You don’t need to be a world champion to own a great bike
Owning a great bike is a rite of passage for any motorcycle enthusiast. You don’t need to win the World MotoGP twice to justify owning a great bike (although it helps when Casey adds another one to the collection!)
If you’re new to the hobby or are looking for a great way to commute that’s fast, thrifty, and convenient, motorcycle ownership is definitely the way to go. Whether it’s a 125cc, 250cc, 500cc or something even bigger, here are some tips to ensure you get a great bike – and that means a bike that’s great for you, not anyone else!
Set a realistic budget
Before you set off looking up bikes on bike seller and dealer websites, you need to set a realistic budget. For a first bike, you should aim for something you can definitely afford and not get too extravagant. You may also want to consider used to save a bit of money (though it could cost you later in maintenance and replacement parts.)
Three rules for success
Here are three rules for success in choosing an entry-level bike – nothing European, nothing over 900cc, and no more than two cylinders. Though more ccs may equal more fun in the eyes of bike riders, there are plenty of enthusiasts who will tell you the opposite. Besides, you may want to focus on function and comfort rather than raw power. Going for American or Japanese bikes is all about the hip-pocket: European parts pack a premium in price per part, extremely long lead times, and exorbitant shipping. Can you afford to go without a replacement fuel tank for eight weeks plus the time it takes to get here by boat?
Choose a bike that’s fit for you – and fits you
Choosing what’s right for you should be influenced by one person and one person alone – and that’s you! Choosing your bike needs to be logical process as motorcycles are highly specialised machines. Dirt bikes for off-road, cruisers for long trips, etc. What will you use your bike for? Will you be using it to learn on? Are you a bit more seasoned than the average newbie? A less specialised bike means it will appeal to more people – and that’s where you come in.
Testing a bike on road
When you test out the bike – and you absolutely need to test ride it – it has to be comfortable for you. It needs to be natural to corner in; it needs to feel like visibility is within your control; it needs to be gentle on the seat for the amount of time you’ll be saddled on it. If it “looks cool” or “runs fast” but doesn’t feel like an extension of yourself, you may want to strike it off your list.
Don’t skimp on gear
Protective riding gear is a non-negotiable – jackets, helmets, gloves, pants, boots, the works. You need to factor in gear for your bike as part of the overall cost. No protective gear, no riding. It’s as simple as that! If you need a bit more storage such as saddle bags or bar bags, remember to add this to the overall cost.
With all this in mind, you can get a great bike and feel like a real champion!