Getting into the motorcycle lifestyle is a fun and exciting process. Not only does it unlock a whole world of possibility for you, it also opens doors for loads of fun, camaraderie, and learning. However, just like all things in life, getting into motorcycling comes with its own set of unique challenges. It can be all too easy to become overwhelmed with all the aspects associated with the two wheeled lifestyle. After all, motorcycles are very technical machines loaded with technology and features.
Having said all that, there are a few nuances worth noting when it comes to owning a motorcycle for the first time. This article, we are going to go through quite a few easily made mistakes that new motorcycle owners tend to make. Hopefully, after you have read this article, it will develop a heightened sense of awareness towards these things and commit fewer mistakes. This will ultimately result in a safer and more enjoyable ride for many years to come.
Not wearing gear, even on short rides
As a new motorcyclist, the temptation to ride your motorcycle as much as you possibly can is undoubtedly very strong. We get it—you want to make the most of your time to ride your shiny new toy. That said, it can be all too easy to forgo wearing your gear, particularly your helmet, especially when going on short rides around your neighborhood, or for quick errands to the store a few blocks away from your house.
As it would turn out, you don’t really get to choose when an accident or tip over will happen. Sometimes, even the smallest tip over can have lasting effects, both in terms of your health, as well as the financial burden of having to repair your motorcycle. In line with this, it may be best to take control of what we can, by always wearing our gear, no matter how quick our ride is.
Leaving your side stand down
It’s an embarrassing moment. You’re with your riding buddies ready to take off from the gas station, when all of a sudden as soon as you shift to first gear, your engine somehow cuts out and doesn’t want to start again. It could be worse, though. Maybe you ride an older machine without a side stand sensor, and you end up crashing your bike after taking a left turn with your side stand down. Whether it’s to avoid embarrassment or save your bike from an unwanted tip-over, it’s always a good habit to double check that you’ve flipped up the side stand before setting off on your ride.
Leaving your turn signals on
Leaving your turn signals on is one of the most glaring, telltale signs that you’re a beginner rider. Unlike our four-wheeled counterparts, most motorcycles don’t get self-cancelling turn signals. That means we have to manually switch them off. Leaving your turn signals on doesn’t just make you look like a total newbie, it also has the potential to confuse other road users with regards to your intentions. That said, familiarize yourself with operating your motorcycle’s turn signal switches, and make it a habit to always click them off once you’ve finished making your maneuver.
Neglecting chain maintenance
One of the most annoying things to see, especially on a new and flashy big bike, is a rusting, poorly lubricated chain. It can be all too easy to forget to clean your chain, especially during the rainy season. This not only makes it look really bad, but it also has the potential to drastically reduce your motorcycle’s performance. Seized up links add a lot of resistance to the bike’s drivetrain, and rust can severely impact the chain’s rigidity, making it prone to snapping, and prematurely wearing your gears.
Cleaning your chain is a very easy, straightforward maintenance task which you should perform at least once every other week, or more, depending on your riding conditions. We’ve covered this in detail in some of our previous articles, so be sure to check them out.
Forgetting to check your tire pressure
Last but not least, forgetting to check your bike’s tire pressure is something that even intermediate riders tend to do. It can be all too easy to just shrug it off just by looking at your tires. However, riding with properly optimized tires can really elevate your motorcycling experience, improve your riding skills, and ultimately result in a safer machine. It just takes a few minutes of your time to check your tire pressure and top it up with either a compressor or a floor pump. It’s also a good idea to check the overall condition of your tires while you’re at it.