You’re thinking about getting on a motorcycle for the first time. And to be honest, I’m kind of jealous. You only get to take that first ride on a motorcycle once and it’s actually pretty special even if it’s just in a parking lot for a weekend.
A few things you need to know before you even think about hopping on the motorcycle and no, it’s, it’s not gonna be riding tips or anything like that. We’re mostly gonna be clearing the air about a few misconceptions that you might have picked up from watching a bunch of youtube videos, these are gonna be seven cold hard facts that you’re probably going to learn eventually, but our best-known before you get started. MSF doesn’t teach you everything.
You just finished your weekend at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course, ran out, bought your turbo, and you are ready to head down to your first ride on the street. The only problem the driveway out of the dealership is uphill and you need to hang a right on that incline. You search deep in your brain for something that your instructor might have said, but last, they never taught you that you need to use the rear brake and throttle at the same time and you end up dropping that brand new bike right on the turbo. Well, at least you’re at the dealership, just get one of the service guys to come to pick it up and get it fixed for you. That’s right. There are a million little things that you learn as you ride that aren’t covered in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course.
Why? Because the MSF is designed to take a person who has never ridden a motorcycle before in their life and teach them just enough to not yet themselves into infinity, but there’s not enough time in four days, you spend the parking lot to learn how to rev match your motorcycle and downshift or how to pick up your motorcycle if you drop it or even how to ride in traffic. All they teach you is how a motorcycle works at speeds under 30 MPH in a parking lot and that’s just not enough.
There’s a huge amount of information that you will learn, but it will take time, I don’t think that just because you aced the written test and passed the practical test with flying colours you know everything you’ll ever need to know about the motorcycle.
You are Going to Drop your Motorcycle
You’re gonna drop your motorcycle literally every motorcycle is dropped by every motorcyclist, its inevitability and there’s no escaping it, whether you’re practicing slow speed maneuvers in the parking lot or your shoelace gets tangled up at a stoplight and you can’t get your foot down in time. At some point, your motorcycle is going to go down.
Here’s the thing though, dropping a motorcycle isn’t that bad unless you’re really unlucky. You’re not going to hurt the motorcycle that badly. You might scuff some plastics, bend your lever or foot controls, or maybe break a mirror, but that’s all replaceable.
The smart thing to do is prepare your motorcycle to be dropped, including stuff like frame sliders, case covers, and other coverings to prevent damage. They usually all come with plastic sliders that can take multiple drops or even low slides when they are a great way to protect your motorcycle.
Put it this way, it’s cheaper to replace a piece of stuffed plastic than fix a hole in your clutch cover if you drop your motorcycle and you don’t have any of this protective stuff, there’s a handful of things you can do to repair any of the damage you might incur first, there are paint pens that can be matched to your motorcycle’s factory paint job, it won’t fill in any deep scuffs, it will cover up any chips or dings you might get, you can also get a nice set of replacement levers to fix the broken or bent ones.
Gear is disposable.
This might be a bit of a surprise, but if you think about it, it makes sense that motorcycle jacket you just dropped $300 on. Won’t be the last motorcycle jacket you ever buy when you ride your motorcycle, your gear is just as exposed to the elements as you are.
Your gloves are constantly touching your handlebars and slowly friction and sweat. We’ll wear them out, your jacket will fade and you might even wear holes in it over time. If you don’t go down, your helmet needs to be replaced every few years.
Perhaps sooner if you sweat a lot or wear a lot of makeup or hair gel, you can always swap out the insert foam. However, just because your gear wears out doesn’t mean you should cheap out and get lower-quality stuff to save a few bucks. You should expect to spend around $1000 on a full set of very good gear to get started including a jacket, helmet, gloves, boots and maybe even riding pants if you’re so inclined.
That gear should last you at least two years after that though. Your jacket might be getting stinky, your gloves might have holes in them and your helmet might not be as safe as it used to be or you just might want to replace or upgrade your stuff to nicer stuff. Expect to spend an additional $500 a year on replacement gear sometimes more.
I love buying new gear to look fresh. Also, if you do end up going down, most insurance policies will have some considerations for replacing your gear. So don’t worry about saving it unless it’s a tracksuit, gear items are only designed to survive one impact.
Your motorcycle is disposable.
I’m just kidding. It’s not disposable but you probably won’t keep your first motorcycle, heck even your 2nd, 3rd, 4th 12th or whatever motorcycle you’re riding right now, probably won’t be the motorcycle you keep for the rest of your life.
There are a lot of reasons why you might be in it. You might outgrow it. Your taste might change whatever it is you should expect to own multiple motorcycles throughout your riding career.
It’s important to remember this because you might be sitting at your computer right now thinking to yourself that all you want in life is a brand spanking new Honda. But you might ride your buddies, Harley, and realize that you like a relaxed riding position, lack of power, and people coming up to you at gas stations. Wanted to talk to you about how they themselves have a 1 31 road king mega glide power that came screaming, eagle hog back home and you might really need to get yourself a real motorcycle approach.
Motorcycling with an open mind. You’d be surprised how many there are out there beyond the streets and I mean that literally there’s track riding, road racing, trail riding, scrambling adventure riding motocross. If you can think of it, you can probably do it on a motorcycle and it turns out they’re all pretty fun.
Nobody cares that you ride
You might be thinking to yourself that getting a motorcycle will be an instant conversation starter. Like you show up to a bar, put your helmet down and everyone will watch come up to you and talk to you about your motorcycle bro. Most of the time. Even other motorcycle rider does not care, they might not to you or wave as you pass by, but chances are they’re not gonna walk right up to you and ask you about your motorcycle unless you’re currently sitting on it.
Motorcycle parking is typically on the street. So I’m not sure why you would be out to ride your motorcycle in the bar. The only exception to this rule is if you’re a woman. If you’re a woman and you ride a motorcycle, prepare yourself for the swarms of thirsty dudes that are coming up to you and asking you, what about your motorcycle? Also, chances are, if you see a woman who rides, she probably knows more than you. So don’t try to impart any unsolicited knowledge.
Most motorcycle crashes only involved one vehicle
Why does that matter? Well, think about it for a minute. If a motorcycle crashes and no one else was involved, that probably means that the motorcyclist is to blame. Usually, the prevailing cause of motorcycle accidents is speed.
Your motorcycle will not replace your car.
This is one of the things that every motorcyclist learns over time, but it’s best to just rip off the band-aid. First of all. How are you gonna get your groceries home? You might be able to balance one bag on your gas tank or fit some into the saddle bags or top cases, but it’s always easier to run errands in a car. Also, what happens if it’s raining? Some new riders will go out no matter what the weather is like, but trust me that that will fade over time, and eventually, you’re gonna get real sick of having to pack your office clothes in a trash bag and change in the bathroom when you get there.
Also, What if you have a date that doesn’t want to ride on the back of a motorcycle? That might be a deal breaker for some, but for others, you’re probably gonna wanna wish you had a cage around to drive.
You will not want to ride somedays
Lastly, an unfortunate reality is there will come days when you don’t want to ride your motorcycle, the weather might be perfect.
You just might not feel like going through the whole rigmarole of putting all your gear on and just taking the car to go do something. Just remember that for most people, a motorcycle is just a toy.
If you are thinking about getting a motorcycle, there are some things you should know before taking the plunge. Motorcycles can be dangerous and require a lot of skill and practice to master. They are also expensive to maintain and repair. But for many people, the thrill and freedom of riding a motorcycle is worth the risks.