Buying your first motorbike is an exciting endeavour, but there are many things to consider before making the commitment. From choosing a motorbike that fits your physique to deciding between a new or used bike, this article offers first time buyers five essential things they need to think about before investing in a motorbike.
1. Your budget
Before anything else, you’ll need to think about whether you can actually afford to buy a motorcycle along with all the costs that come with owning one. Other than the actual price of the motorbike, you’ll need to pay out for things like motorbike insurance, routine MOTs and maintenance, fuel, and safety gear.
Buying quality safety gear is essential for any motorcycle rider, but it can also add up in price. Nevertheless, you’ll need to equip yourself with a quality helmet, jacket, gloves, trousers and boots – which can all be costly. Head over to our clothing store at wheelsclothing.com to see our full range.
2. New or used
When it comes to buying a newor usedmotorbike, there is no ‘right choice’ – it completely depends on the preferences of the buyer in question. So, to help you figure out whether a new or used bike is best for you, here are a few things to consider.
Firstly, new bikes come with a warranty, which can give you the peace of mind that if something were to go wrong with the bike, you’d be covered. That said, you’ll usually have to pay a premium. At Wheels Motorcycles we offer a Lifetime Guarantee on most of our new and used bikes* While owning a brand new, shiny bike can be great fun, it can also be nerve-wracking in the event that you drop, scratch or crash the bike. When you own a second-hand bike however, a little cosmetic damage doesn’t matter quite as much because the bike may not be in perfect condition.
As a first time buyer, opting for a used bike can be a great option, both price-wise and when it comes to the likelihood of you, as a new rider, damaging the bike in some way. Used bikes are also cheaper to buy than brand new bikes, which is great if you’re on a budget. This isn’t to say that you should go for the cheapest second-hand bike you can find however; you still need a bike that’s reliable and above all, safe to ride.
3. Type of bike
From cruisers and choppers to sport bikes and touring bikes, there are plenty of different motorbikes out there to choose from. With such an array of motorcycle types available, it can be difficult to choose which one is right for you unless you already have one in mind. If you do, then great – get buying! But if you’re more unsure as to what type of bike you want to go for, you’ll have to do a little research.
Consider whether you’re planning to use your motorbike every day or just for pleasure, and whether it will be making lengthy road trips or short hops. Will you be riding it mainly on well-kept roads and motorways, or do you live in an area with bumpy country roads and frequent muddy conditions? All of these things can impact the type of bike you buy.
As well as researching the bike online or through reviews and word of mouth, get proactive and view some. By interacting with different bikes, you'll probably develop distinct likes and dislikes, which should help you make the decision.
4. Engine size
Once you’ve completed your CBT, you’re legally allowed to ride a moped up to 50cc if you’re aged 16 or over, or a motorcycle up to 125cc if you’re aged 17 or over. If you’re looking for something with more power, you will have to take further training. But as a first time buyer, you may want to stick with a bike between 50cc and 125cc until you get more riding experience.
The great thing about 50cc engines is that they are usually very eco-friendly, cheap to buy and fuel efficient. That said, 50cc bikes aren’t very powerful. Their top speed is usually around 30mph – if that – which is okay when you’re riding around town, but when it comes to lengthy commutes, you’re better off with a bike with a little more zip.
125cc engines are also great for fuel economy and are better for riders who are looking for a bike with more power. Depending on the type of machine, 125cc bikes usually reach a top speed of 60mph – just enough to get you where you need to go in good time.
How you’re going to use the bike will likely determine your choice of engine. If you live and work in the city and need a bike for commuting purposes, a 50cc should do the job. But if you’re looking to travel a little further, on dual carriageways for example, you may want to choose a 125cc. There’s nothing more terrifying than riding on a road that’s 60mph, and you’re only able to do 30mph. So to stay safe, a 125cc would be a good option here.
5. Choose a bike that fits your physique
Like our bodies, motorbikes come in different shapes and sizes which is why your physique will also be a determining factor as to which type of motorbike you buy. Similar to the way you would try on clothes or shoes before you bought them, you’ll need to try a few bikes on for size.
If the seller or dealer is happy with you taking the bike out for a spin then you definitely should! The last thing you want to do is buy an uncomfortable bike all because you’ve fallen in love with the aesthetics. Each bike is unique, and you’ll probably come to realise that the ergonomic experience of riding will differ dramatically from bike to bike. Take it for a test ride before you commit, if you can.
If test rides aren’t always possible, you could try to attend a few motorbike events or shows to get further advice from experienced riders. Or even better, go to showrooms and sit in some different saddles to help you figure out which bikes feel more comfortable for you. That way, you can start narrowing down the ones you’re more compatible with.
Hopefully, these tips will help you decide whether you truly want to commit to buying and owning a motorbike, and if so, which bike is best for you.
* Terms & Conditions Apply, not available on Honda, Scooters and bikes under 250cc.