How to get started in motorcycling.

People come to motorcycling in a lot of different ways.

There’s the guy who suddenly realizes that all his friends are going on a weekend motorcycling trip and he’s the one missing out because he doesn’t ride. There’s the woman who has been a passenger for years and wants to ride her own ride.

There’s the middle-aged guy who sees a kid on a dirtbike, remembers the happy riding days of his own youth, and suddenly can’t recall why he ever stopped riding. Or the young woman who spots the sleek new sportbike in the display window and suddenly decides, with absolute certainty but with no warning, that she simply must have it and learn to ride it.

These are both general examples and actual true stories. All of the above are people I’ve met in my years of mingling with other riders.

But for as many different ways as there are to get into motorcycling, there are a few common experiences everyone has.

You face a bewildering variety of choices. You need advice, but you find that even the best-intentioned advice from experienced riders is sometimes contradictory.

More help is a click away

See a word you don’t understand? While you’re still learning the motorcycle lingo, refer to our glossary of motorcycle terms. You can also find a wealth of tips, knowledge and advice in our Rider Resources section.

Even a small amount of research will quickly teach you that motorcycling can be a relatively inexpensive, even money-saving hobby, or it can lead you into horribly expensive mistakes; that it can bring life-long fun or hurt you badly if you get it wrong.

None of which is meant to discourage you. To the contrary — the AMA consists of 280,000 enthusiastic riders who hope you become a convert to motorcycling and join in the fun we’re having. Of course we hope you’ll eventually become a committed motorcyclist and join the AMA, too.

But for now, to help you get into first gear, we’ve put together some basic advice gathered from the hundreds of years of riding experience accumulated by AMA staff members, as well as the advice we’ve heard from AMA members, who collectively have millions more years on the roads and trails.

Here’s the five things we believe every new rider needs to know.

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