Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Motorcycle

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So the time has finally come. You’ve pinched your pennies, saved up a good chunk of change, and are ready to invest in a motorcycle. Riding down the road with the wind whipping around your body is a thrill few vehicles can match, but motorcycles come with their own unique considerations. Not only do they handle radically differently from conventional vehicles, but buying a motorcycle isn’t as simple as saying “I want that one” and riding off the lot. Here’s what you need to know first.

Safety is everything

Motorcycles have an unfair reputation as being incredibly dangerous. While it’s true that they’re certainly less safe than most modern passenger vehicles, the true danger often lies in reckless driving, and it’s easy to see why. When riders find an open stretch of road, they have an urge to see just how fast they can go. Remember, though, you’re no longer surrounded on all sides by a metal frame and airbags. Unless you pride yourself on your nursing skills, a motorcycle accident can be quite the nasty spill.

For new and seasoned riders alike, it’s always a good idea to consider taking a safety course to brush up on safe driving practices. Most importantly, always drive defensively. Assume that everyone else on the road is going to make a mistake, and be prepared to react accordingly.

Additionally, if you’re riding without a helmet, it’s not a good look. Sure, wind blowing through your hair might feel amazing, but one wrong turn could spell catastrophe. Invest in some quality motorcycle gear from brands like Alpinestars to make sure that you’re well protected when you’re on your bike.

Keep insurance in mind

This stems from the fact that motorcycles are (comparatively) more unsafe that traditional cars. Many insurance companies view motorcycle ownership as a big liability, so before you sign that dotted line and buy a bike, know that insuring will likely look a lot different than it does for a car. For one, it’s typically more expensive. How much more depends on the insurance company, but only a limited few offer the same rates as regular vehicles.

But motorcycles are way more affordable than most cars, so you would think that it should be cheaper. The truth is, insurance gives no real bearing to the cost of a vehicle when requesting essential coverage. Instead, these companies weigh risks. So while your ride might have been a steal, it’s still seen as more of a risk to your agent. With continuous safe driving and a lack of penalties against you (think speeding tickets) it’s possible that your insurer will offer you a lower premium down the road, though it might take some time.

Maintenance is a must

If you have friends or colleagues that own motorcycles, it may be worth asking them how much they spend annually on care and maintenance. Chances are, you’ll be surprised by what you find. On average, if you take good care of your motorcycle, you’re liable to spend upwards of $1,000 per year, not including regular gas-ups. This means, when compared to a car, a motorcycle is definitely more expensive on the whole.

Preventative care is a must. Don’t miss oil changes, always keep your fluid levels high, and clean your bike at least once a month. This will prevent any buildup and gunk from clogging up your rig, and will keep it purring like a kitten. If you don’t feel comfortable handling maintenance yourself, find a trusted mechanic in the area. If you build up a solid relationship with one, you may start getting discounts.

Ownership comes with responsibility

When you invest in a motorcycle, you’re signing yourself up for a big responsibility. Unless your plan is to display it in a weatherproof garage, you’re in for a good amount of care, maintenance, and smart driving. It’s a great responsibility to have, though. As long as you take good care of your motorcycle, you’re in for a great time.