Deciding to start riding a motorcycle is as exciting as the thrill of hitting the open road the first time. It’s the beginning of a life full of exhilarating experiences, freedom, and lasting memories.
Whether you’re buying a motorcycle for commuting, adventure, or leisure rides on weekends, there are different types of beginner-friendly motorcycles in various styles to suit your unique taste.
So, how do you choose your first motorcycle? Here are some tips. However, if you’re ready to buy now, check out our article: Best Motorcycles for Beginners – Our 6 Top Choices
First, Know the Different Types of Motorcycles for Starting Out
As a beginner, it makes sense to know the different types of motorcycles available in the market. That will help you choose the right bike for your needs and style of riding. Perhaps you love speed or classic-style cruising on the road. Either way, your priority is to know what type of motorcycle you want before spending money. Compare these options:
V-twin cruiser bikes have a great appeal among beginners and experienced enthusiasts who own multiple bikes alike. These bikes are an excellent option for anyone who wants a more relaxed and classy ride in a true iconic chopper style. These bikes are highly customizable and have a distinct exhaust sound. Here are some of the top beginner cruiser bikes.
If you love speed and are thinking of buying a motorcycle for track racing, go for a sports bike. However, as a beginner, you should consider starting at the lower end of power before upgrading to a more powerful motorcycle. Sports bikes offer superior handling and require equally outstanding skills and a certain level of experience to ensure safe riding.
This is a popular motorcycle segment that fits right in between the iconic cruiser bikes and street-popular sports bikes. These bikes offer a more upright riding style that is ideal for beginners. Most of them exclusively target beginners looking to enjoy the thrill of riding.
If you want to spend time on the open road, you need a bike designed for long and super-comfy rides. Touring bikes offer just that. They’re the heaviest and the biggest bikes available. So, if you’re buying a first-time motorcycle, these are typically not ideal for beginners. They come with powerful engines, lots of luggage space, and numerous high-end features and tech to improve the riding experience. This is perhaps a category of a bike to have as a goal as you become more experienced as a rider.
If you’ve seen motorcyclists touring wild places like deserts, high mountains, remote off-the-beaten paths, or even crisscrossing continents, they’re definitely on an adventure bike like the legendary Africa Twin. Such bikes are built for the ultimate adventure, perform excellently off-road, have powerful engines and versatile and rugged features. For more check out these 7 Best Adventure Touring Motorcycles Available Today.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, highly customizable, and small motorcycle optimized for speed and superior handling, cafe racers are perfect. They’re more of a stylish accessory than a functional choice. While ideal for beginners and great for commuting, they may not offer the comfort and long-term usability you would be looking for when buying a beginner motorcycle. Check out our cafe racer features for some inspiration.
These bikes are for the speed and dirt enthusiasts. With tall suspensions and a pair of knobby tires, these bikes perform well on dirt roads, muddy trails, and gravel-filled paths. They’re your go-to-anywhere bikes and aren’t designed to ride on roads.
5 Tips to Remember When Buying That First Bike
Budget Wisely and Weigh Your Options of New vs. Used
When buying your first motorcycle, you need to budget wisely. Apart from the bike, you’ll need quality riding gear to ensure a safe and pleasurable experience. You’ll need a helmet, jacket, riding pants, gloves, and boots, but don’t skimp on quality. Also, ask yourself whether you want a new bike or a used one.
Make sure to read our piece on Motorcycle Riding Gear: What You Need (and Why) Before Hitting the Road.
A quality used motorcycle is a good option when buying a beginner motorcycle. You’ll be spending more time on it and learning new things with every ride, and dings and scratches are likely to be part of the experience. Once you’ve outgrown your first bike, you can start looking at buying a new one.
Look for the Right Fit and Weight
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is failing to check if a bike is a right fit and weight for them. How well does the bike fit you and your body? Getting the ergonomics right ensures a comfortable ride, better handling, and control of the bike. Your arms should reach the handlebars with the ability to turn them side to side without shifting in the saddle.
Your feet should comfortably rest on the pegs. You should also be able to place your legs flat on the ground and reach and operate controls and brakes with ease. These small details go a long way in ensuring a smooth and confident riding experience. Is the bike too heavy? If you can’t push it around manually or lift it off the ground, it’s too heavy for you.
Think About the Motorcycle’s Horsepower
What about the motorcycle’s power? Bikes under 600cc are a great starting point when buying a beginner motorcycle. As a new rider, you don’t want to start with the most powerful motorcycle as it can be dangerous – you might end up in an accident due to your inexperience. Look at the bike’s horsepower. Just enough is what you need to ride at highway speed comfortably.
Choose Your Style and Try Before You Buy
Motorcycles get as personal as our unique style – they are expressions of our lifestyle and who we are as individuals. So, take your time in choosing a motorcycle-style that defines you. Think about practicality and functionality too. The more you ride, the more you’ll love your bike. Make sure to try the bike before buying – that will give you a feel of how it rides and whether it’s the experience you need.
Customize Your Motorcycle and Hit the Road
A motorcycle is never complete without customizing it to fit your riding style. Maybe you want to improve the sound of your first cruiser bike or add fairings and a windshield to enhance riding comfort during long rides. There’s always something you can add to your first motorcycle to improve its style, sound, comfort, and performance. There’s always something you can add to your first motorcycle to improve its style, sound, comfort, and performance. Go ahead and customize your bike, or check out these other custom bike features for inspiration to get you started.