Buying Your First Bike

Every day we speak with someone who is starting the exotic adventure of becoming a motorcycle rider.  Every day we offer advice from lessons we learned at the School of Hard Knocks, whether the advice is adhered to or not is up to the individual.

I ventured around our dealership today getting a general consensus of the top three things that would be on a tip list.  This questioning session went from our General Manager to our handy-man-do-it-all guy, and the responses were pretty much even across the board.

1)      Gear.  Spend the money on the correct gear for whichever style of riding you choose.  You only have one head, protect it with a helmet that fits your head.

2)      Safety Course.  Devote the time and money to a quality safety course.  They will teach you things that you may never learn otherwise; regardless of how awesome your friends are or how many miles you have under your belt of hanging with the cool crowd.

3)      Unique.  Every person is built differently, as is every motorcycle.  What may fit me like a glove won’t fit you in the same way.  Test motorcycles out, meaning sit on them.  You will know when one fits you; it will just feel “right”.

4)      Engine.  Don’t dismiss a motorcycle because it has too big of an engine.  Take into consideration the power-to-weight ratio.  A 1000CC cruiser that weighs 700lbs is going to act entirely different than a 1000CC sport bike that weighs 400lbs.  Plus, the center of gravity is drastically different between the two.

5)      Size.  Both of your feet don’t have to be flat-footed when sitting on the motorcycle.  If it feels comfortable to you, go with it.  Your friends might feel most comfortable with both feet like that, but they aren’t you.

6)      Friends.  Buy what you want.  Bring friends along if it makes you more comfortable, but do your research as well.  Your friends might strictly be race bike folks, venture into your own world.  You are joining the motorcycle club, which means being an “outlaw,” so start with your first step if necessary and break away from the expected.

7)      Longevity.  Buy a motorcycle that you will ride for a year or more.  You can grow into a motorcycle, but you can’t grow a motorcycle.  A 250cc is fun when learning in the school of your choice, but when you are on your own and on a highway, the 250cc is scary.

Buying a motorcycle can be a daunting process for a beginner.  Think about what kind of riding you will be doing the most of.  Are you going to be doing mostly city-driving?  How about long trips on the weekend?  Will you be navigating a lot of tight, busy parking lots?  What about logging roads?