What to Avoid When Choosing Your First Adventure Motorcycle
Buying an ADV can be tricky, why? Because there is so much to choose from. There is a huge selection of bikes in this spectrum, so choosing the right one for you can be difficult. We’re here to help though.
The spectrum of ADV rides covers everything from barely street-legal endure bikes to $30,000+ machines built with high-tech parts ready to tackle any travelling on any terrain. Many dealerships will have machines in stock that really shouldn’t be there. Bikes with minimal mileage, all the right gear and maybe some with minimal damage, but very much still usable and will get you where you want to go.
So, where is the best place for new travelers to start and what mistakes must they look out for an avoid?
Is Adventure Touring for You?
Films and documentaries have romanticized the idea of the ADV experience. They depict the picture of a rider doing a wheelie into the sunset across the most picturesque landscape on a machine worth more than most of us can dream of, with the most up-to-date equipment and then camping under a star-filled sky. What they fail to mention is the brutal reality of spending hours trying to fix a mechanical issue in the middle of nowhere. Nor the social and economic boundaries you might encounter that become very real.
This isn’t some plot to try and put you off adventure riding, just be aware that it isn’t for everybody.
For many riders, ADV riding can be the highest form of overall motorcycling experiences in many ways. You can make great friends, explore unchartered territory, and learn about exciting and unique cultures. However, the ADV life can be messy, you might not see a shower for a few days, and chances are you will take a fall at some point during your journey.
Buying New or Used?
Whether you are looking to buy new or used, they both have their advantages. There are other factors worth considering besides the price tag. The best advice is this: if you can comfortably afford to buy new, then buy new. It’s important to remember that things can and will go wrong, they are built to handle only so much. Reliability is an important issue, and new bikes are generally the most reliable.
However, buying second-hand means you might get some good upgrades, such as luggage, crash protection and creature comforts. And any superficial damage can always be touched up using some high-quality professional motorcycle paint from VMR Paints.
Regardless of which route you choose; you should do plenty of research before you buy any bike. Learn about common issues with any bike you have your eye on and take your time to look at any bike you intend on buying, ask to see service records and go for a test ride.
An excellent tip is to buy a second or third generation of a model, as they may be more reliable than the first. It takes manufacturers a few years to iron out all the kinks.
Getting the Wrong Fit
Due to the huge variety of models to choose from, it is not uncommon for new riders to pick a bike that doesn’t fit them, either their needs or physically. Some people have two bikes for this reason, one for commuting or day to day life and another for long-distance touring. But not everyone can afford that luxury.
No matter if you have your mind made up, take your time to sit and look at other bikes. Some offer adjustable seat heights and some manufacturers offer a ‘low-seat’ version too. Remember that a comfortable fit is more important than having the right color.
The Risk of Overspending
A top piece of advice is that if you can’t buy a motorcycle in cash, you probably shouldn’t. However, there are some great finance deals out there and you know your budget. The problem is that many people believe the more they pay, the better or more capable bike they are getting, and that isn’t the case. However, this doesn’t necessarily apply to safety gear, it is a good idea to buy more expensive kit.
There is nothing wrong with getting a bike on finance to help rebuild your credit score, but just make sure you are signing a contract with good interest rate, so you don’t end up paying double the value of the bike just on interest.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to negotiate. The answer will always be ‘no’ if you never ask. The best thing is to have a budget in your head, a nice round figure, with a couple of hundred bucks leeway either way.
Avoid Listening to Bad Advice
In today’s age there are so many places where you can find advice, from YouTube to social media platforms to forums, there is so much information available. And this vast amount of information makes it difficult to pick out the good advice from the bad (you shouldn’t take our word as gospel for example, but we try to provide you with the best advice possible).
It isn’t uncommon for new riders to jump on a huge machine because they read or heard somewhere that it doesn’t matter what your starter bike is. Now, any sensible and experienced rider will tell you that it is better to start with a smaller displacement and out-grow it. You will be much more confident and experienced by the time you get the bike your really want if you follow this logical progression path. If you were into martial arts, for example, you don’t start learning the skills for a black belt, you have to work your way up. The mentality should be the same when looking at your motorcycle career.
The most important skill you can learn when buying a motorcycle is saying ‘no’. Just because you can’t get a deal on your dream bike doesn’t mean you should buy it regardless. It means you should keep looking or buy something different and work your way towards your dream bike.
We’ve all had to start somewhere. Take your own time, do plenty of research, and begin gaining experience and living new adventures.