Becoming a SUPER rider at American Supercamp

I am a firm believer in continuing education in all aspects. Especially motorcycle riding. I attended American Supercamp/Roadrace Factory and it was a life altering, two wheeled experience!

American Supercamp calls itself a motorcycle technique school. It is operated in the dirt (think motorcross without the jumps) on Yamaha 125s. Their training applies to anyone on two wheels. What they teach will help you become a better, safer rider in all aspects. I’ve been a street rider for 11 years and about 130,000kms/80,000miles. I have not ventured into the dirt very often and when I have, it is not a pleasant experience. Especially on street tires!

The locations vary but this particular course was held in Los Angeles (City of Industry). It is lead by the energetic & retired racer, Danny Walker. He is the founder of the 18 years running, American SuperCamp. He is also the lead at RoadRace Factory. Danny took care of the registration and made sure everyone was welcomed. The instructors for our course included Austin, Carter, Josh Hayes (4 time National Superbike Champion, Jake Gagne (2015 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000cc Champion), JD Beach (2015 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion). Having the opportunity to learn from such accomplished riders is truly an experience. Everyone was very friendly, approachable, and took the time to offer individual feedback. You just can’t ask for anything more from a motorcycle instructor.

We were all given a handout with a clipboard while Danny explained what we would be doing and the concepts behind it. Danny had a lot to say but it wasn’t long before we were out there riding around the arena. The skills start small and build up from there. The amount of information was overwhelming at times. The constant practice with each skill is what makes it happen. We were divided into three group of varying skill levels and we all had plenty of time on the motorcycles. The first day of American Supercamp was all about digesting the new skills. It was also a full day. We started at 830am and we were done just after 5pm. I am not sure the whole class could have taken much more.

Day two is where things really got interesting. The course was larger and the speeds, higher. The foundation we built yesterday was put into practice today. All of us were a little sore but the excitement took care of that. They also brought out the GoPros to record us riding individually. At the end of our sessions we were able to watch ourselves ride. This was key. Being able to see what you are missing really helps with the learning process. It can be difficult to make instant adjustments while you’re riding. There is alot going on.

Near the end of the day they setup an even larger course for all of us to ride around on. Even the instructors were getting excited about it. We spent the next 90 minutes ripping it up. Riding with your fellow students and accomplished racers was an incredible finish. The racers did not have a medium level of speed. It was either all on or all off. It was a absolute thrill to get passed and ride with them. It was many moments like this that will have me talking about American Supercamp for a very long time.

During the course and conversations with other students, there were several who had taken this course already. Some had even taken it multiple times. Why? Two major reasons. It was a lot to learn in two days. We all learn at different speeds and levels of comprehension. The other reason, it was just a lot of fun. There are 18 years of development into this course. It is just as much an experience as it is an education course.

Since you are learning and getting outside of your comfort zone. There will be crashing. For most, this sounds scary. Crashing is a part of motorcycle riding which is why you need to get it done and over with in a safe environment. The old adage; “There are two types of motorcycle riders. Ones that have crashed and the others that will crash.” This can be taken as very pessimistic but it is fact. During the weekend there were several crashes. Almost all of them were minor meaning they just got back onto the bike and kept going. The few that were a little more involved. All that was needed was a bag of ice and some Advil. Nobody had to leave or was carted away in an ambulance. I did crash, more than once. I am a little sore but I am confident that these small crashes will reduce the risk of a much larger crash on the street. Play the odds game when riding. The more you practice and take education riding courses, the less likely you will hurt yourself out there.

How does this relate to my road riding? Being comfortable with your motorcycle losing traction. Our automatic reaction might be to freeze. In fact, when the motorcycle is sliding you can regain the control. The only way you’ll get a chance to regain control is practice what American Supercamp offers. There are no guarantees riding a motorcycle (especially on public roads) so being better prepared can only benefit you. Increase your odds of getting home safely with courses like this. I will be one of those students that will attend another Supercamp. Skills take time to learn and when you’re having fun, you just want to keep on riding.

American Supercamp

The arena at City of Industry

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Moregon – What does central Oregon have to offer?

Central Oregon has a lot of to offer for sport touring motorcycles. The wide open spaces, long sweeping turns, the lack of traffic, and the open desert make for very memorable rides. Oregon is one of the most amazing states to ride in and not very many people know that. The diversity of the roads is something to behold as there is a lot to choose from. Since it is north of California I can see why it would be passed over.

I was invited on this ride and couldn’t say no. It was only four and half days. If you can’t take at least one of two 4-6 day riding trips per year, it is kinda sad. These are the days we live for. At least I do!

Leaving from Blaine, Washington at the crack of dawn we made it into Leavenworth at 1030am. Good to know for future trips! Our destination was The Dalles, Oregon. We stayed at the The Dalles Inn. Rates were good, pool was perfect, cookies at the desk. Dinner was at a Baldwin Saloon. This Saloon had a rich history dating back to the 1890s. Drinks and food were excellent.

The Dalles was a great spot to jump off into Central Oregon. The following were the highlights! Get out you map and/or buy The Butler Oregon map.

Hwy 218 – Antelop to Fossil (Gas is located in Fossil, you just have to find it). Mostly made of us tight desert roads with 25mph to 35mph corners. love it.

Hwy 207 – North of Spray. Fresh road with banked corners. This is a must ride road.

Hwy 402 – Kimberely to Long Creek. Nice road with nothing too challenging.

Hwy 395 – Long Creek to Mt Vernon. High speed sweepers in the mountain forest.

John Day is a great place to stay for the night. The Best Western has a decent rates with the required pool and hot tub.

Hwy 26 – John Day to Sumpter. A few nice sweepers but nothing to get excited about.

Hwy 73 – Sumpter to Granite. Starts off great! Then turns to shit. Skip this road.

Hwy 52 – Granite to Ukiak. Dual Sports only. I hated this road. Skip it!

Hwy 395 – North of Ukiah. One of the best in Oregon. The nicest high speed sweepers I’ve ever ridden.  The sight lines and banked corners are the kind you only see on race tracks. Do not miss this road. TRY to keep the speed reasonable.

Hwy 74 – Vinson to Heppner. Not as good as the 395 but it is hard to top that.

Hwy 207/206 – Heppner to Condon is an excellent, long road. Gorgeous scenery with endless turns. Some incredible drops offs so take it easy.

Hwy 19 – Condon to Arlington. Good road heading north. While you will have to deal with Interstate 84, you’ll welcome the break.

From this point on we headed to Leavenworth on roads that were no where near comparison to Central Oregon. We stayed the night in Leavenworth which is always a great place to stay. If you don’t know about Leavenworth, WA. Google it!

If you are are less than a two days ride from Central Oregon, make a trip of it. These are truly great roads to ride.


Motorcycle Gear 101: Leather vs. Textiles vs. Kevlar

Motorcycle Gear 101: Leather vs. Textiles vs. Kevlar

Buying Motorcycle Gear can be one of the most frustrating parts of riding a motorcycle, especially considering that a fully geared rider is likely wearing anywhere from $500 (on the low end) to $2500+ (on the high end) worth of gear. With various materials, multiple popular brands and a wide range of prices, it’s hard to choose the best buys for your money.

And while it’s tempting to hop on your bike and just go, riding without gear is a decision that could end up costing much more than the gear itself (medical bills, lost wages, etc.). While the chances of accidents happening are low, if you are in an accident on a bike, basic street clothes won’t hold up when you’re sliding across asphalt or rocks. “All gear, all the time” is the best motto to have if you want to be riding your bike for a long time to come.

Since gear can make or break your riding experience, we’ve put together the basics of the leather vs. textiles vs. Kevlar debate to show you what each material is best known for, as well as its pros and cons when out on the roads. Keep in mind that there are several factors you should consider when buying riding gear. These are:

  • The types of roads or trails you like to ride on the most
  • The weather conditions you ride in the most
  • Your budget for the gear


Since motorcycles showed up on race tracks and popular culture in the movies, leather has become the iconic material of motorcycle gear. There’s a good reason for it, too: leather is extremely abrasion resistant and protects your skin well from harsh conditions like wind and light rain.

  • Pros: highly abrasion resistant, holds up in high heat situations, provides a better fit than textiles, can often be reused after an accident, and protects you from harsh weather conditions (sun, wind, etc.)
  • Cons: difficult to waterproof, can be uncomfortable in hot climates, tends to be the most expensive material for gear, not always suitable for off-road riding, and harder to wash.

Synthetic Textiles

Synthetic textiles are typically made of ballistic nylon and can also be an excellent choice for both street and off-road riding.

  • Pros: abrasion resistant, less bulky than leather, easy to waterproof, typically cheaper than leather, washable, often comes with thermal liners for cold weather riding, well vented for comfortable riding in warm temperatures, and protects you from most harsh weather conditions (sun, wind, etc.)
  • Cons: tends to have less of a stylish appearance than leather (function over form), often doesn’t fit as well as leather gear, and is not as abrasion resistant as leather Kevlar

Kevlar is often found in riding gear that looks just like street clothes, such as jeans. Because of this, Kevlar is a stylish option that can be found at a reasonable price, and it offers better protection than just riding in street clothes alone.

  • Pros: somewhat abrasion resistant, can look like “regular” street jeans (form over function), less bulky than leather or textile, cheaper than leather or textile, washable, and protects you from some harsh weather conditions (sun, light wind, etc.)
  • Cons: not as abrasion resistant as leather or textile, Kevlar is often only placed at impact points in Kevlar gear, not easy to waterproof

Regardless of the type of gear you choose to buy and wear, remember—as long as you’re wearing gear, you have a much better chance of walking away from an accident with minimal damage. If the odds don’t bother you and you still prefer to wear street clothes while riding, consider wearing solidly constructed leather gloves and a full-faced helmet at minimum, since your hands and head/face are the typically the first impact points in a motorcycle accident.

Six Steps to Buying Motorcycle Gear Online (and as Hassle-Free as Possible)

Buying Motorcycle Gear Online

Any experienced rider will tell you that buying motorcycle gear online is the best way to find a wide selection of gear at the most competitive prices. Since most shoppers look for the best deal possible when buying anything, and a bigger selection means a better chance of finding that helmet or jacket that fits your style and needs perfectly, there are a lot of good reasons to do your purchasing online.

However, when it comes to purchasing clothing online—particularly motorcycle gear—a leap of faith is required. Every gear manufacturer has slight differences in how their gear fits. Even with manufacturers offering their own size charts, it’s easy to fall between sizes or measure wrong, particularly if you’re trying to do the measurements yourself.

Online motorcycle gear stores and retailers understand this, which is why most offer lenient return policies, with some sites even offering free shipping on returns. These policies make going online to order motorcycle clothing or motorcycle gear a much easier process, but here are some tips to make sure your purchasing experience is as hassle-free as possible.

1. Put on all under layers before measuring

Before taking specific measurements, be sure that you have on any under layers you will be wearing with the gear you plan to purchase. This includes heated gear that you may have. In many cases, differences in sizing might be so slight that an added layer would make you go up a size, and this is especially true for jackets (which is likely to be worn layered over a shirt, cooling vest, body armor, a spine protector, heated gear, etc.)

2. Take your measurements (or better yet, have someone else do it)

A soft measuring tape will provide the closest measurement for you and can be purchased at most ‘big box’ stores or craft and hobby stores. It’s always best if someone else can take your measurements, allowing you to stand in a resting position to ensure exact measuring. Don’t “round up” or “round down” when you write down the measurements. Many sizing charts will provide measurement spans that are narrowed to mere centimeters, so the exact measurement you take is what you should write down for reference.

3. When taking your measurements, follow these general rules for each area

Chest – Measure around the fullest part of your chest under your armpits, being sure to keep the measuring tape horizontal.
Waist – Measure around the span of your natural waist line, along the same line as your navel, being sure to keep the tape horizontal.
Hip – Measure around the fullest part of your hips, being sure to keep the tape horizontal. This might take several tries to find the fullest part.
Thigh – Measure around the thigh in the area that is just below the crotch, being sure to keep the tape horizontal.
Inseam – This one requires someone else helping you take the measurement. Stand against a wall and have someone measure from your crotch to your ankle.
Arm Length – Measure from your shoulder to where your wrist and hand connect.
Height – This one also requires someone else helping you take the measurement, as you stand against a wall and measure from the floor to the top of your head, being sure to keep the tape vertical.

4. Find the sizing chart for that particular brand

Each brand will vary slightly on how things are sized, so it’s always best to find the sizing chart for the particular brand you’re planning to purchase (here is an example of the sizing chart for Alpinestars). For some brands, it’s not that easy though, since they might fit snug or slightly different than what the sizing chart states. This is where you will need to check out the description and look for comments and reviews. For example, on, you will be able to look at the sizing charts, as well as others’ experiences with it.

5. Check the refund policy

Before you buy your motorcycle gear, check on the store’s refund policy. Given the competitive market, it is likely that you will be able to return items hassle free, but it is always a good idea to check before you make the purchases. For example, requires you to call so they can issue you a return shipping label and a number. For sites like this, returning gear is possible, it’s just inconvenient. Shipping costs are usually minimal provided you live on the same continent that the warehouse is located. For most sites, shipping is in the range of $7 to $9, or free if your order reaches a certain price. If you live in Canada you can avoid the hefty shipping and duty costs by shopping at

6. Consider buying two sizes

If you are still hesitant about ordering gear online, consider ordering two sizes that will most likely fit. If return policies allow, you can always return the one that does not fit as well after trying them both on. Doing it this way ensures that there is no disappointment waiting for the return to process—you’ll get to jump on your bike and use that great new jacket or helmet immediately.

2400kms of California Bliss. Redding to Palm Springs.

Since I started 1st Gear I knew my motorcycling trips would become a challenge, especially a California Motorcycle Trip. Getting away was proving to be difficult. It is best to plan ahead so you can prepare for such trips but this trip was special. It was not planned and everything came together as if it was planned twelve months in advance. Some things are just meant to be, this was one of them.

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Four Wheels Move the Body: Performance Cars Versus Motorcycles

Cars versus Motorcycles

Although often drawing the same aficionados looking for the same adrenaline rush, there are differences between riding performance cars and riding performance motorcycles. But this won’t be a traditional comparison between exotic sports cars and thrilling sport bikes, because there are plenty of those out there on the internet. Cars versus Motorcycles, this is more of a comparison based on the expression, “Four wheels move the body; two wheels move the soul.”

Exclusive vs. Inclusive

So what are the differences? For starters, the entry fee into the exotic sport car club is usually six figures and higher. Basically, it’s a small club. Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to find others who drive these cars, limiting the experience and providing few opportunities for social interaction based on a mutual appreciation and hobby.

However, if you’re lucky enough to have a motorcycle license, then you can get into the same high-performance club for a fraction of the cost. A 10-year-old Lamborghini Gallardo will cost your over $100,000. A gently used BMW S1000RR comes in at $11,000. With the smaller cost to enter the high-performance realm, you’ll find a much larger group of great people who share your passion for riding.

Comfort vs. Intensity

A performance sports car will offer you an amazing experience in great comfort. You’ll be surrounded by the finest technology and safety features. You’ll be quite comfortable in the supporting, padded seats. All you have to do is just open the car door, get in, and go. A sports bike, on the other hand, will offer you an amazing experience but you will have very little comfort in the process. You’ll be sitting on the finest technology but your safety is at far greater risk. You cannot just hop on and go. You’ll have to get geared up for the ride (I hope!) before you set off down the road. You are completely exposed to the elements and now you have lean angles to work with. Every surface you ride on, you’ll feel. Every corner becomes an intense dream you don’t want to wake up from.

There’s just no comparison

We go through life looking for unique and fulfilling experiences, and motorcycling can easily deliver that. The separation from the mundane and focus required to ride will give you the break you need from the stressors of life. But there is a trade-off and it is your safety. You’ll find far more people telling you about the dangers of motorcycling than the joys of it. While the stories you’ll hear are probably true, they still represent a small minority of incidents and experiences. Some of the biggest accident stats associated with motorcycle riding can be eliminated by wearing full safety gear, exercising caution in all intersections, avoiding drugs or alcohol, keeping the speed within your skill set, and taking a motorcycle safety course. If you can manage these, your motorcycling experience will last a long, long time.

And last (but not least) is the motorcycling community. Part of the soul of the sport of motorcycling is the people involved. They will take care of you, and people you ride with will become lifelong friends. Embrace it and you’ll never be alone.

Four wheels move the body; two wheels move the soul. Anyone who has ridden a bike knows it’s true.

Learn to ride at 1st Gear Motorcycle School or if you already ride check out my ride reports on this website.

Motorcycle Insurance: What You Don’t Know Could Cost You

Insuring your motorcycle

Well over $1,000 in damage to fix OR less than $100 to get up and running again

Insuring your motorcycle before you get on the road is not only a good idea—it is the law. This is not a step to skip and most people know that, but it is a step that too often gets rushed, without adequate thought being put into the decision. It is very easy to waste hundreds of dollars on coverage you don’t need, just as it is easy to be underinsured if you’re on a budget. This is particularly true when motorcyclists forget to insure themselves or take out bodily injury coverage. Taking the time to figure out the proper amount of coverage for your motorcycle, as well as for yourself, is well worth it in the long run.

Insuring your Motorcycle

When buying insurance for your motorcycle, you should first consider exactly how much you want to insure it for. The exact amount it is worth? Just what is necessary? If your motorcycle is worth $10,000 (or more), most likely you’ll want full coverage to protect your investment and to avoid missing even one day of riding! But it’s more complicated than that. Motorcycles can break easily with something as simple as a tip over. We then need parts to replace it and get it back on the road. If you are relying on insurance to immediately replace the parts and pay the bill, don’t expect it. It can take months for
claims to go through, and even then, depending on the circumstances, they might not be approved in the amount you need. Put simply: You will likely be the one to pay for new parts and get them put on quickly if you don’t want to miss a day of riding.

Insuring yourself

Step back from your motorcycle for a moment. You’ll want to put yourself and your family in the picture, as well. You are not replaceable but your motorcycle is. Your first priority should be protecting yourself. It is very easy to get full coverage for your motorcycle then ride off without getting adequate coverage for yourself, and this step is often overlooked. Your greatest asset is your ability to be there for your family and generate income. The insured value of your motorcycle is a very small amount in comparison.

Individual disability insurance covers you if you are unable to work. Quite often, your group benefits plan at the company you work for may have you covered. Go over the details of this policy and see how adequate it is. If it is not adequate, look into getting your own policy. This is where a Financial Advisor or an Insurance Advisor comes in handy. Their advice is free and they get paid only if you decide to sign up for an insurance policy. $100 spent insuring yourself is better than money spent on insuring your motorcycle. Keep the big picture in mind!

The Cost of Motorcycle Repairs

Most motorcycles can be fixed for a lot less than you would think. With a little bit of searching, you’ll find well-priced replacement parts. EBay is great for finding the parts you need. Motorcycle-specific forums will point you in the right direction. There are also OEM online websites that are just like ordering it from the dealer but at less cost. Since most damage on a motorcycle is likely to be cosmetic, you’ll be able to replace the parts on your own with simple tools. If you can do this, you will not be faced with higher insurance rates next year.

Edited by Tonya T.

Riding with the correct motorcycle tire psi made EASY

Having the correct motorcycle tire PSI for your motorcycle is very important. Not having the correct tire PSI affects the suspension, the feel of the ride, the longevity of the tire, and your safety. It is one of those tasks that gets overlooked or skipped due to laziness. I won’t blame you though! For most people having the correct tire PSI means going to a gas station. Finding the air compressor, finding 50 cents to use it, over filling the tire, bleeding out air, and then getting on with your ride. Let’s take the annoyance out of it. Let’s make it easy. If you make it easy you will do it.

Before we begin please remember that you should fill your tires with air when they are cold. Air expands as the tire heats up and you will get an incorrect reading. The best time to put air into your tires is before your ride. If your one of those people that are always late, then schedule it into your phone the night before.

P1100522 (Small)Introducing the bicycle pump. Is there any reason not to use it for a motorcycle tire? I dare you to try it.

P1100523 (Small)

Here is the first reason I love using a bicycle pump. It clips to the valve! Begone to trying to hold it at the right angle for the air to flow into the tire. Clip it and move on.

P1100524 (Small)

Here is the second reason why I love my bicycle pump. It has a easy to read PSI gauge right on it! No need to find your lost fancy schmancy digital PSI gauge.  Looks like I am a little low. I would like 36 PSI in my rear tire. Do you know what the correct PSI you should have in your tire? Consult your motorcycle manual and/or check the swing arm on the motorcycle. It should have a required PSI.

Note that the PSI gauge goes up to 160 PSI. It will never be a good idea to see if you can get it there. I think the same person that put that high number there is also the same person that puts the 280km/h speedometer reading on economy cars.

P1100525 (Small)

Here is how the whole setup looks. Now begins the “work” to pump the air into the tire. This is where the skeptics come in and shout from the roof tops that it will take forever! If the tire was completely flat… Yes it would take several pumps for me to fill the tire to 36 PSI. Since we don’t ride around on flat tires, it took me 14 pumps to get the tire up to 36PSI.

P1100526 (Small)

There we go! 36PSI. Even in full gear on a hot day I doubt you will break a sweat using a bicycle pump to keep your motorcycle tires the perfect PSI. There is no excuse for you to not have the correct tire PSI anymore.

If you are interested in the specific bicycle tire pump I am using it is available at Canadian Tire for $17.99.

Tips and Tricks for Vertically Challenged Motorcyclists

Am I too short to ride? I hear this question several times throughout the year and the answer is always the same… No! Your stature does not limit your ability to ride. While it does limit the motorcycles you’ll be comfortable on, there are still plenty bikes to choose from. Motorcycles come in all different sizes and a lot of them are great for the shorter-than-average human.


Finding confidence

The larger challenge lies in your confidence to ride. When learning to ride, the feeling of not being able to touch the ground and concern over the weight of motorcycle need to be overcome. Learning the proper skillset will mitigate these challenges. For example, when a rider comes to stop with the wheel turned, the weight of the motorcycle will fall towards the lean. This can be too much weight to hold up. If the wheels are kept straight while coming to a stop, the weight distribution will much more even. An even weight distribution will make it easier to keep the motorcycle upright comfortably.
Another issue many shorter riders face is managing the bike on uneven terrain. When stopping on uneven terrain (such as pulling off on the side of the road or while in parking lots), always be aware of the surfaces around you and avoid stopping in places that could cause the bike to lean too heavily to one side.

Lowering the bike

There are two ways to lower the seat height of the motorcycle: changing the suspension and customizing the seat.

Changing the suspension—Changing the suspension will lower the motorcycles up to a few inches. This might be enough to make the bike comfortable for you. However, keep in mind that changing the suspension does change the handling of the motorcycle somewhat. Also, you’ll want to remove the feelers on the foot pegs. The risk of these grinding the road is greater if the suspension has been lowered.

Customizing the seat—An easier option is customizing the seat of your motorcycle by changing the way it is designed and removing some of the padding. This will give you a little help reaching the ground. There are specific seats made for this or you can use a custom seat designer such as Slims Signature Seats.

Gear to increase height

An essential part of motorcycle riding is safety gear, so if you are worried about being shorter and maintaining control of the bike when at a stop or in parking lots, consider buying bigger-soled motorcycle boots that add an inch or two of height. Companies that make gear realize that with more motorcycle riders on the roads every day, there are great opportunities to bring new products to the table that appeal to certain riding groups. Be sure to check out some of the big online motorcycle gear stores and your local dealer. Rest assured—you will not be the only one looking for more height with motorcycle boots.

The top bikes for shorter riders

Since the best motorcycles to learn on are typically smaller, these bikes are often great choices as long-term bikes for shorter riders. The Honda Rebel 250 and the Honda CBR125R are not only great to learn on—they’re also great bikes if you’re a vertically challenged rider. The seat height on these motorcycles is 27.6 and 31.0 inches, respectively. With the Honda Rebel having one of the lowest seat heights available, it is rare to find someone it doesn’t fit. If your feet are firmly on the ground with most dining room and office chairs, you’ll be just fine on the Honda Rebel 250.

However, if you’re like most riders, you’ll eventually want to upgrade from your first motorcycle. Below is a list of motorcycles that will fit most people between the height of 4’11 and 5’4. If you’re curious about the seat height of a different motorcycle than those listed, go to

We’ll see you out on the road!

Motorcycles with the lowest seat height
Harley Davidson Sportster 883 low – 26.3 inches
Honda Rebel 250 – 27.6 inches
Harley Davidson Street 500/700 – 27.7 inches
Kawasaki Ninja 250R – 28.1 inches
Suzuki GS500F – 30.3 inches
Kawasaki Ninja 300R – 30.9 inches
Ducati Monster 696 – 30.9 inches
Honda CBR 250R – 30.5 inches
Yamaha FZ6 – 30.9 inches
Honda CBR 125R – 31.0 inches
Triumph T100 – 31.3 inches
Yamaha FZ07 – 31.6 inches

Edited by Tonya T.

Four of the Most Agonizing Choices in Buying Your First Motorcycle (and Some Advice to Make Them Less Agonizing)

Lots to choose from!

Lots to choose from!

You’ve just completed a motorcycle training course, you have your motorcycle safety gear and you’re ready to start riding on your own. Where should you begin? Here are some suggestions for making the best decisions for three of the most agonizing choices new riders have.

Choice #1: What to buy first?

Since it should be part of every motorcycle ride you take, a good place to start is buying your motorcycle safety gear first. It’s very easy to go over your budget buying a motorcycle. This may delay the purchase of gear. Since responsible riding should always be your first priority, make sure that doesn’t happen and get geared up first.

Choice #2: What engine size should I start with?

250ccs to 500ccs is an excellent range to start with. You’ll have enough power for any road you choose to ride and this amount of power is much more forgiving. The most important factor to riding motorcycles is your health and safety. The smaller the engine size, the easier it will be to ride.

Regardless of how well you did in training, motorcycling takes practice like any other sport. Your motorcycle skills will need to develop over time, so give yourself the best odds and setup to make it through your first several thousand kilometers without a major accident.

The higher the engine size, the higher the risk. Big bikes demand respect. The moment you take it for granted is a moment you may regret. The main argument for starting with a larger cc motorcycle is it’s a size you can grow into. I also hear it is a waste of money to buy a small cc engine, as the rider will just grow bored of it quickly. While these are valid points, they should not be traded for your health and safety.

Riding motorcycles carries a higher risk than most forms of transportation. The odds are against you when you are learning to ride. Almost all accidents and injuries are preventable. Start small and work your way up. The costs associated with trading up motorcycles is small compared to the costs of an accident.

Choice #3: New or used?

Buying a used motorcycle is recommended if you are a beginning rider. As you are learning and getting more seat time during those first few months, the chance for errors is higher. A motorcycle with a few minor bumps and scratches is perfect for these early trips. You can always blame those imperfections on the person who sold you the bike! An additional benefit is that the cost of a used bike is often much less than the cost of a new one, so you can use that extra cash to buy motorcycle gear or fund trips. A used, beginner motorcycle retains its value, as the market of buyers is the largest. This is the one type of motorcycle you can ride and not lose a lot of money on.

Buying a new motorcycle is both a fun and frustrating experience—fun in that it is shiny and new, frustrating in the fact that associated costs and taxes can quickly add up. When buying a new motorcycle, try to work with an ‘Out the Door’ price. There will be fewer surprises at the end. When you arrive home with your new and shiny motorcycle, you’ll want to keep it that way. If you happen to drop it, it will be devastating. It takes money and expertise to keep a motorcycle looking immaculate, and as a new rider, it is especially a challenge to do this. Expect a large drop in value when selling your new motorcycle with a few scratches.

Choice #4: Which bike?

When looking for a starter motorcycle, if you’re into sportbikes, starting with the Honda CBR 250cc or 500cc is a good choice. The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is an excellent choice, too. Do not underestimate the power behind these smaller engines. They are very capable on the highways and on any twisty road. If you absolutely must have a Ducati as your first motorcycle, look into the 621cc Ducati Monster.

If cruisers are your motorcycle of choice, have a look at the Honda Rebel 250, Kawasaki Vulcan 500, or a V-Star 650. The larger cc engine on a cruiser does have gentler power than sportbikes of similar displacement, but be aware that it will be a heavier motorcycle.

Good starter adventure motorcycles include the Suzuki V-Strom 650, BMW F700, and Kawasaki Versys 650. These are larger cc engines but they deliver a different amount of power than sportbikes do. When you have found the motorcycle that suits you, go for it! It’s exciting and the open road is yours. No motorcycle is the one you have forever. In fact, some riders change motorcycles every year. Make the safest choice for your first motorcycle. You, your family, and friends will respect it.

The 1st Gear, 1st Motorcycle program

We understand buying a first motorcycle can be quite the process so we are going to try to make it easier for you. With our all-inclusive motorcycling package, we will not only train you but also provide you a motorcycle to start on for 30 days. Here’s how it works:

Once you complete the MSA and upgrade your learner’s license, we will give you the keys to a motorcycle for 30 days. During this time, you will ride it as much as you want to get the practice you need. At the end of the 30 days, you’ll have a much better understanding of riding and you’ll be more prepared for a larger cc motorcycle. Consider the expense of the program to be less than the cost of trading bikes soon after you buy one because it’s not what you want. Tell us what you think about this program and we may very well implement it!

1st Gear Motorcycle School & Training

Editted by Tonya T.

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