At first glance, buying the right size motorcycle sounds very simple. You just walk into a dealership (in the absence of global pandemics), drink questionable coffee, sit on some bikes, and pick one that feels comfortable. Or you.In fact, many of us don’t do that at all – we have a vision of perfection, we ignore every sign that tells us it’s crazy, and we sign on the dotted line.
Buying a motorcycle with the heart and not with the head can cause problems. Admittedly, there are potential advantages too – you may end up with a crazy motorcycle that you love despite its incompatibility with real life. But overall it’s like marrying a crazy pornstar on the basis of drunken clumsiness – the first few weeks will be fun, but after that it all gets pretty nasty. So what should we do? This is the plan:
1. The legal
Let’s tackle the basic legal aspects first. If you have a full motorcycle license, proceed directly to no. 2 because he can ride a motorcycle of any size. For everyone else, it is complicated. Check out the flowcharts here for all the details of the tests you need to go through, but in terms of size, the basics are: if you’re 16, 50cc mopeds only; if you are 17 or 18 years old, they are motorcycles of 125 cc or less; If you are between 19 and 21 years old, it is any motorcycle with a power less than 35 kW (47 CV); if you are 21-23 years old, it could be any motorcycle if you have already ridden a 47 hp for two years; and if you are over 23 years old you can ride any motorcycle. And yes, the system is a tangled mess.
2. The fun part
Now we get to the fun part: choosing the motorcycle. The most important consideration is your driving skill and experience, and it’s surprisingly easy to forget this entirely. “The most common theme I see is where people have overbiked,” says Mark Edwards, a former police pilot who now runs advanced riding courses for Rapid Training.
“Because motorcycles generally start riding in their 20s and 30s and now have a few pounds in their pocket, they go straight in and jump right into a big bike,” says Mark. “They don’t realize that they’ve missed a lot of the motorcycling that would have given them a good base, and it’s been a lot of fun. You learn a lot by riding a smaller bike because it is more forgiving and easier to handle.
“I see a lot of people on BMW R1200GS, liter sports bikes and things like that, and they don’t really understand how to drive them or how to get the most out of them. One of the obvious problems is struggling with the weight at parking speed; many motorcycles tell me they left the bike at a gas station or parking lot, and they really shouldn’t. By the time you start riding a big bike, you should have taken control of the machine necessary to cope with slow things. “
So unless you’ve had at least three or four years riding smaller bikes, it’s probably best to avoid the big stuff. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean getting boring, as there are dozens of brilliant middleweights that will be far more forgiving than something like a GS, but just as exciting. Yamaha’s MT-07, Triumph’s Street Triple, and KTM’s 790 Duke, for example, feel delightfully light and are blazingly fast, which is why many experienced motorcycles own them.
“Part of the problem is the way bikes have been marketed, because even though there are great middleweight bikes out there, a lot of bikes that I train still feel like they’re not true bikes unless they have a great bike over 1000 cc, ”says Mark. “So they think they need a 1250GS to be motorcycles, when they would enjoy a lot more than a decent middleweight.”
3. The sensible thing to do
The next consideration is what you are going to use the motorcycle for: city trips, weekend trips, trips with a companion, solo trips, circuit days, highway trips, trail rides … or a combination of them. In terms of the size of the bike, this is what to consider:
- On tour with the passenger. Anything under 900cc could have a hard time hauling two people and equipping an Alp. It is best to go big, in size and dimensions of the engine. Adventure bikes and touring cars are the obvious choices.
- Travel around the city. Large passenger cars are often too wide to filter and, like large adventure bikes, they can …