One in thirty-six people own a motorcycle and the number is growing every day. As a new rider, it can be intimidating buying your first motorcycle.
It’s a big deal to pick the right bike to start your motorcycle life off right. Everyone you know is going to have an opinion and not hesitate to give it to you.
Look for the bike that fits you and your needs. It doesn’t need to be a motorcycle from one of the top motorcycle brands. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with your new bike.
First, we’ll go over some key questions you need to ask yourself. Then we’ll tell you about the top ten best motorcycles for beginners.
Best Motorcycles for Beginners
Before we get to the list of motorcycles, ask yourself four questions. You’ll want to have an answer for each question before you start looking at bikes.
Narrow down the list of what will be best for you. Before you know it you’ll be cruising to events.
1. What are you going to use the bike for?
Are you planning on using the bike to commute to work? Is off-roading more your purpose? What about long road trips? Maybe you are just looking for something flashy to go to your local bike night.
Some bikes are designed to go offroad while others are perfectly comfortable for long road trips. Buy a bike that is meant for the purpose in which you intend so that you won’t be disappointed in the long run.
2. How big of a bike can you handle?
When people talk about a bike being big it can mean two things. One thing to consider is the physical size and weight of the bike. You want to be able to comfortably put your fit on the ground and maneuver the bike.
The other meaning is the amount of power the engine produces. A beginner rider is still learning to control the throttle, and handling through turns.
A bike that is lower in power will be more forgiving to a beginner’s mistakes. The best motorcycles for beginners are low enough in power that the rider won’t feel overwhelmed while riding.
3. How much money do you want to spend?
You need to consider what your budget is for the initial investment. Larger engines also mean larger insurance payments.
Another reality of riding a motorcycle is that you will eventually drop it. Repairing a smaller less expensive motorcycle will be more affordable.
4. Does it speak to you?
It’s your first bike, it should make your heart race with excitement. Look for a bike that commands your attention so you struggle to stop looking at it.
1. Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883
Harley’s Sportster has been around for decades and is widely known for being one the best motorcycles for beginners. It is one of the more expensive bikes on the list.
The seat is lower making it friendly for those who are shorter. There is no passenger seat, which is perfect for a new rider who shouldn’t be having passengers yet.
It may not handle as smoothly in slow turns as some of the other bikes on this list. Use this to your advantage and make yourself a better rider with some practice slow turns in an empty parking lot.
The aftermarket options for customization are endless with Harley’s. You’ll have the ability to invest as much or as little as you desire into making your first bike your own.
The Sportster is commonly referred to as the woman’s bike of the Harley line. Don’t let this top you if you are male. You can make the Sportster look tough and less feminine.
2. Indian Scout Sixty
The rivalry between Harley and Indian has spanned decades and is alive and strong. If you are looking for a cruiser then you need to consider the Indian Scout Sixty.
Indian has taken a modern approach to the classic cruiser. They gave it a lot less chrome and a whole lot more black.
The aftermarket parts options aren’t as plentiful for Indian as Harley. Indian does a much better job at making the parts easily interchangeable. This makes it one of the best motorcycles for beginners.
3. Yamaha Bolt
The Bolt is one of the best motorcycles for beginners who want a cruiser style bike. It has wide handlebars that make steering comfortable and give you a more stable feel.
The seat is low making it great for those with shorter legs. At a price of about eight thousand, it’s still at a great price for entry into motorcycles.
4. Kawasaki Vulcan S
You probably don’t think of Kawasaki when you think of cruisers, but this is one of the best motorcycles for beginners. Almost everything on the bike is customizable.
As a new rider being comfortable on your bike is important so go ahead and adjust the handlebars, seat, and pegs. The cruisers are great for someone who is commuting and needs storage space for their stuff.
If you are larger physically you may have to get a different suspension. The stock suspension isn’t designed to handle well with a rider over 160 pounds.
5. Honda Rebel 300 or Rebel 500
If you are short then you need to be looking at the Honda Rebel. You have two options for engine size 300 or 500 depending on how much power you are comfortable with.
Honda has a long history of producing reliable motorcycles. At four and six thousand both bikes are priced perfectly making them one of the best motorcycles for beginners.
6. Kawasaki Ninja 300
The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is one of the smallest motorcycles on this list and perfect for a nervous of very inexperienced new rider. If you are smaller physically then you need to take a look at the 300.
Kawasaki used to make a 250R that was their smallest beginner bike. You have the choice of buying a 250R used for about three thousand or go with a new 300 for about five thousand.
The 300 is fuel injected which means starting your bike will be faster and smoother no matter what the temperature outside. The 300 looks like a bigger bike than it is.
The 300 has received glowing reviews from critics and riders alike. Keep in mind that the 300 is a smaller engine power wise.
You may feel that the power is lacking when riding with other riders. If you do go with the 300, plan on upgrading in the near future.
7. Honda CB500
The Honda CB 500 comes in two options, the CB and CBR. Both options are great for a new rider who is confident with their skills and have experience with motorcycles in some capacity.
Both options come with the option of ABS brakes. The seat is 30.7 inches which makes it a mid-range height on this list.
It’s on the lower end price wise at about six thousand dollars. This is a bike you can get as a beginner and not grow out of in six months.
8. Yamaha YZF-R3
If speed and hardcore leaning into turns are what you are looking for then a sportbike is the way to go. A Yamaha R3 is one of the best motorcycles for beginners.
It has a great entry price of just five thousand. The engine is 321cc which makes is a smaller bike both in size and engine.
Don’t worry though it will still perform well on the highway. Keep in mind with the sports bikes you’ll have a lot less storage space for your items.
9. Kawasaki Versys-X 300
If you are looking to go on a true adventure then the Versys is what you need to be looking at. Adventure bikes let you own the road and the off-road by carrying a ton of gear and having big knobby tires.
If you are very short adventure bikes are not for you as they all have tall seat heights. Get the ABS brakes, they are worth the extra investment.
10. Triumph Street Scrambler
The scrambler is a term that you’ll see all over the place these days as it’s the “cool” bike style right now. The term scrambler means it’s a smaller bike that has an exhaust that is higher, knobby tires, wide handlebars, and a longer body.
If you are into the old school cool of Steve McQueen then this might be the bike for you. Triumph has combined the scrambler style with modern technology.
You’ll have luxuries like traction control and ABS brakes. This bike is one of the most expensive best motorcycles for beginners at around $10,000 for new.
This list is our suggestion for the best motorcycles for beginners. Remember that you want to find the bike that is the best bike for you. Figure out how you want to use your new bike. What style fits your lifestyle and personality. What can you afford for both the initial purchase and long-term?
Make sure to check out our post on where to buy a motorcycle, and don’t just look at the bikes online. Get out there and sit on a few and even give them a test ride. And once you’ve got the bike situation under control it’s time to find your gear and start riding.