Some riders first buy a bike because it looks sexy, some to save money, some for the release of all life’s hassles and some just because they love the idea of riding a motorcycle!
When asked by my students as to what genre of motorcycle they should purchase, I explain the learning phases, licence requirements, students physical size, intended usage, the pros and cons of each genre and I advise they ride them all before buying.
There are quite a few different genres of motorcycles: naked style, commuter, sports bike, cruiser, road, trail, motard, sports tourer, tourer, scooter/moped. Each genre is fined tuned in regard to steering geometry, chassis, suspension, wheel diameters, engine, brake, seat height and so forth.
Start small then progressively increase the weight/horsepower with confidence!
Your first motorcycle should be one that is seriously light and easy to use. You will need a motorcycle that has a very neutral steering geometry and seating position in your early learning. This motorcycle will allow growth and confidence. When you can steer/brake and your systems of control are exceptional, you are the boss of the ship! Its then time for a small upgrade!
Do not be concerned about outgrowing a small motorcycle.
Ask yourself this question, how much would you pay to have a genuine level of competence and confidence? A bike that confronts you from the first day will restrict your growth of competence and confidence, but remember this is your decision no one else’s!
Seat height has a big impact on your ability to get both feet on the ground, having said that seats can be cut and adjusted to help get your feet to the ground. The height and weight of the motorcycle is very important.
Suspension for a learner should be very pliant and offer a lot of movement as this offers the new rider a wider range of feedback when it comes to the feeling of grip. The harder we make suspension the less feel we have for grip, and grip is essential for both cornering and braking.
Steering geometry is the combination of chassis, steering head and front forks angles. A standard motorcycle generally has a neutral steering geometry which allows a consistent and easy feel for correct steering technique required by all learners. Other motorcycles, such as a cruiser, has a large amount of rake in its steering geometry; which directly affects a learner rider applying the correct steering method. In fact, it can fool a learner into believing they point a wheel and bars to turn the motorcycle. Therefore, Top Rider stopped using this style of motorcycles for learner riders.
Steering geometry affects motorbikes turning and braking efficiency. Generally, the geometry is changed to offer a genre of motorcycle a specific control in a specific range of riding.