Buying a motorcycle can be exciting. While it may not be as practical or as expensive as buying a brand-new car, there are some advantages to having your own bike and traveling for day-to-day needs and when you just want to enjoy the speed of a nice motorcycle.
But just like any other vehicle, it’s important to think before you buy and do your research before buying your first motorcycle. Here are five tips to take note of when browsing through different models to get the motorcycle you’ll enjoy riding for years.
Choose the Right Motorcycle
To an everyday person who isn’t an avid motorcycle fan, most motorcycles may look similar. However, when you take a closer look at their engines, bodies, and other parts, you can see that they have their own special features designed for various needs. It’s up to you to find one that meets most of your needs.
Sport bikes, for example, are not recommended for motorcycle newbies with no experience controlling or managing these difficult bikes. On the other hand, 300cc to 500cc bikes are more affordable, more manageable, and more appropriate for short-distance everyday traveling.
Not All Motorcycles Fit All Body Types
Whether you’re lean or heavy-set, not all motorcycles will provide the same comfort for all body types. If you choose a motorcycle that isn’t comfortable for your body, it will be difficult controlling your motorcycle. Make sure you do your research on what seat height, bike weight, tank size, handle bar, foot peg, seat cushion, and other features are more comfortable for you.
Check Your Overall Budget
Your overall motorcycle budget doesn’t just apply to how much it’ll cost to buy the bike and its accessories. This also includes the maintenance and operating expenses you’ll be incurring while you’re using it. Sure, you can afford a $5,000 motorcycle because you saved up for it. But if it turns out that its maintenance is costly and it eats up a lot of gas for less mileage, then you might have to cut down on other living expenses to keep your motorcycle.
Aside from the price of the motorcycle, you should also research the other costs of owning a motorcycle. This can include maintenance (find out the average maintenance cost of an authorized shop), operational expenses (how much gas it consumes), insurance, and other equipment and gear.
Consider a Used Bike for Your First Bike
Many consumers are against the idea of purchasing second-hand items. After all, it can be difficult to tell just how badly a previous owner handled an item, and sometimes it’s just more practical and safer to purchase a new item even if it is more expensive than a second-hand one.
When it comes to motorcycles, however, it might be a good idea to consider getting a used motorcycle for a first bike. If you’re a newbie rider and haven’t ridden a motorcycle for long, it may be unwise to spend thousands of dollars on a new bike because new riders are more likely to get into accidents while building up their riding skills.
A second-hand motorcycle in good condition can cost around $1,500. Compare that to a brand-new bike at $15,000, and you’re saving thousands of dollars on a first bike to help you hone your riding skills. Sure, it’s not as shiny as a new bike and it definitely won’t be as good as new. But at least you have a cheaper reliable bike to help you hone your skills before making a bigger investment on your next bike.
Just make sure that you’re entering a second-hand motorcycle store with some knowledge on how to inspect a motorcycle. You might also want to bring a friend experienced in bikes or a mechanic you know to double-check if a bike is indeed worth the price. This is especially important if your bill of sale comes with an “as is” disclosure, which releases the seller from any responsibility in case the bike doesn’t perform as well as you want it to.
Invest in Good Riding Gear
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, 5,172 motorcyclists were killed in 2017 due to crashes. The organization also found, however, that this number is much lower than it could have been thanks to motorcycle gear. In the previous year, motorcycle helmets saved around 1,872 people and could have prevented the deaths of 749 other incidents had these motorcyclists worn helmets.
As a beginner, the risk of getting into a serious motorcycle accident is much higher. And if that ever happens, the only thing that could prevent you from sustaining a serious injury is with a motorcycle helmet and proper gear.
Avoid trying to cut costs on motorcycle gear as cheaper products may not be as strong or durable enough to protect you. Choose helmets meeting the Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards by looking for the DOT symbol at the back of the helmet. This indicates that it meets the DOT’s standards.
Ideally, all your skin should be covered when riding a motorcycle to avoid abrasions during accidents. Wear leather or heavy denim because these materials cannot be easily scraped. Wear boots or shoes high enough to cover your ankles and gloves that provide better grip. When riding at night, wear brightly-colored gear or gear with reflective material so that you are visible to other drivers. These purchases will not be cheap, but buying good quality materials is an investment in your safety.
Having your own motorcycle can be exciting, but it’s important that you know what you’re getting into when you buy your first one. Always go for quality and do your research on which bike best suits your needs before investing.