Riding. A lot depends on what motorcycle you start on. Even a glimpse of that first motorcycle on a poster or in a video gives you goosebumps. Some of you might even stack up brochures on your reading table, join some motorcycling forums for advice, or keep changing that wallpaper of your dream bike. However, before those goosebumps, there are other bumps which need to be considered before taking the plunge and, more importantly, not regretting it later for several reasons. Hence, it’s important to have tons of patience, wisdom and research before making that purchase.
Read on to avoid these very common blunders most people make before buying a new motorcycle
Not understanding your limits
We all like to think that we are all more capable than what we actually are. Whether you’re buying an old or a new motorcycle, one of the initial and major mistakes new buyers make is buying a motorcycle that they are not capable of handling. Wrong. Do not leapfrog levels.
If you are comfortable riding a Bajaj motorcycle instead of the sexy, but insanely powerful, KTM, go for the Bajaj. It’s always better to ride a motorcycle skillfully that suits you than crashing and burning on a motorcycle you can’t handle, looking like an idiot. You will always get to switch later, once you start building up your skill level. Advance adeptly. If you start with a 300cc café racer, hyper-advancing to a motorcycle like a KTM RC390 would not be sensible at all.
Buying a motorcycle without test riding it
Staring at the photo or just reading about a motorcycle will tell you if that particular motorcycle is meant for you or not. RIDE IT! If a friend of yours owns a motorcycle you want, request him/her for a test ride. If not, it’s a good idea to show up at a dealership with safety gear for a test ride. Either of the aforementioned should give you a fair idea of how it feels to ride, whether you are comfortable with how the brakes work, how the clutch responds, the riding position, etc. I am pretty sure you will be excited, may be too excited. But trust me, patience pays off.
Not talking to owners of the same motorcycle
Connect to the owners through online forums. Find and strike a conversation with the people who already own the motorcycle you want. You must’ve fallen in love with the motorcycle by just looking at it, but conversing with the owners gives you much better perspective of how is it to own one, the cost of ownership, availability of spares, etc. You might think that the KTM RC390 looks killer and ‘might’ or ‘will’ suit your extent of riding, but you don’t want to discover that it is a completely different experience. Go out there and talk to people. Don’t be shy. You’re a biker, act like it!
It is a natural human tendency to buy the best. But if the costs outweigh the benefits, it’s not really a great purchase. Let your budget spreadsheet do the talking, not your impulse. Do not buy a motorcycle that prevents you from basic maintenance – refueling, servicing, etc. Consider everything right from fuel expense to the ever-increasing insurance prices every year. It is not about how you can manage everything else after spending on a motorcycle every month, but about what lingers after the priorities are taken care of.
Buying a motorcycle for the wrong reasons
Why do you want to buy a motorcycle? Is it for convenience, for riding pleasure, or to simply look cool? You might look cool on the Yamaha R3, but if you are a working professional and travel a long distance daily, it’s not going to be the best purchase you made. In that case, you’re better off with a less ‘cooler’ motorcycle that is comfortable, returns good mileage and with better storage capabilities. However, if you are not a working professional and if you are a true blue track riding aficionado, have got an easy access to a track that can be rented out, then go for those speed demons! In that case, do not buy a motorcycle that is has a tall fairing or has got a bit of a storage capacity then or both. Go for a track oriented motorcycle without even a shadow of doubt.
These are a few things I’ve learned over the years. I’m sure most riders will have their own advice and tips as well. Please share your experiences with us.