Questions to ask Before you buy a Motorcycle

Questions to ask – Before you buy a motorcycle


Many a first-time biker is faced with which type of bike to buy when entering the world of motorcycles. Some folks sit with the same dilemma when making a lifestyle or budget change….the fact remains that before signing on the dotted line and committing to the purchase of a motorcycle there are some important questions you need to ask yourself.

Biking is not merely a hobby, it becomes a part of who you are, it gets intertwined with your genetics…part of your DNA. Okay maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but if you are as enthusiastic about biking as I am…it is a thing that runs in your veins and buying a bike is almost a matter of the heart, a decision lead by emotions. But regardless of what riding a bike means to you, the following basic questions will help you in choosing the bike best suited for you.

  • Is it your first bike? If yes, it is generally recommended to then look at bikes with an engine displacement/capacity of 650cc or smaller.
  • When do you want to ride?  Do you want to ride every day, commuting to work and back as well as doing the weekend out-rides? Obviously riding everyday means that fuel economy and comfort will play a roll.
  • Is it your only bike? If it is, you need to give serious consideration to all these questions as your motorcycle will then be a type of investment in my opinion. If it is not your only bike or only mode of transport, well then you are basically only limited to the thickness of your wallet.
  • How important is fuel economy? Most motorcycles will give you at least 15km/L or more, depending of course on how heavy your right hand is. But if saving money on travel costs is important to you, you should definitely consider bikes in the 600cc-800cc engine range as these are known for figures of in excess of 20km/L
  • Where do you want to ride with it? Here it is very simple, will you be riding on-road, off-road or do a bit of both? And your answer will basically leave you with either buying a scrambler, dual purpose bike or any of the other types of road bikes.
  • How long do you want to keep it? Is it a bike that you’ll keep for a lifetime, making it part of the family and many good memories or do you want to buy & trade over the years until you settle on that special bike that will be a gift from me to me on your retirement?
  • How often will you lift/pillion someone? This is important as not all bikes are built for 2 and some that are is not that comfortable for the pillion/passenger either. If you gonna ride two-up a lot it is recommended that you consider or at least have a look at motorcycles in the tourer, sport-tourer, grand-tourer, cruisers and dual purpose classes.
  • How much are you willing to spend on maintenance? This is largely influenced by parts availability (quality of after sales service, dealer locations, and where parts are imported from), the drive train (chain, belt or shaft driven) of the bike, the power of the bike and your riding style (eg. Regular hard acceleration, wheelies etc.) and willingness to look after it (keep it clean and service it regularly, use of original or generic parts).
  • How much are you willing to spend on the purchase of a motorcycle? This is basically self explanatory. Either how much do you have to purchase a bike, cash or if you finance the bike, what is the monthly installment you can afford. Opinions will vary but I recommend opting for a fixed interest rate if you’ll be financing your bike. And remember to calculate monthly insurance installments into your budget as well. It is strongly recommend that you don’t fixate on a specific dealership. Shop around and negotiate as you’ll find some dealers are more eager to do business than others.


For 2nd hand motorcycles you need to have a look at the following:

  • Maintenance record
  • Re-spray or custom paint jobs
  • Condition of the brakes, tires and drive train
  • Oil and fluid leaks
  • Dents and scratches (some may be evident of an accident)
  • Proper working of lights, electronics and locks
  • Toolkit (some bikes come standard with a basic toolkit)

I’ve learnt that answering these basic questions will help one to make a choice one won’t regret when going to one’s favorite motorcycle dealership to buy that dream bike and invest in a lifetime of joy and friendship as you become part of the motorcycle fraternity and explore the freedom.

And What did I buy?

Well, in my case I was looking for a bike with a durable and proven engine (larger than 1000cc)& mechanics, average to good fuel consumption (17-20km/L), comfortable for both me & the misses. A brand with a good dealership network and good after sales service as well as parts availability. So keeping maintenance affordability in mind, I (actually me & the wife)decided on a second hand machine, costing less than  R80 000 to purchase and which can comfortably take me & the misses anywhere we want to go, whether it be on tarmac or gravel (off-road)……a 2004 BMW R1150GS.

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By: Hector Jamieson

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Why we Ride

Why we Ride

It’s an early spring morning, you can smell nature and the open road. You make sure your tent and luggage are securely fastened on the bike. The leather smell of well worn gloves, leather jacket & boots sends a tingly feeling of excitement through your nerves. You put on that helmet that’s gain the occasional scratch or few over the years. Key in the ignition, a slight twist of the throttle and off you go to a destination of choice….this is a common scene for many motorcyclists.

But why do we ride motorcycles?

For some it started as a form of rebellion, for some it’s a means of escaping circumstances and reality, for some it’s all about family and a sense of belonging, for some it’s a lifestyle and for some it is simply a means of transport. No matter how it started out for you, eventually it will become part of your genes and you will most certainly experience the “leave no man behind” moto in some or other form in the course of your lifelong two wheeled journey. For many of us the first few years of biking is the lone ranger on his iron horse, building character with his two wheeled companion and gaining mountains of knowledge and experience through many road side repairs, late nights riding in the rain and the occasional “oops” moments. Few things in life are as satisfactory as working on a motorcycle that has made a connection with your heart. Stepping back upon completion, give a deep sigh filled with pride and satisfaction as you look, even stare at that part you’ve successfully repaired, serviced, or customised.

Somewhere along the way you will meet like minded motorcyclists and riding with these mates, these brothers in biking is for many the ultimate form of biking…group therapy at its best. These are the people that are always there to help…their ability to help only exceeded by their willingness to help and support a brother or sister of the motorcycle fraternity. With these folks you build friendships that last a lifetime.

Then there is the risk or the thrill of motorcycling. Some call it dangerous, but us bikers call it “living life to the fullest, one kilometre at a time”.  Yes motorcycling is dangerous, but so is showering-you can slip, fall and break an arm in the shower. Does that prevent you from getting in the shower…NO!! In the same way a biker chooses not to live life in fear, but rather in excitement. The occasional “close-call” merely helps us to appreciate life and encourages us to live life to the fullest. Acknowledging the risks simply helps a true biker to respect the road and the limits of his own riding abilities.

Riding a motorcycle is in my opinion the best remedy for anger or an aching heart. It is the best medicine for a stuffed nose, blocked sinuses or headache. It’s the ultimate expression of joy and freedom.

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“Motorcycling, being a biker is all about hanging out with real people, without pretense and sharing the respect we have for our motorcycles and each other. This is how great stories and legends are made.”

 By: Hector Jamieson

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