Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Bike? Buy it Used, for Heaven's Sake!!

Your dream bike shouldn't be your first bike.

When you're just getting started, it's easy to get caught up in the allure of the machine itself. Your friend has a Harley so you have to have a Harley. You saw the Ducati gleaming in the sun and now you can't get the color red out of your mind. You saw AMA Superbike Champ Ben Spies dragging a knee at Road Atlanta and now you know you want a Suzuki GSXR1000.

We understand. We experienced riders can waste hours talking about how great this bike is, or how much we'd love to own that one, or why this other one is more beautiful, more desirable, etc.

And yet, the best bike for you to start riding on is probably one that would never inspire lust. While you may be tempted to buy the bike of your dreams, you're probably best off buying a smaller, less expensive used motorcycle that's mechanically sound, even if it's an ugly duckling.

"What?" you scream. "You're sapping the fun out of my dreams!"

Hear us out. Here are three reasons to buy an inexpensive used bike to learn on:

  1. You're going to drop it. Yes, you will. And if you drop your dream bike, you're going to cry. And incur bills. Hey, it's nothing personal. All of us, especially when we were learning to ride, have dropped a motorcycle or two in our day. Take it from experience: It's easier to stomach the results when you're less emotionally (and financially) attached to the bike that's hitting the pavement.
  2. What you think you want now may not be what you really want later. Only after you've ridden for a while will you know whether what you really love is riding across three states on a week-long tour or riding three miles to your local bike-night hangout. Buying an expensive new bike today and selling it a year from now when you realize it's not for you is the perfect way to take a big financial hit on depreciation.
  3. You can still get your dream bike. Once you have some experience and have refined your idea of what you want in a motorcycle, you'll be better able to choose the one that's right for a long-term relationship. Plus, you can sell the cheap learner bike, probably for about what you paid for it, to another aspiring rider. Just feel the good karma spreading!!


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