Life’s about to get exciting: you’re buying your first motorbike. Nice. Let us guide you through this magical moment so you come out the other side a little less cash-light and with a tasty bike…
“I caught the biking bug at the age of 18,” says comedian Ross Noble. “Since then, I’ve expanded the fleet, bit by bit, as my ability to pay for the insurance increased.”
Know the market
Start with some research. Compare prices online, read bike mags for price guides and check classifieds to see what you can get for your money. Read reviews to find something reliable and tough – it can still be stylish.
What do you need?
A couple more top tips: choosing a popular model means there are plenty of dealers, so it’s easy to get spare parts if something goes wrong. And don’t forget the spec: if you’re 16, find out if your dream wheels are a moped or scooter. If it’s not a moped (under 50cc), you’ll have to wait until you’re 17 to ride it. Don’t buy a bike that’s too heavy or big; your feet should touch the ground.
New vs second-hand?
New = guarantee, warranties, repair back-up… but it’ll cost you more. Buying second-hand wheels from a dealer or privately is cheaper. You can get some ace deals from careful owners who’ve looked after their bikes. But you need knowledge to buy well. If you can’t see the full service history or the V5C log book, walk away from the ‘bargain’. It’s a stinker!
Many young riders swap or buy bikes from their mates, so make sure the bike is fit for purpose, check the bike is well maintained, do the brakes work? Always check the tyre walls / pressures and the tread. If they have sat for long periods they will have turned blue where the oils in the rubber have come to the surface which leads to reduced grip. Check the electrics are working properly, take it to a bike shop if you are unsure yourself.