There are over 200 million motorcycles being used worldwide (one for every three cars on the road), which makes them more than a viable mode of transportation. And while this is, and always will be, the Motor City, there are a growing number of motorcycles in the metro Detroit area. Lots of highways, great urban riding and tons of land to ride on once you reach a little beyond Detroit and its suburbs all contribute to Southeastern Michigan's bike riding boom.
There are a few different styles of motorcycle, for all of you who have found (or have been dreaming of) a passion for the open road. Not everyone has the beard, tattoos and leathers to pull off the look and lifestyle. And that's just fine, because there is a motorized bike for every personality type out there – from hipster to hardcore racing.
Which one is right for you? You've likely given some thought to holding those handlebars, with nothing between you and the pavement but two wheels and an engine. And Governor Rick Snyder just signed legislation repealing the 35-year-old helmet requirement – so now you can ride your bike and not care about your brains being smashed on the pavement! (There are obviously other requirements that come with this new legislation, so you should probably familiarize yourself with the details before you just hop on your hog all willy-nilly.)
Motorcycles typically fall into three distinct groups. You've got your street bikes, which include both the cruiser style (the Harley-Davidson format) and sportbikes ("crotch-rockets"), off-road bikes and dual-purpose. What you typically see around town falls into the first category. There's no mistaking the sport-style bike. It's a sleek, minimalist-style bike – just man and machine. No chrome, not big and clunky (sport bikes are known for being ultra-light and FAST). And while a cruiser is typically synonymous with Harley riders, there are a ton more manufacturers who build quality bikes (BMW, Honda, Moto Guzzi, Star, Suzuki, Triumph and Victory – just to name a few). But as far as traditional Harleys go, there are a few fantastic showrooms around town – each with an incredible selection of new and used bikes. Your best bet is to stop into one of these showrooms and just start asking questions – these are people who benefit from motorcycle owners knowing their shit. Nobody wants a bunch of knuckleheads riding around with two wheels and a bunch of horsepower between their legs. MotorCity Harley-Davidson in Farmington Hills, for instance, has everything from $8,000 Sportsters to $23,000 touring bikes and everything in between. And you don't have to be a Sons of Anarchy fan to appreciate what it feels like to ride on two wheels. For the record, if you're not already a motorcycle owner or rider, you're now in luck. While for years, your only option was to flat-out purchase a bike if you were interested in integrating yourself into the biking lifestyle, the tides are changing. ABC Harley-Davidson in Waterford is actually offering a leasing program – and it's a true lease – unlimited miles, no gimmicks and payments as low as $100 per month on some bikes, in fact.
So if you want to get a great bike (new or used, by the way), break it in and then determine whether you'd like to own it or upgrade...well, now you can.
Motor scooters are the low-power equivalent of a motorcycle, with a platform for the rider's feet. They're used throughout the world for basic personal transportation You're likely familiar with the Vespa or Spree. A very Euro-style method of transportation, they're a great – and extremely practical – way to get around town. And that's not to mention that they're hip and comfortable – and you can get a stylish Vespa in pretty much any style and color your little heart desires. Joe Ricci Vespa of Dearborn has a huge selection of new and used scooters, from a $2,199 Piaggio Fly 50 scooter to a gorgeous $6,999 Vespa GTV 300. Want something more middle-of-the-road (pun intended)? Your ability to customize or find a scooter to match your lifestyle and personal aesthetic is unmatched.
Motorized bicycles are something we've seen a little more often these days (in case you haven't noticed, gas prices are completely ridiculous). And if you haven't physically seen them, here's the skinny – they look just like standard bicycles with a motor attached. While it is legally considered a true bicycle – it still has pedals – it is obviously power-assisted, and really just behaves more like a bike with an engine. This is, in fact, the original prototype that preceded today's motorcycle, and is therefore a nostalgic, throwback style of getting around town with little effort. They're fun, convenient and inexpensive. Basically, if you're an aficionado of all things vintage, this might be something for you to look into.
So, which one is right for you? Are you a Vespa rider who wants a little more horsepower and to get out there on the open road and upgrade your riding experience with a cruiser? Or is this just your first introduction to the world of two-wheeled motorization? We'd suggest doing a little more research than what we've laid out for you here (and getting a motorcycle endorsement on your license – it is the law, after all) before you end up dumping your bike because you don't know how to ride it, or didn't get your facts straight, before buying the coolest, shiniest, chromed-out two-wheeler you set your eyes on. | RDW