Choosing Your Motorcycle

I’m a new rider. What kind of motorcycle should I get?
The common wisdom is that you should buy a used bike depending on what you can afford. A “naked” standard bike—one without expensive fairings—won’t suffer much damage when you drop it. When you have a year or two of experience, then you’ll know more about what kinds of motorcycles there are, how you ride, and what you really want.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of shaft drive and chain drive?
  • Chain Drive is light, highly efficient, inexpensive, and allows you to relatively easily change your motorcycle’s final drive ratio. However, it requires regular lubrication, cleaning, and tension adjustment.
  • Shaft drive is heavier, almost but not quite as efficient, somewhat expensive, and makes it impractical to change the final drive ratio. However, the maintenance intervals are much farther apart.
Should I get a motorcycle with ABS? Can’t a skilled rider stop faster than ABS?
A skilled rider on dry pavement, yes. But in the wet, things are different. Read the IBMWR article “No Fault Braking: A Real-World Comparison of ABS Systems.”
So what kind of motorcycle should I get as a first bike?
Here are some suggestions. This is not an all-encompassing list. I would recommend against a big Harley-Davidson or BMW, or any sportbike 600cc or larger. If you’re small, get a small bike; if you’re big, you can get awaywith starting out on a bigger bike.

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