How much money do I have to spend? Will I be carrying a pillion? Should I buy new or secondhand? and so on. However, the critical consideration is who will be using the bike and what will it be used for. Are you intending to commute on a daily basis? Track days in mind? Weekend trips with a pillion, or perhaps some long distance touring on the highway? Do you want to go adventure rising in the outback or just ride to the shop to collect the bread and milk when the weather is fine? There are a multitude of uses for a motorcycle and there are equally as many brands, models, engine capacities and price ranges to choose from. It's no surprise then that choosing the right bike can be daunting and, if you get it wrong, damned expensive as well. So, let's start with the rider and tale a snapshot of their size, build, age and level of fitness.
This should lead to selecting the right type of bike. Generally, as we get older, a more relaxed and upright seating position with weight off the forearms and wrists will be more pleasant. Whilst we may like to picture ourselves as looking good on the latest sportsbikes, it probably won't be enjoyable for long distance if the riding position has you crouched like a cat, with your knees up around your elbows! Your pillion won't thank you either if their seat has them in a similar position. If it takes you five minutes to straighten up after dismounting, you're on the wrong bike! If you're intending to do some track days or are a sports-type rider, then the more crouched position of a sports bike shouldn't bother you as the period of time in the saddle is generally less than for touring.
Don't forget also that your stature will have a bearing on how well you can handle your bike stationary or just getting it in and out of the garage. A large touring bike with panniers, topbox, etc., can be quite a challenge to push around and even more so if you have a sloping driveway or gravel surface. It's embarrassing and usually costly if you drop your bike in the supermarket car park because it's too heavy, or the seat is too high for you. Commuters now have more options than ever with the increasing number of scooters available. If you haven't seen a scooter lately, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how competent and practical they are nowadays. At Stay Upright, we recommend that you do your homework thoroughly before you choose a bike, so that you and your pillion can enjoy the experience of motorcycling. After all, riding is about being comfortable, having fun and staying safe at the same time.
Until next time, Stay Upright. . . on the right bike.
State Manager - TAS
Stay Upright Motorcycle Techniques