Buying a motorcycle
The process of buying a big motorcyle, or a small one, is a thoughtful one
Maybe it’s time to think about buying a motorcycle. You want to have some fun. You know people who ride motorcycles in military parades or convoys that take toys to children in hospitals. Perhaps you have attended picnics or concerts hosted by bikers. You’re discontent with driving your car or truck to such events. And you know a bike is easy on gas and easy to park. Chances are good you’re ready for buying a motorcycle of your own. Buying a motorcycle for the first time is rather like losing your virginity. A first time only happens once. And you can make buying a motorcycle the start a lifelong adventure—with a little preparation and some dependable accessories that include appropriate apparel, goggles, a helmet approved by the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and other motorcycle protective gear that will help make every ride a pleasure ride.
Buying a motorcycle is not an exercise in impulse buying. Don’t be persuaded by the lure of television commercials or fancy sales talkers. Some of the best looking bikes might do a good job of stoking your sense of adventure but will the handsome bike you’re tempted to choose do right by you in the long run? Will it be overly temperamental? Will it leave you at the side of the road, as soon as its spark dies out? Buying a motorcycle is not for the flighty or the irresponsible. There are some important questions to be answered when it comes to buying a motorcycle.
Where will you park?
Where will you park? Will you be buying a motorcycle that is rather nondescript—or a customized beauty? You will contend with some logistics when buying a motorcycle. Do you have a garage? Will you need to rent a space in a parking facility? Will vandalism be a problem in your area? Consider a deterrent such as an electronic cycle alarm. Use a saw-resistant chain and lock. Or, send out a subliminal warning—use a wheel lock in a vivid color. A wide array of security products is available.
Who are you really trying to please?
Who are you trying to please? Take weeks or months—or years—to do some soul searching before buying a motorcycle. Ask yourself some basic questions. Who are you buying the bike for—yourself, or your friends? Folks who ride motorcycles won’t love you less if you show up in your truck—especially if you’re hauling the barbecue grill and know something about sugaring a crock of baked beans and doing some prime rib cooking. If you’re only buying a bike to look good riding up to an event, think again.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reports nearly 300,000 motorcycles were purchased last year. Mix into the traffic lanes cars and trucks and 18-wheelers and that’s a lot of competition for road space. Make your love affair with your motorcycle a long-lasting one by taking a motorcycle safety course upon—or before—buying a motorcycle. All across the country, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) sponsors courses at minimal or no charge.
What will you do with the bike?
What will you use the bike for—daily use or long trips? The engine size and go-fast components that are a part of buying a motorcycle are best determined by your intended destinations and uses. A person whose mind is focused on breaking speed records over long distances will want the kind of powerhouse that a casual rider might find too much to handle.
When will you ride?
When will you ride—day, night, rain, shine? Buying a motorcycle is sure to be a novelty. You’ll take every opportunity to go back and forth—50 feet out to the mail box and 50 feet back to the house. Nevertheless, if you are buying a motorcycle to go to school, work or on long trips, plan on spending extra on comfort-giving accessories—heated handgrips, a windshield and maybe an onboard radio.
Why are you buying a motorcycle?
Why are you buying a motorcycle? One always hears about the wind in the hair. In reality, that wind could be a gale of exhaust from the traffic jam ahead of you. The hazards are many. Irate drivers percolating with road rage, feeble drivers with bad eyesight, sand on the turns and frogs on the highway—all are potentially hurtin’ thangs. But on that grand and beautiful day, when the sky is blue and the breeze is scented with pine and you’re riding along, you’ll know that buying a motorcycle was the right thing to do. You won’t be a virgin any more. And you’ll be glad of that.