Many of us dreamed of riding a motorbike when we were kids. You might have imagined yourself on the back of a shiny black bike, with cool leathers and a funky helmet, seeing yourself as a biker boy or girl, the very epitome of cool. As a youngster, you’ll have thought of bikers as being free and adventurous. You certainly would never have envisaged them on a busy morning commute or stood still in traffic for hours as they tried to get home. Bikes were fast, free and undeniably sexy.
For most, these dreams were left behind with childhood. As we get older, we develop fears of the open road and assume that we’d be safer in a car. Or, life gets in the way and we need a vehicle to transport our family. But, for some, that dream of being a biker never goes away. They might spend years driving a safe and reliable family car, but the dream of hitting the open road with two wheels to carry them remains strong. These people spend time looking at bikes online and find themselves falling into a daydream every time they see a biker on the road. While they might love driving, and appreciate all of the benefits that a car brings, it will never quicken their pulse in the same way a bike would.
If you are one of these people, know that it is never too late. It’s never too late to buy your first bike. Nor is it too soon (as long as you are over the legal age limit of course!). Whether you are looking for your first motorized vehicle, or you’ve been driving a car for the last 30 years, buying a bike never stops being an option.
But, it’s not quite the same as buying a car – even though many of your considerations will be similar. Here are some of the things that you should look for when buying your first motorbike.
Make Safety Your Priority
Those childhood dreams probably never took safety into consideration. We’re always safe in our daydreams, even if we enjoy a dangerous storyline or two. But, in reality, safety should be your priority, just like it would be if you were buying a car. The roads are dangerous places, and while you can’t control all elements of them, you can control what you drive.
If you are buying an old bike, it’s especially vital that you get a full service history, and have it looked over by a professional before you drive. A newer bike will have undergone the most recent safety checks, but you should still take your time to look at options, find out about safety features and make sure the bike is in good condition. Often, you can see how well it’s been looked after just by looking at it. Is it dented and damaged? Does the paintwork match? Are the tires in good condition? Are there parts missing?
It’s not just the bike that needs considering either. Like its rider, you should take the appropriate driver safety training in your location. Even if you’ve passed a test before, it’s worth getting some refresher training if you haven’t been on the road on a bike for a while.
Think About the Future
An old classic bike can look exceptionally cool, and as long as it’s safe and in good condition, can be an excellent choice. But, you shouldn’t just think about the here and now. If something needed replacing, would the part be readily available and affordable? Or would you be forced to go to a specialist dealer or manufacturer of parts? Of course, if you look after your classic bike, it’s value would increase over time, but, is it worth it?
Modern bikes are often much easier and cheaper to repair. Look here on Bikers Basics for some of your options and ask questions if you need to.
While a motorbike does give you a great sense of freedom, it’s still a good idea to think about how you will be using it the most before making the right purchase, as this will affect what kind of bike you want. Will you mainly be riding in cities, on new roads and marked streets? Or, will you be riding on rougher terrain? Will you make long journeys or short city trips?
Find the Right Fit
When looking at bikes, don’t get over excited by what looks good. When you’ve got a bike, you can’t adjust your seat height or move your steering wheel as you do in a car. Once you’ve bought it, the height is one that you are stuck with. On short journeys, a bike that’s not quite the right fit might not hurt. But, try taking a long journey on a bike that’s too short or tall, and you’ll find yourself with a bad back and other aches and pains. You might even put yourself and others in danger. So, take the time to think about how a bike fits. Take test drives, think about your reach and how comfortable you are. Looking for a beginner bike, with an upright seating position can be a good idea to start with.
Get the Right Gear
Buying a bike isn’t all about the bike. You’ll also want to get a high quality and safe helmet, as well as leathers, or vegan-friendly motorbike gear to keep your head and body safe and well-protected. You might also need to look at add-ons like storage boxes or even trailers if you need them.
Don’t Forget Insurance
Buying a bike, like buying a car, comes with other costs. You’ll need to arrange tax and Insurance before you hit the road.
Book a Tune-Up
If you are buying a second-hand bike, even if it seems to be in great condition and you’ve taken the time to inspect it, get a second opinion, ask questions and do your research, it’s worth taking it into a professional mechanic for a tune-up and check. It’s always better to be safe when it comes to motorbikes.