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So you've decided that riding a motorcycle is definately for you. You've taken the MSF course and passed with flying colors. It's time to buy your first bike. It's all very exciting, but it can also be very challenging.

Be aware of all the different things, both negative and positive that will influence your decision to buy your first bike. ie: Your friends that already ride, the movies, television, magazines and of course YOUR EGO!

Here are some tips that might be helpful:

1) Be sure you have budgeted for all the expenses involved in purchasing a bike. Riding is an expensive hobby, be sure that you can afford to do it PROPERLY. ie: ALL the appropiate gear, insurance, maintainance, etc.

2) Think about what style of motorcycle you want to ride; either a racing, cruising or touring style. How do you plan on using your bike? Just out for fun on the weekends? Communting? Long road trips? The race track? Be sure to look for a bike that fits your lifestyle.

3) Do your research! Find out as much information as possible on your own. The better informed you are as a consumer, the better off you'll be. Both mentally and financially. Watch people and talk to people that are already riding, even if you don't know them (people love to talk about their bikes. It's like the "my baby is the cutest baby in the world syndrome".
Please note: Do NOT chat up the squid with the big bike wearing NO GEAR!!! They will have nothing useful to tell you. And only fill your head with crap. Read lots! Buy magazines, go to your local library and my personal favorite, the internet. Anything and everything you want to know about, it's there. Gather as much information as possible; be a well informed consumer. Don't waste your hard earned money.

4) Don't buy a new bike. All your first little "learning experiences" will be on your first bike and if it's all shiny, new and no where near paid for, it'll hurt alot more when your learning experiences take place. And if it's too big, too heavy and too powerful, you'll wind up really hurting yourself. KEEP YOUR EGO IN LINE HERE! Seriously... A 500cc bike is all you need to start!

There are those of you out there that are "vertically challenged", if you fall into this category here are some suggestions:
Start out on a smaller bike. You can always move up to a bigger bike later. The smaller the bike, the lighter and more agile they are. Making it easier to learn on and more comfortable for a new rider. You can also have work done to your bike to accomadate your height. A lowering kit (1" - 5"), suspension adjustments, shaving the seat etc... Talk to your local shops, they'll be able to give you all the details. Just be sure to sit on as many bikes as possible before you buy one and see what one is most comfortable for you.

5) Shop around. Go to lots of different bike shops. Take an experienced rider friend (or two) with you. And as much as I hate to say it, take a guy with you. For the most part, you'll get treated differently if you're by yourself. If you go somewhere and a salesperson is rude or baligerent, just get the hell outta there. You have no reason to stay somewhere where you have been made to feel uncomfortable. And be sure to let the owner (if it wasn't the owner that you had the encounter with) know about the incident. Both in person and by letter. And be sure to tell everyone you know about it as well. Bad news travels a lot faster than good!

6) Test ride bikes if possible. Go to Manufacturer's Test Days at local shops. Ask if you can test ride bikes that you are looking at too.

7) Have the same list of questions you want to ask when you're looking at differnent bikes. Then when you've gone and looked at a bunch of differnet ones, you can compare notes and determine which one is the best bang for your buck.

Last but not least:
Don't fall in love with the first bike you see or test ride. It happens very easily! Make sure to have looked at as bikes many as possible and sit down and compare notes before you decide on your new baby. Don't rush into something you might later regret.
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