Has the Internet Made You Cluelessly Modify Your Motorcycle For The Worst?

HarveyM

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There's an interesting interview with a retired Honda Canada engineer on Adventure rider radio-

He says (I'm paraphrasing) that the factory spends years optimizing their models (suspension, tires, performance & weight) and chances are anything the rider does to change their bike is going to make the bike worse overall. He also describes what's involved in getting a suspension change (for softer ride) incorporated into an existing model- like 10 months initial testing to get the optimal replacement part, computer load simulations, then 18 months of real world 24/7 usage.



Has the Internet Made You Cluelessly Modify Your Motorcycle For The Worst? | Rider Skills with Bret Tkacs — Adventure Motorcycle Podcast Radio Show | Motorbike Touring and Travel
 
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Michael Moore

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I'll agree with him that with modern EFI engines the average rider is unlikely to improve them more than marginally (and possibly haphazardly). Of course even in days of yore a lot of people seemed to figure that "this carb box says it gives 30% and this exhaust box says 15% so my engine must be making 45% more" and ignore the fact that the pipe didn't fit very well, the 15% was all noise (because the bike lost power) and the carb wasn't helping much because it was grossly lean or rich.

On the other hand, if Honda wants to fit the finest 1967 technology damper rods in the forks along with overly-soft springs, I suspect the average rider stands a decent chance of making things better.

cheers,
Michael
 

670cc

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I believe the factory spends years designing the motorcycle so it will be appealing, profitable, and move off showroom floors. Saying (paraphrased) that the factory spends years optimizing their models (suspension, tires, performance & weight) is not the same thing at all.

New motorcycles need to be modified to remove the cheap components and substitute higher quality components, which the factory could have installed, but didn't in order to keep costs in line.

Besides, the motorcycle is usually designed as a one size fits all (usually with no adjustability for ergonomics) that actually does not fit all, and modifications are nearly always needed just to make the machine usable to the owner.
 

potter0o

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For those who don't have an hour of their time to invest in this I'll play the role of clueless internet guy paraphrasing expert. I'd also like to thank this forum for being open to diverse viewpoints where pros and cons of ideas are debated so the audience can make up their own opinions :)

Summary: Don't believe everything on the internet. Some motorcycle journalist are not fully informed or are biased. A bike that is not being used for its designed purpose may not meet expectations. A rider who is rides a cruiser with 2" of suspension travel, a sport bike rider who experiences 4-5" of suspension travel may not appreciate the 8" of suspension travel of an adventure bike. The factory puts a lot of effort into the design of the bikes and consider many variables when they design the product. It is best to ride the bike to get comfortable with the bike as it came from the factory. If modifications are needed it should be a slow methodical process versus changing a whole bunch of things at the same time.
 

SleepyC

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I think they spend a year making the bike fit a wide group of riders. But modifying the bike to the owners needs in no way makes it worse. Wirh out my top box and panniers my bike would be useless as a commuter. So I can accept a 2-5% performance decrease to fit my needs. Motorcycles are too personal to allow a manufacturer to determine what I need.
 

rippin209

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For those who don't have an hour of their time to invest in this I'll play the role of clueless internet guy paraphrasing expert. I'd also like to thank this forum for being open to diverse viewpoints where pros and cons of ideas are debated so the audience can make up their own opinions :)

Summary: Don't believe everything on the internet. Some motorcycle journalist are not fully informed or are biased. A bike that is not being used for its designed purpose may not meet expectations. A rider who is rides a cruiser with 2" of suspension travel, a sport bike rider who experiences 4-5" of suspension travel may not appreciate the 8" of suspension travel of an adventure bike. The factory puts a lot of effort into the design of the bikes and consider many variables when they design the product. It is best to ride the bike to get comfortable with the bike as it came from the factory. If modifications are needed it should be a slow methodical process versus changing a whole bunch of things at the same time.
This is what most of the people on here say all the time, put miles on your motorcycle and figure out what you don't like about, don't just change things because someone (or even everyone) says is a "must do" mod. For me it's mostly cost vs benefit. I've gotten most of the things done to my motorcycle I want but I didn't start until I had been riding it daily for 2 or 3 months now two years later the things I haven't changed but would like to cost allot and I haven't made it a priority. The NC700X is a bit different them most because it isn't a dual sport or a cruiser it's a bit of everything so you've got people modifying it to suite their needs whether that's long distance riding turning it into a dual sport or just a commuter, all of which is very unusual for one motorcycle. I don't personally know anyone with another NC so I've gotten all my info and mod ideas from here or online, mostly here. So thank you to those that post their how-to's and honest reviews
 
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Beemerphile

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I agree that attempting to hot rod the engine will most likely end badly, but I am having trouble thinking of anything a normally intelligent person could do to an NC700 suspension, brakes, lighting, or seat to make it worse than stock. The decisions have "price point" written all over them. The Honda marketing department seemed to have the mindset that the potential buyer of an NC700 was not a discerning motorcyclist.
 

Michael Moore

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Low quality parts can have synergy just like good quality parts, except I think it tends to be negative.

If you've got tires that don't stick really well, and suspension that doesn't help tires to stick very well, and suspension that makes riding at anything over a slow pace uncomfortable, then you may not need stellar brakes because you won't be going fast enough to make them useful so you may as well add mediocre brakes to the mix to keep everything in balance. :)

I wouldn't characterize the Honda as a pig's ear, but on the other hand it is no silk purse. But it probably qualifies as a nice denim fanny pack.

cheers,
Michael
 

Beemerphile

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Low quality parts can have synergy just like good quality parts, except I think it tends to be negative.

If you've got tires that don't stick really well, and suspension that doesn't help tires to stick very well, and suspension that makes riding at anything over a slow pace uncomfortable, then you may not need stellar brakes because you won't be going fast enough to make them useful so you may as well add mediocre brakes to the mix to keep everything in balance. :)
Thanks. I get it now. That is why they under-sprung the front to make up for it being over-damped. Brilliant.
 

Hank

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I was coaching a police officer for his pistol qualification once and he was shooting the best I had seen him shoot.
He said he had not fired his pistol since last year.
Apparently his excessive hold over perfectly compensated for the way he jerked the trigger, and he wasn't flinching since he hadn't shot much.
 

frozenpoet

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Cbr1000rr, goldwing, African twin, maybe that's true, nc700x, rebel 300/500 other lower end stuff not so much.
 

DCTFAN

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Cbr1000rr, goldwing, African twin, maybe that's true, nc700x, rebel 300/500 other lower end stuff not so much.
I love riding my Africa Twin, but it has more cheap components that don't work for many more than the NC700X.
They set the bar too high and set the pricing too low.
 
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