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Motorcycle Riding in the Rain:

5 Rules to Keep You Safe

Intro

Motorcycle riders should take precautions when dealing with any adverse weather conditions. You should always ask yourself, “Is it going to rain today?”. Some motorcyclists don’t even attempt to ride in bad conditions and keep the bikes safe and cozy in the garage on those wet days. Other times you could be on a motorcycle road trip and the weather catches up to you. You either to have to pull over out of the rain or keep pushing through.

Motorcycles are smaller and less visible to other cars. They also have less contact points on the road which decreases traction even in the best of conditions. On top of all this, there are distracted drivers all around us and they are often times even more distracted in rainy conditions.

It is important that you are aware of the proper gear and riding techniques to wear implement in rainy or low visibility conditions. Don’t ruin a nice weekend ride or a longer vacation on your motorcycle because you weren’t prepared for something inevitable like adverse weather and rain. If you’re one to not let the weather stop you or you just inevitably get caught in it, we’ve outlined some tips and tricks to help you stay safe, visible, and comfortable.

 

Rule #1: Wear or Pack the right Rain Gear

Staying dry, warm, and visible is the name of the game here. A waterproof rain suit is the most important item to have regarding rain gear. It can accommodate all three of the needs listed above. It keeps you dry, which in turn keeps you warm, and is usually made out of high vis or reflective material.
In addition to a waterproof outer shell there are gloves and boots that are better suited for rainy days to help keep the hands and feet dry and warm. Cold hands and/or can make riding  dangerous and uncomfortable as your fingers and toes will be cold and tense.
As stated above, staying dry also means staying warmer in the rain. Some items of clothing, when wet, do nothing to insulate the body and it’s almost as if you have nothing on at all. Wetness by itself won’t necessarily hurt you, but the cold will.Moving away from the body, let’s segue into your vision. An anti-fog visor and clear face shield are important when riding with a full face helmet, which is recommended on rainy days. Many modern helmets have ventilation that will aid in keeping your visor clear. Aside from ventilation there is visor treatment products out there that you rub onto your visor and it coats it to help eliminate fog. A wet visor that has fogged up is hard to see out of and for obvious reasons could be very dangerous, so best to try and prevent it before it starts. The problem is even worse at night because of glare from any lights around you bouncing off of a wet visor.

For the purpose of this article we’re assuming the weather is bad and visibility is low on top of the fact that people are already distracted enough from smart phones and the radio while driving. It is important to make sure you can be seen. High vis and reflected material is often used in purpose specific rain gear, like that made for motorcycle riding. A bright yellow or orange jacket accented with reflective lines can help you be seen on a dark wet day or night.

 

Finally, whatever gear you decide to go with, make sure it is comfortable, can pack on your bike well when not in use, and doesn’t restrict your movement too much. Bulky items that restrict hand movement and head movement are what you need to stay away from. If you need to react quickly these items can make the difference between a wreck and a save.

Rule #2: Adjust Riding Style For Adverse Weather Conditions

When the road is wet and traction is limited coupled with low visibility you must change the way you ride your motorcycle. Moisture on the road significantly reduces traction for your motorcycle regardless of how good of shape your tires are in. The oil on the road is also brought up to the surface making the road even more slick than just with the moisture alone.
Due to limited traction, give yourself more time and space to stop. Use your brakes gradually and smoothly and start stopping earlier.  Double your follow distance from cars and other riders as well so that abrupt braking isn’t necessary.

The same principle applies for the throttle. Make throttle adjustments more gradually and smoothly. Give yourself more time to get up to speed. Losing control in low traction scenarios usually doesn’t end well and being in a hurry can ultimately slow you down a whole lot. No use racing around in the rain.
You also will have to use less lean angle, which means a decrease of speed in turns. Having your front or rear tire wash out abruptly in a turn is something very difficult to recover from. Once the slide starts it is usually finished before you even have a chance to react.
You risk losing control in all of these scenarios if you are used to pushing your bike in dry conditions and then expecting it to handle the same way in wet conditions. Start slowly and build some confidence but never expect the bike to perform the same way when the conditions are this different. Remember to stay smooth on the throttle and brakes.

Rule #3: Know the Danger Zones

I’m not talking about Kenny Loggins’ 1986 hit. What I am referring to as “Danger Zones” are places in the roadway that tend to be more slippery than other places and are where accidents happen at a greater rate.
Intersections are the main places that accidents occur. For starters, people are braking and accelerating, so there’s that obstacle to overcome, but secondly, this is where most oil from cars collects. Cars braking and stopping in the same 200’ consistently over time builds up oil on the road in these spots. When rain occurs and gets the pavement wet the oil rises to the top of the moisture and can cause the pavement to be slick as glass.

Some other areas that we would consider danger zones are railroad crossings, sealer pavement, manhole covers, the middle of a lane, and patches of standing water. Again, this is common areas for oil or excessive water to accumulate from passenger vehicles. Manhole covers, tracks, and sealer pavement, on the other hand, can be slick as ice when wet.

To make matters worse, using your vision to spot the exact slippery areas that are caused by an oily road is next to impossible. It all looks like the same wet pavement. Knowing where the slippery stuff is instead of relying on your vision to spot it is what you need to remember. Ultimately you want to see the driest and/or cleanest line that you can free of debris and oil and standing water.

Finally, when stopped at a red light or anytime you have to stop abruptly, keep an eye out in your side mirrors for cars coming up behind you. A driver might not have been as aware of you stopping abruptly and could have to slam on their brakes and possibly rear ending you. If you see a car approaching ahead of time your chances of accelerating to the side of the vehicle in front of you and avoiding a crash greatly increases.

Rule #4: Inspect your Motorcycle

What little traction you have in your two touch points should be in decent shape or you could be skating on thin ice. Tire pressure also plays a crucial part in making sure you  are getting the most traction that you can from the only two tires that you have.

Friction creates heat which increases traction. Tires take longer to warm up in the rain and sometimes never do. It is important to keep this at the top of your mind as you’re riding. Your tires will not perform like normal under such adverse conditions!

You also want to make sure you have sufficient brake pads left and your brakes are in the proper working order. For Harley Davidson motorcycles we recommend a brake flush every two years to prevent any braking issues within the hydraulic system. This is a hard thing to inspect, but it is important to at least be conscious of it and properly maintain your bike.

Lighting is huge in poor visibility scenarios like rainstorms or in the dark. Make sure you have brake lights, turn signals, and headlights all properly functioning to not only allow you to see better but more importantly to let other people know that you are there.

Finally, bike leaks can drip down underneath your bike as you ride and get on the back tire. Take a look at the bottom of your engine before heading out on a wet day especially and see if there is any fresh oil, or any oil spots on the ground underneath your bike. If it is leaking somewhere and making it to the floor underneath your bike you know it's doing the same thing as you ride. So even if you avoid the oily spots in the road, if your bike is working like an oil dispenser right in front of your rear tire it won’t make a difference. You’ll have minimal traction and run the risk of losing control.

Rule #5: Plan an Alternative Route

So you’ve followed all of the above rules and you are about to head out for a ride on your motorcycle and there’s a chance of rain on the proposed route that you would like to take. How big is the cell? Is there a way to bypass the weather that won’t interfere with the quality of ride that you are going on? Would any parts of your route prove difficult or impossible under adverse weather conditions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions it is important to have an alternative route and a decision point to take that route if by chance when you get to this decision point weather has deteriorated.

If an alternative route isn’t an option at least investigate the route you are going on and try and research where good places are to stop along the route. If the weather gets too bad or lightning starts to pop up then it is best you pull over and wait it out at one of these preselected locations.

Remember, motorcycles are all about having a good time, so it is important you can accomplish this while at the same time staying comfortable and most importantly, safe. If you are lacking in any one of the areas mentioned above and find yourself in a situation where you are riding in the rain it is best you keep these rules in mind and do your best to abide by them. The rules are relatively easy to follow while the consequences are rather severe. From one rider to another, stay safe and have fun!

5 Tips for Getting Into “motorcycle” Shape

Intro

When most people think of motorcycle riding the first thing that comes to mind may not be “physical fitness”. It definitely isn’t exercise bike either. Riding a motorcycle is anything but lethargic. It takes physical exertion. Who cares about what you can throw on the squat wrack when your bike is pumping out over 100 HP, right? With great power comes great responsibility. Fatigue plays a bigger part in road accidents than one might realize, not to mention, this is supposed to be fun.

Any veteran rider knows how much physical endurance and health matters when riding a motorcycle. After a 500-1000 mile multi day motorcycle road trip, the out of shape folks are gassed out. After that much traveling on a motorcycle you can also get dangerously fatigued. On top of that, the faster and more aggressive the bike is, the faster and more aggressive you have to be to ride that bike safely and precisely. If this is something that you think is a problem for you or just something you’ve never thought about looking into, no sweat, we’ve got you covered. Below I will highlight 6 tips that are a combo of exercises and routines to keep you going strong and most importantly keeping you safe on your motorcycle all year round.

1. Specific Focus: Less Glamour Muscle Routines

Motorcycle riding, depending on the style, is a very specific activity and repetitive activity from a physical perspective. If you’re trying to be a fitness model, then you should ignore this first tip. If you are trying to ride a motorcycle for 5-6 hours at a time for multiple days while feeling food and staying safe, listen up.

The “glamour muscles” I am referring to are largely biceps, chest, delts, and lats. These are muscles that, when sized up and toned, make you look like a superhero. Think comic book characters or that Superman costume full of fake fluffy muscles. This is for the folks either competing in fitness competitions, or trying to impress people on the beach in the summertime. You don’t build these muscles for the purpose of function, but for looks. Sure, if you look like Superman, more power to you, but are you fatigued after 2-3 hours of hard motorcycle riding? Probably. More non functioning muscle actually drains you of oxygen. This is why huge boxers or MMA fighters tend to gas out faster than the little guys.

Not to worry though, strength is huge with motorcycle riding, since motorcycles do weigh a considerable amount and don’t throw themselves around. You’ll need strong legs, back, shoulders, and core to do this. If you are reading this and have the glamour muscles dialed in, well then you probably already have a strong foundation to build from to get your motorcycle riding stamina up.

Cardio and its byproduct, endurance, is also an important ingredient in your focus.  A lot of professional motorcycle riders ride bicycles to boost cardio while being gentle on the body. Plus, it keeps you on two wheels, which is a solid angle to take. You want to know how to handle a bike when you are pushing your stamina to the limit.

I’ll get more specific into these routines below, but tip no.1 and arguably the most important tip, is to train yourself for the specific task you are undertaking. In this case, it is motorcycle riding.

2. Be Light on the Bars - The Magic of a Strong Core and Legs

A deeper dive into the focus of your workouts is focusing a big part of your motorcycle exercise routine on lower back core/ab exercises, and leg exercises. When you strengthen these areas of the body they act as your support instead of relying on your arms and upper body to hang on to the bike. These lower muscle groups hold and shift your body weight on top of the bike leaving the upper body free to move just the bike free of body weight. No more arm pump and tired wrists and hands. When you stay  light on the bars it’s a wild feeling being able to whip a bike around a corner with ease because your core and legs are keeping you stable on top of the motorcycle!

A couple main areas of hard riding that will be enhanced by a strong core and ab exercise routine is accelerating and braking. Your core keeps you centered over the bike while your legs allow you to shift positions instead of your wrists and arms doing all the work.

Recommended Exercises:

Core: Planks | Crunches | Russian Twist

Lower Back: Glute Bridge | Superman | Back Extensions

Legs: Lunges | Squat | Calf Raises

Keep it simple at first so start with these leg, core, and ab exercises above. Really focus on developing and improving all of the core muscles over time. It’s more about stamina than strength. This will help you better maneuver yourself on top of the motorcycle for longer periods of time. There are many more leg, core, and ab exercise routines on line so do some research and get that lower body solid so you can stay light on the bars.

3. More Strength in Upper Back/Arms/Shoulders

Now that we’ve gotten you light on the bars and you’ve got a sense for developing a strong core it’s time to focus on what the upper body delivers to your motorcycle experience so you can focus on those areas.

Where as the core muscles control the body, these three muscle groups control the actual motorcycle. A dirt bike weighs 150-250 pounds and a Harley Davidson motorcycle weighs anywhere from 500-1000 pounds. Getting these areas in check will help you do so and in harmony with the core and abs will keep you moving all day long.

Recommended Exercises:

Upper Back: Pullups | Seated Row

Arms: Wrist Extensions | Pullups

Shoulders: Shoulder Presses | Lateral Raise

These workouts above will help to control you and the motorcycle under a load from heavy braking, accelerating, or cornering. The key is to align the strength of your upper body with the core for bike handling. Next we will get into taking this alignment and making it even more maneuverable through added mobility.



4. Build Endurance

This topic has a lot to do with safety. Listen up. In a lot of competitive extreme sports, like snowboarding, skateboarding, motocross riding, road racing, etc… on a practice day you should “never have a last run”. You never call or deem a particular session as the last session. You are tired and knowing it is the last run could result in pushing yourself. This is when the majority of accidents happen. You are fatigued, tired, and at the same time, pushing yourself.

Now, if you are taking a motorcycle road trip maybe you aren’t competitively racing your motorcycle, but the same principle applies. The last couple hours of a long day is when the majority of accidents happen. Knowing when your stamina, therefore your strength, balance, and reflexes are toast, is a self awareness that you want to learn. To combat fatigue and increase stamina it’s important to incorporate some endurance focused routines into your workouts.

One of the top ways that motorcyclists train to build endurance, as stated in tip no. 1, is to ride bicycles. Mountain bikes or road bikes, doesn’t particularly matter. There’s a few reasons for this. The muscles that are trained while riding bicycles hard are largely the same or very similar to the muscles utilized when riding motorcycle. It’s a lot of core, balance, legs, arms, and shoulders. It’s also more gentle on the body than some other forms of endurance/strength training like cross fit or running.

Another endurance exercise used by motorcyclists is the stair climber. Like cycling, it is gentler on the knees and ankles than running. Riding motorcycles hard is tough enough on the leg joints. No use wearing them out while training.

5. Stretch!

Looking through these exercises listed above you might notice a few that you need to incorporate more into whatever routine you have. If you have no current routine that’s ok too. Just remember to start slow to avoid injury. Another great exercise discipline to incorporate with your motorcycle training to avoid injury is stretching.

One of the most overlooked parts of working out and exercise is full range of motion through stretching. Stretching is the best way to keep mobility and agility in the areas of your body that are being worked when you ride a motorcycle. You maintain a relatively static posture on your motorcycle road trip. This posture places stress on your back, shoulders, and hips, which can cause your body to get worn out without you really even noticing. Stretching is a way to counteract these static postures.

It’s important to stretch the shoulders, back, and hips before and after a ride to make sure you maintain mobility and give your muscles a chance to go the other way. This also helps with muscle stability and allows you to apply the strength that you’ve developed from doing the preceding workout routines. The top guys in competitive motorcycle racing usually do some form of yoga or pilates.

We’ve picked our favorite stretch poses for you to try out. Perform these before and after a long ride. Most importantly, listen to your body during your stretch routine. Be mindful of how it’s feeling and where the pain spots are. Work on and breathe into those areas when doing stretches. Consistency is also key. We recommend daily stretching to keep the muscles and tendons loose and strong. See below for our recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Steps to Buying a New or Used Motorcycle

1. Getting your motorcycle License aka “Endorsement”

Various states have various licensing requirements for riding a motorcycle on the road. For the state of Louisiana it is not required to have a separate license to operate a motorcycle BUT, a person must receive an endorsement to go along with his/her driver’s license to operate a motorcycle on any public roadway.

There are a couple of methods in obtaining an endorsement.

  1. The first is to pass two tests, an operations skills test, which is done on a motorcycle in front of an instructor, and a knowledge test.
  2. The second is if an applicant successfully completes the DMV approved Motorcycle SAO program. This is short of “Safety, Awareness, and Operation Training”.

The first option can be done anywhere a state certified riding academy is present and is the recommended method to receiving a comprehensive education in regards to safely riding and navigating a motorcycle on a public roadway. You are with other riders, whom you can learn from directly, as well as coaches who are typically motorcycle riders themselves.

Obtaining your license is the natural first step and will help you in step 2. Once you have a license you begin to get some riding experience, which will help you to figure out what kind of motorcycle you will eventually buy.
For more information about a riding academy near you contact Steven at Cajun Harley-Davidson at (337)289-3030.

For more general information about obtaining a motorcycle license in Louisiana visit https://www.permit.bike/louisiana-motorcycle-license/.

2. Deciding What Bike is Best for You.

Perhaps you know what and how to buy a motorcycle already and just need to get your endorsement and you’re on your way. If so, you can skip this section.
The flip side of this scenario is you aren’t sure what type and how to buy a motorcycle or even what style of riding you will enjoy the most. There are different bikes for different purposes. For riders just starting out, this decision can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Enjoy the process.

Some key factors to think about are engine displacement or size usually expressed in Cubic Centimeters (cc’s) or Cubic Inches, motorcycle weight, motorcycle height, riding position or “style” of bike, and of course your motorcycle budget.

Like most things, starting small is the best advice to give a beginner here. Small bikes are forgiving and easy to manage and manipulate. The riding academy classes mentioned above use 500cc Harley Davidson Street models because they are short, lightweight, have low displacement, and have an upright posture that is relatively unaggressive and easy to ride.

The “style” of bike will usually indicate the ride height and weight and even the engine size and price to an extent. The styles include cruisers, sport bikes, enduro bikes, dual sport, and a few others. What style you want is really up to your preference, your size, and your comfort level/ability. Ask yourself what type of riding appeals to you and research the types of bikes people are using for those purposes. Nothing beats getting out on the road on a motorcycle to really feel it. With an endorsement, most dealers will allow you to test ride various motorcycles so you can dial in your preferences to make the best decision.

Ride height depends on the length of your legs of course and is discretionary to an extent. You don’t want to be on your tippy toes if you can help it, but some people don’t mind this set up as a taller bike usually allows for more aggressive maneuvering. Bikes deemed “sport bikes” tend to have a higher center of gravity and the rider is positioned more aggressively to accommodate harder lean angles. Cruiser bikes tend to be shorter, where the rider sits “in” the motorcycle instead of “on” the motorcycle, allowing for a more comfortable and less aggressive posture. There is no science to this step. It’s all about you. Have fun with it.

One of the least exciting topics in regards to buying a new or used motorcycle is your budget. This will often times indicate the age, brand, and model of the motorcycle.

When you think “motorcycle” you likely think Harley Davidson and if you think Harley Davidson you likely think that the price is high. While that isn’t wrong necessarily, it is relative.

A used Harley Davidson for sale often costs much less than a brand new one. The same dialogue can be had of most make and models. To find a new or used Harley Davidson for sale near you contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer.

3. Shopping

After digging in and figuring out what style of riding and therefore bike you decide to pursue it’s time to start shopping. Since we mentioned Harley Davidson already we’ll use that brand as an example. To find a new or used Harley Davidson for sale near you contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer. Visit the dealership that sells that particular motorcycle. Cajun Harley-Davidson services the Lafayette and surrounding areas. You can even get your cajun seasoning next door at Don’s.

With online sources it’s relatively easy today to locate what you are looking for given you aren’t looking for a rarity. Just look up Harley-Davidson for sale and browse around. Facebook, craigslist, bike forums etc all have places where people can post their used Harley Davidson’s for sale. The information age we live in today makes this more convenient than ever. As stated, with an endorsement most dealerships will allow you on a short ride on a bike of your choice to get a feel for it.
Stay fluid in your decision. Often times someone goes to a Harley Davidson dealership to buy a specific bike and for whatever reason they end up riding a few different ones. The result is they end up buying another bike that they end up enjoying way more. Seeing the bike and riding it can impact your decision more than doing an infinite amount of online searches.

Use the knowledge of the sales team at the Harley Davidson dealership to hone in on the right motorcycle for you. Explain the process you are taking to locate your dream bike and allow them to be a part of that process. They’re there to sell bikes, but they have experience with people like you and are there to guide you through this stage of the process. They can help you get approved for a new or used Harley Davidson motorcycle or switch you from a model to another model that you end up enjoying a lot more.

On that note, don’t be pushed into buying a bike you don’t really want. Establish guidelines and remain firm in them. You don’t have to buy the bike the first time to the Harley Davidson dealership. You’re there searching first, then buying once you’ve found what you are looking for.

 

4. The Purchase

As mentioned earlier, a huge part in such a large purchase is price. It will determine what you can buy realistically, so it is important to be realistic about what you are wanting vs. what you can purchase. If your dream bike is out of reach due to financial constraints your salesman can assist in a lower cost option.

A huge aid in the purchasing process is the advancement of motorcycle financing. Often times dealerships have in house financing that make this part of the transaction seamless and straightforward. Harley Davidson dealerships utilize HDFS to finance a large portion of their motorcycle sales. HDFS stands for Harley Davidson Financial Services and is an in-house source of financing for new or used Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Next, when purchasing a motorcycle it is important to shop insurance carriers for the best rate and coverage you can find. If you want to ride the motorcycle home you must have proof of insurance before the dealership will allow you to leave on it. For more details on motorcycle insurance start with your vehicles insurance carrier and ask if they offer insurance for motorcycles and get a quote.

5. Gear, Storage, and Accessories

For gear it is important to stay safe. Use DOT approved helmets and jackets and always wear long pants or jeans to protect your legs not only from a potential crash but from a hot engine or exhaust pipe. It is legally required in Louisiana to have a helmet AND eyewear.

For securing your motorcycle A little more diligence is required. Bikes are relatively easy to steal compared to vehicles. It is important to keep it out of sight. You can store it preferably in a garage or in the back yard or under a bike cover. They also make wheel or rotor locks and chains and some bikes have fork locks and security.Remember, have fun, enjoy the process, and stay safe!

Recap

This has been a lot of information in a short write up so it is important to always remember that this is supposed to be fun. You may feel overwhelmed at times but just bring yourself back to the fact that this is FUN!!

First, you obtain you MOTORCYCLE ENDORSEMENT from taking a Riding Academy course at a Harley Davidson dealership or taking the state SAO program. We recommend the Riding Academy because it is a peer group setting with trained instructors who are experienced motorcycle riders themselves.

Second, you begin to make DECISIONS as to the riding style that you are drawn to and the style of bike you want to ride. After making a style decision you need to analyze your budget and decide if a new or used motorcycle will be right for you, as well as make and model.

Third, you start SHOPPING! Call on your local Harley Davidson dealership and see what they have in store and schedule a time to go and visit with a sales guy to go over your goals with your motorcycle journey.

Fourth, is when you decide on a bike you make the PURCHASE based on your budget. Harley Davidson dealerships use HDFS to help finance these types of purchases.

Lastly, get the right dot approved GEAR, stay safe, and have fun!

Choosing and Maintaining Motorcycle Tires for Your Harley-Davidson   

One of the most important parts of a motorcycle and motorcycle safety that is often overlooked is tires. Tires are what keeps you and your motorcycle firmly on the road, rain or shine.

In order to prioritize safety and reliability while riding your motorcycle thought and consideration should go into tire selection and inspection. What are these considerations? How do you choose the right motorcycle tire for your bike? Let’s dig in and find out.

Understanding Tire Codes

There are a variety of tires that motorcyclists should be aware of when selecting tires for their bike. These variations are made for different styles and speeds of riding, cosmetic purposes, and even race applications. Since this article is geared towards Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the main things to consider are;

 

  1. Tire Size
  2. Speed and Load Ratings
  3. Cosmetics

 

Let’s start the discussion on tire size by first breaking down how motorcycle tires are sized. What do all of those numbers and letters mean? There is a lot of information conveyed in a tire size code. A typical size is written out like this;

Tire Sizing

The tire size is the most straightforward thing to consider when choosing a motorcycle tire and reading the sizing code. Different brands use different codes and the two codes above are the most common styles we see in the Harley-Davidson dealership. We’ll start with the first code type.

In the first code style the tire size is represented by the first three numbers in the code.The first numbers tells you the width of the tire at its widest point(130mm) followed by what’s called the Aspect Ratio. The Aspect Ratio is the profile or height of the tire compared to the width. It indicates the ratio of height to width. Therefore a 90% aspect ratio means the tire is 90% as high as it is wide. The importance of these first two numbers is of course to remain clear of wires or the fender wall of the bike.

The third number is the rim diameter, which is the easiest and most straightforward to understand. Only one size will fit your rim since your rim is but one size, while your width and aspect ratio can change depending on fitment and clearance of the fender(s).

A take away that we see at the dealership more often than we’d like is the fact that guys are trying to squeeze wider and wider tires under their factory fenders. You DON’T want to squeeze oversized tires underneath your fenders despite if it appears to fit or how good it looks or what your friends tell you. There is vital wiring underneath the fender and depending on your motorcycles suspension if you hit a big enough bump and the suspension compresses enough you run the risk of rubbing and tearing up your tires of the wires to the brake light and turn signals. Hitting a bump and losing a brake light or turn signal randomly without you knowing it can get your ran over at night

Make sure you have adequate room underneath your fender for the tire size that you decide to go with and also be aware of how/where your wiring is ran. There’s no science to this, it’s just something to figure out. Ask your local Harley-Dealership for tips as to what size they see working for similar applications to yours if you aren’t comfortable with making the determination yourself.

Load and Speed Ratings

We then get to the load and speed ratings of the tire. You always want to load your motorcycle within the confines of how much weight the tire can handle at certain speeds. Below are two charts. One is the Load Index or Rating conversion table and the second is the Speed Rating table.   

Since we are talking top speed and weight let’s consider a typical Dunlop tire for a

Harley-Davidson Touring bike. bike easily capable of 100+ mph and a bike that is relatively heavy and has the capacity to carry weight in various compartments and saddlebags.

The rear tire on a 2020 FLHXS is a Dunlop D407T 180/55B18 80H. This tells me that the tire is;

- Dunlop 407 Touring Tire with the “D407T” indication at the beginning. This is make and model of the tire essentially.

  • The tire is 180mm wide with a sidewall that is 55% as tall as it is wide. This is a relatively low profile tire.
  • Rim Size is 18”
  • Load Rating is 80, which converts to 992lbs
  • Speed Rating is H, which is 130 mph.

As you can see just by the coding on the motorcycle tire, the load rating is more than adequate as the bike weighs 795lbs and the top speed of a stock bike is about 105-110mph.

Home Decor

Harley-Davidson Home Decor Ideas

If you are a Harley-Davidson enthusiast then chances are you may have a space within your home where you not only house your motorcycle but where you and your riding friends come to hang out in between rides. Cool Harley-Davidson themed home decor is a must have when setting up a designing your personal space for your and your motorcycle.With such strong brand recognition, there is no shortage of Harley-Davidson home decor items to decorate such a space. Whether you want wall decor, furniture, lighting, or even bar games and equipment, if you can think of it it’s probably out there. We’ve sifted through some popular items that my be available to pickup or order from your local Harley-Davidson dealership now. We dive even further to include some sources for vintage items that are no longer available new.

 

Harley-Davidson Wall Art, Signs, and Clocks

 

Tin Signs

Every recognizable space in your home with a theme needs some sort of wall decoration. A popular accessory is the tin wall sign. There are many of these wall signs available at your local Harley-Davidson dealership. They are constantly being rotated in order to offer different design options. You’ll rarely see the same one twice.

 

Neon Signs and Clocks

To add a little more excitement to the space and to reach out further than just the flat of the wall, Harley-Davidson has pretty cool neon signs and clocks that illuminate various brilliant colors.

 

Canvas or Prints

Many artists and photographers have been documenting and rendering Harley-Davidson themes for quite some time. It is easy to locate beautiful Harley-Davidson artwork. You local Harley-Davidson dealership will have access to a few art vendors that do Harley-Davidson pieces.

David Uhl is a prominent artist that works with Harley on his paintings. Most of his themes are vintage and he even does an anniversary piece around Sturgis to commemorate the rally every year. Check out his website at www.uhlstudios.com.

Harley-Davidson Furniture

Now that you’ve got your walls up and knocked some of the easy stuff out you can focus on the functioning items in the room. From stools, tables and chairs, to rugs, these items will certainly make a statement in your home or garage.

Stools

 

 

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Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet

Motorcycle helmets are arguably the most important piece of safety gear in your motorcycle gear arsenal. Choosing the right helmet that works for you depends on your needs and style preferences. Motorcycle save thousands of lives per year alone in the United States and hundreds of lives could have been saved if everyone wore a helmet. Depending on the state you live in you may not be required to wear a motorcycle helmet but it is HIGHLY recommended that you always wear one.

With that said, how many different types of motorcycle helmets are there? How do they compare in terms of safety? How can you even tell? What features do you require for your particular needs and riding style. Keep on scrolling and we’ll address all of these and more.

Safety Standards of Motorcycle Helmets

What good is a helmet if it doesn’t adequately protect you in the event of an accident? There are different certifications in different countries and of course there are some third party certifications that can be granted for certain helmets.

In the United States, in order for a helmet to be street legal it must be D.O.T. (Dept of Transportation) certified. If you look on the back of a helmet you’ll usually see a D.O.T. sticker to signify that this is a street legal helmet.

 

Another helmet safety commission issues helmets with a SNELL rating, which is named after a famous race car driver, named Pete Snell, who died in a car accident while wearing a less than ideal helmet. His family and friends decided to start a foundation to  investigate the constant improvement in helmet design and create a rating system people could rely on when choosing a helmet.

If you ever cross the pond into Europe you have the ECE helmet ratings, which stands for Economic Commissions for Europe. This standard is multinational and is used by over 50 countries. If you see a helmet that is not only DOT certified and also has any of these other two certifications then you know the helmet is solid. A DOT only rating is still sufficient though. Perhaps they don’t sell the particular helmet you are lookin at in Europe. No worries. DOT does its homework.

These various certifications usually require the helmet to go through a series of tests to measure metrics such as its impact resistance, energy distribution, and the ability to retain shape under certain forces. If a helmet you are using does not have one of these ratings or stickers on it you need to make sure what you have on your head can protect you. Helmets without these ratings are considered “novelty” helmets and you might as well save your money, because they likely won’t be saving your life.

The Six Different Styles of Motorcycle Helmets

 

  1. Full Face
  2. Modular
  3. Open Face 3/4 Helmet
  4. Half Helmet
  5. Off-Road
  6. Dual-Sport    

Full Face Helmet

The Full Face Helmet offers the most coverage and is considered  the safest helmet. It covers your whole head and face from impact.

The chin portion of the helmet is what protects the lower part of the face, head, and neck and is what other helmets typically lack. According to a recent study, chin takes up about 50% of the impact on most crashes so not having this part of your dome covered can be a serious mistake.

A full face helmet is a relatively versatile style of helmet. Your Harley-Davidson riders and the sport bike guys alike both rock full face helmets. Personally, I feel naked without my full face on when I’m out riding. Something about my face not smacking the ground attracted me to this option.

Full face helmets come with visors and often times come with a flip down tinted screen

Likewise there are many brands and options for full face helmets. Here at Cajun Harley-Davidson we carry the Harley-Davidson full face helmets with or without a built in Bluetooth option. Some other popular brands include LS2 and Simpson. For more information and to see what we have in stock please reach out to us at Cajun Harley-Davidson at (337)289-3030.

Modular Helmet

Modular or “flip up” helmets are a hybrid helmet between a 3/4 helmet and a full face and are becoming more and more popular. Essentially the chin bar that makes a full face helmet can be flipped up turning the helmet into a 3/4 helmet therefore allowing the riders face to be exposed. Fitment is very similar to full face helmets.

Modular helmets provide slightly less protection than full face helmets due to the hinge mechanism thus weakening the overall structural integrity that you get with a single molded full face helmet. With that said, it still provides more protection than a 3/4 or 1/2 helmet.

Modular helmets are mostly used by touring, adventure, and cruiser riders due to the upright posture and hinge mechanism that gives the rider multiple options for use.   

In addition to choosing a modular helmet for the various riding styles and options, some manufacturers, like Harley-Davidson, have included 3-in-1 helmets in their lineup. These helmets have removable chin bars and lower ear protectors that can turn your helmet into a full face, 3/4 helmet. or half helmet just by removing some of these sections.    

Open Face 3/4 Helmet

Open face, or 3/4 helmets, cover the top, sides, and back of the head and leave the face exposed. While these helmets are equally as sound on the areas where they cover the head, they do leave the most vulnerable spot of the head open, and that is the chin and the neck as mentioned earlier.Of course with less helmet material around your  head the weight of an open face helmet is slightly less, but not significantly less. Unlike a full face helmet it doesn’t protect your face and eyes from road debris, bugs, or weather. Most open faces do come equipped with either a visor or face shield that can help shield your face from these elements, but in the absence of a visor or face shield it is imperative and often times the law that a rider wear some sort of eye protection. Open face helmets are popular among scooters, old school choppers, cruisers, and cafe racers as the face is left open to feel the wind.

Half Helmet

Half helmets only cover the very top crown of your head and offer the minimal protection against crashes. Some half helmets cover more of the head than others but the side and front of the face is always exposed. While providing significantly less  protection than Full Faces or Open Face helmets they still do make plenty of half helmets that are DOT approved.

Unlike the other helmets we’ve discussed half helmets usually do not come with any face shields or visors and some sort of eye protection will be needed. Similarly, bluetooth is often not an option unless you a set of bluetooth speakers that fit around your ears and stay on your head under the helmet itself. Harley Davidson does offer a set of half helmet bluetooth speakers just for this purpose.

Off-Road Helmet

What most people know as “dirt bike helmets” or motocross helmets, off-road helmets are designed for just that, to be ridden away from the street and on to dirt. These are not great options for street  or highway use as they are not designed to withstand the impact of a collision with as hard a surface as pavement. The reason for this is they are made with weight in mind. They are kept light because the rigors of off road riding tend to be more demanding than that of the typical cruiser or street bike. Head and neck fatigue is more likely to occur.

Off-road helmets are designed a bit different than the other motorcycle helmets discussed. They have a bigger chin bar to help with increased airflow and a larger visor. They are designed pretty bare bones, again to save weight. They offer no eye protection at all. Most riders where off-road motocross style goggles with these helmets that fit perfectly between the chin bar and visor.

Of course, some helmet and visor combinations aren’t advisable. Best to try everything on in person to make sure your equipment all jives when it comes to offload riding.

Dual-Sport Helmet

Dual-sport, or “adventure” or “enduro” helmets are a blend between a full face helmet and an off-road style helmet. These helmets are made for the rider who prefers the road less traveled, but wants to keep all of their options open at the same time.

Dual-sports offer much of the same outside look of an off-road helmet but have a large visor instead of utilizing goggles. Of course this visor can be snapped up or removed for the use of goggles if the rider wishes. These helmets also have more cushioning on the inside of the helmet to protect the rider’s head both on and off the pavement. Added to the dual-sport helmets is a more tucked in chin bar, decreasing airflow for higher speeds on road, which in turn dampens wind noise more than an off-road helmet would.

We recommend dual sport helmets for those longe range adventure riders who plan on doing a fair amount of highway riding while also venturing along the road less traveled

Conclusion

At the end of the day helmet technology is pretty advanced and no matter what type of riding you do or what styles you prefer, chances are someone manufactures the perfect helmet for you. With that said, we recommend doing your independent research to find a few helmets that you would like to try and then actually try them on. It’s important to try them on because, like shoes, pants, or most articles of clothing, while the “size” might be correct, the shape might not be a good fit. Everyone’s head is shaped differently and each manufacturer uses their own molds for their own different styles when constructing helmets.

To  try on some helmets or to simply find out more about what is available please contact the motorclothes department at your local Harley-Davidson dealer or call us, Cajun Harley-Davidson at (337)289-3030. We’d love to help keep you safe and comfortable while you’re out riding! Stay safe and have fun!

Motorcycle Leathers

A Brief History

Leather jackets and leather clothing as well as leather boots have been a while for quite some time and have been used for multiple applications throughout the years. The black leather bomber jacket is the icon trend setter and has been around since WWII. After the wall the leather jacket became fashionable via pop culture in the 1950s and 1960s.

Marlon Brando’s Perfecto jacket really set off the leather jacket craze that we still see today. The Perfecto jacket was actually developed in 1928 by the Schott family. The jacket was created out of necessity. Irving Schott was trying to ride a motorbike or bicycle with a rain jacket. The rain jacket would flap around and come undone and didn’t fit correctly. They weren’t snug where they needed to be snug and the sleeve length was incorrect. The old style jackets also used buttons, which was quickly replaced with zippers which tend to not open in the presence of strong winds. The Schott NYC company still makes these jackets today.

Safety and Function

So, why black leather jackets? Why zippers instead of buttons? Why double breasted? There’s a few good reasons for all of these things. It’s ultimately a matter of safety and function, and finally style.

Black leather jackets don’t show dirt or stains from oil, they are windproof and warm, and in terms of safety are more abrasive resistant. It is similar to having a second set of skin on in the event that you go down on your motorcycle.

Throughout the years leather jackets have become synonymous with Harley Davidson Motorcycles and motorcycle riding in general. The leather jackets that are available today have armor pockets where you can literally slip a piece of hardened plastic in the jacket to protect you in the event of a crash and most of them have different forms of venting for changing climate conditions throughout a bike ride.

The wind proof feel of a leather jacket also keeps a bike rider less fatigued after a long ride. With traditional textiles they flap around quite a bit and you can feel every bit of wind hit your body on your ride. With a leather jacket it feels as if your entire body has a windshield around it keeping the force of the wind off of you. This wind proofing feature also means you’ll sweat more, but not to worry. Motorcycle leather jacket manufacturers have vents for this exact purpose.

Style

With anything wearable a big part of public acceptance is the style of the garment. Leather can be as practicable, safe, or functional as anything else out there, but if people don’t buy into the look it won’t be something that will last. Since the early days of leather wear a few major styles have come out by designers. These styles offer different functions. We’ll break down some of the major ones here.

  • Bomber Jackets / Aviator Jackets

Bomber jackets usually have a more relaxed fit and got it’s debut in the military. It was used by pilots and flight crew members to keep them warm at high altitudes. Some key traits of a bomber jacket include a ribbed hem and cuffs and sit waist length. Some of the more classic details include a large stand up collar and front pockets along with shoulder epaulets.

 

- Leather Moto/Racer Jackets

This style of jacket is of course inspired by the classic motorcycle jacket but is more lightweight and stylish rather than used for protective qualities. Usually made out a lightweight and softer leather these jackets tend to be more streamlined and meant to be worn casually. They typically have a small snap over a banded collar and front zip pockets and a front zipper.

- Leather Vests

Very common amongst “riders” spanning from horse back to motorcycle riding, the leather vest has been around for quite some time. It is a versatile garment that can be worn in the summer as well as the winter with warmer layers underneath. Leather vests, while not covering the arms, do keep undergarments from moving around in heavy winds and trap body heat central to the core of the torso where it is needed most. During the warmer months having your arms exposed keeps you cool while still keeping a bulk of the wind off of the torso. Fun fact, bikers wore leather jackets in the 80s and 90s as a display of rebellion.

- Leather Shirt Jackets

Shirt jackets are a perfect application for a lightweight garment meant to keep you warm without the necessity of a full size jacket. Shirt jackets have the same details as button down collared shirts in your closet, but instead cut from leather. These are perfect for layering up in the cold months or to wear underneath a vest during the cooler months.

-Protective Leather Motorcycle Jackets

For a full scale heavy duty riding jacket look no further than a proper motorcycle jacket from a reputable source such as Harley Davidson. Jackets that are made for the intention of riding a motorcycle often come with many features that help foster the best experience possible for the rider. Typically you’ll see vents and zippered fronts with zippered pockets along with headphone cable access points and pockets for specific items, such as cellphones. These jackets often come with liners for colder weather and spots for padding if you plan on doing some racing or a lot of hard riding.

 

Other Gear

Due to leather’s functionality other leather clothing options have since come out that utilize this material in an effort to keep riders safe on a ride. Leather gloves, leather boots, and leather pants and/or chaps can all be made out of leather to protect and enhance the experience of the rider while riding a motorcycle.

In addition to being more abrasive resistant and wind blocking, leather boots, leather chaps, and leather gloves are more heat resistant than other textiles so you won’t burn your leather pants or leather boots on your exhaust pipe. On a cold day a pair of leather pants or leather chaps to go over your denim pants will keep the warmth in and the cool wind out, while protecting your legs from the threat of a crash or a hot exhaust pipe. 

Conclusion

If you are a motorcycle rider looking for some added protection or warmth on those long off season rides do yourself a favor and look at leather jackets and other leather goods. A local Harley Davidson Dealership near you should have multiple options and multiple styles of all the gear mentioned above. What’s good about trying on leather at a Harley Davidson Dealership is that once you have the gear on you can sit on a bike and make sure your posture allows you to be comfortable while wearing the leather jacket or leather pants of your choosing.

Be Safe and Have Fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Five Favorite Motorcycle Phone Mounts

As smart phone technology advances we use our phones more and more on our motorcycling adventures. Your phone can accomplish many tasks that used to require multiple devices. Your cell can be used as a music source, navigation, or a camera to  visually document your journey. Accessibility of your cell phone is becoming more and more vital to our riding experience. You shouldn’t settle for a cheap all plastic holder that will snap the first pothole you encounter.

When looking at phone holders it’s more than a search for fancy features. You want something that provides durability, reliability, and loads of grip to make sure your phone stays secure throughout your motorcycle journey.

You also are going to want convenience in rotation of the phone while riding and dismounting when you get to your destination. If putting the phone on and off takes two hands and too much time you will end up coming up with a reason to not use it on your future rides. Getting the phone set up shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance.

Furthermore, rotation of the phone on the mount is nice in case you want to take a picture with any angle and you can see the screen in both wide and vertical views. Below we will discuss various phone mount options for your motorcycle that do some or all of the traits mentioned above. We’ll also be discussing mounting locations since that’s another major step in the process in figuring out how to best accomplish this task. Let’s dive in.

 

Harley-Davidson Phone Carrier

At the top of our list is the Harley-Davidson phone mounts and attachment options. The first one we’ll cover here is the universal phone carrier. This carrier is basically an adhesive pad with a mounting point that adheres to the back of your phone or weather proof case and can mount to a Harley-Davidson specialty mount.

The Harley-Davidson mount comes in two varieties. One mounts on the handlebars and the other on the clutch perch (see below). The way the phone mounts to the mount itself is the same, it all depends on where you want your phone to be when you are riding your motorcycle.

The next option from Harley-Davidson is the cradle style mount that is mounted via a ballpoint tip that allows for maximum maneuverability once the phone is mounted. The cradle features a grippy foam and easy adjustable knobs for a quick attach and detachment. It is also rather universal as it can fit any device that is anywhere from 1.7” up to 3.5” wide. The cradle itself retails for $39.95 but must be purchased with a phone  carrier mount.

Two different mounts are available for the cradle style carrier. One is the clutch perch similar to the universal mount above. Another is a mount that bolts onto your handlebar clamps lower two bolts. This allows for the phone to rest in the center of your field of vision near the rest of your motorcycle controls. (See below) Both varieties of mounts retail for $29.95. Contract your local Harley-Davidson dealership for availability.

Mob Armor

The next brand that we’ll discuss and carry in store is the Mob Armor line of phone mounts. Like the name suggests, these clamp style mounts are very strong. They are also quite versatile and can work with a variety of applications.

For use on a motorcycle we sell a ton of the Mob Boss Claw mounts. This mount is made from aluminum alloy and comes powder coated black for  extra durability. The tabs are adjustable to accommodate any size phone and have a foam padding that helps to protect the phone from shock and vibration.

The “Claw” is also adjustable to fit any size handlebar you can throw at it from 1/4” all the way to 2” bars. The phone holder itself comes in a large and small size for different versions of phones.

The Small Mob Mount Switch is compatible with the following phones, with or without a case:

iPhone 5, 5C, 6, 6S, SE, 7, 8, XS, 11, Google Pixel, Pixel 2, LG G2, LG Nexus 5, HTC One M7, M8, X, Blackberry Classic, Curve 9320, Bold 9790, Z10, Leap.

The Large Mob Mount Switch is compatible with the following phones, with or without a case:

iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus/7 Plus/8 Plus/XS Max/XR, LG G3/G4, Moto X (2nd Gen), Moto G (2nd Gen), Nexus 6, OnePlus One, Sony Xperia Z3, HTC 612/One M8 and Samsung S3/S4/S5/S6/S6 Edge/Note 3/Note 4/Note 5/Note 5 Edge/Note 7.

Kuryakyn

At Cajun Harley-Davidson another popular option for handlebar mounting is the Kuryakyn Bar Mount Tech-Connect Device Mounting System. This mount features a cradle like phone holder that can fit most phone sizes along with their case for a quick attachment and detachment. It is very similar in style and function to the cradle style handlebar mount offered by Harley-Davidson. The mount also has an adjustable swivel head for easy movement in any position. The bar mounts included can fit 7/8”, 1” and 1-1/4” bars. This kit comes complete with everything you need for $69.99.

There are various other device holders from Kuryakyn that are made for other items than just phones. Call Cajun Harley-Davidson or your local Harley-Davidson dealer for more information and availability.

Ram Mount

Another fan favorite, and my personal favorite that I use on my 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR, is the Ram X-Grip phone holder. This spring loaded cradle holds phones up to 3.25” in width. Regardless of how rough the terrain is this arm will never let it go. There is even a rubber stretchy tether that you can add if you are doing any off-roading. It never has to be adjusted. To attach, simply pull the spring loaded arms back, slide your phone in, and let the springs do the rest.

I’ve used my Ram Mount for about a year now and the springs have never gotten noticeably softer or weaker. It still works just as good as when I first got it.The construction is superb on this holder. It is made with stainless steel and rubber coated grips and is very stout, but not bulky or heavy. The ball and socket mount is infinitely adjustable and you can place your phone in the cradle at various positions to keep the functionality of all of the buttons while locked in.

Finally, this cradle also comes available with many different variety of bases, such as a suction cup, cup holder, u-bolt mount, clutch perch mount and handlebar claw mounts.

The handlebar mount is a claw style that can fit a wide variety of handlebar sizes from .625” up to 1.5” . The U-Bolt mount can fit .5” to 1.25”. Finally the clutch perch fits on the two front clamp bolts on either the clutch or brake mount on Harley-Davidson models. The claw is the easier one to take on and off. The design allows for one simple hand screw to be undone or tightened to make a secure fit. All three mounts hold exceptionally well. Easy to install and easy to adjust, this is one of the most widely fitting applications on the market.

 

Rok Form

Last but definitely not least is the Rok Form series of mounts for your motorcycle riding adventure. Rok Form offers many mounts, but it’s motorcycle series consists of a perch and a bar mount similar to our other brands. The bar mount can fit bars between 7/8” and 1-1/4”. The Rok Form is made of aircraft grade aluminum and is very sleek, strong, and lightweight. Both style mounts come in two finishes for you to choose from, polished aluminum and black.

These mounts utilizes the RokLock quarter turn system & the Roksafe magnetic technology. You get double protection from your phone becoming road kill. The RokLock system is a push and twist locking mechanism that holds your phone in place while the RokSafe magnet acts a back up to further increase the holding power of the mount. In the above picture you can see the locking mechanism at the top of the phone and the square magnet pad built into the case. Also included in the Rok Form kits is a lanyard that you can attach to the case for a 3rd additional layer of protection.

The  Rok Form mounts does require the purchase of a protective case that attaches to the mount to hold your phone steady. There are a handful of different case options for many different types of phone. For more information on fitment, price, and availability give the Cajun Harley-Davidson parts department a call.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Steps to Buying a New or Used Motorcycle

1. Getting your motorcycle License aka “Endorsement”

Various states have various licensing requirements for riding a motorcycle on the road. For the state of Louisiana it is not required to have a separate license to operate a motorcycle BUT, a person must receive an endorsement to go along with his/her driver’s license to operate a motorcycle on any public roadway.

There are a couple of methods in obtaining an endorsement.

  1. The first is to pass two tests, an operations skills test, which is done on a motorcycle in front of an instructor, and a knowledge test.
  2. The second is if an applicant successfully completes the DMV approved Motorcycle SAO program. This is short of “Safety, Awareness, and Operation Training”.

The first option can be done anywhere a state certified riding academy is present and is the recommended method to receiving a comprehensive education in regards to safely riding and navigating a motorcycle on a public roadway. You are with other riders, whom you can learn from directly, as well as coaches who are typically motorcycle riders themselves.

Obtaining your license is the natural first step and will help you in step 2. Once you have a license you begin to get some riding experience, which will help you to figure out what kind of motorcycle you will eventually buy.

For more information about a riding academy near you contact Steven at Cajun Harley-Davidson at (337)289-3030.

For more general information about obtaining a motorcycle license in Louisiana visit https://www.permit.bike/louisiana-motorcycle-license/.

2. Deciding What Bike is Best for You.

Perhaps you know what and how to buy a motorcycle already and just need to get your endorsement and you’re on your way. If so, you can skip this section.
The flip side of this scenario is you aren’t sure what type and how to buy a motorcycle or even what style of riding you will enjoy the most. There are different bikes for different purposes. For riders just starting out, this decision can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Enjoy the process.

Some key factors to think about are engine displacement or size usually expressed in Cubic Centimeters (cc’s) or Cubic Inches, motorcycle weight, motorcycle height, riding position or “style” of bike, and of course your motorcycle budget.

Like most things, starting small is the best advice to give a beginner here. Small bikes are forgiving and easy to manage and manipulate. The riding academy classes mentioned above use 500cc Harley Davidson Street models because they are short, lightweight, have low displacement, and have an upright posture that is relatively unaggressive and easy to ride.

The “style” of bike will usually indicate the ride height and weight and even the engine size and price to an extent. The styles include cruisers, sport bikes, enduro bikes, dual sport, and a few others. What style you want is really up to your preference, your size, and your comfort level/ability. Ask yourself what type of riding appeals to you and research the types of bikes people are using for those purposes. Nothing beats getting out on the road on a motorcycle to really feel it. With an endorsement, most dealers will allow you to test ride various motorcycles so you can dial in your preferences to make the best decision.

Ride height depends on the length of your legs of course and is discretionary to an extent. You don’t want to be on your tippy toes if you can help it, but some people don’t mind this set up as a taller bike usually allows for more aggressive maneuvering. Bikes deemed “sport bikes” tend to have a higher center of gravity and the rider is positioned more aggressively to accommodate harder lean angles. Cruiser bikes tend to be shorter, where the rider sits “in” the motorcycle instead of “on” the motorcycle, allowing for a more comfortable and less aggressive posture. There is no science to this step. It’s all about you. Have fun with it.

One of the least exciting topics in regards to buying a new or used motorcycle is your budget. This will often times indicate the age, brand, and model of the motorcycle.

When you think “motorcycle” you likely think Harley Davidson and if you think Harley Davidson you likely think that the price is high. While that isn’t wrong necessarily, it is relative.

A used Harley Davidson for sale often costs much less than a brand new one. The same dialogue can be had of most make and models. To find a new or used Harley Davidson for sale near you contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer.

3. Shopping

After digging in and figuring out what style of riding and therefore bike you decide to pursue it’s time to start shopping. Since we mentioned Harley Davidson already we’ll use that brand as an example. To find a new or used Harley Davidson for sale near you contact your local Harley-Davidson dealer. Visit the dealership that sells that particular motorcycle. Cajun Harley-Davidson services the Lafayette and surrounding areas. You can even get your cajun seasoning next door at Don’s.

With online sources it’s relatively easy today to locate what you are looking for given you aren’t looking for a rarity. Just look up Harley-Davidson for sale and browse around. Facebook, craigslist, bike forums etc all have places where people can post their used Harley Davidson’s for sale. The information age we live in today makes this more convenient than ever. As stated, with an endorsement most dealerships will allow you on a short ride on a bike of your choice to get a feel for it.
Stay fluid in your decision. Often times someone goes to a Harley Davidson dealership to buy a specific bike and for whatever reason they end up riding a few different ones. The result is they end up buying another bike that they end up enjoying way more. Seeing the bike and riding it can impact your decision more than doing an infinite amount of online searches.

Use the knowledge of the sales team at the Harley Davidson dealership to hone in on the right motorcycle for you. Explain the process you are taking to locate your dream bike and allow them to be a part of that process. They’re there to sell bikes, but they have experience with people like you and are there to guide you through this stage of the process. They can help you get approved for a new or used Harley Davidson motorcycle or switch you from a model to another model that you end up enjoying a lot more.

On that note, don’t be pushed into buying a bike you don’t really want. Establish guidelines and remain firm in them. You don’t have to buy the bike the first time to the Harley Davidson dealership. You’re there searching first, then buying once you’ve found what you are looking for.

4. The Purchase
As mentioned earlier, a huge part in such a large purchase is price. It will determine what you can buy realistically, so it is important to be realistic about what you are wanting vs. what you can purchase. If your dream bike is out of reach due to financial constraints your salesman can assist in a lower cost option.

A huge aid in the purchasing process is the advancement of motorcycle financing. Often times dealerships have in house financing that make this part of the transaction seamless and straightforward. Harley Davidson dealerships utilize HDFS to finance a large portion of their motorcycle sales. HDFS stands for Harley Davidson Financial Services and is an in-house source of financing for new or used Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Next, when purchasing a motorcycle it is important to shop insurance carriers for the best rate and coverage you can find. If you want to ride the motorcycle home you must have proof of insurance before the dealership will allow you to leave on it. For more details on motorcycle insurance start with your vehicles insurance carrier and ask if they offer insurance for motorcycles and get a quote.

5. Gear, Storage, and Accessories

For gear it is important to stay safe. Use DOT approved helmets and jackets and always wear long pants or jeans to protect your legs not only from a potential crash but from a hot engine or exhaust pipe. It is legally required in Louisiana to have a helmet AND eyewear.

For securing your motorcycle A little more diligence is required. Bikes are relatively easy to steal compared to vehicles. It is important to keep it out of sight. You can store it preferably in a garage or in the back yard or under a bike cover. They also make wheel or rotor locks and chains and some bikes have fork locks and security.

Remember, have fun, enjoy the process, and stay safe!

Recap

This has been a lot of information in a short write up so it is important to always remember that this is supposed to be fun. You may feel overwhelmed at times but just bring yourself back to the fact that this is FUN!!

First, you obtain you MOTORCYCLE ENDORSEMENT from taking a Riding Academy course at a Harley Davidson dealership or taking the state SAO program. We recommend the Riding Academy because it is a peer group setting with trained instructors who are experienced motorcycle riders themselves.

Second, you begin to make DECISIONS as to the riding style that you are drawn to and the style of bike you want to ride. After making a style decision you need to analyze your budget and decide if a new or used motorcycle will be right for you, as well as make and model.

Third, you start SHOPPING! Call on your local Harley Davidson dealership and see what they have in store and schedule a time to go and visit with a sales guy to go over your goals with your motorcycle journey.

Fourth, is when you decide on a bike you make the PURCHASE based on your budget. Harley Davidson dealerships use HDFS to help finance these types of purchases.

Lastly, get the right dot approved GEAR, stay safe, and have fun!