Buying the safest motorbike Pt. 3

wing mirror on Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic in Nevada

In our final instalment on what to look for if you’re looking to buy the safest motorbike we look at the position of certain features on a bike and comfort, an often underestimated aspect of a two wheeler.

Mirror position

Mirrors are your eyes for anything behind you so it’s important that they are practically located on your motorbike.

You need to be able to see clearly behind you. Shoulders shouldn’t get in the way so make sure they can be sensibly and conveniently angled.

Weight

The weight of your motorbike is very important to safety and riding generally. If your bike is heavy, it will feel more rooted to the road and should also brake quicker, because more weight is acting on the wheels.

However weight can also affect manoeuvrability because a heavy bike is more difficult to move than a lighter bike, particularly when parking.

This should be considered when you’re buying your next motorbike – are you going to be weaving around tight city junctions and traffic or will you be out on the open road where a heavier bike won’t get in the way?

Gear changing

Gear changing is obviously a vital part of riding your bike so it’s important that you can do so comfortably. You shouldn’t go searching for your gear lever and should be able to reach it comfortably. If it’s not comfortable and you need to find it for each change of gear, you won’t be concentrating on the road, which is dangerous.

Headlights

headlights close up in Nevada on Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic

A large part of the battle with being on a motorbike on UK roads is being seen. Your headlight is one of the best ways to get noticed by other road users and it’s vital that it not only works but also that it’s set right.

Your headlight should be white, or white in a yellow lamp. It should point directly forward and down slightly. When you change to dipped headlights, the light must bounce off to the right when it hits the road surface.

Don’t underestimate comfort

These aspects of a motorbike are paramount to safety but, as you may have noticed, they’re also aligned to comfort and ease. If you can ride comfortably and with minimal distractions, you will be safer as you can concentrate fully on the road and on riding.

However, a motorbike is only as safe as its rider – so drive sensibly and be safe.

Next page: Buying the safest motorbike Pt. 2