You’ve long dreamed of cruising down the freeway on a motorcycle, your worries carried away by the wind. Now, after saving paycheck after paycheck, you have enough cash to make your dream a reality. The only problem is you’re not sure which bike is best for you? You have a ton of questions like: “Which motorcycle is safest?” or “What will the perfect bike cost?” or “How much is motorcycle insurance and how does it work?”
Let’s break it down:
Size and Body Style
There are several styles of motorcycles. Here are a few of the most popular ones:
Cruiser (Yamaha V Star 250– Base Price $4,340) – Picture the biker gang you saw, zooming past you, wearing super-cool leather jackets, leaning back, riding their Harleys. The low seats and tall handlebars give cruisers their laid-back feel while keeping riders in an upright position. Lightweight cruisers, which are often used on instructional courses, aren’t meant for racing or any other debauchery, so they’re great for beginners.
Sportbike (Honda CBR300R – Base Price $4,719) – These powerful machines rocket riders down the street. While they may “look cool,” they are certainly not for the faint of heart, or the beginner, as they have the highest fatality rate of any motorcycle.
Dual-Sport (Kawasaki KLR650 – Base Price $6,599) – These small, lightweight bikes are perfect for beginners. They do have high seats, though, which may not be best for shorter riders.
Touring (Honda Gold Wing– Base Price $23,000) – Built for long-distance travel, these bikes are heavy, stable, and perfect for scenic highways. Beware, though, they tend to be more expensive.
Standard (Triumph Bonneville Street Twin – Base Price $8,700) – Probably the best all-around bike style for beginners, Standards are incredibly versatile.
Scooter (Vespa GTS 300 Super – Base Price $6,199) – These fun, easy-to-ride machines are great for getting around a city where parking is impossible. Be careful, though, as scooters are not typically designed for high speeds, and thus, not always highway-friendly.
Remember, for motorcycles, size matters. If you can’t put both feet on the ground when stopped, the bike is too tall for you to ride safely. Fit is as important for a bike as it is for a good pair of jeans. You want to be comfortable and in control of your bike at all times, so take your time finding the perfect fit.
Despite the fact that motorcycles make up only 3 percent of registered vehicles, motorcyclists accounted for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities, 18 percent of all occupant fatalities and 4 percent of all occupant injuries in 2012, according to Injury Facts 2015, the National Safety Council’s annual statistical compilation on unintentional deaths and injuries.
The gear you wear to ride is equally as important when it comes to safety as the bike you’re riding while wearing it. The human body is not built to withstand the force of traveling, exposed, down the freeway at 65 m.p.h. The best way to protect yourself while riding is by wearing a full-coverage helmet with face shield, cowhide jacket and pants, heavy boots, and leather gloves. Motorcycle apparel may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it is the best way to protect yourself.
There are also certain bike features, like an Antilock Brake System, that don’t necessarily come standard on motorcycles. Investing in these can decrease your risk of an accident, and potentially the cost of your motorcycle insurance.
On average, beginner bikes will cost you somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000, but the cost of a bike isn’t just what you see on the sticker. Just like driving a car, motorcyclists are required to have motorcycle insurance. The cost of motorcycle insurance depends upon many factors, including the value of your bike, how easily it can be stolen, where you park it, and the safety features of your bike.
Whether you plan to ride all the time or just on weekends, it’s important to take your time when choosing a bike and your protection while riding it.