Start Small – or ‘Go Ultimate’?

by on January 11, 2007
in Commentary

by Janet Green, Editor, Biker Chick News
copyright 2007

If you’re thinking about learning to ride, you’re probably wondering if you should start out riding a small bike or just “go ultimate” and buy your dream bike right from the beginning. I’ll admit I’m a firm believer in the “start small” strategy, probably because that’s how I began my riding life. But, I know several people who started riding on bigger bikes and had no problems, so I know there are advantages to that strategy too. For what they’re worth, I’ve tried to outline the positives of each approach here.

Advantages of Starting Small

1. Virtually all beginners’ motorcycle safety classes use small bikes (125-250 cc) for students. It will be much easier for the new rider to make a transition to their own bike, once they get their license, if they start with a similar-sized, or only slightly larger, bike. The weight and handling of a large-cc bike would be completely different from the class experience, which might cause problems for riders who did not take to motorcycling with ease.

2. Starting small helps you build confidence. A smaller bike will feel more manageable and therefore, less intimidating. You may find that you quickly outgrow it, but you won’t be overwhelmed with a bike that’s too big, feels too heavy to control, or goes too fast too soon.

3. If you start with a small, used bike, you won’t have as much cash outlay at the beginning of your journey. It will be easy to sell the smaller used bike to the next beginner, and you won’t be “upside down” in an installment plan with a big, new bike, only to discover you don’t really care for motorcycling. You’ll also be less worried about “dropping” the smaller used bike, because it will likely have a few dings already – rather than being your brand-new pristine baby.

Advantages of ‘Going Ultimate’

1. You won’t have to go through the hassle of selling one or more bikes you’ve outgrown, possibly in a short period of time.

2. You’ll learn everything on the bike you plan to ride, so you won’t have an adjustment period getting used to new bikes as you move up.

3. This could be a less expensive option for you in the long run if you are “inheriting” a bike from someone else in the family who’s getting a new bike, or b). are buying a brand new bike and plan to keep it long enough to spread out the “hit” you’ll take in resale value.

If you’re the type of person who does well by grabbing a new challenge by the horns, and if you have no reservations about being able to handle the size and weight of a larger bike, by all means “go ultimate” and buy your dream bike. If you learn best by building confidence in graduated steps, or if you tend to refer to larger bikes as “beasts,” then starting small is probably your best option. Whichever you choose, ride safe! And – if you have something to add to this list, please send me an email!.

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