Working with bike parts for bicycles and motorcycle components

Customising a motorcycle or bicycle is a complicated process, and it should only be undertaken by those who have the time and know how to do the job correctly. Failure to pay attention to the details can be disastrous. Everyone knows that a poorly put together motorcycle will be prone to serious accidents. However, bicycles can be just as dangerous when they are not assembled correctly - especially for riders who travel at high speeds over long distances or enjoy riding single tracks through the mountains.

That being said, for bicycle and motorcycle enthusiasts, little can be as rewarding as fitting your ride out with a custom set of parts and accessories. Once you are finished, your bicycle or motorcycle will be like no one else’s in the world. That’s a nice feeling, especially considering the cookie cutter approach that manufacturers take to producing today’s two-wheeled machines.

There are several approaches you can take to customising a bicycle. Some people like to keep the process as close to home as possible. They collect a range of old and vintage bicycles from yard sales or the local thrift store. These are disassembled, and the collection of components is sifted through to the find the most desirable for this project. Bear in mind that the best looking components are not necessarily those with the highest quality. With that in mind, it is sometimes prudent to sacrifice style in favour of safety.

If you are mixing and matching the components for a unique looking bicycle, consider the following tips:

  • Prioritise the frame; pick this out first, and then plan the rest of your bicycle around it.
  • Don’t hold back on the colours; use spray paint if you have to, and consider painting the frame before proceeding with the assembly.
  • Be creative with your bike tires and wheel sizes; this can add a cool effect to a bike’s look - just be sure that the breaks fit properly and that you still have enough control over the ride.
  • Think outside the box; this might mean swapping forks or using handlebars that are not usually seen on a bicycle of this style.
  • Don’t sacrifice on the seat; instead, use the most comfortable one from the collection; if none of these make the cut, then purchase a comfortable bicycle seat online.

A project like this is easier with bicycles than with motorcycles. In the latter case, a higher degree of mechanical knowhow is required. If you are going to customise a motorcycle on your own, it is crucial that you are well versed in the construction, operation and maintenance of the machine. Otherwise, you are better off leaving the job to a professional.

Tools for working on bicycles and motorcycles

Regardless of whether you are planning to customise a motorcycle, revamp a motorcycle or simply replace some of the components on either, you must collect the appropriate tools before you start.

It can be frustrating if you do not have all the tools that you require from the outset. Suppose you get part of the way through the project, only to realise that you are short a particular size of spanner. This requires putting everything aside and finding a different mode of transport to the nearest hardware store. This wastes time and takes you away from what is really of interest to you - the project at hand.

These tools are essential for working on a motorcycle:

  • Spanners - save yourself the trouble and purchase a combination set so that you have all the sizes you could possibly need
  • Sockets and driver - these are much faster and easier to use than spanners, and they can speed up the assembly process
  • Socket extensions - for getting to those hard to reach nuts and bolts that are tucked into the machinery
  • Impact driver - the threads on screws and bolts can be rusty and stuck, and sometimes the only way to get them out is with an impact driver
  • Adjustable wrenches - while similar to spanners, these tools come in handy when none of your spanners seems to fit snugly enough around the nut you’re trying to turn

Many of the tools used for working on a motorcycle will also come in handy on a bicycle. However, you will still need to make some special purchases. In general, the tools used on bicycle maintenance and assembly have a bit more finesse. You can purchase all the tools you need for working on a bicycle from the same website you use to buy bike parts.

These are some tools specifically designed for bicycle maintenance, repair and assembly:

  • Repair stand - this is crucial; amateur cyclists do not always use one, but anyone serious about the sport will purchase a stand straightaway.
  • Needle-nose pliers - these are useful for stretching, cutting and trimming cables; and everyone knows bicycles have plenty of cables to work with.
  • Screwdrivers - buy a complete set to cover all your bases.
  • Hex wrenches - you’ll need these because bicycles use plenty of small allen bolts; you can also buy a set of allen keys, though these are not as handy to use.
  • Lubricants - stock up on waterproof grease, chain oil and light oil.
  • Spoke wrenches - don’t neglect these tools, as they are essential to tuning the wheels of your bicycle; buying a complete set online is most convenient.
  • Chain breaker - this is a handy tool that can be used to disconnect and reconnect your bicycle chain; it’s a lifesaver if you need to work on the chain but would rather not remove the wheel first.

Whether working on a motorcycle or bicycle, you are going to need plenty of miscellaneous tools. Make sure your toolbox includes a full set of screwdrivers, a hammer, a file and plenty of spare nuts, bolts and screws. You will almost certainly need all of these at some point in the process.

Wearing the right apparel

When your ride is good working order, the last step is to make sure you have all the gear you need to enjoy the best riding experience. Different people have various ideas about what sort of apparel makes for the most enjoyable ride. For example, some insist on wearing full cycling gear whenever they take to the streets. Others would rather save the full garb for a long-distance ride and just wear plain clothes for a shorter commute. It ultimately depends on where your comfort level resides.

Generally speaking, motorcyclists have less to think about when choosing their apparel. Whatever they wear needs to be weather appropriate. On top of this, they need protective eyewear and a helmet.

Cyclists, on the other hand, can go many steps further in choosing their apparel and accessories. Of course, helmets are just as important for cyclists as they are for motorcycle riders. However, there are some other considerations that need to be made as well. This is a list of some of the bike clothing and gear that you should consider purchasing for your next ride:

  • Eyewear with a polycarbonate, impact-resistant lens
  • Hydration pack
  • Gloves with shock-absorbent padding to prevent calluses and blisters
  • Cycling shorts with chamois padding for greater comfort on longer rides
  • Cycling shoes that lock into the pedals
  • A form-fitting cycling jersey that prevents chafing, wicks perspiration and dissipates heat