Choose Your Motorcycle Wisely

Not that long ago I was having a conversation with a colleague when our discussion turned to motorcycles.  He was excited because he was about ready to buy a motorcycle for the first time in 30 years.  After raising a family and building a successful career he was ready for some fun.  The first question I asked, of course, was “what are you going to get?”  He said that he had been looking at a 2009 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic.  My second and third question was “when was the last time you rode?” and “what was the last motorcycle you owned?”  His reply was “30 years ago” and “a Yamaha 175”.  I guess the look on my face was telling enough that he asked, “What’s wrong?”  My reply went something like this.

“The Ultra Classic is a beautiful and comfortable motorcycle, however it’s significantly different from the little 175 you last rode.  It weighs over 800 lbs, has more power and is not as easy to maneuver.  If I could offer some advice it would be to buy a smaller, possibly used, motorcycle to re-learn how to ride and to sign up for a riding course. 

Over the years I’ve seen too many people who use to ride come back to motorcycling and instead of re-learning how to ride first they run out and get the motorcycle of their dreams.  Like a cruel joke, this motorcycle often turns into a nightmare and they stop riding for good.  They either find their new motorcycle is either too heavy for them to feel comfortable on or it has more power then they expected and they get into a situation that scares them.  Worst of all, some actually crash their motorcycle because they are not prepared for what their motorcycle can do.”

My colleague took the advice and so far hasn’t bought his Ultra Classic as he’s having fun on his “beginner” bike and wants to get better at riding before moving up.

All too often new riders or riders who are coming back have the money to buy what ever they want.  They usually go for the big touring bikes or go the other extreme, the sport bikes.  Unfortunately they are not prepared for how these bikes handle or how the performance numbers on paper transfer to actually riding.  Remember motorcycles that weigh 700 lbs or more don’t handle the same as that dirt bike you grew up on and even the small displacement sport bikes have more power then a high end sports car and can quickly get an inexperienced rider into a lot of trouble.  In the end they either get frustrated or scared and quite riding for good.

If your new to riding or are coming back after a long layoff, buy a small bike to start off with.  If you want something new, there are plenty of bikes being made that offer style and enough performance to have fun with without being too much to handle.  There are also plenty of great deals on good used motorcycles that will suite a new or returning rider.

Oh yah, take a riders course!  No matter how often you ride, you can always learn more and if you haven’t ridding in a while there is a lot to learn.  You would be shocked at how much you’ve forgotten or never knew in the first place.

Finally, and this is the best part, ride!  The more you ride the better you’ll get.  Be the person who wears out their motorcycle from riding as much as possible.

Lets Ride!

Gerald Trees

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