Motorcycles and scooters are not for everyone. Passenger and cargo space is limited, and riders are a lot more exposed to the hazards of harsh weather, extreme temperatures, poorly maintained roads, and alternative motorists’ errors.
The cold reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more probably to die in a crash than folks in a car, in keeping with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And 43% of all motorcycle deaths are the result of single-vehicle crashes. Speeding and alcohol continues to be major contributors to motorbike crashes. Eliminate those factors and you have dramatically reduced your risk.
Motorcycles will be a ton of fun and provide a more partaking travel expertise than a automobile, making you less isolated from your surroundings and more conscious of the sights and smells of the planet around you. Before running right down to the local dealership with the checkbook, it is important to grasp if a cycle is for you. Riding and maneuvering a motorcycle is a lot of physically demanding than driving a car, and even getting a motorcycle onto its center will pose a challenge for some. (Read our 10 motorbike safety tips for brand new and returning riders.)
This guide is meant as a primer for new riders brooding about obtaining their 1st cycle and as a refresher for people who haven’t ridden for a while but are thinking about getting back on a motorcycle.
We cannot stress enough that riding isn’t for everyone. This may be a high-risk mode of transportation best suited to coordinated adults with the power to focus attention, willingness to master the game, smart vision, and a healthy dose of common sense. And don’t assume that if you’re considering a scooter you’re less exposed to danger than you would be on a motorcycle.
Scooter or Motorcycle?
If you would like a natural seating position, instead of straddling an engine, and to not be bothered with shifting gears, the flat foot-rest floor and convenience of an automatic transmission outline you as a scooter candidate.
It’s easier to master a bike if you already know how to drive a stick shift.
Scooters and motorcycles will provide limited storage, but they’re not prime selections for transporting passengers or abundant cargo. While long-distance travel can be a joy for professional riders, new riders are higher served sticking nearer to home. Tackling rush hour in an exceedingly major metropolitan space demands a lot of concentration and experience than cruising through a small town or exploring scenic, rural roads.
Choosing a motorbike is usually inspired by style and image, however these extremely ought to be secondary considerations. Don’t decide on a motorcycle that is larger than you’ll be able to handle. A standard rule is to choose a model that permits each your feet to be planted firmly on the bottom when stopped, and beginners ought to be careful not to settle on a motorcycle that is too powerful for his or her ability.
It is advised to start out with a tiny-displacement model within the 250-five hundred cc range, although larger riders may be a lot more comfy toward the higher end of that scale, or maybe beginning with a 700 cc, relying on confidence level and where they set up to ride. Following this strategy will lead you to a motorbike that will be satisfying in the future. How will you pick a motorcycle you’d wish to ride for years when you haven’t even ridden for a week?
You will conjointly need a safe place to park your new ride. A garage is best, but bikes will be parked outside and lined. When parking outdoors, you’ll want a secure location and/or a suggests that to lock the bike to forestall theft.
Weather is abundantly more of a consideration for riders than automotive drivers. You are literally out there in it, therefore be ready to arrive wherever you’re going wet, rumpled, or both, even with protective gear. And contemplate a brief haircut, or “helmet head” can become your nickname.
Licensing is another consideration. No license is required for scooters with engines less than 50 cc in most states. A list of licensing necessities will be found on the Bike Safety Foundation (MSF) website.
Professional instruction and practice are a must before taking the check, and no new rider ought to take to the roads withought lessons from a pro.
Even if you’re an experienced rider but haven’t ridden in an exceedingly long time, a refresher course could be a good idea. Classes are obtainable for all ability levels.
Last, remember safety gear. You should consider a helmet, gloves, jacket, boots, and alternative protective clothing. In addition to protecting you during a crash, the proper gear can facilitate shielding you from the elements.
What You will Spend
Street-legal basic scooters will be bought for around $1,000, and additional upscale models for up to $9,000. Small, fuel-economical motorcycles begin around $4,200, while larger and more absolutely equipped bikes will price as a well-equipped sedan.
Add to that another $1,000 or more for protecting clothing. Don’t skimp on the standard of the gear. The trade offs are comfort and safety, 2 things a rider ought to not compromise on. Insurance costs vary widely depending on your age, location, driving record, type of cycle, displacement, and different factors. Check along with your company or agent for a particular quote.
If you do not have a garage, you’ll either want to to rent space for storing or invest in a very durable cover for anywhere from $35 to $200. Or, you’ll simply leave the bike in the weather and bring along a roll of paper towels when you want to go for a ride–a wet seat isn’t fun.
While fuel prices are sometimes less expensive for almost any cycle than they’re for a automobile, maintenance will be just as much, depending on the bike, how many miles you ride, where you get it serviced, and if you are doing some work yourself. Just like with cars, dealer service is often the most expensive possibility. Independent mechanics will be a more cost effective, and bikes are usually easier to figure on than cars if you decide to do some maintenance yourself, as many house owners do. However if you decide to try and do it, motorcycles require oil changes and different services. In colder regions, prep for winter storage is a factor.
Scooters and motorcycles run the gamut from light-weight, fuel-sipping putt-putts to two hundred-hp pavement-ripping monsters, with a wide variety of styles and performance levels in between. Some are designed for specific sorts of riding, like models designed for modest off-road use or those meant specifically for long-distance highway cruising. Others are meant for a combination of purposes.
Beginners might find scooters additional novice-friendly than motorcycles, thanks to their lighter weight and automatic transmissions. Scooters can also make errand running easier, as a result of most have some on-board storage–something that might not be said for all motorcycles.
If you’ve determined to seriously contemplate a two-wheeler of your own, the subsequent step is to figure out which kind is best for you. Start by pondering where and when you will ride, and if you’re going for daily transportation, weekend cruising, or somewhere in between. Then think about:
• Can you be riding on highways, secondary roads, around town, or some combination of the on top of?
• Does the bike need to possess sufficient power and seating for a passenger?
• Do you need storage space for gear or groceries?
• Is fuel mileage a priority?
• How much do you wish to spend?
Next, provide some thought to some features that may make for a additional enjoyable, and safer, ride:
Due to their enclosed designs, most scooters have a minimum of a little storage compartment, and several have a lidded and lockable space giant enough to swallow up a helmet or little bag of groceries. To carry anything on a motorbike, you may need to contemplate saddlebags, rear “trunk,” or a rack, typically mounted over the rear wheel behind the seat. Your dealership will discuss options with you.
Although this vital safety feature is now found on all new cars, it’s been slow in coming back to cycles. ABS is commonly offered on giant, expensive models, however it has been spreading to many entry-level sport bikes and midsized bikes, adding at least $five hundred to the value. ABS will be money well spent. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has reported that motorcycles equipped with antilock brakes are thirty seven percent less possible to be involved in an exceedingly fatal crash than models with no ABS.
Learning to ride a motorbike is sophisticated by the myriad controls that have each foot and hand taking part in a lively role. Honda has been introducing midsized models accessible with an automatic transmission that could build riding more approachable for beginners.
Hoop-shaped bars mounted on the frame will help shield riders in a spill by keeping the load of the bike off the rider’s body.
Here’s a fast rundown of model types accessible to help slim your selection.
With a relaxed riding position and seating for 2, cruisers combine the look of an ancient motorbike with a additional stylish, custom appearance and typically longer wheelbase and forward foot pegs. Obtainable in single and multi-cylinder designs, cruisers run the gamut from small, fuel-efficient models to huge, giant-displacement bikes. Price vary: $4,000-$18,000.
Dual Purpose Motorcycles
Designed to be ridden on or off-road, twin-purpose models can also be sensible decisions for city dwellers who appreciate their higher ground clearance, all purpose tires, and further suspension travel as a lot of as trail riders do. Completely street legal with lights, directional signals, and alternative road-going equipment, dual-purpose models are light-weight and well balanced, and obtainable during a big selection of sizes. Worth range: $4,500-$7,500.
Sport Bike Motorcycles
With aggressive bodywork designed to slice the wind, high-performance engines, light-weight frames, and a crouched riding position, sport bikes are all concerning performance. These are not the foremost snug or practical models for novice riders; they’re best suited to those with a heap of experience in varied conditions. Models span from reasonable, and fun, 250 cc entry-level sport bikes up to exotic performance legends best fitted to true expert riders. Value range: $4,000-$16,000.
Electrical motorcycles have been gaining in popularity, particularly with city dwellers who can appreciate their economical operating prices, low maintenance, and don’t mind their restricted top speed. A rechargeable battery is included, and it will be charged using household current. Range is usually not more than fifty miles, and less if ridden at their high speed. Worth range: $8,000-$14,000, but government tax credits are available.
Designed for long distance travel or day journeys, touring bikes are powerful and snug enough for two people to pay a full day in the saddle. They’ll range from basic models with the least frills to decked out bikes with saddlebags, fairings, windshields, stereo, and even cruise control and heated handgrips. Worth range: $14,000 to $24,000.
Combining the seating position, shift-free driving and on-board storage of a scooter with the highway capability and range of a cruising bike, massive scooters (engines 400-650 cc) can be a smart selection for travelers who prefer the planning and feel of a scooter. While larger, heavier, and less maneuverable than smaller scooters, they provide brisk acceleration and simply will carry two at highway speeds. Costs range from about $7,500 to $10,000.
These are the foremost well-rounded street motorcycles and the foremost standard-looking styles, with an upright riding position. Sensible for commuting and all-around use, ancient models range in size from economical, lightweight styles with around 250 cc engines to powerful models in the 1500 cc vary. Price vary: $4,000 and up.
These are the smallest, lightest, and best models for a novice rider to handle, and the most economical, returning fuel economy of as much as 100 mpg in our testing. Little scooters (engines 50 cc or less) are among the least expensive to buy, with costs starting at $1,000. All have automatic transmissions and electrical start, and they offer an additional chair-like seating position more than a motorcycle. However with top speeds of solely thirty five to 45 mph, they can not be ridden on highways and are best suited for putting around city. Registration and licensing needs vary by state, with some states not requiring license plates in the least. To see rules by state, check the MSF web site.
Scooters in the a hundred twenty five-to-150 cc give more power, making them better selections than 50cc models for maintaining with traffic, carrying a passenger, and for all-around use. Even so, they must not be ridden on freeways and interstates. Like smaller models, they’re easy to maneuver and ride, with electrical start and automatic transmissions. Fuel economy is not so good as that of smaller models, however some midsized models returned close to eighty mpg in our tests. Tested models ranged in price from $2,800 to $4,400.
Scooters and motorcycles need different skills to operate than cars, and driving conditions that you may not offer a second thought in your car can have serious consequences on a 2-wheeler.
That is why professional instruction could be a should, especially for new riders or if you haven’t been on a motorbike for a wile. A motorbike dealer should be ready to steer you in the correct direction for local sources of training, and also the Motorbike Safety Foundation (MSF) lists qualified educational courses nationwide on its website. A lot of bike safety tips will also be found on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web site.
If you are new to riding, try going at low speeds in safe areas before venturing onto major roads.
Here are some factors to pay attention to when creating the switch from four to two wheels:
Be as Visible as Possible
Automobile drivers who have hit a scooter or bike rider typically say they did not see the person. Wear brightly coloured clothing and helmet, always have your lights on, and use your directional signals. When choosing a motorbike, contemplate a colourful one.
Watch the Road Surface
Pavement irregularities that might be solely an uncomfortable bump in an bigger automotive can upset the balance of an unprepared bike rider. Railroad tracks, for example. Keep aloof from any shiny surface. Try to maneuver smoothly around broken pavement and potholes.
Watch for Debris
A two-wheel vehicle has less contact with the pavement than a four-wheeler. In a flip, sand, wet leaves, or pebbles can cause the bike to slip quickly and unexpectedly with doubtless tragic results.
While not having the advantage of an automotive’s steel cage around you, you’ll have to depend upon your riding gear as your sole source of accident protection. Your comfort and even your survival will rely on having the proper gear.
Avoid Riding in bad Weather
But if you can’t try this, be especially mild with the brakes, throttle, and steering to avoid losing control on a slippery surface.
Government studies show that riders while not wearing a helmet are forty percent more possible to suffer a fatal head injury during a crash than helmeted riders and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries. The helmet should be a full-face design that is approved by the Department of Transportation. The Snell Memorial Foundation, an independent helmet testing and standards-setting organization, recommends replacing a helmet each five years, or sooner if it’s been damaged or has been in any crash. Beyond potential deterioration due to aging and exposure to hair oils and chemicals, Snell points out that there is typically a notable improvement over that time in helmet design and materials. Make positive it fits snugly. Do not count on a “novelty” helmet to produce life-saving protection.
Protect Your Eyes
Flying insects and road debris kicked up by alternative vehicles will cause a lot of distraction and possible eye injury. Use a full-face helmet with a visor. If you wear eye glasses, make sure they fit in your helmet before buying.
Be Prepared for Wind Chill
It can be a massive issue on exposed skin. As the temperature drops, cowl your body utterly, especially your face and neck. Specialty clothing is offered; a pair of jeans won’t suffice. At solely thirty mph, a moderate 40 F feels like its below freezing. At fifty five mph, the wind-chill issue drops to 25 F, which will quickly become bone chilling and fatiguing.
Even low-speed spills can cause painful “road rash.” It’s vital to wear a leather or alternative strengthened jacket, gloves, full pants, and secure over-the-ankle footwear, even in summer. Specially designed jackets with meshed material offer protection while not inflicting you to overheat. Absolutely avoid shorts, sandals, and shoe laces.
Like cars, motorcycles and scooters require regular maintenance to keep them performing reliably. The smart news is, you’ll do a number of the works yourself if you choose, and some 2-wheelers build accessing spark plugs and filters easier than it’s on several cars. You’ll find a maintenance schedule within the owner’s manual, and some manuals may even show you how to do basic service. If you reside during a colder climate, bear in mind that winter storage could have its own necessities, like putting the battery on a trickle charger and adding fuel stabilizer to the tank. (See what your mechanic wants you to understand.)
Proper maintenance could even be a lot of important for a cycle than a car. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation advises riders to test tire pressure and condition before every ride, as part of a safety inspection that conjointly includes controls, cables, hoses, wheels, brakes, lights, drive chain, suspension and even the frame. (Download a whole check list.)
Any questions or comments? Quick and Easy at the bottom of the page.
Want to read some other reviews and testimonials worth reading? Check out: TopTestimonial.com
Electric Scooter Buying Guide: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Electric Scooters!
Summary: We’ll take you thru fundamentals of cycle types, safety, clothing, where to get instruction, prices, and everything else you wish to grasp.
- Readers Rating
- Rated 5 stars
5 / 5 (Reviewers)
- Your Rating
We'll take you thru fundamentals of cycle types, safety, clothing, where to get instruction, prices, and everything else you wish to grasp.