If you’re serious about motorcycles, you already know how to keep yourself as safe as possible on the road. Practicing good riding habits and constantly honing your skills not only can keep you riding, it can keep you alive. The moment you forget this is the moment you put yourself at risk.
But there’s another type of smart you should be before getting on two wheels: buyer-smart. With that in mind, I offer the following advice:
Research what fits your riding style.
Regardless of your experience level, you probably know what you’re looking to do with your bike. Maybe you want to spend every weekend discovering new routes across New England. Perhaps you’re fine with quick afternoon rides down curvy, scenic roads to break up the monotony of the day. You might want to commute to work, or take a passenger. There are different bikes to fit different riding styles. I have both a cruiser and a sports bike, because I couldn’t pick. But, because some might choose not to invest in two motorcycles, it’s wise to explore online the types of bikes that will best allow you the type of riding you want.
Looking to take as many long trips as you can this summer? Your back is probably going to be a bit sore hunched over on a sports bike. But, if you get most of your riding satisfaction when you round a corner, that sports bike might be right for you.
Be cognizant of your experience – and comfort – level.
As a brand new rider with only one day of riding under my belt, I spent an entire winter debating what should be my first bike. Ultimately, I went with exactly the same bike I learned to ride on, a brand new Honda Rebel 250 that I was told I would quickly outgrow. I rode it for exactly three months before I traded it in for a Harley that was more than twice as heavy and six times as powerful. Though I lost a good deal of money on the Honda in the trade, the confidence it helped me gain was worth it.
Consider buying a used motorcycle.
I wish I had bought my first bike used. When I traded in my Honda, it barely had 1,000 miles on it. I got half of what I’d paid for it three months earlier. If I had thought it through, I would have looked for the same bike, used. I could have saved hundreds. There are tons of low-mileage, excellent condition bikes discarded either by people like me, or by the countless riders who give up the hobby. And, as I’ve never met a rider who hasn’t upgraded his or her bike in some way, you’re likely to find even cooler features on a used bike than you are a brand new one.
I hope your next (or first) bike brings you as much joy and exhilaration as mine have to me. Be smart, and ride safe!
What did you learn after buying your first motorcycle? Share your tips and advice in the comments below.