Then, BMW offered me an F 800 R for a few months and I have to say, it has changed my commute to work and various meetings in the best way possible, while also providing me with something to do over weekends when I have a bit of spare time.
As I stated in my road test, the F 800 R is an ideal bike for those wanting to upgrade from a smaller commuter bike to something more powerful, but not as intimidating as a large adventure bike or as violent as a superbike while still being light on fuel. Riding a bike that I feel suits my needs has inspired me to provide all budding motorcyclists with a list of things to consider before taking the plunge.
How long have you been riding for?
This is possibly the most important aspect of motorcycle ownership. Experience on the road is invaluable in a car and an absolute necessity on a bike.
Approaching the daily commute or even a weekend ride on a motorcycle takes constant concentration. Many people in cars drive to work as second nature, I know sometimes I’m so caught-up in the news or music that I hardly remember my commute, and this is simply not possible on a bike as you need to be vigilant all the time. If anything, my time spent on these Bavarian bikes has made me a better driver in a car.
The dangers are real
I will admit, growing up I had my fair share of ‘oopsies’ on motorbikes, from the almost weekly fall at the motocross track to the few times I took a tumble on my little CBR 150. Often, minor accidents in a car leave us shaken but physically fine, however, a minor fall on a bike can be seriously painful and even life threatening.
The old adage '...it’s not you, it’s the other drivers out there’ is often used when loved ones explain why they’d prefer you to avoid a owning a motorcycle rings true, but only to a certain extent. Some motorcycle accidents are the result of negligent car/truck/taxi drivers and even pedestrians, but in my experience, I have also seen a number of accidents caused by reckless speeding on motorbikes.
The size of the motorcycle’s engine is also important
If you’re new to motorcycling make sure you start off small and gradually upgrade from there. A 250 cc or 300 cc commuter bike is a perfect starting point before moving to bikes 600 cc and larger. Then, after you feel comfortable, perhaps move on to something bigger and more powerful.
What are you using it for?
If you’re looking for a bike that you need to use on a daily basis, you’ll want a more up-right riding position, a comfortable seat, respectable fuel consumption and a reasonable amount of torque. Trust me, I commuted for four years on a superbike and my back hated life while the lack of a fuel gauge really frustrated me.
Also consider your height and weight when selecting a bike that will suit you. If you’re a Hobbit like me, then remember that taller bikes present a problem. If you’re after a weekend toy then consider an adventure bike or a superbike, depending on the application and mileage that you’ll be travelling.
Have the appropriate equipment
I am not asking a beginner to go and buy full racing leathers here, but having a solid helmet from a reputable manufacturer, a pair of motorcycle gloves and a decent jacket is a start. That way, if you’re involved in a minor incident your chances of injury are reduced.
As with the bike itself, the gear must suit the supplication, so consider your riding requirements and have a well-established motorcycle store recommend the appropriate equipment for your specific riding needs.