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Choose the right bike

There are many different types of bikes on the market., Some are designed for very specific uses. How do you work out what’s right for you?

Although the choice of bikes is wide, making the right choice doesn’t need to be complicated. You need to be honest about the kind of riding you’ll do and your needs, then choose accordingly.

For example, if you ride long distances in all weathers you’ll want a bike that’s comfortable with a fairing. If you’re commuting, something slim and manoeuvrable with lots of steering lock would be good. Shorter in the leg? Then you’ll need something with a low seat height, meaning an adventure bike is probably not a good option.

Tips to help you choose the right bike

Engine capacity

Bigger is not always better when it comes to engine size, because it will almost always cost you more. This includes:

  • on top of a higher purchase price, you’ll face more depreciation
  • servicing will cost more
  • consumables such as tyres, chain, sprockets and brake pads will not only cost more, you’ll get through them more quickly
  • insurance premiums and fuel consumption will be higher
  • registration will be more expensive.

Smaller capacity bikes can still have plenty of performance. Unless you’re doing lots of kilometres with luggage and a pillion you might want to favour a lower capacity machine.

Try before you buy

Test ride as many potential bikes as you can, and be guided by what makes you feel confident and in control. Choose a machine that does what you want it to do and you’ll love riding it. Never buy a bike you don’t feel great on, that scares you or you struggle to control.

Does it fit you?

Feeling comfortable when riding is a must. You can adjust the controls to improve your riding position, including handlebars, lever span and angle. Make sure the seat is comfy, especially if riding long distances. Does the suspension suit your weight and riding style, and can it be adjusted?

REMEMBER

Don’t be swayed by looks or image. Make sure the bike you choose makes you feel comfortable and in-control.

Technology

The most frequent, serious motorcycle crashes happen from losing control. That’s why modern bikes come with ABS and traction control. If you’re buying secondhand, always aim to get a bike with ABS as a minimum and value other rider aids such as traction control in your decision-making.

Decide if it meets your needs

Consider whether the bike has what you need and will do what you want such as:

  • bungy mounting points for touring
  • adjustable suspension to take a pillion
  • enough ground clearance for twisty roads
  • smooth power delivery for in-town traffic.