Blog

Why You Need a Second Motorcycle


One of the questions we hear often is: "What's the best motorcycle to have?"

As you can imagine, this is a really difficult question to answer. First of all, it depends on what you want to use it for. And secondly, you may have multiple interests or your interest may change over time.

For example: I started out mostly riding on the street and overtime discovered that track riding is what I'm most passionate about, which is most of what I do now. And after borrowing a buddy's touring bike for a couple of long trips, I'm really considering my own too. My sportbike is neither feasible or able to hold up to multi-day trips that may involve off-road riding.

So for us, the only solution to the age-old question is to own many, many motorcycles. (Yeah right, we wish.)

But seriously, there are many reasons to own multiple motorcycles. We hear you though... motorcycles aren't cheap and you've got responsibilities that won't disappear just because you love the feeling of your hair flowing on the interstate.

We've laid out a few cons and pros (yes we set that order intentionally!) for you to weigh yourself.

Cons

First of all, cost is huge factor. Riding is an expensive hobby, after all. Things can really start to add up:

?      Bike: Obviously, new bike = more $
?      Insurance: Yes, you need insurance for each of your bike. And some certain types of bikes (such as supersport and dirt bikes) carry higher insurance rates.
?      Gear: You will need multiple sets of gear for multiple uses/conditions. This includes everything from protective gear (helmets, jackets, boots, etc.) to bike accessories (luggage, windshields, etc.). Your gear you use for dirt riding won't cut it on the street or track, and vice versa.

Price aside, the most difficult part of buying a new bike is settling on type. Depending on personality and preference, there are too many reasons for riding to pinpoint the ?perfect? machine for anyone.

Pros

Let's face it - having one motorcycle is cool, but two motorcycles is more awesome x2.

With two motorcycles of differing styles, you have the freedom to switch-up the kind of riding you want to do, like with an on-road/off-road combo. If you only have a street bike, you can't discover the joy of riding through roads-less-traveled and jumping dirt piles. And if you only have a dirt bike, you'll never know the thrill of racing down a track at 180mph.

With a second bike, an entirely new segment of riding will be opened up to you.

There's no such thing that you must choose a riding niche (just like no such thing that you must decide if you're a Coke or Pepsi person). We're motorcycle aficionados and if it can be done on two wheels, we want to do it all!

Popular Motorcycle Combinations



Street Motorcycle + Track Motorcycle: This could be either a standard street bike or a cruiser, paired with a sport bike that's all decked out for track use. We highly recommend that riders get the track experience at some point because it's a great environment to improve your skills without other vehicles, road obstacles, or fear of going too fast. The good news with this kind of pairing is that a lot of the gear (helmet, jacket) could be the same.

Sport Motorcycle + Touring Motorcycle: This is a great pairing if you enjoy short joyrides around town on a light, nimble speed machine and long multi-day rides on a sturdy, plush beast. You would have to buy specialized touring gear such as luggage and camping supplies. 

Sport Motorcycle + Off-road/Dual-Sport Motorcycle: A road and off-road combo is a classic for those who want the fun of riding on the street and on dirt trails or through the woods. You would need very different gear for each of these bikes as they have specific gear requirements. For example: the helmet for street riding will not fly when riding in the dirt, and neither will the leather jacket. 

So, Which Style is For You?

Now you've weighed the pros and cons, let's briefly go over the differences between each body style. Below, we give brief descriptions for each so you can see what interests you. 

Cruiser: A true classic. Make no mistake, these aren't the most technical--or efficient--motorcycles but they ooze classic American style.

Naked: With fairings + windshield removed, great gas mileage, and increased ease of handling, these slimmed beauties are great as just a normal street bike for commuting to work or the occasional joyride.

Sport: As their name says, these require lots of patience, training, and experience to handle properly. But, there's nothing cooler or more stylish once you've gotten the hang of them.

Supersport: This is the sport bike's big brother. Faster, stronger, and more powerful, these beasts will fulfill every motorcycle--fever dream--fantasy you've had.

Touring: With so much size, they're not the sexiest, but touring motorcycles will take you anywhere in the world with comfort and plenty of room for a passenger, luggage, and everything else.

Sport-Touring: Sport touring bikes offer speed while keeping everything comfortable, spacious, and secure for those long treks across the country.

Dual Sport: Dual sport motorcycles could be considered the "best of both worlds." By design they offer the flexibility and versatility to navigate traffic on the highway, and still rip up dirt trails.

Off-Road: More commonly known as dirt bikes, these babies are exactly what their name says. If you don't need pavement or asphalt, this is just the machine for you.

Adventure (ADV): Adventure motorcycles offer crossover benefits from off-road, sport, and touring bikes. Keep in mind the extra weight and size won't be easy to handle on those wooded trails.

Supermoto: Supermoto motorcycles are primarily for racing different types of tracks: road, dirt, etc. Buy one knowing it will tackle any surface you're ready to conquer.

Conclusion

One bike limits you to a certain kind of riding (unless you have a dual-sport/adventure, which is more versatile). But with a second bike, you can discover a whole new segment of riding, and with it, a whole new passion. There are many disciplines of riding and many reasons for riding, whether it's to find a more fuel-efficient commute for work, or to go on an epic cross country trip, or to feel the thrill of speeding down a track. Why not try everything?

Most importantly, we hope 'fun' makes your list of reasons for a new purchase!

Do you have more than one bike? What bikes combo do you have?
By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

How To Sell Your Used Motorcycle


So you're ready to sell your motorcycle. Of course your biggest concern is getting a fair price for your beloved bike.

Successfully selling your motorcycle takes 3 things: a trustworthy seller (that's you), a fairly priced bike, and good advertisement. We've got a few tips to help you get the best price and have a safe transaction.

Verify your bike's working condition

It goes without saying that your bike is going to be hard to sell if it doesn't work properly. Check your bike's oil levels, battery, and tire pressure. Make sure the chain and sprockets work properly and that its lubed up.

In some states, you may be required to have your bike inspected by a licensed professional before selling it. An inspection will probably cost $20 - $40. Honestly, even if your state doesn't require this, you probably want to do it anyway.

It's in your best interest too to make sure your bike is running properly and everything is as it should be. It's a hassle to deal with an angry customer demanding a refund. And you never know what they did with the bike during the time it left your hands, so you probably would want to get it looked at anyway.

Where to List Your Motorcycle

Our favorite places to list a bike are Craigslist, CycleTrader, or Ebay. To increase odds of selling your motorcycle quickly, use all three.

Before setting up shop you need to:

1. Do keyword research on ?selling used motorcycles?
2. Clean the motorcycle: Wax and lube that baby up - make it shiny and attractive!
3. Repair any minor damages like dents or scrapes
4. Take good photos of the motorcycle from all angles - pictures are often the first thing people see, so take them in a nice, clean background in good lighting conditions
5. Find any information like service records (if you're smart, you'd have kept all of them)
6. Know the value of your bike (more later)
7. Write a stand-out description (see next section)

Quick Reminders:
- Ebay charges low listing fees but takes a percentpage of the final sale price
- CycleTrader offers optional premium tiers

What to include in the description

List relevant history about your bike, such as mileage, accident history, major repairs done, and aftermarket upgrades. Include the inspection report if you decided to get one. Also include details like how much time is left on the warranty. It's also good if you include how the bike was used (such like "mostly for commuting to work").

A lot of sellers hide this information, so being upfront about it will make you stand out (and less questions to answer). Naturally, people will be concerned about buying a used vehicle, so ease their worries sooner.

Aftermarket upgrades - to keep or not to keep?

This can be tricky: if you've done aftermarket upgrades, it can up the value of your bike, especially if you replaced OEM parts with brand name parts. But it could also be a turn-off to a lot of people too as they can't be sure that the aftermarket upgrades were properly done, not to mention that it may not be to their style.

It's a good idea to clean the original parts and offer them to the buyer too, as part of the entire offer price. Or you may even want to reinstall the original parts and separately sell the accessories. You may be able to sell your bike faster and fetch a better price overall for the accessories.

How to price your used motorcycle

Recently, costs have lowered in the ?new motorcycle? market. For a used motorcycle salesperson that means disaster if you're not positioned with a competitive pricing strategy.

As the seller, it's important to know your product's value. Research websites like Craigslist, CycleTrader, or Ebay Motors to get an idea of what others are selling theirs for. Find official estimations for your machine at Kelley Blue Book's guide via category, make, year, and model.

Basic negotiating tactics and payment options

When you've established the bike's market value, decide on offers you will and won't entertain in negotiations and how to get your money safely.

While negotiating, what price do you feel is fair for you and your customer? You'll probably get a lot of really lowball offers by people trying to test their luck, but hold fast to what you know your vehicle is worth.

When it comes to payment, you've got to protect yourself first. Cold, harsh cash is the only form that offers real security. But not everyone may be able to get a large sum of cash immediately. In that case, you can ask for a cash deposit for you to hold the bike and give them a certain number of days to come up with the rest.

If they want to pay by check, then deposit the check first and only after it clears, do you let the buyer come pick up the bike. Again, you can't trust that the check won't bounce and the buyer disappears off the face of the earth. If they want to pay by Paypal, same deal. Make sure the money is in your account first before giving the bike up.

But honestly, paying by cash is the best for both parties. Because just like you can't be sure that buyer's check will go through, they can't be sure either that when they're ready to pick up the bike, you disappear off the face of the earth.

Meeting with buyers

When meeting with buyers from ecommerce sites, we suggest you do so in a well lit, public place.

If the buyer ask for a test drive, make sure to have the full money in your hand first before letting him/her on your bike. It's unlikely, but you could lose your bike to someone who decides to take your bike for a permanent test drive.

Business deals are built upon trust, but it's best not to take chances. Just be quick and professional.

Title transfer

Last, but most important, make sure you have title-transfer paperwork ready for your customer when you meet.

Have you had experience selling your bike? Do you have any tips to add?

By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

8 Tips for Riding with a Passenger


(We're talking about riding on the back of the bike, and don't worry, you won't get muddy)

Are you thinking about inviting a friend to ride along with you, or are you the passenger about to take your first ride on the back of a bike? Either way, there are a few important things to know before getting onto that bike.

Riding with a passenger is very different than riding alone. The extra weight could throw your balance off a bit and make control harder. And you can never be sure how your passenger will perform (though hopefully, they'll listen to you). So for one, you should be an experienced rider and be completely comfortable riding on the street with other vehicles to even consider inviting someone along. Remember: you're responsible for their life.

We don't mean to sound like a hardass, but when it comes to carrying a passenger, that's twice the amount of risk. On the other hand, it could be an incredibly fun experience and a great way to share your passion. 

So, from riding techniques to passenger safety, here are 8 tips to ensure a fun and safe ride for both you and your passenger.

1. Wear protective gear - always


You know we stress on safety, so this is first on our list - your passenger never gets on without the appropriate protective gear of their own. Period. At the very least, your passenger needs to have:

- a DOT or SNELL certified helmet
- a leather jacket (if they don't have leather, then a thicker textile jacket would do)
- riding gloves
- long pants (if they're going to be a regular passenger, then we'd really recommend proper riding pants. There are pants that look like normal jeans, so don't worry about looking un-stylish)
- sturdy shoes that cover the ankles (exhaust fumes get hot!)

2. Make sure your bike can handle a passenger

Some bikes aren't even fit for carrying a passenger. For a bike to be able to legally carry a passenger, you would need a separate seating area (or a long seat), and footpegs for the passenger. Make sure you satisfy your State's DMV requirements.

You also may need to adjust tire pressures and suspension to make sure your bike is safe to carry the extra weight, which will affect the bike's performance. It's a good idea to check your manual to see whether your bike has any weight limitations or operational recommendations.

3. Establish hand signals

You should at least have a few basic hand signals. For example:

- One tap on the should could mean "I need to readjust my seating position." 
- Two taps could be "slow down you maniac!" 
- Three frantic taps could be "please stop; I really need to get off!" 

Just make sure you have at least a few basic safe hand signals prepared, and make sure at least one of them is a clear message to stop ASAP. Always give your passenger an out if they just don't feel comfortable. 

4. Mounting the bike

We find that it's easiest for you to get on first. Only after you have both feet planted firmly on the ground and the bike upright, should you tell the passenger to mount. In general, the footpegs shouldn't be used to mount the bike, but we understand that some passengers need it. Just don't place too much weight on it for too long. 

It's always extremely important that the passenger stay away from the muffler. It gets very hot and could cause a severe burn. 

5. Tell your passenger to stay very close to you

A passenger sitting too far back will affect your bike's agility in the corners. A passenger that leans right when you're turning left is going to affect the steering of the bike.

The best thing to do is for the passenger to place their hands on your hip or wrapped around your waist (if they're more scared!) or holding onto the bike's rails behind the seat. Basically, their front is glued to your back: if you lean left, they lean left. 

This leads us to:

6. Proper riding position for the passenger

Make sure your passenger knows the proper riding position they should take before you ride. The passenger should:

- Put their arms your waist or hold onto the rails (never hold onto your shoulders or around your chest from the top of shoulders)
- Lean into corners the same as you. Look over the shoulder in the same direction of the turn.
- During braking, the passenger should either brace their hands against the tank or squeeze their thighs to keep from sliding forward. This is so they don't push you forward, which reduces you control. 
 Keep their feet glued to those footpegs at all times. Keep away from the back wheel, chain, and the mufflers - they get very hot and dangerous.
- And don't make any unnecessary movements, like adjusting the seating position, leaning when the bike is going straight, etc. This throws the balance off and could be very dangerous.

7. Be careful of necessary riding adjustments you'll have to make

The extra weight will change how your bike performs. If there's clonking of helmets, it's most likely the rider's fault because you're not changing gears smoothly enough, and causing your passenger to jerk their head forward. With the added weight, you'll also need a longer distance to brake, so keep that in mind or you'll be in trouble if you're still braking at your usual distance.

For your own safety, you probably shouldn't be too close to the vehicle ahead, but sudden hard braking is going to be especially uncomfortable when it results in your passenger unwittingly mounting you. Wait until a vehicle passes something like a tree or a lamppost and ensure it takes 3 seconds before you reach the same point. If and when you need to overtake, choose your moment wisely.

8. Ensure your passenger is insured 

And lastly, you need to check that your insurance covers you to carry a passenger. And if it doesn?t make the necessary amendments. Actually, you need to do this first before giving a ride! The passenger should have proper medical insurance at least. Otherwise, don't take that chance, no matter how good of a rider you think you are. Just don't. 

Conclusion

Riding with a passenger could be a great way to share your love for riding with another person. But just remember that it's a lot different than riding alone and you need to take into account that someone else's life is in your hands. Be thoughtful and listen to them if they feel uncomfortable in any way. Gear them up, be insured, be safe, prepare your passenger, and happy riding!


By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

Essential Gear for Adventure & Dual Sport Rides


Dual sport/adventure is one of the fastest growing bike segments. That's not hard to believe because these bikes are basically the best of both worlds. You get the fun of riding off-road and the thrill of speeding down the street. These bikes are light and versatile, while still being comfortable and safe with great maneuverability.

This segment of riding comes with gear requirements all of its own. Dual sport/adventure riding is all about having fun in a variety of surroundings and road conditions, and this means specific protection requirements because you never know what kind of conditions you'll encounter.

In this post, we'll talk about what you will need to make your trip a success.

Luggage with at least 1 waterproof luggage item 

You're going to need a luggage to store all the necessary tools (we go into more detail later) and anything else you may need for your adventure trip. Make sure at least one luggage item is waterproof, as you're never sure what kind of weather you'll run into. If you don't have a waterproof bag, then at least purchase a waterproof liner or storm cover for your bag.

Place everything that you don't want to get wet into the waterproof bag, like your phone, camera, and any electronic tools/accessories. Also, any clothes, because it really sucks when you have a luggage-full of damp clothes that will never get the chance to dry out.

Briefly, here are the different options you have for motorcycle luggage:

- Saddlebags: This is the classic form of motorcycle luggage. They hang over the rear seat and come down on both sides at the back wheel. Saddlebags are the most popular because of the amount of stuff they can hold and their position is low enough that it doesn't affect the bike's center of gravity.

- Tail bag: This type of bag sits behind you on the tail of the bike. You can purchase a tail bag that matches the your saddlebags for a complete, cohesive look. This is a good place to put anything that may break if the bike falls on its side.

- Sissy bar bag: This kind of storage attaches to the sissy bar or back rest, and are often vertically stacked luggage compartments. This is not popular on off-road/adv bikes so most likely, you won't be considering this option.

- Tank bag: This is a small bag that's attacked to the tank area either with straps or really strong magnets. Many come with a clear panel on top for a GPS or phone.

Luggage bags can come in either soft (nylon, cordura, PVC) or hard (aluminum, plastic) varieties. Soft bags are more versatile and lighter, which is great for off-road riding, but they may not be as durable or secure as their hard counterparts.

Giant Loop is one of our favorite luggage brands. We personally have tested and loved the Giant Loop Mojavi Saddlebag (detailed review here). This military-grade bag is reinforced with ballistic nylon, and can withstand even the clumsiest of riders. Aram from our Solomoto team has used his for four years now and it's still going strong (if you don't already know, Aram has quite the reputation for crashing and abusing both his bike and himself). This bag is incredibly sturdy and lightweight, and despite a deceivingly small size, it's roomy enough to pack all the tools you would need.

Another luggage brand we highly recommend is Wolfman. Their high quality, stylish luggage is made right in the US.

Depending on what kind of luggage you choose, you may have to buy a luggage rack.  A top rack, which can be used to hold or fasten down a tail bag or water/fuel jug, is the most popular choice. And if you choose a hard case, you'll need mounting brackets to fix the case on.

Dual Sport Mirrors

Even mirrors have a different set of requirements in the dual-sport and ADV world. A good mirror should be able to give you complete visibility, be sturdy enough that it won't break in a crash (and yes, we tend to dump our bike a lot out there), and fold out of the way when you need it to.

Our absolute favorite dual sport mirrors are Doubletake Mirrors (detailed review here). They take you from highway riding to off-road seamlessly. The height, length of mount, and angle of the mirror can be adjusted in about every direction you would need. And when riding in tough off-road situations, they can be swiveled down and locked in place, protecting them against any potential crashes.

Water and fuel containers

Keeping properly hydrated is one of the most important things to do on any motorcycle ride. You're going to have to bring (at least, some of) your water supply with you as there won't be any handy Seven-11s to stop by out in the woods or canyon.

Don't take up all your precious storage room and instead carry your water on your back with a hydration pack. You can also easily sip while riding instead of having to stop and unscrew a water bottle. Our favorites are the performance-focused hydration packs from American Kargo that come in a crazy cool assortment of styles and colors. (Of course, if it's going to be a longer ride, bring along as much water as you think you will need.)

Instead, save that storage room for a fuel container. You should always carry with you some spare fuel, because well... you probably won't see too many gas stations in the woods either. We recommend an aluminum fuel bottle. They can be found in almost all outdoorsy stores like REI.

Tubeless tires

Tubeless tires have a couple of major advantages when riding: 1) first, they don't deflate as fast when punctured, and 2) it's much easier to fix them on the go. Unlike a tubed tire, you don't have to remove the wheel and the tube. All you have to do is plug, re-inflate, and patch. In most cases, you may not even have to do a roadside fix. If it's a small object and you don't take it out, you can even get home.

We've ridden with the traditional tubed tires before and fixing a flat is a real waste of time and hassle. I gotta say that we're becoming fans of the tubeless system when riding off-road, simply because there are so many things that can puncture your tire. Tubeless tires are also less expensive, lighter, and have better fuel economy.

Handguards

Because of the nature of this type of riding, the hands often take a beating. Even if you're smart and wearing gloves, repeated slapping of branches on your hands will quickly become a nuisance. And at worst case scenario, if you ride your grips into a tree, your hands are going to be in big trouble. Basically, gloves alone will not do the trick when you're taking your bike off-road.

Whether riding through the countryside, up rocky terrain, or through the woods, installing handguards on your adventure motorcycle will protect your hands from flying debris, rocks, and brush. They are durable plastic pieces that attach to your handlebars and are designed to protect your hands and clutch levers in all types of extreme weather and road conditions.

They're easy to install and remove and come in a variety of options and colors, including: vented and spring-loaded, which will flex back in case of a crash.

Our favorite handguards manufacturers are Bark Busters and Moose Racing, both of which are known for their high-quality, durable, and sleek designs.

Skid plates

Just like handguards protect your hands and clutch levers from flying rocks, branches, and collisions, skid plates protect the delicate underbelly of your prized motorcycle. This is where all the expensive parts of your bike is located! A stray rock or branch can easily damage your casing or oil filter, causing you to not only end your day early, but also hundreds of dollars worth of damages.

Skidplates are not the cheapest, but trust us, it's a small investment to make to avoid a far, far more expensive repair job. When you wish you had one, it's already too late. We recommend a skidplate made with durable, lightweight aluminum or steel (NOT plastic), as plastic just can't stand up to constant beating of rocks.

Tool kits

And lastly, you can't go off on your adventure ride without a tool kit. At the very least, we recommend packing:

- things to fix a tire: a tire tube for the front and back tires, an electric pump, tire irons, patch kit
- for any fuel issues: extra fuel pump, extra fuel, siphoning hose
- for battery issues: jumper leads
- para cord/tie-downs: are extremely useful to carry extra things or keep pieces together
- extra brake pads for the front and rear if it's a longer trip
- valve core remover
- small tools: wrenches, screwdrivers, sockets, hexes, pocketknife
- headlamp: especially useful if you're still out into the night and need light and both your hands to fix something
- Misc: duct tape, WD-40, zip-ties

What other essential gear would you recommend for a dual sport/adventure ride?
By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

Everything to Know About Motorcycle Group Riding


Riding doesn't have to be a lone activity. Sure, there's the thrill of independence and the romantic appeal of nothing but you, your bike, and the road. And sometimes you need to just get out there and ride to clear your head. But often times, it's even more fun in a group.

We've recommended before that one of the best things for a new rider to do is to join a riding group. You can bond with truly like-minded people and you will improve your skills faster in a group environment. Riders are some of the coolest people (but you already know that) and they're all happy to share knowledge.

But that said, there are still etiquette to follow when on a group ride (don't be a douchebag, for one), or you won't be invited back to the next one. If you're a novice rider or just new to riding groups, we've got you covered, so you won't be making a fool out of yourself on the next ride.

Here is everything you can expect from a group ride and tips to make it a success.

First things first: come prepared

Hopefully, this is something we shouldn't even have to say, but hey you never know. I've been in group rides before where people obviously didn't prep, and it really brings down the entire group. This means come with a full tank, full tire pressure, a cell phone, and your wallet. No one wants to have to make an unexpected stop just because you forgot to fill up.

And of course, don't be late. No one wants to stand around waiting for that one rider who can't keep track of time either.

Group ride meeting 

Before the ride starts, there should be a meeting to go over the general expectations of the ride, including: the route, how long to ride for, where the break points will be, and what to do if someone gets behind or lost.

It's especially important to decide on a meeting spot (or spots if it's a long ride) if riders get separated. Sometimes, even the best of plans and formations (see below) can still lose riders, which can happen during turning, passing, or if not everyone makes it through a traffic light. And when that happens, the person may panic and feel the need to ride faster, going beyond their ability, in order to catch up. But if there's a designed meeting spot for such situations, then they can go at their own pace, knowing that the others will be there waiting.

The meeting should also go over hand signals to be used, such as when to ride in single file and when to slow down/speed up, and to point out obstacles on the road. See Motorcycle Safety Foundation's guide to hand signals here.

Roles within the group

Every group ride should decide on:

Someone in front (the leader): this person needs to access situations and make decisions for the entire group (such as do you all pass a vehicle or go through a light?).
Someone bringing up the rear (the sweeper): this person sets the pace and keeps an eye out on the entire group. If someone falls behind, the sweeper is responsible for making sure they get caught up.

Both of these should be someone with experience in group riding and good judgment. A communication device, such as Sena's wireless communicators, between the leader and sweeper can be extremely helpful .

Everyone else should have their place in between the two. If you're a new rider, you should go right behind the leader, so those with more experience can watch out for you from behind.

Size of the group

We recommend to keep the group as intimate as possible, because the more riders there are, the more problems it can cause. A good number is 4-6 riders.

If the group is larger, it's a good idea to split fast and slow riders into separate groups, each with their own leader and sweeper. This way, the smaller groups diminish risk of accidents and everyone can ride with others close to their preferred riding speed. Though keep in mind that the slow group would still need an experienced leader and sweeper.

The formation

We know... talking about a "formation" sounds so stuffy. After all, this is supposed to be a fun ride with your buddies, not the army. But trust us, this is important.

So now that you have decided on the leader, sweeper, and your relative position, you need to work out a formation. This part can get tricky. The staggered formation is best for the safety of everyone in the group, with each rider 2 seconds behind the one in front. It keeps your group compact (which means less chance for a car to try to merge in and break you apart) and also gives each rider enough buffer space around them.

Stick to your place!

Once you have a formation figured out and your place in it, don't break it!

This means not riding like a dick. Group riding is supposed to be a fun social experience to build camaraderie. Not a competition with your fellow riders. Don't be that rider who decides to show off and speed up to pass others.

Also be sure to keep the proper distance between you and the rider in front (in other words, don't tailgate!). This is so there's enough cushion space for the other rider to swerve if there's an obstacle. Don't slide into another rider's zone, as this may cause them to panic and run off the lane. And also, don't make sudden brakes without warning, which can cause the rider behind you to plow into you.

Basically, respect your fellow riders' space, and don't do anything stupid that will get you pulled over.

Passing

Speaking of passing, this is one of the trickiest things to maneuver in a group.

It's important to pass in order (in a single file) and once you have passed the vehicle, to return to your spot in the formation. Once you have passed the car, continue riding at speed (don't slow down) so there is enough room for the bike behind you to also pass and get into the lane. One of the most common mistakes I see is riders who pass a car and slow down, which will leave the next rider stranded in the other lane, with no room to get in. This is especially dangerous when passing on a 2-lane road with the threat of oncoming traffic.

Lastly, listen to your gut

Group riding is about fun and building friendships, but as always, safety comes first (you're probably sick of hearing us say that). So if at any point, you don't feel comfortable with the situation, it's okay to get out of the group and go solo (moto -ing).

Maybe the group is riding faster than you're comfortable with and others are saying that you're slowing them down. Don't feel pressured to go beyond your ability to keep up. Or if it's the other way around and someone else in the group is riding like an ass, give him a wide berth and/or remove yourself from the group.

In any case, if it's not feeling right, don't think you have to stick out the ride.

Conclusion

We highly recommend trying a group ride (bikers groups on Facebook or Meetup are great places to find one in your city) if you haven't yet. There's a lot that can be learned from other riders. It's a great experience that will allow you to build strong friendship and make you feel more connected to your local riding community. We hope you understand a little more now about what to expect on a group ride. To put it simply, be careful, don't ride like an asshole, listen to your gut, and have fun!

By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

We Are Loving These 2016 KTM Motorcycles


In the off-road racing world, there is perhaps no other bike as easily recognizable as the little orange KTM machines. Since their introduction, KTM bikes have dominated the motorsports tracks. They're some of the most fun to ride bikes out there on the market, and the 2016 line up has plenty to get us excited.

So let's get into some of our favorite KTM bikes, freshly unpacked for 2016.

KTM 350 XC-F


The original 2011 model went down a storm, and the 2013 wasn't half bad either with increased horsepower, but at the expense of bottom end quality. Has KTM addressed this for 2016?

KTM have improved almost every component on this year's release, with the focus on a lighter and more ergonomic design. The new motor (1-cylinder, 4 stroke engine) growls to a heart-pumping 14,000 rpm. A completely new frame design offers an increased torsional stiffness, which improves the handling. The overall result is a massive weight shed to just 227 pounds - making this an agile, compact little bike with the power of that of a much larger one.

What we love about this bike is that it is FAST and yet a comfort to ride. Gear changes aren't required all too often to have a successful blast around the track, and your wrists won't give way too easily even after some hardcore riding. A solid middleweight bike that's just great all-around.

450 SX-F Factory Edition


The 450SX-F is already a huge name in the Supercross championships world, with numerous wins around the world. Similar to other recent KTM releases, this bike has had most of its major components replaced to reduce weight and improve handling.

The new 1 cylinder, 4 stroke engine sheds four whole pounds, making it now the lightest 450 engine for off-road bikes. The frame has always been redesigned for increased torsional rigidity, with a lighter swingarm, fuel tank, and footpegs. Overall, the 2016 model is about 8 pounds lighter than the previous year's.

The fact that the new forks on the Factory Edition are a whopping 3.1 lbs lighter than those on its counterpart is quite amazing. Last year's model received complaints that the forks didn't absorb bumps as well as they needed to, a weak spot in an otherwise brilliant design. The 2016 model has addressed the problem effectively by improving the load its forks can handle, but it could prove to be a little uncomfortable for light-weight riders.

1290 Super Adventure


This is KTM's luxury adventure bike, one that struggled to be a worthy competitor against BMWs R1200GS when it was first released in 2015. How does 2016's model compare?

The 2016 1290 Super Adventure features a large 1300cc V-twin engine with massive 160-horsepower. It's made for tackling long distances with a huge 7.9-gallon tank and an ergonomic design for maximum comfort, including an adjustable seat height. 

It comes with a whole range of technology & safety features, including suspension control, traction control, cruise control, ABS for cornering, a selection of ride modes, and ride-by-wire throttle. There's even heated seat and grips, adjustable windshield, and slipper clutch.

At MSRP of $20,499, this is a pricey bike. But this is a "do it all" bike that does as well on the road as off, and we think it's a worthy contender against the big adventure brands. 

Duke 390



The cult classic Duke 390 has long been one of our favorite bikes, and is one of our top recommended starter bikes. This bike comes in at just over 300 pounds and puts out 44 horsepower. It may be a little thing, but it out-performs a lot of other bikes in the same class in terms of power.

One of the best features of the Duke 390 is its nimble chassis that provides gymnast agility when navigating a painfully busy street. The super lightweight trellis frame is designed for mass centralization, which gives the Duke 390 extreme agility and great maneuverability. This little bike can go anywhere: it's powerful enough to ride on the highway, handles well enough for those twisty mountain curves, and nimble enough to take off-road. 

This bike comes at an MSRP of just $4,999, making it one of the most fun bikes you can buy for five grand. 

RC390


We're happy to see KTM expand into the sportbike category and do well. Lastly, we have the RC390 - KTM's only purely sportbike. This is KTM's version of the extremely popular Japanese lightweights Ninja 300R and Yamaha R3.

The RC390 combines a small yet power engine with a small agile trellis frame and state-of-the-art racing technology. It's powered by a single cylinder, 4 stroke, 375cc engine with a peak output of 44 horsepower, making it a fast bike for a small weight that handles the road like a dream. Aesthetically, it's got a very sporty look with an aggressive riding position, but the ergonomic and aerodynamic design still allows for the comfortable ride.

For a brand that's synonymous with motocross domination, we think they've done well with this sportbike. It's a great little all-around bike with attractive European styling that'll be sure to get attention on the streets. 

It's Hard to Go Wrong with KTM
KTM is a big player when it comes to off-road bikes ? a reputation that's well established. But that doesn't mean you should rule out its marvelously engineered adventure and sport bikes.

Which of these bikes do you have your eye on? Or are you lusting after another model?

P.S. If you love window shopping as much as we do, see more of our favorite bikes round-ups: Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW, and Ducati.


By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

Ultimate Fender Eliminator Guide: How To Un-Ugly Your Rear End


Your motorbike is your life. There's nothing quite like waking up to feeling the open air blast against you, racing on a long straight during a hot summer's day. Our bikes do an exceptional job at making us look absolutely cool, so it's only fair you return the favor by modifying your bike to look like a true champion.

The number one aftermarket modification for sport and road-going bikes is something known as the fender eliminator. As popular as this mod is, there are still plenty of people confused by it:

What's the purpose of a fender eliminator? What exactly are you "eliminating"? And why would you want to eliminate it?

In this post, we'll explain everything you need to know about this modification.

Purpose of the fender eliminator 

In short terms, the primary purpose of a fender eliminator is to make your bike look awesome. It's the same reason people like to paint go-faster stripes down the sides of their car, only the eliminator is less cheesy and in-your-face (and actually looks cool).

Your fender is that ugly, sensible-looking plastic thing that hangs off your bike's tail to cover your back wheel.

messes up the sleek lines of the bike, no?

The fender eliminator kit gets rid of that large unstylish plastic piece and basically instead mounts the lights and plate right under the tail piece. Doing this mod will no longer cover your back wheel. It makes a bike look more slick and "race-y". Some might also argue that eliminators shed a little weight, but really, this modification is strictly cosmetic.

This is what your tail end looks like after the modification:

much cleaner (the license place is mounted between the lights)

A huge reason why fender eliminators are the go-to product for body modifications is their easy-on-the-wallet price, mostly costing no more than $200 and even as low as just $30. It's one of the cheapest and easiest modifications you can do that make a large impact on appearance.

Are there any issues?

Now there's the question that's going to help you decide whether to buy one. While fender eliminators undeniably look sportier and make your whole bike appear more streamlined, there are a few issues you should consider.

Water and Dirt Become a Bigger Issue

That ugly fender that came pre-installed on your brand new bike? It's actually there for a reason. They frame your back wheel to act as a shield. When you're tearing over wet or dirty roads, the tread in your tires serves as a reservoir to make sure you have sufficient grip, and then they throw everything they collect into the air - and not always behind you.

Your wheels are spinning at mightily fast speeds, and after the rain has created a nice slippery road surface, the speed at which your tires discard collected water and dirt means at least some of it is going to land on you.

Some people only want their bikes for racing or recreational sport. As a result, they don't head out into the soaking wet very often, and this why this type of rider may see no reason to keep their bike's fender.

Drivers behind you may get it too

That fender isn't there just to prevent your back from getting wet; it's also to protect vehicles behind you from having to literally eat your dust (and water, and rocks). Cracked windshields on cars are often caused by stones and small bits of debris impaling the glass.

Truth be told, keeping your stock fender doesn't eliminate the risk of that happening. Most windshield cracks aren't caused by bikes - largely because there are fewer bikes on the road. But it's also because car tires perform in almost the same way as bike tires.

Your license plate may be an issue

That stock fender is also there to attach a license plate to, easily visible to other drivers, and most importantly, to any police patrolling the streets.

A fender eliminator on the other hand, gets rid of this hanging piece. It comes with a mount for the license plate, which usually has it tucked in under the new tail piece. Make sure that the kit you choose have a LED license light and turn signals. And be careful that the angle of the plate doesn't reflect the light into the eyes of the driver behind you.

R&G Racing kit: license mount and lights on the ZX10R

Which brings us to the next question:

Are they Legal?

The legality issue of making this kind of modification to your bike comes down to: 1) your license plate is not as visible anymore, or 2) it's not as well illuminated anymore.

The answer is that they are usually legal. Though this largely depends on where you are. Before you purchase a kit, make sure you check with your state, because in some states (Oregon, for example) fenders on all wheels are a legal requirement.

If you live in a state where removing the fender is okay, make sure that your license plate is still clearly visible (ie. not mounted way under the tail piece) and that your plate is well lit. Not only that, but make sure it's by a light that will not startle any driver behind you. That usually means dipped at a slight angle facing the plate so that the reflecting light isn't going to bounce directly into somebody?s eyes. You can buy additional accessories for your eliminator if this is the problem.

Most of the top brands (discussed below) manufacturer eliminators with all the features you'll need to comply with the laws in most states, such as LED rear lights, turn signal hardware, and an acceptable holder for your registration plate.

You should check what the specific laws are in your state to make sure the product you choose complies with local laws. Some states are more relaxed than others in this particular regard, but making sure everything is installed and set up correctly is a good idea for your own safety, never mind the man in blue.

Our recommendations

Competition Werkes: Competition Werkes is no doubt the most recognized name in the fender eliminator market.  Started in 1984 by Ward McKee, his idea of eliminating the rear fender to enhance the look of his sport bike became an instant hit, and by 1996, his Fender Eliminator Kits were distributed to dealers all across the U.S.

Shop for Competition Werkes Fender Eliminators here

Targa: Targa was started in 1983 to improve the styling of today's motorcycles. Their Fender Eliminator kits provide an affordable solution to clean up the tail end of motorcycles with many kits providing short-stalk style aftermarket turn signals. In addition to fender eliminators, Targa also manufacturers half tank covers/bras. 

Shop for Targa Fender Eliminators here


R&G Racing: R&G is a European boutique sportbike accessories brand providing innovative and functional bolt-on accessories. Their European design style really sets their products apart from the crowd, with high-quality material and top-notch engineering quality that lasts long and looks amazing. The most notable items within their product range are Fender Eliminator Kits and Frame Sliders. The Brits call them a Tail Tidy!

Shop for R&G Racing Fender Eliminators here

Conclusion

So is a fender eliminator right for you? While this modification certainly makes you bike look awesome, it depends. If you use your bike primarily for going to the track or the occasional joy ride on a warm weekend day, getting rid of that unsightly stock fender and slipping on one of these slick bad boys will instantly up your ride cred. However, if your bike is your main mode of commute, whether rain or shine, you may feel bothered by the increased water and dust kick-up over time.

Have questions? We're always here to help! Either call us up or hit us up on our Facebook page!

Have you done this modification on your bike yet? What do you think and what are some downsides you experienced? 
By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

Lithium Batteries: What Are They and Why Do You Need One?

Summer has finally arrived and the sun is out, bringing with it the return of riding season! Which means it's time to strap on your helmet and paint the corners with tire tracks. You're brimming with excitement. You dust off the bike that's just been hanging out in the garage, ram the key into the ignition, turn, and... nothing.

Yep, looks like the battery has died.

And you're going to have to sort that out before any gravel feels your fury.

So what type of battery should you buy? The traditional lead acid type, or do you go for lithium power instead? Aside from the cooler-sounding name, lithium batteries do have a few tricks up their sleeve.

Better Performance

A huge contributor to a motorbike's face-stretching acceleration capabilities is its light weight, which is just one reason we prefer two wheels to four. In this interest, many aftermarket parts are designed to reduce the overall weight of the bike as much as possible.

Enter the lithium battery, which weighs up to four times less than the alternative lead acid battery. That's FOUR times, quite significant if you ask us. Which will directly translate to improved performance.

Now, just a simple change in battery isn't going to take your five-seconds-to-100mph down to two, but every little bit of weight shed helps. So if you're looking for any way to improve the performance of your bike by fitting the lightest parts possible, replacing your current dead battery with a lithium alternative is a smart move.

So just how much weight can be shed? Take the EVX12-12 Battery by Ballistic (a company clearly all about power) that weighs up to 10lbs less than a stock battery, tested by race teams and easy to install for the budding racer. That's quite a significant amount of weight loss, and if you're all about thrills, well, need we say more?

Longevity

Needless to say, when you part with your cash for new parts, you'll want them to last as long as possible. It's the reason we always urge you to choose quality over price when it comes to riding gear, and it can make "expensive" items much better value in the long run.

This is another area where lithium batteries holds a competitive edge over lead acid. It's also worth mentioning that all batteries - yes ALL batteries - lose at least some of their charge every day, even if they're not in use. The lithium battery loses between 3-10% of charge per year if stored. Compare this with lead acid batteries, which lose up to 1% a day!

That's a significant difference. Consider how often you use your bike. Do you adamantly use it daily regardless of the weather threats? Or does it often stand in the garage for weeks or months at a time? If you're more of a seasonal or occasional rider, a lithium battery will still be in good shape when you're ready to start riding again.

(Of course, you can also keep your lead acid battery alive during the hibernation months with a battery tender, which will safely maintain the battery at a full charge without trickling charge damages.)

Are there any downsides?

Every product and its competitors both propose advantages and disadvantages that make them more suitable for different users. So yes, there are a couple of drawbacks to the lithium battery:

Higher price: Now, we've already mentioned the fact that you might expect a lithium battery to last a little longer, especially if it's going to be stored for a while. But then again, batteries charge themselves when your engine's running, and chargers are available should they need to be rebooted after being stored away.

That means the price should be considered. Lithum batteries cost a pretty penny, usually between $160 and $280, while lead acid batteries are much lower priced at $65-$120. But then again, the longer life and improved performance may be well worth it to you.

Warm up time: Depending on where you live and the time of year, the lithium battery does have another drawback: it might need a bit of warming up to function properly in temperatures below freezing. Turning on the light for a few minutes should do the trick, but it could be a nuisance if you're doing it everyday when it's literally freezing out outside! (And seriously, props to you if you ride in freezing temperatures!)

Our recommendations

If you're considering upgrading to a lithium battery, we recommend the following brands that are all leading providers in the market.

Ballistic: Ballistic Batteries is one of the most recognized names in lithium batteries. It uses the latest, state-of-the-art lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) energy storage technology to provide you with a high energy battery in a small compact package. Each battery is assembled by hand in the USA using custom designed cells, cases, and hardware.

Shop for Ballistic batteries here.






EarthX: Earth X, Inc. is an American company founded by an electrical engineer and mechanical engineer who wanted to find a better alternative to the lead acid battery. Their batteries are made up of LiFePO4 with built-in electronics to keep its charge level balanced. The batteries last up to 8 years, are 80% lighter than their lead-acid equivalents, and all come with a 2 year warranty.

Shop for EarthX batteries here





Shorai: Shorai was founded in 2010 in California and since then have become one of the world's top producers of lithium sport batteries in the powersports market. Its sponsors include KTM, Galfer, and Dunlp. Their LFX batteries deliver energy faster, with less weight and wear on the battery per start cycle than any other brand available on the market today. All batteries come with a limited 3 year warranty.

Shop for Shorai batteries here.





Lead-acid alternative: And if you feel like that lead acid battery is still the better option for you, we've got a recommendation for that too!

Yuasa Battery Inc. is the largest American manufacturer and a world leader of batteries for motorcycles and powersport vehicles. Besides their replacement battery business, they are also the preferred original equipment (OE) supplier for many in the market. Yuasa's batteries generate more power, last longer, and require less maintenance.

So should I buy a lithium battery?

Honestly, it depends on how you want to use your bike. Raw power and optimized performance required? A lithium battery will do the trick. Prefer a bit of slow cruising on a regular basis? The lead acid battery will likely do just fine. If you're still undecided, and this article has raised some questions, get in touch, and we'll be happy to help out!

Have you swapped out your old battery for a lithium one? What were any improvements and/or issues you experienced? 

By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

Our Favorite 2016 Suzuki Motorcycles


Aaaaannd we're back! With yet another installment of our current favorite bike models (see Yamaha, Kawaski, BMW, and Ducati.)

Doing these have been quite fun, almost like getting that window-shopping thrill. If we can't own them, we can drool and write about them, amiright?

Here are our favorite Suzuki stallions for 2016!

GSX-R750


Back in 1985, the release of the GSX-R750 (which you may say is the grandfather if modern sportbikes) changed the way we think about bikes forever. Even for the 2016 model, Suzuki hasn't lost touch with this bike's astounding heritage of winning championships and wowing us with its uber-cool style.

Thanks in part to a lighter build than previous models, the latest GSX feels more like a superbike than anything else when it comes to accelerating. This bike?s magical little secret is fitting a whopping 750cc engine on to a compact little machine. The bike is fitted with a aluminum alloy frame, lightweight Showa front forks and single rear shock, and electronically controlled steering damper.  The results are raw power and precise handling in a compact beast that dazzles both on the track and the road.

At MSRP of $12,299, it's not cheap but also not terribly pricey. What we love about it is that you get the agility of a small bike with the power of a 1000. Great balance between getting a smaller cc machine and a huge 1000cc machine. This makes the GSX-R750 an easy-to-ride mean machine that will never stop being one of the most fun all-around sports bikes on the market.

SV650


The 2016 SV650 is a rework of a mega-popular classic, and while it's perfect for beginner bikers, it promises to give the old-timers one mighty nostalgic thrill. The SV engine (645cc, 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, liquid cooled) is a testament to superb manufacturing, and if you're willing to climb the rev meter, you'll be promised a thrilling ride.

It also rivals its competitors with its more than reasonable price tag, especially given that the ABS braking system is fitted as standard ? unlike other bikes that often require pricey additions.
Its new low RPM mode makes setting off and traveling at low speeds easy, which is what makes it so perfect for bikers without too much experience tearing up the dirt. A real little gem in our opinion.

At MSRP of $6,999, this is a solid price for a solid bike that will serve well from the beginner's phase all the way to the experienced leagues.

V-Strom 1000 ABS


Adventure biking more your thing? The Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS is a good introduction to Suzuki's ADV offerings.... and with new looks for 2016! It tackles steep mountains as easily as it does straight roads, being the first Suzuki adventure bike to feature traction control as standard while boasting an incredible engine.

Its fuel-injected V-Twin 1037cc engine has been tweaked to provide astounding torque at both low and mid-range levels, and its range of add-ons make it a versatile beast, perfect for taking you anywhere.

At MSRP of $12,699, this bike is also excellent value for money with hand guards, side-mounted cases, and a touring guard fitted as standard. All in all, you can't go wrong with this fine masterpiece no matter what kind of terrain you wish to conquer.

Hayabusa


The new Hayabusa is hard to miss. This slick mad machine looks like it was stolen from the future, and with an incredible 1340cc inline four cylinder engine, we really wouldn?t be surprised to find out that's exactly what happened. The crazy aesthetic may be love-it or hate-it, but it is designed for maximum aerodynamics and once you're on this thing, we bet you'd love it.

The outstanding accelerating capabilities of this crazy-fast sports bike never stop ? you'll still keep climbing until you reach the very top end of the scale. State-of-the-art suspension coupled with a lightweight aluminum frame give this bike astounding agility - it really packs a punch on the speed side of things. Other features include Brembo brake calipers, ABS, clutch assist, idle speed control, and drive modes.

At MSRP of $14,599, it puts this bike in the splurge category. But this is a marvel of an engineering creation with top-of-the-line features, and with all that power, we think it's actually a decent price for what is one of the fastest production bikes currently out there!

GSX-S1000F


Motorbike manufacturers know full well that no thrills are lost along the way to maturing into your senior years. We love experiencing those back-breaking phenomenal speeds, but we don't want actually to break our backs achieving them.

The GSX-S1000F is a power-packed marvel (with an 999cc four-stroke liquid cooled engine), ergonomically-designed to make way for punishing speeds without painful consequences. Suzuki has applied the love of a sports bike design and coupled it with a more upright, standard riding position than that found on a bike destined for the track. The result is a machine with overwhelming power that can be ridden almost endlessly without neck, wrist and back problems.

It's a bike geared towards tearing up the streets rather than painting the track with tire marks. And what it loses in sport like suspension and competition grade breaking, it more than makes up for with comfort. At MSRP of $10,999, it?s an ideal bike for those still chasing adrenaline, but craving more comfort.

Something for Everyone

We really like Suzuki for developing ground-breaking bikes and concepts that promise a little something for everyone. Although they haven't been garnering much media attention lately as their supersport line-up remains mostly unchanged, their bikes have more than earned their place as some of the best purchases on the market - new or used.

Which of these bikes are you lusting over? Or do you have your eye on another model?

*all photos courtesy of Suzuki

By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus

First Motorcycle: Buy New or Used?


Image you're speeding around the Laguna Seca circuit as the crowd roars. Sparks fly from your knee pucks as you tackle corners on your ferocious beast. As you cross the finish line ? breaking tons of records ? you know you've just made motorcycling history. Champagne showers your screaming fans as you celebrate victory in front of your unworthy opponents.

Ok, so you're not quite there yet, but your dreams are as real as the air you breathe, and the first step towards achieving your hardcore racing fantasies is to get out there and buy yourself a bike.

The question is: do you spend your money on a brand new bike, or do you purchase a motorcycle that's already experienced life on the road?

Surely if the money's there, buying brand new is better?

In short, not always. But that's not to suggest there is a definitive correct answer. There are many things to consider.

Let's take a look at all the factors:

Experience Level

Are you a complete beginner who is just picking up riding and has practically never been on a bike? Or are you a more experienced rider looking for a 2nd (or even 3rd!) bike or replacing an old one?

If you're a completely new rider, keep in mind that you're probably going to drop your bike. Maybe even quite a lot. If this is the case, a cheap used bike (no more than $3000) is a good option to learn on. You won't get heartbroken if you scuff up the sides, and even if you decide riding isn't for you, you're not out too much money.

And the best part: if you decide you're going to stick with riding and have outgrown this first bike, you can just sell it - probably even close to what you paid for it in the first place, assuming there were no major mishaps.

Purpose / Bike Category

Now let's take a look at if what kind of riding you plan to do makes a difference:

Sportbikes: Sportbikes are all about pure power. However, all that power takes its toll on the main components of the motorcycle, and if maintenance has been neglected, a used bike might be on its last legs... errr... or wheels. If you're going down second-hand avenue, you'll need to ask questions about the upkeep of the bike ? how often was the oil changed? How often did the bike have a visit to the mechanical GP? 

The thing is, unless you're an experienced mechanic, you may not be able to see all the damages and the owner may not be as forthcoming about the vehicle history.  Because of the more stringent service requirements of sportbikes, buying a brand new one might be the best way to prevent repair work adding to the total cost.

MX/Dirt/Dual-Sport: If dirt tracks and badass ramps are more up your alley, you'll need to know your stuff if you're thinking about buying a second-hand off-road/MX bike. Given the nature of activities they're used for, engines, springs, chassis and other mechanical functions are constantly put to the test. Not to mention insurance costs that could be through the roof.

A brand new bike should be able to take quite the beating for some years, and yes, it means a larger initial purchase investment compared to a used bike, but what you'll save on repair work could very well balance the charts.

Touring: Touring motorcycles are built to last, and as long as the owner has been responsible with maintenance work, a second-hand bike could be a great way to save cash (especially since touring is one of the priciest category of bikes!). Remember that a touring motorbike isn't meant for high speeds and stunts, so make sure the owner has not misused it. A touring bike that's been continually pushed to its limits might be a day away from an expensive breakdown.

In our opinion, it's a good option to buy a well-looked-after used touring bikes. But best to buy adventure and sports bikes brand new if you really want one you can trust 100%.

Maintenance & Repair Costs

A well-maintained, second-hand bike will save you heaps on the purchase price compared to brand new models, but buying used still means a lot of unknowns. If you buy second-hand, ask the owner as many questions as you can regarding the reasons for selling, maintenance work (getting the service records is best), crash history, and number of previous owners.

When it comes to deciding whether the bike has been pushed to its limits... well, you will have to use your initiative, and check the vehicles components like an experienced detective (if you're not sure, bring along someone who understands). Carefully note what aftermarket upgrades the owner has done to the bike and if they were properly installed. Look for signs of crashes and drops.

Does the bike need a battery? Brakes? Or chains and sprockets? Are the forks rusted? Do the tires still have enough tread?

You may be getting a used bike "cheap", but all these repairs could end up balancing things out. Take stock of what repairs are necessary and that will be the "real price" of the used bike. And then think about whether that price is worth it for a bike that's already had 10k miles on it.

Also consider what your own mechanical abilities are. Maybe you're okay with buying a bike that needs some work done because you enjoy fixer-uppers. But if you're not very mechanically astute, repairs could cost a fortune. You may want to just buy a new bike with that wonderful warranty. 

See also: So How Much Does a Motorcycle Cost?

Technology

New bikes will come with the newest technology, such as ABS, traction control, auto-adjusting suspension, rider modes, etc. etc. Maybe you feel that these new features (which are there to improve the comfort and safety while riding) are worth the extra dough. If you're looking at a used motorcycle, be sure to research its specs and see what technology features it may come with.

Financing

Another major thing to consider is how you're going to pay for it.

Great financing promotions can be found at low rates for new motorcycles. Most major manufacturers will have financing incentive promotions or programs for new bikes. So you can become the owner of a shiny new bike with very little money to start.

However, used motorcycles are usually best purchased with cash on hand, as interest rates on loans for used motorcycles generally aren't as favorable. It can be difficult for some people to come up with a large sum of cash. And then also consider what extra repair fees you may have to spend on a used bike.

Another thing to consider: if you're iffy about buying used but still want a cheaper price, a very good option is to buy last year's model new. You will have a never-before-owned bike, and just the fact it's not the current model could knock $1,000 or more off the price. 

Insurance 

Insurance rates are typically higher for new motorcycles. Cheaper used motorcycles typically have lower insurance rates, but depending on your driving history and age, your rates can be pretty high no matter what. And sportbikes and dual-sports will just have high insurance no matter what, compared to say, touring bikes and cruisers. Do yourself a favor and check with your insurance company and get a quote. Here is a comprehensive list of motorcycle insurance agencies.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is no easy answer. It depends on what you want out of the bike, your financial situation, the state of the used bike, and type of riding you want to do. In general, we recommend new bikes if you want to do some serious off-roading or track racing, and used is a good option for touring. Remember, do your research carefully, ask the right questions, and something that is just too good to be true probably is. 


By Daniel Relich

[^] comments powered by Disqus