5 features that make a good first motorcycle
First time buying a motorcycle? Here are a few things to watch out for.
If you’re in the market for your first motorcycle, you would be making one of the best decisions for yourself. Motorcycling is one of the most freeing activities anyone can get into—whether that means escaping hellish metro traffic for everyday commutes or enjoying the open road and the smell of fresh air that comes with it. While starting on a motorcycle sounds like a great idea in the head, actually getting to purchasing and learning on your first motorcycle can be quite a challenge if you’re not sure what to look out for. Nevertheless, there’s no need to worry. If you’re looking to enter the world of engines on two wheels, here are 5 features of a first motorcycle that will help you get started.
The first and possibly most important attribute would be the weight of a motorcycle. Lighter is generally better, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to purchase the lightest motorcycle you can afford. Having a motorcycle that isn’t heavy means having a motorcycle that can more easily work with you and not work against you when muscling your bike through the garage or practicing low-speed maneuvers—an essential skill to master as a beginner. In general, motorcycles that weigh 120 to 190kg will be relatively manageable to a beginner, but will also highly depend on your stature and strength. When you visit a dealership, ask the sales personnel if you can try moving the motorcycle around and if it feels too much to manage, it probably is.
The idea that a motorcycle has to work with you and not against you is also very important in the aspect of power. As a beginner, you will inevitably twist the throttle without intending to and in the first few months, you will also learn how to fine-tune throttle inputs through bumpy roads, corners, loose terrain, and the like. As such, having a motorcycle with a forgiving powerband will help make your learning process more relaxed and enjoyable. The last thing you want is to be intimidated by your motorcycle’s power and removing any reasons to fear a machine will help you grow with it as you learn. Starting with a motorcycle in the 400cc engine displacement range or less would be a very logical starting point but if you would insist on starting on a bigger displacement engine, self-control is a must.
Everyone is built differently—in height, in posture, in inseam length, and in many other dimensions. As such, getting a motorcycle that fits you right is something that will help you learn as you start out with riding. A standard seating position would be the most flexible platform to start with where the handlebars are relatively high and the footpeg position is relaxed and loose. Body styles that fit this category are your naked motorcycles, adventure bikes, scooters, underbones, and dual-sport motorcycles. The best option would be to head to your dealership and actually sit on the motorcycles you are considering. Find one that feels comfortable to you; a motorcycle that feels just right for your stature in the way your arms reach the bars, the way your legs fold onto the pegs, and the way your feet meet the floor.
Another strong factor to consider would be how much a motorcycle costs. Remember that your first bike will be the bike you will learn on. You will inevitably make a few mistakes when you practice or wrench on your bike. Purchasing a motorcycle that’s too expensive can and will do harm to your personal finances not just upon purchase of the motorcycle, but also when buying parts and addressing maintenance. As such, make sure to purchase a motorcycle that generally feels affordable for you. Many riders out there know that first motorcycles don’t last very long too as they are often used as learning platforms rather than the end-all-be-all motorcycle to own.
Getting into the world of motorcycles is quite an exciting move. More often than not, all the decisions we as riders make around our two-wheelers are more heart decisions than brain decisions. We may choose to ride because of the practicality it affords, but continuing to ride with a passion for two wheels is a very soul-stirring decision. As such, choosing a motorcycle involves a lot of excitement, and getting a motorcycle that stirs the soul is something to consider greatly. When watching reviews or visiting dealerships, make sure to pay attention to that excitement radar. There are already so many logical and practical things to consider. We should allow ourselves to at least purchase a motorcycle that thrills the soul.
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