There's nothing more enticing than a motorcycle: the sound of the engine revving, the look of the leather biker gear, the possibility to travel anywhere in the world on just two wheels.
However, knowing how to choose the perfect bike as a beginner can be tricky. There are many different types of motorcycle, each with its own performance, benefits, and drawbacks.
Finding a motorcycle that fits you, suits your style, and operates well is essential, as without this you run the risk of being uncomfortable and riding dangerously.
Luckily, we're here to tell you everything you need to know about motorcycles - and how to choose the right one. Whether you're a total beginner or looking for a specific style of bike, we've got you covered.
To find out more, keep reading!
Buying your first motorcycle
Buying your first bike is about as exciting as it can get! Soon enough it will just be you, your motorcycle, and the open road...but before that, there are a few things you need to get out of the way.
Firstly, you will have to decide on the type of motorcycle that appeals to you the most and that suits both your preferences and level of experience. Next, you need to consider which brand of bike you want to ride, and what requirements you have in terms of weight, speed, and bike features.
The different types of motorcycle
If you're planning on taking your bike offroad as well as on the streets, then a dual-sport design is your best choice. This type of motorcycle is able to be used on roads and motorways, but can also handle dirt trails easily.
Sportbikes are desirable motorcycles; they look good, ride amazingly, and will fill you with adrenaline.
Most bikes like this are created with acceleration, braking, and cornering in mind. They are typically lightweight and may not be as comfortable as standard motorcycles due to their streamlined design.
A standard motorcycle is a popular choice for a beginner, due to the fact that they perform nearly as well as sportbikes in terms of speed and power, but are more comfortable and practical.
Standard bikes are well-rounded and are manufactured in a wide range of sizes in terms of engine and bike design, meaning you will be able to find one that fits well.
A cruiser bike is a pretty distinguishable design, featuring a distinct low seat height when compared with other motorcycles and a Harley-Davidson inspired aesthetic.
Cruisers are good fun to use, and you are guaranteed to look cool whilst in the driver's seat, which is what leads many people to want to ride one of these.
Scooters are once again rising in popularity, thanks to their ease of use and functionality. For those residing in large, sprawling cities, investing in a scooter that can quickly get you from A to B is a smart move.
Not only are they practical, but these bikes are known for their comfort, great gas mileage, and optimal storage space.
Touring and sport-touring motorcycles are not as common for the average person but are used often by those who travel a lot. They are designed with adventure in mind and come with full protection against adverse weather conditions.
As well as this, they usually include features like radios, comfortable and adjustable seats, and ample luggage space.
A sport-touring bike differs slightly in that it can be leant over, making it less comfortable, but perfect for thrill-seekers.
How to choose a motorcycle as a new rider
Choosing the right motorcycle as a beginner could not be more important. Without a suitable bike, you will find yourself uncomfortable and unsafe, which can lead to injuries and being put off riding for life.
There are a couple of key considerations to make when finding the right bike -these will help you determine what your priorities and preferences may be.
Some motorcycle brands are household names at this point: Yamaha, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Suzuki, BMW or Triumph. However, before blindly choosing a bike because you recognise the brand name, make sure to do your research in order to know that you are making the correct decision.
Different brands specialise in different types of bikes. For example, Yamaha produces standard motorcycles, sport-touring bikes, scooters, and much more. But, they are known for their off-road and sports bikes, which are up there with the best-performing in the world.
Likewise, Honda are a famous bike brand that sells every type of motorcycle you could imagine. However, their race bikes and sportbikes are most popular amongst riders.
Availability of spare parts is another thing to consider, after all, your new bike will need service on regular basis.
Making sure that you feel comfortable riding your motorcycle is essential, especially if you are going to be on the road for a significant amount of time.
Lots of motorcycles do not prioritise comfort, instead choosing to focus on speed and power. This is great for people who do not tend to use their bikes for every-day purposes - but for a beginner, comfort has to come first.
Often, comfort is overlooked in favour of the bike looking a certain way. Whilst understandable, this is a huge oversight as enjoying riding your bike is much more important than looking good on it.
Beginner bikes should come with adjustable seats or ones that are in neutral positions, as this will increase not only comfort but motion and visibility.
Even though this may not be the most visually appealing motorcycle, it will teach you the basics of riding and, over time, you can move on to bikes for more experienced riders.
Equally as important as comfort is safety. The two go hand-in-hand and ensure that you can have fun riding, without putting your health at risk.
Many beginners to the motorcycle world are too quick to buy a cruiser or sportbike, without realising the expertise that is required to ride one. Trying to use a complicated or impractical bike before learning the ropes is difficult and dangerous.
Regardless of the type of motorcycling you want to eventually specialise in, investing in a standard motorcycle to begin with is a fail-proof idea, as it will allow you to refine your skills and techniques safely.
Figuring out your budget is important, but so is having a little wiggle room when it comes to finding the perfect motorcycle.
There are ways to buy a great first bike without breaking the bank, and there is no reason to blow your budget on lots of amenities that are completely unnecessary. New gear and equipment is added to the market every day, and even though it is marketed as essential, it usually never is.
However, cutting too many corners on your first bike could lead to purchasing a bike that will not help you realise your full potential. Sometimes, the difference between a good bike and a great bike is very little money. To get something with maximum comfort, practicality, and features, it is worth putting aside that extra bit of cash.
There are a couple of different ways that you can make sure to choose a motorcycle that fits you like a glove.
Firstly, find a bike that is the right size for your proportions. Generally speaking, a smaller sized bike is a better fit for beginners than a larger option is. This is because it will be a lighter weight and therefore easier to handle.
Next, take a look at what kind of seat your bike has. It should be either in a neutral position or be adjustable so that it will keep you comfortable and feel natural to sit in whilst riding.
A bike that fits your right will allow you to learn how to ride and pick up new skills safely. Moving too fast and choosing a motorcycle that isn't comfortable and is too big or heavy for you is dangerous and will be much harder to ride.
The dangers of choosing the wrong motorcycle
The idea of a beginner bike is not very appealing to most people, but the concept exists for a reason. Even though it may feel cooler to get your hands on a cruiser or sportbike, the consequences of doing so can be serious.
If you are not used to a specialist bike and do not know what you are doing, you could seriously injure yourself or others by not being able to handle its size, weight, or power.
Remember that your first bike does not have to be your last bike. If your dream is to go off the beaten track and travel the world on two wheels, then we would still recommend buying a standard motorcycle beforehand.
Once you have got to grips with the basics and have a good understanding of how each component of your motorcycle works, then you can think about selling your beginner bike off.
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is choosinga motorcycle based on their desired lifestyle and how they want to look whilst riding it. This is not only impractical but can have harmful implications.
If you have no idea how to ride a particular bike and cannot handle its cylinder capacity or weight, you run the risk of road accidents.
How to stay safe on your first bike
By taking a few simple precautions, you can massively increase your personal safety and that of others whilst riding your first bike.
First up, it is essential that you wear the right gear and have proper safety equipment before you even step foot anywhere near your bike. This means wearing a motorcycle helmet, jacket, gloves, sturdy shoes, and trousers.
Look for clothing that is made of durable fabric like leather: it may be more expensive, but this is one aspect of biking that you cannot compromise on.
Finding a bike that fits you is perhaps the best way to stay safe. If you feel like you cannot balance whilst sitting down, this may be a sign that your bike is ill-fitting and therefore unsafe.
Some indications that your bike does not fit you include not being able to put both feet flat on the ground whilst sitting, not being able to reach controls, not being able to sit with comfort, or having to stretch to reach foot and hand controls.
Every time you go to ride your bike, you should double-check that all of its components are operating as they should. This means testing the brakes, engine, tires, and controls. As well as this, motorcycles needservicing regularly to ensure that they are running well and that no replacements or repairs are necessary.
What type of motorcycle is most comfortable?
There is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to bikes; comfort and fit typically boil down to personal preference. However, there are a few things to look out for to ensure you are comfortable and safe whilst riding.
For a beginner, standard motorcycles are thought to be some of the most comfortable, as are scooters. This is because of their functional design, gear storage, and user-friendly features such as adjustable seat height.
Riders will know as soon as they sit down on their motorcycle whether or not it is comfortable. For some, a dual-sport bike will fit like a dream, whilst for others, a scooter will be best suited.
Look out for cruisers or sport-focused bikes, as these tend to be designed with aesthetics and performance in mind, rather than comfort or practicality.
What is the best all-around motorcycle?
The best all-around motorcycle will be one that is suitable for either beginner or professional riders, is comfortable to use, functions on the street and off-road, and performs well in terms of power.
However, there is no single motorcycle that can be used for every single occasion. A cruiser, for example, will not have the same functions or abilities as a touring bike. The closest you can get to a bike that does it all is a dual-sport motorcycle.
Dual-sport motorcycles can be used on and off the road, making them suitable for virtually any terrain. What's more, they are usually comfortable as they do not have a low seat and come in a variety of sizes andengine sizes.
For some of the best new bikes, check out reputable manufacturers such as Yamaha and Honda. These are some of the best brands to buy motorcycles from because they are known for being high-quality and reliable. Additionally, their popularity means that replacement parts and online communities are easily accessible.
What is the best motorcycle for beginners?
The best motorcycle for a beginner rider will be a standard or dual-sport bike or scooter, ideally with features like weather protection, and a sensible amount of power.
Whilst there is no single bike that all beginners will love, most standard motorcycles by brands like Honda, Yamaha, or Suzuki will be suitable. These manufacturers come out on top in terms of reliability, performance, quality of components like tires and brakes, and accessibility.
How much should you spend on your first motorcycle?
The amount that you spend on your first-ever motorcycle will depend on what you need out of it, its cylinder capacity, and whether you buy it new or used.
Motorcycles can cost anywhere between £2,000-£10,000, according to your requirements. Used bikes will cost less, of course, but they may require more expensive maintenance and perform worse.
If you are serious about biking and need a motorcycle that will last you a long time, it is worth spending that little bit extra to ensure you have something that will stand the test of time.
However, many riders see their initial motorcycle as a training bike and only plan on using it for a short period of time. If this sounds like you, then there are plenty of second-hand or cheaper options that will serve their purpose perfectly and prevent you from splurging.
It is important to remember that motorcycle upkeep can be costly when you factor in the price of fuel, maintenance and repairs, and equipment. Keep this in mind before buying a bike: it is an investment, and there are certain corners you cannot cut when it comes to servicing and replacements, for example.
So no matter what motorcycle you decide to choose in the end, stay safe and have fun!
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