Tuesday, December 1, 2009
It is very important to feel confident in your abilities as a motorcycle rider. Although many people have leaned on their own through trial and error, I recommend a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Certified Rider's Course www.msf-usa.org. They offer courses throughout the country, many are offered at community colleges or though different organizations. They offer a basic rider course for riders with little or no experience and provide training motorcycles to use, but you have to provide your own riding safety gear which they list what that consists of. They also offer an advanced rider course for riders with at least one year experience and their own motorcycle and riding safety gear. The instructors are certified and very knowledgeable and professional. They can recommend good training motorcycles to start off with, but for your first motorcycle I would recommend buying a good quality used or reasonably priced starter motorcycle with an engine of 600cc's or less until you feel comfortable enough in your riding abilities to upgrade to a larger or more powerful motorcycle. A lot of information concerning learning how to ride a motorcycle can be found online. Click Here! Click Here
Of course there are other ways to go about purchasing a motorcycles such as online auction sites such as eBay, and online or print want-ads. Click Here! If you purchase a motorcycle through these means it is good if you are able to take a look at and ride the motorcycle before you purchase it, or if this is not possible it is at least good to do some research to have some prior knowledge about motorcycles to know what you are looking for. Click Here!
Of course there are many quality brands of motorcycles, but the make that you decide on will be based on individual preferences. Also, depending on which style of riding you plan on doing, it will dictate which style of motorcycle is right for you, such as sport/street, cruiser/chopper, touring, dual-purpose, or off-road motorcycles.
- First a DOT-certified helmet is a must (SNELL certification is good too). I recommend a full-face or modular (a full-face helmet with a shield that can open and flip up) helmet with a clear shield for eye protection. This style of helmet is most popular with sport/street bike riders. You can also get mirrored or tinted shields too, but they would not be good for night riding. Because it is also important to have eye protection from the sun, sunglasses can easily be worn with a helmet. There are also full-face and partial shield helmets that have sun shields built into them that can be lowered to cover the eyes when needed and raised up into the helmet when not needed. Partial shield and helmets with no shields are also popular, especially with cruiser/chopper riders, but they offer less protection so the use of certified riding goggles is a must to wear with these styles of helmets for proper eye protection. Most states have helmet laws, but there are a few states that do not. I strongly recommend always wearing a helmet for your protection regardless of your state's laws.
- Second would be proper upper body protection with the use of an approved jacket. There are many styles, breathable lightweight, jackets with removable body armor are popular with sport/street bike riders, whereas leather jackets are more popular with cruiser/chopper riders. Whatever your preference, I strongly recommend always wearing a riding jacket for best protection.
- Third is proper hand/finger protection with the use of gloves, which also provides protection from the elements during colder weather. There are many styles of gloves, but I recommend riding gloves with armor built into them that are breathable, lightweight, and thin, which are popular with sport/street bike riders, whereas leather gloves might be more popular with cruiser/chopper riders.
- Fourth is proper lower body protection, which consists of full-length pants. Breathable, lightweight riding pants with removable body armor are popular with sport/street bike riders, whereas leather pants or chaps may be more popular with cruiser/chopper riders. Jean style pants with removable body armor are also available. Whichever your preference, it is always important to as least wear full-length sturdy pants like jeans that will offer protection.
- Fifth is proper foot protection. The best would be a sturdy boot, but sturdy riding shoes are available which may be more popular with sport/street bike riders as opposed to boots which cruiser/chopper riders might prefer. It is important to at least have sturdy footwear that will provide enough ankle support and protection. A non-skid sole is good too to lessen the chances of slipping on oil, pavement markings, road debris, or water when putting the feet down to come to a stop or lifting them off the ground when starting up again.
- Sixth would be mentioning rain gear. It is always a good idea to carry along a rain suit for riding in the elements. On cruisers or touring bikes they can easily be packed in saddle bags or motorcycle luggage, but on sport/street and other bikes that don't have them you can always carry some items like this along in a backpack.
- Another item to consider if you're a hardcore rider and ride well into the colder months it's a good idea to wear an insulated riding suit that will keep you warm enough. It's always much colder riding on a motorcycle than the outside air temperature is.
There are many different styles of motorcycles for different styles of riding such as sport/racing, normal commuting, comfort/long distance riding, show, law-enforcement, off-road, etc., but no matter which style you ride it is always important to have the proper riding gear. In addition to riding gear there are many parts/accessories/customization items, luggage, protection/care/storage items, etc. that make nice additions to your ride that you can purchase.