5 Things To Know When Buying Your First Motorcycle
New motorcycles can cost anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to several times that amount. Choosing the wrong bike is not only a waste of money, but you’ll also end up with a rather large garage decoration that you don’t want to ride. Talk about stressful—and then times that by 10 if you’re married, thanks to a likely upset spouse who’ll nag you about your less-than-stellar purchasing skills. Avoid this costly situation by choosing the right bike the first time you buy.
Consider Engine Size…
You don’t want a bike with a too-small engine, like a Honda Rebel with a 250cc engine—but you don’t want anything that is too large, either. If you are into cruisers, something like a Honda Shadow with a 750cc engine is usually perfect for a first bike, both for male and female riders. This bike has enough power to keep up on the highway, but it’s not too much to handle. And if you don’t know what we mean by “cc,” there’s a good explanation at dmv.org.
Photo of a Honda Shadow by Oxyman via Wikimedia Commons
…and the Overall Size of the Bike
You should also choose a bike that is not too large. Keep in mind that most riders don’t keep their first bike forever; most move into a larger bike, so don’t go to a lot of unnecessary expense on the first bike. Choose something that is not too unwieldy and is easy to manipulate around turns. Riders who are looking for something sleek and sporty love the Suzuki GS500F. This bike has plenty of power but is compact, so it’s easy to throw around on the roads.
Photo of a GS500F by Doug Boyd via Wikimedia Commons
Consider the Center of Gravity…
Bike handling is largely dependent upon the center of gravity and the way the bike sits. On the first time out, most riders do well with a bike that sits low to the ground. The Yamaha FZ6R sits low without being uncomfortable for the tallest of riders. It’s also sporty, with classy body lines and plenty of power to keep up with the more expensive bikes on the road.
Photo of a FZ6R by lldar Sagdejev via Wikimedia Commons
Many people are concerned about fuel mileage, especially in the face of today’s gas prices. The large majority of bikes get better mileage than most cars, but it’s still important to make sure you are getting the most bang for your riding buck. The Honda CRF230M offers sporty styling and plenty of power, plus it sips gas from the tank while it gets you where you need to go. It’s a great bike for the budget-conscious rider. Plus, you can snag some great OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket Honda parts to customize your ride.
Photo of a Honda CRF by Takeaway via Wikimedia Commons
Finally, When You Gotta Go Harley
Some riders want to start out with a Harley-Davidson. There is a lot of great history and engineering behind this brand, and Harley really does have a bike to fit every rider. Most new riders enjoy the size and power of the 883 Sportster. This bike is small enough to fit even the smallest of female riders, but big enough to accommodate tall male riders. The classic Harley V-twin engine has plenty of power to keep up with the big boys. And it comes with an affordable price tag, so everyone can afford a piece of this American legend.
Photo of a 883 Sportster by Alek Kirstein via Flickr
About the Author:
Eddie is an auto mechanic and father of three living the dream in New England.