When people want to make their own way to a destination in comfort and style, they’ll use a car or a motorcycle. Both modes of transport have their pros and cons. But did you know that a growing number of people are opting for motorcycles instead of cars?
That’s because they are cheaper to buy, maintain and often have lower taxes. Motorcycles first became popular with commuters towards the end of the 19th century. Today’s bikes are somewhat more powerful, reliable and comfortable to ride than the first ones ever made.
The thing I love about motorcycles is that traffic jams become a thing of the past! You can weave around stationary cars and get to your destination as planned. Meanwhile, car drivers are still stuck in a queue of traffic and are getting frustrated with the delays!
As you are reading this blog post, I am going to assume that you have more than a passing interest in motorcycle. I will also assume that you are thinking of ditching your four-wheeled friend in favor of a motorcycle!
There are plenty of things you need to know about when it comes to motorcycles. So before you go out and spend your money on a bike, keep reading to make your transition from motorcycle virgin to expert biker a smooth one!
The first thing you need to do is get road legal! In the United States, you need to pass a series of theory and practical tests before you can get a driver’s license. To drive a car and ride a motorcycle, you need to pass your practical test in a car.
It’s easy to get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license in most states here in the USA. All you have to do is pass a written (theory) test! It’s so simple that pretty much anyone can pass this test, regardless of motorcycle experience.
Of course, there is a downside to this easy license upgrade. The United States has one of the highest crash rates for motorcycles in the world. But don’t worry. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to get the right skills to control your two-wheeled machine. That way, you won’t become another sad statistic.
Before you get on any motorcycle, it is important that you have the right riding gear. Some states don’t enforce things like helmets. But you should always be a safe and responsible rider on the road, regardless of the laws in each state.
It comes as no surprise that bike riders often come off worse than car drivers in auto accidents. Car drivers and passengers are all surrounded by metal, glass and several airbags that deploy upon a collision.
Motorcycle riders have… nothing! That’s why you need to get suited up to lower the risk of severe injury or worse if you come off your bike. The essentials that you will need include a helmet, jacket, pants, boots and gloves.
Good quality helmets are DOT-certified. But you should look out for ones that are both SNELL and DOT-certified, as they are the best ones to buy. Jackets must have CE certification on the shoulders, elbows and back. They are the most-common parts of your upper body that will come into contact with the ground if you come off your bike.
I will assume that you’ve got your driver’s license updated with a motorcycle endorsement. The next step is to learn how to ride a motorcycle!
In some ways, one can draw a comparison to cars with manual gearboxes. With most motorcycles, you need to shift up and down gears manually. Although there are some models that are “automatic.”
Unless you have prior experience to riding a motorcycle, you will need to pay for some expert tuition. Before you go ahead and do that, I recommend that you first learn the basics of motorcycles. Yes; I’m afraid that means doing some studying!
But don’t worry; it’s a pretty interesting topic to learn about! You don’t need to buy a book on the mechanics of motorcycles either. There are plenty of handy websites that can give you a rundown of bikes. Visiting them will help you to know how to maintain them and fix them if there’s ever any problems.
When you book your training course, I recommend going for one that shows you how to handle a motorcycle in off-road conditions. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to stick to the roads only. The skills you will learn may come in handy some day.
Buying a bike
Once you are ready to ride a motorcycle the next step is to go out and buy one! You might be drooling over a sports bike and doubtless have the cash to go and get one today. But it’s important that you buy a beginner’s bike so that you can gain essential on-the-road experience.
I recommend buying a motorcycle that is not modified and has an engine no larger than 500cc. The best ones to buy are usually small-engined Kawasaki or Honda models.
In most parts of the world, you need to have a valid insurance policy for any motorcycle that you ride on public roads. The same requirement applies to the United States too.
If you live across the pond in the UK, you should consider getting motorcycle Insurance from Carole Nash. Of course, there are many insurers around but in my experience they always offer policies with few exclusions.
Back in the USA, I’d recommend doing a Google search for the best insurers in your state. There are thousands of motorcycle insurance firms in America, and this blog post would be too long if I listed the best ones in each state!
The last point in today’s motorcycle guide concerns maintenance. Owners of motorcycles typically need to maintain their bikes more often than motorists do with cars. Your motorcycle should come with an owner’s manual to tell you what you need to do.
Thanks for reading and good luck!