Riding a motorbike is a passion for many Australians, and age should never be a barrier to enjoying this exciting hobby. With the right equipment and some preparation, seniors can safely and comfortably enjoy the thrill of the open road.
We’ll explore the top tips for choosing a motorbike for seniors, and share some advice on how to maintain your bike to ensure it lasts for many years to come.
Why buy a motorbike?
There may be sufficient rationale for an elderly Australian to buy their own motorbike in the past few years. Data from MotorCyclesData noted that 101,954 motorcycles were sold in 2021 up from 87,453 logged in 2020, as the pandemic and lockdowns forced Aussies to seek out more mobility options.
Elderly life and stresses from a career will also help releasing pent-up energy on the road. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Julie Power in 2017, David Williams, secretary of the Ulysses Club’s NSW chapter, said he wanted to ride again as he was already stressed out in his day job.
Choosing the right motorbike
When choosing a motorbike, there are several factors that seniors should consider, including:
While a larger engine may offer more power and speed, it can also be more challenging to handle, especially for seniors who may have less strength and dexterity. For this reason, it’s recommended to opt for a motorbike with a smaller engine size. RE licence-bearers are limited to running bikes with engine sizes of up to 660 ccs, but R licence-bearers can go beyond that restriction. For example, if a senior currently holds an RE licence and has proven capable of running say, a Honda NSS300 FORZA, being able to prove competency for R status can inspire them to buy a more powerful rig, like the BMW R 1150 R Rockster, which gained much popularity from being featured in the 2003 Hollywood action movie Paycheck.
The weight of a motorbike is also an important factor to consider, especially for seniors who may have difficulty lifting and manoeuvring a heavy bike. Lighter bikes are generally easier to handle and can provide a more comfortable and controlled ride.
Seniors should look for a motorbike that offers a comfortable and supportive seat, as well as a good riding position that will reduce fatigue and help to avoid back and neck pain. The handlebar height also plays an important role in aiding your comfort. Some health practitioners recommend an increased height and pullback for the handlebars to aid in reducing pain for your back, neck, and wrists. The team at PhysioInq noted three riding postures that can provide ample comfort while managing stress levels.
Good brakes are essential for ensuring a safe and controlled ride, especially for seniors who may not have the same reaction times as younger riders. Look for a motorbike that offers reliable and responsive brakes, and make sure they are well-maintained. In addition, a senior should practice ample situational awareness and depth perception to gauge the braking distance on the road, given certain speeds, such as this chart here.
A good suspension system can help to provide a smooth and comfortable ride, even on rough or uneven roads. Seniors should look for a motorbike with a quality suspension system that will help to reduce vibrations and provide good stability.
Seniors should choose a motorbike that suits their style and preferences. Whether you prefer a classic, sporty, or touring bike, there’s sure to be a motorbike that’s just right for you.
Before you start shopping if a senior has been driving automobiles or other multi-wheeled vehicles all their lives, motorcycles will be a different challenge if they’re just starting out. In Queensland, motorcycle riders are either on the R or RE licence. The RE licence covers learner, provisional, probationary, or open riders; all but learners will be covered by the R licence.
If a senior is training to handle motorbikes as an RE licence bearer, they can only operate units covered under the Learner Approved Motorcycles (LAM) scheme. These units will have power-to-weight ratios no more than 150 kW/t and must be powered by either an electric motor or engines no more than 660ccs. Motorcycles that also fall under those three requirements but were made before 1960 are also covered.
Maintenance tips for seniors
Once you’ve chosen the perfect motorbike, it’s important to keep it in tip top shape to ensure it lasts for many years to come. Here are a few tips for seniors to keep their bike in top condition:
- Regular services. Regular services are essential to keep your motorbike running smoothly and safely. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule, and have any issues or concerns addressed as soon as possible.
- Clean and protect. Regular cleaning and protecting of your motorbike can help to keep it looking like new and prevent rust and other damage. Use a quality bike cover when your bike is not in use, and wash it regularly to keep it looking its best. Even when it’s under the covers, make sure to put them in secure areas like your garage under lock and key.
- Check tyre pressure. You need to periodically check the motorbike’s tyres to ensure a smooth and safe ride. Under-inflated tyres can lead to poor handling and increased fuel consumption, so make sure to check them regularly and keep them at the recommended pressure. Pull in at the first service station you come across and test the tyre pressure.
- Check lights and signals. Regularly check your motorbike’s lights and signals to ensure they are working properly. This is especially important for seniors, as good visibility is crucial for a safe ride.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
Retirement is never an excuse to withdraw from the world. You have an opportunity to seek out new adventures, even when you do it on two wheels and with a loved one riding a pillion or alongside in another bike. We are ready to help you define your retirement years as a chance to enjoy life even further.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage can be a vital asset in your motorbike plans and Motorbike Loans needs. The equity on your property can finance the purchase of your bike and associated closing costs, you may take the opportunity to set up the funds to acquire additional equipment for you and your steed.
The ASAG team is available to provide additional information on how our reverse mortgage functions, and we are delighted to do so. You can contact us by calling 1300 002 724 or emailing email@example.com with any questions you may have about our equity release solutions.
Additionally, you may use our tool below to determine your accessible equity and begin the process.
DISCLAIMER: This article is purely for informational purposes. The Australian Seniors Advisory Group has no business relationships with any companies, individuals, or organisations mentioned in this article.