15 Best Beginner Motorcycles: The Definitive Beginners Guide

15 Best Beginner Motorcycles: The Definitive Beginners Guide

These Are The 10 Best Motorcycles For Beginners In 2022

A motorcycle gives you an open-air experience you don’t get in cars. Some motorcycles can hit extreme speeds because they are powered by engines bigger than most cars we see on the road. But these motorcycles can be too big and heavy to handle for a beginner, or too powerful for riders who are looking for a laid back riding experience. Research reveals that most motorcycle wrecks involve new riders within their first few months on the streets, riding machines too big relative to their skills. It’s therefore advised to go for smaller bikes that are easy to control and minimize the margin of error with less sensitive controls. This is because motorcycles are indeed more dangerous than cars, because of the lack of airbags, crumple zones, and a protective shell. That is why it is very important for beginner riders to make sure they get the right bike to help them improve their skills and become more confident on the road. Luckily, there are plenty of motorcycles for beginners, that are not only fun, but offer a beautiful riding and ownership experience.

UPDATED November 2022: There have been some exciting new motorcycle launches in 2022, and they will all be ready to reach customers by 2023. If you are looking to buy your first motorcycle, or if you just want to get back on the saddle with something practical, safe, and convenient, then you might want to check out our list of the best beginner motorcycles you can buy in 2023.

RELATED: 10 Underrated Cruiser Bikes Every Biker Should Ride

As a beginner, you also need to consider factors like horsepower, fuel efficiency, brake features, and technology. Riders can perfect their skills with less power before stepping up to more powerful and heavy bikes. The best beginner bikes are light and feature small-displacement engines. Here are the 10 best motorcycles for beginners in 2023.


10/10 Honda Rebel 500

Via honda

Since its inception in the mid-1980s, the Honda Rebel was a go-to option for newbies. However, it has spiked in popularity recently as one of the best cruiser bikes, prompting Big Red to unveil the new generation Rebel 300, 500, and 1100. The half-liter variant and the Rebel 300 are small enough to welcome new riders while still offering room for growth.

Via Honda

The Rebel 500 seems like the best option though because it still offers a decent amount of power for riders to have fun with. The Honda Rebel 500 also offers a low seat position and versatile ergonomics that favor both short and tall riders. It features a super smooth six-speed transmission and a light curb weight of 421 pounds. Honda also offers accessories such as USB chargers, saddlebags, windshields, and more for riders with the urge to tune their bikes.

9/10 Honda CB500X


Another motorcycle from Honda is the CB500X, which is a versatile middle-weight adventure bike with a beginner-friendly approachable platform for new riders wishing to gain riding experience. Dual-purpose tires and a long-travel suspension make the bike ready to hit gravel roads and light trails as well. The CB500X utilizes the same 491cc twin-cylinder liquid-cooled engine found in the Rebel 500.

Via: Powersports.honda

New upgrades in the 2022 version include a 5-pound weight reduction to 439 pounds, dual disc brakes, and an inverted front fork. The 32.8-inch seat height is suitable for a wide variety of riders, and you can get it in a choice of pearl organic green or black.

8/10 Kawasaki Ninja 400

Via: Kawasaki

The Kawasaki Ninja 400 is such a fun bike, that even seasoned riders will enjoy it. Experienced riders would agree that the Ninja 400’s performance exceeds its “entry-level” nickname – it easily blows the lid off other beginner bikes thanks to the twin-cylinder 399cc rated at 44hp. With a $5,000 price tag, the Ninja 400 is arguably the best buy in its category.

RELATED: The Top 5 Liter Bikes Of 2022 (5 Middleweight Sportbikes We'd Rather Buy)

via: kawasaki

The Ninja 400 succeeded the 300 and came with improved styling and lower curb weight. Other upgrades include better brakes, a shorter frame, beefier front forks, and a longer swingarm. A limited KRT (Kawasaki Racing Team) Ninja 400 in a replica race livery is also available in 2023. If you like sports bikes, then the Ninja 400 is pretty much your best bet for first-time buyers.

7/10 Royal Enfield Himalayan

Via: Royal Enfield

The first motorcycle from Royal Enfield that really made a statement in the North American market was the Himalayan. This light and practical adventure motorcycle has gained a significant fan following all around the world for its strong build and high capability for off-road touring. It is an easy motorcycle to ride, and it has just the right amount of power output from its 411cc single-cylinder engine, that is perfect for beginner riders.

Via: Royal Enfield

The Royal Enfield Himalayan can also be a fantastic urban daily ride because of its comfy seat and upright riding ergonomics. What is truly special about the Himalayan though is that it can be taken on almost any off-road trail by any rider, no matter their riding level. The Himalayan certainly makes a statement when it comes to build quality, and what's even better is that it is very cheap to buy and own.

6/10 KTM 390 Adventure

via ktm

Like the BMW G310S, KTM acquired features from their more powerful motorbikes and fitted them to a beginner-friendly frame, making the KTM390 more manageable for novices. The 390 Adventure is one of the most versatile motorcycles a beginner rider could go for. The 390 Adventure shares its platform with the Duke 390, including the wonderful 373cc engine.


This 390 Adventure is a first-in-class beginner bike for adventure riders thanks to its crash protection feature and long suspension travel for riders with a passion for off-roading. It’s a bit heavy on the pocket compared to its competition but comes with features you’d typically find in higher-spec bikes, such as different ride modes, cornering ABS, and traction control.

5/10 Honda CB300R

Via: Honda

This is the smallest bike in Honda’s Neo-Sports Café range, and it is also one of the most fun handling compact naked sports motorcycles you can find. Its single-cylinder liquid-cooled 286cc engine offers quite a nice punch, and is fuel-friendly, but it offers more fun on the road than a barrel of monkeys.

RELATED: These Adventure Bikes Offer The Best Value For Money In 2022

via Honda

The Honda CBR300R’s simple design makes it cheap and easier to maintain – it isn’t bogged down with complicated switches, buttons, ride modes, and techno-nannies that would distract beginners on the road. Its high-end features include anti-lock brakes, LED lighting, and an inverted fork.

4/10 BMW G 310 GS


In 1980, BMW made the first-ever widely recognized modern adventure bike, the mighty R80 GS. Over the following decades, the Bavarian brand’s Gelände-Straße models became the most popular adventure bikes. BMW made a small-displacement version of the bigger GS lineup to attract new riders to the game, and the bike has been very successful for the German motorcycle maker


The BMW G310 GS packs a 313cc single-cylinder engine capable of highway cruising and light off-roading. Its head-turner style features a luggage carrier, ABS, adjustable levers, and ride-by-wire. It weighs 386 pounds and has an approachable seat height of 32.8 inches, making the perfect BMW for new riders.

3/10 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650

Via: Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield has some amazing classic styled motorcycles. When the Indian motorcycle manufacturer launched the 650 twins a few years ago, they became instant hits with new riders and old riders alike. The newest motorcycle from Royal Enfield is the Super Meteor 650. This is essentially a highway cruiser variant of the already popular Interceptor 650.

Via: Royal Enfield

The Royal Enfield Super Meteor comes with a beautiful 650cc twin-cylinder engine that offers plenty of power for highway touring. The new Super Meteor will also come in different variants, and will also have plenty of customization options for riders to choose from. The new Royal Enfield Super Meteor will be one of the best retro styled cruiser motorcycles to launch in 2023, and just for beginners, but for everybody.

2/10 Yamaha YZF R3

Yamaha Motorsports

Yamaha made the R3 the most radical 300 on the road by giving it an all-new MotoGP-inspired look. The sleek bodywork echoes Valentino Rossi’s championship-winning race bike. Its aggressive dual LED headlights highlight Yamaha’s R-series DNA.

RELATED: Here Are The 10 Best Adventure Bikes Available Right Now


The R3 offers a fun ride while still maintaining good highway speed thanks to the 321cc inline twin-cylinder engine. To deliver maximum torque, Yamaha fitted it with 4 valves per cylinder. The R3 is comfy to cruise for long distances since the diamond-type steel frame offers an upright riding position and a seat height of 30.7 inches. The R3 has been around for a long time and even today it is still one of the best entry-level sports bikes you can get your hands on.

1/10 Suzuki GSX250R

via Suzuki

The GSXR lineup has been on the bike scene since the 1980s, when Suzuki introduced the Katana. It has since evolved over the years, but Suzuki only offered larger displacement bikes – 600cc and more. They have since started producing entry-level bikes for beginners with a 250cc engine.


The GSX250R is probably the best value for money sports bike you can find on the market today. The GSX250R has a 31-inch seat height and features a full fairing and windshield for wind protection. The forward leaning ride-style mimics that of the larger displacement sport bikes from the Japanese manufacturer. The bike lacks an anti-lock brake system, but its dual caliper system offers great braking performance.

15 Best Beginner Motorcycles To Start Your Journey in 2022

With summer in full swing, now is the time to hit the road and start exploring your area in style.

Say goodbye to your stuffy car, and hello to a brand new motorbike.

Oh, you don’t have experience riding? No sweat. Start with a “beginner bike” and hit the road today!

Below, we’ll walk you through what makes for a good beginner motorcycle, including a complete buying guide and all the pros and cons of starting out small. After that, we’ve compiled a list of the absolute best beginner motorcycles to get you started riding today!

What Makes a Good Beginner Motorcycle?

Before we dive into the list of the best beginner motorcycles, it’s important we take a moment to talk about what separates “beginner” bikes from the rest.

A beginner bike:

Weighs less – Typically, the weight will be between 300 and 400 pounds, though that’s not a hard-and-fast weight.

Costs less – You can find as cheap as $1,500, though the top-notch beginner bikes will run you more like $4,000 to $7,000.

Has a smaller engine – Beginner motorbikes will pack a 150cc to 500cc engine—plenty of power to take you where you need to go, but not so much that you risk losing control.

Reaches lower speeds – Most beginner bikes will top out around 130 to 150 MPH. For your first time riding, you really don’t need anything faster than 80 to 120 MPH. When you grow more comfortable with high speeds, you can upgrade to a proper bike.

Features Anti-Lock Brake Systems – ABS makes your bike easier to manage and gives you more “stopping power”, which you’ll need as you grow accustomed to handling the powerhouse between your legs.

Keep these in mind as you look over the list of beginner motorcycles below…

The 15 Best Beginner Motorcycles

1 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS For your next adventure on the open road, try the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS! The adventure/touring bike is designed to handle both streets and trails, suitable for both beginner and advanced riders. It’s a compact, manageable bike that you’ll never have trouble handling, with a 296cc engine that delivers power enough to reach excellent top speeds without being overpowering. The addition of ABS system is well worth the extra expense, giving you total control over your bike and improving safety for beginner motorcyclists. It’s nimble enough you can weave in and out of traffic or tackle those hairpin trail turns on a dime. For the price, you won’t find many better! Specs Engine: 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled 296cc

Weight: 385.9 lb

Top Speed: 100 mph CHECK PRICE 2 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 This cruiser will be the perfect bike for anyone planning cross-country travel, but who may still be fairly new to biking. The style is iconic, but the forward riding position and mid-mount foot controls make for a very comfortable long-haul trip. The V-Twin rumble makes you feel like a total badass when you’re ripping down the highway, and it rides beautifully smooth while still delivering all the power you want for a high-speed ride. It’s definitely on the heavier side for a beginner bike, but with 54 ft-lb of torque, you know it has the oomph to get you where you want to go. Just be aware: this is one of the priciest bikes on our list, but well worth the investment. Specs Engine: 883cc Air-Cooled Evolution® V-Twin engine

Weight: 564 lb.

Top Speed: 105 mph CHECK PRICE 3 HUSQVARNA VITPILEN 401 Take this café racer out on the open road, and you’ll always travel in style. The classic café racer style has been given a truly modern upgrade, resulting in a bike that packs all the power of a cutting-edge bike while still retaining the iconic look that has made these motorcycles such a popular choice. The bike boasts the same chassis platform and engine as the KTM 390 Adventure, built onto an industry-leading chromium-molybdenum steel trellis frame supported by a truly epic WP suspension. Though it doesn’t pack insane amounts of power, it’s compact and zippy enough you’ll love using it for your everyday errands and trips around town, but comfortable enough for longer weekend getaways, too. You’ll love how lightweight it is—you’ll never have to wrestle with it to keep it upright and on course. Specs Engine: Liquid-Cooled 373cc Single-Cylinder

Weight: 335 lbs.

Top Speed: 105+ MPH CHECK PRICE 4 CLEVELAND CYCLEWERKS HEIST The Cleveland Cyclewerks Heist delivers style in spades! The cruiser is a perfect entry-level bike for anyone who wants to hit the open road, but it’s well-suited for veteran riders, too, thanks to its high performance and classic design. It’s far from the fastest bike on our list—a little over 70 MPH is all you’ll manage—but that’s ideal for anyone who’s just taking their first rides and doesn’t want to be overwhelmed by excessive power. It’s safe highway speeds and a design that maximizes stability and user control, delivering a much more beginner-friendly riding experience. The design is sleek, the seat is low enough to be very comfortable as a low-rider, and best of all, the price tag is one you can definitely afford. You can even customize it to your exact specs to make it the perfect bike for you! Specs Engine: Air-Cooled 229cc Single-Cylinder

Weight: 291 lbs.

Top Speed: 70+ MPH CHECK PRICE 5 Yamaha V Star 250 The Yamaha V Star 250 delivers nimbleness and easy handling that few other bikes on our list can hope to match, which is why it’s one of our top picks. You’ll find it’s one of the smoothest rides around, and though it roars like a beast, it drives like a dream. The small-bore cruiser looks like a full-sized bike and packs the powerful V-Twin engines, but it’s one of the most fuel-economical bikes around, perfect for commuting and long-haul travel. Shorter, lighter riders will find the low seat makes it the ideal choice, and its light weight makes it easy to manage. However, it’s got power and space enough to comfortably carry a passenger, making it a great option for couples and buddies planning to hit the open road in style. Specs Engine: Air-cooled 249cc V-Twin

Weight: 324 lbs.

Top Speed: 85 MPH CHECK PRICE 6 HONDA REBEL 500 The Honda Rebel 500 is one of the best-known entry-level bikes, a powerhouse that combines agility with smooth handling and user-friendly performance. There is the option to add on ABS brakes to give yourself more stopping power, but even without them, the motorcycle is still a newbie-compatible bike that makes every ride easier, safer, and more fun. Honda’s proprietary slipper/assist clutch will prevent you from stalling out and keep you gliding forward smooth as silk, and the engine has power enough to keep you zipping through city streets and roaring down the highway in equal efficiency. It’s also one of the best-looking bikes around, with a wide front wheel, blacked-out engine, black diamond-stitched seat, black fork boots/covers, and a headlight cowl painted to match the color of your bike. Now that’s a beginner motorcycle worth owning! Specs Engine: Liquid-Cooled 471cc Parallel-Twin

Weight: 408 lbs.

Top Speed: 95 MPH CHECK PRICE 7 CAKE KALK INK As the only electric motorcycle on this list, the Kalk Ink by Cake is a game-changing bike, offering impressive fuel savings while still being powerful enough to suit the trail warrior in all of us. The engine is powered by a battery that packs premium 18650 lithium cells, with 50 Ah that can deliver up to 3 hours of smooth riding before needing a recharge. Though it’s far from the fastest bike on our list—only reaching speeds of around 56 MPH—you’ll find it’s perfect for zipping around those off-road trails and tackling wicked jumps. Plug it in to re-charge, and it’ll be juiced up to full in 3 hours. The bike features specially-engineered upside down MX spring forks with integrated rebound adjustment that makes it perfect for handling even the harshest off-road conditions. It’s also insanely light and suited to even younger riders. Specs Engine: 50Ah, 51.8V

Weight: 174 lbs.

Top Speed: 70 MPH CHECK PRICE 8 Suzuki SV650 ABS The Suzuki SV650 has been one of the most popular beginner motorcycles for over 20 years, and the iconic bike has been upgraded time and again to ensure it stays at the forefront of excellence and reliability. The latest model has been enhanced with a chassis that can handle some “exciting” lean angles when zipping around corners, a refined powerplant that cuts emissions and fuel consumption while delivering maximum power output, and four-piston Tokico brake calipers capable of stopping the light-bodied bike with impressive speed. Pair that with the sleek, modern look for which it’s famous, and you can see why it’s such a great choice for any rider looking to knock it out of the park with their first—and perhaps, only—motorcycle. Oh yeah, and it packs a whopping 650ccs of power, so you’ll have to get good at handling a lot of bike very quickly to keep this beast under control. Specs Engine: 650cc

Weight: 437 lbs.

Top Speed: 130 MPH CHECK PRICE 9 KTM 390 Adventure Hit the open road or city streets on the KTM 390 Adventure, and you’ll always feel right at home. This bike features a lightweight chassis paired with a 373cc single-cylinder engine, and the combination ensures you’ve got enough power to hit impressive speeds. Added to that is a Bosch 9.1MP Two Channel-ABS system—including dual modes, “Cornering” for on-road speed and “offroad” for when you want to hit the dirt track or mud trail—and you’ve got a bike perfectly suited to both speed and performance. It may be on the pricier side compared to some of the other bikes on our list, but it’s well worth every penny to get your hands on this powerhouse of an adventure bike. Whether you take it mudding or cross-country tripping, you’ll find it can handle anything you throw at it. Specs Engine: Liquid-Cooled 373.2cc Single-Cylinder

Weight: 379 lbs.

Top Speed: 93 MPH CHECK PRICE 10 HONDA H’NESS CB350 The H’Ness CB350 is one of Honda’s latest offerings, and boy did they knock it out of the park with this beauty of a bike! It’s designed to look and feel like a cutting-edge motorcycle, but the handling remains true to every bike that has kept Honda firmly at the head of its industry for decades. Rev that engine and you’ll hear the roaring thump that lets you know this beast packs some serious power, but it’s built with the precision and fine attention to detail you’ve come to expect from Japanese manufacturers. The low-mounted engine not only makes it safer and easier to handle by lowering the center of gravity, but gives it a more comfortable feel for the hours you’re sitting in the seat. Despite its massive-looking shape, it handles like a dream and delivers truly next-level performance. Specs Engine: 4 Stroke, SI Engine 348.36cc

Weight: 399 lbs.

Top Speed: 85+ MPH CHECK PRICE 11 Suzuki GSX250R If you’ve always dreamed of owning a racing bike, the Suzuki GSX250R is the perfect entry-level option for newbie riders. Take one look at it, and you’ll see that it matches the classic “vibe” of your favorite racing bikes, complete with the larger-than-life design that makes the Suzuki GSX-R bikes some of the best on the market. However, it’s actually smaller and lighter than it looks, and it’s a much tamer ride, with just enough power to let you rip down the open road without getting out of control. The 248cc, parallel-twin engine offers torque enough for any beginner and intermediate rider, letting you hit impressive speeds with just the twist of the throttle. Thanks to its lighter, narrower frame, you can handle its weight and keep it upright with only minimal effort. Sadly, it doesn’t come with ABS, but you’ll find Suzuki’s proprietary brakes are just as responsive and offer you excellent control over your speed. Specs Engine: 248cc, parallel-twin engine

Weight: 399 lbs.

Top Speed: 88 MPH CHECK PRICE 12 Yamaha MT-03 The Yamaha MT-03 is one of the most affordable bikes on our list, which makes it one of the best beginner motorcycles for anyone trying to keep it cheap while still getting a quality bike. The engine is small but lively, and the lightweight frame makes it easy to manage when zipping around town or racing down the highway. The naked bike offers excellent comfort and an upright sitting position that won’t tire your back out or strain your shoulders even after hours of riding. The bike looks like the larger Yamahas that are so popular, but the frame is just a bit more compact—thus, ideal for anyone trying to get the hang of their first few rides. It’s also available in a number of unique and ultra-cool color finishes that make it a truly stylish road bike for beginners. Specs Engine: 321cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke

Weight: 373 lb

Top Speed: 112 MPH CHECK PRICE 13 Royal Enfield Classic 350 This bike combines a vintage look with modern performance and cutting-edge technology, delivering enjoyable rides for years to come. Whether you’re a beginner planning your first trip or an advanced rider ready for an upgrade, this stylish adventure bike is a great option. The throwback look brings you back to Britain in the days following World War II, complete with the teardrop tank, large wrapround front and rear fenders, and casquette helmet. The single seat is well-sized and amply cushioned, so you’ll be comfortable even after long hours spend in the saddle. The 350cc engine has power enough for beginners, but the 429-lb weight is still fairly manageable. The option of ABS makes it a great choice for newbies, as does the approachable price tag. Specs Engine: 4 Stroke, Air-Oil Cooled Engine 350cc

Weight: 429 lbs.

Top Speed: 74 MPH CHECK PRICE 14 DUCATI SCRAMBLER SIXTY2 Ducati is known for making big, powerful bikes, but the Scrambler Sixty2 is one of the smaller Ducatis on the market. It’s sized right for beginners, with a smaller displacement engine but still plenty of torque to get you up to top speed in a matter of seconds, and power enough to keep you racing through the city for hours on end. Granted, it’s pricier than some of the more affordable models on our list, but what else would you expect from a leading brand like Ducati? For your investment, you can expect peerless build quality, sterling customer support, and a bike that will last you for decades of regular use. Specs Engine: Air-Cooled 399cc Desmo L-Twin

Weight: 403.5 lbs.

Top Speed: 100+ MPH 15 HONDA CB300R Honda crafted this café racer specifically for anyone trying to learn, building a smaller, lighter bike with just enough displacement power to help you hit decent speeds (92 MPH) without risking being overwhelmed. The bike handles like a dream, features ABS brakes, an inverted fork to offer superior suspension, and a sleek look complete with blacked-out hardware that will turn heads everywhere you go. It’s an amazing choice for anyone looking to cut their teeth in real-world conditions, and can handle anything city and highway streets can throw at it. Specs Engine: Liquid-Cooled 286cc Single-Cylinder

Weight: 317 lbs.


Buying Guide:

Tips to Help You Buy a Good Beginner Motorcycle

If you’re planning on shopping for a beginner motorcycle, here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

Tip #1: Know Your Bike Types

Bikes come in a variety of types, each with their own intended use:

Touring bikes are all about the open road. Large, heavy, and smooth, they’re not great for beginners.

Sport bikes are all about speed. Light, ultra-fast, and built to handle like a dream, they tend to pack a lot of power that makes them a bit too much for a beginner to handle.

Cruiser bikes are the “chopper” style that scream badass. Heavy, bulky, and comfortable, they’re the perfect travel bike.

Naked bikes combine the best of cruiser and sport bikes. They offer an upright ride that’s great for beginners!

Off-road bikes are all about powering across rough terrain. They’re a performance bike designed specifically for use on mud, dirt, and gravel. Definitely a good option for newbies.

Café races are great for short distances and high speeds. Small, light, and zippy, they’re a classic, minimalist option that will suit beginners nicely.

Adventure bikes combine the best of off-road bikes with an on-road performance. They’re versatile enough to take anywhere, and you can find great beginner-friendly options.

Tip #2: Buy According to Your Purpose

Are you riding every day to work? Planning on long-haul trips over the summer? Looking for an inexpensive option to zip around town? Hoping to do some pleasure riding during the warmer months? Excited to tackle some dirt course or off-road trail?

Find a bike that suits your specific needs!

Tip #3: Find the Right Fit

If you’re too big for your bike or the bike is too big for you, you’ll be in for an uncomfortable ride. Plus, you’ll be at greater danger because incorrect motorcycle sizing can lead to a higher risk of crashes or spills.

Always take the bike for a test-drive before buying so you can feel how well it suits your frame. The saddle shape and seat height are crucial factors to consider, as they can’t be modified (unlike the handlebars).

Tip #4: Less Power Isn’t a Bad Thing

For those who are just starting out, it’s always wisest to consider a bike with too little power rather than too much. Less power just means you go slower and have a harder time conquering hills, but too much power means a higher risk of the bike getting away from you or reaching speeds you’re not comfortable with yet.

You can always upgrade to a higher-speed bike whenever you feel ready to add a bit more power to your ride.

Tip #5: Get a Tune-Up

No matter how well the previous owner took care of the bike, it’s always a good idea to take it to your mechanic for a tune-up before you take it out on the open road for the first time. The tune-up should include:

Oil change

Checking brake pads (and changing as needed)

Checking fluids (and changing as needed)

It’s a good time to see if there are any issues that could be dangerous or a problem down the road.

Pros and Cons of Beginner Motorcycles


More maneuverable and easier to control. The lighter bike weight makes for better handling, and the addition of features like ABS brakes and multiple ride modes help you to sharpen your skills without putting yourself at risk.

The lighter bike weight makes for better handling, and the addition of features like ABS brakes and multiple ride modes help you to sharpen your skills without putting yourself at risk. Plenty of options, fewer dangers. Because you can’t hit insane speeds (130+ MPH) on a beginner bike, you’re at far lower risk of spinning out or crashing. However, you can still ride fast enough to take the bike out on the highway.

Because you can’t hit insane speeds (130+ MPH) on a beginner bike, you’re at far lower risk of spinning out or crashing. However, you can still ride fast enough to take the bike out on the highway. Good power for a small size. Beginner bikes come with engines powerful enough to propel their lighter-weight frames forward. You’ll still be able to rock crawl, dirt bike, or race on the open road, but you won’t be trying to control “too much power” on your first rides.

Beginner bikes come with engines powerful enough to propel their lighter-weight frames forward. You’ll still be able to rock crawl, dirt bike, or race on the open road, but you won’t be trying to control “too much power” on your first rides. Start biking for less. Thanks to the affordable price tags, you can get out on the road on a beginner bike at a fraction of what you’d pay for a proper “grown up” bike. It’s a good way to test out the hobby for yourself and see if it’s something you’re truly interested in without investing a fortune right out of the gate.


15 Best Beginner Motorcycles: The Definitive Beginners Guide

Written by Jordan Stokes, Carolyn Jackson, & Matt Bombaugh.

Introduction – What is the Best Beginner Motorcycle?

Looking to buy your first motorcycle? We’ve rounded up the 15 of the best beginner bikes for every type of rider, as well as 5 things to consider before you hit those want ads.

As a moto vlogger and general motorcycle enthusiast, I find myself giving advice about bikes to beginner riders at least once a day. Whenever asked, my first question to them is, why do you want to ride? For me, it was escapism.

The ability to get on a motorcycle and fully immerse yourself into the experience of riding and let all your worries fall behind you. The feeling of the temperature changing as you traverse mountainous paths, the smell of fresh-cut grass as you rip through suburbia, and the true connection you feel to your surroundings is nothing short of a dream to me. Riding a motorcycle feels like freedom and I crave that feeling every day.

A motorcycle is the epitome of adventure, and with these 15 best motorcycles for beginners, you’ll be out exploring in no time.

Buying Your First Motorcycle: First Steps

There’s a laundry list of things to consider when looking to purchase your first bike, and a fair amount of these items happen before you even get your first look. First and foremost, do you have a motorcycle license?

Growing up in the suburbs of D.C. there was little chance of getting away with anything like riding without a license, but many of the people I’ve met on two wheels started their journey without the proper training or legal certifications. When I was ready to transition from dirt to street I looked no further than the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), which works with local community colleges and organizations to provide the fundamental knowledge of how to ride a motorcycle on the road. I’ve seen people with no prior riding experience enter the MSF course and on the third and final day have the proficient skills and knowledge to ride safely.

After you’ve received your M classification on your license, it’s time to get serious about finding your first bike.

Looking back, I remember how exciting and albeit confusing a time this was. To make things a little clearer for you, here are the 5 things you should consider:


Power Output




Pro Tip: You should also think about frequency of use and what style of riding you plan to take part in.

Choosing the beginner bike that fits these components best for you, will not only make your riding more enjoyable but will keep you safer during the process. The best bike is the one that fits you best. Now let’s break down some of these factors.

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5 Things You Should Consider Before Hitting the Want Ads


The biggest misconception when budgeting for a new motorcycle is how much you originally think you can afford. It’s important to take into account property taxes, insurance, new gear, and depending on your living situation, storage – essentially the total cost of motorcycle ownership.

Insurance is one of the hottest topics among riders. Make sure to work with your current auto insurance provider first, as they will likely have a multi-vehicle policy that will reduce your rates. The pro to being a newer rider looking at lower displacement bikes is that the cost to insure is almost directly correlated to the amount of power a bike has, so prices should be on the lower end.

Another tip is to look for motorcycle incentives, as many manufacturers offer savings to make the buying process more affordable. It’s also important to understand what motorcycle dealer fees you should expect to pay when going through the purchase process.

Once you’ve been able to determine the true amount of money you can spend on a bike, it’s time to take that number to the want ads, dealerships, craigslist, Rollick, or even your local bike meets.

Pro Tip: Knowing what you can afford to spend will help you narrow down your options in a big way. We recommend first time riders spend no more than $7,000 all in, on both their bike and expenses.


Among the many heavily disputed topics in the motorcycle community, one that sits at the top of many riders lists is the acceptable power output a new rider should look to manage. From 250cc singles to 1600cc V6 monsters, the motorcycle industry offers hundreds of bikes and engine configurations.

For the first year of riding, we suggest sticking with a bike that has no more than 600cc’s of power, which is being delivered via a smooth and controlled throttle response. Most entry-level motorcycles are far less twitchy in their throttle response, translating to a more dull reaction from the engine when the throttle is twisted. To some, this may sound negative, but in the first year of riding you’re still getting used to the incredible power-to-weight ratio that all bikes provide, so you’ll want a safety net in the event that you accidentally apply full throttle in a dangerous situation.

Our compiled list of 15 best motorcycles for beginners focuses on bikes in the sub 600cc power level that provides consistent throttle response through the rev range.


The heavier the bike, the harder they fall. This stands to be very true as a beginner when you’re still building up your skillset and find yourself potentially making little mistakes. Make little mistakes on a heavy bike and it would be magnified into much larger and potentially dangerous issues. So go with what you can handle!

Different styles of bikes tend to dictate the acceptable weight ranges of the bikes in their category. Choosing a bike that is relatively lightweight for its style will help you keep control in slow-speed situations, allows you to feel comfortable with feet down, and generally give more detailed rider feel.


My second sportbike was an Italian stallion Aprilia Tuono V4R. That bike spoke to me in ways that I can’t even begin to explain, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t usable on a daily basis.

The abysmal 100ish mile range, the low and forward controls, and the overwhelming heat meant that it was more of a weekend warrior than the daily commuter that I was looking for.

Things like storage capacity, range, comfort features, and wind protection can make or break your decision to go on that moto camping adventure or whether you want to ride to work.

Being patient and dissecting all the features of a bike will ensure you get your money’s worth and increase your likelihood to ride. Using model specific forums, facebook groups, as well as online services like fuelly to determine various long term attributes to these bikes will help you decide what’s right for you.


Riding a motorcycle is significantly more fatiguing than driving and the last thing you’ll want to feel at the halfway point is a pain in your neck, shoulders, knees, or back. With the naked bike movement coming into full effect, and manufacturers pushing out amazing standard upright motorcycles with as much power as their supersport brethren, there is less of a reason to sacrifice comfort for capability.

One of the main components of comfort is seat height. As a relatively short rider, I initially found myself discouraged by the rather high seat heights that come standard on many of the bikes I was interested in. Over the years I’ve not only grown my skills to adapt to higher seat heights, but I’ve seen manufacturers work hard to make higher bikes more accessible for everyone lower seats, lowered suspension from the factory, lowering links available in the aftermarket).

Pro Tip: Never buy a bike sight unseen and if possible, always take the potential purchase on a test ride in slow and high speed situations. If possible, use motorcycle rental services like Twisted Road to rent the bike you’re looking at purchasing for a couple of days (use GoRollick at checkout and get a $20 coupon for your first ride!). This will give you the chance to ride in the daily conditions you’d most likely use it in.

How Much is a Beginner Motorcycle?

Beginner motorcycles typically range in price from $3,000 to $10,000. Based on the list below, the average price of a new beginner motorcycle is $5,550. And if you’re curious about your neighbors, the most popular beginner bike is the Honda Grom. The least expensive beginner bike in our list is the Kawasaki Z-125 Pro, retailing for $3,199.

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15 Best Motorcycles for Beginners 2020

From simple standards to speedy sportbikes, here are 15 of the best entry-level bikes that are built to last and provide thousands of miles of adventure. I’ve hand-selected these 15 bikes from experience and ranked them in order of his favorite for a beginner bike.

Pro Tip: In order to tell which class a bike belongs in, you can look at the rider position. For example, on a standard bike your shoulders will be right over your hips, on a cruiser they will be laid-back behind your hips, and on a sportbike your shoulders will be leaned over your hips.

2020 Yamaha YZF-R3 – The Best Beginner Motorcycle Under $5,000

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Why the Yamaha YZF-R3 is a Great Beginner Bike:

There are a lot of amazing bikes on this list. Most of which push the boundaries of the entire entry-level genre, but there can only be one that I would personally buy, and it’s this. The riding experience on the Yamaha R3 is akin to listening to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time. It simply transcends time and space. I’m not sure how Yamaha packed so much punch into this 321-pound rocketship, but they did. Maybe more impressive than the power delivery is the outstanding rider position and suspension feel. If you want to learn how to ride a motorcycle on a track… Start here.

Watch the test ride of the 2019 R3:

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Why the Honda CB300R is a Great Beginner Bike:

At just 317 pounds and sporting some big boy Showa suspension, the 2020 Honda CB300R is the real deal. Turn in feels firm and responsive, while acceleration from the 286cc single provides confidence for city and highway riding. Beyond the incredible dynamics of the engineering, the overall design no longer screams, “look at me, I’m a beginner” instead giving newer riders a platform to grow into and love, no matter how experienced they are. You can read my review of the 2019 Honda CB300R here.

Watch the Honda CB300R 2020 Test Ride:

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Why the Kawasaki Ninja 400 is a Great Beginner Bike:

How… how in God’s name did they get so much power out of a 399cc parallel twin? Someone at Kawasaki deserves a raise, because the Ninja 400 put the industry on notice a couple of years ago when it first debuted. Years later it continues to dominate the entry-level class in power to displacement ratios and give riders enormous value for money. I’ll take one in KRT livery, please.

Watch the 2020 Kawasaki Ninja 400 Test Ride Here:

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Why the KTM 390 Duke is a Great Beginner Bike:

It hurts me to write about a KTM Duke, sitting here thinking about my dear, my love, my old 1290 SuperDuke. That pain is love and that love extends to the mini Duke. With low-end torque and an upright riding position, you’ll be a member of the 12 o’clock boys before you know it. These highly efficient KTMs make for incredible beginner motorcycles, and lend themselves to even the most advanced riders looking for something to wring out on Sunday morning rides.

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Why the Ducati Monster 797 is a Great Beginner Bike:

Drool. The Ducati Monster is not for the faint of heart, and the 803cc twin will remind you of that almost immediately. Now that I’ve given my PSA I can implore you to ride and bike this bike. Something beautiful happens when a platform has been around for as many years as the Monster has. The 2020 Monster 797 condenses years of experience to create a riding experience that no bike on this list could replicate. It’s a sensational entry-mid level motorcycle.

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Why the Kawasaki Z400 is a Great Beginner Bike:

Take a legendary 399cc twin and throw it into a crowd-pleasing naked style motorcycle and the 2020 Kawasaki Z400 is born. I’m currently on step 9 of 12 in my addiction recovery from this incredible platform. With competitors like the Honda CB300R getting updated styling, the power-hungry Z400 has some stiff competition for 2020, but where there is competition, innovation follows.

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Why the Yamaha MT-03 is a Great Beginner Bike:

OMG, no freaking way! That’s what I said when I found out that the US market was getting a 300 class of the incredible MT line-up. I have loved each and every MT I’ve ever ridden. With the same dedication to engineering excellence and a fanbase that loves getting what they ask for, the 2020 MT-03 is destined to be amazing. I can not wait to throw a leg over one of these. Will the MT continue to stand for Master of Torque in this 321cc example? God, I hope so.

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Why the Suzuki SV650 is a Great Beginner Bike:

If you’ve been around long enough you’ve either owned or come very close to owning a Suzuki SV650. I personally have never ridden the swiss army knife of motorcycles, but with such a storied past and enough power to really get yourself into trouble, I had to include it on the list. Whether you’re commuting to work or setting lap records at your local track, the SV650 is the old timer that will always have your back and by far the best touring motorcycle for beginners on this list.

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Why the BMW G310GS is a Great Beginner Bike:

The tiniest of BMW GS models does not sacrifice function over form with 313cc’s of dirt spitting power. I’ve got one word for you. Warranty. WIth a 3 year 36,000 mile industry leading warranty, the additional cost that BMW brings with it is dwarfed by the highly professional network of dealerships at your disposal. That being said, this bike speaks for itself. If you’re working your way up to the illustrious R1250GS Adventure, look no further.

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Why the Suzuki DR-Z400SM is a Great Beginner Bike:

Another tried and true original gangster, the DR-Z400SM is a hooligans dream ride. Dirtbike looks combined with street rubber equal an unforgettable first ride. I will deny this in any other situation, but I may or may not have taken a DR-Z400SM off many a loading dock at my local mall in the days before DukeOfDC. You’ll be blown away with the capability and reliability from this OG.

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Why the BMW G310R is a Great Beginner Bike:

For standard or naked style motorcycle fans, the BMW G310R comes in almost $1,000 under it’s offroad focused counterpart and still lets you experience the impressive 313cc single. Sitting a little on the heavier side for a bike of this displacement and class, you’ll still be able to flick through the twisties and ride comfortably on highway stints.

Watch me test ride the 2018 version:

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Why is the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 a Great Beginner Bike:

Owning a Ducati as your first motorcycle is like showing up at your high school prom with a supermodel. In this case, that model is the 2020 Scrambler Sixty2, and with a 399cc twin, low seat height, and extensive parts department you’re looking at a genuinely great beginner bike. If money is no option and you love scrambler styling, this is the one.

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Why the Honda Grom 125 is a Great Beginner Bike:

The 2020 Honda Grom is without question the David to the other 300cc entry-level bikes Goliaths. With an engine that you would sooner find powering a lawnmower, you can’t expect to break any land speed records on this little dude. That being said, you will grin ear to ear while you buzz around the neighborhood, park where no bike can park, and grow your Grom Gang to an unprecedented level. If you’re an aftermarket nut looking for a perfect second bike, the Honda Grom is a winner winner, chicken dinner. Read my full review of the 2019 Honda Grom here.

Or watch me take it for a spin:

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Why the Suzuki GSX250 ABS is a Great Beginner Bike:

Suzuki’s iteration of the ever-popular 250-300cc supersport entry motorcycle is looking a little long in the tooth, but game respects game. This is where it all started folks, and although the industry has left this bike in the dust, it’s still a wonderful platform for any and all beginners. If I was a betting man, I would say a 400cc updated GSXR is coming soon to a theater near you.

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Why is the Kawasaki Z125 Pro a Great Beginner Bike:

Not a Honda fan, but love the idea of a smaller, scooter-like first bike? Well, have I got the perfect Grom substitute for you. With an engine that you would sooner find powering a lawnmower, you can’t expect to break any land speed records on this little dude. That being said, you will grin ear to ear while you buzz around the neighborhood, and park where no bike can park all in the cool Kawasaki packaging. Want to learn more about the Z125? Read my full review.

Or watch me try to take it on the highway:

Best Used Motorcycles for Beginners

We know a lot of shoppers like to start on the more affordable side, so here are three used bikes that would be a great fit for beginners.

2017 Kawasaki Ninja 300 – Best Used Sports Bike

Sitting as a direct competitor to the Yamaha R3 and 300cc sportbikes alike, the Ninja 300 is a lightweight, inexpensive sportbike, perfect for new riders. Featuring a 296 cc (18.1 cu in) liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, 8-valve, parallel-twin engine, 6-speed transmission, and a top speed of 106-112 mph.

A new version of the Kawasaki starts at $5,299 with ABS and combines big-bike styling with lightweight and efficient entry-level ergonomics. However, you should be able to save $800 – $1,000 off the original MSRP by purchasing it used. Weighing 383 lbs (wet), boasting a 4.5-gallon tank, and an estimated 60+ mpg rating, you can ride all day with ease. Kawasaki offers a 12-month limited warranty with Protection Plus extensions available.

2018 Honda Rebel 300 – Best Used Cruiser

This bike is blacked-out and all about style. Manufactured by Honda, the Rebel 300 was built with a 286cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine and a 6-speed transmission. It offers a midrange power that’s well suited for all levels of riders, especially beginners, and it can be customized. With a shorter wheelbase than most cruisers, at just 58.7 inches, you’ll have no issues maneuvering this ultralight 364 lb (wet) bike. A 2.96-gallon fuel tank and an estimated 78 mpg will make even the most efficient of hybrids run for the hills. As a used bike, you can typically save between $500 and $1,000 off the original MSRP.

2016 Honda CB500F

Honda has been producing some of the most reliable, comfortable, and downright great motorcycles for generations. The Honda CB500F fills these historic shoes with ease.

With an original MSRP of $5,999, you should be able to save close to $1,000 off this price. The 471cc parallel-twin delivers superior smoothness in a very comfortable upright riding position. With a 30.7in seat height, 414 lb curb weight, and 4.4-gallon tank, practicality has never been closer to home. This bike has been in production for years, so you can hit the want ads and find your way into the Honda family at a heavily discounted rate.


Purchasing your first ever motorcycle should be exciting and fun. The recommendations above are some of the best in the game and will provide you with a high-quality experience out on the road, guaranteed. But remember, there is more to riding than just looking and feeling cool (although that is a huge bonus). You need to be safe and knowledgeable about how to ride and the bike you end up purchasing. Do your research (which clearly you’re dominating that step if you just read this), ask questions, and be patient. The right bike is out there and it’s waiting for you.

Looking for more helpful motorcycle tips and tricks? We’ve got you covered!

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More on the Duke of DC

You know, my father tells me that one of my first words was “carburetor” and after my 8th car and 5th motorcycle in my relatively short time on this earth, I’m starting to believe him. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 15 years old, and when I started DukeOfDC it was during a really difficult time in my life. I’m just an average Joe that loves anything on two wheels and wants to share that passion with the world. Check out my YouTube channel and follow me on Twitter.

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