Your first motorcycle.
Those of us who ride will always remember the first motorcycle we called our own. And some of us may still have it. But whether riding motorcycles comes naturally for some, like those who spent their childhood around bikes, or like others who make a more conscious decision to start riding as an adult, we all got started on that beginner motorcycle that helped set us up for life.
Motorcycle ownership continues to grow in the United States and as the family widens you too might have a longing to join. Therefore, you need a motorcycle.
Ninjas are cool. Ducati offers a high-end experience. The Yamaha R1? Well, now you're talking. Umm, no we're not.
Forget the slick commercials and drool all you want at your dream bike but you need to get up to speed literally and figuratively before riding a high-powered horse. The best quick advice we can give any beginner motorcycle rider looking for their first bike is to keep it under the liter. Meaning avoid those bikes with a 1000cc sized engine or 1 liter engine. If you have never ridden a motorcycle before start in the 300cc to 400cc range then let experience dictate where you go from there. If you have some riding experience, keep it in the 400-850cc range.
But, since so many makes and models exist, you might get lost as you look for what best suits your style and beginner skill level. If you don't like the look of a motorcycle then don't buy it, just don't go off looks alone. If you don't like the feel of a motorcycle, then definitely don't buy it. You want comfort and manageability.
So, where do you start? With style and substance in mind, we put together a sampling of beginner motorcycles you should consider to help narrow your scope and perhaps help with the buying process.
Best Used Motorcycle for Beginners
Buy used. Buy any used motorcycle in the suggested engine size. Spend the rest of your money on riding gear. This may sound trite because we sell motorcycle riding gear, however, we want you safe and coming back for more. That advice actually comes from a veteran rider with no affiliation to MotoSport.
After a month of riding you might not really enjoy it. Your inexperience could result in a brand new motorcycle falling over. You could crash. Until riding becomes natural and leads to a comfortable experience on the open road you might want to consider buying a used motorcycle.
Best New Motorcycles for Beginners
But I want a new one! OK, if you have some experience riding, absolutely love it and can't wait to buy your very own brand new never ridden before motorcycle then consider any of these models - all of which are generally forgiving enough to allow for quick learning without scaring you out of the saddle and sporty enough to keep you entertained for a few years while you save for your dream bike.
The SV650 has a bigger engine than our suggested range between 300cc and 400cc for true beginners but the mid-sized nature along with medium performance parts keeps this bike tame. It's considered a budget motorcycle (around $8,000) with easy handling. The Suzuki SV650 probably ranks as one of the more popular entry level, beginner motorcycles.
Kawasaki Ninja 300
Yes, you can have a Kawasaki Ninja. This "baby Ninja" boasts a 296cc engine offering agility and performance without throwing you off the back with barely a twist of the throttle. And the price? A thoroughly reasonable $5,000.
Honda Rebel 300
You want style? You get style with the Honda Rebel 300 and a price point under $5,000. The smaller engine is more than enough to push around this much lighter bike and don't be surprised if the Rebel ends up being a forever bike.
The KLR650 offers an entry level dual sport motorcycle and has been around for more than 30 years with little changes in manufacturing. You can buy one new for under $7,000.
Ducati Scrambler Sixty2
The Sixty2 version of the Scrambler brings a 399cc engine and just one look explains why it is now the most popular Ducati Scrambler of all time. Like the Rebel, it doesn't scream down the street but certainly calls out style and with such a cool, throwback look you might have already found your dream bike for around $8,000.
These models simply offer a taste of the available beginner motorcycles. Every manufacturer produces an entry level ride and/or smaller cc bikes for all riders whether in the sport bike realm or cruiser world. When shopping for a new beginner motorcycle, keep the sport bikes under 650cc and the V-twin engines like Ducati, Triumph and Harley under 850cc.