How to Choose the Best Motorcycle for You
Choosing a motorcycle can be bewildering. That is because there is so much variety when it comes to options. Even when you have narrowed down what kind of style you are searching for; you are then overwhelmed by the how many manufacturers there are.
Unless you are the type of rider who knows exactly what they want or the type the sees a machine and says to themselves “I have to have that bike”, this article is for you. We break down getting a bike into three easy sections: where to start, the list and narrowing it down and the advantages of buying new or used.
Where to Start
Experience riders, whilst some may be biased towards their own bikes, are always happy to give advice. But our best advice is to start by answering the question: “What do you want from your bike?”
The kind of riding you are planning to do will determine what kind of motorcycle you should buy. Answering the question above is your first and probably most important step, and as a non-rider, you will probably get it wrong. That is because you have no experience and only a theoretical or romanticized view of riding, but don’t worry, you will learn with miles under your belt and can make adjustments over your riding career.
Narrowing Down the List
Today’s age is a great time to be a rider, because manufacturers are producing huge varieties of models to fit every possible style of riding. It is also great to be a beginner, as the manufacturers have also noticed the need for beginner bikes to attract new riders.
However, with so much variety, the terminology can become confusing for starters. The key factors of a good starter bike are lightweight, modest power, neutral handling and the ability for the rider to place both feet on the floor.
While the world of motorcycles keeps evolving, most styles and terms remain unchanging.
Cruisers: This are your Harley Davidson bikes and others with a similar look. Long, low and built for relaxed long rides.
The Good Points: Low seat heights, low-speed torque tuned engines, they are easy to ride and there is little bodywork to damage if your drop it.
The Bad Points: Some cruisers can have extreme ergonomics and make handling difficult.
If you are looking to get a cruiser, a mid-displacement option can be an affordable and comfortable first bike.
Sport bikes: Inspired by racing bikes, they are built for speed.
The Good Points: They are lightweight.
The Bad Points: They are tall, have race ergonomics, expensive bodywork, and usually, a lot of power.
However, many manufacturers now offer small displacement sport bikes in the 300cc range which are easier to handle.
Standard or naked bikes: These bikes provide a neutral riding position and have minimal or no fairings.
The Good Points: Easy riding position and handling, comfortable and little plastic to damage in case of a tip-over.
The Bad Points: Some higher displacement models can be as powerful as the sport bikes they are related to, and too much for a newbie. Also, there is no wind or weather protection unless added aftermarket.
These bikes make ideal beginner bikes, with manufacturers such as Honda or Yamaha offering smaller displacement models, but even the large 600cc models are suitable.
Adventure-tourers and dual-sports: Motorcycles are made to feel at home both on and off-road. Adventure Tourers (ADV) are designed for longer trips while Dual-Sports are closer to dirt bikes than street legal machines.
The Good Points: Comfortable riding position, smaller dual-sports tend to be lightweight, and they are designed to prevent damage in case of a tip-over.
The Bad Points: Tall seats and the large displacement models are heavy and expensive.
There are plenty of smaller displacement models of both ADV and Dual-Sport, although more dual sports. So, if are tall enough, they are capable beginner motorcycles and almost indestructible.
This list and descriptions should be able to help you narrow down and identify which style of bike is what you are looking for as your first bike.
New or Used
Even if you think you know what your dream bike is and are eager to go out and buy a brand-new model because you must have it, our advice is don’t do it. And the reasons are simple.
We aren’t looking to crush your dreams, but there are three very solid reasons as to why your first bike should be second-hand and inexpensive ride that meets the factors we mentioned earlier. Allow us to explain.
First of all, your dream bike is probably not the dream bike you end up wanting. Remember how we mentioned above that your view on riding can be romanticized due to a lack of experience? After getting some miles under your belt you might see that your dream bike isn’t for you, and you will take a bigger hit on depreciation when you come to sell it or exchange for the bike you really want.
The second reason for buying used is that new riders are very likely to drop their motorcycles and causing damage. Lucky for you, you can use high-quality professional motorcycle paint to touch up any scratches or give the bike a new look. You don’t want to drop your brand-new bike, plus repairs can be more expensive.
The final reason is that you will more than likely wish to progress from your first bike, either because you realized it wasn’t the right bike for what you want to do, or you simply wish to upgrade because you’re now a more experienced rider. In any case, you will be glad you didn’t spend tons of money in the first place.
Many riders want to ride and experience all different kinds of riding and want garages filled with different motorcycles, so buying second-hand is a cheaper alternative to live those experiences.
Experienced riders will agree with us when we say that the best thing for new riders is to buy a used bike, ride it for a year and re-evaluate how you feel with the miles under your belt. The used bike is perfect for developing your riding skills and learning on something you are not too worried about damaging.