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Top 5 | Must-Have Motorcycle Features

We've already covered the Top 5 pieces of technology your bike doesn't need, now let's take a more positive track and look at the Top 5 must-have features you want your motorcycle to have next time you're in the market.



LED Lighting


More reliable, brighter, and often much better looking, LED lights are more than an exercise in electrical efficiency.


Not only do they look significantly better than conventional lights, LEDs can also be programmed for different uses. One such use is demonstrated by the big 1290 KTMs, which feature corning headlights which illuminated around the corner as you lean the bike in. It's trick stuff, but one day will hopefully be more mainstream.


The other benefit is you don't have to worry so much about your lights durability. LEDs are pretty reliable, and generally won't completely fail like a conventional lightbulb will unless there is an issue with the power source.


Then we have the brightness factor. LEDs simply put out a much brighter light for your watts. Drawing less power to produce more light is a win win, because it means your electrical system is less taxed and you can add accessories without the fear of overburdening your electrics.


ABS Braking


Yes it's an "electronic safety aid" which makes those riders with balls of steel scoff, but that doesn't mean that ABS braking systems aren't worth their weight in gold. While the more adventurous among us may also scorn ABS for its negative effect off sealed roads, for the majority of Kiwi riders they will be spending the majority of their time on road dodging traffic and splittin' lanes and an extra safety net is a welcome one.


Yes, it is true that ABS does NOT reduce your stopping distance compared to a trained rider modulating their brakes, but it does prevent your wheels from locking up which keeps you more in control of your bike in those 'oh, shit!' moments.


TFT Instrumentation


This is a guilty pleasure of many in motorcycling journalism circles, but you've got to admit, there is something quite sexy about a full colour and crystal clear dash.


While the first time we really knew of a Thin Film Transistor LCD dash - or TFT - being used on a motorcycle was the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1, the technology has been adopted by the majority of mainstream manufacturers due to how easy it is to build a rider friendly user interface in to them.


Not only that, but man do they look great and the shear amount of information you have available with a TFT is unlike anything a more traditional dash can match.


Heated Grips

Seriously, don't knock 'em until you've tried 'em!


If there is one crucial part of your body you want to keep warm and in good knick while riding – it's your hands! While you also want to keep your core body temperature up to avoid generally going into hypothermia, your hands are critically important to the control of your bike.


Heated grips are more than a creature comfort - especially if you ride in a colder climate at times and if the option is there it does pay to tick it. Factory heated grips (such as the Triumph Bonneville ones pictured) are unobtrusive and not an eyesore when not in use.


Sure, you can always add heated grips down the track, but controllers for them often look out of place in the cockpit and if they don't have a low power kill switch built in they can run you battery flat if you forget to turn them off at the end of your ride.


A Comfortable Seat


It shouldn't be something we have to ask, but some bikes that are used on our roads may as well have a steel beam as their seat.


Sometimes a good seat can be ruined just by the wrong choice of underwear or trousers on the day, but by and large there are genuinely some very uncomfortable seats that have made it into full production.


[If possible] make sure you put in at least an hour while test riding bikes to get an idea of how comfortable the seat will be like on longer trips. While there are plenty of ways to improve a seat's comfort, if you're starting out with something that is comfortable to begin with it won't cause you a pain in the ass in the long run.