You never forget your first bike. Whether you built it, bought it, or dragged it out of a junkyard, your first motorcycle is an unforgettable part of your journey as a rider.
When it comes to picking your first bike there’s a lot to consider. Motorcycle types vary hugely, and factors like displacement, positioning, seat height, ABS braking, windscreens, ergonomics, motorcycle weight, and more are important details to consider when finding the right bike for you.
Take the stress out of deciding what, and how, to choose by checking out some of the best beginner bikes on the market below:
- “Naked” & Standard Bikes (Standard)
Pictured: Kawasaki Z400 ABS
“Naked” or Standard bikes are a hugely varietal motorcycle type. Featuring a more upright “natural” seating position and less dramatic rake ankle than traditional sportbikes, these motorcycles are a great fit for beginner and experienced riders alike. Depending on motorcycle make and model these bike types can vary widely in engine size and onboard features.
Our Top Picks: KTM 390 Duke, Honda CB 300F & 500F ABS, Suzuki GW250, Kawasaki Z400 ABS, Yamaha MT-03, Suzuki SV 650
Pictured: Honda Rebel 500
Cruisers are one of the most popular motorcycle types in the world, including with beginner riders! Their low seat height and forgiving power band delivery can make them the perfect fit for anyone looking for their first bike.
Our Top Picks: Yamaha V-Star 250, Honda Rebel 300 & 500, Harley-Davidson Street 500 ABS, Yamaha Bolt 650, Harley-Davidson Street 500, Harley-Davidson Superlow
- Adventure (ADV) Bikes
Pictured: Honda CB500X ABS
Adventure bikes are arguably the perfect combination of power and versatility. Many beginner riders find these bikes to be easier to handle due to their upright seating positioning, heigh bar height, and maneuverability. Unfortunately many adventure bikes have high seat heights, though lowering kits and specialty seats are available for purchase.
Our Top Picks: Honda CB500X ABS, Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS, Suzuki DR-Z400SM, Honda CRF250L Rally, KTM 390 Adventure, Kawasaki KLX 250S
Pictured: Yamaha YZF-R3 ABS
Sportbikes are the first love of many beginner motorcyclists. Their beautiful designs and elegant handling make them popular worldwide, but they can prove challenging to ride at first. The responsive power delivery, low windshield height, and steep rake angle of these bikes can be intimidating to many riders.
Our Top Picks: KTM RC390, Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS, Kawasaki 400 ABS, Suzuki GSX250R, Honda CBR 250R/300R/500R, Yamaha YZF-R3 ABS
- Modern Classics (Retro)
Pictured: Triumph Street Twin
“Modern” classic motorcycles are increasing in popularity worldwide. These bikes feature modern components with many of the simple and clean features that made them popular from the start. New riders can expect to enjoy a low seat height, manageable power delivery, standard features, and of course great style.
Our Top Picks: Yamaha SR400, Triumph Street Twin, Yamaha TW200, Kawasaki W800, Suzuki TU 250X
- Mini Bikes
Pictured: Kawasaki Z125 PRO
Minibikes, as their name suggests, are small, lightweight, and agile. Their compact build and maneuverability can make them the perfect fit for many beginner riders. All factory minibikes will have an engine size smaller than 600cc’s, low seat heights, and most likely no fairing. While minibikes can be a great fit for city or short term riding, many riders find they outgrow the limited power and small size quickly.
Our Top Picks: Honda Monkey, Kawasaki Z125, Honda Grom ABS, Yamaha Z125
Choosing your first motorcycle is one of the most exciting experiences a rider can have, but it’s important to do your research first. If possible, test ride multiple bikes before making your final choice — the last thing you want to do is find out after 5,000 miles and thousands of dollars that you’re not actually a sportbike rider!
After you’ve picked the perfect bike practice regularly before taking on any challenging riding. Outfit both yourself and your bike with the necessary gear and gadgets you need to make sure that you can stay safe while enjoying every ride.