After hours of searching online, having multiple test-rides on multiple bikes and reading countless reviews, you’ve finally found your new best friend! Whether it’s your first bike, or you twentieth, there’s no better feeling than getting a new bike. However, it is likely that the excitement isn’t the only feeling you have, as even if you won’t admit it, nerves always accompany your first ride on a new bike.
One of the best things you can do to appease both your nerves and your excitement, is to take your bike out for a ride at a time when the roads are quiet. Whenever I get a new bike, I always take it out in the evening, not only because I’m too excited to wait any longer, but also just to get a feel for my new toy and settle the nerves a little. It’s inevitable that you don’t know how everything works, but there’s no better time to start to understand your bike than when the roads are deserted. You may brake slightly too hard and nearly go over the handlebars, but it’s much better to make these mistakes without the embarrassment of your mates watching! Hopefully your bike comes in good condition, but if its second hand and the previous owner didn’t maintain it regularly, there’s a few things to look out for.
- Is the chain set to the correct tension? You can check this with a Chain Monkey.
- Check the tyre pressures, along with the overall condition of the tyres.
- Make sure all cables are moving freely when you pull your brake and clutch leavers, twist the throttle and turn the handle bars.
- Check that all lights and indicators are working.
Another good idea is to ride your bike the routes that you know you will ride regularly. For example, from your house to work and back again, just so that you can practice without any pressure, and prepare yourself for when you have to do it in rush hour.
All bikes are different so there isn’t one correct strategy to ease yourself in with your new bike, but obviously the more you ride your bike, the more you’ll get used to it. If you have a different engine size, once you get onto a larger road, why not test the acceleration of your new bike? Learn how fast the bike accelerates and get a feel for the clutch lever. Your bike may also be bigger than before, which is another aspect to consider. You may not fit through the narrow spaces you could with your last bike, so just be extra careful until you know your new bike like the back of your hand.
Riding the bike isn’t the only way to get to know your bike, as the owner’s manual and the internet are both great resources. The manual is often thrown aside without a page being opened, but having a flick through the manual may lead you to discovering handy features of the bike, such as being able to have heated seats for that extra bit of comfort. Reading other people’s experiences of the bike online will further add to your understanding of the bike. From reading other bikers experiences who have the same bike, you will gain valuable tips and advice on how to get the most out of your bike.
YouTube is another useful place to learn more about your bike, as there are a countless number of videos of people showcasing their thoughts and experiences on the bike, its common faults and its hidden accessories.
Hopefully this will help you feel more than comfortable with your new bike and I’m sure that within no time, you’ll feel like you have had your new bike for years!