If you’re considering buying your first motorbike, congratulations! You’ll gain entry to an exclusive club, where the members are living their dreams and supporting each other as they enjoy spending time on the open road.
Here are some tips for buying and riding your first motorbike:
Understand the costs
It’s true that you’ll often pay less when you own a motorbike compared to when you own a car, particularly when it comes to gas, but before you purchase your bike you should have a good idea of what you’ll be paying. A new bike will cost between $5000 and $10000 on average, and you’ll be able to save a healthy chunk of that if you sell your car. You’ll need insurance for sure, and the cost of this will depend on your age and driving record, along with the theft rate of the motorbike, the population density of your city, and much more.
You’ll also need to be paying for your equipment and maintenance. You can find a few of these things online, such as Dunlop tires, specific motorcycle parts like Yamaha parts and even discount motorcycle helmets, but you may find that maintenance, in particular is more expensive than a car.
Sign up for a class
There’s always that one person who figures classes are for sissies and they can learn everything they need to know once they’re on the bike. Don’t be that person. In 2011 there were 81,000 recorded injuries and 4,323 deaths on motorbikes, and when you look at the per vehicle mile rates, motorcyclists are 20 times more likely to end up dying in a crash compared to car occupants.
This isn’t meant to scare you, and motorcycles can be a safe method of transportation if you know what you’re doing. Check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and consider signing up for the Basic Rider Course, which includes 10 hours of riding instructions.
Wear the gear
Is it fun wearing a heavy motorcycle jacket when you’re stopped at the lights in the middle of summer? No. And you can bet you smell like the inside of a gym locker when you take it off. Unfortunately, though, safety gear is crucial if you’re planning to ride a motorbike. At the very minimum you’ll need long pants like jeans (specific motorcycle pants are even better), a good helmet (look up ratings online and ensure you’re getting a brand new helmet that hasn’t been dropped before), some good boots (or at least a pair of shoes that will completely cover your feet), and a motorcycle jacket. Many people also wear gloves, which are great in winter and will protect your hands if you do end up coming off the bike.
If the idea of wearing that much gear makes you feel a little sick, consider how many times you’ve seen riders on the racetrack crash their bikes and immediately stand up afterwards. Know why they can? All that gear that they’re wearing.