Being a new motorcycle rider, and being a chicken, I was interested in riding safe.
RG said if you have a $50 head, buy a $50 helmet. I already had a $50 helmet used for riding my 4-wheeler. I looked at Shoei and Arai and decided on a white Shoei Synchrotech. It was not $50!
I bought a Cool Max skull cap to help keep my head cooler and something you can wash other than the helmet liner.
One of the instructors in the MSF course recommended a Joe Rocket Ballistic jacket. It was relatively inexpensive, and was made from a mesh material that looked like it would be OK in Texas weather in the summer. I bought a red one.
I had some gloves for use on the 4-wheeler. They are well ventilated for summer weather. I bought some rubber gloves from Aerostitch to use if I get caught in the rain. These are commercial rubber gloves that are big enough to slip on over your leather ones.
I bought a First Gear rain suit, recommended by RG. I also have a Frog Togg rain suit because it packs smaller for emergency use. I don't plan to start a ride in the rain.
I purchased Joe Rocket pants to match my jacket. The choice of color was black.
I also purchased a pair of Draggin Jeans to use when I don't want to put on the pants....they are hot in the summer. They don't provide much protection over my Wranglers, but may be better?
I have a very narrow foot and hard to fit. I wore a pair of Red Wing oiled boots that were 30 years old. I searched for boots. I tried boots on at stores and could not find any that were comfortable. RG recommended I try boots from Cruiserworks. They make some in a narrow width. The boots fit fine, but the first time I rode with them, I melted the edge of the heels on the mufflers.
This resulted in muffler guards. I purchased BMW muffler guards and planned to install them myself. This turned out to be a major job if you follow the factory installation instructions. I learned from a person (Pokie) on the Chromeheads.org site that you did not have to remove the mufflers to install them....only too late. JH and I struggled for three hours one Saturday and finally got it done.
I have a Garmin III Plus GPS, used when I travel and fish and enjoyed very much. I mounted it using their handlebar mount for a bicycle. I had an accessory plug installed (the Cruiser does not come with one from the factory) so I could hook it up to the battery.
I also use this plug to keep my Battery Tender Junior plugged in while not riding.
After my first highway ride, I learned that I needed lower fairing. These are from Aeroflow (AeroGuards) and work very well. I really need to order their windshield, as even after "adjusting" my Montana windshield up as far as possible, the top of my helmet is still in the wind stream. My legs now are protected from rocks and bugs, and rain if I get caught in it.
My hands stay warm in the cold by using the BMW heated grips that came on the bike. I also use some gloves from my skiing days.
My highway ride also indicated I needed some way to keep the throttle open other than with pressure from my hand grip all the time. I installed a rubber wrap around grip Universal Throttle Boss by Kuryakyn. It works fine at most all speeds. I recently purchased a Throttle Rocker for $10, but haven't tried it yet.
Trying to check the oil is a two person job on the BMW cruiser, as it must be level to read the glass bubble gage located on the bottom of the engine. It is also not easy to wash the "down" side when it is on the side stand. I recently purchased a Telefix center stand from Bob's BMW. It works.
The Joe Rocket Ballistic jacket is fine for hot weather, but is too well ventilated for riding in Texas winter weather. I don't like to ride when the temperature is less than 60 degrees. I don't ride in the rain on purpose. I recently bought a new heavy leather jacket at Sam's for $85. I got it in a size large enough to fit over the Joe Rocket and it works great. It also will be an extra layer of protection in case of an accident. Sure beats several hundred dollars for a "real" leather motorcycle jacket.
In an effort to help reduce wind buffeting at highway speeds, I bought a BMW touring windscreen. It is 555 mm from the headlight cutout to the top. It is somewhat narrower at the top than the Montana screen. It also does not have arms that wrap around the sides of the headlight. The mounting holes are in the same positions.
A recent modification required the purchase of some parts. I removed the passenger "comfort" seat and grab rail and relocated the backrest to behind the rider's seat. The few times I have a passenger, they will sit on the pillion. I purchased a new grab rail, an couple of bolts and washers and two rubber pads that support the backrest when it is in the down position. Hopefully, this will relieve strain on my back on long rides.
In preparation for my next trip, I bought a T-bag. Now that I have a luggage rack behind the rider's seat I have a way to mount it. It is not big enough to store my helmet, but will store my jacket and pants. I bought the Texan model from T-Bags.
I bought some elk skin gloves from Aerostitch. They are soft and I think will be useful in hot weather.
As you can see, this is an ongoing and never ending process, much to the delight of the folks who sell motorcycle stuff.
Last edited: 04/24/2020