Choosing the Right Motorcycle

10 Things to Consider When Buying a Motorcycle
1. Level of Experience

An individual’s level of riding experience has a major impact on determining what bike is the best fit for one’s needs.

An inexperienced rider may be able to safely ride a large, powerful machine from point A to point B, but he or she may not enjoy the experience if they find the bike difficult to maneuver or are intimidated by the machine’s power. Conversely, an experienced rider may quickly find themselves bored with a bike that does not offer the power or handling their riding skills can handle.

Also, if you are returning to the sport or haven’t rode much in recent years, keep this in mind as your skills may take a while to build up. Generally speaking, it is better to purchase a machine that fits your current riding abilities versus buying one that you will “grow into”.

What is your level of riding experience?

    a. None – this will be my first motorcycle and my first time riding
    b. Minimal – I’ve rode before, but not often or regularly - less than 1000 miles a year
    c. Returning rider – I’ve rode in the past and would like to return to the sport
    d. Experienced – I ride regularly and have been for years - more than 3000 miles a year
    e. Veteran – I live on two wheels
2. Where you want to ride

Motorcycles are wonderful machines that come in a variety of different sizes and styles to fit a wide range of riding conditions. Most bikes are designed to be ridden primarily on paved roads. However, there are dual purpose bikes that perform well on both paved and unpaved roads, as well as dirt bikes that are made strictly for dirt tracks and rugged off-road trails.

Where do you plan on riding?

    a. Street – paved roads only
    b. Off Road – dirt trails, gravel roads, etc.
    c. Both - Combination of paved and dirt roads
3. Body style

There are several common styles of motorcycles that impact how the machine rides and how you will be positioned on it while riding.

The following are brief descriptions of riding position associated with each style of bike:

  • Cruiser - feet are placed forward, hands at or above chest level, and rider is seated upright or slightly leaned back

  • Sport bike - aggresive leaned over riding position where the handlebars are below the rider's chest and feet are tucked beneith or behind the body

  • Touring - seating position is similar to that of a cruiser, but the feet are not necessarily placed as far forward and the riding position is more erect. Touring bikes are designed for comfortable long distance riding

  • Standard - riding position is similar to a sport bike in that the feet are generally positioned under the body. However they feature a more erect riding position that can be more comfortable than a sport bike

  • Dual purpose - Riding position is similar to a standard bike, however given the off road capability of these machines the seat height is generally higher to accomodate the additional suspension travel

  • Dirt - similar to a dual purpose with a high seat height and simplistic design that allows the rider greater leeway to position themselves as needed when maneuvering through corners and over jumps

What style of bike are you considering?

    a. Cruiser
    b. Sport bike
    c. Touring
    d. Standard
    e. Dual prurpose
    f. Dirt
    g. Not sure
4. Type of trips

The motorcycle that is best for you will depend greatly on what type of trips you plan on taking. Cruisers and touring bikes are designed with comfort in mind and can often be rode for miles on end. Sport bikes feature a bent over riding position that can be more physically demanding over the course of several hours of riding. When thinking about what bike is right for you, spend some time thinking about what type of trips you would like to take and how important comfort is to you.

What type of trips do you plan on taking?

    a. Simple transportation – short trips running errands, visiting friends, etc.
    b. Short leisurely trips less than 200 miles
    c. Commuting to work each day
    d. Day long outings – 200 to 500 miles
    e. Multiple day touring trips
5. Frequency of use

Service costs should be carefully considered when purchasing a motorcycle. These costs are largely determined by how much you ride, but can vary greatly from bike to bike. If you plan on putting a large number of miles on your machine each year, you may want to select a bike that that doesn’t require frequent interval services based on mileage. For example, some motorcycles require a valve adjustment every 4,000 miles, while others only require this service every 25,000 miles (or not at all).

On the other hand if you are only going to ride a couple thousand miles a year, service costs become less of an issue and may not be as important when finding the right bike for your needs.

How many miles do you plan on riding each year?

    a. Less than 1,000
    b. 1,000 – 3,000
    c. 3,000 – 10,000
    d. More than 10,000
6. Engine size/displacement

Motorcycle engine displacement can range anywhere from 125 to over 2000 cc's. Generally speaking, the larger the engine displacement, the more power it will produce. However, the engine configuration can have a big impact on how much and what type of power is generated. The size of the engine is also directly correlated to the weight of the machine. More displacement = more weight, which is an important thing to consider.

What size engine are you considering?

    a. 250-500cc
    b. 500-1000cc
    c. 1000-1500cc
    d. 1500cc+
    e. Not sure
7. Your physical size

Your physical size can also play a role in finding the bike that is right for you. Some bikes may simply be too tall for your feet to comfortably reach the pavement when stopped. Others may be too small to ride comfortably for an extended period of time.

As a general rule, cruiser style bikes have low seat heights that accommodate a wide range of rider sizes, while dirt bikes and dual sport bikes have taller seats that may not be appropriate for everyone. Standards and sport bikes fall somewhere in between depending on make and model.

One of the best things to do is to sit on a variety of motorcycle styles, makes, and models and see which ones feel best.

How tall are you?

    a. < 5’6”
    b. 5’6” – 6’
    c. > 6’
8. New or Used

There are advantages and disadvantages of buying both a new and used motorcycle.

New bikes have the latest features and technology, come with a manufacturer warranty, may qualify for special financing, and parts and service are often readily available. However, new bikes cost more than used bikes, require a break in service, and may be more expensive to insure.

Used bikes are great for a beginner rider worried about damaging their machine, have already been broken-in, and are often a great value. However, one may not always know how well the previous owner took care of the motorcycle, and replacement parts may be more difficult to find.

Are you considering a new or used bike?

    Not sure
9. Riding with a passenger

Most bikes come equipped with a pillion seat to carry a passenger. However, not all passenger seats are created equal and some styles of bikes are better suited for two-up riding than others.

If you plan on carrying a passenger often, be sure to consider their comfort and riding experience in addition to your own. There are a number of accessories that can make your passenger's ride more enjoyable such as a backrest, floorboards, and helmet to helmet communication systems that you may want to consider.

How often do you plan on riding with a passenger?

    a. Always
    b. Some of the time
    c. On occasion
    d. Never
10. Who you ride with and what they ride

The motorcycling community is an incredibly diverse and welcoming group of individuals. However, given the wide variety of bike styles and riding applications, people often feel the most comfortable riding with others who share an interest in similar types of machines and a similar riding experience. When choosing the right bike for you, it can be helpful to think about who you will be riding with and what style of bike they ride.

What style of bikes do your friends ride?

    a. Cruiser
    b. Sport bike
    c. Touring
    d. Standard
    e. Dual prurpose
    f. Dirt
    g. Combination of bike styles
11. How to pay for it

There are several options to pay for your next motorcycle. One can pay in cash, or choose from a variety of financing options offered through Hitching Post's network of local lenders or in some cases you may be able to finance directly from the manufacturer of your new bike. However you choose to pay for your motorcycle, we will work with you to make this part of the buying process as easy and stress free as possible.

How do you plan on paying for your motorcycle?

    Not sure
12. Parts and accessories

Arguably, one of the greatest things about owning a motorcycle is the ability to customize it to match your riding needs and your personality. There are endless opportunities to accessorize your new motorcycle and one is limited only by their imagination.

Common accessories include a windscreen, backrest, custom exhaust, saddlebags, and highway bars - just to name a few. Often times these accessories can be financed and installed at the time of purchase, but they can always be added at a later date.

What parts/accessories interest you?

    a. Windscreen
    b. Passenger Backrest
    c. Custom Exhaust system
    d. Saddle Bags
    e. Engine Guards / Highway Bars
    f. Others
13. Rider education

Rider training is an important part of a creating an enjoyable and memorable riding experience. A major study of motorcycle crash statistics revealed that 92% of riders involved in an accident had no formal motorcycle riding training. If you are a new rider or returning to the sport, we hope that you'll strongly consider taking a formal rider training course and will be happy to help you find a training provider that fits your needs and your schedule.

Have you taken a rider education course?

    a. Yes
    b. No
    c. I am planning on taking one soon

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Hitching Post is one of the largest powersports dealerships located in Minnesota. If you are interested in purchasing a motorcycle, fill out the following form and we will contact you to discuss the machine that is right for you!