Choosing a Motorcycle

Choosing the right bike can make all the difference in being safe and having a great time out there on the road. Here’s the best advice from motorcyclists, mechanics and safety experts on choosing the right bike for you:

  1. Check your budget.
    “What can you afford to spend?” asks Denise Maple, founder and owner of VaVaVroom, a company that designs motorcycle wear for women riders. “There are a multitude of options out there at a wide range of prices, from a used scooter for a just a few hundred dollars to a high end model for several thousand dollars.”

    WHN EXPERT TIP:Talk Insurance

    Check your insurance rates on a bike before you buy it. In some cases you may pay more in 2 years than what the bike is worth in the first place
    - Jack Skates, founder of North Bay Sport Riders in California.

  2. Don’t buy too much motorcycle.
    “Start with a smaller, used motorcycle,” says Adam Martin, a certified motorcycle safety instructor and veteran cyclist. “You’ll get the full motorcycle experience and also mitigate the risk factors.”
  3. Go for rational not radical.
    “Purchase a unit that is suitable for the type of riding that they will be doing 80% of the time,” says Ron Arieli, president and owner of T.E.A.M. Arizona Motorcyclist Training Centers.
    “Why are you buying the bike? Commuting? Racing? Cross-country trip?” says Maple. Make a list of features and reasons for the purchase. It’ll help you as you shop.
  4. Consider buying a used motorcycle if it’s your first.
    “Motorcycles depreciate like cars and as soon as you drive them off the lot, they are immediately worth almost 30% less than you paid for them (this varies depending on make/model),” Jack Skates, founder of North Bay Sport Riders in California. “Also, first time riders have a high tendency to drop their motorcycles, even when standing still. It's better to do that with something used your first time than something brand new.”
    Buying used? Look at the Kelley Blue Book to learn about the average range and retail prices for motorcycles:
  5. Give it a spin.
    Sit on the bike. Can you reach and operate the controls? Can you touch the ground with both feet? Does the bike have the features you’ll need?
  6. Get the one you want.
    “What makes your heart race? Is it the classic-looking motorbike, like a Harley Davidson Softail? Or does a cute little Vespa scooter make you smile?” says Maple. Choose a bike that fits your budget, your needs and your personality.

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The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing decisions.

Last Updated: 5/2009