So, you want to start riding a motorcycle! However, you find yourself a bit confused by the huge range of options and the unfamiliar nomenclature? In this article, you will find advice on how to choose your first motorbike.
Choosing the motorcycle that is appropriate for you depends on what you want to do with it, so this should be the first important question to ask yourself. Do you prefer riding long or short distances, solo or with friends, do you need a practical vehicle for the city or for the rough terrain, or you want to fulfil your phantasies of going on an adventurous road trip? Luckily, there are plenty of affordable, user-friendly bikes out there, tailored for all these different purposes.
In general, a decent new motorcycle costs around $3000-6000. Perhaps the best option for a beginner is buying an inexpensive, used bike. This way you will have more time to find out where your motorcycling interests really lie and develop your riding skills, without spending too much money up front.
Here are five main kinds of motorcycles and their pros and cons:
- Cruisers: built for comfort rather than speed, and great for longer, relaxed rides and tours, they are the dream motorcycle for all those fans of Harley-Davidson eager to travel the world on their bike.
- Sport Bikes: Built to go fast, they are not the best option for long road trips. They are powerful but easily damaged and expensive. Generally not recommended for beginners and meant mostly for track use.
- Naked Bikes: also called standards or roadsters, they are the “do-all” option of the motorcycle world. Particularly suited for beginners, these bikes are recognised but their upright natural riding position and admired for their simplicity and flexibility.
- Dual-sports: if you want a versatile motorbike, equally at home on dirt and pavement, a variant of this almost indestructible machine should be a great choice for you. These bikes combine long-range comfort on the highway with off-road endurance, which makes them the most practical choice in rural areas in many parts of the world, and when travelling on unpaved trails.
- Scooters: epitomised by the famous Vespa, these small motorcycles come in many varieties. Their greatest advantages are that they are cheap, low maintenance, comfortable and easy to ride. However, the smallest scooters can’t keep up with highway traffic, so they are not really suitable for long-distance rides. On the other hand, they are ideal for urban mobility and very convenient to park and store.
Finally, here are some general tips you will want to stick to if you are a new rider: choose a light weight bike; stick to modest power; don’t go for complicated handling characteristics and pick a bike that gives you the ability to get both feet on the ground.