Looking to experience the freedom of a motorbike? Finding the best beginner motorcycle for you will make all the difference.
Once you’ve successfully mastered how to drive a car, for some people, the upgrade to a motorcycle feels almost inevitable. Often fast, highly manoeuvrable and quite flexible in nature, motorbike enthusiasts often identify riding with feelings of freedom and power.
While motorbikes are great fun if you know how to ride them, it’s important to have a firm grasp on expectation vs reality when it comes to choosing the best beginner motorcycle, and how that term varies depending on your own skills and personal preference. Thankfully, there are a handful of models that are often regarded as a safe bet.
If you’re still riding the high of finally receiving your motorcycle licence, then it’s only natural that you’re on the hunt for the best beginner motorbike there is on the market. However, it’s all too easy to get caught up with the need for speed, or buying a bike that has far too much power than what you’re necessarily ready for – so what factors do you need to consider before purchasing your first motorcycle?
Like all big-ticket items, it’s important to consider what expectations you have from the motorcycle, and how you plan on using it. Are you on the hunt for a Sunday afternoon cruiser or a bike that will become your daily run around to get to work? Do you plan on hammering through dirt tracks, or will you mostly be sticking to the highway? Finding the best beginner motorcycle is all about the type of bike that’s perfect for you and your lifestyle.
Secondly, size does matter. Just like humans, motorbikes come in all different shapes and sizes, so it’s important to take ergonomics into consideration. How does the bike fit with your body? Do you feel comfortable, and can your feet reach the ground and the handlebars? You need to make sure that you remain realistic about the type of bike you choose to ride.
When it comes to choosing a body type, the good news is that there are plenty of options on offer and styles that suit just about every taste and budget. As a general rule, there are six primary types of motorcycles to consider.
Standard Or Naked – As a mix of function and visual appeal, standard or naked motorcycles come in a wide range of engine sizes. Regarded as the oldest motorcycle style that manufacturers have been producing in the last century, a standard combines an upright seating position with the handlebar at a comfortable distance away from the rider.
Sport – Known as the agile, aggressive, race-bred performance machines of the motorcycle world, sports motorbikes are designed specifically with cornering in mind, which can make them a little intimidating for newer riders who often are not as confident with using bikes to literally conquer mountains.
Cruiser – A cruiser is a motorcycle in the style of American machines from the 1930s to the early 1960s, including those made by Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior and Henderson. Typically featuring a low seat height, it’s often said that riders sit in as opposed to on these bikes. Although quite heavy, this makes them a very popular option with new riders.
Touring – Designed to ride an extended period with all the comforts, tourer style motorcycles tend to be on the heavier end of the spectrum. Styling can vary widely from brand to brand and can range from dedicated touring machines aimed at pure comfort, to sports-touring bikes designed to give riders the best of both worlds.
Dual Purpose – As a jack of all trades, a dual-purpose motorcycle is a type of street-legal motorbike that is designed for both on and off-road use. While they are perfectly capable of cruising across the country, on the highway or on the dirt, these models are ideal as the best beginner motorbike for those who can’t decide on what they want.
Dirt Bike – Generally used for off-road riding, their lightweight body is perfect for difficult terrain. Most dirt bikes will provide excellent grip for off-road riding and good shock absorption for hard landings. Dirt bikes are usually only ridden on private land for recreational purposes rather than on public roads for commuting, unless they are “street legal” and appropriately registered.
When it comes to the power of your new beginner motorcycle, the general rule is that a 600cc engine size is an ideal starting point. A 600cc cruiser may have half the horsepower of a 600cc sport-bike, so it will be dependent on the rider to find a sweet spot where they are comfortable.
If you’re new to riding motorcycles, there are many ways you can increase your safety.
In addition, choosing the best beginner motorbike that’s in line with your capabilities and expectations is paramount when it comes to staying safe on the roads.
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