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Publish Date - March 08, 2022

Author: Staci Bailey

Categories:   Tips & Insights For Car Buying    Useful Automotive Information   

5 Must-Have Features to Look for Before Buying a Motorcycle

Motorcycles come in different styles and with various features. It’s important to consider how you intend to use your bike and what expectations you have before you make a purchase. Be honest with yourself and ask the right questions.

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Motorcycles come in different styles and with various features. It’s important to consider how you intend to use your bike and what expectations you have before you make a purchase. Be honest with yourself and ask the right questions.

Riding a motorcycle can be very enjoyable but an ill fitting machine that doesn’t match your lifestyle can quickly make you reconsider your purchase. Take a close look at these features and considerations before you buy and end up with the right motorcycle for years of enjoyment.

1. Motorcycle Type

There are a number of motorcycle types to choose from. The best type of motorcycle for you depends on your preferences and how you intend to use your machine. Here is a brief rundown on some of the most popular motorcycle types and what each one offers.


Cruisers have the appearance of a traditional motorcycle but with a stylish look and relaxed riding position. This type of bike tends to have a lower seat height so your feet easily reach the ground. Comfortable enough for a commuter motorcycle or for day trips.

Sport Bike

These machines are racetrack inspired and built for speed. They are lightweight with big engines starting at 125cc. These motorcycles are fast, fun, and aerodynamic at the expense of comfort. Sport bikes are ideal for solo riders looking for some fun on the highway.

Touring/Sport Touring

Touring motorcycles are made for comfort on long drives. Big, strong, and sturdy they can easily carry two passengers plus cargo. These bikes are best for distance travel but can work just as well for daily commuting.

Sport touring motorcycles are similar to basic touring bikes but they come with high-performance features. Ideal for the rider who wants a machine with a bit more punch. They are also great for traveling on less than ideal terrain when a bit of extra power can help get you through rough spots.

Dual Purpose

These bikes can be driven on roads but they really shine on off-road trails. With higher ground clearance, rugged tires, and improved suspension, dual purpose motorcycles can handle fairly rough terrain but can still get you to and from work during the week. Great for adventure riding but good for city driving too.


Electric motorcycles are becoming more popular in response to environmental and economic concerns. These bikes can’t compete for speed and have a limited range but they are inexpensive to maintain and operate. They are quickly becoming the motorcycle of choice for urban riders in need of local transportation at a lower price point.

2. Comfort And Fit

Few things can ruin a good ride quite like aches and pains due to an ill fitting motorcycle. Before you buy, be sure to thoroughly test drive the bike and try to estimate how comfortable it would be on a long trip. Be honest with yourself and don’t let any other factors convince you to buy a motorcycle that isn’t a good physical match for you.

Your weight should feel evenly balanced and your knees should be bent at a comfortable angle. The seat is an important part of a comfortable ride. It should fit you well and it needs to be at the right height to feel comfortable even on long rides.

The design of the handlebars is another area that requires extra attention. They need to be at the right height and distance so that you're not putting excessive weight on them in order to operate the motorcycle. The width of the handlebars can affect comfort too and while wider designs might make you feel like a Hollywood star they can be taxing on the body during longer drives.

3. Windshield

Not all motorcycles come with a windshield. Some people prefer the look of bikes without a windshield and their exposed design aesthetics. Naked bikes can be alluring but the look comes at a cost to comfort that not all riders are willing to pay.

The windshield deflects wind, rain, bugs, and road debris. On long rides having all these elements beating on you can be exhausting. When fatigue sets in and you have nowhere to hide, that naked bike can lead to a miserable drive.

Naked bikes are good for people who only ride when conditions are ideal and for trips that aren’t very long. But if your motorcycle has a job to do, such as getting you to work, a windshield can help make your commute less of a chore. Additionally, if you plan on doing some distance driving, you may want to opt for the windshield too.

4. Cargo Capacity

Carefully consider how you intend to use your motorcycle. If you plan to take frequent day trips and long tours then you need to consider any cargo you may want to take along on your drives. Leisure day trips are much more enjoyable if you can bring any necessities you may need while you’re out on the road.

If your motorcycle is the only transportation you have there will likely be times when cargo capacity will become an issue. A place to put your items is great on trips to the grocery store or commutes to work. The ability to carry cargo will allow you to get a lot more use out of your machine.

For riders that can benefit from a little cargo space, saddlebags are the answer. Find a machine equipped with this feature and make your motorcycle more versatile. Many bikes can be fitted with a set of saddlebags even if they don’t come that way so ask questions before you make a purchase.

5. Fuel Tank Size

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to fuel tank size on your motorcycle. Larger tanks do extend your range between pit stops but they can negatively affect comfort. A bigger tank makes the machine wider meaning you will need to stretch your legs around it. When it comes to fuel tank size, weigh the pros and cons as they apply to your lifestyle and your physical build.

The kind of riding you intend to do will determine the best type of machine for you. Your preferences and physical attributes are important considerations when you are deciding on the features that will give you the most enjoyment out of your motorcycle.

What motorcycle you buy will ultimately be affected by your budget. Need a little help figuring out what you can afford? Here’s a handy tool to get you on the bike of your dreams.