Buying a new bike is major decision, and has a huge ritual associated with it. The power of the internet has made it easier to do your initial research as well check out every aspect of all the bikes you have shortlisted for yourself for your budget. Then comes the big horror of going in for a test ride of all these bikes. Now the reason why I am calling this phase a horror is because a person is required to judge the bikes within the span of 10 minutes or 1-2 kilometres itself. This is a tough decision, especially for someone investing a substantial amount of money into the bike. Hence we have come up with a short guide to help you understand some minor things when you go for a test ride before buying a new motorcycle.
The Initial Impression
Now we have to understand that the test ride unit available is only one. And that too is a unit which everyone is going to rip to the limits to check out the true potential of the bike. A bike thrashed by hundreds of rides time and again is not something which is ideal to check how your dream bike is going to be like. Unless you are one of the first riders of the bike, you can never really understand how the bike is going to really perform. So when you go check the bike out, notice the kilometres reading on the ODO of the bike. Accordingly you can make a judgement on how much the bike has clocked and accordingly the level of thrashing and hence the performance expectations can be judged.
Also enquire with the person in charge about the most recent servicing or oil change performed on the bike. If there is none with high number of kilometres clocked, you can be sure that if you happen to purchase that bike, it is going to perform substantially better than the test ride unit. On the other hand, if the bike is serviced properly, it should perform decently well. The startup should be quick and crisp, the throttle response must be fairly agile, and most importantly, if the engine shudders mid-ride, get it to the attention of the ride in charge. It is a sign of a not well kept engine.
Secondly comes the ergonomics, the seating comfort, riding comfort, and the works. Make sure to ride for at least a considerable amount of time so as to actually be able to judge the bike on its comfort factor. If possible, get into a bumper to bumper traffic situation on purpose to check the capability of the bike to handle such a situation to be able to handle the city riding conditions. This will allow you to judge how comfortable the bike is for daily travel purposes and also the clutch action, i.e. if it is hard or light, depending upon which you can judge the condition of your left hand at the end of your ride.
Another major aspect to consider is the presence of any extra accessories added on the bike which you might mistake as standard accessory. Make sure to clear the issue of each accessory on the test ride vehicle compared to a new unit to check which one will be included on the bike and which ones are extra add-ons.
Ease of Use and Adaptability
Every new bike cannot be mastered in a day, and no bike is made perfectly for you. There is a proper learning curve and an adaptability stage. You need to judge as to how easy the bike is to use and how well you can adjust to it within the shortest span of time. If you happen to be riding the bike for a substantial amount and yet do not understand or are having a hard time getting used to the bike’s functions or the switches positioning, maybe the bike was not for you. One needs to understand this as lack of understanding or getting used to in a shorter span can result in a mishap sometime in the future owing to the inability to work with the bike. And we do not want that.
These are some tips for you to remember whenever you go for a test ride of the bike. I remember, when I had been for a test ride before buying my bike, I was allowed only a small ride on my bike within the showroom campus, citing reasons such as lack of registrations and the sort. But within then I was able to judge the maneuverability of the bike in the cumbersome space as well as the seating ergonomics of the bike which were my main criterion for the bike. Hence, even with the small ride, I was able to zero-in on my choice and went for it, and I have been happy since.
So make sure even you follow the same techniques, and that can make it easier for you in judging the bike better during a test ride. If you also have used some smart techniques, do mention them in the comments section below and share them with our biking community.