WElcome to the wonderful world of Motorcycling!
Firstly, before you can get near a bike you need to obtain a provisional license. If you have a car license (full or provisional) check your paper bit, you may already have the provisional entitlement (this should show as a ‘p’ for a moped or ‘a’ for motorbike. They are different.
If you don’t have a provisional entitlement, then you can apply on-line here or get a D1 form from a post office. Once you have received this you can start your training.
New Bike test routes
- Options at 16 – get a CBT and ride a 50cc bike or moped
- Options at 17-18 – get a CBT and ride up to a 125cc bike/scooter, or do your CBT, theory test and full restricted tests and ride a 125cc
- Options at 19-23 – get a CBT and ride up to a 125cc bike/scooter, or do your CBT, theory test and full restricted tests and ride anything that is restricted to 46.6bhp.
- Options at 24+ - get a CBT or or do your CBT, theory test and DAS and ride anything.
Information For Motorbike Tests For more details.
Equipment Legally you HAVE to wear a helmet. That’s it. Not even a pair of pants, just a helmet.
You should also get gloves, jacket, trousers, and boots. This doesn't mean full leathers, although these are still considered the best, but at £700 plus for a full suit, it can be expensive. Textile protective clothing is a cheaper option, but sacrifices itself in an accident.
A helmet can cost from £45 although the more expensive ones will offer more protection, be quieter, wind proof, not fog up, can have blue tooth, an a sun visor built in, Shoei and Arai don't do helmets with built in sun visors as they state it compromises safety and they are designed for race use. If you want to get one and not use sun glasses, a tinted visor works, but these should not be used at night
Gloves can cost from £30, they can be textile or leather gloves, with amour in the knuckles, and they shouldn't be too tight as in winter you will get cold quickly, but tight enough they don't fall of. In winter heated grips and motorbike muffs help keep hands warm
Jackets cost from £60, you want textile or leather, with built in body armour, this will help absorb the impact of an accident. Most come with a thin bit of foam as a back protector. KNOX do a CE approved replacement, or a separate one can be used Trousers can be over trousers or instead of your normal trousers, and can cost from £40. Look for knee and hip amour. Draggin jeans/hood jeans/RST do some are an option, but while they will save your skin, you may still shatter your knee caps on impact, so you should look into some amour inserts for the point of impact, i.e. your knees and hips. You won't need knee sliders until you are trying to get your knee down and can actually ride.
Boots I'll be honest, I spent 3 years wearing hiking boots before finding a pair that fitted me. You can get boots from about £50, and the idea is in a crash they will hold your feet together. Trainers will not do this. There are a range of bots, touring, which are just a protective leather boot with padding on the shins, sports which feature toe sliders for when you are scraping along the floor, and motocross boots which ratchet up. These are the bulkiest. Chose them on your riding, cost and what you like the look of. As well as what’s comfortable!
Body armour is something you can use to increase your safety, for example a back protector (as made by Knox or Forcefield) could save your life, and possibly prevent you from being paralysed. You can get armour to put in your jacket for knees, shoulders, hips, elbows and chest.
I am going to stress the importance of Back Protectors Basics. You wear a helmet to protect your head as without it you'd die. You can live with a severed spinal cord but you won't be walking. The aim of the back protector is to provide as much protection for your back as possible, from impact like landing on a stone, sliding along the road or being flung into a sign or armaco. when you crash you may have to roll or bend on impact which is why something ridged isn't ideal, the back protector she be able to absorb the impact on landing and not transfer it on to you, which not snapping as you are flung through the air. (This should apply to all)
A solid back protector will protect you from punctures, but soft will absorb the impact, it depends what you use it for.
My preference is for a Forcefield L2. Voted best buy in RiDe magazine, but there are Forcefield Level 1, 2 and 4. 4 is far thicker than level 2, and while it transmits less than 4kn to the body, compared to the less than 6 (I think of the L2) it is over twice the thickness and I didn't find it so comfortable.
Knox do them, Halvarssons, Oxford, Alpinestar. I use a separate one under my jacket, partially as I have 4 different jackets I use. If you already have leathers it might not fit under them so take your jacket with you when you go to buy on, or buy a new jacket.
I suppose you want a bike then!
Mopeds and Scooters
- Mopeds (hair dryers) - less than 50cc automatic bike. Speed limited to 32mph.Examples include
Yamaha ones Peugeot ones
They are automatic, and range from 50cc up to 840cc. If you are 17 you can ride one that is 125cc, with a CBT, any larger and you need a full bike license to ride them
Motorbikes Once you pass bike test there are different sorts of bike you can ride, what you get depends on your license and also where you want to ride.
125cc/250cc for town riding Aprilia RS125 (not learner legal as is 33bhp when un-restricted) Honda's CBR125 Yamaha YBR125 Honda CG125 (bomb proof) Ninja 250 (Chilledice has one) CB125 (Smilingsam has one) [spoiler]
Motorways 400cc plus. If you are on a restricted license you have to restrict these to 46.6bhp, easily done by a garage, or by yourself on a carbed bike if you have the know-how.
CBR400 BANDIT 400 (bathwiggle) Suzuki GS500 Suzuki SV650 (Landyjon/bathwiggle/lantana) XJ6 (gingerjak, bathwiggle has ridden one) CB500 ER5 ER6 Philo has one FZS600 (Fazer) (Boristhethird/Motorbiker both own and love these beautiful bikes) Gladius
Restricting your bike is a legal requirement to allow you to meet the criteria of your license. If you don't restrict it, or remove the restricting (be it washers or ECU) you will not be riding in accordance with your license, therefore have no insurance and be breaking the law. Don't do it! And i know of cases should anyone want proof of police dyno'ing bikes to check the restriction. (This applies to mopeds and scooters too!)
If you're a short female or just want to know what might suit you : http://cycle-ergo.com/ <-- that will tell you if you can sit on a bike, just tell it your height and it does the rest. Here gives a list of bike seat heights
If you like a bike and it is too high you can remove padding from the seat, buy a different seat, adjust the suspension, raise the dog bones, or by Daytona Ladystar boots which have a nice thick sole to give you more height. – ask Bathwiggle or Lantana about this
Do not go buy the first bike you see, try different bikes, as different styles suit different people. Please don't go buy an R6, you will probably kill yourself 5 miles down the road.
Insurance I could sugar coat this, but I won’t. Most on here pay about £500 TPFT with no no-claims with no NCB.But compare this to £5,000 for similiar guys with cars and you'll see the £4.5k saving and the reason why motorbikes are awesome. (Helpful bit) Insurance depends on the bike (smaller=cheaper) age (older=cheaper) how you lock it (is it alarmed, disc locked, locked to an immovable object with a chain, go to a price comparison site, put in some details and see what it says, this is the most accurate way of giving you an idea of what insurance will cost. On the plus side, it’s cheaper than a car (normally)
Suggested companies include Express insurance and The Bike Insurer [/expand]
To reduce your insurance security can be added to your bike. For example:
- Disk lock (goes on your brake disc so the bike can't be wheeled away, different locks are better than others)
- A chain (through the back wheel and around a lamp post or over the seat, if its on the ground it could be angle grinded away)
- Ground anchor (cemented or drilled in to the ground so you can chain your bike to it)
- Alarm (makes lots of noise when the bike is moved, but can drain your battery)
- Data tag/alpha dot (means that if you bike is stolen it can be tracked back to you)
- Tracker (emits a traceable signal that can be traced and used to locate the bike) [/expand]
How you can make biking cheaper?
-You can keep costs down through varying means, for example sticking to the speed limit. I get 50miles more from my tank sitting at 70mph compared to sitting at 90mph. -Pre-planning and not harshly accelerating/breaking. -Shop around when your insurance is up, and Fully Comprehensive may be cheaper than Third Party. =If you have a cheap bike, Third Party, Fire and Theft will make more sense than Fully Comp. -Pay monthly for your insurance makes it easier, but it is cheaper normally to pay annually. -Don't get just 6 months tax, you can always SORN your bike if you aren't using it for a prolonged period of time. When you SORN the bike you can get a refund on the remaining full months of tax left.
Motor biking is not the cheapest hobby, you have to pay for: -insurance -road tax (£35-£75) - petrol (140p a litre, normally 50mpg for me) - plus the maintenance (new tyres front and back £250, chain and sprockets £120, chain lube £10, oil £20, oil filter £8, spark plugs £8 ish each
If you can fix bikes yourself, such as using a Haynes manual, it will work out cheaper. Good equipment lasts years, so it pays to invest if you are planning to bike long term. If you get a faired bike and you crash it, it’s going to cost a lot.