Being on a motorcycle is a feeling like no other. We’re so used to driving inside a vehicle, shut off from the rest of the traffic and nature itself. Motorcycles break that barrier, so to speak, and provide a freedom that you can’t experience anywhere else.
With that said, motorcycles aren’t something that you should buy impulsively. There’s a lot that goes into owning a motorcycle that you might not know, from maintenance to unique traffic laws. If you’re considering buying a motorcycle, here are some things that you should know first.
Start By Assessing Your Intended Usage
One surefire factor that you’ll need to take into consideration when buying a new bike is the type of riding that you’ll be doing. Much like one who wants to do a lot of hauling wouldn’t purchase a sedan, if you plan to do a lot of riding, you’re not going to purchase a sports bike that is designed solely for speed. You should take a few moments and think about how you’ll be using your bike.
Make a list of the attributes that it will need. This will be a great step to get you started on your purchasing journey and will ensure that you don’t lose sight of what your needs are. There are five main categories of bikes that you should be aware of. These include:
- Dual Sport (Off-Road)
Motorcycle Safety Foundation Courses Are Available
It doesn’t matter if you’re familiar with being behind the handlebars or not. A course from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a great idea. You should think of this course as similar to a driver’s safety course that you took before getting your driver’s license. It will teach you about proper motorcycle driving techniques and about the various laws that surround driving a motorcycle. You can find listings for these courses online.
What The Insurance Will Cost?
If you plan to ride your motorcycle on the roadway, you’ll need to purchase some insurance. While there are a few states that don’t require you to have insurance coverage, most do. For this reason, it’s a good idea to look into getting a motorcycle insurance policy. Apart from liability coverage, you may want to consider additional coverage. Some examples include comprehensive insurance and collision insurance. These will help to soften the financial blow that comes along with damage to your bike in the event that you are at fault for the accident.
Have Your Seat Height And Bike Weight Picked Out
It’s never a good idea to head to the motorcycle dealership without knowing what you’re looking for. Before you know it, you’ll be walking out of the door with a bike that you don’t want. Instead, you need to take some time to figure out the specific seat height that you need and bike weight that you can handle.
You want to be considerate when you think about the seat height. Just because your toes can reach the ground doesn’t mean you should opt for that seat height. Rather, you want to be able to plant both feet flat on the ground when you’re sitting on the bike. This will help you feel more confident about your control of the bike. When it comes to bike weight, you’ll want to test out a few different models and see what feels comfortable to handle.
Understand The Laws
While many laws regarding speed limits and registration are the same regardless of whether you’re on two or four wheels, not all of the laws are. Currently, 19 states throughout the nation require that motorcycle riders and passengers wear DOT-approved helmets at all times. Most states allow motorcycles to ride in pairs within the same lane. Another noted difference is that about half of the U.S. states require motorcycle drivers to have their headlights on at all times to allow them to appear more visible throughout the day.
On the other hand, most of the laws are exactly the same; it can just feel awkward when first experienced from the back of a motorcycle. The big thing is to give your time to become accustomed to a motorcycle and to avoid actions that could impair you like drinking and driving. The repercussions of those sorts of decisions can be even more dangerous than in a traditional vehicle, and would require a DUI defense attorney like Takakjian & Sitkoff.
Consider Opting For A Used Motorcycle
When it comes to trying out a new hobby, it can be a good idea to opt for used equipment first. This will allow you to get a feel for the sport and determine whether or not it’s something that you want to continue to invest in. When you start out your bike riding experience on a used motorcycle, you can start to get a feel for what features you like and which ones you don’t. This will allow you to determine just what you want in a perfect bike. This will ensure that when you spend a good chunk of change, you like the ride. It will also be easier to take putting a used bike down on its side over doing so to your brand new bike.
You Need A Motorcycle License
Just as you need a vehicle license to drive, you’ll need a motorcycle endorsement to legally drive your motorcycle on the highway. Each state has different requirements to get this particular endorsement. Some states just require that you have a valid driver’s license. Other states require you to get a permit first, drive for a set number of hours, and pass a test before getting a motorcycle endorsement.
Apart from getting an endorsement, you’ll need to think about registering your motorcycle. This is done similar to that of registering an automobile. You’ll need to use the online DMV website for the state that you reside in to complete the registration process.
Make Sure You Plan For Maintenance And Repair Costs
One surefire way to run yourself out of money fast is to put all of your money into the purchase price of one motorcycle. Since you’ll likely be buying used, you’ll want to try and negotiate a lower price. This way, you can have leftover money in your budget for necessary maintenance and repairs. Think of a motorcycle as similar to a car. You’ll need to pay for regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly.
Buying your first motorcycle can be an overwhelming experience. Hopefully, you now feel more comfortable picking out your first bike and understand what is involved in motorcycle ownership. With this knowledge, you’ll be well prepared to start your new hobby.