How to Choose Your First Motorcycle

So you’re in the market for a motorcycle? Of course you can always just go with your gut, or what your friends ride, or with a popular brand name. However, if you invest a bit of time before making your purchase, you are more likely to end up with a motorcycle that meets your needs and fulfills your expectations. We hope the information below will help you make a more informed decision.

What Type of Rider are You?

When you picture yourself cruising down the open road astride that new motorcycle, what do you think about? Long, cross-country road trips? Or racing down the highway during an afternoon with friends? When deciding on the right motorcycle, you need to consider how you plan to use it.

Make a “Must-Haves” List

Most of the decisions regarding your first motorcycle will be based on your riding style as well as your personal preferences. You’ll need to find a bike that meets your standards in seat height, weight, and engine size. The best way to do that is to go to the dealership and try out several different models.

Narrow Down Your Choices

Motorcycles can be divided into a few main categories. You can help narrow down your choices by identifying the category of motorcycle you are interested in based on the specific characteristics unique to that category.

– Standard models are for everyone. They are a “one-size-fits-all” type of bike, yet they are still available in various styles as well as a range of sizes and horsepower levels.

– Sport Bikes are built for speed, not comfort. They are lighter in weight and designed to force the body into a more forward position. Some level of comfort will be sacrificed – but you aren’t giving up any of the thrills.

– Dual Sport Bikes are popular with riders who enjoyed dirt bikes in their younger days. They are tough, light, and suited for a variety of terrain – sort of like that pick-up truck you can take off-roading. 

– Cruisers are built for comfort, not speed. The overall design creates a relaxed and comfortable riding experience, with a lower seat and higher handlebars.

Set Your Budget

This is one of the most important parts of the purchase process. When setting your budget, don’t forget to account for maintenance, insurance, and riding gear. Depending on your driving habits, your maintenance schedule will vary.

Used Motorcycles for Sale in Elmhurst, IL

When you purchase a new motorcycle, you won’t have to worry about any cosmetic issues, and you’ll get the newest technology and features. However, when you choose a used motorcycle, you’ll have the advantage of buying your dream bike at a much lower cost. Before making a final decision, come check out our large selection of quality used motorcycles for sale near Elmhurst, IL. You won’t be disappointed!

How to Stay Cool on Your Motorcycle this Summer

During the heat of summer, especially when you’re planning on riding for several hours, it’s important to do what’s necessary to stay cool. It will make the ride more enjoyable and help you avoid heat exhaustion.

Stay Hydrated

Heat exhaustion is a real risk for anyone who is dehydrated and exposed to high temperatures for an extended period. It can be caused by salt depletion as well as water depletion. Therefore, it’s important to restore electrolytes that are lost through sweating as well as replenishing fluid. Stay hydrated by wearing a hydration backpack and bring salty snacks or sports drinks to help replenish electrolytes.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

It’s still debatable whether caffeine contributes to dehydration, but consuming plain water (plus an occasional sports drink) is the best way to avoid dehydration. Additionally, you should wait until you’re finished riding for the day before consuming any alcohol – as it not only accelerates dehydration, but it impairs your ability to ride.

Wear the Right Base Layers

Our bodies regulate temperature by sweating. As sweat evaporates, it cools the surface of the skin. Choose synthetic base layers that wick moisture away from your skin, increasing the evaporative cooling efficiency of your body. Additionally, snug-fitting, stretchy base layers that provide light compression provide for better circulation and less muscle fatigue.

Full-Coverage Riding Apparel

No matter how strong your desire to wear a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops is, wear all your gear – all the time for your safety. No one plans to wrack up, but it happens, and the proper gear can reduce the severity of your injuries. If you want to wear flip flops when you get to where you’re going – toss a pair in your saddle bag.

Get an Evaporative Cooling Vest or Neck Wrap

Boost the power of evaporative cooling with a special vest that is worn under you riding apparel to help keep your core cool. Choose one made from polymer-embedded fabric that you soak in water, or the type you fill like a bladder. You can go a step further by adding a neck wrap made using the same water-absorbing polymer crystal technology or simply soak a neck gaiter or bandana (but they dry out a lot faster).

Use Common Sense

In addition to the aforementioned tips, take common-sense precautions like avoiding riding during the hottest part of the day. Take frequent breaks, and don’t try to “tough it out” if you begin to feel lightheaded or dizzy, your skin starts to feel unusually cold or clammy, or you experience muscle cramps or a headache. These can be signs of heat exhaustion which can lead to heat stroke – a serious situation that can be fatal.

Used Motorcycles for Sale Near Elmhurst, IL

Longer days filled with sunshine are perfect for motorcycling. Stay safe, and if you’ve been dreaming about traveling down the open road on a motorcycle – but don’t own one – it’s time to visit Chicago Motor Sports for quality used motorcycles for sale near Elmhurst, IL.

5 Ways to Make Your Bike More Visible

When riding a motorcycle, visibility is paramount to your safety. Defensive driving is almost second nature to most drivers, but unfortunately, that usually means they are looking out for other cars and trucks. Motorcycles, because of their size, are simply not on most drivers’ radar. The more you can attract the attention of other drivers, the less likely you are to be involved in a collision. Here are five ways to help make your motorcycle more visible to other drivers:

1. Ride a Brightly Colored Motorcycle

Because motorcycles accelerate and decelerate faster than cars, and they are significantly smaller than other vehicles, they are both harder to see and more difficult to gauge distance from. Darkly colored bikes can exacerbate the problem, making them almost invisible to other drivers on the roadway. A bright color will significantly increase your visibility, meaning another driver might notice you a fraction of a second sooner – possibly saving your life. We have lots of brightly colored used motorcycles for sale near Elmhurst, IL!

2. Use Safety Tape and Wear High Visibility Gear

A motorcycle rider takes up almost as much visual space as the bike does. Therefore, what a rider wears is as important as the color of the motorcycle. This means that wearing a high-visibility jacket or helmet, like orange or yellow, will immediately draw the driver’s eyes instantly in the rider’s direction. This is also less of a commitment to neon colors than driving a brightly colored bike.

Using reflective tape automatically increases the visual footprint of your bike. Put it on the front of your forks, around your wheel rims, or on the edges of your panniers. It won’t do much good during the daytime but will be extremely helpful at night as each piece acts as an independent light source.

3. Stay Out of Blind Spots

Never position your motorcycle where a driver can’t see you without moving their head. They are called blind spots for a reason, and even though they can’t be avoided completely, adjusting your lane position to minimize this danger is vital to your safety.

4. Use Your Lights Wisely

If you need to draw attention to yourself, tapping your brakes will turn your brake light into a giant blinker. This works well for tailgaters and anyone who is following you who doesn’t seem to be paying attention. It also works to warn others who are riding with you of a dangerous road condition ahead.

Use your high beams during the day. It won’t upset other drivers, as the brightness isn’t as much of a contrast as it would be at night, and often that bright glimmer is all they need to notice you’re there.

Add auxiliary lights, as they provide similar benefits as reflective tape, but are visible even in the daytime. Add them to both the front and back of your bike and consider using a strobe on the back when stopping.

5. Use your Horn

Horns aren’t always used as a sign of aggravation – they can actually be quite useful to let someone know you’re there. This is especially true if a car is pulling out and hasn’t looked in your direction. A polite “beep, beep” often makes them look your way.

Used Motorcycles For Sale Near Elmhurst, IL

Stay safe – and if you’re in the market for a motorcycle, you’ll find lots of used motorcycles for sale near Elmhurst, IL at Chicago Cycles and Motorsports.

How to Clean Your Motorcycle

With the spring season in full swing, many people are making progress on their various spring-cleaning projects. If you haven’t had a chance to begin yours yet—don’t worry—there’s still plenty of time left before Summer. Today we’ll cover a few best practices when it comes to cleaning your motorcycle at home.

Things to Avoid

Don’t make the same mistakes that others have made before you! Before you get started, it’s important to make note of what NOT to do. Be sure to avoid:

– Cleaning products that aren’t designed for use on motorcycles or cars

– Working on your motorcycle while it’s still warm from use

– Using machines that expel high-pressure water or air

Washing Your Motorcycle

Unlike with cars, motorcycles can’t simply pass through the car wash. Cleaning your motorcycle properly involves a multi-step process:

Step 1

Use cool water to rinse loose dirt and debris from your motorcycle, carefully avoiding spraying water into the muffler outlet or electrical parts. For those sensitive areas, it’s better to use a sponge or soft cloth.

Step 2

Using a cloth or sponge, clean stubborn grime away from the plastic components of your bike using a solution of mild detergent and water.

Step 3

When you’re done cleaning your motorcycle, rinse lingering soap away with more cool water. Dry the bike using a soft cloth and then lubricate the chain.

Step 4

Start the engine. Let the motorcycle run for a few minutes and then carefully test the brakes before riding—you may need to pump them a few times for normal performance to return. The next time you ride, give yourself a longer stopping distance to ensure the brakes have returned to their typical responsiveness.

Used Motorcycles for Sale Near Elmhurst, IL

Chicago Cycles and Motorsports buys and sells used motorcycles. We have many different types of used motorcycles for sale near Elmhurst, IL. Whether you’re looking for your first bike or are ready to switch things up, we can help you find something that’s a perfect fit for your riding style and preferences. Contact us today!

How to Plan a Great Motorcycle Trip

There’s nothing like seeing the world from atop a motorcycle. Road trips in cars can be fun too, but the open perspective, sense of freedom, and satisfying rush that comes from riding a motorcycle cross-country is definitely something special. We think every enthusiast should experience the deep satisfaction of a long-distance ride at least once. Here are some tips to help you plan a successful motorcycle trip.

Pick Your Destination

Sometimes the destination choice drives the trip, and sometimes the trip drives the destination choice. Maybe you want to travel to visit old friends or family—or maybe they’re coming with you, and you want to experience the ride together. Either way, you can’t start planning for an epic motorcycle trip without knowing the ultimate end-point.

Know Your Gas Mileage

The last thing you want to do is get stranded on the road with an empty gas tank. Even if your bike has a built-in tracking feature, it’s not a bad idea to manually check your gas mileage while riding closer to home. Determining out how many miles you can go before hitting empty is key.

Determine Your Route

Once you know where you want to go, how far your bike can go before needing a pit stop, start drawing out possible routes. We recommend plotting out a path that will allow you to take in scenery on the way, including some areas with twists and turns to keep things interesting. Remember to incorporate gas stops based on your bike’s needs.

Work Out Your Lodgings

Staying with friends? Kicking up your feet at a motel? Camping under the stars? If your trip lasts more than a day, you’ll want to decide where you’re bedding down at night. Try to find stops along your route that are bike-friendly, with a secure parking lot or storage, and won’t put you too far off your ideal route.

Pack For the Road

This is when things can get tricky. It’s important to have everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Overloading your bike can have negative consequences for your safety on the road, so make sure to consider weight distribution when packing. Make sure that your items are very securely attached to your bike—losing an item on the road wouldn’t just be a bummer, it could be extremely dangerous to yourself and others.

Looking for a used motorcycle dealer near Chicago? We’re located in the Village of Stone Park and can help you find the right ride for your road trip. Call us with any questions or stop in to have a look around. Happy riding!

The Importance of Drive Belt Maintenance

Real bikers know that the importance of a well-maintained ride is second to none. But even veteran enthusiasts can make the mistake of forgetting to look after their bike’s drive belt, which is strong, stretch-resistant and made from tensile cords. Because a drive belt can last up to 100,000 miles before needing replacement, riders may lose track of this important part of motorcycle maintenance.

How Often Should I Inspect My Drive Belt?

When your belt is first installed, plan to inspect it after the first 1,000 miles. Whether you take it to a professional mechanic or examine it yourself, a tension check should also be completed. After that, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking out your bike’s drive belt every time you change your oil (about every 5,000 miles). These regular check-ups can help your drive belt reach its maximum lifespan, as well as support the overall feel of your ride and keep you safer on the road.

When is it Time to Replace My Drive Belt?

It’s common for riders to notice their drive belt has been damaged by rocks kicked up from the road below. Damage like this, along with damage to the teeth and shredding that exposes the internal tensile fibers, will necessitate a drive belt replacement before 100,000 miles of use. Motorcycle owners who choose to remove the plastic belt cover for looks make a choice to shorten the lifespan of this part. If you do decide to remove the cover, it’s a good idea to keep a closer eye on the condition of your drive belt.

While rocks are the most likely culprit, any kind of debris trapped in the belt can cause damage to the belt as well as the teeth. Regular inspections and removal of this buildup can help extend the lifespan of your drive belt. Cracking on the outside of the belt may also necessitate earlier replacement.

Contact Us

Harley Davidson motorcycles began switching to drive belts in 1980. Ever since then, drive belt maintenance has been a regular part of owning and loving a Harley. If you’re looking for a used Harley Davidson near Chicago, give us a call with questions or come visit our shop in person. We’re located in the Village of Stone Park, a short distance from the city. Hope to see you there!

Winter Motorcycle Care

As we get deeper into the winter season, it’s important to make sure you’re completing all your motorcycle maintenance and care. Otherwise, especially if you’re riding a used Harley Softail in Chicago, your beloved bike might not last as long as you expect it to.

Fortunately, here at Chicago Cycles Motorsports, we’ve been maximizing the quality and longevity of all sorts of motorcycles, including used Harley Softails in Chicago. And we want to pass the knowledge we’ve gained onto you.

Check Coolant Levels and Tire Pressure

Before winter temperatures take a toll on your motorcycle, it’s important to ensure that your antifreeze levels are adequate for the winter. If they’re not, add antifreeze to your coolant system. 

Also, as temps go down, air will condense which leads to decreased tire pressure. Check tire pressure periodically during the winter and keep the tires pumped up.

Ready your Motorcycle for Storage

If you’re going to be storing your bike all winter, it’s important to do some prep work to avoid problems. Before storing your bike, you should:

  • Remove the battery and store it somewhere it will not freeze.
  • Add fuel stabilizer, top off fuel levels, and ride the bike to ensure the stabilizer is distributed throughout the system.
  • Protect exhaust pipes with plastic bags (or similar) and lightly oil muffler ends
  • Lube up any moving parts including cables, forks, chains, etc.
  • Wash, wax, and cover your bike.
  • Protect your tires by elevating the bike if possible.

If you follow all these winter maintenance tips, whether you ride a used Harley Softail in Chicago or anything else, your bike will be good to go when it’s riding season again.

What to Look for in a Used Motorcycle

Buying a used bike can certainly be an overwhelming experience for a first-time buyer. Knowing exactly what to look for, what to ask about, and how to know you’re not buying a lemon is often somewhat of a learning curve. At Chicago Cycles & Motorsports, we work with buyers and sellers, and our background of the motorcycle market makes us highly knowledgeable. If you’re looking to invest in your first used bike, here are some things to look for when purchasing used Harley motorcycles in Chicago.

Overall Appearance of the Bike

Take some time to carefully inspect the bike’s appearance, including the tight spots and the hard-to-reach places where dirt and grime can accumulate. There’s an obvious difference between bikes that have been quickly cleaned for a sale and bikes that are carefully kept in great condition by a true enthusiast. At the end of the day, the importance you place on the overall aesthetics of the bike is up to you, but a clean bike is typically a happy bike.

Brakes

One of the most important parts of the functionality of your motorcycle is obviously the brakes. Without the ability to safely stop your bike, there is no point in making it move. When inspecting your bike, take a moment to sit on it and take it out of gear, allowing it to roll forward. Gently apply the brakes to ensure the brake lever operates smoothly and the brakes do not make any suspicious noises.

Tires

With most used Harley motorcycles in Chicago, smooth and even wear can be expected and is no reason to worry. However, if there is significant wear on certain sections of the tires, it can be indicative of long-distance freeway riding or excessive burnouts. One-sided scuff marks on the front tire indicate an offset wheel. While tires are replaceable, the current tires can tell you a lot about the state of the bike.

Background

There are plenty of physical aspects to investigate about used Harley motorcycles in Chicago, but one of the easiest and most important things to do when looking for your bike is to ask for all the service records and receipts for the bike. The service records and receipts for the bike will inform you of all prior upkeep and can give you some peace of mind when purchasing.

Contact Chicago Cycles & Motorsports

For more information about buying used Harley motorcycles in Chicago, or to view our current inventory, call us or visit our website!

Motorcycle Storage Tips

The cold front has arrived and we know that you are getting ready to store your used Harley Sportster in Chicago—or any other motorcycle you may have. Here are some things to consider as you put your bike in storage and wait for the warmer weather to return.

Fill The Tank

Put some fresh fuel in your tank and then add the right amount of fuel stabilizer to keep your gas from deteriorating. Turn the bike on and let it run for a couple of minutes so the treated fuel has time to cycle through your tank.

Fill Up Fluids

Check all fluid levels—the brake, clutch, and coolant—and replace or refill whatever is necessary. Consider inspecting the bike’s antifreeze as well to prevent the engine from freezing during the winter.

Clean Oil

Your engine’s oil can become dirty over time, so make sure you avoid corrosion by changing the oil and filter before you begin riding again in the spring.

Conserve Battery

If you notice your battery drains quicker than usual, make sure you get a maintenance check for your bike before you store it. For the wintertime, consider removing the battery completely and trickle charging it all season. Another option is to store your bike with a battery that is fully charged, but also keeping up with the charge once a month in the time it is not being used.

The Tires

If you are storing your bike with the tires intact, make sure you fill up your tires to the maximum recommended volume and place the ride on its center stand. Once a week, rotate the front tire to avoid flat spots.

Wash, Dry, Wax

Before you put your bike away for the winter, wash it and then thoroughly dry it. When you are finished drying off your bike, wax the surface to prevent corrosion and other damage. You can also spray your exhaust pipes with WD-40, which helps keep the moisture and rust away while your bike is idle.

Storage Place

Did you know that sunlight can damage your leather and fade paint? If you choose to store your bike in the garage, make sure you park it away from a window and in a cool, dark corner. Cover it with a breathable cover in order to protect it from dust, grime, and moisture.

 

If you are getting ready to store your used Harley Sportster in Chicago or any other motorcycle and have some questions about the process, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Stay warm this winter!