Riding a motorcycle gives you a sense of freedom that you simply don’t feel when you’re driving a car. After you’ve obtained your motorcycle license, it’s time to find the perfect bike. It can be challenging because there are so many good options available, so we’ve narrowed down the choices to make your search a little easier.
There are several things you should think about before making a purchase so that you get the right bike that works specifically for you. Not all beginner bikes work for all new riders. Consider the following factors when shopping for the best beginner motorcycles.
Most beginner bikes cost between $3,000 and $10,000. Determine the amount of money you want to spend and budget accordingly. In addition to the bike itself, you have to purchase insurance and proper gear, such as a helmet, boots, gloves, and a riding jacket. These expenses can add up.
Keep in mind that the type of bike you choose correlates directly to how high the insurance premium is. The good news is that lower-displacement bikes, which are ideal for beginners, tend to be less expensive than more powerful motorcycles.
- Power Output
Next, look at the bike’s power output. Manufacturers produce a wide range of bikes with as much as 1600cc, and different bikes are suitable for different levels of experience. Most experts agree that entry-level bikers should stick with 600cc motorcycles or less, although you can go a little higher, depending on the make and model.
Bikes with a smaller displacement allow riders to easily control the throttle. The last thing you want is to accidentally go full throttle and experience way more power than you expect. This can be very dangerous, particularly when you don’t know how to reign in that power.
- Weight and Seat Height
Weight and height are very important when it comes to your first bike. Remember, you have to hold the bike up when you’re standing still and control it properly when it’s moving. New riders need time to build up their skills, and little mistakes can be costly. Making a tiny mistake on a big, heavy bike can be catastrophic. In general, lighter bikes are easier to control in low-speed situations.
Also, make sure you can comfortably reach the ground with your feet. This is particularly important if you’re a smaller-statured individual. If the bike is too tall, you won’t be able to handle it very well. One way to determine how tall a bike is is by looking at the seat height.
Consider what type of bike you’re looking for. Do you want a cruiser or a sportbike, for example? The best beginner standard motorcycles are different from the best beginner sport motorcycles. If you ride a standard bike, your shoulders are positioned over your hips. The riding position on a cruiser is more laid back, while on a sportbike, your shoulders lean forward over your hips.
Choose a bike that suits your needs and preferences. This includes everything from what kind of controls it has (forward versus mid) to its mileage capacity. A bike you ride to work every day may not suit you on an adventure trip. Look at all the features, and choose the bike with the most appealing and usable characteristics.
Best Bikes for Beginners
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for an entry-level motorcycle, check out our top 10 in the list below. These bikes are 2019 or newer.
Harley-Davidson Street 500
If you’re new to riding and want a bike from America’s most famous motorcycle manufacturer, this is a great option. The Street 500 is a standard/cruiser bike with a fuel-injected V-twin engine. Its 25-inch seat height makes it suitable for new and smaller riders. It weighs 500 pounds and is easy for entry-level riders to maneuver. Its low weight and low center of gravity make it simple to handle.
You can use it as a daily commuter or for longer weekend adventures. The bike, according to Harley-Davidson, is designed to “conquer the hot and heavy traffic of urban streets.” It comes with specially tuned shocks, but anti-lock brakes, a security system, a large fairing, and saddlebags are optional.
The Honda Rebel 500 is a classic-looking motorcycle and one of the brand’s most popular bikes. It’s very compact with a low-slung seat that’s just 27.2 inches, one of the lowest available. Unless you’re really short, your feet will be flat on the ground every time you stop.
It has a 471cc parallel-twin engine, LED lighting, and a slipper/assist clutch, which is great for beginners. Overall, the bike is really stable regardless of road conditions. Plus, it weighs just 408 pounds, so it’s easy to maneuver if you’re an amateur.
Kawasaki Ninja 400
This 399cc sportbike has a twin-cylinder, fuel-injected engine. It has an aggressive look with LED headlights. It’s not a very complicated machine and is ideal for those new to motorcycling and eager to enter the sport-riding segment. It’s great at cornering, commuting, and for weekend getaways.
The Ninja 400 is lightweight, so it’s easy to handle, but it’s also robust so you won’t fall behind in traffic. Both the ABS and ABK KRT Edition have a 30.9-inch seat height, so you can comfortably and confidently reach the ground. Overall, the ride is smooth, manageable, and enticing for riders of all experience levels.
Yamaha V Star 250
This 250cc cruiser is lightweight and has a seat height of just 27 inches, which makes it a perfect fit for smaller and newer riders. It features dual exhausts, highly controllable brakes, and is the only V-twin in its class. You can ride nearly 200 miles before you need to fill up the gas tank.
The bike handles and maneuvers well, and the suspension is comfortable, whether you’re on a short or long ride. Its weight, power, and shorter seat height make it an excellent option for beginners looking to broaden their riding skills. It also looks good with chrome accents, wire-spoked wheels, and a fit and finish you usually see on bigger bikes.
KTM 390 Duke
The KTM 390 Duke, aka the Corner Rocket, is a standard bike with an upright riding position. The 373cc bike has a naked frame and a six-speed transmission. Its suspension is rather firm, so it corners well for sport riders and touring riders alike. The single-cylinder engine makes it easy to control for beginners, and it is suitable for highway riding.
The seat height is 32 inches, and you can customize the bike by adding extra storage space and other accessories. The 390 Duke is a very efficient beginner’s bike and is even popular with more advanced riders.
Honda Grom 125
While the Honda Grom only has a 125cc engine, it packs a bit of power in such a small package. The motorcycle is lightweight and a great beginner bike. While it’s definitely not the fastest bike on this list, it’s a whole lot of fun to ride, especially if you’re riding around town.
The bike is very agile and is backed by Honda’s reputation for reliability. Riding schools frequently use the Grom to teach newbies how to ride, and it’s really easy to work on and modify. More experienced riders use it for stunts and to test their riding skills.
The Honda CB300R is a cross between a naked bike and a full-fairing sportbike. It’s part of the brand’s Neo Sports Café lineup. The bike weighs just 317 pounds and is very responsive and nimble. Its 286cc engine provides enough power to get around in the city or on the highway.
The bike comes with anti-lock brakes and has a seat height of 31 inches. One of the best things about this bike is you can grow into it regardless of your experience level, and it doesn’t necessarily look like a beginner’s bike.
The Suzuki SV650 street bike combines traditional and modern styling. It has a 645cc v-twin engine and is a good beginning sportbike for daily commuting, touring, and the track (when you’re ready for that). The bike is easy to handle, lightweight, and has a 30-inch seat height.
The SV650 generates consistent power and has a low RPM assist feature, which prevents stalling and is geared towards entry-level riders who aren’t used to a manual transmission. The frame is also slim with a steel construction, which gives it a timeless look. The motorcycle is also noted for its excellent fuel economy.
One of the higher-powered bikes on our list, the 942cc v-twin Yamaha Bolt R-Spec has a five-speed transmission and weighs 542 pounds. It’s a bobber with an urban look, upright riding position, and compact chassis. It’s great for the city and has enough power for highway travel.
It features fuel injection, ignition timing maps, and is ideal for both new and more accomplished riders. The Bolt R-Spec has a narrow body and low seat (27.2 inches), which gives riders more control and maneuverability and reduces fatigue during longer rides.
And if you’re the type who wants to stand out in the crowd, Yamaha encourages customization with options such as a mini fairing and an air cleaner cover.
Triumph Street Twin
The Street Twin is one of Triumph’s most popular bikes. The 900cc custom classic weighs 436 pounds and is very stylish, comfortable, and performance-driven. It has a 29-inch seat height and features ride-by-wire technology for more control, liquid cooling for more fuel efficiency, and ABS, switchable traction control, and a torque-assist clutch (perfect for beginners).
The bike has Brembo front brakes for superior braking performance and cartridge forks for rider comfort. The Street Twin is known for its intuitive handling, which is helpful if you’re new to riding. You can also customize this modern Bonneville with more than 140 accessories, a boon if you are the type who thrives on personalization.
Choosing your first motorcycle can be a challenge. You want something that looks cool but is also easy to handle. That’s why you need to do some research. We recommend you visit dealerships and sit on the bikes. Make sure the motorcycle is the right height and the controls and footpeg position feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. And remember, you can always upgrade at a later point after you have more experience.