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New to Riding: Choosing a Bike & Gear

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In my previous post, I talked about learning to ride safe, right from the beginning. You’ll enjoy yourself so much more, too! Let’s pick up from there.

Step three: Choosing the right bike for you.

Everyone has that dream bike. The one they picture in their mind’s eye riding down the road.

However, your dream bike may not be the best choice for your first bike. Why, you ask? I can think of a couple reasons:
  • You may drop it. Everyone does when they are first learning. Wouldn’t you rather drop a bike that you are less emotionally and financially attached to?
  • What you think you want now may not be what you want later. You’ll get a better idea of what you really want only after you’ve ridden a while and gotten some experience. No reason to fork out a ton of money only to find out a year later it doesn’t really suit your needs.
One more note: don’t go too big right away (especially women). A big motorcycle can intimidate a new rider and make you uncomfortable, and soon you’ll find yourself less enthusiastic about riding. And we don’t want that!

Get the smaller bike, and just know that at some point, you’ll want to ‘step up’ to a bigger machine. Trust me - you’ll know when the time is right.

Step Four: The gear.

It’s not just about the motorcycle; you need the right gear.

A helmet and gloves are a good start (and in my opinion, absolutely required). I have personally found a good set of boots to be crucial - you don’t want to find your feet slipping when you’re trying to stop or move the bike. Also, think about getting a jacket and pants specifically made for riding.

Gearing up right doesn't have to be expensive. You should always buy a helmet NEW, because crash damage to the interior can be undetectable to anyone but an expert. But it’s easy to find gently used riding pants, boots, gloves and jackets. Many retailers and online mail-order houses offer discounts on sell-outs and non-current styles.

Step five: Find like minded people to ride with.

Motorcycling is a social activity. There are tons of groups out there. You can always find people on Internet Message Boards. Just do a search by the brand or type of motorcycle that interests you and see what you find.

Meeting other riders will introduce you to a level of camaraderie that's uncommon these days. Riding with responsible, experienced riders can help you improve your own skills - and it’s the icing on the cake! 

 

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  • Tracey Cramer