Getting my first bike at only 20, I guess I could say that I’m in the relative minority of those who actually convinced their parents to let them get a bike. I may have had a slight advantage, being that my dad already had a bike, so he already knew the joys of riding. More than anythings, the thing that I had to convince my parents the most was that I wasn’t going to be an idiot on it.
At first, as well as with most teenagers I think, I wanted to get a supersport bike. You know, the base models of that all those GP riders use. The Kawasaki ZX6R, the Honda CBR 600rr, the Yamaha R6, and the Suzuki GSXR600. Well, anyways, I was dead set on getting one of these motorcycles at first. I wanted to be that “cool” rider. I found that convincing my father to getting one of these was extremely difficult and extremely hard to do because he was 100% against sport bikes. He didn’t like the aggressive riding posture, the speed at that could go, and the stereotypes that followed sport bike riders. After trying to convince him on letting me get a sport bike, and him repeatedly saying no, I decided I would broaden my search horizon to cruiser type motorcycles. This has turned out to be the best decision that I have made.
I convinced my dad to let me get a cruiser motorcycle. I ended up getting a 1997 Honda Shadow VLX600. I loved that bike more than anything. I loved the freedom I got from riding, I loved being able to go out on it and let all my problems just wash away while riding. Now how exactly did I convince my dad, you may ask? I did it showing him a few things.
Firstly, and one of the biggest things, I convinced him that I would be a safe rider. This, in part, was due to the fact that over the previous four years of driving a car, I had been a safe driver. I knew that all my dad really cared about was my safety. So by showing him that I had been a safe driver, it could correlate over that I would be a safe rider. Another thing that went along with the safety, was him knowing I wouldn’t be on a supersport. He thought, probably correctly, that I would be a safer rider on a bike that wasn’t build for pure performance. Those supersport bikes are all about speed. They were built for speed and that is just what they like to do. So by getting a cruiser type motorcycle, he was put at ease just a little bit.
Secondly, which still goes along with safety, is I did everything I could do to convince him I wasn’t going to be an idiot on a bike. I had the luxury of showing him that I wouldn’t be an idiot by riding his bike. Before I was allowed to even begin thinking about getting a bike, I learned to ride (on an old KDX 175), and then took my dad’s bike out around the neighborhood. I rode around my neighborhood over the course of a day just making loops back and forth for probably over 40 miles. I then got him to let me take it out on a secluded route. He followed me in his truck the whole time, so he could see how I was riding, that I was using the bike properly, and making sure I was staying safe.
Thirdly, which once along goes with safety, (HEY! Safety was a big factor in his decision, couldn’t you tell?) is the fact that I was going to take an MSF course. Being from Pennsylvania, these courses are offered free to residents with a motorcycle learners permit. These courses provide valuable information to new riders on everything from the basic starting/stopping a motorcycle, to how a clutch works, to how to properly turn a motorcycle and so on and so on. Even if this course wasn’t free (I know some states you have to pay to go to them) I would highly suggest taking the course. I learned neat little tricks during the course that I didn’t know beforehand, and tricks that I carry with me today.
Another thing that I had to do, was set up some ground rules with my dad. A big thing was that he was not going to be financially responsible for anything. I would buy the bike, I would pay for the maintenance, I would pay for the insurance, I would pay for the gas. I would pay for everything. This was something that I easily agreed to because I didn’t want him to be responsible for anything. I wanted this to be my first main purchase, something I did on my own, and that’s how it happened. He had to take me out on a ride to approve my riding and to test my abilities. He choose some less than maintained Pennsylvania roads to take me on to see how I handled the less than superb conditions.
So these are the steps I took to get a bike, and convince my parents to let me get my very own bike. So, take some tips from me, and use them towards your situation, to convince your own parents to let you get your own bike. Get out, and enjoy the freedom of the open road.