The adventurous spirit in a person takes its best form when it gets the first look at an adventure motorcycle. The road ahead awaits the exciting journeys and experiences this motorcycle will take you through.
A motorcycle is a person’s best buddy. We all have at one point dreamt of motorcycling and daring the wild roads. And of course, those dreams had that one motorcycle we always wanted and we will never forget even the tiniest of details we want it to have. When the time comes there isn’t anything better we would put our money into.
But then fancy dreams cost fancy too. Motorcycling is usually thought of as an expensive passion or hobby. With more enthusiasts, a large list of options with varying specifications and customizations is available today to look into. But then all this will cut a deep hole in your pocket.
Every customization will require you to spend quite some money on it. Does that mean we need to give up our motorcycling dreams? No, but instead you could explore some amazing ways of making your motorcycling dream more affordable.
Know what to look for before buying to save more
Google is an amazing friend who can bring us all the information we need. Understanding the particulars required in a motorcycle could be tricky, especially for a beginner. An experienced person can usually guide us through the needs and luxuries of a ride.
While looking around without such mentorship we must separate the mandatory add-ons from the fancy ones. This I would say is the most essential step towards making motorcycling more affordable.
If you are expecting that your salesman will guide you through then you are shifting too much weight on their shoulders. Ask around, research, and know your requirements better even before you start. The more you know the more you save in terms of both time and expenditure.
Old is Gold
Next, we always want a perfect, new, shiny piece of motorcycle to begin our journey. But as a beginner, a used piece with some work could be the right way to go.
While the money will be put into customization and bringing it back to shape, learning to embrace the curves of your road and getting familiar with the motorcycle can happen significantly better in this case. Also, you wouldn’t have to begin by investing a large sum of money into a new motorcycle.
The factory machinery available might look fabulous and flawless and win your heart at its first look. But maybe keep it for the future and look closer into what features might be redundant for your ride and eliminate them from your desired list.
Experimenting with an old motorcycle could be the best experience for you to know your bike better. Instead of focusing on keeping your bike safe, you can concentrate on the ride. There is no warranty to void.
So, you can pull it apart into individual bike parts and add and remove whatever you require to make it more personalised. Taking this up as a challenge can help you know more about motorcycle accessories with just a toolkit. Also, old bikes have fewer electronic and digital parts to learn, and hence familiarising with this is the best start.
A starter guide to affordable motorcycling
Buying right is the first step. Following are the features to look for while shopping for your bike that will fit you right.
Understand the importance of specifications
You need to understand your motorcycle to be able to make the right choice. So instead of choosing by just looks or specifications like engine power alone or worse- buy one because your neighbour owns one, research and understand what each specification means.
Look into aspects such as the transmission, power, engine details, engine skirts, curb weight, fuel capacity, etc. You will realise you can find much cheaper alternatives to the models you were looking into that offer more than what you might need.
Know what type based on use: The best way to determine what motorcycle you should have is by knowing how often and where you will be using it. The type of riding determines the type of features to look for.
For example, the type of ride–track days, cruising, touring the country, commuting, or just adding it to your garage and taking it for a spin once a week during the weekends will be an important deciding factor.
The general types available are:
Sports bikes – These are speed machines and are known for their high-performance brakes and amazing suspensions. While these are generally not designed for long distances some good seating additions and soft bags could take you for outstanding long drives.
Cruiser: These are comfortable tour bikes you could take with your buddies and have low seats, very appealing and stylish looks, fat rear tires, and rich engine torque. This is also a great beginner bike.
Standards: This is a jack-of-all-trades type motorcycle that you could customise and use for both long-distance comfortable rides as well as high-speed fun rides.
Vintage: The elegance and charm of a vintage bike have no equals. While the period for considering a motorcycle as a vintage bike isn’t defined, there are certain styles of bikes from the past one would love to have even today.
Dressers: Dressers are the choice of those who would love to explore their passion to travel. A motorcycle with extraordinary features such as a heated seat, ABS brakes, GPS navigation, electronic suspension, Bluetooth, and large carrying capacity, dressers can give a close run to RVs.
Dirt bikes: These are fabulous off-road companions which are lightweight with long suspensions. It is the best choice for adventure motorcycling and could be for those who would like to ride away from the streets.
Apart from these, some scooters are especially cute and are becoming quite popular again these days, sport-tourers, hyperbikes which have enhanced capacity of sports bikes, electric motorcycles which are also entering the market just like in the case of electric cars, motard which are high-performance dirt bikes, chopper, bagger, scrambler, etc,
All these have certain advantages over each other based on the type of ride you are planning to take.
The size: A beginner can start with a 250cc motorcycle which is practically the easiest to learn and get a crisp of what you can expect on the road.
But this could be a waste of money given you will outgrow the same in a very small period. So, go for something like the 500 – 600 cc range. Remember, the engine is not the only important factor here. The bike should help you learn the controls and get used to the road better.
Also, do not leap onto big bikes immediately. Instead, go through every step of the learning curve to know better. Travel along the road less taken and interact with your bike. The less traffic-filled learning experiences will give you the confidence to face the road in reality.
The traffic and road conditions will be a tough change, so paint a picture in your head before going to experience the same.
Affordable changes for big benefits – Customise your bike
A low-cost bike will need some work and additional motorcycle accessories and overall customization to fit your needs better. Customization can be more than just about the looks. It can improve the overall performance and life of your bike and add more joy to your journey.
But, all these could bring the total cost close to buying a new one. So, here are some ways to customise your bike to make it comfortable, trendy as well as affordable.
Air filters and indication system:
To squeeze the best performance out of your machine work on the exhaust. This is a cheap customization where you can replace the stock air filter with a performance filter. This will increase airflow and increase BHP.
The next step to achieving better gain is using induction kits which will combine the effects of air filters with additionally forcing cooler air to enter the combustion chamber.
This means your fuel burns better and thus makes your ride more economical. This will be budget customization for your motorcycle that can give you higher performance.
Suspension and fork upgrades:
Suspension settings need to be adjusted based on your weight to have a comfortable ride. Most of us tend to keep the default settings but with some work and adjustments which you can make based on the model, you can find the right setting.
Similarly, fork upgrades such as Cartridge Emulators can offer optimised suspension calibrated specially for you. This will help overcome the shortcomings of old motorcycles that could cause harsh and bumpy rides.
Low-cost or budget bikes also have a similar problem where the features only support light rides better. Such enhancements could bring more comfort while on the road.
A shortcut to quick acceleration is shorter gears. Apart from shortening the gear and replacing the chain, a combination of these will help your engine spin faster at any gear and thus better pickup.
Protect your bike with frame guards & other crash protection:
This would be a very important step especially if you have invested in a brand new ride and have no more to pay for expensive insurance premiums.
Sports bikes are known to have very large insurance costs, the reason being that they are very easy to damage and even the smallest of damages could cost a lot. Bike frame guards could be the right way to go about in such cases to protect your motorcycles.
This will be a cheap alternative to expensive replacements and repairs in a garage. There is quite a range of colours and shapes available to choose from and you can do some customization here.
You can also choose bar ends, fork sliders, and swingarm spools based on your budget. All these will be cheaper than having to replace the plastic parts.
A luggage rack:
Having motorcycle luggage is a huge comfort no matter what your ride type is. It could come in handy for long tours, or even to fit some shopping bags. You can choose between hard and soft luggage and explore options such as tank bags, saddlebags, and tail bags based on the capacity you are expecting to find the right combination for your motorcycle.
Bash plates or skid plates:
The weather and condition of the road could determine the comfort and safety of your ride. Prevention is better than cure. So add-ons such as bash plates or skid plates could be the right way to go to cope with such varying factors.
Bash plates are mandatory for those planning to take rides through rocky regions as this will protect the vital equipment of your bike from damage.
New ones might be essential in the case of both old and new bikes as even brand-new bikes are only fitted with plastic or other lightweight base plates in most cases which are not essentially durable.
Roll in some new tires:
Safety comes first. The best way to feel closest to having a new bike is by changing the tires. Do not listen to people who say race road tires are better because they are not for use on regular roads and will not give any expected advantage.
Your bike’s overall performance could spike up from having a new set of tires. Some wheel lights in dazzling colours like bright blue could be budget customization you might like.
Do not try to save on motorcycle gears
In most cases what inspires many about a motorcycle ride is the charismatic, sexy looks of stylish gear. This is also the place where most people end up spending more but this is worth every penny.
Trying to cut down costs on mountain bike gear with cheap alternatives or eliminating them could be a risk not worth taking. Instead, keep a decent budget aside for your safety gear such as a helmet, which is mandatory in most countries, riding gloves, jackets, boots, pants, etc. While a helmet is essential even at a beginner level, you can eventually start buying other gear.
There is always going to be a reason why not to start motorcycling. You could say cost, risk, time factor, or even bring new reasons to the table. But remember true passion for the art of riding will only come when you dare the roads instead of cringing away.
Stop looking for excuses and instead look for options that will get you closer to your dream. A local dealer could always help you get a great motorcycle at a very low cost. With some work, this could be the way to begin your dream journey.
This could also be the way to learn your motorcycle anatomy. Remember, the satisfaction that comes from driving through roads that are unmatchable. So, get set to face the tracks.