Switching from 4 wheels to 2 wheels: Everything you need to know before buying a motorcycle

There’s nothing more romantic than the image of whizzing around open roads on two wheels. If you’ve always wanted to buy a motorcycle, or you’ve recently decided that you’d rather have a bike than a car, here’s everything you need to know before buying a motorcycle.

THE COST OF RUNNING A MOTORBIKE

It’s easy to assume that buying and running a motorcycle is cheaper than driving a car. In some cases, this may be true, but it’s crucial to understand the costs involved in buying a bike before you make any final decisions. There is a vast range of motorcycles available, and the cost of bikes varies hugely, depending on the age, the make and model and the specifications. Set a budget before you begin your search, and make sure you can afford either a lump-sum payment to buy the vehicle outright or monthly repayments for finance options. 

In addition to the purchase price, you’ll also need to factor in insurance. The cost of motorcycle insurance will vary according to a range of factors, including the age of the bike, its condition, where you live, the prevalence of bike crime and your driving record. If you’ve been driving for a long time, and you have a clean licence and no history of claims, you should be able to find a good deal. Use the Internet to compare prices and policies. If you have made claims in the past, you have driving offences on your record, or you own an expensive bike, your premium will cost more. 

Another cost to bear in mind when switching to life on two wheels is the kit you’ll need to navigate the roads safely. The risk of injuries is significantly higher when driving a bike, rather than a car, and this is why most riders will invest heavily in helmets, protective clothing and sturdy boots. 

Perhaps the most significant difference for owners of cars and motorcycles is maintenance costs. Typically, cars last a lot longer between services than motorbikes, and this means that maintenance and repair fees can soon add up. It’s worth doing some research and seeking advice from motorcycle enthusiasts to find out more about running costs before you take the plunge and part with your cash. 

DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOTORCYCLES

You only have to visit a showroom or type the word ‘motorcycle’ into a search engine to see that there are myriad types of bikes out there. Before you buy a motorcycle or fall head over heels for an impossibly cool, sparkling new bike in a dealership window, spend some time exploring different makes and models and think carefully about how you plan to use your bike.

Will you be using a motorcycle to commute to work? Are you adding a bike to your driveway, rather than replacing a car? Are you looking for a motorcycle to race or modify? When browsing different makes and models and considering different types of bikes, it’s critical to create a shortlist that caters to your specific preferences and requirements. If you are a fan of racing, you can take advantage of services offered by companies like Tokyo Mods to spruce up your bike and get it race-ready.

If you’re searching for a motorcycle that is more practical for commuting or running daily errands, prioritise safety and fuel efficiency and make sure you take advantage of test drives. It’s essential to make sure that you feel comfortable and that you enjoy the driving experience. There’s a wealth of information available in auto magazines, and you can read online reviews and articles to learn more about performance and compare makes and models that appeal. 

DRIVING SAFELY

Statistics from the UK-based charity, Brake, suggest that motorcyclists are 63-times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash than car drivers. When swapping a car for a bike, or buying a motorcycle for fun, it’s vital to be aware of the dangers involved in travelling on two wheels. If you have a collision in a car, you’ll be protected by airbags, and sheltered by the body of the vehicle.

If you have a crash on a bike, there’s every chance that you’ll be thrown into the road with only your clothing and helmet for protection. Crashes at high speed often result in severe, life-threatening or even fatal injuries. For new motorcycle owners, or those who haven’t driven a bike in a long time, gaining experience and learning or rediscovering the ropes is crucial. Always make sure you have the relevant clothing and equipment to reduce the risk of injuries and ensure that you are familiar with the rules of the road. 

The most common causes of motorcycle accidents include speeding, failure to negotiate turns and bends, loss of control and collisions at junctions, overtaking with insufficient time and space to do so safely and driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are preparing to get on your bike, pay attention to the speed limit, give other vehicles plenty of warning if you’re turning or changing lanes, avoid overtaking unless it is safe to do so and never drink and drive.

Drinking alcohol can make you take risks you would never even consider if you were sober, and it can also increase reaction times drastically. If you need to brake suddenly, or you need to swerve an obstacle in the road, and you’ve been drinking, you might not be able to react fast enough. Alcohol can also impair concentration and focus. 

The vision of hitting the open roads on two wheels on a sunny day is incredibly appealing to many, but it is wise to think carefully about buying a motorcycle. Before you make any decisions, calculate the cost of buying and running a bike, consider how a motorcycle will fit in with your lifestyle based on how you plan to use the vehicle, and make sure you’re aware of the safety risks. If you are keen to go ahead and invest in a motorcycle, take your time to compare different makes and models, organise test drives and set a budget in advance. 


Photo Credit: Honda

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