Born to be Wild

motorcycle in parking garage

Surly everyone has heard the song “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf! Just imagine me singing this in my very best rocker voice…

Get your motor runnin’

Head out on the highway

Looking for adventure

In whatever comes our way

If you are ready for the wind in your hair and to cruise down the highway, a motorcycle might be just up your alley. I have always wanted a motorcycle but am afraid I am too small to hold one up and control it. When I was a kid, my dad, uncle, brother and cousins all had motorcycles of some sort or another. I was just happy to ride on the back. My PawPaw would sometimes ride his motorcycle out to Noodle, Tx, where I grew up and take me for a ride into Merkel for an ice cream from the DQ or just ride around the countryside. Those are some of my all-time favorite memories with my arms wrapped around his waist and laying my head on his back.

If you’re ready to start making some of these memories for yourself, we’re here to help! I have compiled a step-by-step guide for buying a motorcycle, complete with useful tips to help you make a purchase you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Secure financing

A motorcycle can run you anywhere from $2,000 to $16,000, and it’s always best to have the financial details of a large purchase squared away before you start shopping so you can avoid disappointment later. You can save up for your bike, charge it to a low-interest credit card or take out an unsecured loan from Abilene Teachers FCU for affordable interest rates and payback terms to best fit your budget.

Brush up on your motorcycle safety

Before you shop for a bike, it’s a good idea to complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course. This is similar to driver’s training, and it will help ensure you can ride your bike in better safety. Depending on your state, you may also need to obtain a special motorcycle license.

Procure insurance

In some states, motorcycle insurance is required by law, but even if your state does not mandate it, consider purchasing it anyway. As is the case with auto insurance, you’ll have the freedom to choose how much coverage you’ll have, with more robust coverage directly increasing the cost of your policy.

Choose between a new and used bike

A used motorcycle can save you thousands of dollars, but finding one in decent condition can be challenging. Avoid bikes that have mileage exceeding 20,000 miles, and are difficult to start-up, run and/or stop. It’s also a good idea to get a VIN check on your potential new bike and to have it professionally inspected.

A new bike, on the other hand, will be in perfect condition but is a lot pricier. It’s a good idea to run the numbers before setting your heart on a particular motorcycle. It’s also important to note that, while you might save on repairs and maintenance, insurance on a new bike will likely be a lot more expensive than coverage for a used one.

Choose a motorcycle type

You’re ready to choose your type of ride. Here are the most popular choices:

  • Sport bikes– equipped with a leaning design, these bikes can be a good choice for thrill-seekers, but an uncomfortable option for riders planning to take long trips.
  • Standard bikes– an an upright riding posture and lack of accessories make these perfect for beginners and the budget-conscious.
  • Cruisers– tend to be heavy, but offer a relaxed riding position, making them an excellent choice for tall riders seeking a stylish ride.
  • Touring bikes– these motorcycles are loaded with extra features for long trips, including saddlebags to accommodate luggage and large fuel tanks.
  • Dual sport bikes– lightweight and built with high-travel suspension and aggressive tires, these bikes are a great choice for off-road riding. Their tall seat height makes them difficult for short riders to handle.

Once you’ve chosen your ride type, research models from popular brands and check out ratings and reviews from current owners. When you’ve narrowed down your choice, you’re ready to visit dealerships and private sellers.

Important features to consider

A motorcycle’s seat, handlebars, and foot pegs are not adjustable, so it’s important to choose one that fits comfortably. Consider the weight of your bike, too, since a heavier bike can be difficult to maneuver.

Finally, if you’re a new rider, don’t go overboard on power. It’s best to start with a bike that has a 500cc engine and then trade-in for something more powerful later on, if necessary.

Choose your bike and finalize your purchase

You’re ready to buy your bike! Choose carefully and do lots of research so you’ll enjoy your motorcycle for many happy miles.

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