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Make Your Motorcycle Faster, Go Further, & Roar Louder

Welcome to 2022!

I know we’re already looking forward to spring, but there is no better time than now for a project to get your bike ready for riding season. Thinking of a modification? Now is the time. Considering a complete rebuild? Get started soon to be ready for that April or May weather. Knowing your end goal, whether you want to go faster, further or be louder are things you need to consider when you head to your favorite motorcycle shop. Whatever you decide, we’re here to help you make it happen.

Increased Horsepower? We can do it.

There are several ways to increase your bike’s horsepower. We recommend starting in the following four areas:

Exhaust/ Air Intake.

After-market exhaust will reduce back pressure. This makes it easier for the engine to receive oxygen, which leads to more power at the wheels and even improves fuel economy.

Cams.

Cams increase the cylinder pressure as the engine’s RPM’s rise. This is done by the scavenging effect from the valve timing and overlap in the cam, which raises the cylinder pressure and increases horsepower with RPM.

Increase Motors Cubic Inches.

There are only two ways to increase an engine’s cubic inches. You can bore it (engine boring increases the cylinder diameters) or you can stroke it (engine stroking increases the crankshaft stroke).

Dyno Tune.

A proper tune will help ensure maximum performance, durability and reliability. We can also tell from the graph if your motorcycle is running properly, wasting fuel, or is not up to its full potential. In addition, the graph will also show potential problems in the drivetrain which helps us better diagnose any issues you may be having or would be having in the future.

Drive the Dream

The whole key is to think about what you want your bike to do, how you want it to look, sound and perform. Some of the customizations we do include:

  • wheels and tires
  • handlebars and grips
  • seats and luggage
  • engines and turbos
  • pipes
  • lighting
  • sound
  • paint & graphics

We’re here for you. It’s important to talk to a professional when you’re upgrading your bike. Call or stop by with your ideas. We run monthly specials, so watch for savings on the parts you need. Plus, we watch for distributor discounts that we pass on to you. Schedule your appointment or stop by the shop to share your ideas and get a quote on customizing your ride!

Avoid Weak Links

By Jan Knobbe 

Considering upgrading your motorcycle’s performance? Winter is a great time to do it since the weather here in the Midwest is cold and hazardous enough to keep most of us off the roads. It’s when we traditionally do a lot of motor builds. There’s more to it than just the motor though.

Other Components to Upgrade

When you add performance to your motor you need to consider upgrading other components to avoid leaving a weak link. Compensators, clutch baskets, clutch, transmission and drive belt are all components that are replaceable with high performance parts. How much horse power/torque (hp/tq) the motor is making will determine if these components need to be upgraded to avoid them becoming a weak link. Weak links can lead to the components breaking and that’s never good. If you are spending money to create more hp/tq, you want to make sure all necessary components are also upgraded as needed.

Factory vs. Aftermarket

For example, factory stock cast compensators are only good for up to about 90 horsepower.  Aftermarket compensators are available that can handle up to 160 horsepower or better. Your next component that could become a weak link is the cast aluminum clutch basket. There are billet clutch baskets available that can handle higher hp/tq. You should also be aware of factory clutch plates. These can be upgraded to aftermarket clutch plates that have extra plates to apply more friction. There are also clutch lock up devices that take up to double factory hp/tq without slippage.

Worth the Upgrade

Transmission breakage is happening on most M8s that have upgrades to the powertrain demonstrating this weak link. Typically 3rd and 4th gear breakage under severe torque applications. The fix for this is the Baker six speed Grudge Box.  It is a costly upgrade that is worth it as it will make your bike more dependable. 

Riding or Racing

The last weak link to address is the final drive belt. This only needs to be replaced with a chain drive under severe street riding/drag racing, when the motor is running a turbo, or a supercharger. The chain drive will make sure the bike is a dependable touring street bike with a lot of giddy up and go!

Ask for Advice

Here at Chariots of Fire Customs LLC we like educated consumers. Upgrading your motor is a big deal and you should make your decision to do so knowing the facts. Come see us this winter and we will help you decide on the best performance upgrades and determine what weak links to avoid. 

Avoid Costly Repairs by Winterizing Your Bike Properly Now

Every spring, we have a stream of dozens of riders needing service before they can ever take that first spring ride. While we’re happy to help, we’d really love if everyone could avoid costly repairs that could have easily been prevented come spring time.

Here in the Midwest, transitioning from autumn riding to winter storage is the best way to keep your bike in riding condition. We’ve all experienced those random sunny days in December, January or February when you want to have the wind in your face. Follow these simple steps to be ready and prevent problems that would delay riding coming spring 2022.

How to Winterize Your Motorcycle

Prevent Rust & Corrosion with Lube

Protect any and all parts prone to rust or corrosion by applying lubrication. This includes your chain, bolts, cables and switches.

*See associate for complete details. Price may vary by make and model.

Change the Oil

There’s a reason we have an oil change special in November! Changing your bike’s oil before storing for winter is vital since used oil has contaminants (from doing its job). Contaminants that are suspended in the oil may gunk up and leave dirt in small cavities of the engine and hydraulic passages. Yes, you’ll want to start your bike once in a while to lubricate the engine again, but avoid running it for too long and causing contamination of the oil again.

Top Her Off

Fill up and top-off your gas tank before you roll into the garage. An empty gas tank tends to form condensation. We also recommend gas conditioner. Gas conditioner can protect your fuel for up to two full years. We recommend Helix 5 in 1. Today’s fuel turns bad after eleven days because of the alcohal content in the fuel.

Tickle with a Trickle

Keep your battery happy by putting it on a tender with a trickle charge over the winter months to keep it from draining. This extends the life of your battery since every time a battery dies, it loses some of its lifespan. Tenders also switch to float automatically to maintain the charge without overdoing it.

Shake the Shimmy

If your tires sit in one spot for a longer period of time, they may get flat spots causing a shimmy come spring that wasn’t present when you put it away. The easiest way to avoid this is to put your bike up on stands or a lift. If you don’t have a stand or want to spend money on a lift, here are a couple of things to do to save your tires:

  • Move your bike around a couple of times a month to keep the tires from resting on the same spots.
  • Add about 5PSI to each tire, as they naturally lose air over time. 
  • Park on plywood to help your tires avoid obtaining moisture from concrete floors.

By winterizing your bike using this checklist, you can avoid a number of preventable problems like batteries that don’t hold charge, dirty carburetors, clogged fuel injectors, and no-start issues from tarnished gasoline and tires that are out of balance or without the proper inflation. 

Schedule your oil change today and get your bike ready for winter!

If you do find yourself out and about this winter, rest assured we’ve got your back with free towing within 60 miles November through February.

Ask a Motorcycle Technician: Motorcycle Modifications Based on Your Experience Level

There’s nothing quite like being on a bike, so it’s no wonder why people get into motorcycles. It’s exciting to find a great bike and make it your own through upgrades and custom work. But after years of fixing all kinds of bikes for riders of all experience levels, our technicians have some recommendations for what you should be focusing on based on your riding experience. 

New Riders – Build Your Foundation

When you’re new to anything, building a strong foundation of knowledge and skill is what takes you from novice towards expert. Especially with motorcycles. Practice builds experience. So, new riders should focus on these foundations before making big adjustments to their bike:

  • Safety – There’s nothing more important than safety on a motorcycle. Having the right gear, road knowledge, and well-maintained bike is crucial to a safe ride.
  • Regular Maintenance – How many miles until you need to change your oil? Your fork oil? When should you buy new tires or have a general tune up done? Knowing the basics about keeping your bike well-maintained will keep you riding longer and make it more enjoyable.
  • Pre-Ride TCLOCK – Always, always, always before you ride, TCLOCK. It’s so important we wrote a whole blog about it. Get the full pre-ride checklist here
  • Riders Courses – Think of riders courses like having a coach. Someone to show you best practices and offer suggestions to make you a better rider. The ability to practice, screw up, and try again, safely on a closed course. All that practice and coaching is what turns a novice into a more experienced rider. You can find classes at the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program.  

Moderate Experienced Rider – Refine Your Preferences

You have the basics down, you know your riding style and what you enjoy best about your bike and it’s time to build on those preferences. Riders with moderate experience should be thinking about these things:

  • Check Tire Pressure* – One of the basic pre-ride checks is tire pressure. Even though you’re not a novice anymore, don’t forget about those foundations that got you here.
  • Comfort – Once you have the basics of riding down, you can turn your attention to making your motorcycle match your preferences. Swapping out the seat, handlebars, and forward controls are relatively minor adjustments that can make a difference for your comfort while riding. 
  • Aesthetics – Ready to customize the look of your bike? When you’ve been riding for a while and are ready to invest in making your bike your own, adding chrome or getting new paint job can make your bike look brand new.  
  • Sounds – Who doesn’t love the roar of an engine revving? Changing out your pipes for a little more rumble or upgrading your stereo system to jam out on a ride are ways to enhance the sound experience on your motorcycle.

Experienced Rider – Create Your Ultimate Ride

By now, you know the nuances of riding and have your favorite routes. You know if you prefer taking the highway versus touring or winding back roads. You know if you get a thrill with going fast to beat your buddy or just enjoy the relaxation of a leisurely ride. You’ve done it all so you know what you like…and what you don’t. For the seasoned rider, fine tune your bike for the ultimate riding experience:

  • Check Tire Pressure* – Hate to start with this basic pre-ride task, but it’s an important one. Even an experienced tech can’t look at a tire and know it’s low. You have to put a gauge to it and physically check to save problems down the road. 
  • High Performance Upgrades – Since you know your preferred riding style, you can have fun with upgrading different aspects of your motor to enhance your ride. Different styles of riding have different modifications that can boost your ride. That’s when we get into the Stage I to  Stage V performance kits. As you tweak your riding style, you will get the most enjoyment by also tweaking your motorcycle to match.

* Why do our technicians keep repeating “check your tire pressure?” It turns out that 90% of problems with suspension, wobbles, cupping tires, tires not lasting as long as manufacturer suggests, etc. can all be traced to…you guessed it, incorrect tire pressure. Here at our shop, we have had motorcycles come in with only 18-20 psi when most should have 42 psi or higher, recommended by tire manufacturers. You can find the tire pressure recommendations on the side walls, don’t forget to check and save yourself more hassle down the road!

Have more questions for our motorcycle technicians? Give us a call or come on by to talk bikes and schedule maintenance or modifications.

Consider This When Purchasing a Used Motorcycle

By Reine Knobbe

First of all, thank you for making Chariots of Fire Customs LLC one of your go-to places when looking for a used motorcycle.  We realize that we have a very limited inventory so you will need to look elsewhere when we don’t have what you want.  We offer advice and knowledge when you walk into our establishment. But what is a person to do when they are out on their own looking to buy a used motorcycle?

The top three things that Jan and our technicians suggest you look for in a used motorcycle are milage, maintenance records, and overall condition. 

Mileage & Maintenance Records

The average miles put on a motorcycle are 3,000 – 5,000 per year depending on the state you live in.  If the mileage is very low, great!  If the mileage is on the high side that is good also IF the motorcycle was well maintained. That’s when you want to look at maintenance records to see if basic maintenance was performed in a timely manner. If the mileage is low, how are the tires?  They might be dry rotting from sitting. Not everyone realizes that tires need to be changed because of dry rot, even if there are low miles on them.  

Overall Condition

Questions to ask when looking at the overall condition might include: 

  • Was the bike in a flooded area?
  • Was the bike ever in a wreck
  • Does the owner live down a long gravel road? If so, the frame may be chipped which could lead to rust in older motorcycles. 
  • Are the spokes and wheels clean?
  • How is the paint?  
  • Will they allow you to start the bike and run it through the gears?
  • Can you take a test ride? Know this question is best saved for serious offers only. 

A couple other things to consider is the location of the seller. If it is out of state, is it worth your time and money to travel? Once you meet up with the seller use your basic instincts. Ask questions about why they are selling their motorcycle, such as:

  • Not enough time to ride
  • In need of funds
  • Upcoming surgery
  • No longer able to ride.  

There are as many reasons as there are people! By asking these questions you can get a feel for how much they love the sport. That can help you determine if the motorcycle was well maintained or not so much. When looking at a potential bike, consider the environment the bike is kept in. If the area is cleaned up and well maintained and the seller is knowledgeable about recent maintenance, it is likely that the motorcycle has been well maintained. If they name their motorcycle and have a special place in a garage you can rest assured, they kept good care of her!

Be sure to check out our current selection of bikes available and reach out if you have questions – we’re always happy to help!

Top Restaurants For Your Next Ride

We asked our friends on Facebook for the best places to stop for a bite to eat when they’re on a ride and they didn’t disappoint. Check out these restaurants worth taking a break for some delicious food. For the full list of suggestions, take a look at the original post on Facebook.

Keep it Local – Less than 30 minute ride from Troy, MO

Cadillac Bills in Elsberry, MO

For car nostalgia and tasty burgers, you’ll want to head to Cadillac Bills. Customers rave about the burgers, variety of sides, and hand-dipped ice cream.

Main Street Bar & Grill in Old Monroe, MO

An Old Monroe community since the 1950’s, Main Street Bar & Grill serves a variety of sandwiches, burgers, surf and turf dinner entrees, and plenty of appetizers and sides. Check out their live music on Friday nights.

Dickey’s Smokehouse in Winfield, MO

Enjoy prime meat smoked to perfection at Dickey’s Smokehouse. Featuring daily specials and freshly made sides. Ribs, wraps, and wings keep customers coming back. 

Rookies in Wentzville, MO

With a laid-back and neighborhood vibe, Rookies serves a delicious mix of bar food and dinner entrees to satisfy any palate. Each burger has a sports-themed name like Zamboni, Pucker Up, and Penalty Shot.   

Taormina’s Family Restaurant in Troy, MO

Featuring homemade Italian favorites, Taromina’s is the plate to go for a hearty, filling meal. The extensive menu includes authentic Italian sandwiches, pasta, pizza, as well as chicken, beef, and seafood entrees.  

Casual Cruise – About an 1 hour ride from Troy, MO

King Louie’s Drive In in Wood River, IL

Family owned and operated for nearly three decades, King Louie’s is known for their classic diner feel and food. They’re infamous for their King of the Jungle Challenge, where customers are tested to eat a 2lb burger, loaded potato planks, a 32 ounce soda in 30 minutes.

Woody’s Pub & Grub in Ashland, MO

Casual and family friendly, Woody’s Pub & Grill is the perfect spot to stop for lunch or dinner. Catfish, fried pickles, and burgers are highly recommended by customers.

Shady Jack’s Saloon in St. Louis

Known as a motorcycle restaurant and bar, Shady Jack’s Saloon is a lively spot for a bite to eat for anyone craving a good burger, pizza, or sandwich. Get there early for breakfast served until noon and don’t miss their signature beer, brewed in partnership with Bastard Brothers Brewing Company. 

Jan and Reine’s Top Day Trip Picks

Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, KY 

About a 4 hour ride

Famous for their 2 inch thick pork chops, fluffy meringue pies and flower pot bread, Patti’s 1880s Settlement is more than a restaurant. This destination features six gift shops in a  historical log cabin village, beautiful gardens, gazebos, mini golf, remote control boats. Dining reservations strongly recommended.  

Lambert’s Cafe in Sikeston, MO
About 2 hours 45 minutes

Known for their generous portions of comfort food and extra large “throwed rolls,” Lambert’s Cafe promises a full belly and family-friendly atmosphere. With 80 years in business, customers keep coming back for the variety of pork chops and steaks as well as chicken pot pie, dumplings and wings. Of course, not to mention the hearty sides to keep for yourself or share with the table.    

Don’t forget that we’re here to help you make the most of your ride. Swing by the shop while you’re out and about to say hi, shop our apparel and gear, join an event, or schedule maintenance. 

Customize Your Suspension for a Smoother Ride

When you purchase a new or used motorcycle, the suspension on your bike should be customized to you and your riding needs. The biggest mistake people make with their motorcycle suspension is using universal weight ratings. These are based on the average sized rider and the maximum amount of weight the bike can hold. But what do you need for your bike?  Is it a comfortable ride?  If not, let’s dive into what you should consider when adjusting your motorcycle suspension for a smoother ride.

Suspension Basics

The problem with stock motorcycle suspension is it’s either too rigid or too soft, ultimately because it’s not adjusted to you and your riding style.  When you want a more comfortable ride that is smoother over bumps in the road, you should start with a set of shocks that are made for your weight.  What is your weight? It’s the total weight of you and your passenger, if you ride with two people most of the time. It’s also important to think about the dampening of the shock. Can it be adjusted? How hard is it to adjust? Additionally, is this shock a brand you have heard of? These are questions you should consider to ensure you’re taking all factors into account. 

Shocks 101

Shocks control the action of the spring. When you combine the spring and the shocks, they enable the suspension to move so the energy from bumps in the road are absorbed by the shock instead of your bike. 


If you are looking for a recommendation for shocks, Jan and I will tell you Super Shox are what we have found to be the best. The reason we like these shocks is because they easily adjust by hand allowing for precise customization for every bike. They are ordered for the weight of the rider(s) and their gear.  Also, these shocks have a 50/50 split where they travel the same distance both up and down. Finally, all Super Shox are manufactured, assembled and tested in Grayslake, Illinois.


No matter what shock you look at, if you keep these questions in mind you will find a pair that will match your riding style and fitment. Give us a call at (636) 775-1385 to take advantage of our July special for 20% off front and rear suspension components, including air rides. 

What You Need to Know About Fork Oil Changes

This month’s special is fork oil changes. Often overlooked, this regular maintenance task keeps your bike running smooth. Depending on the brand of your bike, your owners manual usually will recommend fork oil changes every 20,000 to 50,000 miles. For instance, Harley Davidson suggests changing fork oil every 20,000 miles. If you’re not sure about your bike, give us a call and we’ll let you know. 


If you’re not sure when the last time your fork oil was changed, how do you know it might be time? If the front end of your bike starts to feel too soft or you notice the nose diving when you apply pressure to the handlebars, it could be time for your fork oil to be changed. Another, more subtle, sign is when the forks come back up jerky or too fast, instead of smoothly and evenly like they’re supposed to. 


It’s also important to know that there are different weights of fork oil available. The difference is based on the amount of dampening you want in the front forks. If you use a lighter weight oil you will not dampen as much as if you use a heavier oil. In other words, the viscosity of the oil will affect the feel of the suspension.  


Harley puts an equivalent oil of 8 to 10 weight oil in the stock shocks. Jan and Sparky will recommend 30 weight oil due to the fact it dampens at a slower rate and your forks will not slam back up. Instead after a bump the forks will slowly return to the original position. This will give the motorcycle more of a European feel and make the bike respond with more control. 


Ultimately, the oil used is based on your personal preference. If you change the oil weight and do not like the ride it is as simple as try another weight until you find that sweet spot.


Give us a call to schedule an appointment to change your fork oil and notice the difference in how smooth your bike rides. The month of June, fork oil changes are 15% off!

Top 10 Songs for Your Summer Playlist

Last month we asked our friends on Facebook and Instagram to share their favorite songs for the road and they did not disappoint. A mix of upbeat tracks, songs you’ll want to sing along with, and chill tunes perfect for an easy cruise down an empty road, there’s a little something for everyone.

“Way Down We Go” by Kaleo 

You might know this one from the many TV shows it’s been included in. If not, it’s a steady beat to add to your playlist. With distinct vocals, it’s the kind of song that builds and will have you nodding along with the beat.  

“Highway to Hell” by AC/DC

This is a song that needs no introduction. Classic and rocking, we can’t think of another other song that defines a rumbling bike down a long, open road like this one.

“Mississippi Queen” by Mountain

If it’s not the cow bell or the striking guitar riffs that excite you, maybe it’s the catchy chorus that will have you belting out this hard-rock classic in no time. 

“Black Betty” by Ram Jam

Iconic and upbeat, this classic rock hit might have you itching to give the throttle a little more juice. The fast-paced tune was rose to the top of charts in 1977 and it’s still in our top list today. 

“Vultures” by Asking Alexandria

British rock band, Asking Alexandria, wrote this while on tour in 2015 but it wasn’t until 2017 that it was included in their album. With a steady beat, soulful lyrics, and captivating vocals, it’s the right song to add depth to your playlist. 

“Low Rider” by War 

Described as “American funk,” War release Low Rider in 1975 and it quickly rose to the top of the charts. With a laidback beat and smooth vocals, it’s an easy addition for a long, chill ride. 

“School’s Out” by Alice Cooper

When many people think of Alice Cooper, this iconic hit is often first to come to mind. According to Wikipedia, the song was inspired from the question, “What’s the greatest three minutes of your life?” Maybe your answer is riding your bike. 

“Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf

When you’re on the open road, the possibilities seem endless. Or maybe a little wild. This classic rock track has been associated with bikers for decades and we’re not mad about it.

“Take It Easy” by The Eagles

One of their signature songs, this tune is a classic: catchy with a winding melody that will have you singing along. “Take it easy” sounds like a perfect rule to live by this summer.  

“Hot Blooded” by Foreigner

High-energy and catchy, this ultimate rock anthem will make the miles fly by while you nod along to the beat. Really any Foreigner song could be on this list, but we’ll pick this one for summer.

If you want to hear your playlist clearer and/or louder be sure to stop by the shop to get the low down on our top stereo and speaker picks.  15% off this month! 

Light Up Your Ride

Chariots of Fire Customs LLC carries Custom Dynamics® lighting for a good reason. Directly quoted from their page “Custom Dynamics® is the leader in aftermarket LED lighting and accessories for motorcycles. Offering a variety of LED lighting upgrades and electrical modules for any vehicle to add safety and visibility including the premium ProBEAM® product line. After almost 20 years in business, the small-town, family-value mentality still serves as a guiding force of the company that prides itself on unmatched customer service and technical support.” Their small-town, family-values fit perfectly with Chariots of Fire Customs LLC!

As those of you who have visited our shop know, they provide us dealers with a great display so that you can see the lighting before purchasing. They have many new products for the 2021 riding season. We just happen to have 15% off lighting again for the month of April, so stop on in and let us light up your ride!

Tailend of motorcycle featuring Custom Dynamics lighting