Take a motorcycle safety course FIRST, before you buy a bike.
|****BUYING YOUR FIRST BIKE****
So you've decided that riding a motorcycle is definately for you. You've finished your schooling and passed with flying colours. It's time to buy your first bike. It's all very exciting, but it can also be very challenging.
Be aware of all the different things, both negative and positive that will influence your decision to buy your first bike. ie: Your friends that already ride, the movies, television, magazines and of course YOUR EGO!
Here are some tips that might be helpful:
1) Be sure you have budgeted for all the expenses involved in purchasing a bike. Riding is an expensive hobby, be sure that you can afford to do it PROPERLY.
ie: ALL the appropiate gear, insurance, maintainance, etc.
2) Think about what style of motorcycle you want to ride; either a racing or touring style. How do you plan on using your bike? Just out for fun on the weekends? Communting? Long road trips? The race track?
Be sure to look for a bike that fits your lifestyle.
3) Do your research! Find out as much information as possible on your own. The better informed you are as a consumer, the better off you'll be. Both mentally and financially. Watch people and talk to people that are already riding, even if you don't know them (people love to talk about their bikes. It's like the "my baby is the cutest baby in the world syndrome".
Please note: Do NOT chat up the squid with the big bike wearing NO GEAR!!! They will have nothing useful to tell you. And only fill your head with crap.
Read lots! Buy magazines, go to your local library and my personal favorite, the internet. :) Anything and everything you want to know about, it's there. Gather as much information as possible; be a well informed consumer. Don't waste your hard earned money.
4) Don't buy a new bike and don't buy a big bike. You do not need to have a big that is the same as your friends! All your first little "learning experiences" will be on your first bike and if it's all shiny, new and no where near paid for, it'll hurt alot more when your learning experiences take place. And if it's too big, too heavy and too powerful, you'll wind up really hurting yourself. KEEP YOUR EGO IN LINE HERE PEOPLE! Way too many people out there on 900's and 1000's as their first bike. What the hell are you trying to prove? That you can crash and/or kill yourself faster than everyone else? Seriously...
A 500cc bike is all you need to start, donít believe you need a ton of horsepower to go fast, cuz you don't!
There are those of you out there that are "vertically challenged", if you fall into this category here are some suggestions:
Start out on a smaller bike. A 250cc is great and nothing bigger than a 500cc bike. You can always move up to a bigger bike later. You have your whole life to enjoy riding...why rush into it? The smaller the bike, the lighter and more agile they are. Making it easier to learn on and more comfortable for a new rider. You can also have work done to your bike to accomadate your height. A lowering kit (1" - 5"), suspension adjustments, shaving the seat etc... Talk to your local shops, they'll be able to give you all the details. Just be sure to sit on as many bikes as possible before you buy one and see what one is most comfortable for you.
5) Shop around. Go to lots of different bike shops. If you're from the Vancouver area I can definately recommend a couple. I can also tell you which ones to stay away from. Take an experienced rider friend (or two) with you. And as much as I hate to say it, take a guy with you. For the most part, you'll get treated differently if you're by yourself. If you go somewhere and a salesperson is rude or baligerent, just get the hell outta there. You have no reason to stay somewhere where you have been made to feel uncomfortable. And be sure to let the owner (if it wasn't the owner that you had the encounter with) know about the incident. Both in person and by letter. And be sure to tell everyone you know about it as well. Bad news travels a lot faster than good!
6) Test ride bikes if possible. Go to Manufacturer's Test Days at local shops. Ask if you can test ride bikes that you are looking at too.
7) Have the same list of questions you want to ask when you're looking at differnent bikes. Then when you've gone and looked at a bunch of differnet ones, you can compare notes and determine which one is the best bang for your buck.
Last but not least:
8) Don't fall in love with the first bike you see or test ride. It happens very easily! Make sure to have looked at as bikes many as possible and sit down and compare notes before you decide on your new baby. Don't rush into something you might later regret.
The 20 commandments of motorcycle wisdom
1. Every ride is optional. Every parking job is mandatory.
2. If you push the bars left, the bike goes left. If you push the bars right, the bike goes right. That is, unless you continue pushing the bars all the way, then the bike will go down.
3. Riding isn't dangerous. Crashing is dangerous.
4. It's always better to be on the sidelines wishing you were on the track than on the track wishing you were on the sidelines.
5. The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
6. The rear wheel is just a big fan on back of the bike used to keep the rider cool and his/her butt relaxed. If going into a corner too fast, slamming on the rear brake causes the "fan" to abruptly stop. When this happens you can actually see the rider start sweating and his/her butt become tense.
7. When in doubt, slow down. No one has ever hit something too slow.
8. A 'good' ride is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' ride is one after which you can use the bike again.
9. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
10. You know you've left the sidestand down when all left turn are Bat-turns. You know you've left the centerstand down when your in 1st gear at 4000 rpm going nowhere.
11. Never let a motorcycle take you somewhere your brain didn't get to three seconds earlier.
12. Always try to keep the number of times you put your sidestand down equal to the number of times you put the sidestand up.
13. There are two simple rules for riding smoothly and fast in snow and on ice. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
14. You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.
15. If all you can see in your mirrors is sparks and all you can hear is screaming from your passenger, things may not be as they should be.
16. In the ongoing battle between objects made of metal, rubber and fiberglass going 100+ miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose. Same holds for cars, large trucks, and animals taller than you. Draws don't count.
17. Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.
18. Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.
19. Remember, gravity and centrifical force are not just a good ideas. They're laws and are not subject to appeal.
20. The two most useless things to a rider are the braking distance behind you and nine-tenth of a second ago.