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The stages of motorcycle ownership


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When someone gets their first bike, they are always so excited.  They just love it and want to make it their own.  So they browse the boards and almost always come up with the same plan.  Let's turn it into something it's not, like a bobber or a cafe racer!  Let's cut open the airbox, chop up the exhaust.  Gotta unleash all the power.  And they hack up the bike and it runs like crap.  So they sell it and try again.  This time, they get a full exhaust kit, high flow filter, power commander or bigger jets, you know. I'll bet alot of this sounds familiar.  So the bike is all modded up, but it only has 4 extra horsepower, and has lost bottom end and fuel economy, since there is always a trade-off.  Eventually that bike gets sold or crashed, and the decision is made to leave the next bike basically stock.  That's when you learn to appreciate how good a job the Honda engineers do.  This bike just runs great, and you don't have to sink a ton of extra cash into it.  By now you have hopefully learned how to  really ride it, and it becomes apparent how good the bike really is.  

Not trying to give anyone grief, just sharing some hard earned knowledge.

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I spent ~30 years riding sport bikes and cutting off the oem rear fender first thing, now I find the past couple years I've had to hunt down unicorn oem rear fenders for some of my restoration bikes, full circle lol... :blink:

 

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I have a great friend that believes that if you want more horsepower, buy a machine that has the power you want stock.  

 

The worst thing I did to my 1984 FJ1100 was to put a 1200 wiseco piston kit in when it didn't need a top end rebuild.  It was never the same after that.  The little horsepower gain wasn't worth it.

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1 hour ago, VifferJ said:

I spent ~30 years riding sport bikes and cutting off the oem rear fender first thing, now I find the past couple years I've had to hunt down unicorn oem rear fenders for some of my restoration bikes, full circle lol... :blink:

 

 

 

 

Uncut RC51/SP1's (00-01) are NLA, they are sold 2nd hand for $900....

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42 minutes ago, Dutchy said:

 

 

 

Uncut RC51/SP1's (00-01) are NLA, they are sold 2nd hand for $900....

 

Indeed, I wish I would have collected oem sport bike fenders back in the day, I'd be able to retire on what they'd all sell for now days, crazy $! 😐 

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4 hours ago, Sparkie said:

When someone gets their first bike, they are always so excited.  They just love it and want to make it their own. 

 

I agree with this part!  😉

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Jeez Sparkie...such pessimism....... I have never regretted any mods on any bike I have had for decades.........

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I don't have a much life experience as most, being in my early 30's. But one thing I know for sure is that I never make any mod that can't be 100% put back to stock with the parts I remove or add. Sometimes you just never know the unintended consequences of the mods being made. 

 

Mind you, I certainly have no regrets with the mods i've made to my viffer - I really enjoy tinkering with my rapid bike software to make it run as smooth as possible.

 

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1 hour ago, mello dude said:

Jeez Sparkie...such pessimism....... I have never regretted any mods on any bike I have had for decades.........

You've never had the pleasure of riding a bike with a gutted airbox and muffler, backfiring down the street?

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10 minutes ago, Sparkie said:

You've never had the pleasure of riding a bike with a gutted airbox and muffler, backfiring down the street?

Cant say I have, but I have gone with aftermarket pipes here and there.... and typically I strip out the pair valve system... 

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I've seen both ends of the mod/stock world just recently.  I've found most VFR owners might do some mods, but the overall looks of the machine rarely change very much.  But over on the BMW R nineT forum I'm on, the bikes are often really customized, even if folks don't go for performance mods.  It's pretty interesting to see.  Some of the bikes are real lookers.

 

Personally, I buy vehicles for the way they look and perform as-is, and as stock.  That isn't to say I'd never go for performance mods, but most of my mods are for function, not power and looks.  The new bike *might* get a few eye-pleasing mods though!

 

Also, I've never been a fan of fender eliminator/tail tidy kits.  It's a very popular mod on my new bike, but I'll be keeping mine as-is.

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IMO to some extent it depends on what the mods are.  My preference is for reversible bolt on mods that add utility, comfort or maybe something visual - bar risers or Heli's, peg lowering blocks, aftermarket cans to enjoy the sweet sound these things make, 8 spoke wheel, comfortable seat, power outlet - most all easily reversed.    But yes, as the OP points out, begin chopping things off, trying to make it something it's not, adding stickers, flames, etc, just devalues Honda's efforts.  I never had any illusions that more noticeable power could be had by any engine or tuning mod (hence why I don't understand the fascination with the "flapper and intake snorkel mods").    Some bikes one can just look at and know the owner had a purpose in mind for all the mods that were done - and it looks right.  Others shout that their owners are not far from teenagers just wanting to 'show off' with the things they've done with it.  It's sort of odd that buyers always seem to want bone stock low mile bikes.  And yet, once they have them, mod them in very similar ways that they could buy one for used.  It's sort of like "I only like mods if I do them".  

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2 hours ago, Cogswell said:

IMO to some extent it depends on what the mods are.  My preference is for reversible bolt on mods that add utility, comfort or maybe something visual - bar risers or Heli's, peg lowering blocks, aftermarket cans to enjoy the sweet sound these things make, 8 spoke wheel, comfortable seat, power outlet - most all easily reversed.    But yes, as the OP points out, begin chopping things off, trying to make it something it's not, adding stickers, flames, etc, just devalues Honda's efforts.  

 

Me too. My VFR mods were Helibars and better tires. I bought those bikes for performance, but the great looks were important--"garage appeal." If I wanted something that looked totally different, I would have purchased a different bike.

 

And I guess that when I eventually wanted more horsepower, I got another bike. Roughly:

 

VF700: ~65hp

VFR800: 100hp

VFR1200: 140hp

 

All three had just the right amount of power!

 

On the other hand...

Maybe I just don't have the skill set to really create something special. Seb's bikes are works of art, I would love to own four or five. And having ridden with RC1237V I can say that his modified black 7th gen is just beautiful. But he made many of the parts himself! Nicely modified VFR's are hard to find.

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Where is your RC51??? :goofy:

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13 hours ago, Dutchy said:

Where is your RC51??? :goofy:

Well Dutchy, the RC-51 is actually the bike I've modified the most. While I've kept those huge stock exhaust cans, it now has a 520 chain with 15/41 tooth sprockets to lower the incredibly high stock gear ratio, braided steel brake lines, CRG brake & clutch levers, Ohlins shock, and--the most important performance mod--HRC stickers on both fairing panels. And, once again, it has just the right amount of horsepower

 

Still looking for the perfect Nicky 69 sticker for the tail section. If we were ever to share a road together, you can be Colin and I'll be Nicky.  😉

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Every time I buy something, I promise myself I won't modify it. I can't help but modify everything I own - except my daily driver truck, if you make a daily driver not very streetable, you will most likely regret it.

 

I also learned that the performance you expect from a mod ( in your daydream fantasies ) is never the amount you get in reality...

 

EXCEPT FOR TURBOCHARGED VEHICLES, where a chip and a waste gate, or re-flash can get you over 100 hp!

 

But I do enjoy having something different than everyone else. In my experience, with the above turbo exception, whether it's a car or bike, the best mods are good suspension suited for your application. The next best is exhaust (sound) and Anodized, Ti, Carbon stuff that makes you look at it and smile. Last is horsepower mods, which as I've learned over the years, are the least beneficial, especially if you don't have the skills to ride or drive. But I digress, as I have become older, sometimes comfort mods are the best, because if you're not relaxed, and comfortable, you may not do your best - especially on a long ride as the hours add up. I try to find a stopping point on all my vehicles, however on a few vehicles, I haven't found that point yet - except when I run out of money...😂

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On 11/17/2020 at 9:49 AM, Sparkie said:

  Let's turn it into something it's not, like a bobber or a cafe racer! 

 

The only thing good about the Bobber/Cafe Fad is that it killed the Custom Chopper Fad............

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3 hours ago, slo1 said:

 

The only thing good about the Bobber/Cafe Fad is that it killed the Custom Chopper Fad............

I think the all time dumbest fad was the big wheel bagger era.  

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I enjoy the oem appearance of my bikes and only have bolt on mods for comfort and utility.    My ‘07 vfr was bought new in 2009 and the only mod was the installation of BLS lowering blocks.    
 

My ‘08 Bking wears a national cycle windshield made specifically for the Bking and a hepco becker rack and top case otherwise in stock condition.   I picked the bike up new in 2011.
 

 

My 2011 NT700V has the oem top case otherwise no mods needed.   
 

Nothing wrong with a nicely modded machine but I also love to see clean well running older stock bikes.  
 


 

 

 

 

 

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