What Kind of Motorcycle Should I Buy?

It’s a lot like trying to pick a mate. It’s a very personal decision. In reality, you likely already know the answer to the question. You know what design and exhaust note excites you. And, you know what financial strategies are in play. What you may not initially consider is the fact that motorcycles are ‘purpose’ designed. Here are a couple of ideas and questions for consideration.

What do you intend to do with your new passion; trials, hill climb, scramble, tour, race, recreation? Some of these will cross purposes, and there are motorcycles designed to do that. This is a very important decision because if you choose design over function, or the other way around, you are likely dooming yourself to a disappointing experience.

What about new or used? Modern motorcycles, unless abused, are relatively safe to buy used. Opportunities to buy used bikes in almost new condition are not rare. Be cautious of older models with really low mileage. They may not be the deal they seem. Maintenance is vital and documentation is invaluable. If it’s damaged, don’t buy it. Gremlins can hide far away from the inexperienced eye

Perhaps the most important consideration is skill level and fit. It will pay you dividends to be brutally honest with your self evaluation.  A motorcycle that is too heavy, too powerful, too big, or too small will not only detract from your enjoyment, but will tempt disaster. A very popular question and point of pride is “How long have you been riding?” Oddly, this question is relatively worthless because it is often interpreted as ‘experience.’ In reality, it is often a value of how long a person has ‘owned’ a motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle is a perishable skill. The wise rider, the truly skilled rider, educates themselves and practices; and does so continuously, annually. It is easy, with practice, for a relatively new rider to outride someone with years of ‘ownership.’

Choosing to start your motorcycling with an introductory training course is the cornerstone of a successful and enjoyable long-term experience. You’ll make better choices, apply necessary strategies, ride more safely, and ride more often.

-Mike Hammond