What you need to know before buying your first motorbike
The wind in your hair, the wide open road, the roar of the engine under your seat, and all that freedom! There’s so much to like about the idea of riding a motorbike, which is why there’s so many on our roads.
Riding a motorcycle is a beautiful thing. But before you become too carried away with the thrill and romance of it all, there’s a few things you’ll need to be aware of, especially if you’ve never owned or ridden a motorcycle before.
To help you navigate through some of the most important decisions, we’ve compiled a five point checklist.
1. Preparing for your first ride
At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, motorcycles are a very different beast to driving a motor car. So first up, is recommended completing a supervised training course to get a motorcycle licence. Once that’s complete, practise riding the bike on quiet roads to build up your confidence, and then slowly move on to busier roads and freeways. (By the way, the minimum age to obtain a motorcycle provisional licence in Tasmania is 17 years of age, and you must have held a motorcycle learner’s licence for a minimum of 6 months).
2. Buying the right protective gear
While there’s something very cool about the leather-jacket and sunglasses look that has been made famous in movies like Easy Rider and Rumblefish, you’re very exposed when you’re riding a motorbike, and skin hitting bitumen at 80-plus kilometres an hour does not look very cool at all.
To use an old biker’s expression, “Wear what you want to crash in, not what you want to be seen in”. Helmets, gloves, jackets, pants, and boots are all essential items, and you’ll need to do your homework. So start by talking with the sales guys and gals at your local motorcycle dealership. They’ll give you an idea of what’s on the market, and what you’ll need to pay to get something that offers a reasonable level of protection in the event of an accident.
3. Buying your first motor bike
In reality, you will make some basic errors with your first motorbike. So if it’s going to be scratched and damaged (and it surely will) then it’s better to damage a cheaper motorcycle than an expensive one. That said, you’ll still want something that’s reliable. If you’re a complete ‘newbie’ then it’s a great idea to talk with a mate who has some knowledge of what to look out for, and what to stay clear of. You’ll find plenty of used bikes for sale by trawling the popular websites like bikesales.com.au and Gumtree. The other option is to buy something new from a dealership. While it might cost a few thousand dollars more but you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with a warranty.
4. Choosing the right bike
Always keep in mind the sort of riding you’re wanting to do. Is it country cruising or city commuting? Also, try not to get caught up in the look of the machine. Do you really need a lime green version that you can’t find anywhere in Tasmania? Instead, go for functionality. Look for something that’s easy to ride. Of course, you will only know that by taking it for a ride, by feeling how much it weighs, and how much power you’ve got to play with.
If it’s your first bike, then don’t take on something too big and powerful for your level of experience. (You’re just asking for trouble). Generally speaking, the more ‘CCs’, the bigger the engine, and the more difficult it is to control.
5. The cost of buying your first motorbike
How long is a piece of string? By getting a good friend involved in the process, and by doing your homework, you should be able to find a mechanically sound, second-hand motorbike by a well-known brand for around two to three thousand dollars. (Of course, like anything that’s second-hand, they do come with more risk). You should also allow another $800 to $1000 to purchase the right protective gear, plus another $500 to $1000 for registration and insurance. The good news is the cost of running a motorbike and filling up with petrol is substantially less than running a motor vehicle, which is another big attraction for buying a motorbike in the first place.