Motorcycling is a life skill. What non-rider thinks as a cheap and fast way of commute is much more than that. It is a way of life. It’s not just something you do, but something that really grows on you, if you do it right. All that’s provided if you started right, and knew the right things to do right from the beginning. Here are some of the things the very beginners often find themselves in confusion about.
I personally believe that if you want to do something right and good, the best way to start is from its history. So, about motorcycles.. They’ve been around for over a century. The earliest motorcycles were just gasoline engines strapped on to bicycles. Since then, we’ve come a long way, a very long one, indeed!
For mid-segment bikes, Honda and Yamaha have been the leaders since decades. They’ve had their foot in the commuter segments as well as, both amateur and professional, racing. The next top contenders are Kawasaki, Suzuki, and KTM when you talk about regular commuters and sportbikes.
Harley-Davidson meanwhile is the absolute leader when it comes to cruisers, having over half of the pie in terms of market share.
Motorcycles on Three And Four Wheels
It’s arguable whether something on three, and especially four, wheels can be called a motorcycle. Putting that aside, and assuming for moment that we can include them in the scope of this article, there’s quite an interesting trivia about it.
Honda debuted three-wheel motorcycles in the US in the early 1970s. Many riders didn’t just keep their feet on the pegs. Consequently, there was a barrage of serious injuries faced by these riders, as a result of their legs being “cork screwed” between the rear wheels. Consequently, many states made these three-wheeled bikes illegal.
So, the manufacturers moved to 4 wheels which are now popularly called Quads. The engines got more power and suspension setups advanced. It wasn’t long before quads became the preferred way for many to off-road. They’re much more comfortable than regular two-wheeled dirt bikes as well as their predecessor three-wheeled machines, as well.
Road Biking vs. Dirt Biking
While they’re both motorcycles, they vastly differ. The motorcycles you ride on the road are vastly different in their approach and use from the ones supposed to be ridden on dirt-tracks and off-road.
Dirt bikes generally have lesser power, but to compensate are much more lighter in weight. Their suspension setups are built to sustain the kind of jerks and jumps one does while dirt biking. Agility is what these bikes more about than speed or refinement.
Road bikes, on the other hand, are made for comfortable refined riding on the road. A single off-road session can mean hell for most road bikes.
The riding style and considerations for the two are also vastly different. While riding on the road, one has to constantly deal with the threat from other cars and dangerous surfaces like tarmac, etc. However, while dirt biking, cars aren’t a threat. It’s mostly just mud. While off-roading, most people crash quite often, but these are generally MUCH less severe than a crash on the road.
You Are The Prey And Your Mind Is Your Shield
While riding in the concrete jungles, always remember that you’re not the “Road King”. You’re the nimble prey. No matter what your size is, you’re no match for a 2000-pound of metal ball. Even the biggest of men on the biggest of motorcycles can be crushed like bugs by most cars. The only thing keeping you from falling prey to inattentive drives is your own attentiveness.
While riding on the road, always be very mindful and aware of the vehicles and other factors in your surrounding. Be vary of all the different dangers that do and may lie ahead. Whether it’s a tar snake, a texting driver, a huge speed bump, an oil spill, or an animal crossing the road, it really helps to anticipate the future, and ride accordingly.
Staying Alive And Kicking
In states where such is not mandated by the law, many riders often give professional safety lessons a miss. Never give that a miss. It’s just a couple of days, but those days can and will save your life!
The next thing before you go out on the road to ride, is to get yourself some good safety gear. It may or may not seem to you, but great safety gear is actually the difference between life and death. Skimp on anything but not on your helmet and safety gear. You may think that you really have a tough head and skull. But, believe me, it’s no match for tarmac when it hits it at even 30mph!
Getting The First Bike
Don’t go overboard with your first bike. Many people buy expensive bikes and end up abandoning riding altogether. Riding is a commitment not everyone is able to make. Just like you would think before investing into a long-term project, think before you buy a bike. To start off with, get yourself a pre-owned moderate-range bike. You’d be surprised to see the kind of stuff $5,000-$7,000 can get you in the used market. You can find great deals in bikes that are between 2 to 4 years old. 40% off the showroom price is what you can expect, without much off in terms of specs and technology.
It’s only when you ride regularly that you’d understand whether the motorcycling world is for you or not. And then, you can spend all the money you want.