Deciding whether or not to get a motorcycle is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. As a long-time motorcyclist, I understand the factors that come into play when determining if a motorcycle is right for someone. In this article, we’ll cover safety, finances, and lifestyle to help you decide.
Let’s start with motorcycle safety, a hot topic. Motorcycles have risks that cars don’t, but various safeguards can reduce them. I avoid harmful circumstances by wearing adequate riding gear, focusing rider safety education, and riding defensively. Before buying a motorcycle, one must honestly assess risk tolerance and commitment to safe riding.
Motorcycle finances are also crucial. This includes motorcycle purchase, insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Motorcycles, especially fuel-efficient ones, can be cheaper than cars. It’s important to evaluate one’s finances before buying a motorcycle. These prices have helped me decide if a motorcycle is a good investment for my lifestyle.
Types of Motorcycles
As you decide whether to not you should get a motorcycle, you should know the different types available- the below sections give a brief rundown of the body styles of various motorcycles.
I think cruisers are one of the most popular types of motorcycles, mainly due to their classic style and comfortable riding position. These bikes usually have a lower seat height and a relaxed riding position, making them suitable for longer rides. Some popular cruiser motorcycles come from manufacturers like Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Harley-Davidson. In my opinion, these bikes are characterized by their heavier weight and larger engines, providing a smooth and easy-going ride.
When I think of sport motorcycles, I think of speed and agility. These bikes have a more aggressive riding position and are built for high-speed performance, with aerodynamic design and powerful engines. Popular sport motorcycle manufacturers include Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. It’s clear to me that these bikes offer a thrilling riding experience for those looking for an adrenaline rush on the road or the racetrack.
For me, adventure motorcycles provide the best of both worlds, combining elements of street and off-road riding. These bikes offer comfortable riding positions, durable construction, and more travel in the suspension, making them versatile for various terrain types. Some popular adventure bike manufacturers are Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Husqvarna. In my experience, these motorcycles are perfect for riders seeking exploration and adventure, both on and off the pavement.
I can confidently claim that scooters are a convenient and efficient mode of transportation for motorcycle enthusiasts, especially in urban settings. They generally have smaller engines (50cc to 250cc) and are often more cost-effective to purchase and maintain as compared to larger motorcycles. Some popular scooter manufacturers include Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. To me, scooters’ ease of use, automatic transmission, and the ability to maneuver in traffic make them an ideal choice for riders looking for a more practical transportation option.
Selecting the Right Motorcycle
Engine Size and Power Output
When choosing a motorcycle, the engine size and power output are important considerations. For a beginner, I would recommend to start with a smaller engine size, usually in the 250cc-500cc range, which will provide enough power for learning, yet not be too overwhelming. The displacement, or the volume that the pistons displace, is directly correlated with the overall engine size and power capabilities. Also, I would choose a motorcycle having safety features like ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), especially for a beginner bike.
The seating position is crucial, as I want to be comfortable on my motorcycle. Different models have varying seating positions – sport bikes often put more weight on the wrists and give a more aggressive stance, while cruiser bikes offer a more laid-back riding position. However whenever I am in the market for a new bike, I always like to test ride a few different models to find the seating position that suits my preferences and riding abilities best.
Weight, Size and Seat Height
Weight, size, and seat height all play a critical role in determining comfort and confidence while riding. For a beginner, lighter bikes are easier to control and maneuver.
- Weight: Generally, you should aim for a motorcycle weighing between 300-500 lbs to optimize balance and agility.
- Size: Smaller motorcycles are easier to navigate through tight spaces, which is useful for city riding. Additionally, they can help me feel more confident when handling turns and during a stop.
- Seat Height: As a beginner, it is more practical to easily reach the ground with both feet when seated on the bike. Aim for a bike where your feet can sit flat on the ground when at a stop.
Also do not neglect to check the motorcycle’s tires. They should fit one’s riding style and be in good condition for safety and comfort. Keep in mind that different tires are built for different riding styles and terrain—some for high-speed performance, others for stability.
Budgeting for the Purchase
When considering purchasing a motorcycle, it is essential to evaluate your budget first. There are several factors to consider, such as the cost of the motorcycle itself, the gear, and other accessories. For example, I found that Honda is a reliable and affordable brand for motorcycles, offering various choices to fit different budgets.
In addition to the motorcycle’s price, it is important to allocate funds for safety gear, such as a helmet, gloves, and a riding jacket. I usually make a list of the essential items I need and prioritize them based on my budget. Here’s an example of how I budget for a motorcycle purchase:
Maintenance costs can vary depending on the make and model of your motorcycle, but it is important to be prepared for regular upkeep. I ensure that I have a budget for routine maintenance, such as oil changes, tire replacement, brake pads, and chain adjustments. Here’s a breakdown of the maintenance costs I have previously experienced with my Honda motorcycle:
- Oil Changes: Around $30-$50, depending on the type of oil and how often I change it (every 3,000 miles)
- Tire Replacement: Approximately $200-$400 for a set, depending on the brand and type of tire
- Brake Pads: $50-$100 per pair, replaced every 20,000 miles
- Chain Adjustments: $10-$20, depending on the frequency of adjustment needed
Insurance costs are another factor to consider when purchasing a motorcycle. Prices can vary significantly depending on the make and model, your location, and your driving record. When choosing an insurance product, it’s crucial to find one that not only fits your budget but also provides adequate coverage in case of an accident. In my experience, the cost of motorcycle insurance ranges from $200 to over $1,000 annually. It is wise to shop around and get multiple quotes to find the best deal for your situation.
By being aware of the costs involved in purchasing and maintaining a motorcycle, you can make a more informed decision and choose a bike that fits both your needs and your budget.
Safety and Protective Gear
As a motorcycle rider, it’s essential to prioritize safety and invest in proper protective gear. In this section, I will discuss the importance of various types of gear, such as helmets, jackets, gloves, pants, and boots.
Wearing a helmet is non-negotiable when riding a motorcycle. A well-fitting helmet significantly reduces the risk of head injury in case of an accident. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends full-face helmets, as they provide the most protection for your head and face. Make sure to choose a helmet that meets safety standards and fits snugly without discomfort.
A quality jacket plays a crucial role in protecting my upper body while riding. Motorcycle jackets are usually made of leather or textile materials, offering both abrasion resistance and impact protection. Look for jackets with built-in armor or padding in key areas, such as the shoulders, elbows, and back. For road trips and long rides, consider jackets with ventilation features and waterproofing for comfort in varying weather conditions.
Investing in a good pair of gloves is essential for hand protection and improved grip on the bike. Gloves designed for motorcycle riding typically have reinforced palms and knuckles, providing abrasion resistance in case of a fall. Moreover, gloves can also offer protection from the elements, keeping my hands warm and dry during rides.
Motorcycle-specific pants grant much-needed protection for my legs during rides. Like jackets, they are commonly made of leather or textiles, providing abrasion resistance. Some pants come with built-in armor or padding around the knees and hips. When selecting pants, pay attention to flexibility and the ability to wear them comfortably for extended periods while riding.
Lastly, proper riding boots shield my feet and ankles from potential injury. Motorcycle boots usually have a reinforced toe box, ankle protection, and non-slip soles for better grip on the bike’s footpegs. When choosing boots, ensure they offer a comfortable fit without limiting mobility.
By investing in reliable safety gear and wearing it consistently, I substantially enhance my protection while riding motorcycles on road trips and everyday commutes. Remember, the right equipment plays a vital role in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on two wheels.
Skills, Licensing, & Training
Before I get a motorcycle, one of the most important aspects being prepared for the requirements is obtaining a motorcycle license. In order to obtain a license, typically, I need to pass both a written test and a skills test. The written test covers traffic laws and safety rules, while the skills test examines my ability to safely operate and control a motorcycle.
Motorcycle Safety Foundation Courses
Taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course is an excellent way to improve my riding skills and techniques. These courses teach me the fundamentals of riding, how to control and maintain a motorcycle, and the proper gear to wear, such as boots and jackets for safety. They also offer advanced courses for experienced riders to further enhance their skills.
During these courses, I will practice essential techniques like:
- Proper braking to maintain control
- Swerving and evasive maneuvers for avoiding obstacles
- Safely operating the motorcycle in various weather conditions
- Learning how to position my body during turns and acceleration
Enrolling in an MSF course often has additional benefits, such as access to insurance discounts and waiving the requirement to complete a skills test when applying for a motorcycle license.
Pros and Cons of Motorcycling
The Allure of Riding
For me, the allure of motorcycling starts with the sense of freedom I feel on the open road. There’s nothing quite like cruising on a warm summer day, the wind in my face, and the hum of the engine beneath me. Motorcycling can be a thrilling hobby, offering a touch of adventure unmatched by other forms of transportation.
From a practical standpoint, I’ve found motorcycling to be an efficient way to commute. With a motorcycle, I can easily navigate through traffic and save precious time during my daily travels. Additionally, parking is more convenient, as motorcycles tend to require less space than a car. In light of recent gas price fluctuations, it’s worth noting that motorcycles are typically more fuel-efficient, helping reduce both my environmental impact and fuel costs.
|* Convenient parking||* Limited weather protection|
|* Fuel-efficiency||* Need for an additional license|
|* Excellent for summer||* Reduced comfort during longer trips|
I love motorcycling but know its risks. Motorcycles lack crash protection, making them more risky than cars. Motorcycling is vulnerable to rain, snow, and harsh temperatures. However, investing in proper riding instruction and buying safety gear like a helmet and protective clothing reduces these hazards.
Appropriate Beginner Bikes
As a beginner, choosing the right motorcycle is crucial for a safe and enjoyable riding experience. Here are some excellent options to consider, each with their own respective strengths.
Kawasaki Ninja 400
The Kawasaki Ninja 400 is a popular choice for new riders, and for good reason. This bike offers a manageable power output of 44.8 hp and a lightweight frame, making it easy to handle. The upright seating position provides comfort while riding, and the slipper clutch allows for smooth gear changes. The Ninja 400’s nimble handling is excellent for city riding and occasional trips to the twisties.
If adventure riding is on your agenda, the Honda CB500X is an excellent choice. This beginner-friendly adventure bike boasts a 471cc parallel-twin engine that delivers a smooth and predictable power band. The suspension offers good travel for tackling uneven terrain without compromising on-road comfort. Plus, the CB500X’s relatively low seat height makes it accessible for shorter riders.
The Suzuki SV650 provides a well-rounded option for new riders. Its V-twin engine offers a torquey low- and mid-range power delivery that’s perfect for city riding. The trellis frame keeps the weight down, so it handles remarkably well in corners. This bike is versatile – whether you’re commuting to work, enjoying weekend rides, or trying your hand at track days, the SV650 won’t disappoint.
Last but not least, the Yamaha MT-03 is a top contender for a beginner rider. This naked bike features a 321cc parallel-twin engine that delivers linear power, making it easy for beginners to manage. The lightweight chassis and relaxed riding position provide excellent maneuverability and rider comfort. Furthermore, the aggressive styling is a standout feature, ensuring you’ll turn heads wherever you go.
Remember, finding the right beginner bike depends on your preferences, comfort level, and intended riding style. Consider test-riding or at the very least sitting on these bikes to determine which one suits you best.
Understanding Motorcycle Reviews
Traits to Look for in Reviews
When I read motorcycle reviews, one key element I focus on is the confidence the reviewer has in the motorcycle’s performance. Confidence is especially important for new riders, as it can help provide a sense of safety and security on the road. I also examine the reviewer’s account of the driving experience as it provides a firsthand account of how the motorcycle feels and performs in various conditions. Lastly, I take note of any aspects related to control, such as handling and braking, as these elements are essential in a motorcycle.
For me, an essential element of motorcycle reviews is the description of the driving experience. It’s important for a motorcycle to provide enjoyment and excitement, but at the same time, it should be user-friendly and not intimidating. I look for details about the motorcycle’s handling characteristics, including its ability to tackle twisty roads, its comfort during long-distance rides, and its suitability for daily commuting.
Confidence and Control
A motorcycle should inspire confidence, meaning it should feel stable and predictable at various speeds and in different types of terrain. In my opinion, reviewers should highlight how the motorcycle feels at high speeds, in both straight-line stability and cornering, as well as how it performs on rough surfaces. I also pay close attention to the control aspects of a motorcycle. For instance, its braking system should be powerful and responsive, with the right amount of lever feedback for the rider to modulate the brakes effectively.
In conclusion, the answer to the question of “should i get a motorcycle” is a highly personal one that should be made considering a range of factors. With motorcycle riding’s particular perils, safety is equally important as finances. Understanding these factors and weighing them against your interests, lifestyle, and risk tolerance is essential to making an informed decision. You can choose the exhilaration and independence of two-wheeled travel or a safer four-wheeled vehicle. Make a decision that fits your lifestyle, finances, and safety.