back to articles | February 13, 2023 | Greg Thibodeau

Categories:   Vehicle & Buying Research   

9 Things to Consider Before Buying Your First Motorcycle

Buying your first motorcycle is exciting but there is more to know than meets the eye. You want to ensure that you will be happy with your ride and that you have all you need to hit the road.


Buying your first motorcycle is exciting but there is more to know than meets the eye. You want to ensure that you will be happy with your ride and that you have all you need to hit the road. Keep reading for our top nine tips for buying your first bike.

1. Ensure You Are Legally Allowed To Ride A Motorcycle

Before you consider buying your first motorcycle you should make sure that you are licensed to drive it. Motorcycle licenses are issued by individual states and not the federal government meaning that rules vary from state to state. However, if you have a motorcycle license in one state you are allowed to ride anywhere in the USA.

If you are at least 16 years old you can begin the process of obtaining your motorcycle license in just about any state. The first step is to pass a written exam to obtain a permit which allows you to practice in preparation for the road skills test. If you already have a driver’s license the road test is usually conducted on a closed course where the examiner can observe you. If you are new to driving in general you may be required to do a test on the road with other drivers.

2. Brush Up On Motorcycle Safety

If you are preparing to obtain your motorcycle license you might want to consider taking an approved motorcycle safety course. Not only will you gain valuable skills and knowledge, you may also be able to skip the written exam or the public road skills test. Doing the course can even save you money on motorcycle insurance.

The safety course is generally two to four days long and it is designed to ensure your safety on the road. If you already have your motorcycle license, taking a course is well worth it too. If you’re a beginning rider or if it’s been a while and you want to sharpen your skills, a good instructor can give you confidence while teaching you how to be safe.

3. Choose The Type Of Bike That Suits Your Lifestyle

Motorcycles come in different shapes, sizes, and styles so you must carefully consider your individual needs and how you intend to use your bike. If you’re buying your first motorcycle, figuring out what type of bike you need can be harder than it seems. Here is a brief rundown of the most common motorcycle types you’ll have to choose from.

These versatile motorcycles offer a low seat height and relaxed position. Great for long comfortable rides and an excellent option for touring and commuting.

Sport Bikes
Not surprisingly, sport bikes are made to go fast. With their power and sharp handling they require an experienced driver and these bikes do their best work on the track.

Naked Bikes
These lightweight motorcycles fall somewhere between sport bikes and cruisers. They are quick but with a more upright riding position allowing them to be better utilized for general street riding.

Touring Bikes
Here are the biggest and heaviest motorcycles available and they’re made for long distance rides. They’re comfortable and offer luggage space along with powerful engines to propel all those high-end features forward.

Adventure Bikes
Those who want a versatile machine that can handle off-road trails and still get you to work on time should set their sights on adventure bikes. These machines are powerful and full of rugged features.

4. Decide If You Will Buy New Or Used

New bikes are more expensive but they come with peace of mind and a warranty. If you’re considering a motorcycle as your primary means of transportation then the extra expense might be worth it. This is especially true if you’re new to motorcycles in general and not particularly mechanically inclined.

Buying used makes a lot of sense if you’re buying your first bike as a secondary vehicle and you’re relatively new to riding. As you practice your skills you will undoubtedly put some dents and scratches on your bike. It will hurt a lot less if it isn’t a brand new motorcycle for which you just paid a premium price.

5. Be Realistic When It Comes To Horsepower

If you’re buying your first motorcycle you might be anticipating barreling down the highway on a horsepower bullet but it’s wise to proceed with caution. You don’t want to start out with a bike that’s too powerful or you may lose control and put yourself and others at risk. For a first motorcycle it is recommended that you stay under 600cc.

6. Look For The Right Fit And Weight

You will want your first motorcycle to build your skills and grow your confidence. A bike that is uncomfortable or more than you can handle is not the machine for you. If you can’t push it around or lift it when it falls over, then that bike is too heavy and you should look at something easier to manage.

The motorcycle needs to fit right so that you are comfortable and able to maintain control of your bike at all times. Ensure that you are able to turn the handlebars without shifting in the seat. You should be able to place your feet flat on the ground when you’re stationary and rest them comfortably on the pegs while you drive.

7. Try Before You Buy

If you’re buying your first motorcycle then be prepared that you might not be able to take the bike for a test drive. This is especially difficult for beginning riders who may not know how a motorcycle should feel. What seems comfortable in a showroom may be a poor fit after 15 minutes on the road.

If there’s any chance to drive the bike then take it for a spin. If not, see if there is a possibility to return the motorcycle if it doesn’t feel right after an extended test drive. You can also look into trying a bike that is similar to one you’re considering buying.

8. Have A Plan For Insurance

In most states motorcycle insurance is required by law. At the very least you will need liability coverage which protects you in the event that someone is injured or you damage property. Additional coverage can be purchased which protects you and your property. Shop around for the best insurance rates and remember that the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

9. Shop Around For Financing

When buying your first motorcycle, you need to budget for the bike and all the gear. You’ll definitely need a helmet but you should also invest in a riding jacket and pants as well as gloves and boots. The costs can add up and you might need a little help financing your purchase.

Just as you can get an auto loan, you can get a motorcycle loan too. Visit myAutoloan and get multiple offers with no obligation to buy. It will give you a good benchmark for what is considered a fair deal when you shop around. If you do decide to take one of the offers from myAutoloan, you can have the funds deposited into your account with the click of a button.