There are plenty of reasons why those of us who ride motorcycles are defined by it. Your motorcycle is an extension of yourself and you can represent who you are to the world. A common problem can be that the extension of self can be limited by the cash we can devote to it. There aren’t that many of us who can buy one bike for the street or the track and then another for off-roading, and even if you can, do you want to look at your garage and be able to say I have a motorcycle for every season and every hobby? If you are anything like me, likely not. I wanted to use the same motorcycle on the street as I do in the woods and handle itself on the highway on my way home. In winter, I was not going to be pushed off my bike. I am going to gear up with my leather motorcycle jacket and be able to get through the snow with the same confidence I had in the summer.
For me, that motorcycle had to be a part of me that never wavered. I don’t need to be seasonal leaving me in a sedan come winter. I want a motorcycle that will go where I want it to. You take the ninja 500, it’s good for the budget and with a bit of upgrading and customization, it can be as unique as you and your interests. That’s not to say that it doesn’t take work to get that level of customization, but for me, it has been well worth the effort.
For a budget motorcycle, I have found the ninja 500 is a solid choice as it is already reliable on the road and can get some decent speed. But you may need to make some customizations if you are like me and bigger than a teenager, you are going to want to drop the handlebars (seven inches worked for me), get rid of the front fairing assembly. This will be a good amount of work but is well worth it and can make it a motorcycle-built for an adult. Take your time and be sure to dry fit each piece as you go. The last thing you want to do is repair the electronics. With this done the comfort level for long rides goes way up.
If you don’t want to get that deep in that but need some versatility, one of the best decisions you can make is the Continental TKC80s. You might think overkill for a street bike but this will leave you driving through the snow with heavy ease. Of course, the real advantage comes in the spring when you take these babies into the woods and the mud. It isn’t a motocross, but it will see you through the rough patches beautifully. Just don’t make my mistake and leave your waterproof motorcycle pants or jacket behind. Get to Wicked Stock and get your gear straight because no matter how much time you put into building your motorcycle or how much money you sink into buying a brand new one, a sharp turn in the weather can leave you miserable if you aren’t geared up appropriately.
Personally, my next task is going to be to make this motorcycle more useful for day to day tasks because we all need groceries. This motorcycle has some pretty solid mounting points so I will be extending the platform off the back. Going to need a good welder to get this right for all the situations I am looking for.