Born to be Wild: 10 Things You Need to Consider Before You Buy Your First Motorcycle
It can happen any time in your life.
The need to hit the open road takes over, and you can’t ignore its call.
When this happens, embrace it. Instead of making excuses for why you can’t enjoy some adventures on the highway, you can put your efforts into finding your first motorcycle.
But not all motorcycles are made the same, and they’re not all right for you. So if you’re looking for a beginner motorcycle, then there are some things to keep in mind. Here are 10 of them…
1. Don’t Buy a Rocket
Motorcycles can have a lot of power. In fact, some of the fastest motorcycles in the world can hit ridiculous speeds of more than 300 mph.
But unless you’re training to compete in a race circuit, you shouldn’t be looking at motorcycles with the most horsepower. If you’re a newbie to riding a motorized vehicle with only two wheels, you’re going to want something that won’t leave you behind when you hit the throttle.
Whether you’re buying a used motorcycle or a new one, try to keep the engine size below 500cc. That will help you focus more on learning to control the bike. When you feel you’ve mastered your ride, you can consider getting something with a bit more kick.
Just remember, speed limits apply to motorcycles too.
2. Decide What Type of Bike You Want
When it comes to motorcycles, there are many shapes and sizes. The type of bike you choose should fit the type of riding you plan to do.
For example, if you just want to get out for a quick rip on the weekend, then a sport bike might be ideal. If you’re looking for motorcycles for seniors and want to do a long road trip with your buddies, then a cruiser might be more in your wheelhouse.
The type of bike you choose will dictate how you sit on it while you’re riding. Make sure it feels comfortable first before committing to it.
3. Keep It Uniform
If your goal is to ride with friends or join a club, then etiquette about what type of bike to get might come into play. If they’re okay with you being the only sportbike in a group of cruisers, then go for it.
4. Consider New or Used
Just like buying a new or used car, there are advantages and disadvantages to both when buying a motorcycle.
Of course, new bikes (theoretically) are problem free and should come with a warranty. But that also means you’re going to pay considerably more for that luxury. There’s also financing to consider if you’re not buying the bike outright.
On the other hand, a used bike should cost a lot less up front, but can literally become a money pit down the road. Consider the seller and ask how the bike has been used and maintained, or bring along someone who knows motorcycles to check it out for you.
Buying used might be a good option if you’re buying your first bike. If you drop the bike or scratch it up, you probably won’t mind as much. Think of it as a “training bike.”
5. Price Out Insurance
You’re taking a vehicle out onto public roads, so insurance is a must for a motorcycle. Before you fork over money for a motorcycle, you should talk to an insurer about how much your monthly premium will be and factor that into your budget.
There are many components to insurance such as liability if you hurt someone, as well as protection if you hurt yourself. Make sure you know all the options when it comes to insurance so you’re covered in a wide variety of circumstances.
6. Make Sure It’s Worth the Weight
Bikes can vary greatly in how much they weigh. If you find you can’t lift the bike or control it, then you should opt for a lighter model.
Remember, the more powerful the bike is, typically the bigger the engine. That will add a lot of bulk to the bike, which is another reason to start with slightly less power.
There are some other tricks you can use to lower the weight of your bike if you simply must have it. For example, you could swap out the rims for lighter ones, remove the toolkit (probably not recommended for long trips), and replace the exhaust with a lighter alloy.
7. Make Sure It’s Legit
If you’re buying a used motorcycle from an individual and not a reputable dealership, then you might want to do a bit more homework. For example, make sure the VIN matches the registration.
You can even check with local police to ensure it’s not on their list of missing vehicles. The last thing you want on your first big ride is to be pulled over for possessing stolen goods.
You might also want to be sure the previous owner doesn’t still owe money on the bike, also known as a lien. Because guess who’s responsible for paying for that once the bike is in your name?
8. Find Out How Much Replacement Parts Are
Depending on the make and model of the bike you’re considering, it could be a lot more expensive in the future when parts need to be replaced.
Check what the going rate for common parts on a motorcycle that needs to be replaced such as brakes, chains, or tires. If you’re going for long road trips, then you need to think about adding regular maintenance into the overall bill.
9. Add Gear
Aside from insurance and maintenance, you’ll also want to factor in riding gear and a helmet. Since this is your first bike, you probably don’t have these things unless you have a friend the same size willing to donate it all to you.
Get your helmet properly fitted and make sure it’s comfortable while you’re riding while providing good visibility.
10. Take It for a Test Drive
While it may feel comfortable sitting still in the showroom, you won’t know for sure if it’s right for you unless you take it out for a spin. Get a feel for the bike around town, see how intuitive it feels and pay attention to any discomfort during the test ride.
If it doesn’t seem to fit your body type or you have trouble using the controls, then it’s probably not the best choice for you.
Have Fun But Be Wise With Your First Motorcycle
Above all, make sure you do your research and get a bike that’s comfortable for the kind of riding you want to do.
Getting your first motorcycle is an exciting time, as there are many amazing destinations in the country waiting for you. In the meantime, get out your map and start planning the ultimate motorcycle road trips!