For many men and women, hopping on their motorcycles and taking in a daytime or even nighttime ride for that matter is nothing short of pure enjoyment.

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Whether it is a ride down the highway or a back country road, motorcycles provide both a sense of freedom and a feeling of there is no stopping you, especially if you’re in a ton of traffic. With the maneuverability of a motorcycle, riders can pretty much go wherever and whenever they want.

With that in mind, is 2016 the year you finally get that dream bike and take to the roads?

Shopping for the Best Bike

If this is the year you get that first bike, how will you go about making sure you ride off with the best fit for you?

In order to get the motorcycle of your dreams and have many years to enjoy it, keep these factors in mind:

Do your homework – For starters, make sure that you research the different motorcycle options you have, looking for one that fits both your budgetary and safety needs. Start out with a proposed budget in mind of how much you can afford to pay for the bike and the various amenities etc. Make sure that the motorcycle is geared towards your needs from a safety standpoint too. You can research the best bikes out there by going to family/friends/coworkers who ride, visiting the Internet and respective motorcycle dealers with an online presence, and of course by visiting motorcycle sales shops;

Customer service matters – Once you make your motorcycle purchase, keep in mind that there will be maintenance and other tasks required down the road. This is why it is important that you buy from a dealer (or a reputable individual if you’re buying a used bike) who provides strong customer service. When buying from a dealer, you just don’t purchase the motorcycle and then ride off to never be heard from again. Make sure you work with a shop that is there to answer any questions and concerns you have with the motorcycle once you leave the showroom. Also make sure that you fully understand all the “language” in the purchase contract, including the length of the warranty for the bike and its parts. Lastly, only buy from a dealer who is committed to providing service after the sale. Shops who follow-up with their customers about regular maintenance, satisfaction surveys, send out alerts for recalled parts etc. are your best choice;

Ride in safety and in comfort – Once you have a motorcycle in your possession, never overlook the safety features (including being a safe rider) and riding in comfort. Motorcycles are awesome to ride, but they can also be involved in accidents (see more below) just as easily if not more than cars and trucks. If you’re a safe rider and riding in comfort, it stands to reason that you’re less likely to be involved in an accident, an accident that could have fatal implications. Dress the part when riding with the proper headgear (some states still do not require helmets, but commonsense says you should always wear one), comfortably-fitting clothing so you can move around and control the bike (this can include tobacco moto jeans and other such wear), and the proper shoes for easy on and off controls of the bike;

Obey the Rules of the Road – Finally, having a motorcycle is a privilege (just as a car or other such vehicle), so be sure to obey the rules of the road. With more and more vehicles of all kinds out on the roads these days and in the years to come, it is important that cyclists do their part to keep the roads safe for everyone. If you’re just learning how to operate your first motorcycle, take it out on less congested roads to begin with. Once you feel comfortable operating the bike, then progress to area roads and highways. Always make sure you stick to the rules of the road, not acting like you can go anywhere you want with your bike. Keep in mind that weaving in and out of traffic can be hazardous to both you and other drivers. Oftentimes, those individuals operating cars and trucks have “blind spots” to deal with, so they won’t always see you coming down the sides of the road.

When it comes to riding a motorcycle, do it safely, along with riding in style and comfort.