So you just got your motorcycle license and see all your friends riding crazy bikes like a Suzuki GSX-R 600 or Kawasaki Ninja 650R. Those are great bikes; however, they may be too much power for a novice rider. Ideally, when you first start riding, you should start out on a smaller displacement bike so you can get comfortable and build up your confidence when riding the open road. Having so much power with little experience riding might be a fatal experience, so find a starter bike that fits your style and that you'll enjoy until you're ready for that higher power bike.
Before you get on that bike, you need to prepare yourself with all the protective gear you can have. Without having an enclosed frame around you like you would with a typical car, it's extremely important to take all the precautions you can. Here is a quick checklist of the must-have items you need when riding:
- Motorcycle Helmet - make sure it has the right fit for you and is DOT (Department of Transportation) certified.
- Motorcycle Jacket & Long Pants - Try to keep all areas covered up if you can. Leather or material specific for motorcycle riding is what you should be looking for. This will protect your body from road rash and other injuries in the event you do get into an accident.
- Motorcycle Boots - Wear heavy, over the ankle boots. You want to protect your feet as well as possible since they will be shifting gears & be the part of your body that's closest to the road.
Once you have these three items, then you're ready to pick out a great starter bike.
Sport bikes are great for riding around town and generally look pretty cool. If that's your style, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 or Honda CBR250R are the perfect starter bikes for you. They have enough speed to get you cruising on highways, but their nimble body and quick response will have you mastering corners and turns in no time. Another great thing about these bikes is their relative low price (under $5,000), which makes it an even better fit for novice riders.
If the whole sport bike look isn't for you, there are some great entry-level cruisers you can have fun with before dealing with some of the monsters out there (I'm look at you, Harley-Davidson). The Yamaha V-Star 250 and Suzuki Boulevard S40 are the favorites for beginners. Their reasonable weight and power are perfect to build confidence on the road while having that classic motorcycle feel.
Typically not seen as a motorcycle by most people, scooters are motorcycles with a step-through frame and area where the rider can place their feet when riding. This is the tamest of the three choices and it's important to find the right ride for you. Scooters range from 49cc to up to 249cc engines, which is hitting the entry point to the more standard types of motorcycles seen. Since they are relatively low-power vehicles, beginning riders can choose what feels comfortable for them. There are a wide range of styles in the 49cc scooter engine sizes as well as a range of scooters from 150cc and up, if you need that extra speed.
Here you can find more beginner bikes that maybe you like to learn more.
Depending on what motorcycle you choose, you'll be sure to have fun on the road and build up your experience on a two-wheel vehicle.