The Beginner’s Guide to Motorcycle Riding

Most adults have had some experience riding a motorcycle; we all loved to tinker with old trials bikes when we were teenagers and for some, biking became a life-long obsession. If you are about to invest in your very first motorcycle, there is much to consider; Is the bike going to be a daily form of transport for work? Are you planning to ride off-road? What style of bike are you looking for? The answers to these and other questions will define the make and model of bike to buy.

Cheap & Quick Urban Transport

If you are a city dweller who wants a reliable way to get around, then a city bike, or scooter would be an ideal choice. A machine with a 150cc engine is all you need for city riding, as this is nimble through stationary traffic, is lightweight and has enough power for overtaking. Parking is never an issue on two wheels, all you do is attach a padlock to the wheel and you can pretty much park anywhere.

Big Bike Touring

If you see yourself astride a 1,200cc Harley Davidson, heading off into the sunset, packed and ready for adventure, there are many makes and models. Touring bikes start at around 500cc, which is powerful enough, while many people prefer a 650cc, four-cylinder machine, which is able to cruise all day long. The following manufacturers offer a wide range of bikes:

  • Honda
  • Yamaha
  • Kawasaki
  • Suzuki
  • Ducati
  • Benelli

Prior to doing anything, read professional reviews on models that interest you, which will reveal any major issues and with your shortlist of bikes, you can start booking test rides. Bear in mind that the larger the engine capacity, the heavier the bike and if you are a small person, perhaps you should stick to a 300cc bike, which is both light and powerful.

The bike manufacturers all have the following styles on offer;

  • Sports Bikes – Starting at 125cc, going up to 1000cc, the super-sports road bike is designed with MotoGP in mind, indeed, Honda and Yamaha invested heavily in bringing trach tech to the production bike. The rider takes on a forward lean and the seat is cut into the frame, lowering the centre of gravity, plus the bike has aerodynamic fairing to reduce air resistance, while also possessing great stopping ability.
  • Street Bikes – The trendy ‘naked’ style of street bike is a real head-turner and the rider adopts a sitting-up position, and with a lightweight alloy frame, this machine is agile enough to weave through stationery cars, plus it has the raw power for instant acceleration.
  • The Touring Bike – If your main motivation to take to two wheels is touring, there are some great bikes out there. Of course, panniers and top-boxes enable you to carry a lot of stuff, indeed, many couples take camping holidays on their touring bike. Once you find the perfect bike, gives you instant cover, which is essential to protect your new investment.
  • Urban Scooters – These are becoming very popular with commuters and young urban dwellers, with small engines such as 125-150cc, these lightweight bikes are ideal for zipping around the city.
  • Off-Road Bikes – These can be ridden on or off the roads and if you like a bit of adventure, why not invest in a bike that can take you anywhere? There are skillsets required for off-road riding and with careful experimentation, you will gradually hone your riding skills and become competent.

Essential Rider Protection

Regardless of the size or style of the bike, you must wear the right clothing and equipment, as you are very exposed sitting astride a motorcycle. A good quality full-face helmet is a must and a leather jacket and pants are also recommended, as leather offers the best skin protection. A pair of motorcycle gloves and boots with ankle support completes the outfit, while you can also wear a hi-vis vest to make yourself more visible to other road users. Here is some information about aquaplaning, which can cause serious accidents, even on a bike.

Riding Tuition

You are advised to enroll in a basic motorcycle riding class, which teaches you how to control a bike in all environments and this will stand you in good stead throughout your riding years. Of course, you will need to obtain a valid licence for the bike you plan to ride and you can find more information about that from the Ministry of Transport’s website, which will help you to prepare the necessary documents.

You shouldn’t need reminding that riding a bike demands the utmost care and attention, while you should always obey the speed limits and other rules and regulations, which should be enough to ensure that you have a safe riding experience when you head off on your motorcycle.

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