Choosing the Right Motorcycle

There was a time when motorcycle owners were stereotyped as outlaws, but now motorcycle enthusiasts come in all walks of life from youth dirt bikers to retirees seeking to tour the country on two wheels. Motorcycles are more popular now than ever because of the freedom they help provide, fuel economy and relatively low cost of maintenance.

Last month Allstate asked the Community: “What type of bike is your motorcycle of choice?” Your answers showed that the choice of motorcycle varies as much as the people who ride them.

  • Cruiser 31.19% – Cruisers are very popular with our Allstate readers, and for good reason. Not only are they attractive, but they are also easier to operate. They typically travel at lower speeds and are more comfortable on relatively short tours. Most notable cruisers include Harley-Davidson and BMW motorcycles.
  • Touring/Sport Touring 27.83%Touring bikes are substantially larger than other motorcycles but offer unmatched comfort for longer trips. They boast larger gas tanks and increased storage capacity as well. A unique quality of many touring bikes is passenger comfort with full sized and upright seating.
  • Sport Bike/High Performance 22.02%Sport bikes are typically faster and require the rider to lean forward. These bikes are usually better in performance and handling, and are often more lightweight as well. Comfort is somewhat sacrificed for speed and performance but these bikes are extremely popular.
  • Standard 11.31%Standard bikes are essentially a hybrid between cruisers and sport bikes. They are versatile but typically devoid of fairings or wind screens and are usually “naked” in appearance. These bikes are often highly recommended for new riders because of reliability, manageable engines, and low price range
  • Custom 7.65% – Customs are difficult to describe because they are usually modified to the riders preference. Larger engines, louder pipes, or handlebars modified to the riders comfort or individual appeal are often additions to this type of motorcycle.

The Choice is Yours

When it comes to motorcycles, there certainly are a plethora of options from which to choose. But, how do you pick the motorcycle that is right for you? Choosing the right bike depends on your experience level, price range and driving preferences.

Experience: Your experience with motorcycles or mechanical equipment in general has an effect on which motorcycle you should choose. If you’re a beginner and haven’t had much experience with larger engines, faster speeds, or tighter handling, a sports or custom bike might not be your safest choice. Take into consideration your experience and choose the safest motorcycle for your level.

Price Range: The budget conscious and the unrestricted shopper can both find the right motorcycle. Custom choppers with vintage wheels and unique paint certainly have price ranges much higher than base level cruisers, but that doesn’t mean a motorcycle purchase is an uneconomical one. Take into consideration purchase price and economic savings when looking at your next motorcycle purchase.

Driving Preference: When you envision cruising the open road in your new motorcycle do you see yourself taking long trips or short ones? Are you a ‘pedal to the metal’ type of driver or do you prefer a more casual cruise? These preferences will take your motorcycle purchase from touring to sport bike in two seconds flat. Think about where you’ll be driving in your new purchase. Your driving preference should help you decide which bike is best for you.

In addition…

  • Ask around.Many motorcycle enthusiasts are proud of their machines and will talk very candidly about what they ride and why. Get first hand perspective from someone who has experience riding motorcycles. Which works best for them, considering their size and strength?
  • Visit dealerships. Dealerships are full of salesmen and customers who will be more than happy to assist in finding the right motorcycle as well. The sales staff will be able to answer technical questions, give a variety of in-stock models, and be able to discuss pricing options.
  • Take a class. Many dealerships and private companies offer beginner through advanced riding classes. Some even provide bikes to learn on and test with. These classes are designed to teach the basics and give the operator confidence when on a bike. The rider should find classes endorsed or provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). In many states, the MSF certification exempts the rider from the riding portion of the motorcycle riding exam. Insurance discounts are sometimes available with MSF certifications as well. Be sure to ask your insurance agent if these discounts are available.

Finding the right motorcycle for your needs doesn’t have to be difficult. Using these tips will help put you on the fast track to purchasing the best motorcycle.

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