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Top 5 | Technology Motorcycles Don't Need

Updated: Jan 21, 2019

Motorcycles have come a long way since the simple utilitarian modes of transport of the early 20th Century. But how much of the technology we now take for granted do we actually need? Let's knock off a few of's pet hates.

Okay, maybe I'm just a purist, but you've got to admit, bikes these days give you a ton of bang for your buck in terms of what you get for your money. But when it comes to that bang for buck, you’re often left with features you’ll use once, maybe twice in your ownership and then never touch again. Is that really value for money? We don't actually think so, and some features are actually more trouble than they're worth. So with that in mind here are our picks for the worst bits of tech included in modern bikes that we'd rather manufacturers left out.

Pillion accommodation on Sportsbikes

Let's start with something easy: Pillion kit on sportsbikes. We're not talking your Ninja 650 here either, we're talking having pillion kit of fully fledged superbikes. Seriously, who in their right mind wants to get on the back of a superbike? The addition of pillion accommodation to a bike that’s main focus is performance seems completely counter intuitive to me.

Sure, there are a small minority among us with girlfriends or children small enough to make use of the tiny pillion pad and jacked up pegs, but for most of us our social circle is filled with far more sane people than that. With such a tiny “seat” and high set pegs as to not interfere with the ride'rs own rearsets, you’d have to be of a very special breed of contortionist to want to get on the back of a sportsbike.

Sure, the zombie apocalypse might roll around and you’ll need a quick escape vehicle. But even if we were being chased by zombies, I know my better half would rather get eaten than suffer a sportsbike seat. 

Fake Carbon Fibre

The Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress features carbon fibre construction.
Moto Guzzi creates incredible bikes with real carbon fibre, so why can't larger manufacturers?

Seriously, this one really grinds our gears. While we can understand the reasoning behind manufacturers making boring old plastic look cool (and there is no cool quite like carbon fibre) the end result almost always looks tacky, and worse, CHEAP.

Seriously, if a small outfit with no current high performance arm like Moto Guzzi can get their hands on the real deal, you’d think some of the worst offenders would be able to find some of the real stuff to put on their sporty offerings. 

Fully adjustable suspension

This is possibly the most controversial addition to the list, since quite a few people love to let their inner tinkerer out and try dial in their suspension perfectly. But chances are most of you will have maybe had your suspenders set up once at the dealership, then left them alone.

Sure, at the track there are those who able to manually dial in the perfect setup, but on the road with constant changes in conditions, you’ve got as much chance at dialling your suspenders in to that “perfect” setting for a weekend ride as I do of buying a house in Auckland (Read: ZERO).

Sure, many of the more upmarket manufacturers have now moved to dynamic electronically adjusted suspension and it really does the trick, but for most of us mere mortals attaining the same suspension tuning ability is a pipe dream. So before you send me hate mail think about how often you need to tune your suspension rebound and dampening. Is it worth the extra couple of grand over a bike without all that adjustment?

Shift lights

While the racer in all of us loves a nice bright shift light to remind us to tap up a gear, when it comes to riding on the road you definitely don’t need one. Okay, some bikes deserve to have a shift light due to their track going nature, but the more sedate machines out there simply do not. Think of it like this, how much did you laugh at the boy racers in the mid-2000s with their big dash mounted tachometers and shift lights? Now look at the chap riding a plane jane 650 with a shift light flashing away on the motorway. It’s pretty much the same feeling of disdain isn’t it?

Parking lights

Let us ask you this. Have you ever used your motorcycle's parking lights intentionally? We can’t recall a time when we've ever actually wanted to use them, but we can name plenty of times when we’ve accidentally activated them and ran the battery on a test bike completely dead. While we can understand their use on a truck, with its large capacity deep-cycle battery, a motorcycle is a different beast entirely. Unlike trucks, we don’t tend to park our bikes on the side of a dark road (at least not if we want it to be there when we get back) so why do so many manufacturers insist on including them on bikes?

The worst setup is those which activate when you put the bike in its steering lock position. Just one extra click on the ignition and the lights pop on. It is so easy to miss, especially if you’re in a hurry, but the biggest pain when you go to start your bike after a few hours only to find your bike dead as a doornail. Do you actually regularly use your parking lights? Seriously, we’d love to know.

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