Summer has arrived in lovely Cape Town and the biking weather has started. If you already own a motorcycle you’ll know what a pleasure it is to take a cruise on a perfect summers day around the Cape Peninsula.Â We have so many awesome roads in and around the Cape. Franschoek Pass, the road to Rooi Els and Winelands, just to name a few. Or maybe you’re in the market for a motorcycle?Â We have put together a list of things to consider before purchasing your next motorcycle.
Abide by the law
This may sound obvious, because it is! Do you have valid motorcycle license? If you’re older than 16 years of age, you may get a license for a motorcycle with an engine capacity of >125cc. Many people think they can get away with riding a motorcycle without a license, but just like a car, you need to be in possession of a valid license for the motorcycle. When the traffic officers pull you over and see you aren’t licensed to ride you can get into serious trouble with the law.
Set yourself a price range and stick to it. The best piece of advice I can give any prospective buyer is to remember that you will need protective riding gear. A decent helmet, gloves, an armoured jacket, armoured pants and boots. Please do not buy a motorcycle for the full amount you had set out, only to find you have no money left over for any of these essential items. Speak to friends who ride and always get a second opinion about a specific item of riding gear before you buy.Â Now that you’ve established how much money you can spend on the bike, you can proceed to the next step.
What kind of bike do I want?
So you’re ready to spend you cash, but what do you want to spend it on? Are you a speed-freak superbike rider, or a lazy Sunday afternoon cruiser type of person? Do you like going off-road, or do you prefer packing a few essentials and touring the country for a weekend?Â If you’re a new rider, your skill level needs to be considered, don’t buy a bike you know you will not be able to handle. Weight, power, fuel economy, size, all of these are things to consider.Â Do not buy on impulse, go and test ride lots of bikes. You will be spending a large amount of money on something that will either bring you many joyous kilometers, or will end up standing in the garage for a very long time because it’s uncomfortable or it scares you to death.
I found the bike of my dreams
So you found the bike you want. At this point you will either be buying new or used, I’ll let you make that decision for yourself, both have pro’s and con’s and you’re big enough to figure those out for yourself.
If you buy a used bike privately, you can run into all sorts of problems, if you don’t a little bit of mechanical aptitude. A motor that doesn’t sound right is usually a bike that has been abused for a very long time and you should avoid buying it. Look for scratches on the handlebar ends / brake and clutch levers. Most of the time they’ll just use black marker to color in the scratch marks. These are indicative of a bike that has taken a tumble. A personal favourite trick of mine is to look at the plastic right above the rear wheel, when someone loves doing burnouts, the molten rubber will melt and fuse into the plastic cover underneath the seat, if there is a wheel hugger covering the wheel it may be a bit difficult to spot. Avoid buying a motorcycle that has clearly taken abuse.
Buying from a dealer has a few more benefits, one of which is that you can add the cost of your protective gear (helmet, gloves, jacket, etc) into the deal if you negotiate a bit. If you have the total amount financed then you don’t have to fork out a lot of money at once for your riding gear.
Don’t forget insurance, if you don’t go through financing, you can choose your type of cover, I would recommend getting third party insurance at the bare minimum.
Enjoy the ride
The last, but most important thing, is to enjoy your bike. Ride as much as you can, build confidence and improve your skill. If you can, go for advanced rider training, attend track schools, all of these will make you safer on the road and will help you enjoy riding your bike even more.