1. Find a motorcycle that matches your riding level. Image should be secondary. Many of us want a bike to project a certain image but for an inexperienced rider, this can get you into trouble. If you are new to motorcycling, shop the smaller bikes. Gain your confidence, then you can always upgrade to a larger, more powerful bike.
2. How will you use your motorcycle? Will you be on road, offroad, or maybe both? Maybe you just need a bike for commuting, or maybe you want to use it for long road trips. Some bikes have very specific uses and some will cross over. Do your research and find the best type of motorcycle for your needs and intentions.
3. Be sure the bike fits you. Be sure the motorcycle you are considering fits you well. Never buy a bike without being able to sit on it and ride it. Can your feet touch the ground when you are in the saddle?
4. Consider new and used motorcycles. Do not limit yourself to just new, or just used motorcycles. There are good deals on both if you do your shopping and consider everything. Just because you have a limited budget does not mean that there are not some good new options, and vice versa, there are some fantastic used motorcycle deals too.
5. Get insurance quotes. Once you have done your research and narrowed it down to a few of your favorite models. Give your insurance agent a call and ask for rate quotes on the models that you are considering. Type of bike, driving record and age are some of the things that will play into your personal rate. Talk to other motorcyclists and see who they use for motorcycle insurance.