You’ve just completed a motorcycle training course, you have your motorcycle safety gear and you’re ready to start riding on your own. Where should you begin? Here are some suggestions for making the best decisions for three of the most agonizing choices new riders have.
Choice #1: What to buy first?
Since it should be part of every motorcycle ride you take, a good place to start is buying your motorcycle safety gear first. It’s very easy to go over your budget buying a motorcycle. This may delay the purchase of gear. Since responsible riding should always be your first priority, make sure that doesn’t happen and get geared up first.
Choice #2: What engine size should I start with?
250ccs to 500ccs is an excellent range to start with. You’ll have enough power for any road you choose to ride and this amount of power is much more forgiving. The most important factor to riding motorcycles is your health and safety. The smaller the engine size, the easier it will be to ride.
Regardless of how well you did in training, motorcycling takes practice like any other sport. Your motorcycle skills will need to develop over time, so give yourself the best odds and setup to make it through your first several thousand kilometers without a major accident.
The higher the engine size, the higher the risk. Big bikes demand respect. The moment you take it for granted is a moment you may regret. The main argument for starting with a larger cc motorcycle is it’s a size you can grow into. I also hear it is a waste of money to buy a small cc engine, as the rider will just grow bored of it quickly. While these are valid points, they should not be traded for your health and safety.
Riding motorcycles carries a higher risk than most forms of transportation. The odds are against you when you are learning to ride. Almost all accidents and injuries are preventable. Start small and work your way up. The costs associated with trading up motorcycles is small compared to the costs of an accident.
Choice #3: New or used?
Buying a used motorcycle is recommended if you are a beginning rider. As you are learning and getting more seat time during those first few months, the chance for errors is higher. A motorcycle with a few minor bumps and scratches is perfect for these early trips. You can always blame those imperfections on the person who sold you the bike! An additional benefit is that the cost of a used bike is often much less than the cost of a new one, so you can use that extra cash to buy motorcycle gear or fund trips. A used, beginner motorcycle retains its value, as the market of buyers is the largest. This is the one type of motorcycle you can ride and not lose a lot of money on.
Buying a new motorcycle is both a fun and frustrating experience—fun in that it is shiny and new, frustrating in the fact that associated costs and taxes can quickly add up. When buying a new motorcycle, try to work with an ‘Out the Door’ price. There will be fewer surprises at the end. When you arrive home with your new and shiny motorcycle, you’ll want to keep it that way. If you happen to drop it, it will be devastating. It takes money and expertise to keep a motorcycle looking immaculate, and as a new rider, it is especially a challenge to do this. Expect a large drop in value when selling your new motorcycle with a few scratches.
Choice #4: Which bike?
When looking for a starter motorcycle, if you’re into sportbikes, starting with the Honda CBR 250cc or 500cc is a good choice. The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is an excellent choice, too. Do not underestimate the power behind these smaller engines. They are very capable on the highways and on any twisty road. If you absolutely must have a Ducati as your first motorcycle, look into the 621cc Ducati Monster.
If cruisers are your motorcycle of choice, have a look at the Honda Rebel 250, Kawasaki Vulcan 500, or a V-Star 650. The larger cc engine on a cruiser does have gentler power than sportbikes of similar displacement, but be aware that it will be a heavier motorcycle.
Good starter adventure motorcycles include the Suzuki V-Strom 650, BMW F700, and Kawasaki Versys 650. These are larger cc engines but they deliver a different amount of power than sportbikes do. When you have found the motorcycle that suits you, go for it! It’s exciting and the open road is yours. No motorcycle is the one you have forever. In fact, some riders change motorcycles every year. Make the safest choice for your first motorcycle. You, your family, and friends will respect it.
The 1st Gear, 1st Motorcycle program
We understand buying a first motorcycle can be quite the process so we are going to try to make it easier for you. With our all-inclusive motorcycling package, we will not only train you but also provide you a motorcycle to start on for 30 days. Here’s how it works:
Once you complete the MSA and upgrade your learner’s license, we will give you the keys to a motorcycle for 30 days. During this time, you will ride it as much as you want to get the practice you need. At the end of the 30 days, you’ll have a much better understanding of riding and you’ll be more prepared for a larger cc motorcycle. Consider the expense of the program to be less than the cost of trading bikes soon after you buy one because it’s not what you want. Tell us what you think about this program and we may very well implement it!
Edited by Tonya T.
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