Did you know that there are more women revving up their bikes, and heading to dream destinations than ever before? So, if you’re amongst that lot of ladies who’ve merely been fantasising about owning and riding a motorcycle, now is the time to make that aspiration a reality. Hell, now is the time to go after all that your heart desires!
However, if you’re that lady who’s made up her mind with the motive to ride her own, the next step is to find the ride that was made for you. With so many manufacturers and models in the market, it can be difficult to find the perfect match. But it’s not impossible. In fact, far from it…
So ladies, here are the steps to identifying and purchasing your very first motorcycle:
Consult an expert
As a first timer, if you’re planning to kick start the expedition of purchasing your first motorbike alone, ditch the idea. Involve and include someone who knows bikes and has one (or more) of their own. By expert, we don’t necessarily mean a MotoGP champion, though that may not be bad at all! But a knowledgeable friend, partner, relative or colleague will do just as well. Get to know the utility of features such as the front fork, engine capacity, or swing arm on rear tyre.
Take your time
We realise that you’re eager, but don’t jump to purchase your premier ride. Research by visiting dealerships, checking online, discussing the matter with other bike owners and test riding the machines you like. Identifying ‘the bike’ can be a lot of fun so don’t get hassled by the process if it seems longer than expected. Maintain that vision of you riding into the rising sun fresh in your mind and you’ll soon be there!
Begin with choosing a type that speaks to you best. Does a macho cruiser, a speedy sports bike, a street bike or a standard roadster fit you and your biking needs? For example a heavy cruiser may seem attractive with its chrome and long sweep forks but it may seem wieldy and definitely won’t handle well in traffic.
Once you’ve identified the variety, check its height and weight. Ideally, the correct and safest seat height is one where the balls of your feet touch the ground comfortably when astride. The average suggested seat height for women up to 5’10” tall is 800 mm. For a first bike, it needs to be the lightest kind that can be easily manoeuvred by you. Learning to cajole the gyroscopic laws governing the wheel and staying balanced can be uncomfortable to new riders so anything over 150 kg is too heavy. However, anything between 100cc to 400cc engine capacity is just about right.
Here’s a tip: If you like the way a bike looks but find it difficult to handle, adjust its trail, rake and ground clearance. If you know you’re going to mostly be cruising long straight roads, you need increased trail and decreased rake. Likewise, if you plan to go around many corners, you require less trial, more rake. One can also achieve the best of both worlds.
There are also many interesting add ons in the market that you can look into like Steering Dampeners that stiffen the steering and produce low rake if required. Most add ons will need to be purchased separately, of course.
(Suggested beginner bikes cont’d in part 2)