16 Good Beginner Motorcycles – What Are Good Motorcycles for Beginners?

Last Updated on: 23rd August 2022, 09:22 am

Ready to start shopping for your first bike? It’s a decision that deserves a lot of thought. After deciding the type of motorcycle that’s best for your riding style and how it will be used, you want to find the right weight and fit for maneuverability and comfort and the amount of power you need that’s still easy to control.

Here’s a look at the best motorcycle for beginners in multiple categories and price points to help you choose a good first motorcycle for many wonderful memories and adventures.

Best Adventure Bike for Beginners

BMW G 310 GS

  • Engine: Water cooled, single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
  • Displacement: 313cc
  • Horsepower: 34 hp @ 9,250 rpm
  • Torque: 20 lbs-ft @ 7,500 rpm
  • ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS
  • Seat height: 32.8”
  • Fuel capacity: 3 gallons
  • Weight: 386 pounds
  • MSRP: $5,945

You may be surprised to see a BMW ranked as the best starter motorcycle, but it’s not too surprising considering BMW created the first modern adventure motorcycle with the introduction of the R80 GS in 1980. BMW adventure bikes have been considered some of the best adventure motorcycles for the past 40 years, and they recently introduced this smaller-displacement version that gives the same gorgeous style of its large-bore brother with a package great for learners.

The G 310 GS is capable of smooth touring plus light off-roading action with sufficient power for highway speeds. The suspension is very forgiving for beginners and the standard ABS is a great feature at this price. Its seat height is also great for taller riders who may struggle with other beginner motorcycles.

Once you’re ready to upgrade with some practice, you may just find yourself on the wildly popular R 1250 GS!


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Royal Enfield Himalayan

  • Engine: Single-cylinder air-cooled engine
  • Displacement: 411cc
  • Horsepower: 24.3 hp @ 6,500 rpm
  • Torque: 23.6 lbs-ft @ 4,250 rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed
  • ABS: Dual channel
  • Seat height: 31.5”
  • Fuel capacity: 4 gallons
  • Weight: 429 pounds
  • MSRP: $5,299

The Himalayan is the best adventure bike for beginners who appreciate vintage style. Don’t let this 25-hp starter motorcycle fool you: it delivers a very comfortable, capable ride that’s balanced and smooth. It makes up for the low horsepower with torque, exactly what you need in a bike you’ll occasionally take off-road. With a lower-revving single-cylinder engine, touring won’t be miserable on your joints, either.

The Royal Enfield Himalayan was designed to be affordable and simple, but you’ll still get more than you expect. It comes with stock switchable ABS for improved safety and Royal Enfield’s Tripper Navigation system designed for Google Maps. Its four-gallon fuel tank can take you over 200 miles. One of the best motorcycles for beginners and seasoned riders alike, you’ll appreciate the rugged and reliable build.

KTM 390 Adventure

  • Engine: Liquid cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine
  • Displacement: 373cc
  • Horsepower: 38 hp @ 8,970 rpm
  • Torque: 23.2 pound-feet @ 6,990 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • ABS: Bosch 9.1MP Two Channel ABS with cornering-ABS and offroad mode
  • Seat height: 33.6”
  • Fuel capacity: 3.8 gallons
  • Weight: 371 pounds
  • MSRP: $6,799

The KTM 390 Adventure motorcycle is the result of demand for an adventure model designed around KTM’s popular 390 platform. It shares many features of KTM’s more powerful motorcycles with a manageable frame that makes it a good starter motorcycle.

While it has a higher price tag than competitors, it offers excellent crash protection and long-travel suspension for superior off-roading. One of the top adventure bikes for beginners, it features comfortable riding position, several ride modes, and ABS with smooth pavement riding that gives you the flexibility you want from an adventure bike.

Best Cruiser Motorcycle for Beginners

Yamaha V-Star 250

  • Engine: Air-cooled SOHC 60° V-twin
  • Displacement: 249cc
  • Torque: 15.2 ft-lb @ 6,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed
  • Seat height: 27”
  • Fuel capacity: 2.5 gallons
  • Weight: 324 pounds
  • MSRP: $4,599

The V-Star 250 bike is arguably the best cruiser motorcycle for beginners thanks to its affordable price, low seat height, low weight, and reduced power. It’s a top pick for shorter riders as well as new riders who want the option to carry a passenger.

The Yamaha V-Star 250 has garnered a lot of attention thanks to the sleek, powerful appearance of a full-sized bike with a genuine V-Twin engine, a rarity on a sub-half-liter model. It definitely doesn’t look like a beginner motorcycle! With an 80mph top speed and 78-mpg fuel economy, you’ll find it’s perfect for commuting and touring.

It’s easy to see why the Yamaha V-Star 250 is frequently ranked as one of the top beginner street bikes with all-around appeal.


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Honda Rebel 500

  • Engine: Liquid cooled parallel-twin four-stroke
  • Displacement: 471cc
  • Horsepower: 45.9 hp
  • Torque: 29.9 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed
  • Seat height: 27.2”
  • Fuel capacity: 2.9 gallons
  • Weight: 408 pounds
  • MSRP: $6,399

The Honda Rebel has been one of the best starter motorcycles since the 1980s, although its undergone big changes in recent years due to rising demand for entry level motorcycles with 300cc, 500cc, and 1,078cc versions.

The Honda Rebel 500 is a good starter bike with attractive colors and a nimble, sporty design that’s small enough for beginners with some room to grow. You’ll love the powerful and fun engine combined with a lightweight frame and low seat height that deliver smooth, responsive highway riding.


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Harley-Davidson Superlow

  • Engine: Air cooled Evolution V-twin engine
  • Displacement: 883cc
  • Horsepower: 52.3 hp @ 5,750 rpm
  • Torque: 55 ft-lb @ 3,750 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • ABS: Yes
  • Seat height: 25.5”
  • Fuel capacity: 4.5 gallons
  • Weight: 569 pounds
  • MSRP: $8,699

Dreaming of getting a Harley but want something good for beginners? The Harley-Davidson that makes the best first motorcycle is the Superlow. Introduced in 2011 with the lowest seat-height in the Harley-Davidson Sportster range, the Superlow is now discontinued since Harley reduced its model lineup by 30% in 2020. Its closest replacement is the Forty-Eight which has a larger engine, forward foot controls, a less comfortable handlebar, and a higher price. You’ll still find the 2020 Superlow bike is a great choice for a good first motorcycle.

As the best motorcycle for beginners from Harley-Davidson in the cruiser line, new riders appreciate the affordable price, classic Harley styling, and easy handling with a low center of gravity, low bucket seat, and relatively low dry weight at 545 pounds.


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Best Beginner Dual Sport Bikes

Honda CRF300L

  • Engine: Liquid cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine
  • Displacement: 286cc
  • Horsepower: 22.7 hp @ 8,400 rpm
  • Torque: 16.7 lb-ft @ 6,400 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed
  • ABS: Optional (CRF300L ABS base MSRP is $5,649)
  • Seat height: 34.7”
  • Fuel capacity: 2.1 gallons
  • Weight: 306 pounds
  • MSRP: $5,249

The Honda CRF lineup is one of the best-selling off-road bikes ever made. The CRF300L is the best beginner street bike if you want solid off-road and on-road performance. This road-legal dual-sport version of the CRF is equally up for commutes in town and off-road adventures.

This fun starter motorcycle boasts a rugged build, powerful engine, sharp handling, and great reliability. Beginners can appreciate the balance between handling, power, and weight with an upright riding position. The 10” suspension travel and more than 11” of ground clearance is the real star that makes this Honda dual-sport an incredibly fun ride!


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Kawasaki KLX 300SM

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled four-stroke engine
  • Displacement: 292cc
  • Horsepower: 23.95 hp @ 8,080 rpm
  • Torque: 15.59 lb-ft @ 7,750 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • Seat height: 33.9”
  • Fuel capacity: 2 gallons
  • Weight: 304 pounds
  • MSRP: $6,299

The Kawasaki KLX 300SM is the best dual sport for beginners who love the performance and style of a dual-sport or dirt bike but spend most time riding on pavement.

Because tip-overs happen, especially when you’re a new rider, you’ll appreciate the KLX 300SM’s ability to take damage like a dirtbike without scuffed fairings. It’s also a great learner motorcycle because it’s very easy to maintain.

Note: if you want ABS, consider the Honda CRF300L above which offered ABS as an option with a lower price.


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Best Beginner Street Bikes (Naked Bikes)

KTM Duke 200

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled single-cylinder, four stroke engine
  • Displacement: 200cc
  • Horsepower: 25 hp @ 10,000 rpm
  • Torque: 14.25 ft-lb
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • ABS: Dual circuit BOSCH ABS
  • Seat height: 31.6”
  • Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
  • Weight: 325 pounds
  • MSRP: $3,999

The Duke 200 is one of the best beginner street bikes with the same high-end WP suspension, advanced frame, and slipper clutch of the 373cc model with a more lightweight and manageable build for new riders. This entry-level naked bike can reach a top speed of 88mph for freeway riding with the same gorgeous, sharp design you’ll see on full-sized Duke bikes.

While you’ll miss the premium features you find on the full-size KTM Duke bikes, it’s hard to argue with the $4,000 price tag on a starter motorcycle with ABS.


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Honda CB300R

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder, four-valve engine
  • Displacement: 286cc
  • Horsepower: 30.7 hp @ 8,500 rpm
  • Torque: 20.2 lb-ft @ 7,500 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed
  • ABS: standard ABS
  • Seat height: 31.5”
  • Fuel capacity: 2.7 gallons
  • Weight:  317 pounds
  • MSRP: $4,949

The Honda CB300R is one of the most striking beginner street bikes around. Priced under $5,000, it’s the smallest model in Honda’s Neo-Sports Cafe line with a surprising amount of features that makes it the best beginner motorcycle for all-around appeal. The CB300R features anti-lock brakes, black-out hardware, an inverted fork, and full LED lights with excellent handling and performance plus a top speed of 92mph. The combination of handling and power is impressive yet manageable whether you’re cruising around town or hitting the open highway.


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Yamaha SR400

  • Engine: Air-cooled single-cylinder two-valve engine
  • Displacement: 399cc
  • Horsepower: 23.6 hp @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 20.65 ft-lb @ 3,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed
  • Seat height: 31”
  • Fuel capacity: 3.2 gallons
  • Weight: 384 pounds
  • MSRP: $5,999

After 43 years, the best beginner Yamaha motorcycle was discontinued in 2021. The bike received a sendoff with a 2021 Final Edition that gives homage to the bike’s popular retro style.

The SR400 doesn’t have an electric starter, instead using a conventional kick-starter. It features a drum brake in the rear and a disc brake at the front. The Final Edition features upgraded finishes like bronze rims, brass accessories, and pinstriping.


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Standard Beginner Bikes

Ducati Scrambler Sixty2

  • Engine: Desmodromic L-twin engine
  • Displacement: 399cc
  • Horsepower: 41 hp @ 8,750 rpm
  • Torque: 27.3 lb-ft @ 8,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • ABS: Standard ABS
  • Seat height: 31.1”
  • Fuel capacity: 3.7 gallons
  • Weight: 403 pounds
  • MSRP: $7,995

One of the smallest Ducati motorcycles ever made, the Scrambler Sixty2 was designed as a beginner motorcycle for new riders who have an appreciation for the Italian brand but want a lower price point and less intimidating power.

The Sixty2 still features the Desmodromic L-twin engine just with smaller displacement to deliver impressive horsepower and torque. You’ll get some unexpected features like Pirelli MT 60 RS tires, two-in-one exhaust, aluminum 10-spoke wheels, and LCD instrumentation. Along with the high-end parts and design, this starter Ducati motorcycle has relaxed riding posture and smooth controls that feel natural.


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Harley-Davidson Street 500

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled Revolution X V-Twin engine
  • Displacement: 494cc
  • Torque: 29.5 ft-lb @ 3,750 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • Seat height: 25”
  • Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
  • Weight: 514 pounds
  • MSRP: $9,995

While it was discontinued in 2021, the Harley-Davidson Street 500 is worth buying used if you’re looking for one of the best Harley-Davidson starter bikes. The H-D Street 500, first released in 2013, was designed to appeal to riders who like the brand but want a less intimidating bike that’s easier to learn and ride.

The H-D Street bikes have long been prized by riding schools thanks to its approachable design and how easy it is to learn. Its upright riding style is more comfortable for new riders with a lightweight design perfect for learning low-speed maneuvers and just enough torque.

Best Beginner Sport Bike

Kawasaki Ninja 400

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled four-stroke, DOHC 8-valve parallel twin engine
  • Displacement: 399cc
  • Horsepower: 49 hp @ 10,500 rpm
  • Torque: 28 lb-ft @ 8,000 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed
  • ABS: Optional ($5,699 base MSRP for Ninja 400 ABS)
  • Seat height: 30.9”
  • Fuel capacity: 3.7 gallons
  • Weight: 366 pounds
  • MSRP: $5,299

One of the most popular beginner sport bikes, the Ninja 400 is one of the best values in its class. It comes with a long, proven legacy and it was voted the Best Beginner Motorcycle by Popular Mechanics thanks to a combination of easy maintenance, technology, and power.

The Ninja 400 starter bike offers a lightweight trellis frame with a slipper clutch, optional ABS, twin LED headlights, and Uni-Trak rear suspension. It’s got virtually everything you could want in the best beginner sport bike: cool style, affordable price, lightweight, practical, and, of course, fun!

Yamaha YZF-R3

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC inline twin-cylinder engine
  • Displacement: 321cc
  • Horsepower: 50 hp
  • Torque: 21.8 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • ABS: Standard dual-zone ABS
  • Seat height: 30.7”
  • Fuel capacity: 3.7 gallons
  • Weight: 368 pounds
  • MSRP: $5,299

The best starter sports bike Yamaha offers is the YZF-R3, a versatile motorcycle capable of racing and commuting. It features a top speed of 117mph with beautiful bodywork inspired by the YZR-M1 MotoGP racer. Thanks to its popularity, you’ll find no shortage of aftermarket parts and upgrades. The extra engine displacement will give you more power while the low weight and low seat height provide good control.

Suzuki GSX250R

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled four-stroke SOHC parallel-twin engine
  • Displacement: 248cc
  • Horsepower: 24.7 hp @ 8,000 rpm
  • Torque: 17.2 ft-lb @ 6,500 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • ABS: Optional ($4,949 base MSRP for Suzuki GSX250R ABS)
  • Seat height: 31.1”
  • Fuel capacity: 4 gallons
  • Weight: 399 pounds
  • MSRP: $4,549

The GSXR lineup has been around since the 1980s, but it was only recently that Suzuki offered a GSXR model below 600cc. The GSX250R is a fun, racy-looking bike and one of the best sport bikes for beginners. You’ll get good low to mid-range torque that delivers a fun ride that’s easy to control. It has a narrow frame that also makes it great for smaller riders. New riders can appreciate the strong brakes and dual caliper system with optional ABS.


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