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Best Motorcycles for Beginners: A Guide for First Time Buyers

Feb 29, 2020 12:00:00 PM / by RumbleOn Road Captain

Types of Motorcycles: Beginner Rides

Every seasoned rider knows how important it is to choose a motorcycle that matches your riding style, physique, and, most importantly, your skill level. To decide on the best starter motorcycle, let’s get familiar with the different types of two-wheelers on the market.

what are the types of motorcycles

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Cruisers are the best beginner motorcycles, by far. Characterized by a low-slung saddle and a variety of engine sizes (from 500 to 1,800cc), cruisers feature a relaxed riding position, making them ideal for touring and long jaunts between cities. They aren’t equipped for racing or high-performance situations, so don’t go getting any bright ideas, first-timers.


Best Cruiser Motorcycles for Beginners:

  • Harley-Davidson Street 500
  • Harley-Davidson Iron 883
  • Harley-Davidson Street 750
  • Kawasaki Vulcan Classic
  • Yamaha V Star 250
  • Honda Shadow
  • Honda Rebel 250


You might’ve heard the term “crotch rocket” in reference to this class of motorcycles at some point, which can be attributed to its riding ergonomics and performance level. On a sportbike, riders lean forward, their knees nearly touching their chest, feet balanced on a pair of footpegs towards the rear. Sportbikes are designed to withstand high speeds (125+ mph), their engine displacement rarely ever exceeds 750cc, and they’re often ridden in a competitive context. Fairings and windscreens are standard on this bike type, too.

Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki are some of the most popular and best sportbikes for beginners, and favorites of the Millennial crowd, in particular.


Best Sportbikes for Beginners:

  •  Suzuki SV650
  •  Honda CBR 500
  •  Yamaha FZ-07
  •  Kawasaki Ninja 250
  • Yamaha YZF-R3

Standard “Naked” Motorcycles

The standard category of motorcycle is the proverbial “happy medium” of the motorcycle world. When compared to a cruiser, which leans you back, and a sportbike, which leans you forward, standard bikes are characterized by an upright riding position. Engine displacement typically falls between 450 and 650cc, and seat height maxes out at about 30 inches. 

Standard bikes are ideal for beginners in terms of styling, but mostly for the rider ergonomics they promote. They’re comfortable, relatively lightweight, easily controlled, and almost never accelerate beyond 100 mph. 


Best Standard Motorcycles for Beginners:

  • Suzuki GW250
  • Honda CB300F
  • Yamaha SR400

Dual Sport

This category includes dirt bikes and supermoto bikes. Typically, riders are seated much higher on these bikes than others, while the displacement sits at a friendly 250-350cc. Since they’re some of the most lightweight two-wheelers on the market, dual sport motorcycles rank as some of the best used motorcycles for beginners (if you’re riding a dirt bike, however, you’d better make sure it’s street-legal before you take it to the pavement).

If you don’t plan on venturing off-road, though, I’d consider buying one of the motorcycles mentioned above. Dual sport bikes are lots of fun, but they’re also very niche.


Best Dual Sport Motorcycles for Beginners:

  • Suzuki DR 200
  • Kawasaki KLX250S
  • Honda CRF230M


Getting any closer to deciding on your adventure ride, beginners? Comment down below with the class of motorcycle that speaks to you most!

best motorcycle for beginners

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Topics: Articles, Motorcycles, The Brain Bucket

RumbleOn Road Captain

Written by RumbleOn Road Captain

Your fearless leader in all things to do with motorcycle education. I cover tips and advice for motorcycle riders, motorcycle product reviews, and pretty much anything I think is useful to my fellow bikers.

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