This information has been gathered by many years of motorcycle riding and will be part of a motorcycle series of articles I will be writing when time permits.
If you are thinking of buying your first motorcycle there are a lot of things to consider. Engine size is important (you do not want to buy something beyond your experience and handling capacity). If you are a complete newbie perhaps a 250cc motorcycle would be relevant. Sit on the seat and check if is the right height for you. If you feel it is just a little high there are means to get around this. You can lower most modern motorcycles these days. Some motorcycles such as Harley Davidson have after -market lowering kits and I am sure there are many more makes and models with similar products. You can lower the front of most bikes up to around 35mm by loosening the triple clamps and letting the front fork legs rise up through. There are a lot of motorcycles with adjustable rear shocks too.
Once you have decided what model most suits your needs there are few things to look for. Every motorcycle has a lock stop on either side of the fork triple tree. This is to stop the motorcycle being turned too far beyond safety turning levels. Turn the handlebars left to right and check them for damage or welding (these stops are one of the first things damaged in a crash). Have a good look underneath the exhaust system for excessive scratching or road rash. Have a look at the front tyre from the side - if there are little mounds or bumps it could indicate faulty wheel bearings or wheel alignment. If the bike is chain drive look at the condition of the rear sprocket, check that the teeth are not sharply pointed or missing. Move the chain up & down and side to side to check for wear. Check for tyre wear and wheel rim damage.
Move to the engine and check for obvious oil leaks and the condition of the engine and transmission screws, bolts and nuts for damage. The last thing you want to do is buy a used bike that has been butchered by an amateur mechanic. Most motorcycles come with a basic maintenance booklet and small tool kit (ask to see these) it is most important while you are riding to have some basic tool kit as you never know when you when it may come in handy. If the motorcycle has spokes in the wheels give them a shake to check for loosening.
After buying your motorcycle make sure you carry a spare globe for front and back lights. A pair of spark plugs are also a must (especially if you have chosen a two stroke engine type). A small piece of rag to wrap your tools in if one is not supplied.
Now these tips are basically enough to get you going on your way to being a biker and enjoying your ride.
My name is Graham Macardy I have been riding motorcycles since the age of twelve. I am a qualified motorcycle mechanic and have owned motorcycle repair and sales businesses. I have just started to release some biker action DVDs from yester year to the present. These have been lost in my garage for many years and have just been found and converted from film. Go to my website and check them out. They will be released one at a time as they are processed. Have a look at my story.