How can I make sure my son is buying the safest possible motorcycle?

young man buying motorcycle

Safety Should Be the Top Priority When Buying a Motorcycle

If your son has caught the motorcycle bug, you're probably experiencing mixed emotions. On one hand, riding a motorcycle in New Mexico can be an exhilarating way to experience the open road. However, you also worry about your child's safety. While you can't eliminate all risks, there are steps you can take to ensure your son buys the safest motorcycle possible.

What Makes One Bike Safer Than Another 

The safety of a motorcycle varies based on its design elements and integrated safety features. Understanding these things can help you choose an inherently safer bike, especially for a new rider like your son.

  • Engine size. Smaller engines under 500cc are easier to control, especially for new riders. The lightest bikes in the 250-300cc range may be the best starters.
  • Weight. A lighter bike that weighs 400 pounds or less is more maneuverable and easier to keep upright if your son has to avoid obstacles.
  • Seat height. Make sure your son can plant both feet firmly on the ground when seated. Having complete control at stops is crucial.
  • Fairings. Fairings are the plastic body panels often found on motorcycles. Their primary function is to streamline the bike, reducing air drag. However, they also serve a safety function. In a crash, fairings can act as a crumple zone, absorbing some impacts and potentially reducing the force transmitted to the rider. 
  • Anti-lock brakes. ABS are a crucial safety feature for motorcycles. They prevent the wheels from locking up during braking, especially under hard or emergency braking conditions. This can be a lifesaver in preventing skids and maintaining control during sudden stops. For inexperienced riders who might not have the skill to use the brakes effectively in emergencies, ABS can be a significant aid.
  • Traction control. Traction control is a technology that helps prevent the rear wheel from losing grip, particularly on slippery surfaces or if the throttle is applied too aggressively. If the system detects that the rear wheel is spinning faster than the front wheel (indicating loss of traction), it automatically adjusts the power output to regain control.
  • Riding position. A rider's posture while on a motorcycle greatly influences their control and visibility. Like many sport bikes, motorcycles that encourage an upright riding position generally offer better visibility and control than those that require a hunched-over position. An upright position allows for easier steering, better balance, and improved awareness of the road and surrounding environment.

Each feature makes a motorcycle safer and more forgiving for a novice rider. Combined, they provide a strong safety net that can enhance the riding experience while minimizing risk.

Bikes to Avoid as a First Purchase

When considering a first motorcycle purchase, it's important to avoid certain types of bikes that might be challenging for beginners. Two primary categories to avoid are sport bikes and heavyweight cruisers or touring bikes.

Sport Bikes

Sport bikes, known for their high-performance capabilities, are often unsuitable for new riders. They typically feature tall rear seats and high centers of gravity, which can be challenging for a novice to manage. Additionally, these bikes are equipped with tightly wound engines that deliver a surge of power. This can be too much for a beginner who is still learning the basics of throttle control and balance. The combination of power and posture required to handle sports bikes can lead to an increased risk of accidents for inexperienced riders.

Heavyweight Cruisers or Touring Bikes

Heavyweight cruisers or touring bikes are also not ideal for someone just starting out. These bikes often come with massive engines that exceed 1000cc and can weigh over 700 pounds. Their size and weight make them difficult to maneuver, especially for smaller or less experienced riders. Handling such a large bike requires significant strength and skill, which new riders typically do not possess yet. 

Don’t Forget Safety Gear and Training

Protective equipment is still necessary, no matter how "safe" your son's first bike is. Insist on sturdy helmets, armored jackets, pants, boots, and gloves. Also, encourage your son to complete an approved New Mexico rider safety course from qualified instructors that teaches crucial skills like emergency braking and avoidance maneuvers. With the proper precautions in place and a solid understanding of New Mexico’s motorcycle laws, you can worry less as your son hits the road on his bike.

How Our New Mexico Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help

Unfortunately, your son may be hurt in a New Mexico motorcycle accident, regardless of his bike’s safety features. After a motorcycle accident, it's crucial to have skilled legal assistance. Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Keller & Keller can fight for fair compensation, including medical bills, lost wages, and bike repairs.
James R. Keller
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