Motorcycles conjure up many different romanticized images. From the open road to the free cruising rebel out in the desert. Beards blowing in the wind, leather and steel-toed boots hitting the ground. And of course freedom… man.
Who hasn’t been curious about riding a motorcycle? The machine itself has a certain attitude about itself. A dangerous, yet luring sensibility. You’re not cooped up inside the metal box rolling on four wheels anymore. No, you’re now inches away from pavement and every move, throttle and thrust depends entirely on your wits and will. Driving a motorcycle is a completely different type of experience. So saddle up, mount the hog and what have you – these are the steps to buying and riding your first motorcycle.
Know Thy Bike
One of the main things any first time rider needs to know is that it’s an inevitability that they will drop their bike in the learning stage. There’s a few ways to approach this problem. One of them is to simply buy a cheaper second hand bike. You’re on a steep learning curve and you don’t want to ruin something expensive. The other is to buy a lighter bike so you’ll be able to have an easier time managing it. There are a few different types of motorcycles. Your choice depends on your style, personality and what you want to accomplish. Always be on the lookout for some deals on craigslist or at the local auto and motorcycle dealerships. We’re going to look at three major and street-legal types of bikes: cruisers, touring, and sportbikes.
One of the most popular bikes usually eponymous with the term motorcycle is the cruiser. This is your Harley Davidson. It’s a laid back ride with a lower seat height. They’re not made for incredibly high speeds and as their name suggests, are used best for cruising. These are an ideal first time style for new riders. The majority of major motorcycle manufacturers produce some kind of cruiser.Here is a great resource for you to see the variety of companies that make cruisers.
Sportbikes or more commonly known as “crotch rockets” are very popular bikes. They’re either ultimate machines of speed or spiraling death traps – depending on who you’re talking to. A lot of young guys and new riders want to start jump right into their high performance future. These things get fast. It’s highly recommended to avoid picking any sort of sportbike for at least a few years. Your body needs to get acclimated with the process of riding before cranking it up to the next level.
A touring motorcycles main purpose is for long distance travel. There is a wide range of styles associated with this type of bike. The majority of these bikes will be very heavy and come fully loaded with all the extras. This will include windshields, trunks for luggage, stereos and GPS. They’re not usually for the first time rider, as they pack a lot of punch and are usually pretty expensive. But they are something to look forward to – a few years down the road.
What’s a CC?
If you’ve ever dreamily browsed through the motorcycle listings, you’ll have come across the term CC, which stands for “cubic centimeters.” It’s a measure of the volume of the cylinders in a motorcycle's engine. Basically, CCs are responsible for the power and smoothness of your bike, but not the only measurement of power. CCs are usually related to the size of your engine. More CCs grant you the following young rider:
Higher CCs usually sacrifice your fuel efficiency in the process. Some other metrics you should be aware of is horsepower and torque. These will determine how fast a motorcycle can accelerate. Beginners should always stick to riding within their own skill level. Try to avoid a bike with too high of CCs in the beginning.
Getting Certified & Riding
While you may be on your way to becoming an easy rider on the road, you still need to get certified and licensed. The laws vary in each individual state in America. The process can be found here. There’s really no way to get yourself proficient in riding until you get up on the bike and just start practicing for yourself. It’s just going to be you and the ride. Here’s some resources and steps to get you out on the road sooner than later.
Buying your bike is your first hurdle you need to cross before entering into the wild and rewarding world of motorcycle riding. Now go forth and ride brothers. Ride until your heart’s and hopefully beards are content!
- Choose and purchase your bike wisely, or ask to borrow a friend’s to start practicing.
- Purchase necessary safety gear – helmets, boots and other necessary accessories.
Pick up your local DMV Driver Handbook. Study this like a mad man!
- Take your test at the DMV and get your motorcycle license and certification.
- Did I mention practice driving?