How to Pick a Motorcycle
by Max Skinwood
What is the right motorcycle for you? There are a myriad of things that need to be taken into account before riding or buying a motorcycle. Not all motorcycles are built the same, nor do they handle exactly alike. Even experienced riders should ask questions before taking a new bike home.
In an era when overall traffic fatalities have fallen 23 percent, the number of motorcycle fatalities has doubled in the past 15 years.
Super-sport bikes often favored by younger and less experienced riders; have high power-to-weight ratios with speeds approaching 200 mph; accounted for the largest portion of new motorcycle insurance claims and fatalities.
As a new rider there are some questions that are often overlooked by new riders and overly-ambitious sales people such as: Does the bike fit your purposes? Are you riding for pleasure, or do you plan on using it strictly for commuting? What kind of accessories will you need? Saddle bags or a windshield?
Stability at a stop is often taken for granted. Most non-fatal accidents happen at very low speeds or at a stop. You need to check to see if the saddle is too wide or too high. You should be able to sit comfortably with your feet flat on the ground to hold the bike up without standing on your tiptoes? How heavy is it? How many gears are there and which direction do you shift? Not as silly a question as you make think, as some Harley’s only have four gears, not the standard six.
If you prefer a more relaxed up-right sitting position, a touring or cruiser style like a Harley or Honda Shadow is what you’re looking for. ‘Cruisers’ as the name suggest; are built for long, slow, meandering rides so you can enjoy the scenery. Another up-right sitting style of motorcycle is the Enduro; this type has knobby styled tires that work in dirt if you were ever to need to leave the pavement.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, and enjoy lying down over the tank, with the wind screaming past your head, making telephone poles look like a picket fence. Then maybe a sport bike, with an exotic name like GSXR (gixer), Hayabusa or Ducati, better known as (crotch rockets) is what you’re after. These types of motorcycles are built to resemble sport-racing bikes, and tend to be lighter and much faster.
If you have a working knowledge of what I mean when I say you need to lean further and counter-steer, you’re on the right track.
Until young or in-experienced riders, we have all seen them riding at 90 mph in shorts and flip-flops, gain much needed experience about how a sport bike handles. Sport bikes truly belong on a track or closed circuit, under controlled conditions, not on surface streets or highways.
Once you have picked the motorcycle for you, the real fun begins. You pick all the associated color-matched gear: helmet, gloves, leather jacket and possibly chaps with a set of good hard soled boots.
Take your time and learn your bikes limits; stopping distance, or how it handles groves in the road. More importantly learn your limits, comfortable speed, traffic conditions, and how long to ride. Knowing your limits can help decrease fatalities and accidents significantly.
About the Author
Max Skinwood writes to bring up matters that interest him, the way he perceives them and the way they affect the world we live in. For Max, the rules are there are no rules. Some of the topics that interest him include government, religion, domestic violence in regard to vindictive women who abuse the system, and child support. Le Bons Temp Roulé!