You’ve passed your motorcycle license test and now you’re ready to buy your first motorcycle! What to buy? A Harley? A Cruiser? European exotic? Crotch rocket? It honestly depends on the skill of the rider, and how much he or she wants to spend. The most important piece of advice I can give to new buyers, is to purchase proper gear. A helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment a rider can have, but don’t only buy a helmet. Gloves, riding boots, pants, and a jacket are all a necessity. If you hit the asphalt at 50mph, with no protection, your skin will look like the contents of a cheese grader. That’s brutal to say, but it’s true. I fell at 60mph on a dirt bike with my sleeves rolled up and my arms had serious road rash. Don’t make the same mistake that I did, wear all your gear.
Now that you’ve (hopefully) bought your gear you’re ready to purchase the bike. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle, do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy a 600cc. Don’t even think about buying a 1000cc. The 600cc bikes are easy to afford and maintain, but they are ridiculously fast. For example, the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 has about 100hp at the rear wheel. This may seem like not a lot of power, but the power to weight ratio of a motorcycle is insane. Most 600cc, or middle weight bikes, reach a top speed of around a 165mph and do 0 to 60mph in three seconds flat. To put that into perspective, the 2017 Ferrari 488 GTB does 0 to 60mph at around three seconds flat, but it costs $270k plus. The bike is around $12k…. That being said, I’m not trying to scare the buyer, but I’m just warning them about how fast these bikes are.
In my opinion, the best way to get involved in motorcycling is to start off with dirt biking. I was fortunate to start at a very young age and ride about 10 years in the dirt, before riding on the street. For most this is not a possibility. Riding in the dirt allows the rider to experience every possible scenario that could occur on the street. Whether it is sliding around, or riding on different terrains, dirt biking makes you a better street rider.
If the buyer can’t purchase a dirt bike, or gain some off road experience, the best beginner bike to buy is a 250cc. They are very easy to ride, and extremely forgiving if you make a mistake. There is a misconception that 250’s are not fast, but this isn’t true. If this is the buyer’s first bike they will be pleased with its light weight and agility. After a few years of riding and getting comfortable going through curves, then it’s safe to move up to a 600cc sport bike. Enjoy riding, but take it slow and always wear your gear!