5 things you need to know before buying a motorcycle
Buying a motorcycle is a step towards freedom. A nod to the outlaws and the intent to enjoy the open road, the wind in your hair and avoiding sitting in traffic. Like any dream, it is achievable, but with a little planning, it can be easier than you might think.
If you have done your rider training, got some money put aside, have looked out the window and have decided today is the day, that's great. However, don't start hitting those dealerships or calling those sellers until you have read our list of the five things you need to know before buying a motorcycle!
Know what you want
Consider the different types of motorcycle and the different types of riding you want to do. Are you looking for a Japanese racer that is all about speed? A weekend wonder that has to look good? A go-anywhere enduro style bike? A comfortable tourer to cruise around the island or further afield?
Knowing what kind of rider you are and the type of riding you enjoy should dictate the kind of bike you buy. While motorcycles are flexible and can do a bit of everything, owning one designed for the purpose will elevate your experience.
Be realistic about your ability
Knowing your limitations and being honest about your ability can also help ensure you get the right motorcycle for your needs. Those Japanese racers or weekend wonders look great but aren't very comfortable and require a specific riding position. An enduro bike can be cumbersome and a cruiser will be heavy.
Will you physically be up to handling your bike of choice? Are you flexible enough to cope with the riding position for prolonged periods of time?
Do your research
If you're reading this then you're already making a start on this point and that's good. There are a huge range of specialist and generalist motorcycles out there and you need to select a few that you think will help you achieve your dream. Knowing the different types, manufacturers, potential problems, insurance costs, running costs and things to look out for will save you a lot of time, money and hassle once you own a motorcycle.
Use the internet, friends, other bikers and talk to salespeople. Then you can make an informed decision about what motorcycle to buy.
Factor in all the costs
Motorcycles are not the cheapest hobby, but they do offer a huge grin factor in return. It isn't just the bike itself you need to consider. You will need a good quality helmet, leathers, boots, gloves, insurance and maintenance. Make sure to add all those items into the overall cost of the purchase.
Decide where to buy
Buying from a motorcycle dealer can cost more but they offer more support, advice and help for the novice motorcyclist. The bike may come with a free service and you may be able to trade the bike in later. You get more with a dealer but you pay a premium for it.
Buying second hand will save money up front but comes with no guarantees, warranties or support. A used motorcycle is usually a good idea for a first bike as you tend to worry less about dropping or damaging it. But, servicing and maintenance will be down to you.