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Welcome to the SoloMotoParts.com blog. We'll be writing about different motorcycling segments like sport, cruiser, adv and off-road as well as sharing tips on motorcycle riding and safety. You'll also find insider 411 on hot motorcycle parts & accessory brands. We encourage you to interact with us by sharing our content on social media and commenting on the posts with what you think! Have at it!

What You Should Know About Motorcycle Insurance


You've obsessed over that new motorcycle for a while now, you've talked to your s/o about riding and you've considered a new versus pre-owned bike. The budget is set aside for gear and other safety considerations and now you're finally ready to pull the trigger on that new ride! F*ck ya!

But...if you're going to be enjoying that brand new motorcycle on the street, then you'll need to consider buying insurance to make sure you're covered in the event of a crash. Moreover, for the sportbike crowd, many insurance companies will not cover damages sustained during a race event or a track day. Make sure to inquire about this if you're going to be hitting the track.

Consider that your motorcycle driving record can effect your insurance premiums for your other vehicles, wisely choosing a policy and insurance company is even more important. Keep those traffic tickets to a minimum on your bike or you might be seeing your monthly premiums increase for your bike and car! Ouch.

Motorcycle insurance tends to fall under most recreational vehicle insurance policies, even if your motorcycle is your primary method of transportation. Regardless of how often you ride your bike, most states require riders to carry a motorcycle insurance policy. Age, experience and vehicle type are considerations for cost so don't have sticker shock if you're in your 20s and are going for a 1000cc superbike as your first bike!

Before you decide on a motorcycle insurance company, make sure you've researched the following items:
* How do they handle claims?
* Available Premium Discounts
* State License status and complaints
* Liability and full coverage costs

Insurance Claims Handling

Filing a claim is stressful but sometimes necessary. Especially after your motorcycle has been damaged in a crash or worse, the last thing you want is for the claims handling process to add to your troubles. While it's tempting to easily purchase a motorcycle insurance policy online, make sure your insurance company offers all of the following:

* Communication options. If you have questions, does the insurance company offer a phone number for the claims department? If not, what are your recourse options when you need to advance a claim status?
* Customer service ratings. Most insurance companies have a rating with J.D. Power & Associates and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Review customer service ratings for all companies under consideration.

Insurance Premium Discounts

When comparing discounts for motorcycle insurance policies, make sure the discount is good for the life of the policy and not just an introductory rate.

Most reputable insurance companies give discounts for the following categories:
* Safe rider discounts for proof of completion of motorcycle safety courses.
* Multi-vehicle discounts for coverage of more than one vehicle.
* Multiple policy discounts: Keeping all of your insurance policies (homeowner, renter, automobile) with one company can give you a big break on annual pricing.

With this in mind, don't be surprised if your motorcycle insurance costs as much as your car or truck. If you're in your 20s, male and are buying a powerful sportbike, it could get pricey. This is from personal experience of course, so it's always good to call around and get quotes before getting too involved with the bike you want or putting yourself in a tough place when at the motorcycle dealership.

I also highly recommend completing the motorcycle riding safety course and, as an added bonus in some states, you can skip the riding portion of the motorcycle license test with proof of course completion.

Company Licensure and Complaints

Before you agree to purchase a motorcycle insurance policy, verify the agent or producer is licensed in your state. Check with your local DMV for a license search website or check NIPR.com. If you cannot verify licensure, go to another provider. If a non-active agent or producer isn't licensed through the state, your policy may be invalid when you need it most.

When you find a company that meets all of your criteria regarding pricing, rates and service, type the agent or producer's name into Google followed by the word "reviews." If you see too many negative reviews on customer service and claims filing, continue your search.

More often than not, you've likely heard of several motorcycle insurance companies through word-of-mount or through an advertisement on the radio or TV. This is a great way to start your research. We've also compiled a small directory of motorcycle insurance companies in the US to aid in your search.

Cost of Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance rates vary based on the type of policy: liability or full coverage. Liability will only cover damage to other vehicles or property, while full coverage with collision will give you coverage in case of damage to your bike. Depending on whether you own your bike outright or are making payments (and what state you're in), you may be required to have full coverage insurance.

Other factors will play a role in the total cost:
* Age/gender of driver
* Amount of deductible
* Discounts
* Geographic location
* Motorcycle value

Full coverage will always cost more than liability coverage, but the cost is not out of reach for most mature drivers who carry other types of insurance policies. Balance.com gives ranges from $200.00 to $3,000.00 per year, depending on the combination of all the factors listed above.

Don't forget to ask your motorcycle riding buddies about their coverage. If you get a rate that seems much higher or lower than some of your friends, shop around and make sure you're getting the best rate available to you with coverage that suits your needs.

...Now Get out And Ride!

Once you have your insurance sorted out, you can move ahead and buy your motorcycle! Find an online motorcycle parts store for riding gear and, if you have the itch, aftermarket parts such as an exhaust. Modifying your bike is as much as part of the culture as riding so don't forget to experience the fun of shopping and installing new parts!

Thanks for reading! Ride safe!

By Daniel Relich

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GP Inspired Sportbike Exhausts You Can Buy Today

GP Inspired Sportbikes Exhausts You Can Buy

When it comes to motorcycle enhancements and buying aftermarket motorcycle parts, the exhaust is one of the number one upgrades riders choose to install on their bikes. The king, if you will. In particular, when riders are looking to improve performance, power and additional aesthetic appeal, I think it's the way to go - especially if you're not a fan of that oh-so-hated sewing machine sounding stock exhaust.

But hey! Not to worry, there's plenty of exhaust options available. Of the many slip-on and full exhaust systems sold by an online motorcycle parts store, the GP style, which derives its name and appeal from top-level Moto GP racing, is quite a popular option. The sportbike GP style exhaust is generally characterized by short, low mounted mufflers and huge sound.

Many are constructed of raw or bare metal and sometimes put together with exposed welds for that one-off look. GP style exhausts leave behind the traditional long muffler in favor of an artfully constructed stubby metal muffler that...roars. They're truly head turners - mostly because they're generally crazy loud!

These next four brands are popular for their GP-style motorcycle exhausts:

M4 GP Exhausts

M4 GP Exhaust
M4 Black Satin GP Slip-on Exhaust

Texas-based M4 specializes in performance exhaust systems, taking great care to fine-tune their wares for optimum performance gains. They have a variety of full systems and slip-on exhausts, of which their GP-styled options are well-known for granting a decent amount of power and providing window shattering sound.

The M4 gp slip-on systems are a great option for those looking to balance price, ease-of-installation, sound output and performance increases. They're well known for a matte black gp canister but offer a wide array of standard style exhaust systems that can often be seen on podium topping M4 supported race teams.

Ever wonder where the name M4 comes from? We did an interview with Kyle Martin about that topic!

Competition Werkes GP Exhausts

Competition Werkes GP Exhaust
Competition Werkes GP Style Full Exhaust

Competition Werkes bills themselves as the "premier manufacturer of sport bike accessories," and their GP-style exhausts most assuredly fit this label. Their slip-ons are simple to install, usually requiring just a bolt to clamp on. They help riders save on weight, don't compromise ground clearance, improve sound and grant a nice boost-to-engine performance to boot.

They are most notably known for their 'bare metal' style Competition Werkes GP exhaust system and use shotgun style canister outlets that replicate the real race look better than most. Mostly available in slip-on formats, they do provide the occasional full system. We definitely dig these artfully constructed boutique Competition Werkes exhausts.

Hotbodies Racing GP Exhausts

Hotbodies MGP Exhaust
Hotbodies MGP slip-on Exhaust

Hotbodies Racing's newest addition is a line of motorcycle exhausts. Hotbodies MGP Exhausts are made "proudly in Italy," these exhausts feature a light and aerodynamic styling that simultaneously reduces bike weight and drag while providing improved sound and upping horsepower.

Available in a slashcut megaphone or shorty shotgun style stainless steel or carbon fiber wrapped cans, Hotbodies MGP slip-on exhausts are available for most major Japanese sportbike brands as well as Ducati and BMW.  While you won't see the biggest gains in horsepower or torque, the MGP exhaust line will add a great aftermarket exhaust note and an even better aesthetic appeal to your bike. Their easy to handle entry price will make you smile, too!

Akrapovic GP Exhausts

Akrapovic GP Exhausts
Akrapovic GP Style Slip-on Exhaust

This world famous Slovenian brand has supplied racing teams around the globe with top quality exhaust systems and they have a reputation for high-end design. Within the Akrapovic exhaust range, they do have a range of GP-inspired exhausts, intended for use by demanding riders who want the best and are willing to pay for it.

Though specifics on their exhausts vary, the overall trend with Akrapovic is that they are precision crafted from high-quality materials like titanium and carbon fiber while offering increased power and torque, while reducing the overall weight of a bike. Not to mention that signature Akrapovic sound come with every exhaust system! Read more about Akrapovic's full product line up.

Slip-on Exhaust or Full System?

Now that you've decided on the style and possibly the brand of GP exhaust you want, there's a whole other big decision to be made: Should you install a slip-on exhaust or a full system exhaust on your motorcycle? Well...Generally speaking, a slip-on is cheaper and requires less support accessories (like a fuel controller) but it won't give you nearly as much usable power as a full exhaust system will.

It's possible to think of a slip-on as just an exhaust for looks and sound (with some added power benefit). Certain slip-on exhausts that remove the exhaust box/cat actually will produce a good amount of power so this decision will vary from bike owner to bike owner. Full exhausts are generally best for the pure performance junkies, track riders and racers. I mean, how much power do you really need on the street? We've put together a nifty slip-on vs full system guide that will go into more details on this topic.

Do you need Power Commander?

Dynojet Power Commander VA full exhaust generally requires the purchase of an additional fuel controller, like Dynojet Power Commanders, that comes with an additional investment. Slip-on exhausts are a different story but you'll get more performance out of your bike with a fuel controller installed. Note that it's not an absolute requirement for slip-on exhausts.

So you got a Power Commander, now what? You'll also likely need smog block off plates in addition to an exhaust for the fuel controller to work properly. Remember that adding a fuel controller or or other supporting mods isn't just about meeting requirements...its about the tune. The tune can be done through various loaded maps, an auto tune attachment or through an expert dynotune center.

A properly tuned Power Commander will ensure smooth power delivery and curb symptoms such as backfiring or overheating. You'll have more usable power and a better riding experience if your motorcycle is properly tuned - and this matters when using a full or a slip-on exhaust - so don't get a full system and then realize you're out of money to do what's necessary to get the full benefits. Plan accordingly. We go into more details about what a power commander is and what it does in our guide.

So, why not get a full exhaust? I suppose the answer to that one is: money.

And add a High Flow Air Filter, Maybe

K&N High Flow Motorcycle Air Filter
It's no secret that leading motorcycle filter companies like K&N produce a wide variety of aftermarket high flow air filters that are designed to flow more air (and, theoretically, more horsepower) as well as being washable and re-usable. Unfortunately, more air in can sometimes throw off the delicate stock ecu ranges (especially when paired with an aftermarket exhaust) and then you're going to be overheating and spitting fire (and backfiring, popping) and all sorts of other squid-ly noises. Eh.

Air filters can be an important part of an overall power mod strategy when properly supported with a fuel controller to make sure to get an upgrade plan together before executing! Also, be careful not to buy 'race spec' filters and then run them on the street - that's a no no.

Browse, Research, Ask then Buy

Aside from the obvious online store option (and reaching out their customer service team), you can also shop for an aftermarket gp exhaust system by watching videos on YouTube or by visiting a bike night or by going on a ride and seeing what people have on their bikes already. It'll most likely give you some great ideas for your own motorcycle! In short: get out and ride, do some research online and then pull the trigger on that new GP exhaust!

By Daniel Relich

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