Best Motorcycles for Beginners
In this section, we'll list the best beginner motorcycles, followed by a segment with a complete buying guide. So, without further ado, let's dive right in:
Royal Enfield Himalayan
While the majority of modern bikes are considered fairly complex machines with high-end componentry, Royal Enfield's Himalayan model takes a more conventional approach to ADV moto construction, with a straightforward half-duplex split cradle frame housing a basic but durable 411cc SOHC engine.
This particular model comes in several paint schemes, including two-tone and camouflage, and features additional and admittedly unexpected amenities, like the switchable dual-channel ABS and a unique Tripper GPS navigation.
BMW G 310 GS
The BMW G 310 GS is a wonderful entry-level motorcycle that is modeled after the wildly successful GS line of adventure bikes in BMW's garage. It is a striking motorbike in and of itself, with a 313cc single and a decent weight of 386 pounds.
A low 32.3-inch seat height is also available, making the height approachable at 33 inches. Most riders previously deemed the seating position "ideal" for beginning riders because it is comfortable and neutral. It also has a luggage carrier, ride-by-wire, adjustable levers, and BMW Motorrad ABS.
Yamaha V Star 250
With its entry-level V-twin engine, the V Star 250 continues to be a wonderful option for novice riders despite appearing to be more powerful than it actually is. Its seat height is 27 inches, and its weight is only 324 pounds.
Although the 250cc isn't very impressive, it's suitable for beginners who don't want the bike to escape from their control. It genuinely resembles a bike that an experienced rider may own, thanks to the relaxing riding position. Another major draw for this vintage street bike should be its reasonable pricing.
Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS
The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS adventure/tour bike is suitable for both rookie and expert riders, and it can handle both roads and rougher terrain. It is a tiny, easy-to-handle motorbike with a 296cc engine that provides just enough power to achieve great top speeds without being too powerful.
The additional cost of an ABS system is well worth it because it provides you complete control of your motorcycle and boosts safety for new riders. It's quick enough to weave through traffic or take on those tight trail corners.
KTM 390 Adventure Bike
The riders clamored for the Ready To Race brand to create an adventure model based on the business's tried-and-true 390 (373cc) platform following the launch of KTM's RC 390 and Duke 390, which eventually led to the creation of the newly announced 390 Adventure. The 390 ADV costs a little bit more than its rivals since it uses technology from the most successful factory race team in Dakar Rally history, but it has true off-road capability thanks to its long-travel suspension and crash protection.
Despite the fact that CB300X's bigger brother uses the same 491cc twin engine as the Rebel 500, the adventure bike is incredibly welcoming to beginner riders. The power output is gradual and mellow, the transmission is buttery smooth, and the cockpit is plush and all-day comfortable.
Reliable braking, wind protection, the ability to upgrade to make it more suitable for longer rides, and a seat height of 32 inches that accommodates a wide range of riders are all positives. It's just enjoyable enough to make you want to ride as frequently as you can without being too much bike for a beginner.
Suzuki SV650 ABS
The SV650 sport bike resembles a cheaper version of the Ducati Monster. But that's a big compliment because it looks like it can handle anything thanks tossed its way, thanks to its sturdy and aggressive-looking construction.
Beginners should not be intimidated by the 650cc displacement, which is admittedly at the high end of power for beginners, because the SV650 ABS is pleasant to ride and easy to control. The seat height is 30.9 inches, and it weighs 437 pounds. Anti-lock brakes are worth the additional $450 above the base SV650.
Harley Davidson Iron 883
This cruiser is ideal for beginner riders who also happen to commute quite frequently since the forward riding position and mid-mount foot controls allow for highly comfortable long-haul travel, despite the bike's distinctive appearance.
Although it is heavier than you may expect for a beginner's bike, the 54 ft-lb of torque lets you know it has the power to get you where you need to go. Be advised that although it is one of our more expensive bikes, it is still well worth the money.
Cleveland Cyclewerks Heist
The Cleveland Cyclewerks Heist is a sleek beginner-level cruiser built in America with an air-cooled engine from China that draws heavily from the custom motorcycle market. This enables the boutique brand to offer a motorcycle that is actually distinctive and attractive-looking at an extraordinarily low cost.
In the 1960s, the Honda Monkey was all the rage in Asia, and it has maintained a cult following for the past 50 years that only continues to expand. The Monkey is regarded as being little, has a small seat, and can be too small for certain bigger fans.
On the other hand, it's a fantastic weekend adventure ride that lets riders enjoy both on- and off-road sightseeing. At slower speeds, it's a pleasant commuter as well, but it lacks the ability to keep up with dense, fast traffic.
Honda Rebel 500
If you're searching for a starting motorcycle with a cruiser design, the Honda Rebel 500 is a fantastic choice. The Rebel 500 has a higher engine output than the two Honda bikes before it, but it is still forgiving to beginners. The 27.2-inch seat is low enough to the ground and has a narrow enough cockpit to fit riders with short inseams.
The bike feels even cushier on the road thanks to recent suspension changes and an incredibly slick transmission. This platform is also ready for simple customization. The ABS-equipped version costs nearly $7,000, but it'll be money well spent because it's likely to be a bike you'll appreciate even after you've mastered the fundamentals of riding.
Harley Davidson Street 500
The Harley-Davidson Street 500 could be a good starting point for beginners since the seat is only 25 inches high, and its 500lbs weight allows for effortless handling, provided that they've completed their first safety training. The bike is suitable for both weekends touring and daily commuting.
With the possibility of adding a big front fairing and saddlebags for more storage, it may be the perfect long-distance touring motorcycle. Along with the security system option, it offers an anti-lock brake option that we advise acquiring. Having a little more security won't hurt because motorcycle theft is a constant worry, especially for Harleys.
Kawasaki Z400 ABS
The Z400, sleekly built naked with the same energetic mill as the Ninja 400 but more comfortable egos, also uses a 399cc parallel twin from Kawasaki. Compared to the Ninja, it is a little lighter and has a more mature driving style. For expert riders, it makes riding enjoyable, and for novice riders, it's a fantastic teaching tool.
Honda Rebel 300
If Rebel 500 is too much for you, the $5,000 Honda Rebel 300 ABS is also a viable option. The bike is a little bit lighter and has a more subdued performance thanks to its 286cc single engine, which also makes it 40 pounds lighter and more affordable than the 500. It has an even narrower cockpit and the same seat height as the 500, making it an excellent option for smaller riders or those looking to learn on a more approachable bike.
Kawasaki KLR650 ABS
The KLR650 is an admirable entry-level bike. This dual sport is not only a truly fantastic bike to ride for rookies, intermediate, and advanced riders but also looks tough as nails. It has one of the best upright riding positions available on a bike; the KLR650 ABS now has ABS for superb braking and riding control.
While 652cc of displacement won't overwhelm your skill level, it is more than enough power to get you out of a jam. It may be used in all three seasons with the addition of heated grips. The price difference between ABS and non-ABS is only $300. The bike's weight is estimated to be 460 pounds, and its ride height of 34.3 inches is on the high side.
Husqvarna Vitpilen 401
The motorcycle shares the same chassis and engine as the KTM 390 Adventure and is backed by an absolutely incredible WP suspension and an industry-leading chromium-molybdenum steel trellis frame. Although it doesn't have a ton of power, it's small and quick enough that you'll like using it for short journeys about town and daily errands while yet being cozy enough for long weekends away. You'll appreciate how light it is because you won't have to struggle to keep it upright and on course.
Kawasaki Ninja 400
Sportbikes for beginners are a very popular choice, and for a good reason—they're fantastic. The Kawasaki Ninja 400 is a market leader in a segment that also offers comparable models from manufacturers like Honda, KTM, Yamaha, and Suzuki.
The 400's 399cc inline-twin engine makes it one of the largest-displacement bikes in this class, yet its characteristics are ideal for a beginner rider. The bike handles well, delivers moderate power, and is reasonably comfortable to ride for extended periods of time.
The Yamaha MT-03 is among the most reasonably priced motorbikes on our list, making it one of the best entry-level models for anyone looking to keep their costs down while still acquiring a high-quality motorcycle. When zooming around town or tearing down the highway, the lightweight frame and small but spirited engine make it simple to control.
Even after several hours of riding, the upright sitting position and exceptional comfort of the naked bike keep your back and shoulders relaxed. The bike resembles the larger Yamahas that are so popular, but the frame is somewhat smaller, making it the perfect choice for anyone learning to ride for the first time. It's also offered in a variety of distinctive and super-cool color finishes, making it a very fashionable road bike for beginners.
Royal Enfield Classic 350
This bike provides pleasurable rides for years to come by fusing a classic appearance with contemporary performance and cutting-edge technology. Royal Enfield Classic 350 adventure bike is a wonderful choice whether you're a beginner planning your first trip or an experienced rider looking for an upgrade.
With the teardrop tank, broad wraparound front and rear fenders, and casquette helmet, the retro appearance transports you to post-World War II Britain. You will feel comfortable even after spending many hours in the saddle, thanks to the single seat's generous size and padding. For beginners, the 350cc engine is powerful enough, but the 429-lb weight is still manageable. It's a wonderful alternative for beginners due to the availability of ABS and reasonable pricing.
Ducati Scrambler Sixty 2
The Scrambler Sixty2 is one of the smaller Ducatis available on the market, despite Ducati's reputation for producing large, powerful motorcycles. With a lower displacement engine yet sufficient torque to propel you to top speed in a matter of seconds and power to keep you tearing around the city for hours on end, it is the perfect size for new drivers.
Although it is more expensive than some of the most cost-effective models on our list, what else would you anticipate from a reputable company like Ducati? For your money, you can count on unmatched build quality, first-rate customer service, and a bike that will serve you well for many years of regular usage.
How to Choose the Best Bike for Beginners
There's more to choosing a bike than simply looking at the pictures or entering the store and saying "that one" while pointing towards the biggest and meanest machine possible — especially when you're a beginner. This section of our article will dive into the certain specs and areas you need to understand when choosing your first bike. Let's get started.
One of your first considerations when purchasing a new motorcycle model should be the engine. It's highly recommended for beginners to stick with a displacement of 600cc or smaller. Entry-level models now typically have 300-400cc engines, which is a significant improvement over the quarter-liter bikes that previously dominated this class.
While a motorcycle's engine primarily controls its speed and acceleration, its running gear, which includes the chassis, suspension, and brakes, is responsible for turning and stopping the vehicle.
Even though their performance and quality can vary greatly, these components do carry out the same tasks. The high-end running gear had also become more common on entry-level bikes when it was previously only seen on expensive, large-displacement motorbikes.
High-tech amenities and rider assistance are other trends that have recently arrived on entry-level models. This incorporates attributes including lean-angle-sensitive ABS, numerous ride modes, and Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity. Although they do cost more money, these features significantly increase convenience.
What riding applications are available on a specific motorbike will depend on its speed, which is determined by its power output and weight (or power-to-weight ratio). Models with top speeds of 70 mph open the door to a wide range of riding opportunities, including interstate use and long-distance touring. You should be able to tell what riding situations a bike is suitable for (and which it isn't) by looking at its top speed.
With prices in the entry-level motorbike market today being so fiercely competitive, $5,000 will get you the majority of learner-friendly bikes. Having said that, some bikes provide far more value for your money than others. Due to the wide range of value offered, it's critical to investigate exactly what a certain model's MSRP gives you. Used motorcycles with low mileage are a terrific method to cut costs as well.
The business that created a certain motorbike model will have a significant impact on the machine's overall dependability and performance, far more so than just the badges on the tank. But it doesn't stop there; in addition to being almost always more expensive, purchasing from a bigger, more reputable brand also gives you access to more aftermarket and replacement OEM parts, as well as a wider dealer network.
Another factor worth considering is how well some companies' bikes hold their value over time. This is important if you intend to sell your current bike in the future to buy a bigger model.
A motorcycle will be harder to control the heavier it is. Not only do smaller bikes have lighter engines, but also lighter frames, suspension systems, and other parts. Motorcycle weight is a spiraling problem; heavier bikes require heavier brakes and other components. For these reasons, choosing a lightweight motorcycle is crucial because it will be the most helpful for improving as a rider.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
The majority of motorcycles will have a basic braking system without a computer to prevent the brakes from locking up when applied too forcefully. Anti-lock brakes are a feature that certain models come with as standard equipment, while most models only offer them as an option.
Because ABS prevents the tires and brakes from locking and skidding if you press the brakes too firmly, it is noteworthy. As a beginner rider, you'll be more concerned with over-applying the brakes than worrying about under-applying them in an emergency stop.
If your motorcycle has a windscreen or fairing up front, you can tuck beneath it to avoid the wind and weather or have to lean forward to combat the wind's force. Highway driving without a windscreen may be more exhausting than highway driving with anything to block the wind because the higher speed also correlates to more wind force. Similar to a car's windshield, a windscreen will keep out small rocks and insects while you're riding.
One thing to keep in mind as a beginner rider is the seat height and how it affects your inseam. The seat height must be adjusted to accommodate the length of your legs when you need to stop and put one or both feet down.
A shorter inseam will force you to tilt the motorcycle over to place your foot down if the seat is too high, or you may even have to stand on your tiptoes to keep it steady and upright. In contrast, a shorter motorbike and a larger inseam might also be uncomfortable due to how simple it is to touch the ground.
For a rider to feel at ease stopping and standing, the seat height and inseam length must be balanced, and they probably need to remain within a few inches of one another.
Similar to how seat height impacts posture, handlebar height also has an impact on how comfortable and fatigued you feel when riding. When seated on the motorcycle, it would be preferable if you could immediately use the hand controls. It would be beneficial if you didn't have to stoop or stoop too far to access the controls. When you sit on the motorcycle and reach for the controls, your elbows should be slightly bent to keep you comfortable and aware while you ride.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley