February 21, 2024

Five key elements to consider during a motorcycle test ride

By Melissa Delgado

We’re all aware that driving a car is very different from riding a motorcycle. Hence, test riding a motorcycle y way more important than test riding a car. Undoubtedly, evaluating a motorcycle through a test ride holds significantly more significance than test-driving a car, correct?

Think about the last time you purchased a sofa without trying it out. Or even a car without taking it for a spin? Exactly—never. So, why would you invest tens of thousands of dollars in a motorcycle without ensuring it’s the perfect fit for you? You shouldn’t.


However, setting up a test ride and understanding what aspects to consider are both easier said than done. Testing a motorcycle is challenging—many dealerships don’t offer test rides, and those that do often restrict ride durations to just 15-20 minutes. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to test ride a motorcycle when purchasing from an individual seller.

When you embark on a bike test ride, it’s crucial to keep in mind these five C’s:

– Comfort
– Controls
– Cornering
– Coming to a Stop
– CCs and Weight


1. Comfort

Everyone’s body is different and so is every motorcycle. Ensuring that a bike suits your body is crucial. It’s one thing to throw your leg over a motorcycle and sit on it while it’s parked in the driveway. But it’s an entirely different feeling to ride a bike down the road and see how it really fits.

Initially, check the seat height. If it’s excessively high, you’ll encounter challenges reaching the ground while stopping or standing. As you leave the driveway and start your journey, pay attention to the seat. Is it comfortable? Take the bike for a 1-2 hour ride on the highway. Does it vibrate excessively at higher speeds, or does it offer a smooth experience? Do you find your legs becoming cramped and requiring frequent stretching, or can you comfortably ride for extended periods?

f you intend to ride with a passenger, consider the comfort of the rear seat for your companion. Are the rear foot pegs positioned optimally for your passenger’s comfort?



2. Controls

During the 1970s, standardization was implemented for motorcycle controls, ensuring consistency in the operation of the throttle, clutch lever, gear shift, and brakes. Hence, there should be no unexpected variations in their functionality. But how do they feel?

Certain motorcycles feature a wet clutch, providing a distinct sensation compared to those with a dry clutch. Are the foot levers positioned ergonomically in relation to your body? While adjustments are possible, it’s essential to consider these factors before committing to a purchase. Additionally, take note of the forward controls and evaluate the comfort of the shifter. Familiarize yourself with these aspects by trying out various bikes to determine your preference.


3. Cornering

Now that you have a sense of how the bike feels and are acquainted with its controls, take it for a spin around the neighborhood. Assess its cornering abilities at slow speeds. Larger touring bikes handle corners differently compared to smaller standard motorcycles. In fact, you might find that you can navigate turns and change lanes simply by leaning these sturdy machines. Pay close attention to how it all feels. Dedicate 30 to 60 minutes to maneuvering at slow speeds, focusing on taking turns. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the bike’s handling characteristics.


4. Coming to a stop

Ensure you grasp the braking capabilities of your bike. When coming to stops, assess whether you maintain control of the bike. Are your feet securely on the ground? Evaluate the sensitivity of the brakes. Do they respond promptly, or do you find yourself needing to compensate for longer braking distances compared to what you’re accustomed to?



5. CCs and Weight

Finally, let’s discuss power and weight, which are closely intertwined. Having more power doesn’t necessarily translate to greater speed. Consider this scenario: a 400 cc motorcycle weighing 350 pounds will offer a different experience compared to a 1290 cc bike weighing 700 pounds. It’s not necessarily about being faster; rather, it’s about how the bike feels. You need to determine which option suits you best.


We know that finding a place to test ride a motorcycle can be challenging, yet it remains a crucial step before making a purchase. If you’re unable to find a dealership offering extended test rides, consider renting a motorcycle through DR Moto Rides to ensure it meets your requirements. However, ensure you’re well-informed about what to evaluate before proceeding. Remember, this isn’t just any ordinary ride; it’s a test ride, and its significance shouldn’t be overlooked.


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