Motorcycles are one of the best and arguably most affordable travel vehicles. These two-wheeled machines have a lot to offer because of their compact size, performance and affordability. Motorcycles are the perfect choice for travel enthusiasts. You can feel the air and the freedom with it. Moreover, you don’t need to empty your entire life savings or borrow a loan to purchase a motorcycle. There is also an option of buying a second-hand motorcycle. However, you should look out for few things to get the best product for your money. Here is a checklist for buying your first motorcycle.
Prepare a budget
People often forget that owning a vehicle is not a one-time expense. You need to consider expenses like maintenance cost, fuel cost and insurance cost. If you are purchasing a motorcycle on EMI or a bank loan, make sure you account for that as well. Proper budget planning can help avoid financial troubles and narrow down the kind of motorcycle you will want to buy.
Identifying the ideal motorcycle
Necessity and affordability are inherently distinct from each individual. As a result, the same model or type of bike won’t suit everyone. Here’s a quick overview of the most common types of motorcycles:
Standard motorcycles, also known as naked or roadsters, are the most common motorcycle type. They feature an upright seating position. They generally don’t have fairings or windshields, and because of their versatility and decent engine output, they are best suited for beginners. Standard bikes are all-rounder bikes that can fulfill various roles, and you can’t go wrong with this option at all.
Cruisers feature a lower seat height that allows sufficient space for riders to place their hands and feet comfortably. They have an adjustable seat that allows riders to sit in a straight position or lean back slightly. Additionally, their lower seat height allows shorter riders to control the vehicle’s weight more easily. Cruisers are focused on rideability as their engines are designed for low-end torque, removing the need to frequently shift the gears to accelerate or maintain control. While cruisers have lower power, upgraded versions known as Power Cruises boast higher power and overall performance.
Sports bikes are high-tier luxury motorcycles that excel in performance and power. Their design is engineered to reduce drag and deflect the air at very high speeds. They boast superior engines, braking systems and suspension systems. The riders have to lean forward to balance themselves at extremely high speeds. While sports bikes excel in power, you have to compromise with comfort. Fatigue can occur on sports bikes due to the unnatural position the rider has to be at lower speeds. On top of that, sports bikes are expensive. All of this makes a sports bike a poor choice for most folks who only need to travel lightly for commuting.
Touring motorcycles are built for traveling long distances. For this reason, they are equipped with (i.) large-displacement engines, (ii.) fairings for more streamlined shapes, (iii.) windscreens to protect against weather and wind, (iv.) cargo space to carry items and (v.) a large-capacity fuel tanks. This is the ideal motorcycle for both travel and motorcycle enthusiasts.
Scooters are lightweight motorcycles that are easier to learn and ride. They feature automatic clutches, smaller CVT, small size, and a step-through frame. While some countries perceive it as a feminine vehicle, the stigma is slowly fading away, and both genders have started to use the vehicle. The scooter’s utility makes it a solid contender for the daily commute against standard motorcycles.
Once you have sorted out what type of motorcycle you need, the next step is to look for models and brands of that type. Search for them online before you go to a dealership. Familiarize yourself with the motorcycle you want to purchase. With that knowledge, the deal will progress smoothly for both you and the sales associate. It gives you the upper hand as the sales associate can’t sway you away easily into other expensive bikes.
Specifications like seat height, wheelbase, fuel capacity and weight are easier to understand than engines. Here’s a brief explanation to help you understand the engine.
The engine can be classified as a two-stroke engine and a four-stroke engine. Two-strokes produce twice the number of power strokes per revolution but have the worse fuel economy. Combustion of the intake charge is better in a four-stroke engine.
Engines are commonly singles, parallel twins, v-twins, flat twins, inline-3s, inline-4s and V4s. These offer varying levels of performance and are better suited for certain types only. For example, singles work best for dirt bikes. Thus, almost every dirt bike runs on it. However, it may not be ideal for motorcycles looking for larger engine displacement.
Engine cooling can either be liquid cooling, air cooling or oil cooling. Liquid cooling consists of a radiator to cool the engine, air cooling consists of a fan, and oil cooling consists of oil doubles as a cooling agent alongside a small radiator.
Power and torque:
Power can be defined as the motorcycle’s top speed, while torque can be understood as acceleration rate. They are tied together because of how close they work in conjunction.
After identifying and finding the suitable motorcycle, take it for a test ride. Dealerships will often have a designated route that you need to follow. First, position yourself on the bike. How does it feel? Can you firmly rest your feet on the ground and handle the weight of the vehicle? This is important as you’ll regularly have to stop your vehicle in traffic or for other reasons. Start the bike and get a feel of the throttle. When you are riding, try out how comfortable the gear lever feels. Can you comfortably change gears without feeling strained or awkward? Take sharp turns if possible and also get a feel for the clutch and the brakes. Ride at low and high speeds to understand how well it fares and how well you can handle the bike. All these variables can be a deciding factor in buying a motorcycle.
Offers and discounts
Dealerships promote lucrative offers and discounts to persuade you into buying a motorcycle. Needless to say, if you have patience, the best time to look for offers is around the big festive season of the year or the end of the year. Dealerships will try to make better offers than their competitors and rake in customers. That being said, some offers can be overkill. You might be surprised at how much an offer can save you, but you need to ask yourself if you really need it. You may save a lot of money but what’s the point in buying something unwanted? You’ll basically waste your money. Most of all, don’t be embarrassed to walk away. The sales associate might persuade you to stay but there are multiple dealerships available with better pricing. Chances are, dealerships will find you the same model. As long as your offer is reasonable, there is always room for more negotiation.
Resale value is a factor that is quite easy to overlook. While you do want your motorcycle to sustain as long as possible, it will degrade over time. Unless you plan to make a family heirloom antique, you’ll want to sell it sooner rather than later because of depreciation or other reasons. Usually, motorcycles depreciate about 20% within the first 2 years. This allows you to use a motorcycle for a few years, sell it and buy a brand new one with some added budget. If you intend to stick with it for a long time and don’t care much about buying a new one, frequent maintenance will be more than necessary to keep your motorcycle in a good state.