We’ve surveyed 750 riders from across the UK to find out who’s expanding their kit and buying the latest tech, which mods and upgrades are the most popular and what the driving force is behind these purchases.
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
The top safety-related tech respondents are excited about:
1. Anti-lock brakes
2. Adaptive headlights
3. Smart windshields
Revving to go: who will be investing?
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?
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.
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
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
- Augmented reality helmets
The augmented reality helmet is incredibly popular among riders, with 51.9% believing that using one would add to their riding experience. With the ability to display all the useful information you could require right in front of your eyes – from GPS maps to a speedometer, both rear-view and wide-view visors – the helmet incorporates so many tools in one.
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.
- 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.
- 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!).
The top three pieces of safety-related technology
- 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.
- 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.
- Smart windshield
The third most popular safety innovation is the smart windshield, with 28% of people favouring it. Samsung is pioneering smart windshield tech, having announced plans to develop one back in 2016. While we’re still waiting for the final product, the windshield promises to connect with your smartphone to display riding routes, texts and your speedometer.
Undecided: options riders are yet to agree on
While we’ve addressed the most popular upgrades on the market, we still want to know what else is available – and what else is popular on the market. While 40.7% think vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or bike-to-vehicle (B2V) technology add to the riding experience these attitudes are not unanimous. More people (48.9%) feel that V2V and B2V technologies neither add nor detract from the riding experience. People are equally conflicted about bikes designed for electromobility, with 41.7% in favour and 47.1% seeing it as neither a good or bad thing.
If the price is right: what are we willing to pay?
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.
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.
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