Five Key Factors for New Motorcycle Riders to Remember

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Motorcycle and HelmetWhether it's a genuine love of power sports or wanting to save some extra gas money, motorcycle purchases are up significantly in Alberta and Canada. In fact, according to recent figures from the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council, nearly 100,000 motorcycle, scooters and ATVs were purchased in 2011 alone, with a total retail value in excess of $1.2 billion.

While many of these purchases were made by individuals who have been riders for a long time, a substantial number of them were new riders, several of whom who may have just received their motorcycle license. With these new riders in mind, here are several tips to keep in mind before cruising.

1. Make Safety the top priority

Nothing is more important than safety. Motorcycle license courses are required in order to demonstrate how to effectively handle a motorcycle, but these relatively short training protocols may not be enough. Signing up for a motorcycle safety course soon after getting a license may not only improve your sense of confidence but may also result in motorcycle insurance savings.

2. Always wear a helmet

It’s also important to always wear a helmet. Even though riders are required to wear them by law in all 10 provinces, some opt to spurn the mandate, believing that they have the skills necessary to avoid a crash. However, those who don't wear a helmet may not take into account other motorists' actions. In other words, while they may make all the right decisions on the road, the inattention or incompetence of a driver may render a crash unavoidable. Government studies reveal that those who wear a helmet are about 40 percent less likely to get into a crash, according to Consumer Reports.

3. Bigger isn't always better

Something else to take into consideration for those who have yet to buy a motorcycle is its power, or horsepower to be more specific. As a general rule, the more horsepower a motorcycle has, the more difficult it can be to operate. In addition, motorcycles with a reduced amount of torque may be easier and more comfortable to ride.

When first purchasing a motorcycle, it may be wise to buy a smaller model, such as an engine with 250 or 300 CCs. These are ideal for short commutes. With more time in the saddle and an increased reliance on it being used as a primary mode of transportation, riders may want to upgrade to a model with a 500 or 650 CC engine.

4. Don't go overboard on your first motorcycle purchase

Another factor to consider with motorcycle ownership is how much one is willing to spend. With a variety of accessories and added features, motorcycles can often cost much more than a brand new car. But making a major financial investment may be best putting off until later so that riders have more time to figure out how to maneuver the bike a bit better. Veterans recommend sticking with a used motorcycle in the beginning and then upgrading to a more advanced, higher priced model so long as they have the ability to make the necessary payments.

5. Avoid driving in bad weather

Motorcyclists are ideal for driving when temperatures are warm and sunny. But some diehard riders will ride regardless of the elements. New riders should be sure to only ride when conditions are favorable, as there's less room for error on two wheels versus four.