After getting a motorcycle licence it can sometimes spiral out of control if you are not careful; from the costs of the bike to the actual kit. The one thing that remains priceless and you do not want to risk, is your life.
Richard Gladman, IAM head of driving and riding standards, gives some tips and advice to new riders.
Get the right gear. British weather changes very quickly and you can often find yourself wet, cold or hot which isn’t ideal. Invest in a four-season kit and keep an eye out for the weather. Invest in the best rated crash helmet you can afford and don’t be tempted by unknown second hand ‘bargains’.
No headphones. The temptation to listen to music whilst riding will always be there, but it is important to hear what is going on around you. You need to be aware of other traffic and other road users for your safety, and in this day and age – security.
Sat-nav is becoming a common place on touring bikes now, but be aware that it still poses a distraction threat; the screen tends to be small and in sunshine or rain it can be hard to see. It helps to have an idea where you are heading and if you are unsure, pull over safely to check.
Keep your bike safe. We recommend locking your bike on something that is fixed and not movable. If your bike is to be kept outside and you have a suitable area, consider fitting a ground anchor to lock it to. Even a really expensive lock is cheaper than replacing your bike.
Remember that maintenance is key. Whatever your riding plans are, if you are commuting in the winter or touring the countryside during summer. Make sure you regularly clean and service your bike, it will help keep it in good condition and allow you to spot any potential problems early on.
Even if you currently have an A2 category licence and are restricted to riding bikes with no more than 35kW maximum power, remember that your bike will still have much quicker acceleration than the vast majority of cars. This can of course be an advantage in many situations but, be sure to take the time to get used to the performance.
Don’t feel obliged to ‘keep up’ with other riders. Have the confidence to ride at your own pace, and make your own decisions, especially when it comes to overtaking and filtering.
Richard said: “Choosing the right bike is vital. Do you really need a big tourer or a super fast sports bike for the daily commute? Take a little time and advice from a good dealer to make sure you choose the bike that’s right for your level of skill, experience and budget.”