Motorcycle Test Drives
Safety Tip of the Week
When you test drive a motorcycle, especially a used motorcycle, you want to get the most information from the experience. After all, there’s a significant chunk of change involved, right?
Remember to wear or bring your gear. Nothing says, “I’m new at this” to the seller than a buyer who expects to test-drive without a legal helmet. Besides, Murphy’s Law says the worst possible thing will happen at the worst possible time. And that’s why dealers usually have an insurance form for you to sign, so they’re covered in case Murphy is right this time.
Take a little time before you take off to be sure you can find everything. Adjust the mirrors. Can you reach the brake lever and the rear brake pedal? When you start your test ride, go slowly at first and brake slowly, too.
Once you’re used to the bike, test the acceleration, braking, handling. Is it as responsive as you like? Is it sluggish or hard to stop? Does it pull to one side, which might indicate a bent frame, or does it wobble? Do the brakes squeal, or the shocks squeak, or the muffler roar? Any of those things are both safety issues and warning of repairs ahead.
And how does the ride suit you? Are the handlebars, the saddle, and the footpeg placement going to give you a comfortable ride over the long haul? If you’re squirming around to find a comfortable seat, or leaning forward to peer at the instruments, you’re not riding safely.
Stay safe out there!