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Still searching for my bike

Added October 14, 2016
Motorcycle Light

A Rider’s Journey: This is the sixth in a series of blog posts by DeAnna DeCaluwe about her journey to recreate her father’s last ride.


It’s been a little more than a month since I took my Motorcycle Safety Foundation BasicRider class, and I’m still searching for a motorcycle. The process has been a bit more cumbersome than I anticipated. I thought this would be easier than car shopping—all I’d need to do is find something cute that didn’t break the bank, and then sign the check. It turns out there’s a lot more to think about when you’re purchasing a bike. Here are just a few of the items I learned should be taken into account:

How powerful a bike?

If, like me, you knew nothing about motorcycles, then you, too, would not have known what a cc is. According to, ccs are “cubic centimeters,” which measure the volume of cylinders in the engine. In layman’s terms, they’re what help determine how powerful the bike is. The higher the ccs, the more power the bike typically has. Ccs also impact the speed and smoothness of the ride. In my BasicRider course, I rode a 250cc machine. After much consideration and discussions with other riders, I’ve learned that I’d probably like to stick between 500ccs and 750ccs. I want something with a little more power than a 250, but not anything too big that I won’t be able to handle. Bigger engines also add weight to a bike, and I will need to be able to pick the bike up if I fall.

Do the foot pegs and controls suit me?

Foot placement and controls can make a big difference in how comfortable riding the bike will be. They impact your riding position and posture. There are three ways the controls are typically placed—one option is to have your feet behind you, which is typically seen on sport bikes. Traditional bikes can have the foot pegs either right below you, or out in front of you. Right below you ensure you’re in a stance of power, if they are forward, it’s a more of a relaxed seated and riding position. Again, there are pros and cons to each—you just need to find the right fit for your comfort level. 

Tank size matters

The first bike I looked at was a 750 Honda Shadow. It was a beautiful bike, and, looking at the pictures, I was certain I was going to buy it. When I sat on the bike, however, the larger width of the tank forced my knees to point out. It was not a comfortable seating style for me. Others love it, but I found that I would like something a bit narrower. There are, of course, pros and cons to both. A wider, bigger tank size means less stopping to fill up. The bike with a narrow tank doesn’t hold as much, meaning you won’t go as far on a tank of gas. Again, these are just a few things that need to be thought of to ensure you’re purchasing something that’s the right “fit” to ensure you’re comfortable and alert on the road.  Price, the age of the bike, overall condition, mileage and add-ons also need to be considered. My husband, for example, has told me I will need a bike with a windshield because getting hit with a June bug (size of a quarter) at 55 mph is not a pleasant experience.  There are lots of bikes on the market and I’m still working to find one that will suit my needs. I’m optimistic that I will find something soon!


Woman Smile Motorcycle Outfit

DeAnna DeCaluwe, a married mother of two boys, is the newest member of the Dairyland Cycle family. To recreate her father’s last ride, DeAnna is learning to ride this summer. Join her as she takes a rider’s journey.