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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.

2009 Yamaha Roadliner

  • 20,395 Miles
  • 1900 CC Engine/Displacement
  • Fuel Injected
  • 6 Speed
  • 7/10 Overall Condition
  • After Market Accessories:
  • Saddle Bags
  • Corbin Heated Seat
  • Cobra Pipes
  • Base Floor Boards
  • Fairing
  • Windshield
  • Luggage Rack
  • Grips
  • $6500

1992 Dyna Daytona

  • 1992 Dyna Daytona Super Glide
  • 32,800 Miles
  • 80 Cubic Inch Engine and Displacement
  • Stock Cam
  • Carb
  • 5 Speed
  • 6/10 Overall Condition
  • After Market Accessories:
  • Mustang Seat
  • Quick Release Winshield
  • Rhinehart Pipes
  • Drivers Back Rest
  • Saddle Bags
  • Asking $5000

2012 Victory Cross Country

2012 Victory Cross Country

  • 59,000 Miles
  • 106 Cubic Inch Engine and Displacement
  • Loyld’z Cams and Airbox
  • Fuel Injected
  • 6 Speed
  • 9/10 Overall Condition
  • After Market Accessories:
  • Color Match Inner Fairing
  • Custom HARTCO Seat
  • AZZkicker Handle Bars
  • SMT Wheels
  • 6 Speaker System
  • Sony Head Unit
  • Rusty Jones Bag Lids W/ Speakers and Bag Ext
  • Vicotry LED Headlight
  • Passenger Boards
  • Asking $10,500

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!

1984 EVO

Miles: 30,750

Engine Cl: 80

Stock Cam

Carborated

5 speed transmission

Paint Color: Black/Red

Overall Condition: 7 out of 10

Accessories: Backrest pad and seat

Price: 6500

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.