Welcome to the world of motorcycling! It’s a never-ending source of adventure. Every ride you take can present something new and exciting, even if it’s just commuting to work. But motorcycling can also be a bit overwhelming when you are first starting out. There is so much to learn and you, no doubt, have a bunch of questions. The biggest one that you need to answer before you can even start riding is: “What is the best beginner motorcycle?”
Everyone has an opinion on what the ideal starter motorcycle should be. And each one of them probably have some ground to stand on. So that just makes it even more confusing. Should you listen to your buddy that has been riding for years or should you follow the advice of a thread on a forum?
As much fun as it is to ride in groups, motorcycling really is an individual pursuit. It is just you and the machine. That is the fact that should drive your decision-making process. You need to choose your first motorcycle to match what is best going to fit your riding style and needs.
Below are some considerations that you should keep in mind before settling on your first motorcycle.
Primary Riding Style
How do you plan on doing most of your riding? Will you be using your motorcycle to commute to work?
Will you be taking off with friends for some cross-country touring?
Or are you looking to dabble in some off-road adventures as well as street riding?
There is a style of motorcycle to match every style of riding there is. And then there are the Swiss Army Knife bikes that can do a little of everything. Matching the style of bike to your style of riding will greatly enhance your ability to get comfortable with riding. Using a bike that doesn’t fit that style of riding can make you second guess why you even got into the sport in the first place.
Motorcycle size is a huge thing to consider. Most experts will profoundly claim that starter motorcycles should be below 600cc and preferably have around 300cc engines. This is a great guideline to stick by for any rider that plans to stick to shorter rides and has little to no experience with powersports. Smaller motorcycles are generally easier to handle and are less of an investment. Plus there is a saying that it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.
There are situations when a larger displacement motorcycle may be more advantageous. If you are set on starting your motorcycling adventures with touring, a larger machine may be more desirable. It’s easier to stack up miles on a bike that can handle highway speeds without being over-worked. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need the largest bagger available, though. Many riders have taken cross-continent journeys on mid-size motorcycles that are built for touring and sport touring.
Used vs. New
There are pros and cons to each. For beginner riders that are unsure if they will truly enjoy riding, cost can be a major concern. The lower price of used bikes is very attractive. But not all used motorcycles are as good of a deal as they seem. A motorcycle that needs work can be too much for a beginner, especially if their wrenching skills are limited. If a new motorcycle is out of the question, look for a used bike from a reputable dealer or from someone that you trust.
The advantage of a new motorcycle is just that. It’s new. There are no questions on whether the motorcycle was beat on and not taken care of by the previous owner. But the price of a new machine is not always within reach of a new owner. It’s a big investment for a new pastime that you may not be interested in later on.
So out of all the options, what is the best beginner motorcycle? The answer is the bike that you will enjoy riding the most! That may be a scooter because of the ease of use, or it may be a large bagger because it has everything you want to tour cross country. Every rider takes to motorcyling differently. Some are like a duck to water, while others need to dip their toes a little at a time before they are fully immersed. Follow your gut and you will likely find the best beginner motorcycle for yourself.