Thinking of swapping up your daily commute from a traffic queue to a rush of pure adrenalin? Nothing says man about town more than arriving to work on a powerful bike, but yes it has a wholly practical side to it too.
If you’re bored of paying hundreds of pounds for train services that don’t run on time or sitting in traffic for hours wasting time, money and your precious patience, then you might just be ready to upgrade your commute with a motorbike.
It’s cheaper, quicker and the optics don’t look bad either. But if you’re new to biking or not sure what you’re looking for in a new bike, read our guide to starting out and you’ll be roaring off into the sunset before you can say “pass me my leathers.”
Image courtesy of Pexels
Where to Start
If you’ve never ridden a bike before or haven’t for a long time, then you’ll need to start with some basic training. In fact, the very first place you’ll have to start is with the Compulsory Basic Training course. In it you’ll learn all the basics about riding a bike and learn how to stay safe on the road. The CBT isn’t something you pass or fail, it just allows you to start riding.
But you will have to keep your L plates on until you pass the full test and really, no one looks good with L plates so get that full test done asap. Similar to the current driving test, you’ll need to pass a theory element as well as on and off road elements. You’ll also need to be clued up on the Highway Code so back to the books and get studying, or those L plates are staying on.
Once you’re all legal and above board, you’ve arrived at the fun part: deciding on the style, brand and capabilities of your new machine.
What to Look For
Just by browsing sites like SoloMoto you’ll be able to get a good idea of what’s on the market and what it really comes down to is two things: your price and your style. If you’re looking for something sleek, sporty and fast you’ll be spoilt for choice but you might prefer something a little retro and stylish, so start putting in the legwork now with the research.
If you’re really undecided and open to suggestions, then here are some pointers to get you started:
If you’re planning on riding your bike everyday to work and back you’re looking at three main options, something fast to cut through the traffic and knock some considerable time off of your journey or a cruiser. The cruiser will give you a smoother, more comfortably positioned ride but won’t have that extra horsepower when you hit the accelerator.
If you’re looking for something midway between these two, then you might consider a standard or naked bike, which allows for a more comfortable upright seating position but with the more sporty frame.
Next you’re going to need to think about power. As tempting as it is to go all out and find something with the biggest engine size, you’ll need to be realistic about your own abilities to keep that beast under control and of course the cost of both the petrol and the insurance, something that might impact heavily particularly for first time bikers.
You’ve got your bike on order, you’ve sorted out your insurance and road tax, now it’s time to get kitted out.
As great as you’ll look with your hair blowing in the wind and some faded jeans, you know that what you’re really going to need to invest in is some high quality protective gear.
Besides protecting your skin, you’re also looking for clothes that wick away sweat from your body and let your skin breathe where possible. Couple that with a top of the range helmet and you’re ready to go.
So when it comes to helmets, you’re going to start off by figuring out the size of your head and you might want to do this next part in the privacy of your own home. Take a soft tape measure and wrap it around your head to get your exact measurements. As with clothes, some manufacturers’ sizes differ, so what comes up as a medium in one place, could be a large elsewhere.
While you can order online often it’s better to try on in the shop to get a feel for the comfort level as well as the fit.
Unless you’re using your bike for sport, the best protection you’ll get is from a full-face helmet which usually has a visor that you can flip up and down.
Yes, you’ll need heated gloves to keep out the cold and wet during those miserable winter months, but there are more fun accessories to be had too. If your commute demands a kicking soundtrack then invest in some wireless bluetooth speakers that can attach inside your helmet and link up to your smartphone to give some musical relief while you cruise.
Learning to ride a bike is fun and exhilarating. It offers a solution to sitting in those long tailbacks and shelling out ridiculous money on trains that are frequently cancelled, running late or hideously over crowded.
Once you’ve got your training under your belt, you’ll need to make some practical decisions on size and power and find that balance between speed and staying in full control. Stay safe out there with gear that protects your most vulnerable areas don’t scrimp when it comes to buying a helmet. Treat yourself to some smart tech to add flavour to your rides and motivated with great tunes.
Get yourself on that open road and enjoy the thrill of leaving those car drivers in your wake, a shorter commute, cheaper petrol and a great look, what’s not to love about riding a motorbike. Go and book that CBT today and change up four wheels to two, you won’t regret it.