The past few months I’ve been all over the board with what kind of bike I want. Classic. Naked. Vintage. Cruiser. Sport. Super sport. Back to classic. It’s so hard to make a decision. It’s like the first bike will define me or something. But it won’t. Instead, I suppose, it’ll define my first experience buying and riding my own motorcycle. And I like taking things slowly. Nothing needs to be rushed or hurried. Nice and easy.
There have been a few things which have helped me narrow down my choices in selecting a first bike. If you’re looking to follow the masses, I’ve read article after article about bikes for beginners, and they all boil down to the same seven or eight: Kawasaki Ninja 300, Honda CB or CBR 300 or 500, KTM 390 Duke, Suzuki GW250, and throw in an entry-level Harley for good measure.
These bikes are fine. Nothing wrong with them. I considered most, if not all, of them in my search over the past few months. The only problem was I didn’t find the motorcycle of my dreams in any of them. I really don’t want a big bike, 300 cc feels fine, and I like the idea of a lighter bike too. But none of these made me swoon. So I decided to make my own criteria.
- Besides learn on it, decide how you’ll spend most of your time on your new motorcycle. What do you want to do with it? Take long day trips, race, commute, or go cross-country. Once you know what you’ll be doing when you’re on it, it’ll be a little easier to narrow down the type of bike you’re going to want to consider. If you’re looking to do a road trip to Montana and back, you might want to reconsider that Ninja 300.
- Ease of riding. How big are you? How much bike can you handle? How much saddle time have you clocked after Motorcycle Training School? If you haven’t taken a course in motorcycle safety, you might want to reconsider. Mine was awesome. If you’re an experienced rider, you go do you, buddy, and skip to number three. Some people will say you want to start with something small like a 250 or 300. And they’re probably right. Hence, the list above. But if it doesn’t speak to your soul (see number four), then it doesn’t matter how big or little it is. It’s not for you. There are forgiving bigger bikes out there for the novice. You just need to find the right for you.
- Budget. How much do you want to spend on your new baby? Are you going to buy new or used? There are pros and cons to both. New is going to be more expensive, but less maintenance and you know exactly where that bike has been since its third or fourth mile. Plus, there’s more than just the price tag that you’ll want to consider. You have insurance, sales tax, upkeep, maintenance, parts, and interest if you finance it. No reason to bust the bank for your new beast. Remember, as beautiful as a motorcycle is, it’s a depreciating asset. It will not go up in value unless you keep it for fifty years behind some glass box and never use it. But where’s the fun in that?
- Look deep into its eyes or mirrors or pistons. Run your fingers along the shiny, glistening tank. Does the bike speak to your soul? Are you meant for it and it meant for you? It’s not cheese that I’m spewing here, it’s truth. You’re going to need to take care of that bike and that bike is going to take care of you. Although there will be bikes that come and go, your first is always going to be your first.
After all that, I still haven’t decided on what I’m going with. I’m leaning towards a Triumph. When I see one, it’s speaks to me. I’m just not sure what it’s saying yet. Buy me or beat it.
I’ll keep listening.