Get 1.99% APR and $0 down on select new 2023 and 2022 models31 See Details.
Cyber Week Sale - Up to 50% off*
Cyber Week Sale - Up to 50% off*
Free H-D Blanket with $300 Purchase*
Factory Tour Centers are CLOSED until 2024. The H-D Museum in Milwaukee is OPEN!
See you in Milwaukee at next year’s Homecoming Festival!
Ready to Ride? Let us sweeten the deal. See Available Offers.
See you next year! Save the date: September 3–8, 2024

8 Tips for How to Choose a Motorcycle That’s Right for You

October 25, 2023 Comments Comment

Choosing a motorcycle can be an exciting and potentially overwhelming experience whether you’re a new rider or a seasoned veteran. There are many factors to consider when choosing a motorcycle, including your riding style, experience level, budget and physical comfort. Read on to learn our eight tips for how to choose a motorcycle that’s right for you no matter your experience level.

1.    Decide on Your Intended Use

The first step in learning how to pick a motorcycle that’s best for you is to think about what kind of riding you want to do. Different types of motorcycles are designed for different purposes, and each has its own set of features and specifications. Do you plan to ride on the highway or stick to city streets? Are you more interested in off-road or trail riding? Knowing your riding style will help you determine what kind of motorcycle is best for you.

If you plan on taking long-distance rides, you may want to consider a cruiser or touring bike, which has a more relaxed riding position and is built for comfort. On the other hand, if you’re interested in off-road or adventure riding, you may want to consider an adventure motorcycle, which has a higher ground clearance and off-road capabilities. If you’re looking for high-performance, speed and a lightweight feel, then a motorcycle that’s more performance-oriented may be the fit for you. You can learn more about the different types of riding styles and accompanying motorcycles here.

2.    Consider Your Skill Level

It’s important to choose a motorcycle that is appropriate for your experience level. Many new riders make the mistake of choosing a motorcycle that is too powerful or too heavy for their current skill level, which can be intimidating to pick up. For beginners, a lightweight or standard is typically a good choice, as it provides good balance and maneuverability without sacrificing power or performance. If you haven’t yet ridden a motorcycle, it’s recommended to sign up for a motorcycle training course to learn the basic skills, too.

Sign Up For A Riding Academy Class Today!

3.    Set Your Budget

Motorcycles can vary widely in price, so it’s important to determine your budget, but also the overall value you’re looking to get out of it, before you start shopping for a motorcycle. In addition to the purchase price of the motorcycle, be sure to factor in the cost of motorcycle insurance, regular maintenance and motorcycle parts and accessories when setting your budget.

If you’re on a tight budget, then purchasing a used motorcycle may be an option. The H-D1™ Marketplace offers a variety of Certified Pre-Owned motorcycles that can fit within a wide range of budgets. 

4.    Research Different Models

Once you know what kind of riding you want to do and what your budget is, it’s time to start researching different motorcycle models.

Reading reviews from other riders and talking to experienced motorcycle riders can be a good way to get recommendations and learn more about what to look for in a motorcycle. Consider visiting motorcycle forums or social media groups to get real feedback from other riders. It’s also a great idea to visit a local motorcycle dealer so they can talk you through what may be some of the right models for you. At a dealership, you can also sit on each motorcycle and even take a test ride to feel the differences firsthand. 

Find A Harley-Davidson® Dealer Near You.

5.    Choose the Right Size and Comfort

Choosing a motorcycle that fits your body well and is comfortable to ride is an important consideration that can greatly impact your comfort and enjoyment while riding. Look for a motorcycle that accommodates your height and weight and allows you to easily operate the controls on your motorcycle.

Also, make sure to pay attention to motorcycle ergonomics while on the bike - the seat, handlebars, and foot pegs - and consider how they will impact your posture and comfort while riding. If possible, take a test ride to see how the motorcycle feels from a comfort level in real-world riding conditions.

6.    Check the Motorcycle’s Specs

When learning how to choose a motorcycle, it’s important to consider its technical specifications, performance capabilities, safety enhancements and more. Look at things like the size and power of the engine, the type of transmission and the suspension system.

Again, consider your riding style and preferences when choosing a motorcycle, and look for one that has the performance capabilities and systems to meet your needs. Remember that more powerful motorcycles are not always better, especially for new riders who may not yet have developed their riding skills or who prefer a more relaxed ride.

7.    Test Ride the Motorcycle

If you already have your motorcycle license, it’s also recommended to test ride a motorcycle to get the ultimate feel for it. This will give you an opportunity to see how the bike handles and feels on the road. Be sure to test ride on different types of roads and at varying speeds to get a feel for the bike. While test riding, pay attention to how it feels, how well it handles and how easy it is to maneuver. Take note of any vibrations, noises or other challenges that may impact your ride quality. Try different models too so you can compare and contrast the performance and feel before making a final decision on which one you prefer.

Schedule A Test Ride Today!

8.    Consider Additional Accessories

Finally, consider any additional motorcycle accessories you may add to your motorcycle to make it more comfortable or to enhance its performance. Saddlebags, windshields, and hand grips are just a few examples of accessories that can make your ride more comfortable and enjoyable. Items like motorcycle seats, storage, locks and covers are also important accessories worth considering.

It’s important to keep these additional costs in mind when setting your budget or negotiating with a dealership. It’s often more cost-effective to purchase accessories and have them installed at the dealership when you first purchase the motorcycle.

Learning how to pick a motorcycle that’s right for you can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to take your time and consider all the factors that impact your decision. Before choosing your new favorite bike, make sure it’s tailored to your riding style, skill level, budget, comfort and performance needs.

Don't forget about your riding gear essentials. It’s always recommended to make sure you’re equipped with motorcycle safety equipment like a motorcycle helmet, jacket and riding boots before you take the bike for a spin. Check out some of our guides to find the best riding gear from H-D.

Showing - of
Be the first to comment.

    Explore the latest Parts & Apparel

    Express the rider inside on and off the bike with genuine H-D riding and casual gear. 

    Throw it into high gear. Now is the perfect time to revamp your ride.

    Show the world who you ride with. Get all your H-D riding and casual gear here.