125's - a rider's guide
125cc motorcycles are the bikes of the moment. More and more people are getting on these small capacity machines to save themselves money on petrol, insurance and tax. It's great to see and hopefully these initial first timers will move up to bigger motorbikes once the bug has bitten. There are a few things to bare in mind though when out and about on your little 'L' plater, here's my guide to them...
I was always taught to hold my position in the road and to ride defensively. That means holding a position in between the white lines and the centre of your side of the road. If you're too far over to the left near the gutter other road users are going to think they can get by you and they will try. This may leave you in danger especially if they quickly have to move back over because you'll be right in their way. If you stay in a strong position then passing you will seem less of an option.
125s are nippy little bikes. You'll be quick off the line in most cases but the power will eventually run out which can make over taking difficult. Before doing an over take try and work out if once you move over you'll have enough speed to make it by. Some drivers will speed up if they see you trying to get by them.
As always when you are out on a motorbike, GEAR UP! It may seem to be not worth it on those hot days on a bike that won't do more than 80mph but I can tell you now it does save lives. Don't put yourself at risk.
Always keep your wits about you. If you are riding with 'L' plates other road users may see that as an opportunity to ignore you. Keep an eye in those mirrors and do life savers whenever you can, a car can appear very quickly sometimes.
You know I like a good old bit of maintenance and 125s often need more looking after than most. If you're using your motorbike all year round then things will deteriorate especially in our harsh British winters. Keep your tyre pressures up, your chain lubricated and watch out for corrosion.
With those few pointers you'll have a great time out on your 125. They really are fantastic little motorbikes and once you've had a good time on one you won't ever look back! Happy riding all!
16.09.13 - Big Ed