Tips for purchasing your first motorcycle

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You’ve been dreaming about swinging a leg over the seat of a bike for a long time – hearing the purr of the motor as you turn the key, feeling the warm sun on your back as you slowly cruise down the road and enjoying a very up-close and personal experience with the outdoors.

And now you’re ready to make your dream a reality – it’s time to purchase your first motorcycle.

If you haven’t already, you should take a motorcycle safety course to determine your riding skill level and style. And you will need to get a motorcycle license.

After that, it’s time to start shopping. If you’re interested in used motorcycle prices, research fair market values so you can make a reasonable offer when you go to test and inspect the bike for sale. Also consider asking the seller the following questions:

* Did you buy the bike new?

* Do you own the bike outright, and do you have the title?

* Has your bike ever been tipped or in a crash?

* Can you provide any maintenance records for this motorcycle?

* Why are you selling the bike?

Also make sure you do a complete inspection of the bike. For a helpful checklist, of what to look for visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. If the seller allows, take the bike for a test ride, but make sure you have your license available.

If you’re buying a new motorcycle, treat the purchase like you would a new car. Research the styles of bikes you might be interested in, and have that information, plus your financing options, figured out before you head out to talk with motorcycle dealers.

Since this is your first motorcycle, you might also need to stock up on some safe motorcycle riding gear. Clothing you should invest in includes a fitted helmet, leather jacket and pants, heavy boots that cover the ankles, gloves with gripping material and rain-repellent clothing.

Finally, as you venture out into the world of owning a motorcycle, make sure you talk with other bike owners to get their advice before you make your purchase.