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Tips and Tricks for Motorcyclists

A monthly column of selected favorites from our vast archive.

Aftermarket Windscreens

All aftermarket windscreens are not created equal. Adding an aftermarket windscreen to your motorcycle could actually cause more wind buffeting than the original manufacturer version, since it’s most likely, especially on adventure and sport touring bikes, that the final design of the original windscreen was done using a wind tunnel. The aftermarket guys? Maybe. When purchasing a replacement windscreen, be sure you have the option to return it if you don’t like it.

Deep Clean Chain Service

If you’ve ever replaced a chain, you have probably noted the excessive buildup of gunk in the front sprocket housing. During times of rain and riding on harsh surfaces, this gunk can break loose and grind through your chain and sprockets, causing additional wear on both. But you can do an intermediate cleaning each time you replace the rear tire while the wheel is off. Solvents like WD-40 and Gunk are good choices for loosening up the muck. If you’re having a shop do the replacement, ask them to spend a few extra minutes in there cleaning the housing out.

Keeping track of the funny money

If you travel into other countries, you no doubt have your passport onboard. We suggest you carry it in a Ziploc bag and store all the non-U.S. currency you have from the last time you visited the other side of the border. A recent trip into Canada revealed that many retailers and restaurant can convert your U.S. dollars on the spot via a currency conversion option built into their electronic cash registers. Imagine my surprise when I paid $20 U.S. for a $4 cup of coffee and got back $19 in loonies and other funny money in return.

Make your own Smart Water

The New York beverage company, Glaceau, has started selling water at convenience stores that is fortified with electrolytes. There blend includes calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and potassium bicarbonate. But they claim these are added purely for taste. In other words, there’s not enough added to benefit the human body and replenish electrolytes lost through urination and sweating. The way to do this is make your own smart water. Take a .75 or 1-liter water bottle, fill it with water and add in an electrolyte add-in like Elete, which can be purchased online here, or at better outdoor stores.

Rotating used tires

Planning an extended journey, but the tires you have right now only have a thousand miles or less of life left? Consider putting a new set on the bike before you depart, but hold onto the old tires. When the big trip is over you can use the saved tires to finish out the season and not go through the hassle of a tire change away from home.

Packing Light, Packing RightTips and Tricks is a monthly column created by our editors and readers alike. If you have a tip or trick you'd like to share, email it to If we use it we'll send you a copy of The Sound RIDER! guide to Packing Light, Packing Right - FREE!



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