GUIDES TO BUYING: We list six steps that can make buying your next motorbike all the more enjoyable - and easier! Image: iStock
Cape Town - When the time has come to replace your ageing iron horse and the shiny new models on the dealership floor beckon, you may be tempted to rush into it.
However, if you do, you may find yourself in over your head. There are a number of things that may influence not only the deal you’re getting, but also the long-term enjoyment of your new steed.
Here are a few considerations to bear in mind before you lay your money down.
1. An objective decision:
A sleek and sexy superbike or a huge, rugged adventure bike may be a tempt-ing proposition, but is it really what you need?
If you are going to use the bike mostly for commuting, for example, a dedicated commuter (or even a maxi-scooter) might be a much more sensible choice.
Decide what you are going to use the bike for and base your choice on that.
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2. Get the facts straight
Once you have decided on type, make and model, learn what you can about your prospective new bike.
Nothing helps minimize sales tactics like a well-informed buyer. Don’t let the salesperson pressure you into making a decision you’re not ready for. Do your own research on price, specifications and performance, and if possible, chat to owners of similar bikes beforehand.
3. Remember the additional costs
There are extra costs beyond the bike’s purchase price, especially if this is your first time buying a motorbike.
These include riding gear (quality protective gear like a helmet, jacket, gloves and boots will cost thousands of Rands), and license and registration costs and insurance (bikes typically cost more to ensure than cars, due to the higher accident risk). Make sure you include these when you are working out your budget.
4. Get trained and licensed
Riding a bike is not intuitive, and for a first-time, untrained rider, it can be extremely dangerous. If you haven’t ridden before, get proper training before buying and riding your new bike.
And get a bike driver’s licence – not only does the law require it, but without a license your insurance will probably be null and void.
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5. Take a test ride
A test ride will help confirm whether or not you have made the right decision in terms of the bike you want to buy, and will give you an idea of how the bike performs.
This is the opportunity to take it through its paces to get a feel for the bike’s acceleration, handling and braking. Just remember, it’s a test, not a race: be careful and prevent your riding career from ending before it has started.
6. Keep it safe
Plan on keeping your new motorcycle secure overnight: if you don’t have a lock-up gar-age, use passive security measures such as wheel locks, rotor locks or even an old-fashioned chain and padlock.
Have a tracking device installed - it will not only make it likely that your bike will be recovered if stolen, but can also reduce your insurance premium.
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Buying a new bike might be one of the most exciting moments of your biking experience, and if you do it with sufficient forethought it could also help ensure that you get a lot of pleasure from owning your new machine. So don’t let a hasty decision spoil it for you: be smart about the purchase process to ensure that you won’t have a reason to regret your choice.