Buying a motorcycle

By Joanne Lemna  | 
Mar 9, 2016 12:38:52 PM

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Riding a motorcycle is undeniably fun. It's hard to top cruising now the open road, free from radio noise and chatty passengers with just the wind in your face and the scenery around you. For many, riding a motorbike is the ultimate in weekend and summer adventure. However, it's also a very high-risk hobby. Before you buy your own bike, ensure that you have the adequate skills and abilities. You need to know how to ride confidently first.

Getting the Right Bike

What kind of riding are you interested in? That will help you determine what model of bike you need. Consider what you'll be doing and when you'll be riding. There really is a bike for everyone, and if you're interested in long cruises on the weekend, you probably don't need a sports bike - and if you're looking to race, you're going to want something with a bit more power than your traditional bike. Beginners are often pointed towards standard motorcycles as they allow you to sit up straighter, giving riders a better sense of control and comfort. Cruiser bikes offer lower seats and a low centre of gravity, which makes the handling more awkward for some. The sports bike is built for speed and has very sensitive handling - these are also the bikes with the highest motorcycle insurance rates since they're built to go fast and that often means more speeding tickets and a higher likelihood of an accident. Finally, touring bikes are built with strong engines, best suited for long rides, and some models even offer a bit of weather protection.

Regardless of the style of motorcycle, you’ll want something you can manoeuvre comfortably. Look for a bike that allows you to rest both feet on the ground and a lets you grip the handlebars comfortably.

If you're feeling a little lost, don't worry. Check out this guide to help you choose the right bike for you.

Your Bike Budget

Next, you'll want to set a budget. A used motorcycle may cost as little as $1000 and newer models begin at $5000 and can climb up to $100,000 or more, depending on the brand, style, and size. Don't forget to factor in your annual costs of gas, maintenance, insurance, and personal protective gear.

Research the typical price for the model you want to buy. You can opt to buy from a dealer (new or used) or a private seller. If it's your first bike, going with a reputable dealer is a good idea. They can usually deliver the bike and help you get set up with registration. Private sellers can be less expensive, but you always run the risk of being scammed. Be sure to get the bike checked by a mechanic or knowledgeable friend. Don't forget to get a bill of sale with both your name and the seller's name clearly printed, as well as the amount you paid with "paid in full" written somewhere on the statement.

Motorcycle Insurance

Expect to pay a premium for the first three years. However, new riders will notice a drop in their rates if they've taken a provincially approved driver's training course. In addition to lowering your motorcycle insurance rates, these courses are excellent for teaching the necessary safety techniques required for riding a motorcycle. Once you have a year of riding experience and don't have any accidents or tickets, your insurance premiums should continue to go down.

Your driving record and how long you've had your licence are only two factors that determine your insurance rates. The size of the bike also comes into play: generally, the bigger the bike, the bigger the premium. For example, a 550cc bike is usually cheaper to insure than an 1100cc bike. The type of bike you have also impacts your rates. High performance or sports bikes are more expensive to insure.

One way to lower your insurance premiums is to increase your deductible (the amount you pay if you have a claim before your insurance kicks in). The higher this is the lower the annual rate is because you're taking on more responsibility for covering any loss or damage caused to your motorcycle.

Finally, keep in mind that motorcycle insurance is sold as an annual policy, even though riding is usually seasonal in nature. But annual motorbike policies are structured to have lower overall premiums so it costs you less to keep year-round coverage that protects your motorcycle 365 days a year. Talk to your broker for more information about insuring your motorcycle.

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