Beginner Motorcycles: What Should I Buy?

There comes a point in a person's life when a decision is made, and there's no turning back from it. For most people, the idea of riding a motorcycle occurs early in life. Usually, it starts developing into a dream for the future. And for those that are brave and fortunate enough, that dream can become reality.
Pro Athlete Daria Ganescu Riding a Yamaha R3 10 photos
Photo: Andrei Minzu
Pro Athlete Vlad Chivu Riding a CFMoto 300SRPro Athlete Millen Georgiev Riding a Yamaha R1Pro Athlete Daria Ganescu Riding a Yamaha R3CFMoto 250NKHonda CBF600SHonda VT600C ShadowKTM 125EXCSuzuki SV650STriumph Daytona 675
Oh, the struggles of getting into motorcycling. For some people, this is a huge first step. And I feel that you shouldn't take it lightly if you care about yourself and your family as well. As with all things in life, you should be smart about making any decision. Don't go out and buy a motorcycle the day after you've graduated from the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) course or any other riding school for that matter. You need to do some proper research first.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing

There are several types of motorcycles available on the market, be it that you're considering a used one or a brand new bike. First of all, you need to consider the type of roads you'll be riding on. Are you going to ride on paved roads or dirt roads? Or do you plan a bit of both? If you're not sure about the right answer, start documenting yourself. Look at Youtube videos depicting the aforementioned situations. Turn to your biker friends and learn from their experiences.

If you want to stick to riding on public roads, the next step is to decide on the actual type of motorcycle. Is it going to be a cruiser, a touring bike, or a sportbike? Again, the answer depends on what it is that you're planning to do with the bike. If you need something for short commutes around town, go for a naked model! You get a comfortable riding position and it's easier to maneuver through traffic. If you plan on riding for 500 miles (804 km) a day, you need a touring bike!

Pro Athlete Millen Georgiev Riding a Yamaha R1
Photo: Andrei Minzu
There's a good majority of beginner riders that want to hop on a sportbike right away. Sure, they look and sound amazing, and they're extremely fast. But you should know that maneuvering a sportbike through city traffic can be a nightmare. Also, longer road trips will be extremely soliciting on your bones and muscles. If going fast on a bike is what you're all about, I recommend you read our motorcycle road racing guide and stick to the track.

Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly

You'll have way more fun that way, and your chances of survival will increase tenfold. Still not sure where to go with this? Go out and try on a few bikes for size! Visit your local motorcycle dealerships and sit on a few different bikes. This way you'll get a better perspective of what's up ahead. You should also account for your height and weight when making the decision. You aren't going to feel very comfortable on a sportbike if you're 7' (2.13 meters) tall for instance.

Choosing a bike is all about narrowing down your options. Say you've decided to ride on the street, and you're still stubborn enough to get into riding a sportbike. At least do yourself a favor and consider some sport-touring options as well. That way you'll get a comfier ride, with similar performances. Now comes the tricky part. And here's my word of advice. Don't let anyone pressure you into jumping on a liter bike or anything that's way too powerful and dangerous for a beginner.

Triumph Daytona 675
Photo: Triumph
If anyone is going to laugh at you for deciding to ride a 300cc motorcycle, their opinion is not worth considering. Should you go down the "this is going to feel boring after 1 year, I should just get a bigger bike to start with" hole, stop right there. Going ahead of yourself is the first step to putting yourself at risk. Before adopting that mindset just think of it this way.

Happiness isn’t around the corner. Happiness is the corner

A Yamaha R3 is a 321cc motorcycle that provides its rider with access to just over 40 horsepower. It has a wet weight of 375 lbs (170 kg). It can go from 0 to 60 mph (96 kph) in a little over 5 seconds. That's about as fast as an EcoBoost Mustang. If you might feel safe driving that kind of car as a beginner, it's not as easy as it sounds on a motorcycle. Getting up to speed is easy, but braking is going to be trickier than with the car. Also, there's nothing to shield you in the event of a crash.

You need to consider all these things before buying a motorcycle. If you're still young and haven't even driven around for that much, I would suggest you stick to something that has less than 50 horsepower. If you've already been actively driving for 5-10 years, you can go higher up than that. But do yourself a favor and take it slow. Believe me, a 70 horsepower Suzuki SV650S is still going to freak you out on the twisties if you overdo it. I should know.

As cool as a Triumph Daytona 675 might look, you don't want to be in a position where a kid on a 125cc bike can ride faster than you through the corners. Remember, anyone can go fast in a straight line, but the true excitement lies in the corners. The last thing you need is for your future bike to scare the living hell out of you. You need something friendly enough to allow you to get immersed in the learning process. Either way, if riding a liter bike is what you want, you'll get there eventually, and you'll be much better prepared when you do.

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About the author: Dragos Chitulescu
Dragos Chitulescu profile photo

The things Dragos enjoys the most in life are, in no particular order: cars, motorcycles, diecast cars, and drifting. He's seen (and driven) many vehicles since he started his writing career back in 2009, but his garage currently houses a 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Turbo II and a 1999 Suzuki SV650-S.
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