All motorcycles will protect the rider – and, to an extent, themselves – from inclement weather.
Of course, manufacturers spend a lot of time and energy trying to make the bike protect the rider as much as possible from the conditions but when the bike has to cater for all shapes and sizes of rider, from skinny to ample; from short to tall then inevitably, there will be compromises.
And the same is true for the bike; a naked roadster may be great fun across country lanes but the associated wind-blast would soon become tiring if you were to tackle a hundred-mile motorway dash.
So while your bike may have an adjustable screen, for example, there will be a limit to how much wind it can keep of you. The front mudguard may keep some of the wet weather away from the screen but it may allow the front of the engine to get filthy and the rear guard may let too much crud build up on the shock, leading to the beginnings of corrosion in the smaller nooks and crannies.
But adding to your bike’s stock bodywork with some carefully-selected additions can have a huge effect for little outlay.
Ed's note: all the items we've listed below are for a particular bike, but please search Amazon for items for your particular bike.
Best motorcycle add-ons
1. Replacement screen, Givi
Lots of companyies make replacement screens for lots of bikes, including many bike manufacturers. But Givi is one of the biggest and increasing the size of the screen on your bike is one of the first steps to protect yourself more efficiently from the elements. Generally wider and taller, the idea is they shield you from more of the windblast and make touring less tiring, as well as reducing helmet noise. Just remember though; they may affect the airflow to the helmet and reduce it through the vents, for cooling or de-misting.You can visit Givi for available options for different bikes to the one we're using.
2. Adjustable aero screen, MRA
Sometimes, a replacement screen just can't satisfy all of your requirements: it cuts noise but there's no cooling airflow to the helmet; it takes wind off the chest but it's too noisy at the helmet. That's where an adjustable spoiler like this MRA example comes in. Mounted to a matching replacement screen, you can tailor the upper airflow exactly as you want it, potentially offering cooling air or additional quiet and calm. For many bikes with inherent airflow or noise problems, like the Suzuki V-Strom, it can offer huge benefits.
3. Handguards, generic
While handguards are essential for off-road motorbikes, to prevent inadvertent lever-pulls or damage as and when you fall off, for road bikes, they can protect the fingers from wind and rain. Cold fingers are bad enough but cold and wet fingers are one of the worst feelings, especially as it can have a direct effect on your feel and control for the bike. A pair of hand guards will help to keep the wind and rain off the hands and reduce the chances of them getting cold.
4. Mirror extensions
Some motorcycles position the mirrors to look right and some put them in the only feasible location. Most of the time this works fine but on occasion, the mirrors either simply can't give the right view behind or they generate wind noise that can be distracting or uncomfortable. For bikes where either if these is true, a pair of simple extenders can move the mirrors further out and higher up for a clearer view of the road behind and alter the turbulent air flow characteristics to reduce noise, particularly at the helmet. Another low-cost, potentially high-reward add-on.
5. Fender extender, Pyramid Plastics
Motorcycle manufacturers produce front-wheel arches – or fenders – at a certain length for a variety of reasons; cost and aesthetics being just a couple. However, a lot of the time, a short front fender can result in muck, water or salt spray coming off the bottom of the tyre and directly hitting the front of the engine block, the exhaust headers or the coolant radiator. Extending the length of the fender reduces the amount of muck thrown up off the front tyre and helps keep these area cleaner and more protected. They're easy to fit and not expensive.
6. Radiator guard, Evotech Performance
The radiator is perhaps the most-fragile exposed component on a motorcycle, sat directly in the air flow – naturally – but also, just behind the front wheel and at the mercy of any road debris that might get thrown up off the tyre. A radiator guard will help prevent any stones or other foreign material from damaging the radiator itself though, while allowing cooling air in to maintain the engine's temperature. An inexpensive modification that could save a lot of money. Branded versions are available from various manufacturers too.
7. Belly pan, Puig
The front of a bike's main frame can be a busy and cluttered place; exhausts, oil filters, radiators, heater tanks and starter motors can all be located for ease of use and to get plenty of cooling air. However, it can get ugly and dirty, so a belly pan can help tidy the view up and streamline air around these vital components. These examples from Spanish manufacturer Puig are easy to fit and tidy up the look of the bike no end.
8. Rear Hugger
Many manufacturers leave the rear wheel exposed and the only protection offered to the rider (and any luggage, for that matter) is from the underside of the seat. This can mean the suspension, back of the engine, chain and sprockets and rear brake master cylinder can all get filthy. But a rear hugger effectively encases the rear wheel and tyre and prevents much of the muck from the road being flung all over the bike. A relatively inexpensive way to reduce the amount of crud accumulating on the bike.
9. Engine bars
Some bikes – in particular, BMW models using the firm's ubiquitous flat-twin 'Boxer' engine – are prone to damaging the engine if they are in a crash or even just fall over when being manhandled or at low speed. The BMW's exposed cylinder heads can take the brunt of the impact, unless they are protected by a pair of engine bars, such as these Wunderlich items. Easily and quickly bolting on to the chassis, they also offer the ability to re-mount (or retro-fit) spotlights if they were OE fitment on the bike.
10. Crash bungs, R&G
Just as engine bars can help protect the engine in the event of a tumble, crash bungs can do the same for the frame, the fairings and bodywork and the rear swingarm. These 'aero' style crash bungs from R&G help protect your bike by hitting the ground before the bodywork does. So it you have a full set, the bike will rest on its side on the crash protectors, rather than vulnerable bodywork, frame or engine components.