I live in Texas where, believe it or not, motorcycles and road bikes are just as common as the giant pickup trucks that everybody outside of here seems to think we drive. I’ll admit that my family has one of those trucks. We do not yet, much to my husband’s consternation, have any motorcycles. This is largely because, Regardless of how we get the bike, I was not cracking open my wallet (or using my COIN card) until I did my research.
I talked to mechanics, motorcycling enthusiasts, and people at dealerships all over my local area. I spent time reading Consumer Reports and doing online manufacturing research. I wanted to make sure that the bikes we got were good ones—and that I knew what to look for when shopping through sites like AmericanListed (buying brand new isn’t always important, but buying the best bike for your budget certainly is).
What I learned was that the types of riding you intend to do plays a large role in the type of motorcycle you buy. Motorcycles are a lot like cars this way. For example, my husband has visions of taking long leisurely rides across the more rural parts of our state, maybe taking weekend trips with a few friends. My son, the daredevil, is hoping to recreate scenes out of…well, pick your favorite car chase movie. These two men will need to find vastly different bikes (and I might or might not be thinking of locking my son away until he grows some better sense). Popular Mechanics says that the type of ride, like your body type, need to play large roles in your purchasing decision.
Ultimately we decided to buy Harleys for our family. While there have been some reported safety issues with the newer bikes, we found that—of all of the different bikes that are available now, the Harley Davidson best suited our needs for the following reasons:
Harleys are made domestically. This was important to us because we prefer to buy things that are made here in the US.
The mechanic pool is huge—almost everybody in town works on Harleys and is up to date on their parts and issues. Other brands had much smaller and, frankly, more expensive pools of mechanics to choose from.
Harley’s are different than the other bikes out there, having been built a little bigger and heavier than almost all other bikes out there. This means that they hold up better under prolonged use and are built for full-time riding—which is what my husband wanted.
There is truth to the “Harley Davidson” lifestyle clichés that you hear. When you ride a Harley you’re part of a bigger (and protective) community. I’m not too proud to admit that we have completely bought into the “you’re not buying a bike, you’re buying a way of life” speech that we got from every person we talked to.
There is a lot to consider if you want to buy a motorcycle. From how much you weigh to where you want to go and how much you can afford to spend—it takes time to make a proper decision. And, of course, it’s good to take someone who understands motorcycle maintenance and repair along with you to look at every bike you’re thinking of purchasing. You don’t want to get a lemon!