So you’ve got the itch to buy your first bike? We understand your excitement. You’ve probably been on the back of other bikes, felt that adrenaline rush of being connected to the open road and thought – “I’m ready to get one of these for myself.”
Here are some things to consider before you take the plunge and bring home a motorcycle.
That super shiny bike with the big V-4 engine that appears in your dreams of traveling the back roads of America is actually probably not the first motorcycle you should buy.
Sorry, we don’t mean to burst your bubble. But, here’s why: it’s a good idea to get a used bike for your first purchase, or at least one that is on the cheaper side. This way you don’t lose too much money if you decide owning a motorcycle actually isn’t for you.
Also, if you have in mind a bike with a more powerful engine, whether it’s a racing bike or a cruiser, your beginner skill level probably won’t match up too well with a machine capable of great feats of acceleration.
Advice from the pros is for new owners to go for a mid-sized bike. That way you won’t grow out of a smaller bike too quickly, nor end up tasting asphalt on a bike better suited for a years-long rider. If you do go with a used bike, get it checked out by a mechanic – especially the brake discs, tires and chain. These components get worn over time, and can eat up all your play money if they need to be replaced.
The Safety Gear
Back to those dreams of you twisting through the roads in Hill Country, you are probably not at all envisioning how the safety gear looks on you. We know, it’s not the coolest thing about riding. Still, safety gear is one of the most important. It keeps you from leaving your skin, or worse, along the highway. That road isn’t made of cushions. When you hit it hard for the first time, trust us, you’ll wish you had donned a full safety suit.
Safety gear is made from thicker, stronger materials than the typical jacket, boots and gloves. It is designed to protect you from falls as well as weather conditions, and can enhance your ability to handle a bike.
At the very minimum, wear your safety jacket, gloves, boots and a good full-face helmet every time you ride. If this doesn’t sound reasonable, it’s probably a good idea to stick to modes of transportation that have at least four wheels. Also, don’t grab a free helmet that somebody gives you or one that’s in anyway compromised. Helmets with any dings or that are more than a few years old are no good. Get a helmet that fits you snug and is of high quality. While you may not spend all that much on your first bike, don’t skimp on inexpensive safety gear. At the end of the day, your bike itself is not significant; but you are.
License & Registration
You will need a class M license in the state of Texas to drive a motorcycle. For the registration, here’s the good news and bad news: registering your motorcycle is basically the same as registering your car.
The good news would be that it is pretty straightforward; the bad news is that it’s kind of a pain and something that most of us barely find time to do. To register, you’ll present documentation that the bike is in fact yours and write a check.
Then, you’ll receive in the mail the smallest license plate you’ve ever owned. Screw it to the back of your bike and ride away. Be sure to keep those tags updated though. If you ever do get pulled over, it will make the already miserable routine traffic pullover experience less painful.
If you are over 25-years-old and have a pristine driving record, you can get a rate on insurance that won’t make you cringe. Possibly just a few hundred dollars a year. There are other factors besides your age and driving record; the theft rate of the bike model, where you live, if the Rangers win the pennant on a Tuesday– maybe not that last one exactly, but insurance agencies are notorious for head-scratching factors in calculating your rates. As with car insurance, shop around by calling different agents, or going to insurance comparison websites.
Enjoy Your Bike & Stay Safe
It doesn’t matter if you spend the rest of your life riding and come to own a dozen more bikes, you’ll never forget the thrill of getting your very first one. The attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek want you to ride safely, and stand behind those who need legal help following an accident.