Motorcycles: modes of transportation, personal statements, or ways of life? Most likely, they are a little bit of each. The motorcyclist is long entrenched in American mythology, but just what are motorcycles—and motorcyclists—all about? There are resources on the Web to shed light on all of this and help out any rider or aspiring rider looking for motorcycle advice, places to buy, or other riders to commune with.
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You’ve taken the MSF rider course. You’ve perfected your leaning, your clutch skills, and your braking. You can lift the heaviest bike that’s dropped, and your thumb knows exactly where the kill switch is. Let’s get you a bike already! But, wait … which bike is best? And where should you get it? Don’t panic: there are numerous sites to help you go from a wannabe-biker to a wannabe-biking-more.
- Most of the major Web sites for buying a car are also useful for buying a motorcycle. If you want more information on buying a motorcycle, the findingDulcinea Car Shopping guide has loads of tips and Web sites for buying a vehicle, whether it has four wheels or two.
- If you know what brand of motorcycle you want, then you may want to explore that company’s Web site. Honda’s Web site, for example, allows you to customize your own bike with colors and accessories. These sites also let you browse through their selection of models easily, and point you to any dealers nearby.
- Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time on this machine, and you’re putting your life in its hands (or handlebars, as it were). Shop around and get pricing online, but make sure to get a feel for the machine in person before you buy.
- You’ve bought your bike and are raring to go. All set? Not quite. A motorcycle purchase isn’t complete without a DOT-approved helmet. Most states have laws requiring that motorcyclists wear them, and study after study shows they are the most effective piece of safety gear available to a rider. At Motorcycle Cruiser magazine’s site, you’ll find a good guide on how to choose and buy a safe helmet, as well as useful links for further information on helmets below the article.
- Although you can shop online for a motorcycle through classifieds sites like Craigslist, major motorcycle or helmet purchases are not ones you should make quickly or haphazardly.
For buyer’s guides …
hosts a buyer’s guide to buying a motorcycle in four parts: I
, and IV
. The magazine also offers reviews of all major manufacturers’ models if you click the reviews link on the top navigation bar. You’ll find other helpful background information here, as well, in the form of articles and riding how-to’s.
has a buyer’s guide that was written in 2004, but it’s still a good resource if you’re in the market for a used bike, as it covers bikes all the way back to 1970. There’s an introduction to buying motorcycles, and then there are separate categories examining the best bikes for each brand.
Used Motorcycle Evaluation Guide
exhibits a design as bland and generic as its name, but don’t let the no-frills fool you. This site offers a detailed run-through on how to inspect and buy a used bike, with accompanying photos. Check out the links at the end of the guide for sites to browse bike classified ads as well.
For bike reviews and specs …
is a database of bike specifications and user ratings for various aspects of the machine. Search for a particular bike or by category, then read its “encyclopedia” entry. A bike’s entry includes detailed specifications, as well as the average of the received user ratings. Just watch out for aggressive pop-up ads.
also lists specifications for bikes, though with a much smaller database than bikez.com. For example, the site offers less by way of specification data, and it has no ratings. It does, however, let you compare multiple bikes side by side, a feature bikez.com lacks.
The Auto Channel
has well-written, article-style reviews for a number of new motorcycles produced since 2000.
will give you an owner’s perspective of a particular bike. Featuring user-generated reviews, some of them quite short, covering a significant number of bikes, this site helps you understand some of the issues that can arise long after the professionals have done their test rides and written their reviews.
For buying or selling a motorcycle …
from the same people behind AutoTrader.com, is a medium for buying and selling used bikes. Search through motorcycle ads in your area or throughout the country in the model that you are looking for. Or, if you want to sell, you can post an ad on this site or in the corresponding print magazine. The site also provides a listing of motorcycle dealers searchable by location.
has invented the car of motorcycles. Or is it the motorcycle of cars? Whatever it is, it’s smart, beautiful, and completely bizarre.
offers a time machine that will make you think twice about what a motorcycle must look like.
reveals the only activity better than riding a motorcycle: making paper motorcycles! Come join the party.
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