A new motorcycle should fit your lifestyle. It should aesthetically fit in with your style and be the right size to handle long journeys or your daily commute. Beyond just looks, you’ll also want to consider price (including repair costs), your experience level and the bike’s safety features. The following outlines everything you need to know before you buy, so you can buy your next motorcycle with confidence.
Safety First: Motorcycle Safety Concerns
Novice motorcyclists are encouraged to buy a bike that’s designed with safety in mind (even if it’s a bit slower than the latest hot rod). Operating a motorcycle is complex, but the first 30 days of driving is the most dangerous time; it’s when insurance companies see a peak in claims. Although those first 30 days require a fair amount of safe navigating, the first year as a whole can be dangerous, so it’s important to choose a bike that has safety features for novice drivers.
Bachus & Schanker LLC, a leading injury law firm in Colorado, reports that “4,006 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2004 and thousands more suffered devastating injuries as a result of traffic collisions.” It’s important that you understand fault and no-fault when it comes to accidents and that you’re prepared to receive compensation or restitution if necessary. After an accident, it’s important to call the police, photograph the scene and take down the other driver’s license plate and insurance information.
Different Types of Motorcycles
There are a number of different motorcycles, and what you purchase is going to depend on your skill level. The original motorcycle was simply a bicycle outfitted with a motor, a far cry from the roadsters and sport bikes seen today.
· Sport Bikes – Sometimes called “crotch rockets,” these bikes ride low to the ground to help riders navigate at high speeds. They typically come in two classes: superbikes in the 1000 cc class and supersport bikes in the 600cc class.
· Spork Nakeds – Sometimes called “street fighters,” these bikes are intended for daily riding but feature fast motors and sport suspension.
· Touring Bikes – Heavy motorcycles with lots of features and places for holding luggage. These bikes are perfect for beginners because they’re designed with safety and long-distance driving in mind.
· Sport Touring – Sometimes called “adventure bikes,” these bikes feature comfort and luxury features, as well as large sporty motors. They’re designed to drive lots of miles, so they’re perfect for road warriors.
· Cruisers – Big, heavy motorcycles with twin motors and greater low end power. Harley Davidson is a popular source for cruisers.
Don’t Skimp on Gear
A lot of riders report that they skimp on gear because it’s expensive. This is a mistake; motorcycles are expensive, but motorcycle accidents can cost you your life. Properly outfitting yourself is going to ensure that you’re protected. No investment is more worthwhile than an investment in your own health and safety.
You’re going to want a quality jacket, such as a compound jacket. If leather is a bit heavy, a compound jacket is the versatility you need because it’s leather only where you’ll slide and a more comfortable textile in other areas. You’ll also need some pants with reinforced knee plates, or a pair of chaps to wear over your jeans. A pair of gloves can help you keep a strong grip on the handles, as well as avoid scrapes if you spill.
The most important piece of gear is your helmet. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle helmets save lives, but only 58 percent of motorcyclists are wearing them. Don’t go helmet free, and don’t make the mistake of buying a crotch rocket if you’re an inexperienced driver. The real secret to first-time motorcycle buying is to get a bike that can help you learn and adapt to situations and ensure you’re alive and prepared for your next bike, which with experience can be as turbo-charged as you’d like it to be.