Is a 600cc a Good Starter Bike?

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A 600cc motorcycle is a well-loved motorcycle because it can handle many different configurations. However, is a 600cc a good starter bike?

Many people consider a 600cc motorcycle to be a general starting point for beginner riders if it does not have a high-performance engine. A 600cc sportbike may have double the horsepower of a 600cc cruiser, so it depends on the rider’s preference which bike they choose to learn on.

In this article, we will discuss which 600cc motorcycle offers performance that is suitable for a novice rider and what factors you need to consider when buying a good starter bike.

As an avid biker myself, who taught his son how to ride a motorcycle, I can help beginner riders figure out whether a 600cc motorcycle is a good bike for them or not.

In this article...


Performance of a Motorcycle for Beginner Riders

In most cases, a beginner rider would want to start learning to ride a motorcycle that has around 40 horsepower. However, if you are a confident rider and have an adventurous side, it is safe to increase it to 50 horsepower. These types of motorcycles include the Yamaha MT 03 and HondaCBR500R and these motorcycles typically have a single engine or twin-cylinder engine.

Keep in mind though that the displacement of the engine does not tell you much about its performance. Consider the examples of Honda CBR600RR and HondaCBR500R. Although there is only a difference of 100 cc displacement, the HondaCBR600RR has a horsepower of 118 while the latter only has a horsepower of 50. That is because the CBR600RR has only a standard-performance engine, not a high-performance one.

However, I would like to add a caveat that although the displacement does not determine the performance of an engine, it can be a good way to find out engine performance at idle speeds. This means that a 600cc engine will be less likely to stall than a 300 cc engine when your motorcycle is pulling away after a stop.

Beginner motorcycle may find this extra power at idle very helpful as it can be tricky to pull away with a clutch if you do not have any riding experience. In addition, it will depend on the rider whether they feel comfortable learning to ride on this kind of bicycle. A rider with a larger body may find a 600cc motorcycle too small to comfortably fit while a smaller rider may find it too big. As a beginner rider, you need to consider what works best for.

Having said that, as a novice rider, you do not want your motorcycle to have too much power but don’t want it to have too little power, either. Typically, motorcycles that have around 400cc to 600cc and that have between 40 or 50HP are better options for new riders.

Other Factors that Need to be Taken into Consideration for a 600cc Motorcycle

Aside from the horsepower, there are several other factors that need to be taken into account to determine whether a 600cc motorcycle is beginner-friendly or not. Although novice riders do not need to necessarily consider each and every one of these elements, understanding them can help them learn how to ride faster. Although every bicycle comes with a long list of factors to consider, we have narrowed it down to these few crucial ones below:

Seat Position

As a novice rider, one of the first things you need to determine is your seat position or riding position. A motorcycle that offers you an upright position is more comfortable and safe for a beginner rider. In this position, your back is straight and you do not need to lean forward or backwards, your arms are not stretched too much and your feet are positioned almost directly beneath your knees.

Most standard motorcycles, dirt motorcycles, and dual-sport motorcycles have an upright seating position. On the other hand, modern, high-performance sports motorcycles require you to lean and position your feet further back to maintain balance.

Seat Height

New riders should consider the seat height in relation to their inseams. When you are riding your motorcycle and want to stop and put a foot down, the seat height should be adjusted according to the length of your legs. If the seat is too high, your foot won’t easily touch the ground and you will need to lean the motorcycle over slightly just to put a foot down or stand on tip-toes.

On the other hand, if the seat is too low, you may feel a bit uncomfortable because the ground is a bit too near you. Finding the right balance between your seat height and inseam length is important and in most cases, they need to be an almost similar length for the new rider to feel comfortable.

Handlebar Height

Just like the height of the seat, the height of the handlebars also impacts the rider’s posture and can affect your comfort level. The handlebar should allow the rider to only bend their elbows slightly when they sit on the motorcycle and reach for the control with ease. You should never have to stretch to reach the controls or else you may not be able to balance properly.

Handlebar Width

The width of the handlebars is also an important factor for new riders to consider in a 600c motorcycles. Wider handlebars deliver an easier steering experience. Dirt bikes typically have the widest handlebars of any type of motorcycle, but for motorcycles to ride on the streets, you should be looking for standard motorcycles as they are manufactured with wide handlebars.

Weight of the Motorcycle

Whatever 600cc motorcycle you choose, it should have an optimum weight. While a motorcycle rider can theoretically operate any motorcycle, no matter what its weight, things can get pretty challenging for them at low speeds, particularly for novice riders. For an easy and comfortable ride, you should look for 600cc motorcycles with high handlebars and a low center of mass.

Anti-locking Braking System

Most motorcycles are equipped with a standard braking system that does not have an automatic system that prevents the brake from looking if too much pressure is applied to them. Some motorcycles models do come with an anti-lock braking system as a standard feature but most models will add it as an extra feature for a fee in case you want to buy it.

Why we recommend you invest in an anti-locking braking system for your motorcycle is that it will keep the tires from locking and eliminate the risk of skidding if the brakes are applied too hard. New riders are more likely to jam the brakes harder in panic than under-applying them so an anti-locking braking system is a good safety feature to have.


Having a fairing or a windscreen on the front of the motorcycle will keep you protected from the full impact of the wind and the weather and may also offer you some protection from road debris. Leaning forward to fight the wind can increase your fatigue. In addition, if you are riding at high speed, it will make you quite uncomfortable during a long ride.

A small windscreen will also prevent small pebbles and bugs from getting into your face, much like a car’s windshield. All in all, it will keep you cleaner and more invigorated on your motorcycle than if you were riding without a windshield.

So Is a 600cc Motorcycle a Good Ride for a Beginner?

There are a lot of contrasting views on the internet when it comes to answering the question of whether or not a 600cc motorcycle is a good starter bike. What we need to keep in mind is that it can certainly be a good option for novice riders if it does not have a lot of horsepower.

In my personal opinion, a motorcycle between 400cc and 600cc (more or less) with a horsepower of 40 or 50 can be a good option for novice riders. The final decision is up to the person who wants to ride the bicycle; he can go lower if he is not comfortable with a 600cc motorcycle and even go higher if he has an adventurous spirit, a good balance, confidence, and can learn quickly.

There is no point in buying a motorcycle you do not like just because someone says that is what you should buy. You should also consider which type of 600cc motorcycle you want, like cruisers, naked bikes, or sports bicycles and then figure out whether it has the features and functions suited for a beginner rider.

You will know once you find the one.