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Tips for New Motorcycle Owners

So, you are buying your first motorcycle. What do you need to know before you bring your bike home from the dealership? Before you enjoy the freedom of the open road on your first new bike, there are a few things you may want to consider.

Take a Rider’s Course
A motorcycle safety course can help build your confidence prior to purchasing your bike. Designed for novice riders, a safety course often waives your state’s motorcycle test as well as introduces you to basics of motorcycles. It can also help you decide which type of bike you purchase. Taking a course like this may result in your insurance company offering a discount on your premium, as well. Do a little online research to find novice courses near you.

Gear Up
Consider proper riding gear, even in warm weather. Gloves, jackets with padding that still allow air flow and boots that protect ankles can help prevent serious injury if you are involved in a crash. Although not mandatory in every state, you may consider a Department of Transportation-certified helmet as part of your safety gear. While most states have some sort of motorcycle helmet law, the requirements vary state to state, and some have no such law. Consult your state’s laws and regulations for accurate compliance information.

Born to be Mild?
Before you subject yourself to the dealer’s sales pitches, decide the type of rider you want to be. Will you take long road trips? If so, a good touring bike may be in order. Will you commute to work on your bike? A modest-sized motorcycle or even a scooter may be best. Define your biker personality before you purchase.

Can You Handle the Horsepower?
Consider just how much horsepower is adequate for you. A 650 cc engine may be too much for a novice biker to handle at first. However, if your goal is to take lengthy bike trips, you may need 650 cc or more. Once you buy your first bike, you may find you want more torque or more comfort. Many bikers found that their first bike was only a beginning — if one bike is good, three are better, some would say. Either way, pay attention to your needs and get the bike that’s right for you.

Sticker Shock
The final step in buying a motorcycle is determining your budget. Quality motorcycles can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $25,000 or more. You may be able to afford a higher-end bike, but many experienced riders recommend starting with a used model to be sure you like riding and because it’s likely you’ll have a minor spill or two as you learn.

Another aspect to consider is motorcycle insurance. Some bikes may come with higher premiums. Contact your agent for quotes on any models you are seriously considering.

Before You Buy
It’s time to visit motorcycle dealers. Make sure you take the bike for a test drive. You may like the look of a particular model and all the reviews may be glowing, but the bike may not be right for you. Sit on it, consider the bike’s weight and do market research before you buy. There are many bike magazines that can provide you with advice and many motorcycle chat rooms you can visit to seek the advice of experienced riders.

Baby Your Baby
Once you have your new bike, you will want to keep it in pristine condition. Research and use the best sealants, waxes, tire care products and other preventative aids. A good cover may be a wise investment, as well. Make sure you find a quality motorcycle mechanic to keep your bike in tip-top condition.

Talk to other bikers you meet as you travel, or join a www.meetup.com motorcycle group in your area. Bikers are a friendly bunch. Many experienced riders are willing to help you learn to ride safely. Take your time with this important decision and happy motoring!


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