First-time motorcycle buyers today are spoiled for choice. With the wide array of makes and models available, however, it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed. Choosing the right bike for you and your needs can be a bit daunting, especially with all the factors one has to consider when picking a motorcycle—weight, comfort, seat height, power, and so on.
As confusing as choosing the right motorcycle can be, the process doesn’t have to be difficult. To help new-bike buyers, Honda Philippines has put together some key things to think about before signing on the dotted line. We’ve also added our own points for your consideration so you can get the motorcycle best-suited for your needs.
1) Determine your level of experience.
Some motorcycles—big bikes especially—require a particular level of experience and familiarity with riding before you can take them out safely and comfortably. While that big, shiny, new adventure bike might look enticing on the showroom floor, it won’t be as cool when you’ve dropped it out on the trail because you’re not used to the height and can’t pick it back up because you haven’t learned how. Match your wants with your level of experience if you want to have a good time on your new bike.
2) Identify your needs.
Before you spend money on a motorcycle, first consider why you need one in the first place. Bikes come in many different shapes and sizes, each one catering to specific needs and purposes. For example, if your reason for buying one is to have a means of transport and nothing else, then an affordably priced automatic scooter would be a good choice.
3) Figure out what’s comfortable for you.
Just like bikes, people are built differently. The ergonomics of a motorcycle, or how the rider’s body is positioned on the bike, are especially important for beginner riders. Not being able to get your foot down on the ground because the seat is too high is a problem, and so is getting cramps while riding because your legs are too long for the footpegs’ position. With a vehicle that you’ll be spending a good amount of time on, it’s important to consider how it will feel when you use it.
With your comfort in mind, consider the following points:
Seat height and cushioning
One of the things a first-time rider should check on a bike is the seat height. A lower seat means it will be easier to get your feet flat on the ground. A seat cushion is important, too. Riding an uncomfortable seat for a long time will result in a miserable experience and a sore butt, so make sure it has ample cushioning.
Engine heat and vibrations
Different engines will produce varying levels of heat and vibration. Powertrains that produce high amounts of heat between your legs will be unbearable in traffic. Vibrations, meanwhile, can travel from the engine and up to the handlebars, which can cause discomfort on longer rides if not properly dampened.
Weight plays a big role in how a bike feels and handles when ridden. There are also times, such as when faced with heavy traffic or tight parking spaces, where you’ll need to push or pull the motorcycle yourself.
4) Plan within your budget.
Motorcycles, even affordable ones, cost a significant amount of money, so take into consideration how much you’re willing to spend. Aside from the bike’s retail price, you will also have to take into account fuel, repair, and maintenance costs. To get the most bang for your buck, choose a motorcycle that is affordable, fuel-efficient, and reliable.
5) Consider your personal preferences.
In addition to practicality, how you feel about your motorcycle also matters. A bike will become a part of your life, so you will have a much better experience if you actually like the style and character of the machine. As veteran riders always say: If you don’t look back and smile at your motorcycle when you walk away from the parking lot, you may have chosen the wrong bike.
6) Check out the features.
If you’ll be riding with a phone mount installed so you can use your smartphone for navigation, a bike with a charging port will keep your device fully charged. If you plan to bring a lot of gear, consider getting a bike with ample storage space or luggage mounting points. Worried about theft? An integrated security or alarm system will provide some peace of mind.
First timers should also remember to attend a formal rider’s training course and secure their driver’s license before purchasing their dream motorbike. Remember: always take things one step at a time.