When it comes to motorcycle accessories, there are tons out there that can bolt to your bike, dress it up, or even just act as an add-on. To a beginner, the world of motorbike accessories may seem quite scary, however, when you start to do your own research you can really find out what can benefit you and what would be a waste of your money.
In this blog, we are going to be running down the must-have accessories for new riders - so without further ado, let’s get into it, shall we?
Please note that if you are a beginner and looking for further riding guidance, please head over to our new rider FAQs page.
Kicking off the list today we have motorcycle backpacks. Carry space on board your motorcycle is extremely limited, especially on sportier-styled bikes, which is why many riders find themselves opting to take a backpack with them on their commutes.
Should you wear a backpack on a motorcycle?
Ideally, you should not be wearing your average everyday rucksack when riding a motorcycle and opting for a motorcycle-specific backpack would be the best step forward.
One great option is the Kreiga R20, this one has a 4 clip-locking system with straps at the waist and chest to hold it secure, as well as a nice aerodynamic shape. It has a 20-litre capacity with various additional pockets and does the job nicely with no irritation of a regular pack.
Are motorcycle bags worth it?
While you can use your everyday average backpack, they tend not to be very aerodynamic and can become extremely unforgettable when it starts to tug as the wind hits it and shifts around your back - luckily there is a wide selection of backpacks that are specifically designed for motorcyclists to remedy these problems, plus some tend to be designed with the biker in mind including reflective sections to help being seen.
How to choose a motorcycle backpack
When shopping around for a motorcycle bag, it is worth bearing in mind these questions in your head when assessing whether or not this is the right back for you. Ask yourself:
- Does it fit well? - Can the straps be adjusted and does it sit comfortably
- Has it got functional pockets? - make sure they are easily accessible and secure.
- Which material is made from? - The UK weather is unpredictable, so you will need to make sure your back can endure any type of weather condition without ruining the contents of your bag.
- Does it come equipped with safety features? - There are many backpacks for riders out there that come equipped with a strap that goes around the torso of the rider to prevent injury in the case of a crash.
Heated motorcycle grips
Now whilst you might see heated motorcycle grips as an accessory that only older men would opt for. Heated grips may be one of the best investments you make when riding in the winter or colder weather.
Are heated grips worth it?
As we mentioned previously, the UK weather can be extremely unpredictable and in the colder weather, your hands and your feet are the first to take the fall - the last thing you need is to lose the feeling in your fingers when you’re trying to control a vehicle.
If you’re looking for some heated grips, we’d recommend the Oxford Heated Hot Grips that come in at £59.99 making them good value and effective.
Which are better: heated grips or heated gloves?
One of the issues with heated grips is that they don’t heat the top of your hands, and whilst receiving heat from the underneath of your hands may be just enough for some, those who would prefer heat all around the hand should opt for heated gloves.
When it comes to factors such as cost, however, typically you will tend to find grips far cheaper than you will gloves (plus they could last longer too).
Motorbike phone holder
Having a mount to place your smartphone in can be very handy. Obviously, this is not for sending texts while riding or anything like that, you should be focusing on the road but being able to use phone features like GPS or simply see when someone is trying to contact you can be great - if you combine this with a Bluetooth headset it opens even more options.
One of the best motorcycle phone mounts out there today would have to be the QuadLock Kit which comes packed with everything you need including a phone case, a mount as well as a vibration dampener.
Where do you put your phone when riding?
Where you place your phone mount is very important, if you can’t see it properly, you may as well just put your phone away in your pocket or bag. If space permits the best place to put your holder is between your handlebars, high enough to you can see it but not high enough to affect your line of vision.
UK Law and Motorcycle phone holders
According to UK Law, it is illegal to hold or use a phone, tablet, or any device that can send or receive data whilst riding a motorcycle. However, you are allowed to use your device hands-free providing it is attached to a mount - providing it does not block your view of the road or traffic ahead.
Do phone mounts work on any motorcycle?
Whilst not all motorcycles are the same, you should be able to fit some type of phone mount to your motorcycle - it just may vary from bike to bike.
Nowadays there are a variety of mounts that will either fit your motorbike cockpit, can attach to your mirrors or handlebars, and even as a fork stem system depending on which suits your bike best.
Motorcycle battery charger
There's nothing worse than when you go to ride your bike after it's been laid up for a while and... nothing happens. The battery is kaput; you need to replace it before you can ride again. A battery maintainer and charger can prevent that as well as extend the life of your battery.
We’d recommend using the Optimate 2, which cost around £50 and came with various connections - crocodile clips for directly charging the battery as well as an SAE connection that can be permanently attached to the battery.
Now all you have to do is plug in the SAE lead whenever you store your bike and the Optimate will maintain the battery charge for you. It will turn itself off whenever the battery is full and only drip feed it as the charge lowers so no need to worry about wasting electricity either.
Can you use a 12-volt charger on a motorcycle battery?
Typically motorcycles will either use a 6V or a 12V battery, in which the charger will need to match the volt of the battery. For example, if your motorcycle battery is 12V, you should use a 12V charger.
There are many reasons why you should have a paddock stand as part of your motorcycle essentials, one being that bikes like being stored upright. If you plan to store your bike for a period of time, a lot of motorcycles out there don’t tend to like being kept on their side stand which can also mean the oil will drain to one side.
If you’re looking for one of the best motorcycle paddock stands for beginners, we would recommend the Oxford Premium Paddock Stand that is not only the best value for money but also one of the better paddock stands out there.
What are motorcycle paddock stands for?
Paddock stands are extremely useful for carrying out simple at-home maintenance tasks such as cleaning and lubricating the chain. It makes the how process far easier as it lifts the rear wheel (or both) off the ground and makes parts of your bike easier to access.
Do paddock stands fit all bikes?
Typically a universal paddock stand should fit all sorts of the bike as it will lift the rear of the bike on the swingarm and will fit wherever possible. However, the other variety that uses cynical bobbins tend to be fitted to the bike and then hooded brackets lift the bobbins upright.
Do you need a front and rear paddock stand?
A simple answer to this question is no - unless you are a professional racer or mechanic it is not a necessity. Whilst it is not essential, it can prove to have its advantages such as helping to keep the weight of the tyres when you’re storing your bike away - it just depends on your situation and if you store your bike away for long periods of time.
Tyre pressure gauge
As a general rule, you should be checking your tyre pressure regularly as allowing it to drop too low can have a huge effect on the way your bike handles.
If you’re looking for a digital pressure gauge we’d recommend the AstroAI Tyre Pressure Guage which you can pick up from Amazon for £8.99, it has over 70,000 great reviews and can show you up to 150psi - which is more than enough for any sort of motorcycle.
However, if you’re wanting an analogue pressure gauge it would be worth checking out the Oxford Tyre Pressure Guage Pro!
Is a tyre pressure gauge worth buying?
The short answer is yes. Whilst you can check your tyre pressures at a petrol station, for a quicker and much more straightforward solution you can buy one for home and check your tyres before a longer commute, or whenever you feel like it.
Getting into a routine of regularly checking your tyres will definitely help you in the long run when identifying a problem before you’re on the road and it’s too late.
Which type of pressure gauge is the best?
The most basic type is about the size of a pen and can easily fit in your jacket pocket, simply press against the tyre valve and it will give you a psi reading at the other end. However, if you want a bit more accuracy you can get a larger scale gauge with a needle - Draper makes a very good one of these with a rubber hose attachment.
What is the difference between digital and analogue tyre pressure gauges?
The traditional analogue pressure gauge tends to be the less expensive option out of the two that can attach to your foot pump. It has a large analogue dial that is easy to read, however, the accuracy is where the analogue has its downfall - you may find that your reading is 1/2psi off the true pressure.
Digital pressure gauges, on the other hand, come equipped with a digital display that is usually backlit and will give you the most accurate reading. The only annoying thing about the digital version is it requires batteries so they will need replacing regularly - this also tends to be the more expensive option!
When deciding which pressure gauge is best for you, it really all comes down to personal preference. If you’re someone who doesn’t check their tyres very frequently, then perhaps opt for the analogue as it will never die on you when you need it.
Crash protectors also known as ‘bobbins’ or frame sliders are an excellent investment - especially for faired bikes. If properly installed these protectors can prevent damage to the paniers or paintwork if your bike falls over.
There is a range of makes and prices for these, perhaps the best known being R&G - expect to pay around £60-£70 which is a bargain compared to what they can save you if you have an unfortunate meeting with some gravel. One thing to note is that they are not a 'one size fits all' item, make sure you get a set that is compatible with your specific make and model.
What is a crash protector?
Crash protectors bolt onto your frame (as well as other parts like engine casings) and will take some of the impact if you drop your bike. Even at low speeds, a slide along the tarmac can result in thousands worth of damage but with these, in place, it could spare your fairings and bodywork and just leave you with some injured pride.
What are crash bars made of?
Usually, motorcycle crash bars are made from either stainless steel or aluminium.
Motorcycle tool bag
Last but not least, we’re onto the last addition to this list we have a motorcycle tool bag…
This one is simple but a 'must-own' item in my opinion. A basic toolkit even with only the bare essentials can come in very handy if you have any minor issues while on a ride.
You can get them in handy roll-up cases or small pouches that can fit neatly in the small storage space under your seat so it's no bother to carry and has come in handy a few times.
Companies like Oxford make various ready-to-go compact toolkits for as little as £15 or alternatively you can get a roll-up case and just put whatever tools you think you might need in it.
Ready to Ride!
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my list of must-have motorcycle accessories for beginners…
If there are any other great budget accessories you think should be added to this list, or any makes you've tried out and loved, let us know on social media!
Lastly, another essential thing you will need for your motorcycle is insurance, so if you’re in need of motorcycle or scooter insurance, make sure to get a quote direct with Lexham!