ith more than 1 billion cars on the world’s roads and the number growing by many millions every year motorcycles are no longer just the exclusive domain of biker clubs or racers. In many of today’s cities they’re the only practical way to get around. And, in an age of ever increasing fuel costs, they’re also recognized as the environmentally responsible alternative to gas guzzling SUVs. Still, there are a lot of things to consider when buying a motorcycle from the type of bike to engine displacement and much more. All things we’ll be taking a close look at in this motorcycle buying guide.
Use This Motorcycle Buying Guide to Find the Right Bike for You
The simplest way to cover the topic of which motorcycle to buy is by dividing them into different motorcycle types and looking at each type from an objective standpoint. As we have no skin in the motorcycle sales game you can be sure our motorcycle guide is completely unbiased. So here goes.
Standard motorcycles are not racing bikes that push the rider forward over the gas tank in order to streamline their profile. Street bike sizes range from mid-to-large displacement like the Honda CB1100, the Triumph Street Twin and, maybe the best standard motorcycle today, the Kawasaki Z900RS. While these bikes are all extremely fast, speed is not their primary function. Rather, they go for comfort, ease of handling, safety and punch for those times when you need it. Standard bikes today also come loaded with tech including radios, phone chargers and automatic transmissions.
The cruiser is built for kicking back on long stretches of highway. They typically seat you pretty low and place the hand grips either straight out in front of you or at a slightly elevated position. Cruisers have big motorcycle engine sizes with lots of oomph, although they may not beat a sport bike half their size in the quarter mile. Cruisers make good starter motorcycles (if you’re big enough) because they’re not coiled up tight like a racer and sit you nice and low where it’s easy to catch yourself with your feet at traffic lights. But don’t buy a cruiser thinking you’re being environmentally responsible because there are plenty of small cars that get better mileage.
If cruisers are about kicking back sport bikes are about leaning forward and cranking the throttle to 11. The top factory issue sport bikes are capable of approaching 200 mph and will go from 0 – 60 in less than 3 seconds. Sport motorcycle engine sizes are typically large and sport bikes are not recommended for beginners simply because you can get into so much trouble so fast. Because of this you should have enough experience under your belt before mounting a sports bike that reactions are instinctual. As far as motorcycle costs are concerned sport bikes are going to set you back real money and also cost you a pretty penny when it comes time to rustle up some insurance.
Classic dirt bikes are not street legal. They’re intended strictly for recreational purposes either on the track or on the trail. Dirt bikes don’t have a number plate, blinkers or anything resembling a headlight. They’re made for dirt and dirt is what they do better than any other machine built by man. 50cc dirt bikes with scaled down frames are available for kids while most adult dirt bike engine sizes range from 250 to 500cc. If you opt for a dirt bike the proper gear is essential as riding an MX track or barreling down wilderness paths are activities fraught with dangers street riders never encounter.
Sometimes you want to head into the wild with your bike but you don’t want to have to cart it to your favorite trail in the back of a pickup. For times like that there are dual-purpose bikes. They combine the off road toughness and agility of a dirt bike with the street legal capabilities of the best standard motorcycle models. The dual sport bike will typically have the smaller engine displacement of the dirt bike with the blinkers, number plate, mirrors and headlight of the street bike. They’re a popular first motorcycle option for people who want to keep their options open.
In most of the world these small motorcycles are simply called “motorbikes”. They are the preferred method of travel in places like Thailand and mainland China. They typically have engines of 150cc or less (although larger sized engines have been gradually creeping in recently) and small or small-ish wheels both front and back. Scooters are affordable, typically get great gas mileage and can be an excellent first motorcycle for those just getting their feet wet. Some 150cc scooters can top 70 mph which is plenty fast for almost all purposes. But pushing them to their limits in such a way is definitely not recommended.
hile electric cars have been getting all the press electric motorcycles have also come of age recently and today there are a wide variety available for the environmentally aware commuter. Electric bikes are virtually silent, don’t pollute the air, don’t burn fossil fuels and can move you swiftly about town as you take care of errands or visit friends and relatives. They don’t make such good starter motorcycles however because, even though they’re comfortable and fairly restrained speed-wise, they’re near the top of the list of motorcycle costs, they don’t lend themselves to easy repairs and they only get about 100 miles before you need to hook them up for a recharge.
One More Thing
You should keep in mind too that just because you’re a newbie to the world of motorcycles it doesn’t mean you have to look like one. The best custom dirt bike graphics
will let you put your stamp on your bike while also providing it a unique and compelling look that other bike owners will envy. That said, we hope you found this compact motorcycle buying guide helpful.