Motorcycles 101

Riding a motorcycle is a way a life. But between the many types of bikes you can buy, rules and regulations, gear and accessories and mechanics and maintenance, there’s a lot to know and understand. We can help. Here’s your beginner’s guide to all things motorcycles.

The Many Types of Motorcycles

What interests you? Are you a touring bike kind of rider? Or are you interested in a bike that you can take to work? Cruisers, choppers, power cruisers and naked bikes all have their pros and their cons. Learning what type of rider you are, or want to be, and picking a motorcycle that feels like a good fit is the best way to enjoy a bike for years to come. Be sure to try as many as you can before you buy a new or used bike.

Rules and Regulations

Each state has different laws when it comes to motorcycles. Some states require everyone to wear a helmet, while others, like Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire, don’t require anyone to wear one. There are even handlebar height and decibel level restrictions that differ from state to state. Remember, you should always know the rules of the road in your state or any state that you are riding through. Planning out your trip and learning the motorcycle laws before you head out is always the best course of action.

Gear and Accessories

Saddlebags, tools boxes, helmets, and gloves – they’re all part of the motorcycle gear and accessory family, but recognizing things like the type of bike you ride, the climate where you live and what kind of trips you want to take will help determine what else you should buy. Do you live in a rainy climate? Raingear and waterproof backpacks are definitely a need. Is the dream of taking a ride through the mountains about to come to fruition? Make sure you look for warm, compact sleeping bags or warming blankets, coats and things like hand-warmers or face-shields. More experienced riders know that there are just some things you shouldn’t leave home without. This list will help you decide what you should always have with you, and what is just a nice-to-have.

Mechanics and Maintenance

As any rider will tell you, proper motorcycle mechanics and maintenance are essential to keeping your bike on the road. Things like oil changes, lubrications and tire rotations are pretty standard with any motorcycle, but it’s good to know that a bike’s chain should be inspected every 500-700 miles and tightened or adjusted every 1500 miles. Or, taking specific steps to winterize your bike, helps ensure you’ll get more mileage and fun out of it for years go come. And don’t forget, drum brakes, shaft drives and clutches all have unique mechanics that you should have at least a base understanding of before you hit the open road.

The best riders are prepared riders. You’ve worked hard to achieve your dream of owning a motorcycle, make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge and know-how to keep that dream alive for a long time to come.


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