A row of motorcycles in a bike shop.

Riding on two wheels is one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have. Chris Sykes, from finance company, Moneybarn, offers some useful advice to help you on your way.

Budgeting for a new bike

Buying a new motorcycle is an exciting experience and it can be tempting to buy the first bike to catch your eye. However, there are lots of important factors that you should consider before you buy.

Decisions, decisions

If you know what type of riding you plan on doing – track days, commuting, touring, or just cruising around town – you can usually narrow your options before even hitting the shops. The first question is what size bike you should buy.

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Remember, if you’ve only just passed your test, for instance, a big Harley or a powerful sports bike is probably not the safest choice. You could start with something of a small capacity which would be easier to gain some experience on; but you’ll probably outgrow it within a few months, so something in the 500-600cc range on the other hand will probably stay fun for a long time, even as your skills improve.

Engine size isn’t the only factor, either. Some 600cc machines can perform like a race bike capable of serious acceleration and high top speeds. Again, this is probably not the best choice for beginners.

Expenses to watch out for

Once you’ve decided upon your most appropriate bike, you’ll need to calculate the additional expenses associated with running it. For example, it’s a good idea to check the current insurance rates, as this is one of the biggest costs of owning any kind of vehicle.

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Going for a high performance motorcycle might seem like fun, but it will be much more expensive to insure (and buy)! Safety gear is something else you need to budget for. If you’re moving up the bike scale, then it may make sense to think about upgrading your riding kit as well.

Although not compulsory (apart from a crash helmet), buying protective boots, gloves, trousers, back protector, or a jacket are all worthy of consideration. Any good quality gear can add up to a substantial amount of money to your spending budget, so always go for the best you can afford. You’ll also need to think about tax and fuel costs; the essentials to getting your bike on the road.

Fishing for finance

When you find your dream bike, you may not be lucky enough to have the cash in the bank to pay for it in full up front. Fortunately, you have various options to help you buy, such as finance. However, before you go any further, you need to work out if finance is the right option for you.

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For one thing, you’re signing up for a long-term commitment. Are you prepared to still be paying for your bike after three or five years of ownership? Or do you tend to get bored quickly and want to swap vehicles every 12 months?

Missing any payments can also affect your credit rating and your bike could be repossessed, so make sure you are honest with yourself about what you can realistically afford before you sign on the dotted line.

Maintenance checks

This is where costs can add up. Cars can go a lot longer between service intervals compared to bikes or scooters and depending on how hard you ride, you may have to change at least the rear tyre in as little as 3000 miles.

Servicing and maintenance intervals can run anywhere between 5000 and 20,000 miles, depending on what type of bike you have and the manufacturer’s recommended service period.

Add in regular oil changes, motorcycle chain maintenance and various other odds and ends, and you could expect to spend a lot of money in this area alone. But to ensure you get the most out of your bike and it stays safe throughout the year, regular maintenance checks are essential.

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