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Guide to Small Motorcycles (Under 500cc)


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Some more experienced riders may scoff at small bikes, but, really, it’s to their own detriment.

Small motorcycles come with a lot of benefits for both new riders and experienced riders alike.

Keep reading to learn about the “small” motorcycle class and find some of the best small sized bikes to check out.

What is considered a small motorcycle?

Each type of motorcycle has some variation within its category. The big one begin engine size. Some states even set their motorcycle license classes and registration and title laws around engine displacement.

For the sake of classification, we can typically define a small motorcycle as anything with an engine displacement of less than 500cc.

A smaller engine does not equal a low powered bike. Sure, a 1100cc engine is going to be more “powerful” than a 300cc engine, but you’ve got to ask yourself – what does that engine power actually equate to and how are you going to be riding your bike?

Small motorcycles have some other common characteristics as well:

  • They’re quick off the line.
  • The lighter.
  • They’re typically smaller in overall size and seat height.
  • They’re easy to handle, maneuver, and control.
  • They’re typically far cheaper than their mid-sized and large-size counterparts.

What is a small displacement motorcycle good for?

There are some situations and reasons where small bikes may actually be a better choice than a larger motorcycle.

If you’re a new rider, a small bike is going to be much easier to learn on.

Small bikes are also great for riding in the city or around town.

They can also excel in off-road riding as they’re light and easier to handle.

If you’re used to riding bigger motorcycles, a small bike can be a great addition to your weekend riding mix.

Best Small Motorcycles

Interested in checking out a smaller motorcycle? You’ve got plenty of options in almost every class ranging from around 150cc up to 400-500cc. Some of the best small motorcycles to check out include:

  • BMW G 310 R
  • Honda Grom
  • Honda CB300R
  • Honda CRF250L
  • Honda Rebel 300
  • Kawasaki Versys-X 300
  • KTM RC390
  • KTM 390 Duke
  • Suzuki GSX250R
  • Suzuki TU250X
  • Yamaha MT-03
  • Yamaha YZF-R3
  • Yamaha WR250R
  • Yamaha TW200

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