Are you drawn to the two wheeled life? Motorcycling for many isn’t just a mode of transport - it’s a whole way of life and a community too. You’ve got the enthusiasm but maybe you’re not sure where to start with getting your first bike, gear, license and more.
As experts in impact protection supporting the world’s fastest racers, D3O® have outlined what you need to get started on your journey to riding the open road.
First things first, you need a license to ride a motorcycle. The age at which you can start to learn varies between states, but usually you can get a permit at 16. You’ll also need to pass a vision exam, a written exam, and a driver’s ed course. You might be able to skip the last one if you already have a driver’s license for a car.
However, it’s strongly recommended that you take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. This is a full 101 on how to ride a motorcycle, covering everything from handling, gears, safety awareness, road awareness, speed and more. If you take an MSF approved course, when it comes to getting your license, you can potentially skip taking the written and practical test (so long as your MSF course is fully government approved and accepted by your state DMV). Not only this, but if you successfully complete the course, you could receive a discount on your motorcycle insurance. In some circumstances, you could save a substantial amount for your insurance because riders who have completed the course are less likely to be involved in an accident.
The courses cost anywhere from $200 - $500, and are a great way to set yourself up for riding success and having many years on the road with your bike. There’s a small fee for getting your motorcycle license too, which will either be stamped on your ordinary driver’s license with an M, or you can have a motorcycle-only license.
You’ve got your license in hand and it’s time to buy your very first motorcycle! Whether you’re buying one to learn on and take an MSF course, or moving on from a borrowed instructor bike, it’s always exciting to go bike shopping.
Most beginners start with a 125cc engine motorcycle. This has enough power to give you a feel for how bikes work without being too much for beginners to handle. It can handle most highway speeds and will be good for bikers who want to commute to work or school.
Motorcycles come in three power categories depending on their engine size:
Beginners should look for bikes in the light category and then on the lower end of that where possible. There’s always time to upgrade your bike later, rather than trying to ride something you’re not ready for just yet.
Once you’ve got your first bike parked up and looking shiny in your front yard, it can be tempting to just jump on and get going. You should always take the time to gear up with adequate motorcycle clothing and protective equipment before you ride.
Many bikers ride by the phrase ‘All The Gear, All The Time’ (ATGATT). It means you always ride with full motorcycle armor, protecting your back, shoulders, elbows, hands,, hips, knees, and feet. Even for a short trip, take the time to get yourself protected.
As a beginner, you may be wondering what pieces to invest in up front and what to invest in further down the line. A general rule is to spend as much as you can afford to on motorcycle protection gear. At the end of the day, you’re investing in your own protection!
As experts in impact protection, D3O® offers a full range of protective solutions to help keep motorcyclists safe while out on the road. D3O® materials are soft and flexible to wear, stiffening on impact to disperse its force, and lessening the chance of serious injury to the wearer.
Never get on a bike without the following as a bare minimum:
One of the best things about motorcycling is the community that surrounds it. Whether you’re a commuter, casual weekend rider, adventurous tourer or a racetrack champion, everyone is united by a common love of motorcycles.
You can find local meet ups in your area. This might be as simple as hanging out in a cafe together to chat bikes, or it could be meeting up to ride together to a destination. You’ll find that the biking community is friendly and as long as you’re respecting the road and its users and not behaving dangerously while riding, you’ll quickly find like-minded people and friends.
Biker meets or clubs are a great way to help improve your riding and bike maintenance knowledge too. Veteran motorcyclists are often more than happy to help out a beginner and provide advice they’ve learned from years on the road.
The beauty of motorcycling is it’s not just a mode of transport. It’s a sport with many different disciplines and styles you can try. Some might not be for you, but you could also discover a whole new passion for the sport.
Once you’re comfortable with the basics of riding and used to being on your bike, you could try your hand at a short adventure day-tour. Or give off-roading a try to see how it feels to get off the asphalt and onto the dirt trails. Perhaps even take your bike along to a track day and see if you get a kick out of the racing experience.
Whatever style or discipline you try, always remember to wear the best impact protection possible and keep yourself safe with D3O®.