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Best Beginner Motorcycle: What Motorcycle Should I Get?

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Choosing the right motorcycle can be a difficult choice if you’re new to riding.

There are a few things you’ll want to consider when picking the bike you should get, including:

  • Your level of riding experience.
  • The type of riding you’ll be doing.
  • How often and for how long you typically ride.
  • Your height and weight.

The right size bike for you will:

  • Allow you to plant your feet firmly on the ground at a stop.
  • Allow you to comfortably reach and operate all the controls and levers.
  • Allow you to fully move the handlebars from one side to another.
  • Be powerful enough for the speed and distance of riding you’ll be doing.
  • Be comfortable enough and suited for the type of riding you’ll be doing.

What is the Best Starter Motorcycle?

If you’re just starting out as new rider or you’re still learning how to ride, a beginner motorcycle is the way to go for your first bike.

You can find beginner motorcycles in different styles/classes of bikes, but here as some good general guidelines to follow:

  • Buy a used motorcycle for your first bike.
  • Keep the engine size within the 250cc to 750cc, go towards the higher if you’ll be riding for longer distances or on the freeway.
  • Select something on the lighter side of the motorcycle weight range.
  • Choose something with a comfortable, ergonomic seat position for the type of riding you’ll be doing.
  • Choose something with a windshield, fairings, and storage if you’ll be using the bike for your commute.

What Size Motorcycle do I Need?

It’s important to select, or adjust, your motorcycle so its suited for your weight and height.

A motorcycle that’s a match for your size is going to be more comfortable to ride, easier to control, and safer.

If you’re a lighter-weight rider, a lighter motorcycle will probably be a better choice for you.

If you’re a heavier rider, you may need to see about adjusting the suspension on your bike.

Height-wise, you’ll want to select a bike that allows your feet to be flat at a stop. If you are teetering on your tip-toes every time you come to a stop, you’re going to risk falling over.

You’ll also want to be sure that you can safely and comfortable reach all the levers and controls. If you need to stretch or strain in order to operate something, you are not going to be in control of the bike.

Be sure to take the time to sit on a variety of bikes to get a feel for what is going to be best for you. If you’re unsure, as the dealer or an experienced rider for some help.

What Motorcycle Should you Get?

In addition to the guidelines above, here are some more things to consider when you’re choosing the right bike to buy.

  1. Do you want a project bike that will need a little work, or do you want something that is going to be reliable to ride?
  2. What kind of riding will you be doing?
    • A motorcycle that is suited for city commuting is going to be a lot different than something designed for long-distance touring.
  3. What is your skill level and riding experience?
    • Nothing is worse for a beginner motorcyclist than trying to learn the fundamentals of riding on an oversized or overpowered bike for their skills.
    • Starting with something smaller and lighter can make learning to ride easier.

Best Beginner Motorcycles

Since every rider is different, the best beginner motorcycle will be a little different depending on:

  • The rider’s height and weight.
  • The type of riding they’ll be doing.
  • The rider’s experience level.

However, regardless of any of the above, it is much harder to learn on the wrong motorcycle.

There are a few things that the best beginner motorcycles will have in common:

  • On the smaller and lighter size making them easy to control at low speeds and pick up, if necessary.
  • Not over powered.
  • Allows the rider to plant both feet flat on the ground when seated on the bike.
  • Allows the rider to sit comfortably to have full control over all levers, handlebars, and controls.
  • Is designed to match the type of riding the motorcyclist will be doing.

If you’re buying a motorcycle through a dealership, the salesperson can typically help you adjust the seat and suspension to get the right fit.

If you’re buying a used motorcycle through a private seller, you may need to refer to the motorcycle’s shop manual to make any fitment adjustments.

Good Options for Beginner Motorcycle Models

Again, the best bike for you may be different that the best bike for someone else.

If you need some ideas to get you started, check out the list below for some of the best motorcycle models for new riders.

Some good options for beginner street bikes and cruisers include:

  1. Harley-Davidson Street
  2. Honda CB 300R
  3. Honda Rebel
  4. Kawasaki Z400
  5. KTM Duke
  6. Suzuki GW250
  7. Yamaha V-Star
  8. Yamaha MT03

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Content Editor: Ethan Orenstein

Ethan is not just any motorcycle enthusiast. With a decade of experience riding, maintaining, and restoring a range of motorcycles, Ethan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Many of the tips and tricks shared on this site are born from hours spent wrenching on personal bikes. Paired with his experience as a journalist covering DMV & insurance topics, MotorcycleZombies.com is a must-visit site for any home-mechanic. Every article has been carefully reviewed and edited to ensure accuracy, authenticity, and simplicity - all to help bring your bike back from the dead and onto the road.

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