By -

tech

With technological innovation accelerating at full force, advanced motorcycle upgrades are finally reaching the consumer market. However, these new kits come with some hefty price tags and we wanted to find out: in which tech are you prepared to invest?

Top tech as voted for by motorbike owners

The top pieces of kit respondents are excited about:

1.  Augmented reality helmets

2.  Modular motorcycle helmets

3.  Airbag riding gear

1.  Anti-lock brakes

2.  Adaptive headlights

3.  Smart windshields

Revving to go: who will be investing?

tech

We asked our respondents if they were interested in upgrading their kit and adopting the latest technology. With just 9.5% of respondents not interested in either, the demand for innovation is clear, but which option holds more appeal?

The majority of respondents are considering investing in new gear or kit for their bike, with 54.3% thinking of making a purchase. Less than half of this number, at 25.3%, are considering investing in the latest motorcycle technology and almost a fifth of people (18.8%) would consider spending their money on both.

However, the figures differ between people who own their own motorbikes and those who don’t. As for owners, 55.4% are interested in kit, 25% are interested in technology and 18.5% are interested in both. Only 9.2% are not considering investing their money in either.

For those who do not own their own bikes, the interest in kit is lower, at 31.4%. However, the same amount of people (31.4%) are considering investing in technology – so kit and tech are of equal importance. That leaves 25.7% interested in both and 14.3% interested in neither.

Safety vs. style: what do we want from our upgrades?

tech

As well as knowing who is interested in investing in the latest innovations, we wanted to know what’s encouraging riding enthusiasts to part with their cash. While some of our respondents are motivated by aesthetics others prioritise materials as the most important consideration when choosing an upgrade.

It’s safety credentials that come out top, with more than half of respondents (52.5%) naming it as a key factor – more important, even, than price, which was voted for by 44.9% of respondents.

For 38.5% of people, the weight of the kit is vital, as it can impact the vehicle’s speed and ability to manoeuvre. Aesthetics are also crucial for many riders out there, having selected their bike based on how it looks as well as performs – a third (33.3%) of people are prioritising their vehicle’s visuals. Just under 33% are concerned about handling while 32.8% of respondents are looking at the materials used to make the kit. For 28.9% of people, though, brand-loyalty triumphs and it’s the make that is a huge consideration when upgrading.

While almost half the respondents are prioritising cost, only 14.9% of people are considering how the upgrade will affect the overall value of their vehicle. Even fewer (10.5%) are thinking about how compatible any additions would be with new technologies or upgrades their bike already features, such as apps and onboard operating systems.

Changing priorities

We asked those who have already made upgrades to their motorbikes what their priorities were at the time, and it seems like attitudes are changing. While people now seem to be focusing on safety, costs and weight, existing upgrades were mainly made with a relaxing ride in mind, with 38.9% naming comfort as a priority. However, safety was still a concern, with almost a third (32.7%) of this group taking it into account. The importance of aesthetics has since increased, with 18.5% of people who have upgraded their bikes taking this into consideration, compared to the 33.3% of people who would now.

The kit that’s right for you

tech

With the knowledge of the driving forces behind the decisions to upgrade, let’s take a look at the types of technology and gear that riders are wanting.

We asked our readers what kit and tech currently on the market they are most excited about:

The top three pieces of kit

  1. Augmented reality helmets

The Jarvish X helmet is our recommendation – it can connect to another helmet (great for those riding pillion), as well as a smartphone, and has the ability to safely play music, so you can ride to the soundtrack of your choice.

  1. Modular motorcycle helmets

Modular motorcycle helmets came in as a close second, with 49.6% of respondents voting for them. These helmets, such as the Quin Design Carbon Quest model and the Black Optimus II Destination helmet, can improve both visibility and airflow by lifting the face shield. The helmets are designed to increase safety and comfort – two of the most prioritised factors when motorcyclists are seeking new kit.

  1. Airbag riding gear

Airbag riding gear secured third place, with 45.9% of people excited about investing. Airbag technology has surpassed the confines of the steering wheel in a car, with manufacturers developing vests, jackets and even full-length bodysuits to keep riders safer on the roads.

If it’s a jacket you’re after, we’d suggest the Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 Airbag System. For those looking for a full-body suit, the Podium airbag suit may be the right choice. Both garments are safe, comfortable and, dare we say it, quite stylish (for an airbag!).

  1. Anti-lock brakes

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are the most anticipated gear on the market according to our respondents, with 51.9% of people in agreement. They are proven to improve the safety of your riding experience by stopping you from skidding during sharp brakes. While it is possible to retrofit ABS on your own bike at home, those with less knowledge about motorcycles may want to have a professional do it. However, ABS is now standard on new bikes. 

  1. Adaptive headlights

Almost 33% of people are most likely to invest in adaptive headlights – the latest tech designed to automatically respond to changing lighting conditions. If you’re out for a long ride, or suddenly go under a tunnel, these lights will change their brightness for you, helping keep your visibility high so you can concentrate on the road.

Harley-Davidson makes adaptive lights for its riders, while the J.W. Speaker Adaptive 2 comes in a range of configurations to suit most motorbikes. 

  1. Smart windshield

Undecided: options riders are yet to agree on

If the price is right: what are we willing to pay?

tech

As we’ve seen, the costs of these exciting products are a crucial deciding factor when deciding whether to make a purchase. However, according to our survey, 40.3% of riders feel new motorcycle technology is justifiably expensive for what it does, with another 29.5% feeling the cost is right. A smaller percentage (21.9%) feel that these new technologies are too expensive, while 6.1% think that, considering what the tech can do, they could be far more pricey.

While most people can justify the price tags for the latest upgrades, the vast majority (80.4%) argue that the cost is actually hindering riders from improving their safety while on the road. These figures differ between motorcycle owners and non-owners – 81% of bike owners would agree with this statement, while only 68.6% of non-owners concur.

Putting a price on safety

When it comes to improving their safety, we asked people what they’d be willing to pay. The price bracket with the highest number of respondents was the second-lowest one, with 19.5% of people willing to pay between £500-£999. This was followed by the middle price bracket, with 17.7% of people willing to spend £1,000-£1,499. The lowest price bracket was next, as 14.1% of people are willing to pay between £100-£499. There were similar responses to the two highest price groups, with 12.5% of people agreeing to pay the highest prices of £2,000-£2,999, and 12.3% of people willing to spend £1,500-£1,999. Turns out you can put a price on your own safety.

Summary

From our findings, we can see that riders are prioritising safety, cost and weight when upgrading their bikes. However, while cost is a huge factor, people can still see why these latest innovations carry higher price tags and many are still willing to part with their cash. In fact, the most highly-anticipated piece of technology is the augmented reality helmet, which won’t come cheap. These pieces of equipment could set you back around £650. It is these larger price tags that are inhibiting riders from being as safe as they can be on the road.

If you’ve modified your bike in any way, you’re going to want to keep it, and yourself, safe. Ensure you’ve got custom, modified bike insurance for your vehicle.

Helmet, Leathers and Kit