Buying a motorcycle can be a daunting experience. There seems to be an endless amount of things to consider. Should you go for a scooter or a commuter bike? A cruiser bike or a sportbike? What size of engine would be appropriate? Which features should you look out for? All of this can be just a little bit overwhelming, but we're here to simplify your buying experience. Below is everything you need to know about buying a motorcycle.
New vs. used
The first thing you should consider is whether you'll be buying a brand new or second-hand bike. New motorcycles are obviously more expensive than their used counterparts, so assess your budget appropriately. For new bikes, installment plans are widely available in dealerships, although you'll likely be paying more in the long run. If you can pay with cash, that's almost always the better deal.
Used motorcycles can also be a good option, provided you thoroughly vet the person you're buying from. If you know who you're dealing with and you ask the right questions, getting a used bike can be just as good as buying a new one, if not better. You won’t have to wait and worry about your OR/CR to come, and you can pretty much ride the bike home. All you need to do is transfer the documents over to your name, and it’s officially your motorcycle.
Automatic vs. manual
Automatic scooters are arguably the most popular type of motorcycle in the Philippines. They're affordable, lightweight, and easy to ride. Models like the Honda Click 150i or the Yamaha NMAX 155 are everyday sights on our roads. Like the name implies, scooters have automatic transmissions that don't require a clutch or gear shifter. While automatics are reliable for daily rides and commutes, sticking to them can severely limit you as a budding motorcyclist.
Manual motorcycles, on the other hand, offer a wider variety of choices. Going with a manual bike opens up a new world of options for you to consider. Manuals commonly have a clutch lever and a foot-operated gear shifter that allow for a greater level of control. While there's a learning curve to be overcome, it can be a satisfying and enjoyable experience.
Motorcycle body types
Motorcycles are available in different types of body constructions. How and where you plan on riding a bike will determine what body type you should get. Here are some of the most common motorcycle body types.
Scooters are typically classified differently than standard motorcycles due to their major differences. Scooters commonly feature enclosed bodywork, a footboard, and ample storage space. A scooter engine is usually attached to the swingarm, which means the motor moves up and down with the suspension. Modern scooters feature automatic transmissions that make them easy to ride. Scooter engine sizes range from 50cc to above 800cc. In the Philippines, 110 to 160cc scooter engines are commonplace. Some examples include the Suzuki Skydrive 125 and the Vespa Primavera.
Underbones are lightweight bikes that have step-through frames and foot pegs instead of footboards. An underbone typically has wider and larger wheels compared to a scooter and includes a gear shifter with an automatic clutch. Engine sizes are generally similar to scooters, with some exceptions. Underbones are popular as daily commuter bikes. Examples of underbone motorcycles include the Honda Wave 110 R and the Yamaha Sniper 150.
Naked bikes, also called standard bikes, are versatile motorcycles. Naked bikes commonly feature an upright seating position and relaxed handlebar placement. Naked bikes are available in a variety of engine sizes, from 150cc at the low-end to upwards of 1000cc. Popular naked bikes include the Kawasaki Z650 and the Honda CB650R.
Cruiser bikes can best be defined by the brand that popularized them, Harley-Davidson. Introduced in the mid-20th century, these motorcycles feature high handlebars and forward feet position. Cruisers commonly feature large-displacement engines, but small to mid-sized engines are also available. Two examples of cruiser bikes are the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 and the Honda Rebel 500.
Sportbikes are the epitome of speed, acceleration, and handling. This type of motorcycle presents a thrilling riding experience but does poorly when it comes to comfort and fuel economy. Everything about a sportbike screams high-performance. The motors are usually mid to large-displacement inline-4 or parallel twin engines, although smaller engine models do exist in the market. Among the popular sportbikes include the Kawasaki Ninja 400 and the BMW S 1000 XR.
Touring bikes are motorcycles designed for long-distance journeys. They typically feature large-displacement engines, protective fairings and windscreens, and a large fuel tank capacity. Touring bikes have excellent passenger and cargo space, although they can be on the heavy side. Engine displacements range from 600cc to well over 1000cc. Some examples of touring bikes include the Honda Gold Wing 1800 and the Harley-Davidson Road King.
Keep in mind that the body types mentioned above do not include everything available today. Motorcycles can also toe the line between body types, with some being a hybrid of two different types. So, take note of which of these types resonate most with you. There’s no wrong answer.
Small vs. large-displacement engines
If you're a beginner motorcyclist, learning to ride on a lower-displacement engine might be fun and easy. Starting with a 150cc naked or standard bike could be a good idea, but you could also outgrow it pretty quickly once you get your footing. One option would be to go with a mid-displacement bike and slowly grow into it. A 400cc naked bike would not be a bad choice. If you'll only be using a motorcycle as a daily commuter, however, a smaller engine would do the job without a problem. Now, if you're a seasoned rider with plenty of mileage under your belt, you could have no issues with buying a powerful monster of a bike. It's all about what you'll be comfortable with. Get the bike that you'd be happy to ride for a long time. Otherwise, you'd have a motorcycle gathering dust in the garage. Not to mention you'd be out thousands of pesos for something you don't even enjoy.
Buying a bike can indeed be overwhelming, but if you know what you're looking for and what you're comfortable riding, you should have no problem pinning down which bike to buy. Only buy a motorcycle that you're sure you can handle, and of course, one you'll always look forward to riding.