You’ve taken the classes, received your motorcycle license, and you’re ready to commit to the riding lifestyle – well it’s about time. Jokes aside, we’re pumped you’ve finally joined us, and now it’s time for the fun part – finding the perfect ride. It’s not always easy picking out your first bike, but we’ve got your back. Check out our advice on steps to take and what to look for when choosing your first motorcycle.
2. Consider motorcycle type – After you decide what types of rides you’ll be taking, it’s time to consider what type of bike you want. Remember you’re a new rider, so it might not be the best decision to get an insanely expensive bike right off the bat, but at the same time you do want a bike you can grow into and ride for years to come. Let’s break down a few of the more common motorcycle options and what they are typically used for:
- Cruisers – When most people think of cruisers, they think of Harley Davidson, and rightfully so. But Harley isn’t the only brand embracing this style, other major manufacturers have cruisers in their lineups as well. Cruisers are designed for laid-back, relaxed riding. They have low seats, often in a reclined position with feet forward riding.
- Adventure/Touring Dual Sports – Adventure/touring bikes usually have large fuel tanks that can provide plenty of range on a long distance ride. These bikes are super comfortable with their upright posture and comfortable seats. They have both on-road and off-road capabilities as well as long suspension travel.
- Choppers – Some common characteristics of choppers are extended forks, low reclined seats, and longer front ends. Choppers stand out from the crowd and usually look different from typical factory models. These bikes favor personality over comfort and are usually chromed out and customized.
- Scooters – Scooters are like small motorcycles with a step-through frame. Drivers can sit with their legs together and their feet on a floorboard. Vespa is one of the most common and widely known scooter brands. Scooters are an economical option for riders and have engines that range from 50 to 250 cc.
- Sport Bikes – Sport Bikes are less focused on comfort – they’re made for speed, acceleration, and thrill. These high-performance motorcycles have higher foot pegs and seating that pushes the rider forward, over the tank.
- Standard – Standard motorcycles or “naked motorcycles” are known for their upright riding position. Their handlebars and foot pegs are positioned so riders can be comfortable without having to reach too far forward. These bikes have a retro feel and mid-ranged engine sizes – a great option for new riders.
- Touring Bikes – A touring bike is for – you guessed it – touring. These bikes are designed for long-distance rides with their big fuel tanks and comfortable seats and backrests. They usually come with built-in windshields and navigation systems.
3. New or Used? Another factor to consider when buying your first bike is whether you want a brand spanking new bike, or if you would consider a used option. First off, you’ll need to empty out that piggy bank and see the type of budget you’re working with. If you are on a fixed budget, buying used might be the way to go, and believe us when we say there are some awesome used bikes out there. Before buying used, you’ll want to make sure you get all the information on the bike’s current condition, any maintenance required, and a full report of the bike’s service records. And on the other hand, if you’re working with a more flexible budget, there’s nothing like riding off the lot with a brand new ride – plus, these typically come with warranties and maybe even some service perks built in to the purchase price. New or used – there are tons of killer options out there.
4. Take a look online – Once you’ve figured out the type of bike you want, do your research and scope out bikes that are for sale near you. And here’s a not so shameless plug – CycleTrader.com has more bikes for sale than any other site, so that’s definitely a good place to start – and we’re not just saying that because we work here. On the site, you’ll have the option to search by make, model, type, new or used – with thousands of bikes for sale, you’ll find the right bike for you. If you like to take your time when searching for your new ride, you have the option to star your favorite bikes and get similar listings sent to you.
5. Take a test drive – As a new rider, taking a test drive before buying is extremely important. Before you shell out the cash you want to make sure the ride is perfect for you and your needs. By actually going for a ride, you can determine if you like the bike’s control, style, comfort, weight, etc. Make sure to take it slow on your first ride – this is your opportunity to really feel out the bike. While you’re at the dealership it’s also a good idea to take a walk around of the unit to make sure the bike is in the exact condition you expected.