Beginner MotorcyclesPosted: August 12, 2008
Cycle World Magazine compiled a list of Best Beginner Bikes in their most recent issue. Here they are:
- Aprilia SportCity 250 – 75MPG – $4,599
- Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 – 55MPG – $6,695
- Honda CRF230L – 93MPG – $4,499
- Honda Nighthawk – 90MPG – $3,699
- Kawasaki Ninja 250R – 60MPG – $3,499
- Suzuki GSX650F – 56MPG – $6,999
- Suzuki SV650 – 55MPG – $5,999
- Yamaha XT250 – 80MPG – $3,699
- Yamaha WR250X – 60MPG – $5,999
As you can see by the MPG ratings, Cycle World was interested in frugality with this article on beginner motorcycles. While I agree in frugality, I don’t think it needs to be a choice in choosing a beginning motorcycle. Motorcycles, by default, get better gas mileage than most cars. When it comes to a beginner bike, I would concentrate on cost, ease of use, small engine size, and personal preference.
- Cost; this one is simple, a first bike should be cheap, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on something you may not keep long.
- Ease of use; you want a bike that fits you and is agile enough to learn on.
- Small engine size; a smaller engine lessens your chance of injury.
- Personal preference; you don’t want to buy a dual purpose motorcycle to learn on if you are going to be riding cruisers.
In reference to a Scooter being on the list, I don’t think I agree. Scooters, while easy to ride, are not motorcycles. If you can ride a scooter, it does not mean you can ride a motorcycle. I would recommend a motorcycle for your first bike, unless you were only going to ride scooters.
So, here’s my list of Best Beginner Motorcycles broken out by type:
- Honda Rebel – 250cc – $3,199
- Kawasaki Eliminator 125 – 125cc – $2,649
- Yamaha V-Star 250 – 250cc – $3,699
- Honda CRF230L – 230cc – $4,499
- Kawasaki KLX 250S - 250cc – $4,899
- Suzuki DR 200SE – 200cc – $3,949
- Yamaha XT250 – 250cc – $4,549
- Yamaha TW200 – 200cc – $3,899
- Kawasaki Ninja 250R – 250cc – $3,499
Please note that they are all 250cc and under! As much as you may want to get a “Real” motorcycle, you need to learn on an appropriate bike first. Notice the military doesn’t throw you in a multi-million dollar jet to teach a pilot how to fly, they use a simulator first. This is a similar theory, we don’t want you starting out on something that is just too much for you. After you ride for a while, 2 to 3 years, then you can move up. Don’t get too impatient to kill yourself.
As with anything, other options are available. Feel free to buy a used bike for your first bike! Just keep it small, 250cc and under (maybe 350 for an older model). In addition, I recommend you take a knowledgeable friend with you to look at any used bikes. He or she can help you spot any problems you might miss.