Many of you may be thinking of purchasing a new or new-to-you motorcycle. With the plethora of models, brands, and styles out there, filtering all the information you’re going to be hearing and seeing to find the bike that’s just right for you can be a daunting exercise. It can also be lots of fun.
Here are some general guidelines to follow whether you’re buying new or used.
- Determine what kind of riding you want to do. If you are fortunate enough to have more than one in your stable, it’s less of an issue. For most of us, we have to decide which model best incorporates the kind of riding we will be doing most of the time. Not only do you need to think about whether it’s a cruiser, sport bike, touring or off road – think about whether you’ll be regularly carrying a passenger and luggage and the weight capacity of the bike.
- Purchase a bike that’s compatible with your skill level and riding experience. Don’t buy something that you can “grow into”. This is risky behaviour and will jeopardize your safety. It’s much better to become proficient on a bike suitable to your skill level and then, when you’re ready, move up to a more powerful bike.
- Sit on the bike in the riding position. How comfortable is it for you? Is it a stretch to reach the controls or the ground? Can you picture yourself in this position for extended periods? Feel the wind in your face.
- Consider how often you are going to have to take it in and how convenient the location and their hours of operation are. Talk to others who have used the service resource to determine their credibility and service level.Ask about the frequency of maintenance and the subsequent costs.
- Assess. If you like to perform routine maintenance yourself, how simple is it to do? Do you need to purchase other equipment such as a lift? How readily available are replacement parts?
- Purchase from a salesperson who is also a rider. Enough said.
- Remember that all bikes can be customized – at least to a certain extent. If you see one that’s just right for you except for a few adjustments or accessories, ask what’s available (and where) in parts and accessories to make that bike yours.
- Bring an experienced rider with you. They may pick up things that you miss.
- Resist the temptation to purchase the 1st bike you see. There are lots to choose from. It’s an important purchase and even more important to make an objective decision.
- Research. Talk to other trustworthy riders, retailers, insurance companies. Beware of forums – they can have valuable advice; on the other hand, you usually don’t know who you’re talking to so can’t reliably assess their level of expertise – even though they may sound like an expert.
Do your homework, ask lots of questions, then listen to your heart. Make an informed decision – and enjoy the ride!