Before you hop on that bike, check out these motorcycle facts to make sure you stay out of trouble and on the road.
As a new rider, it’s tempting to start your bike and head out on the highway, but there’s a lot that goes into choosing the right motorcycle and learning how to ride safely. Riding comes with the responsibility to make smart decisions that are right for you. From choosing the right bike to the right gear to feeling comfortable on the road, knowing a few basic motorcycle facts can improve your riding savvy.
10 Motorcycle Facts
that will make you a better biker
1. You don’t need a bigger bike
There’s no “right” motorcycle for a new rider, although there are some that are better than others. No matter how experienced you are as a driver, hopping on your bike is an entirely different reality, and starting out with too much power can get you into trouble quickly.
For most new riders, a smaller bike with a 250 or 500cc engine is a good starting point, and can serve you well for many years. Some carefully selected larger bikes may work for new riders, but as you get into more power, bikes get more expensive, heavier, and harder to control.
2. The right height is important.
Seat height is another important factor in choosing a bike. Most new riders will want to be able to put both feet flat on the ground. Look at the length of the bike, too, as reaching for the clutch may make some riders uncomfortable.
3. That “cool” bike may not be so cool when you have to repair it.
Consider the availability of mechanics and parts when you buy a bike. More common brands, like Honda or Yamaha or Harley Davidson (yes, they do have a beginner model), may be easier to service than not-so-common brands. For instance, there is one Royal Enfield Motorcycles dealer in Minnesota, while there are hundreds of Honda dealers.
4. You need to buy more than just the bike.
Don’t spend all your money on a motorcycle. You’ll still need to buy a helmet, gloves, boots, a jacket, and pants. A good, DOT-approved helmet can run anywhere from $100 to well over $500. And a protective riding jacket and pants will add another $300 - $500. Additionally, many states require you to take a motorcycle safety course before you can get a motorcycle license.
5. Don’t spend a lot on your bike.
That shiny new motorcycle in the shop is alluring, for sure, but you’re probably better off buying a used bike in good condition. It’s less out of your pocket if you decide you don’t like riding or if you find you’re more comfortable on a different type of bike. Beyond that, most new riders drop their bikes a few times, and it would be really disappointing to ruin that new paint job.
6. Plan to practice.
If you’ve spent any time in a car, you know how many distracted drivers are on the road. On a motorcycle, you don’t have the safety of a steel cage around you, seat belts, and air bags. Your best defenses on a motorcycle are your riding skills and your reflexes. That’s why practicing in an empty lot or on a quiet street is so important. Those evasive moves have to come naturally, without thinking.
7. You may get injured.
We don’t want to dampen your excitement, but it’s important to know the motorcycle facts and statistics before you ride. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the rate of injuries for motorcyclists has been right around 1,000 per 100,000 registered motorcycles. This is why investing in high-quality riding gear is a must.
8. You can maintain your bike on your own.
Basic motorcycle maintenance is easier than you may realize. Check your tires for even wear, tread, and air pressure every couple of weeks. Check your fluid levels regularly, as well, and learn to change your oil. Keep your chain and sprocket clean and lubricated. You can buy specific products for this at your motorcycle dealer.
9. You’re invisible.
And not in a cool way like a cloaked Klingon ship. You have to assume you are invisible when you’re on your bike. That means it’s your job to be hyper-aware of traffic, pedestrians, road conditions, and even well-meaning and cautious motorists who just don’t see you.
10. Riding is fun
This may be the most overlooked of all motorcycle facts. Getting on the road with nothing but the wind between you and your destination is a unique experience. It’s a feeling that builds bonds between riders and breathes life into country roads. Be safe. Be careful. Have fun.
One way to take care of your motorcycle is to make sure you have the right insurance. Contact your Pekin Insurance agent today to learn more about getting the insurance you need.