How to Buy a Motorcycle: Mitch Daniels

Photograph by Gunnar Tufta/Gallery Stock

1. Unless you’re planning off-road riding, there’s no reason for a motocross model, however cool you think you’d look.

2. Shop around. Prices can vary widely, and a lot of bikes are sold these days under distress.

3. Leave the checkbook at home, at least on the first trip. You are likely to become intoxicated by one bike, and you should give your head time to clear.

4. Leave your wife at home. She is unlikely to appreciate the necessity of this purchase.

5. Refrain from drinking for 12 hours before the shopping trip. You’ll need all your resistance. (The danger here isn’t a persuasive salesman; it’s you.)

6. Ask the seller about condition, mileage, service history, and how the bike has been stored. Then ignore the answers and have a trusted mechanic check it out, including a run of the vehicle identification number (VIN) to ensure you aren’t buying it just to restore it to its rightful owner.

7. Check the fit. Do your arms and hands easily reach the clutch and brakes? Your feet should be flat on the ground. Favor comfort over cool.

8. Ask for a test ride.

9. Line up a buddy’s garage in case you need to hide your purchase from your wife while gathering your courage. This is the point at which drinking is recommended.

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