Getting Started

If you live in Ontario, first get yourself a copy of the Motorcycle Handbook. You can get it and the Driver's Handbook at any Canadian Tire store for about $8.00 each. Read both, as there are car questions on the M1 test, then go to a government Licensing Office to take your test for the temporary M1 license, good for 60 to 90 days. The test is done at a computer kiosk with short videos to watch and multiple choice questions.

I strongly recommend taking a motorcycle safety course like the one offered at Humber College. Take it BEFORE you buy your bike and start riding! You'll need your M1 before you do the course; if you successfully complete the riding test in the course, you'll have an M2 license, effective at the earliest 60 days after you got your M1 and good for 5 years. Here's information on the Ontario graduated licensing system.

Hawk as a First Bike?

If you're considering whether to start on a CB450T Hawk, in my opinion, it's an excellent beginner's bike. I tried quite a few bikes from the 1980s, looking for a standard model betweeen about $1,000 and $1,600 Cdn., and this one easily beat all the others. The other bikes looked and felt worn out, with rusty parts that needed fixing, and many tended to stall a lot and needed special pampering to get them going. My Hawk requires no special treatment and runs really well. Although I can't quite put both feet flat on the ground (I'm 5'6"), it's a comfortable and manageable size.

Choosing a Bike

If you're buying a used motorcycle, bring along a knowledgeable friend and a checklist from a training course or this Used Motorcycle Evaluation Guide.

Used Bike Guide

Inseam Survey


More to Consider

To get your vehicle license, you'll need to have your bike certified for safety by a mechanic (see if the vendor will certify) and you'll need vehicle insurance. Bikes over 15 years old are insured only for liability, not collision, theft or fire. It's wise to consider health and disability insurance in the event of personal injury.

Get the best helmet you can, as head injuries start at $100,000! Leather and denim clothing (gloves covering the wrist, boots covering the ankle) are ok for protection; leather designed for motorcycle use is the best. Make sure you budget for protective gear and insurance so you don't use up all your money on the bike! Get your protective gear at the beginning rather than later as you're most at risk when you're a new rider.

Consider taking a basic motorcycle maintenance course. I've heard many recommendations for the Motorcycle Owner's Manual for new riders. Happy Riding, and keep the shiny side up!