Occasionally Staffs Biker get asked a lot of questions about getting into biking, we are always happy to help with any questions or enquiries about local biking & even answering less specific open ended questions regarding motorcycling – by open ended i mean questions that often lead to answers specific to individual questions such as “What bike should I buy” – we can’t give you a definite answer without asking a few questions first.
Don’t worry, we will always answer questions whenever we can, so don’t feel afraid to ask & don’t fret if you think we are repeating ourselves as we are always willing to help where possible. A lot of the questions below often come in the winter as people are considering getting a bike once the warmer weather comes along again.
Hopefully this short Q&A will help a little, all the answers can be found with links to other sections of this website for further information or pointed to other sites with more specific details.
If of course you have other questions or would like to see a question added here, please feel free to contact us.
- How do i apply for a licence?
Firstly there are lots of rules – some only introduced in recent changes – on licensing. Don’t assume if you apply for a license that this will automatically allow you to ride a motorbike on the road. You can find all the information here – https://www.gov.uk/ride-motorcycle-moped
- At what age can i ride a motorbike & what type can i ride?
Strictly speaking you can ride a motorbike at any age on any private ground (if you have permission to be there), children as young as 3 or 4 have been known to ride motorbikes & people aged over 100 have been known to be active bike riders. All you need is permission – to ride on the public road however you will need specific permission & of course a license, a lot of which is age dependent. You can find out more details here on our sister site – http://staffsyoungriders.co.uk/routestoyourlicence/
- Where can i go for training?
This is down to you, but if you want to ride a bike on the road first of all you need suitable instruction & to pass a CBT – even if you have ridden before perhaps in fun on the fields or been trained by a parent – There are a list of training centres here, find the one nearest to you or best suited as some also offer evening & weekend tuition – http://www.staffsbiker.co.uk/trainers/
- I’ve done my CBT training, have you any tips before i go out on the road alone?
The staffs biker & Young rider website have a whole array of tips & hints, you can find these by searching the site news posts or going to the riding tips link above. Novice riders can also benefit from these tips as they apply to anyone just starting out on the road, not just younger riders. – http://staffsyoungriders.co.uk/ridingtips/
- I’ve got the bike, what else do i need, a helmet obviously?
You will of course require a helmet by law. Try to budget as much as you can on a crash helmet & look for one with a BS kitemark or ACU approval. There are 2 types of helmet, traditionally the high spec helmets are more expensive but all helmets offer a minimum standard or protection level before being approved. Type A: Used for high-performance helmets offering a better level of protection, often also allowed for racing or competion, carrying a blue BS sticker & Type B: Used for lower-rated helmets & carrying a Green BS sticker. The ACU Gold sticker isn’t required for a helmet to be road legal but it does indicate a slightly higher safety standard and generally indicates a slightly better quality helmet.
… & what about clothing?
There are a lot of clothes out there specific to biking. You don’t have to dress like a power ranger in a leather suit if you don’t fancy it, so don’t think it’s compulsory! many bikers now prefer to wear textile or kevlar clothing. If you crash or are trying to prevent a fall on a bike the 1st thing to hit the road are usually your hands or feet as you naturally try to stop yourself from falling, so it makes sense to invest in good gloves don’t wear pumps or running shoes but sturdy boots. if you can’t afford bike boots, sturdy work boots or leather walking boots are a better alternative than trainers & are also warmer on a cold or wet day. – You can find out ore about clothing in our Biker booklet http://www.staffsbiker.co.uk/staffordshire-biker-booklet/
- Is there any other training available if i feel like i need it?
All training for riding or driving comes in stages.. the obvious of course are the theory & practical tests you need to take to get rid of the L plates, but many people feel that is when you start to actually learn.. in reality, in fact bikers & drivers never stop learning, but a bit of extra tuition is always handy. You can opt to take rider assessments at the bikers breakfast events where an expert rider will evaluate your riding & give you insights into where you can improve or point out mistakes you may be making without knowing or if needs be enter for a simple, no pressure course such as Bikesense or RideBy5. If however you want to progress to the highest level possible you may want to consider Advanced training.. this is basically the same standard of training as given to Police motorcyclists or even the people who teach you to ride. You can find out more in our rider development section http://www.staffsbiker.co.uk/staffordshireriderdevelopmentpathway/
- So… What bike should i buy?
How long is a piece of sting? this is a question that nobody can really answer other than yourself. For example – a sports bike may appeal to you as it has the looks & performance but could you ride in a crouched riding position all day & can you handle the acceleration ? If not it may be your dream bike becomes a nightmare! But, if you are tall something like a trail bike may be better than a crouched sports bike but an off-road style bike also can be prone to theft. Also consider handling & performance – Sports bikes don’t tend to have a very big turning circle which means pushing the bike through your garden to park up for the night may take a lot of effort to get the bike where you want it & also consider if doing training it may make maneuvering around cones & such very tricky. In terms of performance some bikes have power bands that are very aggressive that if you get a bit too keen with the throttle could lift the front wheel & throw you off the back of the bike, so take this into consideration as well. It’s hard to be specific but the 1st thing to do is see what budget you have, then try to sit on various bikes so you know which feels most comfortable to you – you need to be able to sit on the saddle & have at least your toes able to reach the ground to support the bike, also you need to know if you can hold the bike upright without getting tired quickly or feeling that you are going to drop the bike all the time. Try visiting some local dealers & ask questions, plus ask if you can to try sitting on the bikes & ask about how quickly the bike delivers it’s power if you ever get a bit twitchy with the right handlebar grip. There are a list of dealers here – http://www.staffsbiker.co.uk/directory/