What You Need to Know to Start Riding Motorcycles

What You Need to Know to Start Riding Motorcycles

by Chris Rutter October 15, 2020

Any new motorcycle rider should be trying to learn from more experienced riders. Riding a motorcycle is exciting and gives you a feeling of total freedom, but it also comes with some responsibilities — both to yourself and other motorists. As you look to start riding bikes, you should be aware of the basics and other vital pieces of information relevant to riders. 

Learn more about beginner motorcycle tips to ensure your first few months on the road are as enjoyable and safe as possible.

Riding a Motorcycle for the First Time Tips

Any guidance about motorcycle riding basics needs to revolve around ensuring you've had adequate training and have the right motorcycle before you hit the open road. Beginner advice should also cover the gear you need to protect yourself in an accident, as well as the proper steps to checking your bike before you go on the road. 

Ensure you've had adequate training before hitting the open road.

Below are some of the top beginner motorcycle riding tips.

1. Get Your License 

Before you start riding motorcycles on your own, one of the first steps you need to take is to get a motorcycle license. Requirements will change from state to state, so you'll need to do some research on your state's rules. You'll commonly have to pass a motorcycle rider safety course and written tests. 

The written tests often cover laws that apply to motorcycle drivers, plus standard motorcycle terminology. The tests will also usually ask about riding techniques. A road course will ensure you can drive your bike safely and know how to react to potential hazards unique to motorcyclists. Even if your state doesn't require a rider safety course, it's a good idea to take one to make sure you're doing everything you can to observe the rules of the road and avoid accidents. 

2. Select the Right Motorcycle

Once you've fulfilled the legal obligations to operate a motorcycle, it's essential to purchase a bike that fits your abilities and preferences. Don't immediately buy the most powerful bike you can find. Instead, go for one with performance specs friendly to beginner bikers, rather than ones designed for racing. 

Besides ensuring the motorcycle you pick won't overpower you, it's also crucial the bike you select fits your body. You don't want to get one that feels uncomfortable to ride or where you feel off-balance. Check to ensure your feet are flat on the ground while you're sitting. When you ride and take your bike off the kickstand, you should feel balanced and in control. 

You may also want to buy a used motorcycle for your starter bike to help you get a feel for riding before you make a more significant investment. By going with a stripped-down bike at the beginning, you can learn more about your preferences and get used to riding a motorcycle without spending so much to get started. 

After you get more confident on the bike and know more about what you value in a motorcycle, you'll be in a better position to invest more money in a newer or more powerful bike.

3. Invest in the Right Gear

It's crucial the bike fits your body.

When you start riding your bike, you need to have the appropriate clothing and gear. Without it, an accident can do much more damage. To start, you need to protect your head with a helmet. The latest study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that helmets saved 1,859 lives in 2016. The CDC also states that helmets reduce a rider's risk of head injury by a whopping 69% and the risk of death by 37%

Besides a helmet, you also need to protect the rest of your body. Always wear proper motorcycle jackets and pants when you take your bike out on the road. A regular T-shirt and jeans won't put enough protection between the pavement and your skin. Protective clothing should be either leather or textile. Your gear might change in different seasons, but some breathable summer options still protect you.

Protecting your feet and ankles should be a chief concern of beginning and veteran bikers alike. While you probably can guess flip-flops aren't acceptable footwear options on a motorcycle, you may be surprised to know your workout shoes aren't ideal, either. You should purchase a pair of riding boots that can prevent twisted ankles and provide maximum protection. Besides your feet, you should protect your hands with gloves made of abrasion-resistant material. 

4. Conduct a Safety Inspection Before You Ride

As a new rider, you should get yourself in good habits that can keep you safe on the road and your bike running smoothly. One of the most significant steps you can take is to conduct a proper safety inspection on your bike. Before you take off, walk around your bike, giving it a once-over. 

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has developed a comprehensive checklist for riders to use before they head out. To help you remember what to inspect, they developed an acronym, T-CLOCK, which stands for the following. 

  • T: Tires and wheels
  • C: Controls
  • L: Lights
  • O: Oil
  • C: Chassis
  • K: Kickstand

Checking these critical areas before you take your motorcycle out helps lower your chances of driving a flawed bike that could end up causing an accident or stranding you on the side of the road. For example, this pre-ride inspection could reveal a nail in your tire, saving you from getting a flat in some unknown location far from home. 

5. Get Some Extra Practice

Even after you've passed all the appropriate tests to legally drive a motorcycle and have bought a bike, you should wait to take it out on the open road. Get familiar with how the bike feels and responds to your handling by first driving it around a parking lot or sparsely trafficked neighborhood. 

Once you get some practice with your motorcycle, you can start to take it around town. You should also probably wait to ride on a highway or freeway until you feel totally comfortable driving it around your city. On any road, make sure you ride defensively, as car and truck drivers tend to not notice motorcyclists. 

Choose Fat Head Cycles for Your Motorcycle Parts and Gear

With all these tips for new motorcycle riders to guide you, you should be ready to take your bike out. As you get used to your bike, you may want to trick it out or conduct simple repairs. Whenever you're looking to parts for your Harley, turn to Fat Head Cycles. We have everything from LED light system kits and audio products to performance parts and detailing materials for Harley motorcycles. Trusting us means you get high-quality parts, fast shipping and a generous 60-day return policy. 

Browse our online store to find custom parts and accessories for your motorcycle. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us

Choose Fat Head Cycles for your motorcycle parts and gear.

Chris Rutter
Chris Rutter


Also in Harley-Davidson News

Summer Riding Tips
Summer Riding Tips

by Chris Rutter September 08, 2021

Read More

What to Consider When Buying a Used Harley
What to Consider When Buying a Used Harley

by Chris Rutter September 01, 2021

Read More

How to Customize a Street Glide
How to Customize a Street Glide

by Chris Rutter August 26, 2021

Harley-Davidson owners can all agree on one thing — owning a Harley means more than having a motorcycle. Owning a Harley introduces you to the Harley-Davidson lifestyle that owners know and love.

Read More

Shipping Delays

We are aware there are orders outstanding. Rest assured that your order has not been missed nor forgotten. A worldwide microchip shortage and other pandemic-related challenges have slowed the supply of products in many industries, including electronics. We're sorry for this problem and are working with our manufacturers to replenish stock and fill backorders. Our advisors and support reps have no extra info on when we expect this item.
Our supply chains have been affected, distribution centers are backlogged and international shipping agencies have been severely affected by COVID19. Unfortunately, these things are completely out of our control. Once your order ships you will receive a SHIPPING CONFIRMATION email stating your order is on the way with TRACKING INFORMATION. If you have not received this email, your order is still in fulfillment que and is working its way up the list.
Due to the fluid nature of the supply chain at this time, Fat Head Cycles CAN NOT provide ETAs on bundles that have yet to ship as many times we are simply waiting on one small part or another to complete the package. We here at Fat Head Cycles appreciate you as a customer and will always do the best we can to accommodate and fulfill your requests and your need for the best Harley Davidson audio and performance products in the industry.

Thank you for your understanding.

We appreciate you,

The Fat Head Cycles Team