From the time that you commit to the idea of getting a motorcycle to the very moment that you’ve taken home your first bike, you have no real clue about what you’re getting yourself into. All you know is that you’re about to have the time of your life on one of the most potentially life-threatening machines on the road.
Of course, there are things that you never know about something until you put yourself out there and try it. Though, on some occasions, a warning or a friendly tip from fellow bikers would have been nice. Especially when you find yourself cruising at highway speeds and you notice that a frog, spider, or other critter is crawling on you. Or, you can’t afford all of the maintenance on your bike – when you thought it would be cheaper than a car – so you’re muddling your way through an oil change.
Yet, you’re expected to figure out everything entirely on your own, unless you can make friends with a biker in the know. It’s not that riding a bike is meant to be challenging or scary, but everyone goes through a few things when they get their first bike. No amount of preparation could really expose you to these series of events like bike ownership would. In spite of that, we’re going to clue you in on just a few things that no one ever shares with you before you buy your own motorcycle. If anything, some of these may even talk you out of getting a bike altogether.
24 Rain Is Tough
A little bit of fear is natural when you’re trying something new, but a motorcycle can be a little more intimidating. But riding in the rain for the first time is downright scary for most newbie riders (and even for the experienced as well). As soon as it begins pouring, your movements will be over-analyzed; you’re going to wonder if you’re leaning too much or too little, for instance.
Most riders are also silently praying that their bike doesn’t slip or spin, and in the event that it does fish-tail some riders become too timid to ride in the rain ever again (if they can help it). However, avoiding your fears isn’t a good way to become a better rider. We can’t always predict the weather and if you’re not willing to take short rides in the rain, it’s likely that you’ll always be afraid of it.
23 The First Bike Won't Be 'The One'
It’s true that every biker falls in love with his/her own first bike, whether it’s a beaten down Ninja 600 from the 90s or a brand-spanking-new naked sports bike. Unless money isn’t a problem for you, it’s not uncommon for a soon-to-be-endorsed rider to lust over their ‘dream bike’ for an exorbitant amount of time. In fact, many motorcycle newbies believe that the first bike they buy is ‘the one’.
It doesn’t take too long after gradually building up experience that you realize this is far from the case. Everything that you thought you loved about that matte-black bobber may not satisfy all of those desires you have, now. Whether it has to do with handling, performance, or even just the style, you will begin to pick out every single flaw in your bike that had not previously occurred to you.
22 Tracking The Weather Will Become Second-Nature
Shifting gears and mastering the riding posture are necessary skills to get you from point A to point B. With experience, they will become automatic. And, just as certain riding skills become internalized, so does your ability to judge weather. You may think that checking the weather isn’t all that important until you realize that you’ve ridden your bike to work in chilling temperatures and neglected to bring your heated gloves.
For obvious reasons, this is a painful ride, but things can also take a turn toward danger when you’ve ‘forgotten’ to check the weather and a torrential downpour occurs on your usual way home. Needless to say, tracking the radar, daily forecasts, and using your own gut is incredibly important for your safety and comfort.
21 Motorcycle Jargon
You don’t even have to get all that technical before you’ll lose a non-motorcyclist. Once you’ve immersed yourself in the bike-owning population all of that motorcycle jargon will begin to make its way into your vocabulary. Before you know it, you’ll be talking about rear sets and tire specs, or even using slang terms like ‘dipping into a corner’ and all of your car-driving friends will be at a loss.
In essence, you’re picking up a second language that only you and your fellow motorcycle buddies will be able to comprehend. This may be another way of motivating your non-biker buds to jump on the bandwagon.
20 Anticipate Spiders, Insects, Bugs
There’s a very valid reason why some bikers absolutely won’t buy a bike that hasn’t been garage-kept, and we’re not talking about the potential rust or corrosion, either. If you have ever parked your bike outside (anywhere with a lot of trees) then you have undoubtedly had the unfortunate experience of driving down the road when a spider crawls out from hiding.
Those suckers don’t care if you’re flying down the highway at 80 mph or if you’re on a winding, curvy road spiders – or bugs of any sort, for that matter – will come out of hiding at the worst moment possible. No matter how much fear is coursing through your veins, you’ll have to wait until you have an ideal location to pull over and then you may proceed to swat all of those creepy, crawly critters away.
19 Bikes Don't Trigger Lights
We’ve all had our own brushes with the obnoxious streetlight that just won’t change, even though you’ve been waiting for what feels like an eternity. All to find out that you hadn’t pulled enough close enough for the sensor to pick up on your car’s weight. Well, those issues don’t exactly go away with bike ownership.
To the dismay of many bike owners, streetlights that are triggered by the weight of a vehicle will not work for bikes. Unless, of course, you’re first bike is a big, bad Harley Roadster with all of the bells and whistles and maybe even a passenger. Then you probably won’t experience this issue too frequently. The rest of us can’t claim the same.
18 Drivers Can't See You
It goes without saying that those left-hand turning vehicles are, by far, the biggest threat to motorcycle riders. Unfortunately, it’s these drivers who pull out in front of a bike that they can’t see, that cause the most catastrophic damage to bike and biker. Multi-lane roads and highways aren’t much better.
Drivers can hardly see full-sized vehicles in their blind spots when switching lanes, do you really believe they’re going to see a bike? Riding a bike creates a sense of hyper-awareness and a healthy amount of fear, and that’s not a bad thing. The second you become too comfortable on a bike could be the moment that someone lurches into you.
17 Animals Are Obstacles Like No Other
This is a no-brainer for anyone driving on any road practically anywhere in the world. You’re going to encounter wildlife no matter where you go. What they don’t really tell you is that every animal has some sort of secret ability to sense that a motorcyclist is nearing their hiding spot, deep in the bushes.
Whether it’s a deer, a raccoon, a dog, or a cat, domestic or wild, animals have a vendetta against bikers. And these furry obstacles are very skillful at aiming for your tires at the very last second because they want to make sure that you can’t maneuver your way out of it.
16 You Will Probably Drive Your Car Better
Even if it hurts to admit it, most can probably agree that we all make mistakes driving our cars. These mistakes are even more clear to a motorcyclist who is being directly affected by your poor driving habits. Until you’ve taken your bike on your daily commute, or even around town with some regularity, you won’t even realize quite how negative your driving skills (or lack thereof) can be on other drivers.
Not to mention that you’re probably only vaguely aware of all of the potholes, dips, etc. that are in your path, especially if you have a tendency to text and drive. A biker has to anticipate each and every single one of these seemingly small obstacles, plus, they have to worry about all of the drivers around them. There’s quite a price to pay for freedom and adventure, but it makes a better driver out of you.
15 Newbies Look For Any Excuse To Ride
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. That goes for new riders, in particular. Whenever you get your first bike, you look for just about any excuse to take it out for a spin. All of those errands that no one ever wants to do are suddenly enticing for the newbie rider. You will not only find the longest route to your destination, but you’ll also find more places that you ‘need’ to go.
For your significant other, this can create a conflicting love-hate relationship with your bike. On the one hand, you’re constantly getting everything done, on the other, she/he loses that time with you that you’ve now committed to the bike. This is pretty standard for most new bike owners, though.
14 Bikes Are Not As Fragile As You Believe
While almost everyone errs on the side of being too harsh on their vehicles (in general), the newbie motorcycle owner tends to be a little more paranoid than most. Simple mishaps and mistakes will feel like the end of the world, but if this was actually the case then no one would be on a bike, in the first place.
Neglecting to adjust the chain, wash it, or air up your tires is unquestionably bad if you do it every single day. Every once in a while is another story; these bikes were designed to take on some wear and tear. Manufacturers anticipate that owners aren’t going to take care of their motorcycles perfectly, so there’s no point in wigging out if you don’t wipe off every speck of mud after a long ride.
13 You Can't Have Just One
Coming to understand, know, and love motorcycles is not a cheap endeavor. You’ll want more gear that’s better quality, and you’ll also want more bikes. Some restrict themselves to a single bike at a time, but that doesn’t exactly stop them from ogling at your obscure tracker.
You see, at the heart of every motorcycle enthusiast is an addict who just wants to have a taste of every flavor of bike out there. If you have friends that ride a variety of bike types, then you may as well consider yourself doomed to a life of debt. No matter how often they let you take one of their enduros or adventurer tourers for a ride, it’s just going to make you want one for yourself.
12 You're Going To Be A Squid
It all starts at the beginning of your adventures as a new bike owner. You tell yourself that you’re going to ride responsibly; you’re not going to speed or do anything reckless. As time goes on, you become gutsier about pushing the envelope; increasing your speed or taking those sharp turns a little faster than you probably should.
Eventually, the summer months will approach and you’ll even feel like leaving the leather jacket at home isn’t even a big deal. Hopefully, you never become a full-fledged squid, but there’s a phase at the beginning when comfort and fun tend to take over safety.
11 The Wave
By now, everyone should know about ‘the wave’ even if you have never had a bike. It seems very noticeable, even for a car-driving commuter. Yet, there are many of us who had no idea that the wave existed, except for in the Jeep community.
You take your bike out for its first ride on the real road and you’re pleasantly surprised to find that all of these fellow bikers are waving at you. The only time that this doesn’t happen is between Harley riders and sports bike riders (you can probably assume who isn’t waving at who, in that situation).
10 Everything Is About Sports Bikes And Cruisers (No In-Between)
There’s no legitimate reason why certain bikes earn more attention than others, but you can’t help but notice all of the hype that surrounds a Harley Davidson, Ninja, CBR, or even Indian Motorcycles. It’s quite clear that both, the aftermarket options and the mainstream world revolves around sports bikes and cruisers.
Forget about the versatile enduros or chic scramblers. If your bike isn’t obnoxiously loud, covered in tassels, or made to speed, then the bike posers probably aren’t even going to notice your ride. People who are genuine enthusiasts tend to have a well-rounded love of bikes and can respect just about any shape or size – with the exception of mopeds and electric bikes, those are still struggling for validation.
9 It Relieves Stress And Makes You Happier
Work, school, life stresses all have a way of bogging us down. Which is why most find themselves escaping through TV every day after work. When you have a motorcycle, that escapism is different altogether. Instead of allowing your time (and self-esteem) to dwindle away while you’re doing useless activities, riding a bike actually helps you blow off some steam.
Of course, it’s not the cure-all, but ask anyone who rides a bike and they’ll tell you that it relieves a lot of their pent-up stress and anxiety. Plus, bike ownership makes most people feel, overall, happier every time you go for a ride.
8 At First, Café Racers Will Seem Cool
It’s an honest mistake that most of us have committed. You come across a café racer for the first time and you’re left with the impression that these are some cool bikes. They’re retro and most of them are custom builds. What’s cooler than that?
Well, a bike that can actually reach a top speed above 50 mph, to start. The bitter truth about café racers is they’re massively overpriced for what you’re getting out of them. Some can easily cost more than a brand-new sports bike (in the $30k range) and all for a speck more horsepower than you’d find in a moped. That's when you realize why café racers receive so much flak for being 'hipster bikes'.
7 Motorcycles Are Expensive
In retrospect, owning a motorcycle is an inexpensive way to commute to work, especially if you’re a squid and ‘gear’ isn’t even in your dictionary. Otherwise, the gear can easily cost anywhere from $500 - $1,000, unless you buy everything secondhand or are only purchasing the bare minimum. Then there are those $200+ oil changes every 6,000 miles, which aren’t as feasible as it is for a car.
You’ll also have to consider the never-ending tire replacements; they’re only good for so many miles, and the lifespan of tires on a bike are much shorter than a car. After 5,000 miles, the tires will need to be replaced for around $150 a piece, unless you have a sport bike with high-end racing tires or any other specialty tires for that matter, that can bring the price up and we haven’t even included the cost of labor or mounting and balancing.
6 Owning A Bike Is Like Joining A Club
Riding a bike is one of the most rewarding social clubs to join. Aside from a few squids, everyone who owns a motorcycle tends to have a love for just about any type of bike. Previous bike owners will reminisce and tell you about their experiences and current bike owners will comment on your bike (especially if it has unique mods or is a slightly uncommon model).
Even though most men believe they’re going to attract tons of women by riding a flashy sports bike, motorcycles tend to draw in genuine enthusiasts, which happens to be men most of the time. Regardless, the number of times that people want to chat with you at gas stations is probably more frequent than you would imagine.
5 It's A Messy Form Of Transportation
Despite the deceiving motorcycle ads that will have you believe that riding a bike is a big, glamorous event that will make you look really good, owning a bike is the polar opposite. It’s pretty challenging to predict what you’ll encounter on the road, and all of that sweat, rain, and accumulation of insects and bugs can really put a damper on the riding ‘glam’ factor.
If you’re a safe rider who wears a proper jacket no matter what the conditions are like, then you’ll sweat so much that you’ll probably have to go back home to get ready (again) for that date you were attempting to impress. If you don’t wear your gear, things can become even messier because then your good clothes are exposed to all of the dirt and critters that are going to be flying into your body at 60 mph.
4 You'll Want To Become An Amateur Mechanic
When winter hurls it becomes tough weather all over the roads, you’ll find that you’re in quite a predicament. Every ounce of your body is dying to get out there and ride your motorcycle, but since it’s covered with a sheet of white powder you’re forced to abandon the journey until a later date. This often breeds the formation of an amateur motorcycle mechanic.
Those who can’t get out there in the colder months will use that time to upgrade or fix everything on their bike that they’d been neglecting. Others just fall in love with their bike and want to know everything that they can about it. Then there are the few who are unwilling to drop all of that cash for labor on a secondary vehicle, so they become an amateur mechanic themselves.
3 Caution: Motorcycles Are Highly Addictive
Anything that feels as good as riding a motorcycle has a funny way of becoming unbearable to live without. And, for many riders, this is very much the case. The freeing sensation most get while riding a bike is enough to start a regular bike craving, but then you combine that with the speed and adrenaline and you’ve got yourself a new addiction.
It only takes a few first rides to ignite a strong passion for biking. New riders – and many seasoned bikers – will take the twisties every day, if they can. No matter how much your car-driving buddies may want you to hang out and sit on the couch, you will be busy pushing your bike to the limits.
2 You'll Inspire Others
Of all things that owning your first bike changes, this is probably one of the cooler outcomes. Believe it or not, you won’t necessarily be a cooler person just because you own a bike, yet you will inspire some new buyers. All of your friends who had been on the fence about getting their own bike will probably make their final decision once they see you pull up to their house on yours.
Even if it’s completely different from anything that your friend desires it will make them want to ride yours, which will, in turn, make him/her want his/her own.
1 You'll Take The Scenic Route More Often
After cutting out the unnecessary expenditures from your budget and careful saving for many months, you will be overjoyed the day that you finally get to bring your first motorcycle home. Maybe it’s the lengthy process of getting the endorsement combined with the time it took for you to actually be able to afford the bike, or maybe it’s the adrenaline, but once it’s taken up permanent residence in your garage, you’ll have almost no desire to take any vehicle other than your new bike.
This means, once you have the chance to actually throw your leg over the bike, you won’t be taking the quickest route like you would in your car. Forget gas efficiency, the longest and most interesting route will only suffice.
Sources: Reddit, Medium