February 27, 2024

Best Motorcycle for a Beginner? Clearly it is . . .

Best Motorcycle for a Beginner?

“Hi, Matt.  What’s the Best Bike for New Rider?”

This is a classic.  If I had $1 for every . . .

I finally decided to fire off a post on the “Best Bike for the Newbie” topic because it’s been a question coming to me through email and Twitter since the launch of the MotorcycleDrivingSchoolCafe site. 

And, you know, it’s a natural question.  I asked myself the same question.  As did my brother after I gave him the “Fever” and he went to MSF and then craved a bike. 

Choosing a motorcycle that is right for you can be a daunting task.  It can feel like a “must get it right” type of decision.  Well, not really, but that’s another story.

Being a new rider, you are going to get a different opinion from every person you ask.  Why? Cuz they’ll most likely talk about THEIR first bike and how great it was for THEM!

I would.  Hence the title of the post.  There ain’t no clear answer.

Yes, there are things that you have to consider when buying a motorcycle. You shouldn’t just buy the first bike offered to you. There are features to consider like size, weight, power, and, of course, price.  If price isn’t an issue, don’t worry about your FIRST bike – go buy a bunch. 

But for me, the most important thing to do is to why you want to ride; then buy a bike that fits you and your purpose.  Street fighter, cruiser, touring, sport riding – what you want to do will affect your choice.You may consider the size, weight and power. You may want a motorcycle that is built for speed, a motorcycle that allows you to cruise down the road at your leisure, or the one built to save money and gas.

Also, small is not always better to start nor is big- it all depends on you.

To clarify that last point, my first bike was an 1100cc Honda Magna. No kidding. Look it up. 4 cylinders of terrifyingly uncontrollable power. And heavy. But I survived. A friend’s first bike? A BMW K75. Loved it. Smaller, lighter, good power. Another friend – Honda Nighthawk 250. All of us survived and were happy with these first bikes.But each was chosen based on the person. I’m reasonably conservative so didn’t feel that I’d lose control of the Honda.   The Nighthawker was scared of power and loved the easy control of the 250cc.  Now, for transparency, I sold that bike after about 5 years and rode my BMW R1100RS for the next 15 years (first doesn’t mean last!).

Again, consider your goals in riding and the type of bike that fits. Then look for recommendations, budget considerations, maintenance reports, etc. You will find something you love, just think a bit and try to minimize the emotional charge of that new red CBR in the showroom!

I’m not going to lay out a bunch of reviews of bikes here.  It’s all so personal and there is much written about new bikes/old bikes.  What I can recommend:

  • Beginner Motorcycle Reviews – http://www.beginnermotorcyclereviews.com/  Check out the guys over there. They have a lot of resources for you.  Give the Cafe’ here some props if you visit their site and come back here to buy your gear!
  • Visiting a dealer shop and asking them for motorcycle recommendations based on your goals and limitations, could be a big help in picking your first motorcycle.

Got thoughts on first bikes for the new rider?  Leave a Comment.

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