Buying your First Motorcycle is Not Easy

There is nothing to compare with the feeling of holding the keys to your first very own motorcycle in your hand, except holding the keys to your first very own motorcycle in your hand. It's the start of the romance with the road. The start of your love affair with motorcycling. Or it should be. For Some, the reality is very much divorced from the dream. The keys they hold in their hands are not to a dreambike, but to a headache on two-wheels. Here's how to avoid the mistakes...

The overriding rule when it comes to buying your first bike is that it will not be your last. Unless you screw up. Don't fall into the trap of buying the motorcycle you want to end up with. It won't happen, you'll be disappointed and it probably won't be the right motorcycle to start off with. I know as much as anyone that motorcycling is an emotional thing and I am the first to admit that many – not all – of my motorcycle purchases have been rules by the heart and not the head. And I've paid for it, both in money terms and in time off the road for repairs and rectifications. I also know that you're not going to learn from my experiences. Bear them in mind, however, and it may ease your passage to being a fully-fledged motorcyclist. Buy the motorcycle you need and make sure it is the motorcycle you can afford.
To be blunt, the motorcycle you need is whatever fits your budget and will get you through the initial riding period until you choose to move up. It should also be the motorcycle you feel most comfortable and confident on, not the one you want your friends to see you on. The best machines for new riders allow you to put both feet flat on the ground; have a centerstand to make parking and maintenance easier; and have no fairing and reasonable protection for all major sticky-out bits so those inevitable stupid mistakes don't leave you stranded by the side of the road after midnight or turn into a debt spiral. They're also cheap as chips and have drop-dead gorgeous styling. In your dreams. You won't get all of these attributes, but, with careful shopping, you should get the more important ones.

Be objective about your needs and the choice narrows all by itself. What you need is a machine to get you from fresh motorcyclist to good and confident rider in quickest, easiest way. Of course no motorcyclist is objective, which is why there are so many of us. It's far too easy to get carried away with the excitement of it all and ride away on something that seems impossibly perfect when you have no experience but which, three months later, becomes a trial and a curse. Far better to have paid less for something that'll get you by and put the extra towards your motorcycling future fund. Short-term pain, log-term gain.
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