How do I survive the traffic in Los Angeles?
How do I own a Bike in L.A.?
Is it worth investing in a motorcycle?
How much do motorcycles in Los Angeles cost?
If you have ever had any of these questions floating around your head, you have come to the right place. Los Angeles has a huge motorcycle culture. This large city is host to some of the best motorcycle clubs, events, shows, rides and shops.
First, you should know that riding in L.A. isn’t guaranteed to be safe.
Riding a bike takes a certain amount of bravery.
If you are set on joining the thousands of people who ride these Southern California streets, you should know the following:
- L.A. has a population of nearly 4 million people. That isn’t including the outlying cities that contribute to the commute traffic.
- Disclaimer: Motorcycles are a great idea if you want to cut down on your commute time.
- Remember, bikes can be dangerous.
First Thing’s First
The first step in motorcycle ownership in Los Angeles is great insurance. Don’t sell yourself short. Get full coverage!
Fully covered with cheap motorcycle insurance in Los Angeles means:
- Bodily Injury Liability Limits: $30,000 per occurrence/ $15,000 per person
- Property Damage Liability Limits: $5,000 per occurrence
- Collision coverage, which covers you and your own bike in case of an accident
- Comprehensive coverage, which will cover theft and other types of damages to your bike
- Uninsured Motorist coverage which will make sure you are still covered even when the other party is not. You may be surprised to know that many people still do not have insurance. This will put you in a bind if you are hit by one of them!
- Towing coverage will cover or reimburse you for a tow. I cannot express to you enough just how important towing and roadside assistance can be.
The best way to answer this question is to talk to a professional insurance agent.
Motorcycle insurance rates depend on the year and make of your bike, as well as your home address.
- Choose an older and less expensive bike. The less powerful the engine, the less your insurance premium.
- Stick to factory bikes and stray from unusual or modified bikes
- Keep your miles low
- Pay for your insurance up front. Instead of paying monthly, paying annually could save you a lot.
- Don’t let other people ride it. If you are the sole rider, you will save.
- Your age will effect your price in insurance. If you are young and inexperienced, your premium will be higher. Wait it out, every year that you ride safely will save you money!
- Make sure your bike is kept in a safe and secure place. Having an alarm on your bike will help as well.
- Take a motorcycle training course to show that you are a safe rider. Improving your skills will help, especially when it comes to saving money on your insurance.
- Shop around. Don’t settle for the first insurance quote you get. You could save a ton just by shopping around. There are professionals who can help set you up with the best deals on motorcycle insurance in Los Angeles.
Where do I buy a motorcycle in Los Angeles?
Here are some of the best places to purchase a motorcycle in L.A.:
- Craigslist.com- Yes that’s right! Shopping online for used bikes is fun and rewarding. You could end up saving big by purchasing from a private party. Paying in cash is always the best option. If you have a loan from your bank, that works as well.
- Another online option is cycletrader.com. They not only have a large selection of new and used bikes, but you can get an idea of the market and how much different bikes cost.
- Heroes Motorcycles is sort of an L.A. icon of motorcycle shops. If you are looking for vintage beauty than this is your store. They also do leather repair, custom paint, and mechanical repairs.
- Motorsports Exotica has a large selection of bikes.
- Harley Davidson has a few shops in the L.A. area. Glendale and Anaheim are a couple that have great reviews. If you are looking for a cruiser, you may want to check them out. Their cheapest bike on the market is a Harley Street model.
- Honda of Glendale has a great selection of street bikes. Hondas are a super reliable option for anyone starting out. The bikes start at around $3000.
After you figure out what kind of bike you may want, make sure you have a budget in mind.
How do I get financed for a motorcycle?
You can head over to your local Bank or Credit Union and get pre-approved for a loan.
Remember that every time you ask for a loan, they check your credit.
Here is a breakdown of what you may need to qualify for a motorcycle loan:
- Know what your credit score is before you apply for a loan. If you have poor credit you may not qualify for a loan. You don’t want to run your credit too often. Every time your credit is checked, your score takes a ding. So do some research before you head in.
- Know how much you can afford monthly before you apply.
- Don’t over-borrow. Borrow only the amount you will need for the bike. If you can pay the registration and fees separately that is a great option.
- Dealership financing is always an option, however you may be able to get a better interest rate with your own bank.
- Having a down payment helps to qualify as well.
- You may also be able to get a personal loan instead if your bank does not give motorcycle loans.
- Have identification and verification of income.
- You can always have a co-signer. Beware that just because you may qualify for a higher payment with a co-signer, doesn’t mean you can afford the monthly payments. Stick to your budget!
- Shop around for the best interest rate. This will make a difference in the end.
- Remember that your monthly budget for a motorcycle should include your insurance.
L.A. Motorcycle Culture
One of the best reasons to own a motorcycle in Los Angeles are the events and cultural scenes you will be apart of.
Here are a list of some of the best things to do (motorcycle-wise) in the L.A. area:
- Rides and meet-ups in L.A. are not hard to find. Check out this site for a great calendar of events.
- Summer Rumble Custom Ride Show in Glendale, CA is holding it’s 5th annual event.
- The 1916 Motorcycle Ride and Cruise in Sherman Oaks, CA is held every summer. Enter their motorcycle contest or just head out to ride with friends.
- L.A. Ride For Autism in Baldwin Park is a great fundraiser as well as a fun time.
- Fallen Heroes Memorial and Raffle in Hollywood is a fun biker event that remembers our veterans.
- Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach.
- Los Angeles has meet-ups for every type of individual. If you are looking to be a part of something, check out this website. There are bike meet-ups for people 40 and over. Events for people that cruise on certain bikes. There are even meet-ups based on your nationality.
L.A. has some great rides. Check out these top places to ride your motorcycle:
- Pacific Coast Highway, from LA up to Neptune’s Net in Malibu. This is an iconic route and a great biker hang out. Yummy food near the beach!
- Mulholland Highway from the 101 to the 1.
- Anywhere on Route 66! Ride out of L.A. and catch some desert beauty.
- Angeles Crest Highway- lots of twists and turns as well as elevation gain.
- Ortega Highway near Santa Ana. Twist through the mountains off Highway 74.
- Ride from Los Angeles to Big Bear. Take Highway 38 up into the mountains for a nice change in scenery.
California Laws You Should Know About
Here are the facts about motorcycle safety regulations.
- It is legal to lane-split in the state of California as long as it is done in a safe way. This could save you a ton of time on your commute every day. The risks are obvious. If you are a more experienced rider and realize that there are risks involved, I say go for it!
- You must wear a helmet. This may seem obvious, but it isn’t just wearing a helmet that could save lives, it’s the kind of helmet you wear. Make sure you spend the extra cash to invest in a very well-made skull protection device. You will be glad that you did.
- Your bike must be street legal. You need to have a muffler, mirrors, a license plate and more… Check out the DMV website for a list of everything you must have for your motorcycle to be street legal.
- You must ride a motorcycle within the same laws and parameters as a car. Turn signals, passing, and blind spots are a concern when riding on two wheels.
- You can still get a DUI on a bike. This may seem like a no-brainer, but driving under the influence has no boundaries. Motorcycle, bike, or car- just don’t do it!
- You must have the minimum amount of motorcycle insurance required by the state of California. You must carry insurance and registration on you when riding.
Motorcycles break down just like cars.
Before you plan on owning a bike, you should know how they work.
What are their mechanics?
Being able to do a simple oil change and put air in your tires could save you a lot of money!
Here are some helpful ways to keep your bike out of the shop:
- Read your owner’s manual and use it
- Change your own oil. Have someone show you how, or use Youtube. It is simple after you see how it is done. You only need to change the oil every 5 thousand miles.
- Maintaining your brake pads. This needs to be done every 10 thousand miles. Don’t rest your bike on an incline, this is hard on the tires. Think of ways to give your bike longevity.
- Monitor the tires and check pressure regularly.
- Clean your air filter every 10 thousand miles.
- Replace your coolant every two years.
- Replace your fork oil regularly. This helps your bike have a smooth ride.
- Check your chain tension. Is it too tight or too slack? It may need to be adjusted.
- You may need to replace your battery every two years.
- Spark plugs need to be replaced every 6 thousand miles.
Here is a helpful video:
Los Angeles is a great place to live if you want to take the leap and buy your first motorcycle.
Hopefully this blog helped you weigh the pro’s and con’s.
Must have’s: Insurance, registration, a safe helmet, a place to store your motorcycle, and a healthy perspective on how much time and money it may cost you.
If you can’t decide on whether the motorcycle lifestyle in L.A. is right for you, go check out a local event.
Meet a few people in that world and get a second, or even third opinion.
Realize the risks involved.
If cruising the backroads of Los Angeles sounds like the adventure of a lifetime, then no one should stop you.