GEICO to new riders: Choose the right motorcycle for safety

WASHINGTON, D.C, April 17, 2015 – If you are among the throngs of new riders in the market for a bike this spring, GEICO says size and performance matters when deciding which bike is best for you. The available array of body types, engine sizes and performance features can leave even the most experienced motorcycle rider a bit overwhelmed.

"Each motorcycle season brings out new riders who are eager to hit the road but ill-prepared to handle the challenges of operating a motorcycle safely," said Stephen Stojanovich, director of GEICO's motorcycle division. "Unfortunately, many of the first-time riders that are involved in accidents are riding bikes that are not a good fit."

"When you're shopping for a new motorcycle, experienced friends and fellow riders are a great resource," said Jeff Massey, American Motorcyclist Association chief operations officer. "The AMA puts you in touch with some of the most committed riders who can share their wealth of knowledge and experience to help you make an informed decision."

Here are some important considerations to help you select a bike that suits you and your experience level.

What type of bike do you want?

When you're buying a motorcycle; the first thing to decide is what type of bike do you want? This requires thinking about the riding you plan to do. Will you be on the highway or off road? Do you plan on taking long-distance trips across country or staying on local streets? These are some of the important questions to ask yourself before you make a purchase. Your answers will help you decide the type of motorcycle that's best for you.

Engine size matters

Engine size is by far one of your biggest decisions when choosing any new bike. You do not want to make the mistake of purchasing a powerful motorcycle that is way beyond your riding skill-set. Motorcycle engine sizes are measured in cubic centimeters or "cc" for short, ranging from 50 cc to more than 2,000 cc. A bike that has more cubic centimeters will have a bigger engine, produce more power and will go much faster. If you are a first-time rider, Stojanovich recommends starting out with a smaller engine size to build up your confidence. Once you have gained that riding experience, you will know when the time is right to move to another bike that may offer more performance and power.

Factor in height and weight

A motorcycle's weight and seat height are two other key factors that even experienced riders must consider. For starters, a rider should be tall enough to sit on a motorcycle comfortably with both feet planted firmly on the ground. The added stability provides the rider with control of the bike if it starts to lean over. You do not want to get caught in a position where you can't control a motorcycle due to its weight. A bike should never be too heavy that a rider has a difficult time keeping it safely balanced. As a new rider, it's best to go out and sit on a variety of motorcycles to test their comfort level and ask questions.

Find the bike that's right for you

  • Touring – Specifically built for long distances, this is the largest and heaviest class of motorcycle featuring a powerful engine and weighing between 1000 to 1,500 lbs; when fully loaded.

  • Cruisers – Good for traveling on the open highways for short and long hauls, this bike is very powerful and heavy with excellent performance.

  • Sports – This short distant street performer is agile with quick acceleration to reach top end speed. With a reduced weight under 500 lbs; the engine size can range from moderate to powerful.

  • Sport touring – A cross between a sports and a touring motorcycle with a good engine, this bike can weigh between 500 to 750 lbs.

  • Standard – Versatile, general purpose street bike usually recommended as a beginner motorcycle. Engine size is moderate and the bike chassis is on the lighter side.

  • Dual Purpose – Engine size is moderate for this lightweight motorcycle that offers the characteristics of a dirt bike. The raised seat and a simplistic design are good for maneuvering on paved and unpaved roads.

  • Dirt – Engine sizes range from small to moderate on this light and very agile bike, specifically designed for extreme off-road terrains.

Stojanovich recommends riders visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com for tips on buying a new bike. For more information on GEICO motorcycle safety, please visit https://www.geico.com/information/safety/motorcycle/.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 14 million private passenger customers and insures more than 23 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.

For more information, go to www.geico.com.