Finding the Type of Motorcycle that is Right for You Purchasing a motorcycle generally involves a great deal of research before you decide on the one that is right for you. There are so many makes and models to choose from that it can also be confusing. You will want to think about your motorcycle riding experience when you are looking at the type of bike to purchase. You will also want to consider what you will be doing with your motorcycle. There are many different types of motorcycle to consider based on your interests. Do you want a motorcycle that is known for speed? If you will be taking long road trips on your motorcycle then you definitely want one built for travel and comfort. You may also want one that offers compartments to hold your necessities while you travel. Other motorcycles are designed for riding on dirt or for competition. There are also scooters that are fun for in town. If you are new to the feat of motorcycle riding, it is recommended that you start with a moderately priced motorcycle or even with a used one. This is because a new motorcycle can cost you $20,000. Do you want to risk scratching it up or having costly repairs from dropping the bike over? Trust me, if you are new to riding that is going to be a part of the experience! You can always purchase a newer motorcycle once you have become a seasoned rider. Even if you have a particular style of motorcycle in mind, it has to fit your body perfectly. This may be disappointing at first, but keep in mind that if the bike doesn't fit you there is a risk of an accident. It is also very likely that you won't be comfortable while riding it, so what fun will that be? Of course you can always have a customized motorcycle made later on of the style you want that fits you perfectly. The best way determine if a motorcycle is a good fit for you is to sit on the bike with the kickstand on the ground. Can you touch the ground with both feet? If not, then you need to look for a motorcycle that isn't as tall. If you can reach the ground with both feet, can you reach the handle bars comfortably? How about the brakes and the turn signals? Of course a very important aspect you need to consider when looking for the right motorcycle is the price. You need something that is going to fit into your budget. Do you want to purchase a used motorcycle for the amount of money you can afford? Are you willing to take out a loan to pay for a higher priced motorcycle on monthly payments? You should decide this before you even begin looking at potential motorcycles. A motorcycle can provide you with a fun mode of transportation for fun or for commuting. Motorcycles are very inexpensive to operate and allow you to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. You will find your motorcycle to be more comfortable if you take your time and select one based on how it feels with your body shape than how the body of the bike looks. Choosing a bike that doesn't fit well will leave you disappointed as well as raise the risk of accidents and injuries taking place. Obtaining a Motorcycle License To operate a motorcycle on streets, an individual must obtain a motorcycle license. You do not need a license to operate a dirt bike as long as you keep it off of the streets. The procedure for doing so varies by state. In most states, you can obtain one at the age of 16, the same age for obtaining a regular driver's license. The process involves a written test as well as a motorcycle driving test. Keep in mind that if you get caught operating a motorcycle without a valid license, you face the same penalty in your state as driving a motor vehicle without a valid license. It is also very likely that the motorcycle you are operating will be impounded. Nationwide, 32% of motorcycle accidents involve those who do not hold a valid motorcycle license. Likewise, any person who has a suspended or revoked driver's license won't be allowed to obtain a motorcycle license either. Each state offers a motorcycle operator manual for you to review free of charge. In some states, you can even review the information online. It is very important that you read the manual thoroughly and ask about any information you are not understanding. The information in this manual is what will be on the knowledge test you are required to pass in order to obtain a valid motorcycle license. In some states, you will then be issued a motorcycle learners permit. This allows you to practice operating a motorcycle with the assistance of another licensed motorcycle rider. After a set amount of time or a set amount of practice hours, you will then be able to take a motorcycle operator skills test. Make you to bring along any safety equipment for riding that is required in your state. For states that don't issue motorcycle learners permits, you will be issued your license upon successfully passing both the written and skills tests. Make sure you have spent plenty of time going over the proper procedures for operating a motorcycle before you attempt to take the skills test. Test administration is very strict because of the huge risk operating a motorcycle comes with. Some of the same rules apply as when testing for a traditional driver's license including looking in your mirrors, using signal lights, stopping appropriately, watching for pedestrians, and obeying posted speed limits. Some common motorcycle skills you will be tested on include starting your motorcycle, stopping, turning, and balancing the bike. In some states, they set up an obstacle course for motorcycle testing that you have to be able to maneuver through. You can ask your local Department of Motor Vehicles what to expect on the skills test. This gives you plenty of time to practice particular skills before you test. To find out the specific requirements including age, testing, cost, and other important information for obtaining a motorcycle license in your state contact your local department of motor vehicles. You can also find the information on the internet. If you are interested in learning to operate a motorcycle but don't have anyone to teach you, consider enrolling in a motorcycle instructional course. This is a great way to develop the skills you need to operate a motorcycle safely and properly. You will also get a discount from most motorcycle insurance companies if you can verify you successfully completed such a class. Motorcycle Insurance Tips In many states, it is mandatory to have insurance on your motorcycle. In addition to covering any loans on the bike, the insurance is designed to cover medical bills for personal injury as well as for collision costs. Even if motorcycle insurance isn't mandatory in your state, it is still a good idea to have it. You never know when you may need it. Many people think motorcycle insurance is too expensive to have, but it is really affordable. There are some great tips to help you get the best possible rate. If you haven't taken a motorcycle safety course, you should. Not only will it help you become a better motorcycle rider, it will also help you earn a discount on your motorcycle insurance. This is because motorcycle companies feel an informed rider is less likely to make common mistakes or to indulge in reckless behaviors. If you currently have any kind of insurance on your home or other vehicles, that particular company will likely offer you a significant discount on insurance coverage for your motorcycle. When comparing motorcycle insurance rates, make sure you are comparing apples against apples. This simply means you should only compare the cost once you have determined what the insurance covers. Ask for information about he dollar amount of coverage as well as the deductible amount. A deductible is the amount you will have to pay out of pocket for each claim filed before the insurance will pay the remainder. If you are able to store your motorcycle inside a storage unit or garage, then do so. Most insurance companies will give you additional discounts for your motorcycle being in a secure location that reduces the chances of it getting hit, vandalized, stolen, or damaged by the natural elements. Many insurance companies will give you an added discount if you won't be riding your motorcycle during severe winter months. This is a great option for those of you who live in colder parts of the world. However, keep this coverage in mind because you will likely be tempted to get that bike out when a warm spell appears for a few days during the winter months. Keeping a clean driving record both in your motor vehicles and on your motorcycle will save you a great deal of money on your motorcycle insurance. Insurance companies love to reward those who have remained a low risk. They also want to keep your business. If you have paid your premiums on time for six months and have not have any claims or moving violations, then contact your insurance company and ask for them to review your policy for a lower price. Many insurance companies will automatically do this upon renewal of your policy, but if you have an annual policy then you should contact them after six months. If you are just learning to ride a motorcycle but don't have a valid motorcycle license yet, you may want to consider purchasing Learner Motorcycle Insurance. This is a great way to ensure you are covered in the event of an injury or accident. While this type of insurance is going to cost you more than basic motorcycle insurance, you can't put a price tag on safety. The internet is a great place to look for motorcycle insurance as well. Some insurance companies don't offer motorcycle coverage while others specialize in it. The internet gives you a convenient place to enter your information once and then receive quotes by email from various insurance companies. This definitely reduces the amount of time you will spend on the process as well as allows you to easily compare rates. Having motorcycle insurance is a good idea regardless of it being mandatory in your state or not. While operating any type of motor vehicle comes with a risk, you can help lower the financial risk involved in operating one by covering the cost of damages and medical expenses should you be involved in an accident. How to Negotiate the Best Price on a Motorcycle Getting the motorcycle you want is very exciting, but you need to know how to negotiate the best price. Why pay more for it than you have to? Don't get so absorbed by the idea of having it that you will stop at nothing to get it. In most cases, you will be purchasing a motorcycle on credit with monthly installment payments. Do your best to reduce the number of payments you have to make as well as the amount of each one. Take your time deciding what type of motorcycle you really want. If it doesn't fit into your budget then you may have to decide to save up more money to get it or decide to go with a less expensive model for the time being. You always have the option of trading up in the future. However, many motorcycle enthusiasts find half of the fun is owning the exact motorcycle they want, regardless of the cost. Start by finding the retail price on the motorcycle you want. This information can be found at various online sites including that of the manufacturer. Most dealerships add at least 10% to that base price. You can expect them to add on another 15% to cover delivery fees, documents, and taxes. Most dealerships will also try to get you to purchase an extended warranty for the motorcycle. This is optional, so make sure you take a look at what it is offering. If you don't think you need the coverage then don't be pressured into buying it. Most motorcycle deals will allow you to trade in an older model on your new one. It is very important that you do your homework in this area as well. Find out exactly what the book value of your trade in is worth including the accessories it offers and the mileage of the bike. You can also find this information on the internet. Of course if you owe anything on the trade, make sure the amount you get for it is sufficient to cover the loan. You may find it to your advantage to sell your used bike first to a private individual, then use that money as a down payment on a new one. Most dealers are more likely to offer you a price break if you have a substantial down payment to offer. Financing is a key issue when searching for a motorcycle. It is to your advantage to get a loan pre-approved before you start negotiating with a dealership. This will allow you to know the maximum amount of money you can finance. You can also look for financing that offers the lowest interest rates for your credit rating. This is going to save you money over the term of the loan. In most cases you will get lower rates securing financing from a lender on your own rather than those the dealership offers. Taking the time to do your homework and compare prices will assist you in obtaining the motorcycle you want at the best possible price. You can use that extra savings to buy motorcycle accessories with or for planning a motorcycle road trip. If a dealership isn't willing to negotiate with you once you have decided the maximum amount you will pay for a bike, then go find a dealership that will. Types of Motorcycles to Choose From With so many different models of motorcycles to choose from, it can be quite confusing if you don't know what you are looking for. Each motorcycle is classified by a particular type. This helps clarify what you will be getting with a particular model that falls under that particular category. The most common type of motorcycle is the cruiser. These are very easy to handle and long lasting motorcycle models. This category also offers the consumer the most choice when it comes to style and design. The basic design of a cruiser features a standard seat, basic handle bars, and comfort. They are designed for easy turning as well as excellent handling even at top speeds. One draw back of cruisers is that they tend to be on the heavy side compared to other types of motorcycles. Most custom motorcycles also fall under the category of a cruiser because of some of the design features and what the use they are designed for. Radically modified custom motorcycles referred to as choppers are also a type of cruiser bike. Another popular type of cruiser is the tour bike. This is designed for comfort at they are used for cross country trips and other long travels that you will want to be comfortable for. Sport bikes are defined by their speed. If you are looking more for sheer power than for comfort, this is the category of bike for you. This type of bike generally isn't recommended for long rides as they are designed for racing. Most sport bikes feature a sturdy suspension, and they are very light. They offer the operator the ability to make tight turns at neck breaking speeds. A great combination option is the dual-sport style of motorcycle. This type of model features large tires and it can be ridden on any street or off road surface with ease. This is a great feature for someone who enjoys riding their motorcycle for commuting purposes as well as enjoys the off road excitement. Many foreign sport bikes are referred to as Crotch Rockets. This is because the design of them requires the individual to lean forward towards the handle bars while riding. While many owners of these bikes find the position to be very comfortable so individuals find that it is uncomfortable compared to the position on a cruiser. Off Road motorcycles are enjoyed by individuals of all ages as you don't have to have a motorcycle license to legally ride one. They are illegal to ride on streets though. These types of bikes are often used for climbing dirt hills or racing around dirt tracks. They are commonly called dirty bikes by those who ride them. These types of motorcycles don't feature headlights or turn signals. Deciding which category of motorcycle you wish to purchase is only the beginning of the selection process. You will also need to determine the amount of money you wish to spend on a motorcycle, then compare the various models in that category that fit your price range. Take your time and try out several different models as well as brands of motorcycles. This will help you determine which ones feel the best to you. Once you have narrowed down your selection, take each for a test run to help you make a final decision. Selecting the Right Motorcycle Helmet Having the proper safety equipment is very important when you are operating or riding on a motorcycle. While a helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment, it will only protect you if it the right type of helmet and it fits properly. Have you ever seen a young child riding on a motorcycle wearing an adult size helmet? In the event of an accident, the helmet would offer no protection to the child's skull at all. It is very important that you try on any motorcycle helmet to ensure a proper fit. If you decide to make a purchase over the internet or from a catalog, make sure you are able to return it for a refund if it doesn't fit well. Keep in mind that each manufacturer sizes their helmets differently. Just because you currently own a size large doesn't mean that is what you will wear in a different brand. For best results through the mail or internet, measure the circumference of your head and ask them to give you the helmet dimensions. Never purchase a used motorcycle helmet because it may have been involved in an accident and it won't protect you as it was designed to. For the best results, try on motorcycle helmets with any accessories you will generally have while riding. For example, many women like to have their hair in a ponytail but may have it straight while trying on a helmet. If you wear prescription glasses while operating your motorcycle, then make sure you take them with you when you are trying on helmets. A motorcycle helmet needs to fit very securely. Make sure it surrounds your entire head. The chin straps are adjustable but put them in place to ensure you can get them tight enough to fit your face shape. You should also try on the same brand of helmet in one size larger and one size smaller just to make sure you do in fact have the best fitting helmet for your head. For added comfort, consider getting a motorcycle helmet that offers air vents. You can easily slide them opened or closed to allow more air to circulate while wearing it. You will find motorcycle helmets made from a variety of materials. For the best in safety and quality, choose one that is made from organic fiberglass and layers of carbon fibers. This combination creates a very powerful shock absorbent shell. You also want to make sure the liner features a three layer system. This will offer you additional shock absorption. If you plan to ride your motorcycle a great deal, consider getting a motorcycle helmet that allows you to easily change the visor. This is a great option for riding during the day and the night. Make sure the visors are fog resistant and offer impact resistance. Investing in a quality helmet that offers the protection you need while riding a motorcycle isn't going to be cheap, but it may well be one of the most important investments you make in your life. Statistics show that motorcycle riders who wear a helmet have a 35% less chance of suffering from a head injury. You can fit a helmet that fits well and even have it custom painted to match your motorcycle. Motorcycle Accessories There are so many wonderful motorcycle accessories to choose from, you definitely can make your bike look original, even if it is one of thousands that are designed exactly the same when you purchase it. Some motorcycle accessories are optional and some you need to purchase without exception. Safety accessories are something you should invest your money the day you purchase a motorcycle or before. If you can't afford the safety equipment, then you don't need the bike! You will need to purchase a good quality helmet that fits you properly. You can get one customized to match your bike if you like. They are available in a variety of colors and designs so you won't have any problem finding one that suits your style. There are other motorcycle accessories that you can purchase if you like for safety, but they aren't mandatory. Full riding suits that are flame resistant and very protective are a great option. You will find sunglasses, goggles, gloves, knee pads, chaps, and more. Many of these safety accessories will make riding your motorcycle more comfortable. It is a good idea to purchase some rain gear as well. Do you plan to travel a great deal on your motorcycle? How do you plan to carry your necessities? There are many motorcycle accessories to choose from to take care of this for you. For short trips, consider purchasing a motorcycle back pack. There are also a variety of leather pouches and travel gear that attach to your motorcycle. Many of them are removable so you can easily add them when you travel. Riding your motorcycle is supposed to be enjoyable, so make sure you are comfortable. My husband finally got the dream bike he had always wanted only to discover that the seat was uncomfortable when riding it for more than an hour. We invested a couple hundred dollars in a custom seat so that he could get more enjoyment out of the bike. If you often have a passenger on your motorcycle, consider installing a back rest bar. An additional set of foot pegs on the front of your motorcycle can help you stay comfortable as well on a long ride. They are perfect for stretching out. There are also a variety of motorcycle accessories to help you customize the look of your motorcycle. Decals are very common, and they are quite simple to put on. Choose from stripes, flames, and many other great designs. You may decide to have a custom design painted onto your motorcycle rather than using decals. There are also a variety of chrome pieces you can replace standard ones on your bike with. Deciding on the right accessories for your motorcycle is going to take some time. Look at the options available as well as the quality of the brand you are looking at. In most cases, you are better off saving your money to purchase quality accessories rather than paying less for poor quality. It can be fun customizing your motorcycle to your own personal look. Just don't forget to invest in those important safety accessories first. You can purchase motorcycle accessories anywhere that sells motorcycles. You can also request catalogs from motorcycle manufacturers. The internet also offers you the chance to look at thousands of styles of motorcycle accessories to choose from. Learning how to Operate a Motorcycle The idea of riding a motorcycle is to allow you the freedom of the open air while traveling. It can also be a very inexpensive way to travel or to commute. Learning how to operate a motorcycle is very important. You don't want to be an inexperienced operator out there with so many other vehicles on the road. The process is quick for some, and others struggle to learn how to operate one. It comes down to learning the skills and believing in your ability to make it happen. Keep in mind that the motorcycle you learn on is going to affect how well you are able to learn to operate it. Make sure it is designed to fit you. This can be some what tricky because many people learn how to ride a motorcycle on one that belongs to someone else. However, you need to make sure the motorcycle isn't too heavy for you. It is important that you are able to touch the ground with both feet. Reaching the gas, brakes, and handle bars are essential as well. It is a good investment to find a cheap used bike that fits your body well. Once you have successfully learned to ride it well, consider upgrading to a better bike. Make sure you learn from someone you trust and who is patient. Nothing can add to your insecurity as someone watching over you, especially if they are concerned about you damaging their motorcycle. If you don't have someone you can comfortably learn from then you are wasting your time. It may be a worthwhile investment to enroll in a motorcycle instruction course and learn from someone who is trained to teach this skill. Once you have managed the basics of motorcycle riding, continue practicing. Just like driving a vehicle, you will get better as you practice. Avoid riding on busy streets, highways, or interstates until you are very comfortable with your riding skills. Practice changing lanes, turns, curves, and sudden stops as these are all things you will experience once you are operating your motorcycle on the open road. Practice riding your motorcycle in a variety of weather situations. This will give you some very important motorcycle skills that you won't get anywhere else. You will be amazed at how different your motorcycle operates on a sunny day versus a very windy day. Being prepared for a variety of riding conditions is going to make you a much better operator. In time you will feel comfortable enough for long trips, maybe even to some of the wonderful motorcycle rallies that take place each year. If you start small and practice hard, learning to operate a motorcycle will be a very rewarding experience for you. Too many beginners want a new motorcycle or the same power as their friends. They either find the motorcycle to be too much to handle or seriously injure themselves riding it. This can also cause you to loose interest in the idea of learning to ride it, and result in your selling it. The motorcycle learning process can be a great experience if you aren't in a hurry to be driving it fast on major road ways. Like anything else, your skills will only improve as you practice and learn from your own mistakes. Operating a motorcycle is a challenge that you will proudly succeed at if you work hard and follow the safety precautions of the road. Motorcycle Safety Riding on a motorcycle is fun and exciting. Nothing feels better on a warm afternoon then being on one, feeling the light breeze and the sun as you travel. However, it is vital that you take motorcycle safety very seriously as it only takes a second for you to be involved in an accident. Keep in mind that you don't have the protection of a vehicle around you. Your motorcycle and your body are going to come into direct contact with another vehicle as well as the road. Most accidents involving motorcycles are the result of another vehicle not being able to see the motorcycle. I can remember one of the scariest moments in my life involved my husband on a motorcycle. He was about a mile ahead of me and I was traveling in my car with our children. My husband went to pass a semi truck. As he was preparing to go around the semi truck decided to pass the car in front of him. He put on his signal light and my husband had to get to the shoulder to avoid being hit. The semi truck driver never knew he was there. The lesson here is for both the motorcycle rider and for other vehicles. Make sure you look for motorcycles behind you and on the side of you before you make a move. This is especially true during times of warmer weather. Motorcycle riders need to drive attentively, understanding that other vehicle drivers won't always be able to see them. Operating a motorcycle doesn't mean you have any special privileges on the streets or the highways. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we have all seen reckless driving involving motorcycles. I have been passed on the right shoulder more times than I can count. I few times traffic has been at a complete stop when a motorcycle operator decides to weave in and out of traffic to get ahead of the mess. Motorcycle riders often travel together, and they like to ride side by side. This is a safety hazard for everyone. Each rider needs to remain in single file and pay attention to what is going on around them. This also needs no wheelie tricks or excessive speeds while traveling. It is very important to always wear eye protection and a helmet when you are riding on a motorcycle. In many states, it is mandatory. It is very easy to get a bug, dust, or other debris in your eye while riding a motorcycle if you don't have eye protection on. A helmet can save your life as a head injury will be less likely than without one. It is a good idea to always wear a long sleeved shirt and pants while riding a motorcycle as well. They will offer you protection from road rash and debris. If you ride your motorcycle at night make sure your headlight works properly and that you have on reflective tape or clothing. Many motorcycle accidents are the result of road conditions. Pay attention to the road and watch for areas of spills, sand, water, or foreign items. We have all seen boards, wood pieces, and even furniture on the road. Can you imagine hitting such an object with a motorcycle? Likewise, watch for such items being hit by another vehicle and becoming airborne. Never ride your motorcycle in rain, sleet, or snow. The risk is too great. Operating a motorcycle is a great way to spend your leisure time. It is also a very cost effective way of commuting to and from work. Operating a motorcycle is also a responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly. You need to be more assertive and observant of your surroundings on a motorcycle than you do when operating a car. Make sure you have plenty of experience on how your motorcycle functions before you attempt to ride it in a location where there are other vehicles. What You Can do to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents Motorcycles are frequently found on our roads, especially during the warmer months of the year. With the high price of fuel, it isn't surprising that the number of motorcycle riders out there is significantly on the rise. It is everyone's job to do all they can to prevent motorcycle accidents from happening. What can you do while you are on the road to prevent them? For motorcycle riders, the answer starts with being responsible. Make sure that you always wear the proper safety equipment. Don't exceed the posted speed limit or ride your bike in adverse weather conditions. If you aren't confident of your riding abilities then don't take that motorcycle onto a street that is busy or onto a highway or interstate. Doing so will only put yourself and others at risk of an accident. Always make sure everything on the motorcycle is in excellent working condition and that you can safely reach all of the necessary controls on the bike. Drinking and driving is not acceptable for anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle, and that includes a motorcycle. Unfortunately, there are numerous motorcycle accidents that involve the bike operating consuming alcohol. Motorcycle operators have the responsibility of watching all the other vehicles on the road. Many vehicle operators don't stop to consider a motorcycle may be behind them or in a blind spot. You always have to be on top of such issues as you are riding. Make sure your motorcycle is has everything it needs to be operational at night. This includes a working headlight. More experienced motorcycle riders are less likely to have an accident. This is because they understand the rules of the road in greater detail. They are also more relaxed as they are enjoying cruising on their motorcycle. However, a seasoned motorcycle operator can still end up in a accident if they aren't paying attention. Always keep an eye on obstacles that may be in the road ahead of you. While most vehicles can run over a board or other debris without problem, it can be a major threat to a motorcycle. Motor vehicle operators need to become more aware of the potential that a motorcycle may be in back of them or trying to pass them. The easily fit into a mirrors blind spot so take the time to look a couple of times before you make any moves. Always use your signal lights so that the motorcyclist can be watching what your actions will be as well. Keep in mind that older models of motorcycles don't feature turn signals. The motorcycle operator should be using hand signals to indicate right and left hand turns as they need to. You should pay close attention to motorcycles at night as well. That one head light you see in the distance may be a motorcycle or simply a vehicle with one light out. Be prepared for either one. Keep your distance from the back end of a motorcycle. Should another vehicle have to stop suddenly in front of you, a rear end crash isn't going to be as likely to injure someone as it will if that person is on a motorcycle. Rear ending one can cause the operator to loose control or to even fly off of the bike. Keep in mind that motorcycle riders are not as protected as those in an enclosed motor vehicle. It doesn't matter if you are a new motorcycle rider or someone with years of experience, being involved in an accident can happen at any time. While it is impossible to eliminate very type of hazard, you can do your part to ensure your riding adventures are as safe as possible. For those who operate motor vehicles, keep in mind that you are sharing the road with motorcycles and pay extra attention to their whereabouts. Working together, motorcycle accidents and motor vehicle accidents in general can be eliminated. What to Look for in a Motorcycle Safety Course Taking a motorcycle safety course is a very responsible action, especially if you are new to the concept of riding one. You will learn valuable information about how to properly operate your motorcycle. You will also learn about preventative issues so that you are less likely to be involved in an accident. Most insurance companies will also offer you a discount on motorcycle insurance if you have completed such a course. You will also be more prepared for the written and skills testing to obtain your motorcycle license. Taking a motorcycle safety course won't benefit you if it doesn't offer the necessary information. Don't be drawn into a low cost course that is compacted into only a couple of hours. Since you will be spending a great deal of time on your motorcycle, it is important that you have a solid foundation of information from which to draw from. The instructors should be well educated in the areas they are teaching. Don't be afraid to ask for credentials. Before you sign up for a motorcycle safety course, ask questions. Find out what the itinerary will be as well as if you will get a certificate upon completing the course. Make sure the information that will be covered is going to sufficiently cover all the areas. Find out how many instructors there will be as well as how many students will be in each class. Smaller classes make for a better learning environment. Talk to your friends, family members, and co-workers. Find out if they or their spouse has taken an motorcycle safety course. If they have find out when and who sponsored it. Ask them what they liked about it as well as what they would have liked to have seen differently. This can offer you a great source of information about the quality of a particular instructor. Your safety course should teach you about each part of your motorcycle. You will also need to learn about basic maintenance and emergency repairs that you may have to do while on a bike ride. You will want to learn about how the various road conditions can affect your motorcycles performance. Don't wait until you are out in the rain or snow to find out how differently your bike handles. Since safety equipment is a vital part of operating a motorcycle, your instructor should help you will determining the right safety equipment for you as well as how to wear it properly. No motorcycle safety instructor should be allowing any member of the class to participate without the proper safety equipment at all times. Part of a good motorcycle safety course should include teaching you driving defensively. It isn't simply enough to know how to operate your motorcycle. Keep in mind that motorcycles easily get into the blind spots of vehicles and large trucks. You have to be alert to the reactions of other people on the road for your own safety as well as that of those on the road with you. This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. With more than 4 million licensed motorcycle operators in the United States, it is important that they have been properly trained in how to operate their equipment. One small mistake can lead to a serious accident. Learning the basic information as you start out operating a motorcycle will give you the best opportunity for it to be fun, memorable experiences for you. You can find out about motorcycle safety courses in your area by looking on the internet. You can also contact local motorcycle associations in your area. Many of them offer such safety courses taught by experienced riders as part of their commitment to the community and to their organization. You can also contact the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. While you may feel that you are qualified enough to operate a motorcycle without such a class, keep in mind that there may be valuable information that you never considered thinking about offered. If this isn't a good incentive, then keep that insurance discount in mind! Should I Allow My Teenager to Get a Motorcycle? As teenagers get older, the prospect of soon being able to drive on their own is very exciting for them. However, it can be a complete nightmare for a parent. Many teenagers start asking for a motorcycle rather than a passenger vehicle as this type approaches. Should you allow your teenager to get a motorcycle? This can be a hard decision to make and one that shouldn't be make quickly. There are a few advantages to allowing your teenager to have a motorcycle. For one, they will only be able to have one other passenger with them. That is if you allow it. Some parents make the rule of no passengers for the first year. That is a personal decision. Many passenger vehicle accidents occur because of the car being full of kids and that is a major distraction. They also won't be able to hide any alcohol on a motorcycle as they can with a passenger vehicle. Having been a teenager once ourselves we know this is a likely scenario in a car. For the most part, purchasing a used motorcycle for your teenager will be less expensive than purchasing a used car for them. The insurance can also be cheaper too in many cases. The cost of gas that they will be burning up is also going to be significantly less than will a car. You are going to have to take an honest look at how responsible your teenager is. For those who have allowed their teenager to ride on and operate off road motorcycles for years, then the issue won't be as large. This is because you know they are capable of handling the equipment and know how to properly operate it. If your teenager has a need for speed or is a risk taker you will need to be more cautious with this decision. You will also have the issue of how your teenager is going to get around when the weather is cold or too bad to operate a motorcycle in. For the most part, if you agree to allow your teenager to get a motorcycle, you should be able to come to agreement on the terms and conditions of this taking place. Start with safety requirements. Is your teenager willing to wear a motorcycle helmet without fail all the time when operating the bike? Some teenagers are too concerned with their hair or looking like a dork in front of their peers to agree to this. If they won't then the motorcycle definitely should not be considered. Is your teenager willing to take a motorcycle safety course? If they aren't willing to give up one weekend to be involved in such an activity, do you really want to turn them loose with such a machine? Regardless of the power behind a particular model of motorcycle, it is still a bike they will be riding with other cars on the road. Once you have discusses the guidelines and terms of your allowing your teenager to get a motorcycle, you will have a clearer picture of what your teenager is willing to do for it. If they are willing to abide by your rules then you should trust them to make the right decisions. It is a good idea to put the agreed terms in writing as well as the consequences for breaking them. This way everyone is clear on what is expected from them regarding this decision. It can be difficult allowing our children to grow up. The rite of passage that comes with obtaining a driver's permit isn't easy for most parents. Allowing them to be on their own and operate a motorcycle is a tough decision and one parents have to make all the time. As a parent, it is your responsibility to do what is in the best interest of your teenager even if they don't agree with the decision.
The History of Motorcycles Most of us have ridden on a motorcycle at one time or another. The idea for their design came from the development of the bicycle. I guess people were looking for a faster way to move their bicycle along, or perhaps one that wasn't as physically exerting for them. The first motorcycle every made is credited to Gottllieb Daimler in 1885. This gas powered motorcycle was basically a gas engine attached to a standard bicycle. However, Gottllieb decided not to pursue making motorcycles and choose instead to focus on manufacturing cars. During this time period, many other individuals were also tinkering with the motorcycle concept. A couple of the men behind this experimenting were William Harley and Arthur Davidson. You guessed it, the dynamic duo behind the amazing line of Harley-Davidson motorcycles that have become popular all around the world since 1903. People were very interested in this convenient mode of transportation because it was very economical. The public loved the idea of motorized transportation, but cars were still more expensive than most people could afford. However, some people soon realized that they would need to purchase a car instead of a motorcycle in order to transport their entire family. A few of these motorcycle pioneers were able to successfully establish companies such as Harley-Davidson. However, many never had the money to start the venture properly and make it prosperous. Others left to go fight in the war and still others went bankrupt trying to market their motorcycle ideas during the Depression. One downfall to motorcycles in the 1950's is that you had to have a great understanding of mechanics to be able to operate one. The American bike manufacturers didn't pursue making advances in that department until they started facing competition from Japan. They developed the electric start system that motorcycles offer today. This important feature allowed motorcycles to transform from small mopeds and scooters to powerful machines. American motorcycle manufacturers did not see Japanese bikes as a threat, but this was as serious miscalculation on their part. It didn't take long for American manufacturers to realize that they were losing consumers to the Japanese market. This lead to the introduction of many new models to prevent them from losing more of the market. Baby boomers continued to purchase Japanese bikes as they offered more power and were sold at an excellent price. Motorcycles have certainly changes since their introduction. Today, the market is saturated with brand names that are well known in the motorcycle industry. Each one offers a variety of models to choose from as well as unique styles and designs. Regardless of the type of motorcycle you are interested in, you are sure to find one with the features and power you are looking for. As the top motorcycle manufacturers continue to strive to come up with models that will please the consumer while out shining their competitors, you will have even more choices. As technology advances you will find faster, more durable, and less expensive motorcycle options on the market. Harley-Davidson continues to be in the top position, selling more motorcycles than any other manufacturer. In fact, the majority of their bikes are sold before they even leave the factory. While they remain one of the most expensive motorcycle producers, consumers are willing to pay for the quality and the power behind them. When it comes to the motorcycle industry, consumers have come to learn that quality and reliability are more important than saving a few dollars along the way. A motorcycle is generally a large investment, and consumers want to be happy with the product they choose. The issue of brand name loyalty also comes into play with motorcycles. Since each manufacturer now offers a full line of different models and types of motorcycles, there is no reason why you can't purchase both the brand and the style you are looking for. The History of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles The Harley-Davidson motorcycle has been in production since 1903. The brand offers a variety of models for both men and women. While this brand of motorcycle is among the most expensive, the models also have a reputation for being reliable and well built. Harley-Davidson bikes are also well know for the power behind them as they were initially built as a racing bike. The sell of the motorcycles were slow in the beginning. The one cylinder bike they made in 1903 sold quickly, but by 1905 they had only sold 11. They continued to improve their designs, and it paid off. By 1908 they had sold 154. They decided to move production from a tiny barn to a factory and hired 20 employees. The bar and shield logo that graces each and every Harley-Davidson bike was introduced in 1910. By 1912 the business was booming. There were 200 dealerships in the United States and Japan was demanding more and more bikes. By 1914 almost all motorcycles in the racing circuit were Harley-Davidsons as they could out run all other brands on the market. Over 20,000 bikes were sold to the military and used in the war. No one was surprised in 1918 when Harley-Davidson became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. From 1940 until 1945 consumers were very disappointed as it was almost impossible to purchase a new Harley-Davidson. This is because the company had signed another large contract with the United States military, supplying motorcycles for the war. However, this lead to the 1950's being a difficult time for Harley-Davidson as many consumers got tired of waiting and started purchasing other brands of motorcycles. By 1957 though Harley-Davidson was back on top with the introduction of the Sportster. Minor changes to the style and design of the motorcycles took place through the early 1980's. Harley-Davidson decided some major changes were in order. They introduced a model that featured a five speed transmission called the FLT. They also replaced the drive train with a belt. The twin engine was introduced in 1984. Harley-Davidson has always taken pride in listening to the consumers of its products. They earned the respect of many owners in 1987 when they introduced their Buy Back Program. This allowed customers to obtain the full trade in value when they came to purchase a newer model. Since then, Harley-Davidson has continued to introduce a variety of new designs including the Fatboy that has sold well. Men and women both find Harley-Davidson motorcycles to be comfortable bikes that are well designed. Riding one is also a prestigious symbol to many. Today, you can find a variety of Harley-Davidson retailers all over the world. They offer a full range of motorcycles to choose from. You can even have a customized bike built for you from the factory. You will find the sales people to be friendly and informative. Harley-Davidson also offers one of the best warranties on motorcycles in the industry. Harley-Davidson has stood the test of time when it comes to manufacturing quality motorcycles. This is because they have continually worked to improve upon their designs. They have also paid attention to what consumers are looking for and been willing to produce it when other motorcycle brands have hesitated. Harley-Davidson has earned a loyal consumer base with many claiming they won't consider riding anything else. The company is reaping the rewards of their dedication, owning 62% of the motorcycle market. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally For anyone who loves to ride on a motorcycle, attending various rallies is a real treat. They provide fun opportunities to enjoy your motorcycle, get to know other riders, and have a break from the daily grind. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an annual event held in Sturgis South Dakota. This rally has been taking place each year since 1938, and continues to grow in size each year. In the early days, the main attraction was a spectacular motorcycle raise that drew the top riders from around the world. This annual event was canceled in 1944 and 1945 due to fuel storages as a result of the war. Keep in mind that each state has their own motorcycle laws to follow. When entering South Dakota to reach Sturgis, you are going to have to obey these laws. They are strictly enforced and you don't want to spoil your trip by having a serious fine to pay as a result of violation such laws. Every motorcycle must have at least one headlight, and a maximum of two are allowed. There also needs to be at least one tail light that is in working condition. The handle bars on the bike can't be higher than the shoulders of the individual who is operating it. Motorcycle helmets are mandatory for anyone under 18 years of age. However, they are strongly encouraged for anyone riding a motorcycle. Eye protection is required for each individual on a motorcycle, regardless whether they are the operator or a rider. The eye protection may not be tinted after dusk. Noise ordinances are also enforced so make sure your motorcycle has a muffler on it. Motorcycle operators much have a valid motorcycle license. If they don't, their motorcycle will be impounded. While you are encouraged to have a great time while attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, code enforcement is strictly enforced. This is because of the sheer volume of people. There are fines for public intoxication, fighting, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, careless driving. There are also Zero Tolerance laws regarding drugs. It does not matter the type of drug or the amount, you will be arrested and prosecuted. There are many great places to hang out while attending the Sturgis Rally. There are also plenty of great concerts taking place each night. Some people decide to get married in Sturgis as well! There is plenty of food, fun, and motorcycle activities to keep you entertained for the entire rally. If you own a motorcycle and enjoy attending rallies, then you should plan to attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this August. Keep in mind that thousands of people attend each year. It is important for you to plan early and to schedule your accommodations. Many who come for the rally decide to stay in a tent they bring along. Others prefer the comfort of a hotel. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a yearly tradition for many motorcycle owners. Many of them have made it a family tradition with father's, sons, brothers, and even grandfathers all traveling together. An average of 500,000 riders make their way to Sturgis each year to participate in the many events as well as the wonderful entertainment. It is a few days to enjoy being around other motorcycle riders as well as the pleasure of the ride getting there. Motorcycle Racing Motorcycle racing is a very exciting sport that many people love to watch. The three main types of motorcycle racing include dirt bikes, street racing, and drag racing. Each offers motorcycle enthusiasts the opportunity to race their motorcycle at breath taking speeds against the best in the sport. Those who have proven to be among the best are able to secure sponsors to help cover the cost of their racing activities. While some of the biggest payouts are in motorcycle street racing, this is very illegal. Dirt bike racing is generally called motocross or supercross. Motocross racing involves a dirt track with some tight turns. Supercross is mainly done indoors in arenas or event centers. This type of racing involves some spectacular jumps and moves to get an edge over the competition. This type of racing is very fast paced and exciting to watch. The race track is often made of dirt and sometimes there are mud pits as well for added difficulty and entertainment for the crowd. One main difference with this type of racing is that all of the racers start at the same time, so you often have 25 or more racers jammed together at the start. Getting a good start in this type of racing will give you an edge over the competition. Many of the racers get jumbled together in the first turn, making it hard to pull ahead of other racers. Drag racing involves racing at extremely high speeds for a short distance on straight pavement. The distance is generally either a quarter mile or a half mile. There are two types of drag racing for motorcycles. The first is called bracket racing. This involves time trials and then attempting to get as close to your dial in time without breaking out. This type of racing is more about being consistence than racing other competitors. In heads up drag racing, the competitor's race against each other and the first one to reach the finish line wins. Motorcycle street racing is illegal, but a very popular past time for many in California and Florida. There is a great deal of money to be made in illegal street racing so there are always plenty of participants. There are also spectators who enjoy the thrill of this type of racing. While police work hard to prevent such racing from taking place it is still taking place. Strict penalties are being put into place as a deterrent for those who continue to participate. Some other popular types of motorcycle racing include hill climbing. This involves a motorcycle racing to the top of the hill. While each rider has the entire track to themselves, their times are ranked against those of other riders. Rally racing involves competitors on a geographical racing trail, with various checkpoints along the way. Motorcycle racing is a sport many people love to participate it. There are many spectators who enjoy the fast pace and action taking place throughout the races as well. Some people participate in motorcycle racing as a hobby or for entertainment. For others, it is a way of life. They have worked hard to earn sponsors and follow the racing circuit from one racing event to another. They also put countless hours into learning new techniques on their motorcycles to stay in the top positions over the competition. Customized Motorcycles Motorcycles are very popular, with thousands of them on the road. You will find them in a variety of makes and models for your enjoyment. Finding exactly the style you want that fits your body can prove to be difficult, especially if you are extremely short or very tall. Having a customized motorcycle made to your specifications is a great alternative, but it is also more expensive. One of the most well known custom motorcycle makers is Jesse James, owner of West Coast Choppers. Jesse James has been passionate about motorcycles since he was seven years old. He has customized motorcycles for many celebrities including Shaquille O'Neal, Kid Rock, and Kyle Petty. The bikes range in price from $50,000 to $150,000. While this is going to be much to expensive for the average individual, you can still get a great customized motorcycle from some other sources. There are many things you need to consider to get started. First, what is it that you need from a motorcycle that you can't get from a standard one at any retailer? If it is simply the color, you will save a great deal of money by purchasing it from the retailer and having it repainted. In some cases, you may be able to contact the manufacturer and have the bike painted your ideal color at the factory. Most of the time, individuals need to have a motorcycle customized to fit them properly. Take Shaquille O'Neal for example. He is such a large person, that the average motorcycle just doesn't work well for him. Jesse James was able to use O'Neal's measurements to create a motorcycle that was comfortable for him to ride. Customized motorcycles are a great choice for those with a disability that prevents them from being able to operate a standard motorcycle. If you are determined to have a customized motorcycle, take the time to research the various manufacturers you have to choose from. Keep in mind that you may have to wait several months or even years to get the motorcycle you want if the manufacturer is very busy. Always discuss the options you want in great detail as well as the price. If the manufacturer won't agree to your specifications then look for someone who will. It is a good idea to conduct research about the manufacturer. Find out how long they have been customizing motorcycles. Ask for references and to see samples of their work. You will also want to inquire about warranty information and a guarantee if you aren't pleased with the work. In most cases, you will have to pay a deposit before work begins on your customized motorcycle. Make sure they are familiar with working with the model of motorcycle you want to have customized. Having your very own motorcycle is a great recreational item to spend your time with. However, investing in a customized motorcycle will allow you to have the very best motorcycle that fits your style as well as your body. Being comfortable on your motorcycle will allow you more enjoyment and you can also use it for long road trips. You are less likely to be involved in a motorcycle accident if the motorcycle is a proper fit. While a customized motorcycle is more expensive than a traditional model, it is an investment that is well worth it. Motorcycles Designed for Women Most motorcycles are designed with men in mind, and it is true that they are the majority of the operators. However, there are many women who want to do more with a motorcycle than just ride on the back of it. Finding a motorcycle designed to fit a woman is more difficult and the choices are limited. However, it is very possible to find one if you know what to look for. More and more motorcycle manufacturers are becoming aware of this market. For too long female motorcycle owners have been stereotyped as reckless women wearing all leather, smoking and drinking with a wild gang of bikers. Approximately 10% of motorcycle owners are women, and many more are interested in purchasing one. These women come from all walks of life. Some of them enjoy the thrill of riding their own bike while others find it a very economical way of commuting each day. The majority of women who do own motorcycles are in their 30's, they have a family, and they are educated. More than 80% of the motorcycles women purchase are cruiser models. Sports motorcycles are also very popular. Women prefer a motorcycle that is lighter weight, but they still want the power males crave with many motorcycle models. Today, many of the major motorcycle manufacturers are providing women with options for motorcycles that are light weight yet fast. These manufacturers include Harley Davidson, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha. Harley Davidson offers three models designed specifically for women -- the Sportster, DynaGlider Low-Rider, and the XL 1200 Custom. Kawasaki offers women dirt bikes including the Ninja 500R and the ZZR600. Honda has followed suit with the Nighthawk 250CC and the Rebel 250CC. Suzuki offers the 650 Savage, Marauder 800CC, and the 800 Intruder. If you are considering purchasing a motorcycle designed specifically for a woman, then these models give you plenty to choose from. Make sure you take your time and find the one that fits your body correctly. Sit on the motorcycle and make sure your feet are able to touch the ground on both sides. Make sure it is light enough that you can handle it. If you are struggling with it, then pass it over as you will have difficult controlling it on the road. Look for a motorcycle with a low, narrow seat. You also want long handle bars so that you can ride the motorcycle comfortably. If you plan to ride your motorcycle a great deal, you may consider having one custom built to fit your style and body. Keep in mind that motorcycles for women are available in models that are recommended for a new rider and some that are for a more experienced operator. Make sure you take this into consideration while you are contemplating the motorcycle to purchase. There are many online motorcycle clubs for women and magazines as well. Most of them are operated by other female motorcycle owners. This is a great place to ask questions and get valuable information as you look for one of your own. Online websites for female motorcycle owners are a great place to meet other women and to find out about various events and motorcycle rallies. You can even help set up a motorcycle event in your area. Fit out how other female motorcycle owners enjoy their bike. This is also a great place to find out reviews on various models and even to find used bikes for sale. The stereotype of a "biker chick" is still in the minds of many people, but you would be surprised how many women have passed you on their motorcycle. It is often hard to tell if they are wearing a helmet. As the number of female motorcycle owners continues to grow, you can be sure there will be more models to select from. Manufacturers aren't going to pass up this target population. The American Motorcyclist Association now has 265,000 registered female motorcycle owners, proving this to be more than a passing fad. Children and Motorcycles Many children grow up in families where motorcycles are a part of life. I can remember my husband taking our boys for rides as soon as they were old enough to walk. This was scary for me as I don't have a great deal of motorcycle riding experience. However, my husband has been on them since he was a toddler so it was just a natural process for him. Most children love riding on motorcycles, but the issue is very controversial. I am an overprotective mom, so it is hard for me too. However, all of my children love riding on them and I trust my husband to have their best interest in hand all the time. I really hate it when my children are on the highway because I know accidents can happen so quickly. We do make sure they were long sleeved shirts and pants. They also have helmets to wear that fit them properly. They make motorcycles for children to ride on their own by the time they are four or five years of age. My children all learned how to operate one as soon as they were able to ride a regular bike without training wheels. Of course the motorcycle, called a 50, is very low to the ground and doesn't go very fast. When I look back at it now, I think it was very good practice for them to learn about operating vehicles. This is not to say that everything went smooth! My oldest son crashed his motorcycle into a fence when he was seven as he lost control. I think me tried to stop but panicked and pushed the gas more. My other son loved to go as fast as he could, so we were hesitant to move him up to a larger bike because with the size came more power. Children should never be left to ride a motorcycle without the proper safety equipment and without parental supervision. Since children can't legally ride their motorcycle on the street, they have to ride them on dirk trails or motorcycle trails. Make sure the type of motorcycle you purchase for them is designed for such rough terrain. You should also consider purchasing them a helmet that has a full face cover. It is common for children to crash their motorcycle, and hitting their chin or mouth on the handle bars is also common. If your child is a rider on a motorcycle with another adult, make sure that adult has a license to operate a motorcycle. Smaller children can ride on the front of the motorcycle but they are encouraged to ride on the back. Make sure they always wear a helmet even for a short ride. Children are allowed to ride on a motorcycle on major highways, but this is a personal decision for the parent. I will tell you it is not one I am comfortable with for my own children. Never allow your children to operate a motorcycle with another child on the bike. This can lead to the child trying to show off and for accidents to happen. It also shifts the weight of the bike when you add an extra person, and the child operating the motorcycle may not be able to handle the extra weight. While operating or riding on a motorcycle can be dangerous for a child, it can also be a great deal of fun. They will have fond memories of it as well. Parents have a responsibility to keep their children safe while operating a motorcycle. Don't share helmets among your children as they won't fit each of them properly. Many children enjoy operating a motorcycle, and parents will find that it can help them become more responsible. They also learn valuable skills about operating vehicles and safety at a very early age. Children who wear safety equipment as a child will continue to do so as an adult. They also develop skills to make them safer drivers so that when they are old enough to operate a motorcycle on the street, they have plenty of experience. Honda Motorcycles Soichiro Honda, the developer of Honda motorcycles, didn't set out to manufacture them. In fact, his passion was vehicles. He also loved the idea of driving fast and enjoyed racing. He worked from the time he was a teenager in an auto repair shop, so he had a great understanding of the mechanical end of things. He also owned a Harley and an Indian, giving him plenty of motorcycle riding experience. In 1928, Honda opened his own repair shop. As a hobby he also indulged in building race cars. He did not start the Honda Motor Company until he was 41 years old in 1948. They manufactured several two stroke and four stroke motorcycle models. He focused on the areas of quality and design, offering well made products to compete in the industry. While the motorcycle sells continued to rise over the next two decades, the company almost went under in 1953. This was due to the end of the Korean War and economic depression in Japan. However, they continued to sell a small amount of motorcycles and continue production. The main reason Honda did not close the factory was because he did not want to see more people out of work. It was a good choice as by 1958 Honda was again profitable. In July of that year they introduced the C100 Super Cub which is known as the most successful motorcycle in the world. It was marketed as a cheap and versatile model that could be used by anyone. The bike featured a four stroke motor and a three speed transmission. The bike was very easy for new motorcycle riders to operate as well. Women even used it as a means of commuting. As a result, Honda became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world by 1959. Honda decided this was a good time to think about international expansion. They focused on Asia and Europe instead of the United States. This is because they felt there was too much competition with American made bikes to be profitable. However, the decision was made to come to the United States because Honda felt if the American people accepted their models, then it would set precedence for the rest of the world to do so. The first Honda retail store in the United States was based in Los Angeles, California; opening its doors in June of 1959. Honda fought hard to promote their products in the United States with a positive image. This ploy worked well, and Honda had more than 75 successful dealerships in the United States by 1960. Honda is also credited with establishing the Motorcycle Industry Council and the Motorcycle Safety Council. They provided half of the funding needed to start both organizations. Their community involvement was noticed and highly appreciated by the motorcycle enthusiasts of the United States, resulting in more trust in Honda products. Throughout the 1970's Honda continued to rule the motorcycle industry, developing new motorcycles that people around the world couldn't get enough of. They also got a reputation for the fastest bikes around, as their models won more than 70 high profile races around the world in 1973. In 1975 Honda took another leap that paid off well for them. They introduced the GL1000 Gold Wing as a touring bike. It brought a whole new level of comfort and style to touring bikes that other manufacturers quickly copied. Since then, Honda has continued to produce innovative motorcycle models that appeal to the various cultures around the world. They have also continued to invest in the public interest. Honda donates thousands of motorcycles to worthy causes each year. They also help fund motorcycle training courses to help ensure motorcyclists have the best information to operate their bikes safely. Honda has proven themselves to be a manufacturer of reliable motorcycles for the past several decades. They are among the top sellers in the motorcycle industry because of their unique designs, long lasting equipment, and low cost motorcycle models. While they have taken some huge risks over the years, they have helped them to build the successful motorcycle empire they have today. Kawasaki Motorcycles Kawasaki motorcycles were introduced in 1954, and have made quite a name for themselves when it comes to high performing motorcycles. Many Kawasaki models have been designed over the years for dirt bike racing. They are powerful yet lightweight, giving the rider an edge over the competition. The bikes are also known for offering a sturdy frame, great suspension, and being affordable. Many people aren't aware that Kawasaki manufactured motorcycle engines for years before they decided to make complete bikes. This allowed them to enter the competition knowing exactly what to build and how to build it. In 1960, Kawasaki bought out Megero Motorcycles, who had been in the business since 1937. They took a brave move by offering every type of motorcycle at the same type across the board. It was a strategy that would make or break them. It was a wise investment as they were able to steadily sell everything from a 50 model to the powerful twin 650CC as well as everything in between. This was the beginning of Kawasaki making out of the box decisions that influenced their competitors. Rather than being a follower, Kawasaki choose to always be a leader in the developments taking place in the motorcycle industry. While this was risky, it definitely gave them an edge over the competition. In 1965 Kawasaki decided it was time to start exporting their motorcycles to the United States. The models sold better and faster than anyone had anticipated. The Z1 model was introduced in 1972. It was initially only marketed to the United States to meet consumer requests and demands. The most well known Kawasaki motorcycle is the ZZR-R1100. This model was introduced in 1990 and lead the industry in sales for five years. Kawasaki made history in 2000 when it introduced the ZX-12R, a super bike featuring a unique frame that could out run any dirt bike on the track. Most everyone is familiar with the lime green color, representing Kawasaki racing bikes. These models some in a variety of sizes and with various power behind them. Kawasaki racing bikes are known in the industry for being extremely fast as well as light weight. The Ninja series is one of the top selling models in motorcycle history. When it comes to cruiser bikes, the Kawasaki Vulcan model offers everything you could ever want and more. The are versatile, long lasting, and easy to maneuver. They also come in a variety of sizes with many different power ranges behind each one. What makes the Vulcan so original is that it can be considered a comfortable tour bike, yet it has the power of a racing bike behind many of the models. This is a classy looking motorcycle with two comfortable seats and saddle bags to hold your necessities. The 2007 models are very stylish and are anticipated to sell very well. Today, Kawasaki continues to be a leader in the motorcycle industry, offering consumers a variety of products to choose from. Each one offering distinct features but all of them offer great quality, lots of power, and a very reasonable price. They are also known in the motorcycle industry as being the leader in providing the necessary parts to repair any of their models. You will find Kawasaki dealerships all around the world, ready to assist you with the perfect motorcycle for you. Suzuki Motorcycles Suzuki Motor Company was founded by Michio Suzuki. He had a very successful looming business when he decided to invest in the concept of motorcycle manufacturing in 1920. Suzuki didn't take the motorcycle world by storm, in stead it was a slow and steady rise to success. There were a variety of motorcycle models that had moderate success. People began to take notice of the Suzuki line of motorcycles after their Diamond Free model won the Mount Fuji Hill Climb in 1953. In June of 1954, Suzuki implemented their trademark "S" logo that is still used today. They also put their years of observing the motorcycle industry to good use. 1962 saw them as the winner of the Grand Prix World Championship. Suzuki decided to begin selling its motorcycles in the United States in 1963. They have come a long way since that first introduction. Consumers quickly took to the models, finding them to be valuable and reliable. Suzuki introduced the X-6 Hustler in 1966, becoming their first street legal performance bike. At the time, it was also the fastest 250CC on the market. They followed the success of it with a 500CC model called The Titan. In 1969 Suzuki took the world by surprise when it introduced the GT750. This was a two stroke motorcycle that could reach a speed of 110 miles per hour. It was able to accelerate from zero to sixty in only five seconds. Since this motorcycle was so well received, Suzuki decided to make a larger bike with the same type of power. The RG500 became the most successful racing bike of that era. Suzuki continued to dominate the motocross racing circuit in the 1970's, winning the World Motocross Championship in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1976. Due to tighter emission regulations, Suzuki had some stumbling blocks in 1976. However, they were successfully able to redesign their four stroke models to meet these regulations. They models also sold very well. Suzuki again make racing history with the introduction of the XN85 in 1982. This was a turbo charged motorcycle that won many high profile races. The first American to win the World Motocross Championship did so in 1982 on this bike. In 1986 they offered the GSX-R, also a turbo charged racer bike. What made it so original was the aluminum frame. This made it the lightest motorcycle in its class. In addition to selling large quantities of racing bikes, Suzuki has done well in the cruiser market as well. The Boulevard model comes in many different sizes to meet the needs of the consumer. This is a very sporty looking model built to look great as well as to offer comfort. The five speed transmission allows the operator of the vehicle to remain comfortable regardless of the riding terrain. The body of the Boulevard model allows for a smooth ride regardless of the speed at which you are traveling. This model is one of the top selling cruisers out there as well as the best price with the 2007 models priced around $13,000. Each one comes with a 12 month unlimited warranty that can be extended. Suzuki offers the best warranty of any motorcycle manufacturer with unlimited miles, no deductible, reimbursement costs if the motorcycle breaks down, rental vehicle reimbursement, and the remainder of the warranty is transferable should you decide to sell your motorcycle during the warranty time frame. Today, Suzuki is in the top four motorcycle manufacturer's world wide. They offer a wide variety of street, off road, and racing motorcycles to choose from. You can find Suzuki motorcycles at more than 1,600 dealerships around the world. They are well known for offering style, comfort, and speed with hundreds of different models to choose from. They are also among the top sellers because the models are very attractive, the price is very reasonable, and they stand behind their products by offering an excellent warranty. Yamaha Motorcycles The development of Yamaha motorcycles is one that took place quite by accident. In 1953 the company was already developing a variety of other products. They were looking for a use for idle pieces of equipment that had once been used to make propellers for airplanes. The ideas for this equipment included sewing machines, auto parts, scooters, all terrain vehicles, and motorcycles. The decision was made to focus on manufacturing motorcycles because of the market demand for them. The first Yamaha motorcycle was introduced in August of 1954, called the Yamaha YA-1. This bike featured a two stroke single cylinder engine. By July of 1955 Yamaha was creating 200 quality motorcycles each month with a staff of 274 people. The YD-1 was introduced in 1957 as a racing bike. The bike quickly became popular and was featured in the United States Catalina Grand Prix in 1958. This gave Yamaha the invitation to start selling its motorcycles in the United States with a private dealer in California. To further attract sales in the United States, Yamaha Motor Corporation USA was established in 1977. In 1959 Yamaha introduced the idea of offering a converter kit to consumers. This allowed the motorcycle to be used for both street riding and motocross racing. By 1960 Yamaha was producing 135,000 bikes per year. 1965 saw the advancement of no longer having to mix oil with gas due to the automatic oiling system. By 1973 Yamaha was selling more than 1 million motorcycles each year worldwide. During the 1970's they began working on developing four stroke models to compete with other manufacturers. The results were faster motorcycles that met emissions regulations and were even more economical than the two stroke models. However, they also realized the potential to continue selling two stroke models to consumers as well. Many other manufacturers focused only on four strokes, so Yamaha was able to meet the needs of that target market. 1974 brought the introduction of the YZ250. This model quickly became the largest selling motocross bike because it featured a single horizontal rear suspension system. Yamaha built a racing track right next to the plant, allowing them to continually observe the quality and capabilities of their products. Yamaha created one of the fastest racing bike models in 1985 with the introduction of the V-Max. This was classified as a muscle bike, with power that was not for the beginning rider. They continue to produce some of the fastest bikes on the market both for street riding and for racing. Yamaha has never been satisfied to simply stop when they had a good thing going. They always had a vision of achieving more and to strive to further customer satisfaction. The visions and philosophies of the company have proven to be effective in every aspect of motorcycle production. The fact that they offer so many different models means the consumer has the opportunity to find the exact motorcycle they are looking for from a brand name they know they can trust to offer them a quality product. While some of their models of motorcycles haven't sold well, many of them have. Yamaha has always focused on the future of motorcycles while keeping in mind what consumers are wanting. They have been able to diversify their developments, and it has paid off by allowing them to reach a large portion of the motorcycle market without compromising their vision. Today, Yamaha is the second largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world behind Harley-Davidson. They continue to make fast, reliable motorcycles that customers around the world are proud to own. They also manufacture motorcycles that have won more races than any other brand on the market. Their diversity and dedication to making quality motorcycles that meet the needs of the consumer have kept them a top seller in this growing industry. Yamaha dealerships can be found around the world, offering a full range of motorcycle models to suit your tastes. The Yamaha V-Max -- One of the Fastest Motorcycles Around Are you looking for a very fast motorcycle that you can use for racing or even for leisure riding? The Yamaha V-Max, introduced in 1985, is one of the fastest motorcycles around. The term V-Max is short for Velocitus Maximus. This is a heavier bike that is not recommend for beginner riders. Instead, it is a solid machine built for the experiences rider who is looking for speed to add to the excitement of riding a motorcycle. Since its introduction, this model has continued to be a top seller. Many people consider V-Max to be synonymous with top speed. The most amazing feature on the V-Max is the V-Boost, raising the power to 800 RMP. There are four downshaft carburetors that feed the cylinders. Each one is separated by butterfly valves. The amount of horsepower the V-Boost adds to the motorcycle is something other hot rod models just can't offer. This feature also allows the V-Max to accelerate quickly and smoothly. The first V-Max in 1985 offered a 145 HP and V-Boost. It came with a V4 1200 CC engine. This model was only introduced in the United States. Yamaha releases a slower version in 1986 to Europe and France, offering a 104 HP. The Europe models did not feature the V-Boost. The design was slightly changed for 1990 including a digital electronic ignition. This was the first year the V-Max was offered in Japan. Changes had to be made to the European model as they were enforcing stricter noise restrictions. In 1996 Yamaha decided to switch to a black exhaust system. It wasn't as well received at they had hoped, so the design was switched back to chrome for the 1998 model. While some motorcycle enthusiasts find the V-Max to be much too powerful for their likings, those who own them are very proud of their bikes. The V-Max Owners Association features thousands of members from around the world. They also schedule racing and motorcycle rallies for their members. The Yamaha V-Max has found its way into the heart of drag racing as well. Many competitors find this bike offers them a great chance for winning as it is fast and reliable. It isn't uncommon to see modified V-Max bikes in major competitions, clocking more than 200 miles per hour in the quarter mile. The Yamaha V-Max has been a hot selling motorcycle since it was introduced in 1985. Just looking at the bike, you can see the power behind the design. The black and chrome color gives it a very muscular look. For some V-Max owners that has been the only drawback. There is no originality when it comes to the color of the motorcycle. However, many owners of the V-Max have enhanced theirs to make it unique. This has been done by adding a different exhaust system as well as pegs. Some have even added small decals to areas including cross bones or another graphic. Others choose to replace the factory mirrors with shorter, stockier versions. Other consumers complain that the seat isn't comfortable for long rides, choosing to exchange it for a softer and wider customize seat that is. If you are looking for a hot rod motorcycle that is durable as well as fast, then check out the Yamaha V-Max. The 2007 models appear as hot as ever, and the speed is still above what you will find from many motorcycle competitors. The biggest change for 2007 is the model will move away from its trademark black and chrome look. Instead, it will feature red with white. Yamaha has made history with the V-Max, as for more than 20 years this bike has been viewed as the hottest muscle bike on the market. It has proven to deliver from looks to performance along the way. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is the moderate price of this high performance motorcycle, starting around $12,500. Yamaha also offers a full one year warranty. Electric Scooters Many people love the freedom of riding a motorcycle as well as the economical value it offers, especially now with fuel costs at an all time high. However, some people just aren't comfortable operating a motorcycle. A great alternative is to choose an electric scooter. They are also very economically as well as easy to operate. This is a great option for riding around town. I know many parents who compromise purchasing their teenager a scooter rather than an actual motorcycle. Scooters also cost less than a motorcycle. Safety is still a necessity while operating an electric scooter. It is important that you wear a helmet as well as long sleeved shirts and pants to prevent road rash. You also need to follow the rules of the road. Too many people have the misconception that a scooter can be operated like a bicycle rather than a motor vehicle on the road. In many states you have to obtain a motorcycle license to legally operate one on the street. Children must be the legal age to drive one as determined by their state regulations. Electric scooters are frequently referred to as mopeds as well. They are very environmentally friendly so you don't have to worry about pollution issues. Many of the features on these scooters are similar to those of a motorcycle including the seat, brakes, tires, and turn signals. While scooters are definitely easier to learn to ride, they won't offer you the same speed as a motorcycle. Don't expect to get on one and take off like the wind. You also won't want to ride them on the highway or interstate as they just aren't designed for that type of speed or travel. Depending on the type of electric scooter you purchase, you can anticipate spending from $200 to $1,000. The prices are very reasonable, so that your time finding one that fits you perfectly. There are many styles and colors available from a variety of manufacturers. Many women love operating a scooter as opposed to a motorcycle because of the weight difference. You will also find scooters that feature a stand up or a sit down design. The younger kids definitely seem to favor the stand up type but it certainly isn't going to be comfortable when you are on it for a length of time. You also won't have the storage space if you need to carry anything with you. Most electric scooters require very little maintenence, further adding to your transportation savings. In most cases you will be able to do the basic maintenance and even repairs on your own. You may be wondering how fuel efficient an electric scooter is. While the specific savings will vary by model, many of them can get 60 miles per gallon of fuel. Since electric scooters don't take up much space and they are light weight, may college kids prefer to use one instead of a car. They can even ride it around campus and secure it on the bike rack. Most of them can get up to 30 MPH so a quick trip to town or the grocery store is even possible with one. Electric scooters have continued to grow in popularity in areas where the fuel is high and the weather is nice most of the year. Consumers are looking for an economical means of transportation and they have found in with electric scooters. You can find a great deal of information about them on the internet as well as motorcycle and electric stores.
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