What Bike Should You Get?
Choosing the Right Motorcycle to Avoid an Accident
Picking a motorcycle is exciting because your ride is an extension of your personality. But picking the right motorcycle is more than just a statement, it is a matter of safety. If you’re on a motorcycle that’s the wrong size, design, or CC, then you could have a much more difficult time controlling it, which increases your risk of getting into a motorcycle accident.
At Gill Law Group, we want every motorcyclist in our communities to be safe and excited whenever they go for a ride. That’s why we have created a quick resource to help you choose the right motorcycle for you.
How to Choose a Motorcycle
Motorcycles come in many varieties, such as:
- Sport or street bikes
- Dual sport or dirk bikes
- Standard motorcycles
- Touring motorcycles
- Retro riders
- Off-road or adventure motorcycles
- And even scooters
Choosing the right one for you depends on understanding why you want to get a motorcycle in the first place. Are you looking for a casual ride that you can use for trips around town, or do you want something that you can comfortably take across the country for summer road trips? Are you interested in a motorcycle that you ride while sitting upright or while leaning into the ride for better aerodynamics? Do you want one that really looks cool – and plenty of them do – or one that makes less of a statement? Is gas mileage your biggest concern, or are routine maintenance requirements?
Figure out why you want a motorcycle, and you can move onto the next part of selecting the right one for you.
What Size Motorcycle Do You Need for Your Height & Weight?
Have you come to a pretty solid conclusion as to why you want a motorcycle? Nice! Now it is time to consider what size motorcycle you need for your height and weight. This detail matters more than most riders realize.
An underweighted motorcycle for you can mean a higher risk of losing control during turns and braking. One that is too tall for you can make steering difficult, as well as seeing the road ahead clearly. It needs to be like Goldilocks looking for the perfect bear bed to steal: just right.
When considering your height and weight compared to your ride, you need to think about:
- Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): Every motorcycle has a carrying capacity limit set by the manufacturer. Going over that limit can gradually wear on the vehicle and increase the risk of a crash. To figure out the carrying capacity, you need to subtract the motorcycle’s actual weight from the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating. For example, a 1,000-pound ride with a GVWR of 1,500 pounds has a carrying capacity of 500 pounds, including all passengers, gear, and fuel and fluids inside the machinery.
- Engine capacity or CC: The lower a motorcycle engine’s CC, the less powerful it is. Every motorcycle has enough CC to carry just about anyone from point A to point B, but heavier-built people tend to enjoy higher CCs because the acceleration remains smooth and predictable when the bike is closer to its carrying capacity. You just won’t feel the same ‘oomph’ from a 125cc compared to a 600cc, for example.
- Reaching the ground: A good starting point for comparing your height to a motorcycle is figuring out how you can comfortably reach the ground with your feet while the bike is idling. If you’re stretching to your tiptoes or bending heavily at the knee when your foot is flat on the ground, then the bike is probably not sized right for you.
- Handlebar length: Taller people have longer arms, which means you also need to factor in your comfort when reaching the handlebars when picking out a motorcycle. You should feel like you have a strong grip on the handlebars when sitting on the ride. You should not feel strained or tired from holding onto them, even for a long while.
Safest Motorcycles for Beginners
Are you shopping for a motorcycle for the first time? The situation is going to be a little different than if you’re buying a motorcycle but have had one before. You are probably going to want to prioritize safety above everything else.
What is the safest motorcycle for beginners? There are plenty of opinions out there about this answer. But the general consensus is that you should find a “cruiser” motorcycle. Cruisers are designed for comfort and control. The seats are usually low and feel like a saddle, and the engines are built for gradual acceleration and maxing out at freeway speeds. If you just want to be safe for your first motorcycle, then a cruiser is probably the way to go.
What Brand Motorcycle is the Most Reliable?
We probably cannot say too much about brand reliability without getting in legal trouble. Every brand will tell you that they are the most reliable. By definition, they cannot all be the most reliable, but they aren’t lying to you, either. Every brand has its ups and downs. Keep that in mind when choosing your next ride.
Three things you can do when trying to find the most reliable brand motorcycle are:
- Shop around: Don’t settle on the first motorcycle brand you find. Take some time to shop around, so you can get a better feel for what a brand brings and lacks.
- Check reviews: Look for candid online reviews from current or previous owners of the motorcycle brand you are considering. A few bad or good reviews don’t mean too much because they could be outliers, but dozens, hundreds, or thousands of reviews really start to speak the truth.
- Speak with local motorcyclists: You can probably find one or more motorcycle clubs and groups in your area by browsing social media sites like Facebook. Getting to know people there is a good way to learn what they think about different motorcycle brands based on their real-world experiences. Of course, it’s nice to make new friends with similar interests, too!