that).

I hope we don't need to elaborate on the importance of a good braking system in general (pads, rotors, brake lines, fluid levels). As fun as riding the bike full throttle is, safety always rules, and well, it's important to also be able to stop the bike. Brake pads work by pressing against the rotors with a friction surface, and overtime, they wear down with the constant pressure. Don't put off replacing your brake pads and only finding out that they are no longer working properly when leaning into an apex of a sketchy mountain road!

The pads that come on stock motorcycles are perfectly functional in the sense that they offer decent stopping power for the average pleasure riders or commuters. However, you may find that they are insufficient for those engaging in more performance-based riding. And isn't better always, well, better?!

Different kinds of brake pads will make a difference to your riding experience. Organic vs. sintered. Kevlar or carbon. And what about those double letters commonly tackled on in the product names? While all this can be an entire post of its own, today we will focus on the HH friction rated (or double-H) pads.

While we generally don't recommend HH pads for a rear caliper application (unless you're looking for a hard bite), they perform wonderfully with front brake calipers in most performance scenarios.

Read on:

What HH means

When the brakes are applied, kinetic energy is converted to thermal energy through friction. Brake pads are typically made from steel or aluminum plates to main heat stability, and then with friction material bound to the surface. The more friction the material offers, the better the braking power.

The Chase Test is a procedure which assigns a two character code to the brake pad on the basis of their frictional characteristics. The 'HH' code indicates that the pads have the highest coefficient of friction. The first H refers to the friction coefficient while at a normal temperature, and the second H refers to the friction coefficient while hot. Having a double H means that the friction is maintained during the braking process, as the brake pads heat up from the applied pressure.

Brake Pads with this code are ideal for high performance street and track day performance riding. They offer the best in street & track dual duty performance since they bite well and work when cold. HH Pads are even considered as a standard by some modern moto buffs. As a downside, these higher friction pads may prove to be bothersome for regular everyday commuting since the the braking effect may be a little too sensitive and may produce a little bit more brake dust.

But hey, we're talking about pure performance here -- especially when engaging the sportbike crowd! In the brake pad industry, two brands rule: EBC and Galfer:

EBC HH Double-H Sintered Brake Pads

EBC launched in the 1970's with an innovative range of motorcycle brake and clutch parts. EBC Brakes produce the largest range of brake pads and brake discs in the world and has become an industry leader with its superior technology, quality control, product performance and customer service.

EBC's HH Sintered pads became the industry standard due to their high friction rating. (Sintered metallic pads are made using heat and pressure to fuse together metallic particles and other elements, which results in a longer life and enhanced heat performance.) They're known in riding circles everywhere as THE brake pad for upgraded braking performance. These are so popular, in fact, they are considered the go to brake pad by many performance riding enthusiasts.

EBC HH brake pads are made in the USA using sintered copper alloy of the highest quality. Most are fitted with perforated stainless steel heat radiator plates to help reduce the heat transition into the caliper and brake fluid. Their "double segment" vented design keeps your brakes cooler and prevents drag and overheat or fade.

Riders report a superb "brake feel" (which uber moto performance geeks know is most important). EBC's HH Sintered pad are ideal for the weekend performance riders, track day events and even for touring because of the fantastic stopping power and long wear life.      

See if they're available for your bike:
http://www.solomotoparts.com/EBC-Motorcycle-Brakes/

Galfer HH Sintered Brake Pads

Galfer is a family-owned company primarily known for their motorcycle brake lines, brake pads, and their patented, state-of-the-art Wave Rotor technology. Galfer works with top motorcycle race teams to develop high performance braking systems that satisfy even the most demanding rider. We recommend pairing Galfer brake lines with Galfer brake pads for the ultimate braking experience but some riders choose to mix and match to their liking.

Galfer HH Sintered pads are made with an advanced ceramic-coated back plate, which helps to dissipate heat away from the brake pad and reduces the amount of heat transferred into the caliper pistons. This gives you a cooler running system that will be able to withstand more heating cycles. This means a very fast heat recovery for more consistent braking.

Galfer's HH Sintered pads are used by sport street riders to racers at the top of club levels and AMA contenders. They are ideal for moderately aggressive everyday riding as well.

Though these pads are available for the front and rear, one thing to consider is that rear has so much stopping power and the potential to lock up that it may be too much for the average street rider. The most popular combination of brake pads for performance street use are the HH sintered pads in the front and black compound pads in the rear.

See what's available for your ride:
By Daniel Relich


New 2016 Yamaha Streetbikes We Love

Apologies, we at Solo Moto are a little late to the unveiling of 2016 bike models. But hey, better late than never, right?

We're always had a soft spot for Yamaha bikes (the Solomoto bike is a R6!), so we were super excited to see what Yamaha has in store for us this year in their line up. Most are carry overs from 2015 (2015 was a big year!), but have plenty of new features to make us excited. Here are our favorites that we're drooling over!

YZF-R1/R1M/R1S

We will never get to ride MotoGP bikes, but now we can get close to making that dream come true with the new YZF-R1! It's developed without compromising MotoGP technology to create a superbike for both sport riders and racers. This is a huge leap for Yamaha and this new R1 is designed to chisel away the lead the Ducati and BMW have pulled on Japan, Inc. in recent years. This bike - this R1 - is Yamaha's answer.

The YZF-RIM features a lightweight and compact crossplane crankshaft, inline-four-cylinder, and 998cc high output engine. It has titanium fracture split connecting rods (a first ever for a production motorcycle!), which delivers extremely high horsepower and a strong pulse of linear torque. This thing just pulls and pulls on the straights. Another first ever offered on a street bike is the six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that offers complete 3D controllability over traction, slides, front wheel lift, braking and launches. Electronic packages have helped superbikes be a friendlier and quicker ride by putting all that power to good.

The new R1 is sexy as well, with the body design inspired by their winning MotoGP M1 - a masterpiece sculpted for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. Some Yamaha fans won't love it as it is quite a step away from the normal Yamaha Motor aesthetics but it's definitely growing on us!

The new bike has an MSRP Price of $16,490 - $16,990. These new generation superbikes are sophisticated and complex machines but they aren't the hard hitting-all engine- $12,000 machines of the past.
The R1M is a special version of the R1 with premium features and even higher factory specifications. This is the closest you can get to riding the winning M1 (or so they say). Premium features include Ohlins Electronic Racing Suspension (ERS), lightweight carbon fiber bodywork, and a new Communication Control Unit with GPS that enables the rider to capture ride data and then download it via WiFi. Other differences between the RIM  and R1 include wider 200 series rear tire, carbon fiber front fender and fairing, and polished & clear coasted aluminum fuel tank and swingarm.

Using all of Yamaha's finest racing technology, this is the most technologically advanced machine you can get! At a US MSRP Price of $21,990, it's a splurge, but if you're going to be frequenting the race track, this is the bike we'd want.

Check out our R1M Project Bike!

On the other end is the new for 2016 R1S, which is basically a stripped down R1. This bike is promoted as a street bike, but the awesome thing about is that it has much of the same racing technology as the R1 and R1M!

The main difference between the R1 and R1S is in the materials used - steel connecting rods (as opposed to the R1's titanium), stainless steel exhaust headers (vs. titanium), and slightly heavier aluminum engine covers and wheels (vs. magnesium). The weight is 448 pounds as opposed to R1's 439. 

Technology wise, it features most of the fancy electronics of the R1, just minus the quick shift system. Power delivery is very comparable. And priced significantly lower at US MRSP of $14,990, this is a solid choice for more street-orientated riders. 

YZF-R3


The all new R3 is the best of both worlds for riders who commute on weekdays and enjoy sport riding on weekends! The R3 is Yamaha's answer to the wildly popular Ninja 300 and the newly released CBR300. This segment provides a stable and fun starter platform for new riders that may want to start out on something smaller than a 600-1000cc bike. Although non-liter bike segments have been mocked for a while now, there's now a whole slew of options for the rider not looking to get a 180mph street missile.

The R3 features a fuel-injected 321cc twin-cylinder engine that is capable of delivering a maximum power of 10,750 rpm. The 180 degree crank design ensures that the machine is smooth when accelerating through the rpm range. Forged aluminum pistons (like the R1 and R6) provide excellent strength while remaining super light weight, while the offset cylinders reduce friction for more power. Don't let its size fool you, this is still a fun bike to ride!

The styling is Yamaha supersport inspired with a full fairing in an ultra-light chassis, and newly designed steel frame and swingarm. The riding position is lower with a flat seat design, so it's great for new riders as it's easy to get both feet firmly on the ground.

The R3 is a super value at MSRP price of $4,990. This is a machine built for everyone - from beginners to more experienced riders, from commuters to racetrack enthusiasts.

FZ-09


The new Yamaha FZ-09 is our favorite in the street category!  The development concept behind the FZ-09 is "synchronized performance", which in a nutshell means that it's been designed to allow the rider complete control in every riding situation. The big deal surrounding the FZ-09 when it was released, is that Yamaha re-invented the wheel a bit because this is a torquey 3-cylinder engine by a company known primarily for its high revving inline 4 cylinder engines.

Even though the FZ-09's target ride is for the street, this is a true performance machine, delivering huge torque in a slim lightweight body. It features a compact new chassis and a lightweight liquid-cooled 4 stroke, 850cc high-torque 3-cylinder engine. The engine combines advanced high tech components with a crossplane concept crankshaft, providing linear torque development for smooth handling. It has excellent response in the low- to mid-rpm range and is a blast to ride!

Other key features include an advanced ride-by-wire Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) system that senses the slightest throttle input by the rider and instantaneously calculates the ideal throttle valve opening to control the intake airflow volume. Yamaha's D-MODE ("Drive Mode") variable throttle control system is another great feature that allows the rider to select the optimum engine character by being able to choose from three throttle valve control maps for all different riding situations.

Aesthetics wise, we love its naked roadster style. The aluminum, tapered-type handlebars is a first for a Yamaha sportbike, providing strength in a stylish lightweight design. At a US MSRP Price of $8,190, it is incredibly attractive as a comfortable daily rider option for new and experienced riders alike. Hey, even my dad bought one!

Which of these are you most excited about?

*all images courtesy of Yamaha
By Daniel Relich


Slip-on vs Full System Motorcycle Exhausts


Ah yes, the exhaust. Every bike enthusiast's favorite aftermarket upgrade. That rumbling of the engine is pure music to our ears. Of all the upgrades a biker makes to his beloved possession, the exhaust system is perhaps the only one that can deliver both performance gains and an improved look and sound (and, some might argue, joy).

There are many considerations to be made when choosing the perfect aftermarket exhaust for your bike. It's not a cheap upgrade after all! You want it to buy one that works well for your bike, not just any one because it sounds good on your buddy's. So let's make sure we understand the workings of an exhaust system and the different models available. We'll also offer some suggestions as well.

Benefits of an Aftermarket Exhaust

A motorcycle exhaust has three parts: the header, the midpipe and the muffler. The header collects the exhaust gases from the cylinder while the midpipe runs the fumes towards the motorcycle?s rear. The muffler modifies the engine sound with the help of baffles and interior diameters.

Motorcycles comes fully ready to ride with an exhaust system already in place. And yet, replacing the stock exhaust is often the first thing a bike owner will do. Though this is somewhat of a costly upgrade, it offers the most value for improved performance. Let's go over the benefits:

Improved sound: Yep, there it is - the number one reason for aftermarket exhausts purchases! Mufflers do just what their name suggest - they muffle the engine sound by trapping sound waves inside a series of baffles. An aftermarket exhaust has less baffles, which will translate into a better sound, as well as better performance. And this brings us to our next point:

Performance gains: An aftermarket exhaust reduces the backpressure created by the typical stock muffler, which will improve the airflow in the engine, therefore letting the fuel burn more efficiently and increasing the bike's power.

Less weight: Stock exhausts are usually clunky heavy ol' things. Today's aftermarket exhausts are much more slimmed down and constructed with much lighter materials. Depending on your bike, you can be shedding as much as 20 pounds! Simply put, less weight = faster and more power.

Better material and aesthetics: Let's face it, most stock mufflers are not winning any awards in the looks department. Aftermarket exhausts are commonly made from titanium, stainless steel, or carbon fiber, which all offer strength while still being lightweight. They all have very distinctive looks that will lend some individuality to your bike. Whatever style you're looking after, there will be a design to suit your taste!

Slip-ons vs. Full System

Exhaust systems for motorcycles have two categories: the slip-on and the full system. While the former connects at the place where the stock muffler is, the latter connects to the head of the engine. Let's look a little closer to understand the differences between the two and the advantages that they each bring to the table.

Slip-on Exhausts

Pros: the cheaper alternative, great value, easy installation
Cons: less performance gains, less weight shed

Slip-on systems are the cheaper option and offer great value for the amount you spend. They basically just replace the stock muffler of the bike and are a popular upgrade for sportbikes. This is a good option for those who want that rumbling sound without having to install the jet-kit or fuel controller. The installation of this system is simple since it is literally "slipped-on" in place of the stock muffler.

Considerations: Slip-ons are great for improving the look and sound, but understand that there won't be a significant improvement to the performance of your bike. Also, the weight isn't substantially reduced since the midpipe and the headpipe remain stock, which also means that there will not be a very noticeable horsepower gain. But that said, a slip-on will still be better than the one that came on the bike.

On an average, the slip-on can increase your horsepower by 5% while reducing the weight of your bike by pounds. Different applications will vary.

Solo's Recommendations:


M4

M4 Performance Exhaust designs and manufactures one of the highest quality exhaust systems available in today's market. The products are developed through racing experience, extensive research, and fine tuning on and off the track. Many systems eliminate the infamous stock 'exhaust box' which makes way for more power and a deeper, meaner sounding motorcycle. They also look crazy cool!

Competition Werkes

Competition Werkes Grand Prix-style slip-on exhausts are some of the industry's bests with their sleek aesthetics, super light weight, and positive effects on performance. They're made of stainless steel and come in a range of colors to suit anyone's taste.



Full System Exhaust

Pros: great performance gains, significant weight shed
Cons: More expensive, more hassle to install

Full exhaust systems replace the entire stock exhaust from the header to the muffler. This is the more expensive option. Aside from the superior sound and look, it is the performance gains that you pay for when opting for a full system. This option is great for drag racers, long distance riding, or those who like to run their bikes on full throttle.

Considerations: The installation of this system requires more time and body work than the slip-on version. It's also highly recommended that you get a professional tuning after installation in order to reap the maximum benefit. We also suggest that you also install a corresponding fuel controller, such as a Dynojet Power Commander. A full system heavily changes the characteristics of your bike and it will be necessary to optimize fuel delivery, in order to avoid harmful side effects.  See our article here for a more detailed explanation.

Solo's Recommendations:


Yoshimura

Yoshimura was founded in Japan in 1954, and since then has been consistently in the forefront of the aftermarket exhaust industry.  Yoshimura has been associated with Factory Honda Racing and GEICO Honda racing for quite some time, and so their products are tested in the harshest environments possible. Yoshimura exhausts are designed to the highest standard of craftsmanship, quality, and aesthetics.


Akrapovic

Akrapovic is widely recognized as a highly innovative materials technology company. The brand is synonymous with the highest level of design, performance enhancement and the creation of an unmistakable deeply resonant 'Akrapovic' sound. Over 80 world champions have already relied on Akrapovic exhaust systems. Furthermore, the company has been blessed with numerous Best Brand awards by readers of the most prestigious motorcycle magazines.

Some considerations for purchasing an exhaust

Be familiar with your State's inspection/legal requirements. Aftermarket exhaust manufacturers are generally not subjected to the same regulations imposed on bike manufacturers. The products are not tested for sound level or emissions control. You can find out your State's requirements from your DMV, inspection station, or bike shop. 

Play it safe and also replace gaskets and hardware. This stuff is pretty cheap to replace, so it's a good idea to just get it done when installing a new exhaust in order to prevent leaks.

Consider also installing an air filter and fuel controller. Modifications often work best in combinations. An aftermarket exhaust improves the airflow through the engine. An air filter will increase the amount of air entering the engine to match the air leaving it, and a fuel controller will ensure that air and fuel are mixed in the right ratio for optimal performance. This is particularly recommended when opting for the full system. 

Once mounted, consider it sold! Typically, retailers will not take back an exhaust once it has been mounted and fired up. This is to protect both us and you, the buyer. You can be assured that any exhaust you purchase from us is brand new and never been used. 

Conclusion

An aftermarket exhaust, whether it be a slip-on or full system, will always be an improvement over the stock exhaust. The slip-on is the better option for those on a budget and only looking to enhance the sound of the bike while shedding some weight and increasing the power slightly. The full exhaust system, if you have the cash to spend, will deliver significant performance gains as well as a powerful sound. Either way, an aftermarket exhaust is one of the best value upgrades for a bike.

If you have any more questions or need help choosing the perfect exhaust for your bike and riding style, feel free to ask below, call us, or hit us up on our Facebook page!

By Daniel Relich


How do Power Commanders Work & Are They Worth The Money


Power Commanders may just be one of the most perplexing accessories in the motorcycling world. There are a lot of questions associated with it. How does it work? What exactly does it do? Is it worth the money?

If you're just getting into bikes and the thrill of buying parts for it, reading about Power Commanders and whether you need one may seem like deciphering quantum physics theory. It's true that there is not the perfect one-size-fits-all answer, but we'll break it down for you to gain better understanding.

Power Commander Overview 

The appeal of a Power Commander for most riders is its promise of boosting the bike's horsepower higher than what you can get out of a stock engine. Does it really do that? It actually depends (we'll get into it later). What it does is adjust the bike's fuel/air ratio to run at an optimum level, and thus improving the motorcycle's overall performance and power delivery characteristics. This is especially important if you've make some upgrades to your bike, like installing an aftermarket exhaust or a air filter.

The Power Commander itself is small and plugs directly into the bike's electronic control unit (ECU) and generally requires absolutely no additional modifications, thus making it a very simple solution for that additional desired performance.

Understanding the EFI

The modern motorcycles we ride today have a Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) system. Gone are the clunky old carburetors of the bikes from the century past. The new EFI system is a no-brainer way to mix fuel and air in the right proportions for optimized performance. Essentially, a computer (ECU) is constantly assessing the current operating state and communicating how much fuel to inject in order to keep an optimal fuel/air ratio.

For most bikes, this system performs reasonably well when the bike is in stock trim.  However, if you're anything like the average moto-fanatic, one of the most exciting things about bike ownership is sweetening it up with aftermarket upgrades. An exhaust or air filter upgrade will increase airflow, likely making it run leaner or richer than it should. There's various side-effects from this including a high running temperature, exhaust popping (awesome fireballs), power surging... all because the stock ECU is not able to adapt to the aftermarket accessories in most cases.

The stock ECU is programmed according to the stock specifications, so it can only adjust within a certain range. Effectively this means that the EFI ends up delivering an air/fuel ratio that is not optimized. This is when the Power Commander comes in handy!

What a Power Commander does

A Power Commander allows you to remap your bike's air/fuel ratio to be optimize for your aftermarket modifications. It adjusts the fuel injection to optimize the fuel/air ratio in accordance to the increased airflow and modified power delivery dynamics. It allows for a full range of adjustments, thus can adapt to almost any modification. This makes the bike perform faster, smoother, better overall, and yes, will help deliver added horsepower. You will see an improved throttle response and smooth power delivery which translates into a better riding experience and faster times at the race track.

The PCs have an on-board microprocessor that makes changes to the ignition curves and fuel output. Every PC unit comes with software and a cable link that allows you to change between different maps or make adjustments to a map file. It's also possible to download existing map files to best match your bike's mods from the power commander website.

Some considerations 

Most motorcycles, even stock ones, will benefit from a power commander in some way, but as this is a costly purchase, it's necessary to assess what your upgrade goals are and weigh the pros and cons.

A good rule of thumb is that a power commander is likely a required addition when purchasing a full exhaust system (or 3/4 system) because a full system heavily changes the characteristics of your bike and it'll be necessary to optimize the power delivery to avoid those unwanted side effects and any possible long term harm to your engine.

In the past, to really reap the benefits of the power modifications you've made to your motorcycle, a professional tune can be done on a Dyno by a performance shop to create a custom map for the modifications you've installed. This option is generally reserved for high performance oriented riders, racers and track day enthusiasts as it is very expensive. Dynojet has considered this, and for most riders, the addition of a Dynojet Autotune (see accessories below) with your Power Commander will help keep things under control and your bike purring like a kitten at a fraction of the cost.

Dynojet Power Commanders

In the fuel controller market, Dynojet Power Commanders dominate.

Dynojet PCs use OEM equipment style connectors and plugs directly inline with the bike's stock fuel injection system (no splicing or cutting required!). The installation is fast and simple, taking as little as 15 minutes. The Power Commander merely overrides the factory settings of the ECU, so don't worry about permanently altering your settings! Once the PC is removed, the bike goes back to its stock condition.

Dynojet Power Commander V (the newest version) has some exciting new features including: a built-in two position map switching function, allowing you to adjust on the fly (switch not included - see accessories below). The gear position input allows each cylinder to be mapped individually and for each gear. It also has 10 throttle position columns.

Some of the other noteworthy features of Dynojet Power Commander V are:

- has the world?s largest downloadable map database
- Dynojet collaborates with the leading exhaust manufacturers of the world to offer pre-tested settings for your bike
- Compact, USB powered from computer for quick and easy map changes
- The notes from the map are stored in the on-board memory along with the map making it easier for the notes to be retrieved easily when the unit is connected
- A cylinder trim adjustment feature facilitates offsetting fuel to one or more cylinders
- An expansion port lets you connect various accessories with utmost ease

In custom or specialty applications cases, where a map is not available, there is a network of Official Dynojet Tuning Centers to help develop custom maps for the bike. So whatever you've got, they've got you covered!

The Power Commander V is Dynojet's newest model. Some older models of motorcycles are available on the Power Commander III platform.

Power Commander Accessories

The Dynojet Power Commanders V comes with a range of accessories to aid performance.

The AutoTune kit automatically corrects the fuel mixture while riding. Just plug in the unit and it'll do all the work for you! This is a perfect addition for most riders.

The Quick Shifter allows you to shift up to the next gear without having to roll off the throttle or pull in the clutch. It does so by momentarily cutting the fuel and/or ignition. This accessory is great for the serious racers who understand that every split second matters!

The Map Selection Switch allows for switching between two different maps. For example, you could switch between a "fuel economy map" (for long leisure rides) and a "full performance map" (for racing).


You can order Dynojet Power Commanders and their accessories here:
http://www.solomotoparts.com/DynoJet-Power-Commander/

Conclusion: so is a power commander worth it?

Purchasing a power commander will most likely depend on what you want from riding and what kind of modifications you have on your bike.  Generally, the benefits of a power commander will work best with a full system exhaust (not a slip-on), as it creates more power and allows for a wider range of adjustments. If you're more performance oriented, then a power commander may be worth the investment to get a smoother, more powerful ride.

What have your experiences with a Power Commander been like? Got more questions? Free feel to ask below in the comments! 


By Sir D


A Hell-a-va Guide: Zero Gravity & Puig Windscreens



A windscreen (or windshield) may not be the most drool-worthy or sexiest accessory on a bike, but it is in fact one of the most user-friendly upgrades for a rider. With the hundreds of options out there in the market, choosing the right one is a daunting task. Not to worry! We'll go over the benefits, what to look for in a good one, and our personal picks. 

BENEFITS OF A WINDSCREEN


The windshield vs. no windshield conundrum could turn into a hot debate item with riders, so let's quickly review the benefits of installing a windscreen! 

Decreasing wind blast: A windscreen redirects the wind blast away from your face and chest, which in turn reduces riding fatigue, which equals a much more comfortable ride and the ability to ride farther. Whether your ride is morning jaunt through the mountains or a week-long tour along the coast, you'll be thankful for a windshield to take the majority of wind strain. 

Protection from weather: A windscreen will also divert cold wind and rain, allowing you to stay dryer and more comfortable when riding in less-than-ideal weather. 

Protection from bugs and other debris: Ever rode through the countryside during summertime? Yuck. Bugs in your beard is not a sexy look. Need we say more? A windscreen also protects from gravel kick-ups and other unexpected incidents.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:


Now that we all understand the benefits, let's go over how to select the one right for you. Here are some general qualities to consider when choosing the perfect windscreen:

Material: Generally, windscreens come in either polycarbonate or acrylic, both durable plastic materials. The benefit of acrylic is that it will stay clear and shiny and won't yellow with long-term sun exposure, while polycarbonate is more scratch-resistant, but will yellow with age. 

Height: This is one of the most important considerations and the hardest to get just right. A too tall windscreen may block your vision, which will be dangerous especially during rainy weather. A too short windscreen won't offer the protection you need and may even direct wind into your face. 

An ideal height should be so that the top edge is just under your line of vision (at the nose level). That way, you can easily see over it, but still be able to slightly drop your head if needed. 

Fixed, detachable? A fixed windscreen is well, exactly that. Once mounted, it's a permanent addition to your bike. A detachable one has quick detach mounts, and may be a good option for those who want the flexibility to go with or without a windshield depending on your ride and weather conditions. 

SOLOMOTO'S PERSONAL PICKS:


Okay, so all that information is great, but what about the look?? 

Now, being moto junkies ourselves, we understand that you're concerned with destroying the sexy body lines of your bike. We get it, really. No one wants to work hard sprucing up their bike, getting everything just perfect, only to have an ugly windshield sticking out like a sore thumb. But having a windshield on your bike doesn't have to look bulky or dorky. In fact, a windscreen can look cool and still complement the sleek lines of your bike. 

Here are our favorite windscreens for both aesthetics and performance (and also our best selling brands!):


PUIG Windscreens

PUIG Windscreens was founded in 1964 by Josep and Jaume Puig, brothers who shared an interest in mechanics and a passion for motorcycles. Since the beginning, the windscreens have been designed, produced, and distributed from their Granollers facility in Spain. PUIG Windscreens was introduced in the USA market almost a decade ago, and since then has expanded to include other motorcycle accessories. Finally in 2013, the first PUIG USA opened in Orlando, FL. Now, PUIG products are being exported to more than 60 countries all over the world. 

The racing and touring Windscreens are designed in Orlando using data generated by a virtual wind tunnel. This research and development method is used to create new shapes and screens with proven real world performance.Their extensive research has resulted in significantly minimized wind bast, thereby improving the bike experience for riders. PUIG windscreens are unparalleled in the moto world for their superior quality, unique shapes, and fit and finish.

There are currently three types of windscreens manufactured by PUIG. Briefly, here are the differences between them so you can choose which one best suits your riding style:

PUIG Racing Windscreens

The PUIG Racing Windscreens have been derived from competition and have a "race bubble" design, helping to minimize wind blast on the rider's helmet. These are made from high-impact acrylic, which makes them stronger and more flexible. These windscreens are resistant to cracking and scratching and are able to absorb vibrations at higher speeds due to their 3mm thickness. 

All of PUIG's racing screens are developed based on virtual wind tunnel tests. This improves their aerodynamics and enhances wind protection. Please note however, that the Z racing windscreens have better aerodynamic characteristics due to a more aggressive bubble.

PUIG Naked Windscreens

Like the naked look but need a little wind protection to make those longer rides more enjoyable? PUIG's Naked New Generation Windscreens are specifically designed to fit the shape and style of a naked bike and they look great! These windscreens are similar to the Racing ones in the material and the way they are designed based on wind tunnel tests, however, they have been specifically made to ensure a cozy fit on the naked bikes. 




PUIG Touring Windscreen
The PUIG touring series has been specifically designed for long distance rides, and can fitted on any naked or touring bike. The top edge is several centimeters higher in order to minimize wind blast. The lower section of most of these screens has a shaded part to hide the cable behind the speedometer. It is made up of high-impact acrylic as well. Although easy to mount on any bike, windscreen adapters are also available for some bike models.




You can order Puig Windscreens here:


Zero Gravity

Zero Gravity has built a reputation manufacturing lightweight windscreens with superior optical quality, fit and finish. Zero Gravity windscreens have helped many race teams win major championships around the globe and is constantly striving to push the envelope of windscreen design in both performance and efficiency. All their windscreens are constructed with a specialized "vacuum forming" technique (like that used for aircraft canopies!), which results in a virtually distortion-free lens. They're made from a high grade acrylic, strong enough to resist cracking and at the same time flexible enough to absorb vibrations. 

There are four types of windscreens offered by Zero Gravity, each unique in design and target toward different riders. All windscreens are factory pre-drilled and ready to install and match the O.E.M. fairing for a precision fit and finish. Here are the brief descriptions of each:

SR Series

If you like the bike lines of your original stock windscreen, then the SR series may be just what you're looking for. The Zero Gravity SR Series windscreens are shaped like the original factory screens and are designed to work with your stock motorcycle lines. They're great for replacing a damaged screen or for riders wishing to change the tint without altering the profile. These come pre-drilled and are designed to fit your motorcycle fairing with precision using your stock mounting hardware/fasterners.


Double Bubble

The Zero Gravity Double Bubble windscreens have a "bubble within a bubble" design, which has changed the face of the sportbike industry. This innovative concept was pioneered by zero Gravity in 1995 for Team ZG's race bikes, and is now seen on race tracks all around the world! This unique windscreen design perfectly complements the sportbike's sleek, futuristic lines while providing added aerodynamics.  



Sport Touring

If more long distance rides are your thing, then look no further than the sport touring screens! Zero Gravity's Sport Touring windscreens are the tallest windscreens in their line-up, designed to maximize longer distance ride comfort with enhanced wind protection. These taller screens reduce the windblast by raising the point at which the wind hits the rider by several inches, ensuring more comfort while in the upright riding position.   


Corsa

For the more serious racers, Zero Gravity's new Corsa Series was designed in collaboration with professional racers from around the world! The Corsa Series screens have a taller bubble that offers more wind protection when tucked in at speed, even for the larger riders. Once a "racers only" windscreen, the Corsa is now available to all riders. This is only available in limited sport bike models. 








You can order Zero Gravity Windscreens here:



CONCLUSION

After seeing these sleek windscreens, I hope we helped change your mind that windscreens can be cool. They help provide a safer and more comfortable ride, no matter how long or short or the weather condition. We hope this guide has helped you get a better idea of what kind of windscreen you're searching for.
By Sir D


Lowdown on Rearsets & Why We Love Sato Racing



Let's talk about aftermarket motorcycle rearsets today! They're not just there to spruce up the look of your sportbike (though that is a definite bonus). We'll go over the benefits of installing an aftermarket set and introduce you to our favorite: Sato Racing Rearsets.

Rearsets and their benefits:

In the simplest terms, rearsets are just replacement foot pegs. Many riders see it as the required bling for their bike, replacing the boring, standard cast aluminum stock ones with sleek machined-from-billet pieces of moto-artwork.

But apart from just looking good, they actually have quite a few benefits for your riding experience. Most importantly, rearsets allow you to customize the perfect foot position, which creates a more stable base and makes for a much more comfortable ride.

The mounting plates usually have many positions for bolting the foot pegs. By being able to raise, lower or move the foot pegs backward and forward, you can find the perfect position for your leg length and riding style. This makes your whole riding experience much more comfortable and safer. Rearsets are also a necessary upgrade for track day junkies, performance riders and racers as the foot pegs can be higher-mounted, which provide a greater ground clearance and will allow the bike to lean more.

Sato Racing Rearsets

There are many brands that carry rearsets, but our personal pick is Sato Racing. 

Sato rearsets are well-known brand in the racing circuit for their good looks and functionality. Founded in 2001, Sato Racing has earned its place in the motorcycle industry for their wide range of beautifully designed and excellent quality racing products. Their parts are designed and manufactured at their state-of-the-art production facility in Osaka, Japan and keep to the Japanese spirit of design.

Sato's rearsets have been developed after intensive tests on the roads and also in World GP and more than 15 seasons of All Japan Road Race. As a result, their rear sets are truly top-of-the-line for the track as the design and development are based on feedback provided by experienced racers.

Here are just some of the features that make them such a favorite:

- Precision made, CAD/CAM/CAE designed and CNC machined
- Shift and brake levers have double miniature stainless ball bearings for precise and smooth movements without wobble
- Knurled foot pegs have enhanced non-slip characteristics, providing optimal grip even in wet conditions 
- Anodized finish to prevent scratches and oxidizing
- Multiple adjustable positions to help you find the perfect one for your size and riding style
- A GP-style reverse shifting pattern is also available in many of the rearsets models
- Choose between silver, black, and gold for most models

Sato rearsets come in a lightweight package but deliver tons of high performance features and are durable enough to withstand the conditions on the racetrack. However, please note that the lightweight design is not intended to endure the stress of wheelies and other stunts, so let's just...not.

Sato Race Concept Rearsets

Sato has a new exciting line of  Race Concept rearsets that have been designed especially for the track! These have a wider range of positions which will let the racers position their feet even higher (which equals more lean!). Sato warns that the rearsets in this series are strictly for racing bikes due to the very high position and the lack of brake light switch or ABS compatibility. 

So, are rearsets worth it?

Rearsets are certainly a more costly upgrade, but we feel they are absolutely worthwhile as they do make your ride more comfortable and for performance riders & races, give the benefit of a higher ground clearance. And of course, they also look damn cool on your bike in silver, black or gold!

You can order Sato Rearsets here:
By Sir D


Electric Motorcycles

Today's Electric Motorcycles

Advances in battery technology are making it possible for electric motorcycles to transition from a novelty vehicle into a genuine transportation contender. It?s easy to see why since electric motorcycles are environmentally friendly, quiet and affordable to drive. They?re also easy to maintain. Regardless of the many benefits that come with electric motorcycles, the industry continues to face challenges.

Industry Challenges 

Because electric motorcycles receive their power from batteries, operating range, speed and refueling are a few of the challenges that the industry is facing. In spite of being more efficient than an internal combustion engine, batteries continue to suffer from disadvantages due to their bulk and weight. These factors force electric motorcycle manufacturers to choose between power and range.

Gasoline is more energy dense than batteries, so bikes fueled with it can travel farther. In addition, electric power doesn?t have the infrastructure to support refueling as the gasoline industry does with gas stations on every street corner. For electric powered vehicles, quick and easy refueling is not readily available. Because of this, manufacturers must focus on vehicle range.

Demand for electric power will make a difference. When you consider the modern battery industry, it only got its start about 20 years ago, and it just began making serious progress about 10 years ago to provide power to the mobile computing segment. During the last few years, battery energy density has doubled, and experts speculate that it will do so again soon. Driving this demand are electric vehicles, laptops, smartphones and other products.

Price is another problem that the industry is facing. Right now, the cost for an electric motorcycle ranges from around $7,000 to $15,000. These prices will not put a bike in every garage, but as the technology continues to improve, prices are likely to come down.

Current Specifications 

The electric motorcycle with the best range can go 185 miles with a single charge from its 15.3 kWh battery setup. It can do this as long as the rider has the bike?s extra power tank plugged in. This range will vary according to how the bike is ridden as well as the rider?s weight. In the electric motorcycle industry, speed has been an issue. The fastest bike on the market today can go about 65 miles per hour. Electric motorcycles are capable of going faster. During prototype testing, they?ve reportedly reached speeds of at least 145 miles per hour, so the technology is there. However, the electric bikes that are on the road today are designed for urban settings. Because of this, their gear ratios are set for acceleration instead of sustained high speeds.

Gas powered motorcycles are fuel-efficient, but under today?s emission standards, SUVs operate 95 percent cleaner than motorcycles do. Gas powered bikes decrease oil consumption, but they come with the price of dirty air. Alternatively, electric motorcycles offer the best of both worlds since they decrease oil consumption and eliminate tailpipe emissions, so they don?t add to air pollution.

Today?s electric motorcycles are also low maintenance since they don?t require oil or valve changes. With most electric bikes, maintenance merely consists of brake pad changes and new tires.

Disposal Regulations 

To provide a power source, electric motorcycle manufacturers equip the bikes with a nickel metal hydride battery or a lithium-ion one. Both power source options are durable and capable of lasting for at least 10 years. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter than nickel metal hydride making bikes powered with this technology easier to manage.

The safe disposal of lithium-ion batteries is a concern when it comes to expanding the number of electric motorcycles on the road. The United States classifies these batteries under the Class 9 Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials section. This classification makes it tough for people to dispose of lithium-ion batteries legally. It also increases costs in the form of transportation and treatment. With the 10-year lifespan, the industry has time to develop a strategy. Responsible recycling would be the best result.

Can Tesla Help?

To tackle the problem of range and speed, electric motorcycle manufacturers should consider turning to Tesla. The company has a longtime history of developing major electric vehicle mechanisms for other manufacturers. In fact, Tesla has worked with the industry since it developed the electric drivetrain and the battery pack for electric motorcycles. The company has invested heavily in its battery production. In addition, Tesla?s cars have the longest range out of the current batch of electric cars. Theoretically, the company could modify this technology for electric motorcycles.

Finding Balance 

While China may stand to benefit the most from electric bikes due to the country?s excessively poor air quality, other countries will see advantages from them as well. With a few tweaks regarding the operating range and top speed of electric motorcycles, the vehicles are an ideal transportation option for environmentally conscious motorcycle enthusiasts. If Tesla decides to come onboard, the industry may get the support it needs.

By Daniel Relich


Exhausts 101 & Why We are Digging Competition Werkes GP Exhausts


For those not well versed in motorcycle-speak, it may be hard to explain the appeal of a slip-on exhaust. Let's just say that for the hardcore riders, a good exhaust is like that shiny shirt a guy might wear to the nightclub to show off his muscles and get more attention.

It's not going to make up for skipping all those trips to the gym, and it certainly won't make him a better dancer, but it will make him look like he's got game. And yes, the ladies will be impressed.

In much the same way, an exhaust won't make you a better rider, but it will sound cool to the guys at Bike Night, or even when showboating with a Honda Civic down the main boulevard. The appeal for most people is in how much sound an exhaust can produce.

On a more serious note... trash talk aside, there are performance advantages to be made with a slip-on exhaust. Very few upgrades can deliver additional performance gains as well as a rock-star way to announce your arrival all in one shot. Rarely does an aftermarket upgrade manage to do both so effectively, so we need to give credit where credit is due.

If your goal for your motorcycle is improved performance, then design, weight, and material are all important considerations when selecting a slip-on exhaust.

But first, let's spend a minute to understand the muffler design and the benefits of installing an aftermarket exhaust. Bear with us as we get a bit technical:

A muffler is a necessary part of a bike that reduces engine noise in order to meet certain noise level regulations. The baffles inside the muffler trap generated sound waves and let them bounce back and forth until a series of sound waves cancel each other. However, a lot of backpressure is created in this process, which reduces the airflow through the engine and subsequently reduces the engine's performance. (Yes, backpressure may be good for certain applications but let?s proceed with this line of thinking since we're on the topic of maximizing performance, shall we.)

When this happens, fuel is less efficiently combusted due to increased backpressure from the muffler. Now add to this the regulation limiting the amount of exhaust pollutants produced by road-fairing motorcycles, and the muffler design ends up being a watered down version of the high-performing race application from which it was developed.

This is why an aftermarket slip-on exhaust is often the first thing a new sportbike owner will purchase, due to the immediate improvement in aesthetics, cooler sound, and ease of installation.

A slip-on exhaust is basically just a muffler with a small mid-pipe that replaces the stock muffler(s) on a motorcycle. Technically, an aftermarket muffler has less number of baffles, which reduces backpressure and improves the airflow, therefore letting the fuel burn efficiently and increasing the bike's power. They are also lighter which means a reduced power-to-weight ratio and another boost of power. However, not all slip-on exhausts increase horsepower.

The stainless steel Grand Prix-style (GP) slip-on exhausts from Competition Werkes are some of the industry's bests with their sleek aesthetics and positive effect on the bike's performance. Some features include:

* Unique design and aesthetics
* Lighter than the stock muffler
* Greater flow for higher horsepower
* Tapered baffles for better performance and advanced tuning
* Handmade welding from straight section tubing

The Competition Werkes GP slip-on exhaust is as light as a feather compared to your clunky anchor of a stock exhaust. With a high-quality finish and fit, it also produces a thunderous sound. It is constructed with carbon and stainless steel which gives an outstanding look to your bike.

See our Competition Werkes GP Exhausts here:
http://www.solomotoparts.com/Slip-On-Exhaust/?b=Competition+Werkes

By Daniel Relich